Flashback Friday – “Gone!”

Title: Gone!
Date of Creation: Sometime around May 1992, I’d have to guess, since it would appear to be the first tape I made after graduating from Averett College. (Accordingly, the last tape I made before graduating was entitled Going, Going…)

Side 1:

“Main Title,” James Horner (Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Over the years, I’ve gotten less and less apologetic about declaring “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” to be my favorite film of all time; accordingly, I barely cringed at all when I recognized the initial strains of James Horner’s score for the film’s main title sequence. Not that I didn’t enjoy hearing it; I just immediately thought, “Oh, God, I’ve got to explain why I put it on here.” But then I realized that, no, actually, I don’t have to explain a goddamned thing. I love this score. Somehow, however, this disc managed to get purged from my CD collection, but hearing this track again makes me want to buy it back.

“That’s The Way It Stays,” Little America (Little America)

I know this was released on Geffen Records, but I always got the impression that the band’s success was rather regional. I don’t know that I ever heard their songs on the radio or saw videos for them; I just know that one of my oldest friends, Jeff Castelloe, forced their music down my throat while I was working music retail, which is how I came to hear them and learn to love them. And what’s not to love, really? It’s just good, catchy pop-rock with a bit of jangle. (And, yes, that IS a scan of the cassette rather than the CD; ever since they reissued the band’s two albums as a 2-fer, you can’t find a decent .jpg of the self-titled debut by itself.)

“Never Will Forget You,” The Candy Skins (Space I’m In)

These guys just couldn’t make a wrong move, as far as I was concerned…I’ve got every album they put out, and I enjoy them all…but it was this debut that sold me on them. It’s really one of those records where every song had the potential to be a hit single, if only the right people had been listening. Unfortunately, they weren’t. But at least the cool people were. And that’s why we covered them in our list of The Best Albums You’ve Never, Ever Heard (Well, Probably Not, Anyway).

“Dancing in the Storm,” Boom Crash Opera (These Here Are Crazy Times)

I was mildly bemused to discover recently that these guys were big enough in their native Australia to warrant a best-of collection. I had their debut album on cassette, and I liked it enough to pick up the follow-up on CD. Unfortunately, time has not treated either album well. I only remember two songs from this record – this track and one called “Onion Skin” – and can’t even remember the title to the one song I really, really liked from the debut. I know it opened with the lines, “There’s a maniac behind the wheel,” but I’m tired and can’t be bothered to Google the lyrics to find out what it’s called. I know, it’s pretty sad…particularly when you consider how much searching it took to come up with even that tiny little .jpg of the album cover!

“Daylight,” The Judybats (Native Son)

Another band who never got their just due, but you can blame that on the fact that they never seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do with their albums. The debut was quirky, the follow-up was too long, the third one came the closest to perfection, but then the fourth was the worst album they ever released. This was the first track I ever heard by them. Jeff Heiskell was trying a little too hard to sound vocally eccentric, but he sure could write a great pop tune.

“Hello Goodbye,” The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour)

Strange. I’m not sure why this is on here. Not that it’s not a fab song, but I just don’t know what would have spurred me to include it. Best guess: maybe I’d just gotten Magical Mystery Tour on CD.

“She’s A Girl and I’m A Man,” Lloyd Cole (Don’t Get Weird on Me Babe)

How can you not like a song where the narrator sneers, “She’s gotta be the stupidest girl I’ve ever seen”? Lloyd, Lloyd, your albums on Capitol were awesome; it wasn’t until the Ryko years where you started to confuse people.

“Sit Down,” James (James)

I once battled with my friend Donnie Sadler over which of us truly discovered James. I said I did because I owned the Sire sampler that first introduced to them, but he claims he did because he was the first one to be inspired enough by the song from that sampler to actually buy their album. It’s been almost twenty years now, and, okay, Donnie, I’m going to let you have this one. (It’s true, I didn’t really pay much attention to that song.) Anyway, “Sit Down” was a full-on anthem in the UK, but it never transitioned beyond the college charts here.

“Jealous Rage,” Legal Reins (Please, the Pleasure)

One of my all-time favorite obscure bands, and, amazingly, one that you still can’t seem to find anything about online, even in this era where every artist seems to have a MySpace page. They were signed to Arista, but my copy of their album is a cut-out, and I’ve always wondered if they hold the record for Quickest Transition of an Album from Full-Price to Cut-Out. (Nah, that’s probably all Ric Ocasek’s.) Anyway, they’re a little AOR, a bit new wave, with occasionally quirky arrangements, and I’d love to know whatever happened to them.

“1976,” Redd Kross (Third Eye)

Poor Redd Kross. This was as commercial as they were capable of getting, and they still couldn’t play for the majors for more than an album at a time. I don’t know which instrumental bit is my favorite: the wah-wah or the Elton John piano. I just know this song is awesome, period. By the way, I once interviewed Steven McDonald and asked if that’s Paul Stanley guesting on this track. He said no. I still don’t believe him. That shit sounds exactly like Paul Stanley.

“The Truth,” The Real People (The Real People)

Here’s another band that mysteriously never saw much success in either the States or the UK, despite hailing from the latter. There was some sort of connection to Oasis with these guys, as I recall, but I don’t remember the specifics. I do, however, remember that when I first saw the video for their song “Window Pane” on “120 Minutes,” I was convinced that they’d be the next big thing in Britpop. This is neither the first nor the last time I’ve made a horribly inaccurate prediction, but, then, I never claimed to be Nostradamus.

“I Palindrome I,” They Might Be Giants (Apollo 18)

After hitting it relatively big with Flood, TMBG got extra quirky with the follow-up, and the masses didn’t bite. It’s still a pretty good album, though…and this is a particularly clever song.

“William, It Was Really Nothing,” The Smiths (Hatful of Hollow)

Actually, this might’ve come from Louder Than Bombs; I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter. I probably just figured that no compilation of mine is complete without a Smiths or Morrissey song. Well, that and my name is William.

“Welcome to the Cheap Seats,” The Wonder Stuff (Never Loved Elvis)

I can’t listen to the harmony vocal on this song without thinking, “I still miss Kirsty MacColl.”

“Madonna of the Wasps,” Robyn Hitchcock ‘n’ the Egyptians (Queen Elvis)

Robyn, you nut. If you’re not singing out fish, you’re singing about insects. Remember the video for this song, with the extended a capella opening from Robyn while he was standing in a phone box? Good times.

“You Win Again,” The Bee Gees (E.S.P.)

Don’t knock it if you haven’t heard it. Bombastic drum beats + great melody + awesome chorus = another classic single from the brothers Gibb. It was a major comeback for the boys in the UK, but it’d take another album for that to happen here…though Warner Brothers had enough faith in the song to tack it onto the end of One and take another stab at getting it airplay. (It didn’t work.)

Side 2:

“Gang of One,” Bradford (Shouting Quietly)

I bought their album because Morrissey was a fan, but I stayed because…well, it sounded rather a lot like the Smiths. I have no idea whatever happened to them, though; it’s very hard to find out information about a band when they’re just one name, and that name happens to be the last name of a lot of people around the world.

“The Crying Scene,” Aztec Camera (Stray)

“Renee Remains the Same,” Material Issue (International Pop Overthrow)

Once upon a time, I made a mix tape for a Tennessee girl named Renee Bunton, and this was spotlighted on it. But, sorry, Renee, the real reason I remember the song is because I can still remember how smitten I was with the album as a whole. Jim Ellison, I’m sorry you were depressed, but, dammit, you should’ve stuck it out. We needed more of your highly awesome power pop.

“The Other Side of Summer,” Elvis Costello (Mighty Like A Rose)

I can’t bring myself to tell the story yet again of my misbegotten personal encounter with Elvis Costello when he was touring behind this particular album, so I shall only say, “You’re a genius,” and leave it at that.

“Something to Say,” The Connells (Fun & Games)

That the Connells had to go overseas to score a hit single (“’74 – ‘75”) is inexcusable…but, then, so is the fact that their former label, TVT, hasn’t gotten off their arse and released an anthology of their best material. This would definitely qualify as an inclusion…but, then, so would just about everything on this particular album.

“Can’t Stand Up,” The Big Dish (Creeping Up on Jesus)

Well, well, another band who was featured in The Best Albums You’ve Never, Ever Heard (Well, Probably Not, Anyway). Lead singer Steven Lindsay is on the verge of releasing his latest solo album, but I’ve not heard anything about it showing up on a Stateside label. That, unfortunately, isn’t much of a surprise…but it doesn’t make me any less excited about hearing it.

“Merry Go Round,” The Replacements (All Shook Down)

I swear to you, this album is not as bad as you’ve heard; it just doesn’t hold up very well when it’s compared to the band’s earlier work. Honestly, though, it’s a more than adequate swan song for these Minneapolis legends.

“Hey Venus,” That Petrol Emotion (Chemicrazy)

These guys arose from the ashes of the Undertones, but I didn’t know anything about “Teenage Kicks” when I first heard their song, “Groove Check.” I also didn’t like it very much, so I remember being blown away when I heard this fantastic track from their next album.

“I Can Tell (When You’re Telling Lies),” John Wesley Harding (The Name Above the Title)

I’ve always loved this song, but my favorite version is actually a live, acoustic one that Wes included in an awesome promo-only item: a nicely bound collection of his lyrics packaged with a CD of studio and live tracks. I had him autograph it when he played at the now-defunct (as in “it’s now a parking lot”) Peppermint Beach Club, in Virginia Beach, VA.

“Love to Love,” The Monkees (Listen to the Band)

I can still remember how excited I was on Christmas morning when I realized that my parents had taken the hint and bought me this 4-disc set. This is from Disc 2, which is probably the single strongest of the four discs. It’s a Neil Diamond composition sung by Davy Jones, and it should’ve been a hit; instead, it wasn’t even officially released until years upon years after it was originally recorded.

“All For The Girl,” Richard X. Heyman (Living Room!!)

Richard X. is still going strong; in fact, he just released a new album a few months ago. I found this in a cut-out bin while in college, but I was already familiar with him from his Sire release, “Hey Man!” Glad I picked this up; it’s gotten many spins over the years, and, to this day, I’m always ready to pick up one of Mr. Heyman’s albums without even hearing a single note.

“Unkind,” The Mighty Lemon Drops (Sound)

Spin Magazine panned this album all to Hell. That’s when I first decided they were a bunch of pretentious fuckwads. My opinion has not changed significantly.

“Only Tongue Can Tell,” The Trash Can Sinatras (Cake)

TCS list, represent!!! It’s where I first met David Medsker, it’s where I first met Neil Soiseth, and with the writing, editing, and nepotism assistance of those two guys over the last decade and then some, I’ve managed to come farther than I ever would’ve anticipated.

“Let Her Dance,” Marshall Crenshaw (Good Evening)

I was really smitten with this album for awhile, as evidenced by the fact that this is two mixes in a row, made months apart, that included tracks from it, but I’m still not sure why I put this Bobby Fuller song on here over Crenshaw’s cover of Richard Thompson’s “Valerie.”

“Near Wild Heaven,” R.E.M. (Out of Time)

Another artist represented in two consecutive tapes. I mentioned in our inaugural Flashback Friday that you could tell I’d made “Greetings from Averett, Vol. 2” within a day or two of buying Out of Time because I’d included “Losing My Religion” and not any of the songs that I’d come to prefer far more…like, say, this one.

“Something About You,” Level 42 (World Machine)

Again, chronologically, I have no idea why this is on here, but I’m gonna once again presume that I’d just gotten the CD. And it impressed me so much that I don’t have it anymore. The end.