April 24, 2003

From The Horse's Mouth

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Rodney Dangerfield — Rappin’ Rodney. This is Rodney Dangerfield’s 1983 rap release. On the cover he is holding a boombox to let us know he means business and by business he means telling some one liners (“sex and steak my favorite pair, I get them both the same way, very rare”) over a cheesy beat. Forget KRS, Rodney is the real pioneer.

Johnny Cash — Hymns. My friend Jake bought this for me and it is fantastic. It would be one thing to merely sing traditional hymns, but on this record Cash writes his own. That’s right infidels, these are gospel songs written by the Man in Black himself. Who said Christ was resurrected only once?

Gutterboy — Gutterboy. I own a promo of this record and since I could find no information about this band’s existence, I doubt this album was ever officially released. Gutterboy were just another casualty of the major labels trying to craft the “next big thing.” In Gutterboy’s case the “next big thing” was a boy band with working class roots (what a premise!). On the cover four sensitive blue-collar pretty boys with crew cuts and tank tops stand on the fire escape of some apartment. Need I say more?

Joe Dassin — Le Jardin du Luxembourg. France’s favorite folk troubadour Joe Dassin (“Les Champs-Elysses”) released this concept album two years before his death. Yes, it is a folk concept album about Paris’ gardens. You better believe it is very corny, but he’s got a nice voice and some good songs. Some say Dassin “defines the modern French male.” I say “What a funny thing to say.”

Herbie Hancock — Future Shock. For a jazz legend to release an album of cheesy ’80s synthesizer tones and awkward beats was unexpected but not totally unpleasant. At first listen it sounds like a messy amalgamation of ’80s electronics, but with repeated listens some jazzy cohesion emerges. This album also introduced America to breakdancing robots.

Mr. Charlie’s Blues 1926-36. In the 1920s “white” country music and “black” blues music did not mix. This record compiles recordings of various hillbilly guitarists that experimented with the sounds of the Delta Blues, despite the social taboos. Today, these songs would be called bluegrass, though they predate Bill Monroe’s first recordings that supposedly gave birth to the genre.

Dirty Dancing Sdtrk. — Why? I’m not sure, but I know that “nobody puts baby in a corner.”

Peace, “the dark horse”

Archived article by Maxim Pozdorovkin