Giving Tuesday is next week, December 3rd, and that's the day Big Stir Records will release its latest compilation, Big Stir Singles: The Fourth Wave. Five dollars from each CD or download sale will be donated to The Ed Asner Family Center, benefiting folks with special needs. Good music, good cause, good chance for you to enhance your collection while notchin' up some much-needed points on Santa's Nice-Not-Naughty list. You can order it right now, so GO!
We discussed the compilation here. I was honored to provide the liner notes, and I'm delighted to share them now.
What was your first compilation album? For me, if we rule out various-artists sets that belonged to my older siblings, it was probably something like 20 Heavy Hits, which I purchased at the flea market in the mid '70s. Unless I got Dick Clark's 20 Years Of Rock 'n' Roll before that. Whatever compilation was first, it was followed in short order by the varied delights of Heavy Metal, History Of British Rock Volume 2, the Stardust soundtrack, Do It Now!, The Super Groups, Geef Voor New Wave, Nuggets, Pebbles, Ear-Piercing Punk, and Troublemakers, among many others. I think The Motown Story was my first label-specific collection, its acquisition predating my ritual snagging of gems like This Are Two Tone and Best Of Bomp.
The mighty Big Stir Records label upholds that proud legacy of rockin' compilation albums. Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko deserve all the accolades our pop world can offer for the Big Stir Digital Singles Series, an essential weekly barrage of virtual 45s, A-side and B-side. And they merit something unto Sainthood for gathering all of those digital sides as Big Stir Singles collections. For curmudgeons like me, each wave of the Big Stir Singles CDs is a Godsend, preserving ephemeral mp3 files in physical form. As a DJ, I get the digital singles for airplay; but I buy the Big Stir Singles CDs for myself.
And they're good! That conclusion is not as obvious as it may seem. Rex and Christina know their stuff, and their level of quality control is astounding. Each Big Stir single is worth having, and what started out as disparate, unrelated tracks become something amazing in collected form.
Big Stir Singles: The Fourth Wave continues that streak. Supplemented by both sides of sparkle*jets u.k.'s Big Stir/Big Star tribute 45 and a sturdy new rocker from Joe Normal, this fourth wave of Big Stir digital singles knocks down walls with the sheer weight of its gold records. From the surefire sway of Broken Arrows through the irresistible janglebuzz of The Persian Leaps and the wall o' pop of The Walker Brigade, the hits just keep on comin'. Hell, The Reflectors would have sounded right at home on one of my cherished Bomp Records samplers, and Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers, Shplang, Dolph Chaney, The Vapour Trails, Armstrong, The Hangabouts, and Blake Jones & the Trike Shop likewise provide the goose your bumps so badly need.
This is pop music. Maybe it's power pop, or alternative, or whatever nom du bop we wanna scrawl in the space below "Hello My Name Is." To me, it sounds like the mix I want to hear on the radio, the mix I want on my iPod, the mix I craved on all those cracklin' compilation LPs I scarfed out of the budget bins decades ago. It's the mix our battered souls need, each track by itself, and all of the tracks together as one. Call it 25 Heavy Hits, or maybe Part 4 of Rex 'n' Christina's 46 Weeks Of Rock 'n' Roll. It's time to catch that Big Stir wave once again.
Carl Cafarelli is the co-host (with Dana Bonn) of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern at sparksyracuse.org. A former contributor to Goldmine magazine, Carl is the author of the daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at carlcafarelli.blogspot.com, and of the forthcoming book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1).
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Fans of pop music will want to check out Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, a new pop compilation benefiting SPARK! Syracuse, the home of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. TIR'N'RR Allstars--Steve Stoeckel, Bruce Gordon, Joel Tinnel, Stacy Carson, Eytan Mirsky, Teresa Cowles, Dan Pavelich, Irene Peña, Keith Klingensmith, and Rich Firestone--offer a fantastic new version of The Kinks' classic "Waterloo Sunset." That's supplemented by eleven more tracks (plus a hidden bonus track), including previously-unreleased gems from The Click Beetles, Eytan Mirsky, Pop Co-Op, Irene Peña, Michael Slawter (covering The Posies), and The Anderson Council (covering XTC), a new remix of "Infinite Soul" by The Grip Weeds, and familiar TIRnRR Fave Raves by Vegas With Randolph, Gretchen's Wheel, The Armoires, and Pacific Soul Ltd. Oh, and that mystery bonus track? It's exquisite. You need this. You're buying it from Futureman.
Hey, Carl's writin' a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will contain 100 essays (and then some) about 100 tracks, plus two bonus instrumentals, each one of 'em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1).