Pat Travers

#787: Mix CD 19 – “Green Album”

GETTING MORE TALE #787: Mix CD 19 – “The Green Album”

As we’ve done in the past, let’s have a look at a mix CD I dug up, from about a decade ago.  It’s an interesting mix, made mostly of stuff I found online.  Any time I’d gather at least 80 minutes worth of downloads, I’d burn them to a CD.  I considered that to be a much more permanent format.  This disc is really just an archive of things I downloaded during a certain period of time in 2008.  The title 19 suggests that it’s the 19th such archive CD that I burned.  More than that though, I made it a good listen.  As usual there are surprises and a few attempts at buffoonery.  Let’s dive in.

The first thing to notice:  There are 23 tracks on the CD, but 19 listed on the front sleeve.  That means I hid four comedic bits somewhere between the songs, to be discovered by surprise.  That’s why I left off the track numbers.

The opener “Big Yellow Joint” is a jingle from the TV show Arrested Development.  Remember the Banana Stand?  In the 60s it was a popular place to meet to buy and sell weed!  But that’s out of the way quickly and it’s “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago from a very poor quality mp3.  “25 or 6 to 4” is the definitive rock song with a horn section.  Find me a better one.

Then, seamlessly, it’s an old childhood favourite:  “Bad to the Bone”!  When you make a mix CD, the software generally defaults to a three second gap between songs.  I liked a tighter flow than that, so I always used one second or even no gap.  This disc is almost 80 minutes long so I used every second I could find.  The transitions on my mix CDs are always top notch.  After George Thorogood, it’s Pat Travers with “Snortin’ Whiskey”.  I was probably hearing these tracks on the radio a lot at the time, so I downloaded ’em and burned ’em.

A really terrible sounding mp3 of “Sonic Reducer” by the Dead Boys reflects my love of the movie Hard Core Logo.  It started with the H.C.L. version of “Sonic Reducer”, and then Pearl Jam’s cover.  If I liked those, I figured I should download the original.  But all this proves to me is why you need to buy the CD.  Downloaded versions suck.  This is sonically not up to par and I’m surprised I was satisfied by this 10 years ago.

The first audio hoodwink follows the Dead Boys.  It’s a 30 second clip from the movie Walk Hard, starring John C. Reilly as Dewey Cox.  This clip features Jack Black as Paul McCartney, Paul Rudd as John Lennon, Justin Long as George Harrison, and Jason Schwartzman as Ringo Starr.

Having a chuckle at the Dewey Cox clip is a perfect way to transition over to a couple good reggae songs by Inner Circle: “Sweat” and (of course) “Bad Boys”! Have a laugh, then get down and dance. I like what I did here, if I do say so myself! Going from that back to rock and roll is tricky, but I think I pulled it off with the very poppy “Fire, Ice & Dynamite” by Deep Purple (Mk V). It’s an oddball rarity, only ever appearing on a Deep Purple DVD as a video slideshow.

One of my favourite 80s songs, the Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey” still pleases today. I can only handle the Dead in small doses, but this is my favourite of their songs. It’s probably 50% pop and 50% nostalgia. In keeping with the 80s, it’s Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, a live version with the 1999 lineup supposedly intended for the Sandler flick Big Daddy.  Immediately following is a live version of “Dead Flowers” from an earlier time.  Ah, Limewire!  I remember regularly typing in searches like “Guns N’ Roses rare” or “Guns N’ Roses live” and downloading anything I could get my digital digits on.  It was also hit and miss in terms of quality.  These are bootleggy but not excessively so.

I remember watching Napoleon Dynamite a fuck of a lot back then.  I used the presentation Napoleon gave about the Loch Ness monster for the next unlisted comedy bit.  Then it’s another rarity, also only available as a bonus track on a DVD:  “Nobody Knows What It’s Like to Be Lonely” by Motley Crue.  The track is 7:05 long, and every fan of Too Fast For Love needs to hear it and have it.  “Song to Slit Your Wrist By”, which I used to think was by Motley Crue but is actually by Nikki Sixx’s 58, is a waste of time that I shouldn’t have included.  I thought I had downloaded a rare Japanese bonus track.  In a cruel twist, Motley included a 58 song on the Japanese edition of Generation Swine, forcing me to seek it out, not realizing it wasn’t actually Motley Crue.

In the very first instalment of Getting More Tale called That Crush on Avril, my not-so-secret affection for Avril Lavigne was revealed.  Let’s be honest, folks — her second album rocked.  I still like it.  She’s never rocked heavy like that since, and I’ve long since gotten off the train.  This CD has a rare acoustic version of “Complicated”, but far better then that is Weird Al’s parody “A Complicated Song”.

“Why’d you have to go and make me so constipated?
‘Cause right now I’d do anything to just get my bowels evacuated,
In the bathroom I sit and I wait and I strain,
And I sweat and I clench and I feel the pain,
Oh, should I take laxatives or have my colon irrigated?”

Keeping the comedy going, it’s a clip from Arrested Development with Jason Bateman and Michael Cera.  It’s a good show; you should watch it.

In 2008, Harem Scarem released a free official download:  a recent live version of “Hard To Love”.  This was intended as a final gift to fans, since the band were breaking up.  Temporarily, thank you very much!  The live version shows off the band’s impressive singing abilities, and of course being an official download, the sound quality is all but perfect.  I followed that with a live radio performance by ex-Tesla guitarist Tommy Skeoch, a song called “I Left the Circus”.  Well, I think technically he was kicked out of the circus.  It’s a jokey song about Tesla.  According to Skeoch in the intro, one of the guys from Tesla heard it and took it well.  “Although he’s kind of a pompous fuck and I don’t really like him.”  I’m glad I downloaded this; I don’t know how you’d find it today.  Who knows what radio show I downloaded it from.  The LeBrain Library is a storehouse for things like this.  I keep things that the record companies lose in massive fires.

Too soon?

In the late 80s, Robbie Robertson had a popular single called “Somewhere Down the Crazy River”, from his solo debut.  Some like it, some hate it, but it’s a remarkable song.  It sounds both retro and futuristic.  It featured a weird electronic instrument called the Omnichord, and an explosive chorus accompanied by Sammy BoDean.  A lot of this CD, scattershot as it is, features songs I enjoyed in my youth, but don’t own the albums.  I should fix that.

After a final sketch from the movie Superbad (“I’m gonna cry myself to sleep every night.  When I’m out partying”) it’s the ultimate rock comedy of all time.  Can you guess what that might be?  No, not Spinal Tap.  No, not Bad News either.  It’s Van Halen’s isolated vocal track of “Runnin With the Devil”!

Weird CD indeed, random but with a lot of effort to make it cohesive and listenable.  I’ll give myself:

4/5 stars

Part 274: The Hawks

Eric Singer: The Hawk?

RECORD STORE TALES Part 274:  The Hawks

Everybody hates aspects of their jobs. One that I…well, I didn’t hate it, but I disliked it…was buying used CDs off customers. For every one person that came in with a bag or box of treasure, were five assholes with shit. But there were many “types” of sellers. Some sample negative “seller types” that I could see on any given day included:

“What’s ‘The Hawk'” you ask? I’m glad you inquired. The Hawk was among the most annoying type of customer you could find. I’m going to re-create a sample interaction with a Hawk-type for you. I call them Hawks because they watched us like hawks. Sometimes they’d just sit there and watch silently, but the worst Hawks were the talkative ones.

Hawk: “Hey how’s it going. I got what you’re looking for.”

Me: “Oh yeah what do you have?”

Hawk: “Used CDs that’s what! Got a whole bunch for you in this box. So how does this work? $5 each?”

Me: “Well, what happens is I go through them, check them for scratches, and then I’ll figure out prices for each one. I base that on how many we have in stock, the condition of the CD, what it sells for, and so on. So if you’d like to take a look around, give me about 15-20 minutes to do that.”

Hawk: “No that’s OK, I’ll hang here for a bit.”

Me: “OK.”

I’d start going through the discs, taking each one out, checking the playing surface. It’s sometimes a long process. You had to keep an eye on the packaging as well, so many people sold CDs with the wrong discs inside. If I bought one like that, I’d be responsible for my mistake monetarily. The talkative Hawks would question every single move.

SILKHawk: “What’s that pile? Is that for all country CDs?”

Me: “No…that’s the pile that’s in good shape.”

Hawk: “Then what are those piles?”

Me: “Those are ones I’m passing on.”

Hawk: “What for? Those are good CDs. There’s some old Boz Scaggs in there. He’s hard to find.”

Me: “Some of them are just a tad too scratched for me to take. But if you give me some time I’ll get myself organized here and then I can explain what I’ve done.”

Hawk: “Nah I like watching. Now that CD there, that’s a double.”

Me: “Yes, I know. I’ve seen this album a few times.”

Hawk: “And that one there? That’s an import. Guy at HMV charged me $30 for that thing, and it only has the one good song! You’re gonna give me at least $10 for it right?”

Me: “Well, I can tell you right now I can’t give you $10, but I haven’t priced any of these yet so I’m not quite there.”

Hawk: “That one’s good. You ever heard of this guy before?”

Me: “Pat Travers? Yes.”

Hawk: “Really? Where’s a young guy like you hear of Pat Travers?”

Me: “I’m 30.”

You guys think I’m making this up? Hell no! Maybe not all in one conversation, but these are all things that have been said to me by various Hawks over the years! Anyway at this point I could end up with a dozen piles of CDs in front of me.

Me: “OK, so what we have here are all CDs that have minor blemishes on them. I can take them but for a little less because we have to get them polished up. So from left to right I can give you $1 each, $2…”

Hawk: “$1 for these?”

Me: “Yes, the sticker price on those are fairly low…”

Hawk: “But I paid $20 for this at HMV!”

Me: “I know but that CD has dropped in price drastically since it came out. It’s a budget price disc now.”

Hawk: “Alright, alright, go on.”

Me: “$2 each, $3 each and $4 for those.”

Hawk: “But that’s a double.”

Me: “I know, but both discs are scuffed so I have to get both fixed, and it also sells for about the price of a single CD.”

Hawk: “Show me these scuffs you’re talking about.”

So I’d hand him a CD and point out the marks. Hawk would say, “That’ll just wipe off,” and then proceed to wipe the CD on his T-shirt and hand it back to me.

CRASHMe: “Yeah, that’s…that’s still scratched. Anyway, that’s those, you can certainly hang onto them if you want. As for these, these were all in excellent shape. For these I can go $2 each, $3 each…”

Hawk: “$3 for Pat Travers? Do you know how hard to get this is?”

Me: “OK, I’ll give you $4 on that one, but I can’t go any higher because it’s a budget CD these days. You can get it at HMV’s website brand new for about $11.”

Hawk: “I’m keeping my Pat Travers. My buddy offered me $10 for that one, he said it’s hard to get. I told him I was going to you first, because you guys say you offer the best prices in town.”

Me: “Yeah, sure, if he’s going to give you $10 for it, I would say go for it, that is a good deal for both of you.”

Hawk: “Gimme $10 for Travers and I’ll throw in this whole pile of CDs for free.”

Me: “But that’s the pile of CDs that I can’t take because they’re too scratched.”

Hawk: “So sell them at a buck a piece and you’re still making money.”

VALUEMe: “I’m sorry I can’t do that.”

Hawk: “Why not? Somebody will buy them. Just put the box out with a sticker that says $15 for the whole box and you’re gonna sell it.”

Me: “We don’t really sell stuff by the box…never mind, I just can’t take them, sorry about that.”

Hawk: “Alright. So what’s that come to? $100 and we’ll call it a deal.”

Me: “I can give you $80 cash or $90 store credit.”

Hawk: “$90.”

Me: “You want the store credit?”

Hawk: “No, you give me $90 cash and we’ll call it done.”

Me: “I’ll give you $80 cash and that’s a good deal.”

Hawk: “$90 and I give you this box of CDs.”

Me: “I can’t take those.”

Hawk: “Jesus, what happened to negotiation? I’ll take the $80!”

The Hawks. Reason #87 that I disliked buying used goods off the public!