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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.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

TIRnRR # 4, Track By Track: The Smithereens, "Got Me A Girl"

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.

21. THE SMITHEREENS: "Got Me A Girl"

We've been trying to land this one for years.

This fourth volume of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilations finally allows Dana and me to cross off three of the four biggest prizes on our ongoing wish list for these things. We've been trying to get Paul Collins' Beat since we started work on Volume 2 over a decade ago, we pursued The Rubinoos for Volume 3 in 2013, and we're pleased and proud that both of those acts are now represented on Volume 4.  The rest of our short top-of-the-pop wish list was two specific songs, both of which we've been tryin' to get forever. One was Michael Nesmith's "Rising In Love"--Michael! Call us!--and the other was "Got Me A Girl," a terrific forgotten track from the out-of-print 1980 EP Girls About Town. That EP was the debut release from a little band called The Smithereens.

You all know The Smithereens; I doubt there's anything I can tell you about them that you don't already know. Hell, I won't even try. They're great, you know they're great, so you understand implicitly why we've ached to have The Smithereens on a TIRnRR disc awready. We've been corresponding with the group's guitarist Jim Babjak for quite some time; Jim was on the second TIRnRR comp as a member of The B.A.R., which was Jim Babjak, Danny Adlerman, and The Grip Weeds' Kurt Reil. I'm pretty sure we came into contact with Jim through our friends and listeners Rich and Kathy Firestone--man, those Firestones sure do come up a lot in these chronicles, don't they?

Anyway, Jim's been a friendly and supportive guy. He was okay with the idea of us using a Smithereens track from the get-go, but we could never quite close the deal. Complicating matters a bit was the fact that anything new by The Smithereens was contractually tied to their record label. But we were fine with an older track; among the many shiny gems in The Smithereens' catalog o' glory, "Got Me A Girl" was always, always the one we wanted most.

I have never owned a copy of the Girls About Town EP. I don't think I'd even heard of The Smithereens in 1980, and I didn't really hear them until their classic "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" lit up the airwaves in 1986. I became a fan pretty damned quick at that point. I bought Especially For You, the album that included "Behind The Wall Of Sleep," and subsequently reached back for the Beauty And Sadness EP, and then the subsequent Green Thoughts LP, and Smithereens 11, and...you get the idea. "Sorry," the irresistible single from the group's amazing Smithereens 2011 album, tied with Mad Monster Party's "Can't Stop Loving You" as our # 1 most-played track in 2011. I saw The Smithereens live at Syracuse's Lost Horizon in the '90s, and I almost met drummer Dennis Diken in New York in 2001, when Dana and I attended a release party for Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, a book to which I'd contributed; alas, I was too shy to introduce myself.

Still, I don't think I've ever seen a copy of Girls About Town. The only reason I've even heard it is because that Rich Firestone boy included it on a cassette he sent to me years ago (a cassette which also included the only known surviving copy of Blotto's "We Wanna See The Monkees," which we exhumed for This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 3). Of the EP's four tracks--"Girls About Town," "Got Me A Girl," "Girls Are Like That," and a cover of The Beach Boys' "Girl Don't Tell Me"--only the title track has ever been reissued, on the rarities set Attack Of The Smithereens (which also includes a live version of "Girl Don't Tell Me"). The other three? Gone. Not lost exactly, but not readily available for you to have and cherish forever, like the special someone who thrills your lovelorn heart the most.

We had to fix that, at least in part. Years ago, I proposed including "Girl Don't Tell Me" on New Wave Summer, a never-released compilation for the Music Club label. That project crashed. I love "Girls Are Like That," but I love "Got Me A Girl" even more. We have been aggressively pursuing that track for a long, long time.

And now, we've got it! I'm so happy 'cause now we got "Got Me A Girl!" I hope this serves as some inspiration for The Smithereens to reissue Girls About Town in its entirety--my cassette's gettin' a little worn--but in the mean time, TIRnRR is proud to perform this public service for rockin' pop fans everywhere. Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time since 1980, here are The Smithereens and "Got Me A Girl." Patience. Perseverance. Pop music! You got it.

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