Thank you, Baby Jesus, for Ben Elton

eltonI’m probably going to tell this story incorrectly, but this is how I remember it:

When my friends Kevin and Jenn moved back from Scotland to the U.S. in the (early?) 90s, they brought with them a couple cassettes of Ben Elton’s stand-up comedy. I’d never heard of Ben Elton, although I had heard of Blackadder and The Young Ones, two British comedy shows for which he’d written.

These two cassettes, Motormouth and Motorvation, were a revelation. I was already a big fan of stand-up, but I’d never listened to any British comics, and Ben Elton’s left-wing humor was right up my alley. I wore the cassettes out listening to them, memorizing every line.

Sadly, I lost the cassettes in a move, and by the time I looked to order them again, it was very hard to get either album in the U.S. A couple weeks ago, nearly 20 years after losing the originals, I found a vinyl copy of Motormouth online at Vinyl Tap. It arrived in the mail today. I’m listening to it right now. It’s just as funny as I remembered, and I have a huge smile plastered across my face.

Record Of The Day: Northern Lights Southern Cross – The Band

band

The Band is one of my favorite bands. Even so, I’d never heard this album all the way through until tonight. I’d heard live versions of some of its songs — “Ophelia” and “It Makes No Difference” are on the The Last Waltz — but never the original record. On first listen, the production is a little keyboard-heavy in some spots, but overall it’s a solid record with lots of great singing.

Record Of The Day: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live 1975-85

bruce

I never used to like Bruce Springsteen. When I was a kid, he represented the kind of mindless jock rock that my friends and I hated. This was, of course, wrong, but it took me years to figure that out. I married a Springsteen superfan, but even then I didn’t come around. It wasn’t till 9/11 and his album The Rising that I reconsidered. I thought that album was perfect and necessary, and so I started to give some time to his other albums. This collection is huge — 10 LPs of live music. The guy who owns the record store here says he always finds them in great condition because most people bought this collection and didn’t play it. My advice? If you own one, play it. And if you don’t…

BUY IT.

Record Of The Day: Truth And Soul – Fishbone

fishbone

I first learned about Fishbone when I saw them in concert in 1991, opening for Primus. Nothing can really prepare you for your first Fishbone experience. I didn’t know what to make of them. Years later I started to spend time with the music, and this album quickly rose to the top. My favorite of its songs (and my favorite Fishbone song) is “Ma And Pa,” but the whole album is fantastic.

BUY IT.

Record Of The Day: Spike – Elvis Costello

elvisspike

This was the first Elvis Costello record I ever heard, and I came to it in a weird way. During my ten minutes in college, my second roommate had a CD of a Cornell glee club singing an a cappella version of “Veronica.” From that I checked out this record, which remains one of my favorites in EC’s discography. From “Veronica” (with Sir Paul McC on bass) to the perfect anger of “Tramp The Dirt Down” and the beauty of “Satellite” (with Chrissie Hynde on the chorus), this album is a solid winner. Plus, it features the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and guitarist Marc Ribot, among many others.

BUY IT.