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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TIRnRR # 4, Track By Track: The Bottle Kids, "Let Me In On This Action"

This is part of a series of short pieces discussing each of the 29 tracks on our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4The CD can be ordered at Kool Kat Musik.

19. THE BOTTLE KIDS: "Let Me In On This Action"

The printed liner notes that accompany This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 mention that "Let Me In On This Action" by The Bottle Kids was a track we wanted on TIRnRR # 4 before we even knew there was gonna be a TIRnRR # 4. Lemme 'splain that a bit....

TIRnRR # 4 became a thing some time in late 2016, when Ray Gianchetti suggested we do another CD for his label Kool Kat Musik. Kool Kat had released Volume 3 in 2013, and we would have given Ray first right of refusal on a sequel if we were planning one. Dana always says there'll be another volume, no matter what, but the truth is we had no real plans to do Volume 4 at all. We weren't opposed to the idea; we just weren't doing anything with it.

So, while we were surprised and pleased by Ray's interest in TIRnRR # 4, we didn't have anything prepped for it. Like, at all. Nonetheless, I can't deny there's always some notion in the back of our minds about we would do if we did another CD. We knew Ray Paul would want to be on it. We still had a wish list of dream acts we'd never been able to get for past volumes. We knew some people that might be interested. We would have to build slowly and quietly, with no announcement of what we were doing. We didn't want, and never want, a stampede of submissions to sift through; we prefer to build these things brick by brick, track by track. And, if I had my druthers, one of those bricks would be "Let Me In On This Action."

The Bottle Kids are (is? am?) Eric Blakely, a one-man band on record. Eric is the band's Cute One and its Smart One and its Quiet One and its Secretly-An-International-Spy One. He's the oldest member and the newest member. He's the reason they stay together, and it would be his fault if they broke up. Berkeley native Blakely had previously been the leader of Eric Blakely and the Blame in the early '80s, and later enjoyed a successful career as a singin' and songwritin' roots-country solo artist. He played guitar on pop legend Paul Collins' 2010 release King Of Power Pop!, and released the first Bottle Kids album, the way-fab Such A Thrill, on Kool Kat in 2013.

Such A Thrill remains the only full-length Bottle Kids product available to date. In 2016, I received an email from Eric, stating that he was beginning work on a new Bottle Kids record, and wondering if TIRnRR would interested in playing this new track he'd completed. I played the track at home, and yeah. Yeah! Oh yeah, we're interested in playin' this!

"Let Me In On This Action" is such a great track, confident and assured, catchy as anything, and boppin' righteously like a hit single oughtta. We played it, of course, and I remember specifically thinking--perhaps even out loud--that I wished we were doing another TIRnRR disc, just so we could include "Let Me In On This Action."

Hey. Call me Nostradamus. Or Ishmael. Just call me awready.

Eric, mind you, knew nothing about any of this, even as we received the unexpected green light for TIRnRR # 4. For us, building a pop compilation is a deliberate process. We had previous commitments to honor, verbal debts to fulfill, before we could be sure of our ability to offer a spot to The Bottle Kids. I don't need to go too much into the back story here, but we are deathly afraid of overbooking a CD and having to withdraw an offer we made to an artist. This happened a long time ago, on one of our previous volumes, and it's not ever going to happen again.

With The Bottle Kids, it wasn't even a question of us offering the spot to another act; I had "Let Me In On This Action" penciled in nearly from the get-go, and desperately wanted to include it. Once we were certain that Ray didn't have any acts that he specifically wanted us to add, we were free to contact Eric and secure The Bottle Kids for TIRnRR # 4.

The point bears repeating: we take great, precise care in compiling the TIRnRR CDs. We select the artists and their tracks, we sequence them, and we don't let anyone hear the whole thing until it's exactly right. There was never any moment in the making of this CD that "Let Me In On This Action" wasn't a preferred part of the plan. Before there was even a TIRnRR # 4, there was "Let Me In On This Action"by The Bottle Kids. We're delighted that the track takes its rightful place on the finished product as well.

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