Tuesday, May 21, 2024


 Drawn from previous posts, this is not part of my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1).

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

Written by Jenni Rosen and Robbie Rist
Produced by Christian Nesmith
From the album Hero Isle, recorded in the early 1990s, self-released in 2018

Back in the '90s, Wonderboy was a fantastic SoCal rockin' pop combo fronted by our old pal Robbie Rist.  I've never even seen a copy of Wonderboy's eponymous 1992 debut album, but follow-ups Abbey Road To Ruin (1994) and Napoleon Blown Apart (1997) have been in my CD library since the proverbial ever. We've played Wonderboy on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, we've played the esteemed Mr. Rist singin' with Popdudes, Quint, Ballzy Tomorrow, the Test Pressings, and solo, and we've played our Robbie working as an integral component of a number of other acts. The official record demonstrates that we, y'know, like Robbie Rist records.

But we did not know that Wonderboy recorded an album in between Abbey Road To Ruin and  Napoleon Blow Apart

The revelation came to us via The Spoon, the weekly podcast this Rist guy co-hosts with Chris Jackson and Thom Bowers. A recent Spooncast closed with a taste of "Girl Songs," a friggin' magnificent li'l gem from Wonderboy's originally unreleased album Hero Isle. Wonderboy recorded Hero Isle in the '90s, working with studio magician Christian Nesmith; Christian and his wife Circe Link have also been fixtures on our little mutant radio show's playlists. Alas, Hero Isle was never released. Never released at all...




Robbie did a digital self-release of Hero Isle. Well, that's good! Finally! Musta just come out, right? Right...?

It was released in 2018. 

We need better minions. Or, I guess, some minions. A minion. The buck stops somewhere over there. WAY over there.

Better late than...dammit, I wish we'd gotten to this sooner. But we're on it NOW! "Girl Songs" is a picture-perfect embrace of essential non-essentialness, eschewing weightier lyrical topics in favor of writin' catchy pop tunes about girls. 'Cause girls mean a lot to me!

We get the meaning, Robbie, and we agree.

And, his lyrical claim of shallowness notwithstanding, I say Robbie Rist does know a thing or two. Dig his pop culture c.v.:

Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch. Ted and Georgette's son David on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The voice of Michelangelo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. A million TV commercials, countless TV guest appearances on everything from The Bionic Woman to The Love Boat. Kidd Video. Doc McStuffins. All this, plus podcasts, celebrity game shows, on-line punditry, roughly a zillion days in Facebook jail, and a career as a respected indie pop musician with dozens of better'n decent records on his rock 'n' roll résumé. 

I tell ya, the boy should write a book. Robbie's story is the Hollywood dream in microcosm, compressed for cathode-ray transmission, preserved on VHS, DVD, hiccuppy streaming, and--for all we know--cereal box 45s. It's about SUCCESS! And failure: The seeming irrelevance when cherubic looks mature, the ensuing self-doubt, the highs when you're low, the lows when you can't get high enough. Mostly, it's about fighting back, clawing back, and figuring out the good part of "Good night, and good news." Love. Resentments. Music. Friends. Maybe the occasional yelling at clouds, but in moderation. From the little kid who made his parents take him to every freaking cattle-call audition in Southern California to pop culture villainy for euthanizing a beloved TV sitcom with much more than a hunch, this would be a cautionary tale if its central figure were, y'know...repentant. 

(He is not. He's Robbie Rist. And what have you done with YOUR life?)

Meanwhile, "Girl Songs" is an important subject, and we thank our friends Wonderboy for starting the conversation. The exuberant embrace of the transcendent act of swooning over chicks? Means a lot to me, man. Means a lot to me.

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider a visit to CC's Tip Jar

Carl's book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones is available, courtesy of the good folks at Rare Bird Books. Gabba Gabba YAY!! https://rarebirdlit.com/gabba-gabba-hey-a-conversation-with-the-ramones-by-carl-cafarelli/

If it's true that one book leads to another, my next book will be The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). Stay tuned. Your turn is coming.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, streaming at SPARK stream and on the Radio Garden app as WESTCOTT RADIO. Recent shows are archived at Westcott Radio. You can read about our history here.

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

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