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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, June 26, 2018

A Mix Tape By Any Other Name



There is an art to titling mix tapes. It's not high art, and it wouldn't be high art even if we were referring to mixes compiled and named by Picasso or Camus (though one might be surprised by how many Freddie & the Dreamers tracks turn up on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's home-made cassettes--go figure). Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity contained a proper appreciation of the craft and care involved in slappin' such things together, but no one seems to speak of the importance of deciding what to call each all-important concoction.

Mainly 'cuz it's silly.

Silly or not, I always enjoyed coming up with (mostly nonsensical) titles for my mixes. I think I called one such gem something along the lines of The Undertones Rumble With The Standells On The Banks Of The River Charles. I made dozens of mix tapes, but I don't remember most of the titles, and the few that have survived are stashed and buried in storage. The only other titles I remember at the moment are Dig It! and Don't Call Me Baby, each named respectively after a Beatles (unreleased long version from Let It Be) or Voice Of The Beehive (familiar CD cut from Let It Bee) track contained therein, plus This Gig SUCKS! (which commenced with a dub of The Ramones' appearance on The Simpsons) and Pop Friction, a 1995 mix I opened with "Miserlou" by Dick Dale & the Del-Tones shortly after seeing the film Pulp Fiction.

I don't make mix tapes anymore, but I do make mix CDs, usually for use on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio.  And I still put silly titles on 'em to help me keep 'em straight--Playlist # 357 seems so, so...prosaic. I began this month with a new mix CD called June May Just Ignore You, and used a fresh mix called June Never Liked Me Anyway on Sunday's show. Here are some of the mix CDs in my mix CD library:

A Fab Forever After
A New Rope
Aardvark
Above Named
Action Heroes
Again With The Stuff
Amber Waives
Another Knave For My Heart
Another Other
Another Year To Dismember
Arms For The Poor
Beginning To See Delight
Breakfast Of Chumps Again
Bring Your Own
Coconut Cream Piety
Come Back To...THIS?!
I Think That 2016 Is Gonna Be A Good Year [2018 POSTSCRIPT: Yeah, by the end of '16, I changed that sentiment to:]
2016 Gets Pushed Off A Cliff
In The Shadow Of A Groundhog
Inexpensive Subterfuge
Labor Of Lunch
Legends & Fibs
Lone Star Falling
LP Single Picture Cover Or Plain
May FLOWERS!!
Nothing Is Beatleproof
October Gurls. Guys, Too
Other Than Other
Pinball Blizzard
Quisling
Radio Worth Paying For
Ready For Our Close-Up
Rockin' Soul Love Letter From England
Symptoms Of November
The Only One, And Other Ones
The Weekend Stops Here
When We're Not Really Here

As fans--especially those of us who are fans but can't sing or play a freakin' instrument--we may fantasize about naming our own bands, and then conjuring fanciful album titles for our imaginary band's vast 'n' glorious discography. I've had opportunities to help name actual releases. There are our four This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilations, of course; given their connection to our radio show of the same name, I guess those compilations kinda named themselves (though give us credit for insisting that the first one include Volume 1 in the title, making clear our intent to do more than one). I was also among those consulted in naming The Flashcubes' first CD collection back in the '90s; my suggestion of No Promise Lasts Forever was (rightly) passed over in favor of Bright Lights, though one wonders if it mighta sold better under my second-choice title, HEY! Look! New Album By The Beatles!! I shoulda fought harder for that one.

But really, naming our mixes is as close as most of will ever get to naming our own A Saucerful Of Secrets, Around The World In A Day, You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic, or Village Green Preservation Society. We participate in the capacity available to us. To paraphrase Joe Walsh: You made it. You name it.

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Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here.