I’ve been nominated by absolutely no one to choose 10 albums that have greatly influenced my taste in music (or just served as a TV-dinner trays). 10 consecutive days – 1 each day. Just post the album cover – no explanation, except lots of explanation. Each day I will choose someone to play along too and hopefully get their bank account info.
Mr. Dressup – Live at Kingston Penitentiary
Is it the absolute best live album by a children’s entertainer performing for an audience of hardened criminals? No. (See Mr. Rogers Sings Songs of Freedom.) But it is the best such album with a gender-ambiguous puppet and a mute dog. Ushering in Mr. Dressup’s “electric pants” period, this album taught me how to transform a prison shiv into a kazoo, and I have never looked back. Today I nominate my co-worker Neil who chews loudly.
The Beech Buds – Tunes in the Key of Tree
Filled with such 60s folk psychedelia as “Alma, My Elm Ma” and “Carol-Lee No, Good God No! Pleeeease!”, this album spoke to me as a small child when I would pull it out of my sister’s collection and fantasize about one day wearing slacks, even though I was too young to understand slacks. I didn’t end up having slacks until I was 20. Today I nominate Boris Yeltsin’s granddaughter Chuck.
The Pistachio Five – Are You Boogie, Son?
This funk-disco-soul album filled with infectiously relentless dance tracks taught me I was white. Today I nominate that sweater in my closet I haven’t worn in five years and should probably give away, so really this is its last chance.
Lisza Bloof – Am I Bloof
Side one is all introspective acoustic pain. Side two is just the sound of Bloof eating an entire bag of potato chips. One of the very worst of the 1980s “singer-songwrithers” albums. Nonetheless, I have a soft spot for it because this was playing when I lost my virology. Today I nominate Carlos Santana’s second-best maid.
Chad Mendelssohn – Sad Windows of Arkansas
This album stretched the definition of “rock and roll” for me in that it is just former Hellz Welder guitarist Chad Mendelssohn reading small-town obituaries over random notes played on a church organ with a broken speaker. Is it likeable music? No. Is it hateable? Yes. Was I going through some things? Clearly. Did I have a diary? It was a “journal,” dammit! Today I nominate all my exes, obviously.
Stupid Fat Babies – Arguably Fascist Mom
By posting this seminal 1979 punk album, I am clearly demonstrating my esoteric taste, and that, even at a young age, I had an eye on the cutting edge, presaging the rebellious iconoclast I would become, when in reality at the time I was constantly playing The Carpenters’ Wish Me Well in Woolens. Today I nominate this half-eaten Three Musketeers bar
Gush – Pictures at an Execution
Cliché, I know, but a classic. The sound that launched a thousand air drummers. Today I nominate actor John Krasinski to find out if he’s really as nice as he pretends to be.
Nixon’s Cheese Fondue – In the Paint Tarp Over the Caribou
Featuring the songs “Fetch Yourself in Loincloth” and “Mumble Mumble Something Mumble,” this classic album from the cult underground indie darlings and bong enthusiasts taught me that it is never okay to weep openly in front of a girl. Today I nominate anyone who remembers TV’s “The Associates.”
The Jumblin’ Gorges – Painting the Cow Red
One of the many supergroups that came out of the 70s, the Gorges consisted of Cat Stevens, Dusty Springfield and Rod Stewart’s accountant and included the minor hit “You May Be Young, Old Man, But You’re Taxes Are Still Overdue” and the miner hit “Keep Diggin’, Mama (You Hot But You Pension Not).” This record showed me the power of music to be truly, truly terrible. Today I nominate a great white shark just to see what happens.
Bart Schnabble & His Orchestra – Make Mine Marmalade
Fine, I confess! I really only like vintage easy listening with gushing strings and sentimental arrangements! Percy Faith. Ray Conniff. I can’t get enough! Judge me all you want, music snobs, I don’t care who knows it, because Make Mine Marmalade is my jam!