Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Drawn from previous posts, this is not part of my, my FORTHCOMING 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!

COTTON MATHER: The Book Of Too Late Changes
Written by Robert Harrison
Produced by Robert Harrison
From the album Death Of The Cool, The Star Apple Kingdom, 2016

Cotton Mather has been a This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio Fave Rave for nearly as long as there has been a This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio. Our show made its debut on December 27th 1998, and we played "Homefront Cameo" from Cotton Mather's 1997 album Kontiki three weeks later on our 1/17/99 show (my 39th birthday). "My Before And After" from Kontiki became a top favorite during our first year on the air, and it remains one of our all-time most-played tracks. 

"Payday," from Cotton Mather's 1994 album Cotton Is King, also received significant TIRnRR airplay over the years, and we've loved and played a number of other Cotton Mather tracks over the course of God, we've done more than 1200 shows...? What?! Man, that explains why I'm not 39 years old anymore!

Through it all, "My Before And After" has been our defining, go-to Cotton Mather track, with "Payday" serving ably in its role as stalwart understudy, with a number of other worthies from "Ivanhoe" to "Better Than A Hit" always poised at the ready. 

So I guess it borders on heresy to suggest now that "The Book Of Too Late Changes" (from their 2016 album Death Of The Cool) has become my favorite Cotton Mather track. "The Book Of Too Late Changes" is just...everything, a willfully excessive pop assault, with drumming that channels Keith Moon and a vocal tag that evokes classical influences while remaining wholly, unerringly rooted in classic, hyperbolic AM radio oomph

The 2016 release of Birth Of The Cool followed a fifteen-year break from the idea of new Cotton Mather music. They had seemed the next best thing to next big thing...and then they weren't. Per a report on, Cotton Mather's Robert Harrison told a reporter from Texas Monthly:

"The question was, where do I begin? One problem is you have to convince people you’re worth hearing again. I knew it had to be something explosive. I consulted the I Ching and got hexagram 24, 'The Return,' which is about turning back onto the path. So I thought, I’ll make it about the return of Cotton Mather. I wrote the song, which I call 'The Book of Too Late Changes.' It’s an answer to people who might say, 'What happened to Cotton Mather? You guys got really big and then were gone.' I thought, This needs the full rock production. It’s way over the top. Pretty soon I had about seven songs written or in production in my home studio. By summer I had some more."

Over the top? In the best way. Elsewhere, I've written that I hate singers who over-sing and guitarists who over-play, but that I'm fine with drummers who over-drum. MORE than fine, actually! Gimme Keith Moon, man! Gimme action. And gimme Cotton Mather's "The Book Of Too Late Changes."

Heresy be damned. I am as Cotton Mather made me. Book it. It's never too late.

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!!

If it's true that one book leads to another, my next book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will be published in July. 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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