GETTING MORE TALE #719: Mystery Disc
Cleaning out Jen’s mom’s house after she passed away was very emotional work. Nobody’s been living there since July. One day she got up and broke her hip. We didn’t know it yet but the cancer was in her bones. She never came home again. When we started working on the house in September, everything was more or less how she left it.
Her music collection was small with a few gems. One disc that I kept was Cat Stevens’ Icon. I had to take it for “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out.” As told in Getting More Tale #702, that song seemed to make a connection with me when she was sick. One day we went to see her in the hospital, and she was unconscious. No longer able to communicate. That song was stuck in my head for reasons I can’t explain. I like to think she was sending me a message. Not to be sad. It would have been like her to say that to me. I get tears in my eyes thinking about her lying there dying, and that song playing on repeat in my head. I had the song played at her funeral. It just seemed like such a “mum” song, even though I have no memories of us ever listening to it together. When I found out that she actually owned that song, I got the chills again. Finding Cat Stevens made my heart swell.
We also found a number of CD-Rs that I made, but had no labels or covers. For today’s chapter I’m focusing on one specifically. I can’t figure out why I made it, or who I made it for, or what it was doing at Jen’s mom’s house!
It is a lightscribe CD, and burned into the top is the old background from my website. It’s a photo of some model guitars and guitar picks. The 15 song track listing is most bizarre and I can’t figure out what I was doing!
Track 1: Craig Fee saying “LeBraaaain”. This dates the CD to 2012 at the earliest. I liked to introduce my CDs with something amusing, so this works.
Tracks 2-4: “Whiskey in the Jar”. The first is Metallica’s studio cover from Garage Inc. The second is Thin Lizzy’s take from 1972. Last is a live Metallica version, possibly from the CD single. That’s a lot of whiskey – 15 solid minutes worth. Listening back, the Metallica live version absolutely kills their studio cut. Yeah-hah!
Track 5: Steve Earle – “Home to Houston”. This track is from Steve’s political 2004 album The Revolution Starts Now. I haven’t played that album in years and I don’t remember this song. Why it stuck out enough to put it on this mystery disc, I haven’t a clue. Good tune, but I don’t know it anymore!
Track 6: Jeff Bridges & Colin Ferrel – “Fallin’ & Flyin'” from the 2010 soundtrack Crazy Heart. Now, memories are starting to form. I can remember driving around with Jen and her mom, listening to this song in my car. Did I make this CD for her mom? If so, why the Metallica?
Track 7: Johnny Cash – “The Man Comes Around”. One of the greatest Cash songs, from the best American album in my opinion. Goosebumps, still to this day. Jen and I love Cash and had him played at our wedding.
Track 8: Me doing a song intro! The backing track sounds like Motorhead’s acoustic version of “Ace of Spades” with the main lick looped and no vocals. I made this for a past Sausagefest countdown! The track I’m introducing: “Renegade” by Styx! I mention that it was covered by Daughtry and then add sound effects of Nicko McBrain burping and farting. I have to admit it’s a pretty great (and funny) intro! It was #30 on the 2013 countdown. From that I can now assume I made this CD the same year. Which is strange because I wasn’t really making mix CDs anymore in 2013.
Track 9 is a personal favourite, “Rock An’ Roll Angels” from Whitesnake’s 1982 album Saints & Sinners. I’ve always been into rock and roll songs with boogie woogie piano. I have loved this song for three decades. Then Track 10, another Whitesnake classic: “Slow An’ Easy” from the landmark classic Slide It In. That’s another personal fave, because of the slide riff. It’s incredible and I spent many hours as a teenager playing air slide to it. Not to mention air drums! Cozy Powell was so fucking cool.
Then more slide! Track 11: The Black Crowes – “Twice as Hard”. I was clearly trying to make the CD flow. Indeed I used to spend hours shuffling track order until I had it “just right”. With all this slide business going on, I wonder if the next song is going to be some “Travelling Riverside Blues”?
Nope! A total surprise to me, Track 12 is The Tragically Hip! “50 Mission Cap” is Jen’s favourite, for reasons you’ll understand.
Bill Barilko disappeared that summer,
He was on a fishing trip.
The last goal he ever scored,
Won the Leafs the cup.
They didn’t win another till nineteen sixty two,
The year he was discovered.
I stole this from a hockey card,
I keep tucked up under.
I think the lyrics are brilliant because they tell two stories at once. First, they tell the true tale of Toronto Maple Leaf Bill Barilko, who tragically died in a plane crash in a remote part of Quebec. Nobody knew what happened to him until his body was found 11 years later. The second tale is that of a young Gord Downie who read about it on the back of a hockey card.
Track 13 is another surprise: “The Boys are Back in Town” by Bon Jovi! Don’t scoff, this is actually a really good Thin Lizzy cover from their New Jersey period. Lyrically, Jon and Phil Lynott were on similar wavelengths. This is exactly the kind of tune that Jon was writing. “Wild in the Streets” is Bon Jovi trying to re-write “The Boys are Back in Town”.
Track 14: “Big Foot” from Chickenfoot III. Gotta be one of my favourite car tunes. “Got Houses Of The Holy on the box, got it all cranked up cause, yeah! That shit rocks!” What a groove — you can’t help but stomp along. Joe Satriani has a way with a riff.
I had a guess that Track 15 was going to be all of side one of 2112. The track time was over 20 minutes, so I had an inkling it was either that or side two of Abbey Road. I’ve ended mix CDs with 20 minute epics before, and I think it works. The Beatles did it! Granted, the 2112 epic was a side one, but it still functions perfectly in the closing position. Try it yourself!
Listening to this mystery disc has been enjoyable, but my reasoning still escapes me. It’s such a bizarre mix, with the front loaded threesome of “Whiskey in the Jar”. From there it starts to make a little more sense. But how it did it end up at “mum’s” house?
My best theory is that I made it as a gift for Jen’s Uncle Rick, and it never got mailed. He lived in Texas at the time — maybe that’s why I included “Home to Houston”. Rick is also a Whitesnake fan, and a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I’m just not sure.
How would you rate this mix CD if you were the recipient? I think I’d give it a solid: