It’s Just Like Thunderdome

November 12, 2008

So, Paloma and I have recently returned from the land of sun and shuffleboard and I’m here to tell you that southern Florida is indeed much like Del Boca Vista. Actually, the tales which were recounted to us – many revolving around condo board association hijinks, power struggles, and turf wars – lead me to believe these condominium enclaves to be some kind of geriatrically-tinged take on Lord Of The Flies.

Discounting the apparently constant threat of carnage, it was a relaxing trip and our intrepid and gracious hosts (Paloma’s mother and her husband) were kind enough to indulge us some time trolling through records in two stores that we’d highly recommend.

The first was called Bananas, pretty much a warehouse tucked away near an interstate. There was barely enough room to move between aisles of metal shelving that went to almost the ceiling. It made me feel like I was in one of the upper floors of the main library in college.

Personally, the major score was picking up Patti Smith’s entire pre-early retirement catalog – Horses, Radio Ethiopia, Easter, and Wave in excellent condition for less than the airport jacked us for four days of parking. Paloma was thrilled with a new copy of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.

I confess that I’ve not heard the Coltrane album. There’s various reasons – for one, I’ve never really listened to much jazz – but I also wonder if I’ve subconsciously avoided it as I’ve heard so much about it…has hype set the bar at an unattainable level?

That meandering aside, the other stop was a much smaller, street side store called Daddy Kool. The name made me think of a bookie with whom a good dozen of us used to place bets at the record store where Paloma and I first met – the mysterious Stick Daddy (I had never met him as most of us placed the bets through one a couple friends).

Anyhow, Daddy Kool’s selection of vinyl was brilliantly schizophrenic. The unexpected titles to volume ratio was quite high. For a mere dollar each, I snagged the debut albums by Blue Oyster Cult and Zebra, and a copy of Bob Seger’s The Distance.

I need to sort out this Seger thing as, only days early, I had bought several other records by him for less than a dollar each – I’ve never really considered myself to be more than an occasional fan of his stuff.

There were also titles I’d never seen before – Danielle Dax, the soundtrack to The Mission, and Diesel. I’d file it under one of the more memorable shopping sprees Paloma and I have had in the brief time we’ve been collecting vinyl.

Royal Tannenbaum would have found it to be most satisfactory.

Diesel – Sausalito Summernight
I hear this song and I immediately think bowling alley which is where I heard this song from the jukebox all through the autumn of 1981. I haven’t listened to the full album, yet, and I’m almost hesitant. I mean, what’s the point? Could they possibly have another song on there even remotely as catchy as this one?

The song titles – stuff like Alibi, Ready For Love, Bite Back – inspire little hope, sounding generic at best and simply dumb at worst. But, Sausalito Summernight is instantly memorable and inspiring (especially when you’re hearing it repeatedly hanging at the bowling alley in the Midwest during the winter as a bored teenager in the early ’80s). The song sounded like Southern California to us (we were duped, Diesel was Dutch).

Moving Pictures – What About Me
The only time I heard this song in the winter of ’82/83 was on American Top 40. It didn’t get very much (if any) airplay on the radio in our area, but on the rare occasion when I would hear it, it stood out. I thought I read somewhere that one of the non-American Idol idols (Australian Idol? Bolivian Idol? Easter Island Idol?) had a big hit with his cover of What About Me.

Anyhow, it’s quite the dramatic production this one, a veritable anthem for all the little people that make the big people big. Like Diesel, I haven’t heard the rest of Moving Pictures’ album. Like Diesel, I’m not expecting much.

Prefab Sprout – The King Of Rock And Roll
Of all of the Sprouts’ songs (and Paloma and I have most of their music), this one reminds me of Paloma most of all. I remember her playing their videos at the record store where we both worked and I can still vividly picture her singing along to The King Of Rock And Roll. It’s truly criminal that they never found an audience here in the States.

Ennio Morricone – On Earth As It Is In Heaven
I spent more than I usually do when I saw a copy of Morricone’s soundtrack to the movie The Mission, but it’s worth it. It’s Ennio Morricone, for God’s sake. No matter what the movie, Morricone doing the music makes it worth the price of admission.

It’s been years since I’ve seen the movie (maybe since college), but it’s a pretty powerful flick. It is a bit of a slog at moments and it’s a bit heavy (the role of organized religion in “civilizing” natives of the rain forest doesn’t really lend itself to light and carefree), but it’s worth checking out for the scenery (and music) alone.