Original Format: cassette
A lot of work went into these liner notes. Fancy paper, too. Apparently 1995 me didn’t have anything better to do, either.
Sound and Vision David Bowie
One of the best things about the 1990s was following along with the Rykodisc reissues of the Bowie albums, the spacing of which enabled us Gen Xers to relive David’s 1970s in something like real time. Amazing as it may seem now, I don’t think I’d ever heard any of the songs on Low when I got the CD. Even “Sound and Vision,” which is now considered high up in the Bowie canon, was not on the radar of the Philadelphia AOR stations I grew up on. But in a way I’m glad, as it gave me a chance to get my mind blown later on.
Cast Your Fate to the Wind The Four Amigos
“‘Cast Your Fate to the Wind’ is an American jazz instrumental selection by Vince Guaraldi; later, a lyric was written by Carel Werber. It won a Grammy Award for Best Original Jazz Composition in 1963…. Peanuts producer Lee Mendelson cited “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” as the song he heard on the radio that prompted him to commission Guaraldi to compose music cues for the 1963 documentary A Boy Named Charlie Brown, which was ultimately not broadcast due to a lack of obtaining sponsorship. The resulting album, Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, proved to be popular enough to retain Guaraldi’s services for A Charlie Brown Christmas.” —Wikipedia
People Say The Wolfgang Press
This was the last song on the Press’s last album, after which they apparently dropped off the face of the Earth. Maybe it’s just as well — they never had a chance to make a bad record.
Easily Fooled Pavement
“The perverse logic that guided Malkmus, Stairs and co. at the time dictated that they must bury their catchiest songs on B-sides and EPs.” —Me, writing about the Wowee Zowee reissue, 2007
Ocean Velvet Underground
There are numerous versions of this song in circulation, all with different lyrics and arrangements, and all great in their own way. I’ve been in a VU phase lately and there are always new depths to explore; may it always be so.
Dock of the Bay Otis Redding
“Me being a purist kind of guy I said, ‘Otis, did you ever think that if a ship rolls it’s going to take on water and sink,’ and he said about the lyric, ‘Hell, Crop, that’s what I want,’ and Otis always got his way.” —Steve Cropper
Overture from A Fistful of Dollars Ennio Morricone
“Reasoning that not asking Morricone about A Fistful of Dollars would be like not asking Frank Sinatra about My Way, I promise to keep my questions about his Leone scores to a minimum, and ask how he came up with the brooding score. ‘Who told him not to ask me about Leone?’ he snaps at the translator, before eloquently detailing his working relationship with the director. ‘Some of the music was written before the film, which is unusual,’ he explains. ‘Leone’s films were made like that because he wanted the music to be an important part of it, and he often kept the scenes longer simply because he didn’t want the music to end. That’s why the films were so slow – because they were following the pattern of the music.’ Why did A Fistful of Dollars make such an impact? ‘I don’t know. It’s the worst film Leone made and the worst score I did.’” —Will Hodgkinson, The Guardian
Drifter in the Dark Ween
Something about the atmosphere of this song, combined with the fact that we know it’s Ween, implies a punchline that never comes. This is the sublime tension of Ween.
Wish I Could The Jesus & Mary Chain
Proof, in case you needed it, that despite their long-cultivated image as hard-drinking, ever-battling Scotsmen in the grand tradition, the Reid brothers are really quite sensitive.
Mind Talking Heads
“Like Mister Spock freshly landed on a strange new planet, we can use Fear of Music like a tricorder, to dissect the novelty and danger residing in things we take for granted, but shouldn’t: ‘“Mind,” Captain, appears to be an elusive projection generated by the biological brains of these creatures; a metaphor, really, for the self-narrating consciousness they experience but whose existence in themselves or others they man only assert or postulate, never prove.’” —Jonathan Lethem, 33 1/3: Fear of Music
For a Few Dollars More Ennio Morricone
“Here is a gloriously greasy, sweaty, hairy, bloody and violent Western. It is delicious. For a Few Dollars More, like all of the grand and corny Westerns Hollywood used to make, is composed of situations and not plots. Plots were dangerous because if a kid went out to get some popcorn he might miss something. So Westerns had situations, instantly recognizable. The man in the black hat strikes a match on the suspenders of a tough guy at the bar. Two gunmen face each other at each end of a long alley. For a Few Dollars More has lots of stuff like that, but it’s on a larger, more melodramatic scale, if that’s possible. Shoot-outs aren’t over in a few minutes like they were in High Noon. They last forever.” —Roger Ebert, May 1967
Surf Cowboy Throwing Muses
Surf Rider The Lively Ones
“Even if you know jack about early ’60s surf music, you’ve run into one of the biggies by Orange County’s the Lively Ones — unless you’ve somehow managed to avoid Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. The title track from their debut album serves as an eerie counterpoint to Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta’s film assassinations mainly because of the slightly demented guitar troika of Jim Masoner (lead), Ed Chiaverini (rhythm), and Ron Griffith (bass).” —Jud Cost, Amazon.com
Don’t Shit Where You Eat Ween
Years ago, when Ween had temporarily (as it turns out) gone their separate ways, the two members publicly disagreed over whether they had broken up. Gene said that they had; Dean rebutted, “We’ve never broken up. The idea of quitting is just laughable. This isn’t something you can quit. This is a life sentence.” Dean won that one.
Comin’ Down Meat Puppets
“Before Satori, chop wood, carry water. After Satori, chop wood, carry water.” —Lao Tzu (or someone like him)
This Is Where I Belong Frank Black
All the top search results for “This Is Where I Belong” are not for this, nor for the Kinks original; they are for a completely different song Bryan Adams recorded for the 2002 animated kids movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. This is unjust, borderline infuriating — I thought about going back in time and preventing Bryan Adams’ parents from meeting; but then I looked at the YouTube page for his song, which has more than 400 comments, most of them from young adults saying how much it had meant to them as children. So I’ll allow it.