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Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – 20 Years Of Awesome!

For my Sunday Pondering today, I ponder the wonder (wonder ponder) the glory that is Me First And The Gimme Gimmes.

Inspired by my listening for yesterday’s post, here is a complete list of every Me First And The Gimme Gimmes album and EP, and the songs they covered. I also threw in the rarer stuff I could find from their 7″ singles and compilation appearances…

Since 1997!! 20 YEARS!!

Why? Because the KMA LOVES YOU!

Have A Ball (1997)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Danny’s Song” Kenny Loggins Loggins and Messina 2:10
2. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (from Denver) John Denver Chad Mitchell Trio 2:32
3. “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard” (from Paul) Paul Simon Paul Simon 2:42
4. “One Tin Soldier” Dennis Lambert, Brian Potter Original Caste 2:01
5. “Uptown Girl” (from Billy) Billy Joel Billy Joel 2:22
6. “I Am a Rock” (from Garf) Paul Simon Simon & Garfunkel 2:04
7. “Sweet Caroline” (from Diamond) Neil Diamond Neil Diamond 2:53
8. “Seasons in the Sun” Jacques Brel Terry Jacks 2:27
9. “Fire and Rain” (from In Your Barkalounger) James Taylor James Taylor 1:24
10. “Nobody Does It Better” Carole Bayer Sager, Marvin Hamlisch Carly Simon 2:28
11. “Mandy” (from Barry) Scott English, Richard Kerr Barry Manilow 2:27
12. “Rocket Man” (from Elton) Elton John, Bernie Taupin Elton John 3:15

Are A Drag (1999)

No. Title Lyrics Music Musical Length
1. “Over the Rainbow” E. Y. Harburg Harold Arlen The Wizard of Oz 1:32
2. “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” Tim Rice Andrew Lloyd Webber Evita 2:29
3. “Science Fiction/Double Feature” Richard O’Brien O’Brien The Rocky Horror Show 2:34
4. “Summertime” DuBose Heyward, Dorothy Heyward, Ira Gershwin George Gershwin Porgy and Bess 2:10
5. “My Favorite Things” (contains an interpolation of “Generator” by Bad Religion, written by Brett Gurewitz) Oscar Hammerstein II Richard Rodgers The Sound of Music 1:52
6. “Rainbow Connection” Paul Williams, Kenneth Ascher Williams, Ascher The Muppet Movie 2:18
7. “Phantom of the Opera” Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe, Mike Batt Andrew Lloyd Webber The Phantom of the Opera 1:45
8. “I Sing the Body Electric” Dean Pitchford Michael Gore Fame 1:44
9. “It’s Raining on Prom Night” Jim Jacobs, Warren Casey Jacobs, Casey Grease 2:57
10. “Tomorrow” (contains an interpolation of “Surrender” by Cheap Trick, written by Rick Nielsen) Martin Charnin Charles Strouse Annie 1:31
11. “What I Did for Love” Edward Kleban Marvin Hamlisch A Chorus Line 1:46
12. “Cabaret” Fred Ebb John Kander Cabaret 3:24

Turn Japanese EP (2001)

No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
1. “The Times They Are A-Changin'” Bob Dylan Bob Dylan 2:09
2. “The Boxer” Paul Simon Simon & Garfunkel 2:49
3. “You’ve Got a Friend” Carole King Carole King / James Taylor 2:35
4. “Blowin’ in the Wind” Bob Dylan Bob Dylan 1:44
5. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” Elton John, Bernie Taupin Elton John 3:49

Blow In The Wind (2001)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Blowin’ in the Wind” (begins with a similar clip of “Perfect Government” by NoFX”) Bob Dylan Bob Dylan
2. “Sloop John B” (contains an interpolation of “Teenage Lobotomy” by the Ramones, written by Dee Dee Ramone) Brian Wilson The Beach Boys
3. “Wild World” Cat Stevens Cat Stevens
4. “Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)” Barry Mann, Gerry Goffin Barry Mann and The Halos
5. “Elenore” (contains an interpolation of “London Calling” by The Clash, written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones) Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, Al Nichol, Jim Pons, John Barbata The Turtles
6. “My Boyfriend’s Back” Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer The Angels
7. “All My Loving” (contains an interpolation of “You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)” by The Dickies, written by Stan Lee, Leonard Graves Phillips, and Steve Hufsteter.) John Lennon, Paul McCartney The Beatles
8. “Stand by Your Man” Billy Sherrill, Tammy Wynette Tammy Wynette
9. “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” (contains an interpolation of “Stranger Than Fiction” by Bad Religion, written by Brett Gurewitz and “Pessimistic Lines” by Bad Religion, written by Greg Graffin) John Phillips Scott McKenzie
10. “I Only Want to Be with You” (contains an interpolation of “The Money Will Roll Right In” by Fang) Mike Hawker, Ivor Raymonde Dusty Springfield
11. “Runaway” Del Shannon, Max Crook Del Shannon
12. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” Gerry Goffin, Carole King The Shirelles
13. “Different Drum” (ends with a guitar riff taken from “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers)

Take A Break (2003)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” Frank Wildhorn, Chuck Jackson Whitney Houston
2. “Hello” Lionel Richie Lionel Richie
3. “End of the Road” Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Daryl Simmons Boyz II Men
4. “Ain’t No Sunshine” Bill Withers Bill Withers
5. “Nothing Compares 2 U” Prince The Family
6. “Crazy” (contains an interpretation of “Six Pack” by Black Flag, written by Greg Ginn) Seal, Guy Sigsworth Seal
7. “Isn’t She Lovely” Stevie Wonder Stevie Wonder
8. “I Believe I Can Fly” R. Kelly R. Kelly
9. “Oh Girl” (contains an interpretation of “Race Against Time” by GBH) Barbara Acklin, Eugene Record The Chi-Lites
10. “I’ll Be There” (contains an interpretation of “Just What I Needed” by The Cars, written by Ric Ocasek) Berry Gordy, Bob West, Hal Davis, Willie Hutch The Jackson 5
11. “Mona Lisa” Ray Evans, Jay Livingston Nat King Cole
12. “Save the Best for Last” (contains an interpretation of “Pretty Vacant” by the Sex Pistols) Phil Galdston, Wendy Waldman, Jon Lind Vanessa Williams
13. “Natural Woman” Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Jerry Wexler Aretha Franklin

Ruin Johnny’s Bar Mitzvah (live) (2004)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Jonny’s Blessing” 1:04
2. “Stairway to Heaven” Jimmy Page, Robert Plant Led Zeppelin 2:33
3. “Heart of Glass” Debbie Harry, Chris Stein Blondie 2:43
4. “Delta Dawn” Larry Collins Tanya Tucker 2:41
5. “Come Sail Away” Dennis DeYoung Styx 2:48
6. “‘O Sole Mio” traditional 2:19
7. “Strawberry Fields Forever” John Lennon, Paul McCartney The Beatles 2:57
8. “Auld Lang Syne” traditional 1:49
9. “The Longest Time” (contains an interpolation of “Suspect Device” by Stiff Little Fingers, written by Jake Burns and Gordon Ogilvie) Billy Joel Billy Joel 2:30
10. “On My Mind” Johnny Christopher, Mark James, Wayne Carson Thompson Brenda Lee, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson 2:36
11. “Take It on the Run” Gary Richrath REO Speedwagon 2:44
12. “Superstar” (contains an interpolation of “Kids of the Black Hole” by The Adolescents) Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell Delaney and Bonnie 3:21
13. “Hava Nagila” (contains an interpolation of “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring, written by Dexter Holland) traditional 3:41
14. “Hava Nagila (Christmas Arrangement)” (contains an interpolation of “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano) traditional 12:53
15. “Seasons in the Sun” (featuring Uncle Roger) Jacques Brel, Rod McKuen The Kingston Trio 2:27
16. “Sloop John B” (featuring Jonny Wixen; contains an interpolation of “Teenage Lobotomy” by the Ramones, written by Dee Dee Ramone) Brian Wilson The Beach Boys 2:09

Love Their Country (2006)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” Garth Brooks, Randy Taylor Garth Brooks 2:02
2. “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” Stan Jones Stan Jones and his Death Valley Rangers 1:33
3. “Desperado” Glenn Frey, Don Henley Eagles 2:28
4. “On the Road Again” (contains an interpretation of “Astro Zombies” by the Misfits, written by Glenn Danzig) Willie Nelson Willie Nelson 2:13
5. “Annie’s Song” John Denver John Denver 1:42
6. “Jolene” Dolly Parton Dolly Parton 1:47
7. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” Hank Williams Hank Williams 2:00
8. “Lookin’ for Love” Wanda Malette, Robert Morrison, Patti Ryan Johnny Lee 1:48
9. “Goodbye Earl” Dennis Linde Dixie Chicks 2:25
10. “East Bound and Down” (contains an interpretation of “Love Song” by The Damned) Dick Feller, Jerry Reed Jerry Reed 1:47
11. “She Believes in Me” Stephen Gibb Kenny Rogers 2:11
12. “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (contains an interpretation of “Police and Thieves” by The Clash, written by Junior Murvin and Lee “Scratch” Perry)

Have Another Ball (2008)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Rich Girl” (from Happy Meals, Vol. 2: The Perfect Marriage) Daryl Hall Hall & Oates 2:06
2. “The Boxer” (from Garf) Paul Simon Simon and Garfunkel 2:49
3. “Country Roads” (from Denver) John Denver, Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert John Denver 2:10
4. “I Write the Songs” (from Barry) Bruce Johnston Barry Manilow 2:57
5. “Sodomy” Galt MacDermot, James Rado, Gerome Ragni Hair cast (musical) 0:28
6. “You’ve Got a Friend” (from In Your Barkalounger (contains an interpretation of “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones)) Carole King James Taylor 2:35
7. “Mahogany (contains an interpretation of “Richie Dagger’s Crime” by the Germs)” Michael Masser, Gerald Goffin Diana Ross 1:50
8. “Mother and Child Reunion” (from Paul) Paul Simon Paul Simon 2:10
9. “Only the Good Die Young” (from Billy) Billy Joel Billy Joel 2:47
10. “Coming to America” (from Diamond) Neil Diamond Neil Diamond 2:24
11. “The Harder They Come” (from the Warped Tour 2003 Tour Compilation) Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff 2:25
12. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (from Elton)

Go Down Under EP (2011)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Never Tear Us Apart” Andrew Farriss, Michael Hutchence INXS 2:04
2. “All Out of Love” (Contains an interpretation of “Rise Above” by Black Flag, written by Greg Ginn) Graham Russell, Russell Hitchcock Air Supply 2:55
3. “Friday on My Mind” Harry Vanda, George Young The Easybeats 2:28
4. “Have You Never Been Mellow” John Farrar Olivia Newton-John 2:31
5. “I’ve Done Everything for You” Sammy Hagar Rick Springfield 2:04

Sing In Japanese EP (2011)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “Hero” Yoshihiro Kai Kai Band 2:33
2. “Kokoro No Tabi” Kazuo Zaitsu Tulip 2:12
3. “Kekkon Shiyoyo” (Contains an interpolation of “Story of My Life” by Social Distortion) Takuro Yoshida Takuro Yoshida 2:43
4. “C-C-C” (Contains an interpolation of “Bloodstains” by Agent Orange, written by Mike Palm) Kunihiko Kase, Kazumi Yasui The Tigers 2:08
5. “22 Sai No Wakare” Shōzō Ise Kaguyahime 2:17
6. “Linda Linda”

Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! (2014)

No. Title Writer(s) Original performer Length
1. “I Will Survive” Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris Gloria Gaynor 2:27
2. “Straight Up” (uses the intro from “Evil” by 45 Grave, composed by Dinah Cancer, Paul Cutler and Don Bolles) Elliot Wolff Paula Abdul 2:59
3. “Believe” Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, Paul Barry, Steven Torch, Matthew Gray, Timothy Powell Cher 3:08
4. “Beautiful” (uses the intro from “Superficial Love” by T.S.O.L.)) Linda Perry Christina Aguilera 2:12
5. “My Heart Will Go On” James Horner, Will Jennings Celine Dion 2:44
6. “I Will Always Love You (from Dolly)” Dolly Parton Dolly Parton 2:12
7. “Top of the World” Richard Carpenter, John Bettis The Carpenters 2:09
8. “Speechless” (uses the intro from “Sonic Reducer” by The Dead Boys) Stefani Germanotta Lady Gaga 3:19
9. “Karma Chameleon” (uses the intro from “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” by The Buzzcocks, written by Pete Shelley) George O’Dowd, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay, Phil Pickett, Alfie Malone Culture Club 3:45
10. “Crazy for You” (uses a ukulele interpretation of the intro from “The Tide Is High” by Blondie, written by John Holt) John Bettis, Jon Lind Madonna 2:48
11. “On the Radio” (uses the intro from “Brickfield Nights” by The Boys, written by Stein “Casino Steel” Groven and Matt Dangerfield) Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder Donna Summer 3:36
12. “The Way We Were” Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch Barbra Streisand 2:53

***

The band also appeared on several punker compilations. Often it’s just an album track. But with the release of Have Another Ball they compiled a lot of the stuff that was only ever on those compilations as single tracks. However, here are some of the non-album tracks still out there:

Fat Music Vol. V: Life Fat, Die Young – Hats Off To Larry (Del Shannon – on the Shannon 7″ too)
Moloko Plus #19 – My World (I assume it’s the Bee Gees, but there are others)
Aggropop Now – I Just Called To Say I Love You (Stevie Wonder – on Stevie 7″ too)

***

They have also released a bunch of 7″ records (I have a few, but I want them all the precioussssss!). Some of them have non-album tracks too:

Stevens 7″ – Father And Son (Cat Stevens)
Jackson 7″ – Ben (Jackson 5)
Cash 7″ – I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash)
Willie 7″ – City And New Orleans (Willie Nelson)
Kenny 7″ – Lady (Kenny Rogers)
Jerry 7″ – East Bound And Down (Rough Mix) (Jerry Reed)
Jerry 7″ – I’m Gonna Write A Song (Jerry Reed)

***

All of those compilation and single tracks add up to 10. That’s an album’s worth, boys! Collect them up and make it happen!

UPDATE! AWESOME NEWS:

Two second on the Fat Wreck Chords site tell me that on April 7, 2017, the Gimmes will be releasing Rake It In: The Greatest Hits! Wahoo!

This fills me with so much glee. Their releasing their greatest hits… of other peoples’ greatest hits! Have I ever told you that I love this band?

The set looks awesome, and even moreso because they’ve added some of that stuff from other places I’ve listed above:

1 – their Willie Nelson cover of City Of New Orleans, previously only available on the Willie 7″ single!

2 – their Del Shannon cover of Hats Off To Larry, previously only on the Shannon 7″ and the Fat Music V compilation!

3 – their Kenny Rogers cover of Lady, previously only on the Kenny 7″!

That takes care of 3 three of the rarer tracks. Only 7 more to go! The other 7 can still be an EP, boys! Make it so!

Anyway, here’s the Rake It In track list!

1: The Times They Are a-Changing
2: Rainbow Connection
3: City of New Orleans
4: Summertime
5: All My Loving
6: Straight Up
7: Over the Rainbow
8: Country Roads
9: Sloop John B
10: Jolene
11: Uptown Girl
12: Hats Off To Larry
13: Desperado
14: Lady
15: San Francisco
16: I Believe I Can Fly
17: End of the Road

Mark your calendars for April 7, folks. I know I sure will!

In Sum:

Whew! So much goodness. I highly recommend you get it all! I may have missed tracks, so if you found anything else let me know!

PS: Let’s not forget the time their merch page was selling a coke mirror. Glorious…

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Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!

I’ve said before, in these pages, that I sure do love Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. They’ve taken playful, punker stabs at all sorts of genres, over the years, and handily managed each with aplomb. Every record just fills me with glee, and I’m always so glad to hear from them again.

This most recent effort (from 2014) is, as you’ve guessed, their turn playing diva songs. Check out the songs they’re covering:

Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
Paula Abdul – Straight Up
Cher – Believe
Christina Aguilera – Beautiful
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
Dolly Parton – I Will Always Love You
Carpenters – Top Of The World
Lady Gaga – Speechless
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
Madonna – Crazy For You
Donna Summer – On The Radio
Barbara Streisand – The Way We Were

Haha oh man, it’s beautiful (yes, Christina, it’s true!). And the brilliant part of writing this up is, if you know their sound at all, you can already (pretty much) imagine what these tracks sound like in your head right now! But before you go ‘why would I buy more of the same?’, they’re not all straight on sped-up punk fascimiles of the tunes, though they’re all recognizable and glorious.

And there’s more. In keeping with what must surely pass for tradition in their camp by now, they have utilised some other songs as intros to the main cover tunes…

Straight Up uses 45 Grave’s Evil, Beautiful uses T.S.O.L.’s Superficial Love, Speechless uses the Dead Boys’ Sonic Reducer, Karma Chameleon uses Buzzcocks’ Everybody’s Happy Nowadays, Crazy For You includes a ukulele interpretation of the intro to Blondie’s The Tide Is High, and On The Radio uses Brickfield Nights by The Boys.

In only 34:11, Me Fist And The Gimme Gimmes can make you love them all over again. They’re the insouciant and mouthy, fun-loving kid up the street who’s always slightly off, but soooo much fun to hang out with on a school night.

In Sum:

This band rules. I hope they make albums forever.

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Sing In Japanese

I love these guys, which I’ve said in these pages several times before. Their brash and yet respectful punk cover versions of everything from John Denver to  Willie Nelson (by way of Boyz II Men and the Beach Boys, too) please me to no end.

There is certainly a precedent for their doing oddball things. In fact, it could be considered their modus operandi. Their last EP is cover tunes of Australian artists only, their live album was recorded at some kid’s bar mitzvah. They dressed in drag and covered Tomorrow from Annie. But this one, hooboy, it’s from deep left field. Six tracks, actually sung in Japanese. I didn’t know any of these songs, making it the first time in their growing discography that they’ve specifically chosen music most of us are not likely to have heard, unless you’re fan of Japanese music (of course). Thanks for the introduction, though, boys!

Kai Band’s Hero rocks along nicely. Tulip’s Kokoro No Tabi is a pleasing sing along (if you speak the language). Takuro Yoshida’s Kekkon Shiyoyo has a slightly country feel to it (through the Gimme Gimme filter, of course). The Tigers’ C-C-C rocks harder (and has hand claps!). The breakdowns here are in English, though I have no way of knowing if the original did. Funny when they shush us, though. Kaze’s 22 Sai No Wakare keeps the pace frantic (nice how the EP speeds up as it goes). And then The Blue Hearts’ Linda Linda pulls the rug out of the speed-fest with a reggae beat. And trumpets!  Of course,  it still blasts away in spots, too. Sweet!

There is a precedent in rock history for bands to do special things for their fans in the East, like area-specific live albums and the venerable Japanese Versions of albums, which invariably include rare extra tracks only available on said releases. Maybe this is their gift to their fans out there. Or maybe, given their goofy natures, they just love karaoke. Kudos to them for learning enough Japanese (or at least memorizing the lyrics to these six songs) and managing the whole affair quite credibly.

It’s another great EP from the Gimmes. I may not play it as much as their other stuff, but every so often it’ll give me a chuckle to hear just how far they’re willing to go in their pursuit of making all kinds of music their own.

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Go Down Under

I really do LOVE this band. They should put out a record every month. It should be a full-time gig for them. They should be world famous, there should be a Gimmes At Budokan album… Honestly.

So imagine my glee when I snagged this short new EP of covers of Australian artists’ songs. Wahoo more Gimmes! Bring it on.

Their ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ takes INXS’ song and mixes the riff order a bit and speeds it up, essentially. There’s a blistering and stunning guitar solo in there too.

I absolutely love how Air Supply’s ‘All Out Of Love’ starts with the riff from Black Flag’s ‘Rise Above.’ Ahahahahaha. It’s perfect. And it’s a great Gimme bash-out as only they can do it. Definitely great.

Admittedly, I’ve been under a rock surely, since the Easybeats’ ‘Friday On My Mind’ didn’t seem to be too familiar to me. No matter, this rendition is pure Gimmes and therefore I love it.

A tasteful and rockin’ rendition of Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Have You Never Been Mellow’ is up next, and it’s lovely. Somehow, speeding the song up adds to the menace of the lyrics. Hooray!

Watching the EP’s six is Rick Springfield’s ‘I’ve Done Everything For You,’ which was written by Sammy Hagar, in case you didn’t know that. Anyway, they rock the hell out of this tune and it makes me incredibly happy.

There’s no questioning that these musicians have found a groove with this project, they have a sound. The only real problem here is that the record’s too short. C’mon guys, this is brilliant! We need MORE!

Gimme Gimmes, Ten Redux, Sloooooan, the Someday iPod, and Hawksley!

Stuck On The Gimmes

My first car, a ’93 Honda Civic that I got in ’97 or so, kicked a whole lotta ass. It was a 5-speed, low and wide, and man, I drove the snot out of that thing. The last tape in that car’s tape deck was a mix of Me First And The Gimme Gimmes which, as I discovered when I went to sell the car in ’99, had become irrevocably stuck in the tape deck. So, the only options for music in the car at that point were the radio, and the Gimmes. I choose Gimmes!

Well, here I am a decade later with an ’03 Ford Taurus, and it has a tape deck in it too. Yes, in this day and age! Imagine! And so I have made a new mix tape of the Gimmes for this car. It’s only fair. Of course, they have released several more albums in the intervening decade, so the mix is much expanded and improved.

My only hope is that this mix, too, will get stuck in the tape deck. Call it Car-ma. OK, sorry, that was bad. But funny! And if that kid who bought that Honda ten years ago played his cards right, he could still be driving that car, and still grooving to the Gimmes, same as me!

The Tracks Of My 2009 (60 min) Gimmes Mix:

Side A

Danny’s Song
Country Roads
Nothing Compares 2 U
Elenor
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Sweet Caroline
Stand By Your Man
Hello
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
It’s Raining On Prom Night
Mona Lisa

Side B

Only The Good Die Young
Crazy
Nobody Does It Better
Who Put The Bomp
Favourite Things
Annie’s Song
Rocket Man
Natural Woman
The Times They Are A-Changin’
End Of The Road
Mandy
Stepping Out

You’ll notice I left off tracks from the Live At Jonny’s Bar Mitzvah record, favouring album tracks instead. And the Bob Dylan cover on Side B is from the Turn Japanese EP. For those of you who care.

Ten Redux

As you all know, Pearl Jam has released a very limited edition of their Ten re-release. It comes in a big beautiful box, with CDs, a DVD, some vinyls, a tape and a book (and who knows what else).

Recently, I held a copy of it in my hands. It was $220.

As a fan, I wanted it. I felt joy just holding it. I love that album, and that band. I knew I would appreciate it to no end. As a collector, I knew that getting one of only 1200 copies would be special, probably precious but, more importantly, worthwhile to me personally.

As a man who will become a father (for the first time) any day now, I didn’t buy it. I have lots of other priorities. And that’s not to say that having a baby made me wuss out. No, it just didn’t feel right. There was a time I wouldn’t have thought twice and just bought it. Now, well, I guess not… Interesting. The collector in me will regret it. The practical person in me won’t.

SLOOOOOOOOOOAN!!

My next foray into the difficult task of creating mere 60 minute car mix-tapes of my favourite bands has led me, as I am always happily led, back to Sloan. How I do love this band. Imagine how difficult it was to make only one tape! Nevertheless, my attempt yielded the following:

Side A

Underwhelmed
Coax Me
The Rest Of My Life
Keep On Thinking
Nothing Left To Make Me Want To Stay
Believe In Me
So Beyond Me
I Am The Cancer
G Turns To D

Side B

The Good In Everyone
Money City Maniacs
Who Taught You To Live Like That?
If It Feels Good Do It
Worried Now
Live On
Everything You’ve Done Wrong
Penpals
The Lines You Amend

And still there were a ton I wanted on there. So awesome.

The Someday iPod

Yes, someday I will have an iPod. True, just about everyone else seems to have one (except for me). True, I do own Weed King, the 1GB player my parents got for me, and it is indeed great. I even have the tape deck adapter for it for my car. But I can fill 1GB in the time it takes me to blink. I just have to start loading all the Hip, Sloan, Hawksley, Weaker… oh wait, the Weakerthans won’t fit. Shit. I didn’t even finish with a fraction of my Canuck faves, let alone my punk or metal or… See what I mean?

And so, one day I will have an iPod to be a companion for my super-amazing MacBook Pro. And it will be one of the ones that has something huge for storage capacity. To heck with these Nanos and those touch-screens with their still-tiny memories. For the same price I can skip out on the touch interface that I’d hate and actually have some leg room for all the music I want to take with me everywhere which is, admittedly, a substantial amount of tunes.

I’ve also noticed that Apple offers two free lines of engraving on iPods, too, and I already know what mine will say, it’ll say “It’s about fucking time/Aaron got an iPod.”

Of course, probably by the time I can afford one, it’ll just be an iChip that you plug into the port that Apple wet-wires behind your ears (for a fee), and you’ll control albums and tracks by altering how you flex your butt cheeks and wink your eyes, or whatever. But still, it is good to have a goal.

The Hawksley Project

Recently, I resolved to attempt a Hawksley Workman mix that’s limited to a 60 minute mix tape for the car. To mitigate the obvious difficulty inherent in such oppressive selectiveness, James kindly offered his services and so he and I split the duties by selecting a side’s worth of tracks apiece. I very much doubt that our selections reliably indicate the different aspects of what we like about this genuine artist’s output, since it’s categorically impossible to dislike anything the man does.

So, James chose his 8 tracks, and I chose mine, and then I fleshed it out to make an 80 minute CD for the other car (which actually has a CD player in it), so the end result looks like this:

Side A: Chosen With Love By James

We Will Still Need A Song
Bullets
Claire Fontaine
Kissing Girls (You Shouldn’t Kiss)
Alone Here (Ballad Of Bunches Of Things)
Clever Not Beautiful
Spider In The Salt
Every Creepy Pusher

Side B: Chosen With Glee By Aaron

Smoke Baby
Jealous Of Your Cigarette
Anger As Beauty
Striptease
Is This What You Call Love?
Three Generations
Your Naked Body
Safe And Sound

Extra Tracks On The CD Version:

19 And The Morning Here Is Cold
20 Tarantulove
21 Even An Ugly Man
22 Piano Blink (Los Manlicious version)
23 Sweet Hallelujah

What a great mix. When I listen to this on my way to work, I just know it’ll be impossible for me to have a bad day! Hawksley rules!

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Have Another Ball!

…subtitled: The Unearthed A-Sides Album

(haha awesome)

So.

I’ve drooled in these pages many times by now, surely, about how I love this band. Well, guess what – that’s still true! No one is surprised, I’m sure. Stop yawning. Look, this album is tons of fun, as only this super-group of punks can deliver it. Hooray! As if I’d say anything else.

All the covers are spot on, and the musicianship is same as ever. Now, if you believe the ridiculous and humourous liner notes, THIS was supposed to the band’s first record (Have A Ball), but the Fat Wreck Chords web site claims that the first release was actually supposed to be a double album, and so these were the left-over tracks.

Whatever the case, we have a feast of awesomeness here, and even though a lot of these tracks have already appeared on various compilations like the Fat label comps (among others) and their Turn Japanese EP, as well as on their rare vinyl releases over the years, it’s still nice to have all the tracks in one place and all mastered together.

You know, I almost didn’t buy this but then I did. Riveting, eh? Well, I’ve ranted before about the shitty new HMV that went in at our shitty little mall, and I’d pretty much decided I wouldn’t ever spend a cent in there because I couldn’t bring myself to aid and abet such a travesty. And so I was going to order this record from Amazon, but it was only $2 less online and after shipping it would’ve been about the same difference, so fuck it. I caved. But only because I really, really wanted this record. Besides, I’m such a bad fan (bad fan! slap! bad!) because this has been on the streets since what, June?, and I still hadn’t even gotten off my ass to buy it (gasp!), so paying full price in a soul-less plastic pit of corporate whore music retail seemed like atonement enough to me.

You know, I’d even emailed Fat at one point recently and asked whether they agreed with me that a compilation set of all the Gimme Gimme side releases would kick a lot of ass. Of course they did, and told me at that time that this disc would have some of those tracks included. We can all only hope that they’ll get around to releasing the rest on CD. Sooner than later, please. How about now? Great idea! The masses go wild!

Face it folks, this is an awesome disc – 12 tracks in less than 29 minutes, and even a cover Sodomy from Hair? Sweet! Thanks heaps, guys. I’m gonna play this one a lot. Guaranteed.

Track Listing:
01 Rich Girl (Hall And Oates)
02 The Boxer (Simon And Garfunkel)
03 Country Roads (John Denver)
04 I Write The Songs (Barry Manilow)
05 Sodomy (from Hair)
06 You’ve Got A Friend (Carole King)
07 Mahogany (Diana Ross)
08 Mother And Child Reunion (Paul Simon)
09 Only The Good Die Young (Billy Joel)
10 Coming To America (Neil Diamond)
11 The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff)
12 Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (Elton John)

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Love Their Country

Detractors will state that everything these guys release sounds the same, be it songs of the 60’s, 70’s, R&B schmaltz, show tunes or whatever else they come up with next. Well, so be it, but they’re missing the point.

There’s hilarity in this band’s efforts, and Love Their Country is no exception. Of course it’s for shits and giggles, and they sound like they’re having a blast playing every track. I mean, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry with bagpipes, like some completely blitzed Dropkick Murphys rip-off? The lyric changes in Annie’s Song? Perfect.

But there’s something else afoot here, too. It’s pretty obvious that this band started as a one-off laugh which, as the albums multiplied, ended up giving these guys another stage slot to fill while their “day job” bands were out on tour. But more, as time passes Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are proving themselves to be taste-making interpreters of a wide cross section of the great American Songbook. And yes, I’m blowing smoke now, so I’ll shut the hell up.

I have a confession to make, and since I’m not Catholic, this is as good a place as any for it:

I feel a sort of proprietary protectiveness (is that redundant?) about this band. Yes, I heard their first record long before most people knew who they were. I laughed my ass off long before most of you did. Does that make me punker than thou? Well, no. It means nothing. I’m just sayin’, is all.

Look. Love Their Country is a short, sharp shock of awesome cover tunes that will find itself in constant rotation in your player this holiday season (and beyond), whether you like country music or not. So hop to it.

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