Freed from a weekly radio commitment, I now relish the opportunity to listen to music the old way, the natural way, without always auditioning everything and imagining segues and conceptual ties, calculating the booty-shake quotient and all that baggage. This, of course, necessitates an honest reappraisal of my record collection, a little soul-searching, and some cold hard looks at just why the hell I'm hanging onto three John Denver records.
Other questions I'll have to ask: is there really any reason for anyone to actually own a Beatles record? And do I love John Cale so much that I'd repeatedly sit through The Academy in Peril like I was guzzling raw egg yolk? I'll address all these questions and more, and acknowledge up front that the general impulse at work is no doubt sentimental and fetishistic. e.g., I don't like Caribbean Sunset either, but I'm untroubled by that because I don't have it.
Alright, here goes...
John Cale The Academy In Peril I've listened to this album in its entirety once, maybe twice; I've begun to listen to it countless times, and been knocked catatonic by its total aimless boredom nearly every time. But it's Cale, with an amazing Warhol cover, and a great title, and all these weird associations I inexplicably have for it that make me get just a little excited every time I flip by it on the shelf. But I can't stand it, go figure! So I'll probably always have it.
The Beatles. What's the point? It's hardly worth having an opinion about The Beatles, let alone any of their records. But I've got both. Aside from Beatles for Sale, that fantastic melancholic and miserable downer, the only reason I keep any other Beatles record is because someone keeps stealing all of the WFMU library's copies. Not a good reason. Have I got the strength of my convictions to get rid of them? Wish me luck.
Hawkwind Hall of the Mountain Grill Ohhhh, Hawkwind. I don't even like looking at this record; and I'm a man who loves looking at Hawkwind records, the Barney Bubbler, the better. Hmm... you know, I think I can do it - I think this one's getting the heave-ho. Considering all the massive testaments to the life-force Hawkwind released before this new age dud, it's like I always used to say about Porno For Pyros: as long as Jane's Addiction records exist, why would anyone listen to this?
Catherine Riberio + Alpes La Déboussole This record's in the same league as John Cale for me- I am so enamored of so much that Mme Ribeiro is responsible for that it kills me to even allow myself to not totally worship something she's done. But following so many years of intense howling, direct connection to her demonic muse, primal body rhythms and 25-minute slow burns, this 1980 collection of flange bass-driven dance-prog just breaks my heart. I'll never listen to it, and I'll never part with it. (Plus it was hella expensive!)
christ, I don't know! But here's my guess: the know-it-all contrarian
in me declares that J.D. wrote some really great songs but, like The
Carpenters, you couldn't tell until you heard someone else doing them,
blah blah blah. In John Denver's case, the someone else in question is
usually the Red House Painters. So, what? I'm holding onto these
records so that one day I can show all o'you mooks how wrong you were
about this guy? Nah, that doesn't fly (pardon the pun). I guess I'm
just a sucker for wide open sus 2 chords on an acoustic guitar. And hawks.
Of course, the best reason to hold onto stuff is what I call the The Law of BÖC, which states that I'll see a record on my shelf and consider it shit, and so get rid of it; then six months later I'll see a copy in a bin at a record store and feel all fuzzy for that one song and be compelled to buy it again. I've done this with Tyranny and Mutation three times, and goddammit, it's embarrassing (and please don't tell me to download that one song - it's more complicated than that!) So, I will never get rid of another Blue Öyster Cult album.
Oh god, it just happened! I'm filling in for the great Billy Jam this afternoon and thought I might like to play this really nuts & noisy version of "Leaving On a Jet Plane" by the St Louis band Grandpa's Ghost, I've got like 4 or 5 CDs by them, it's on The Tumble / Love album, right? cool, lemme go g--- FUCK! That's the one I got rid of!!
But I've still got three John Denver albums...