(my) Tom

TommyI used to love the Who. I used to love grape Nerds, tight-rolling my jeans, and collecting Rickey Henderson baseball cards. I can’t necessarily pinpoint when my love affair with the Who lost its passion, but I’ll never forget their fourth album, 1969’s Tommy. Rock operas aren’t my bag, to say the least, but Tommy, well, he’s a hard (rock) shell to crack, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t tested their endurance in a while to give it a solid shot.

1989: Saturn Outhouse

Pitchfork Cover, LoverBefore breaking Lou Brock’s coveted career Major League stolen base record of 938, a very young Rickey Henderson had to steal his first base. Before The Beatles could release the immeasurable Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, they had to play backup to Tony Sheridan. All legacies have a beginning, and before the Hot Snakes, the Obits, Drive Like Jehu, the Sultans, The Night Marchers and the crème de la crème, Rocket from the Crypt, before modern day rock ‘n’ roll emerged from the heavens and established itself as “the majestic sound from the Gods,” there was Pitchfork.

Rick Froberg, meet John Reis. Get through your handshakes and your pleasant introductions quickly, because over the next 25 years you’ve got four singles, one EP and seven albums to write, record, produce and release under the heading of three different bands: Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes. Get busy boys… the world is waiting.

Insert-siesThe first recorded ANYTHING by both Froberg and Reis (their musical rookie card), Saturn Outhouse contains the same melodic, in your face, sky-high level of energy found in Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, and like those bands, sees Froberg on vocals and Reis on lead guitar. It’s evident, as seen from Reis’ more recent work, how much he is influenced by mid-60’s obscure garage rock, but Saturn Outhouse sounds more like an Ian MacKaye-headed Fugazi than anything released by the Seeds.

To the causal listener, Pitchfork can easily, and understandably, be confused for Drive Like Jehu, and vise versa. The two bands have striking similarities (scratching vocals by Froberg, piercing guitar by Reis, melodic, drawn-out landscapes), but the difference lies in the level of maturity exuded by both Froberg and Reis between Pitchfork’s demise (1990) and the birth of Drive Like Jehu (later in 1990).  I haven’t matured that much in 33 years, and these guys crossed that mark in their early twenties! Quiet simply put, Froberg and Reis were adolescents, yes, but they were also music legends in the making.

Pitchfork Back, JackContaining the tracks, Thin Ice, Goat and Sinking, this little necessity of music history can be had for a surprisingly cheap amount. Starting at only $6.54 over at Discogs, this gem can, and should, be sought after by any, and every fan of the majestic, modern day rock ‘n’ roll sound.

1974: Who’s on First?

Who's on the Cover? Naturally.Today we take a look at the record; a 12” spherical disc, not only as a vehicle for music, but also as an interactive time capsule for important, historical milestones. Although it need not be stated that the contents of today’s post preceded 1974 by over three decades, the release of this record is significant because it offered, arguably, the most famous comedy routine ever to be recorded, to a legion of new listeners. I am, of course, referring to Bud Abbott & Lou Costello’s classic, Who’s on First?

The classic baseball routine is as renowned as Baseball itself. Abbott & Costello’s Who’s on First? is Baseball’s unofficial psalm. It was so perennial, that Time magazine deemed it the Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th Century. Who knew this sketch would be so loved by so many people? He did. Who did? Naturally…

BackstopWho’s on first? is as synonymous with Baseball as Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, and Rickey Henderson. And since the baseball season is underway (seems as though nobody informed the Milwaukee Brewers), I felt it appropriate to focus on this release from 1974 above all others.

This timeless compilation also offers a Moby Dick sketch, a Hertz U-Drive sketch and a complete broadcast of The Abbott & Costello Show, “exactly as heard on November 9, 1944.” A must for comedy and Baseball fans alike, Abbott & Costello’s Who’s on First? will forever live on wherever Baseball is played. Enjoy!