I picked up a re-issue of this album this weekend for $9.99. It is the greatest album in the history of the world. REASONS:

1. The excellent "Maybelline" rip-off "Ride On Josephine," virtually a note-for-note job except for Bo's anguished cries and one-sided conversation with the title chick: "You say what kinda car I'm driving? Well...uhh...I'm-a...I'm drivin' a '48 Cadillac with Thunderbird wings / Tellin' you baby it's a runnin' thing".

2. The Bo-icized remake of "Sixteen Tons," the song that he had refused to do on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (choosing this song instead, natch) a couple of years before, getting himself blackballed forever from the old cadaver's showcase. Not sure why ol' Bo did that, because this coulda shoulda been a huge hit.

3. Even besides that one, there are least three other cowpoke tunes here, including the title track and the Coasters-ish "Whoa Mule (Shine)" where Bo gets sassed by a donkey.

4. "Cadillac" is the fiercest spelling bee on record.

5. "Doing the Crawdaddy" might be the first dance-instruction song where the dancers are taunted by the lead singer: "I don't think you can do it!"

6. Country-ass tango version of "Prisoner of Love." Nuff said there.

7. There is a bonus track called "Googlia Moo" that is actually better than its title might indicate. His girlfriend looks like she comes from a zoo, kids clown her in the street, she can't dance, and all she can say is the title phrase. He loves her anyway. WTF moments abound in Bo's repetoire but this kills 'em all.

8. On another bonus track, "Working Man," Bo actually brags about how well he uses his sledgehammer while everyone repeatedly goes OOOF! in the background; "I'm a man / Amongst men." Gee I wonder why this wasn't on the original album in 1960 no sah. Elsewhere, he brags about how he's not a plumber but he can thread that pipe, and something about not being a butcher but, y'know, being good at cutting meat. Unsubtle. Tough.

9. He gleefully snags a whole chunk of "Over the Rainbow" and repurposes it like a natural man.

10. There is an instrumental called "Diddling." GAME SET MATCH, BITCHES.


Okay, so the 33 1/3 book series is taking more pitches. I have chosen the album that I'm pitching. Since I don't know who's reading this thing, I'll rely on you to comment on this entry by telling me the answer to the following questions three:

a) what album do you think I'm pitching? (make sure to read the linked post, rules apply)*
b) what album you would LIKE to see me pitch
c) what album would you write about if you could

Come on, I haven't had any comments yet and it's getting depressing

*If you have received emails from me about this you are disqualified, but leave comments anyway.


It's 1977 and I'm in 5th grade. I am the third tallest kid in my class and I have a couple of pretty good friends even though I was the new kid twice this year, and when Miss Johnson points to the unmarked U.S. map the other kids guess the name of the state but Tim P. and I yell out the state's capital because we're smart-asses.

Not sure what month it was because we went to year-round school, on for nine weeks and then off for three, etc. Might have been May, June, even July. I remember that it was really hot, because our classroom faced an outdoor courtyard. I also remember how hot Miss Johnson was; this is no joke, you guys, everyone knew it. My dad called her "Boom-Boom," okay? She was also hilarious and blisteringly intelligent and she was the first teacher who ever said "No shit, Sherlock" to me. (I had finally figured out fraction division during an extra lunchtime math session, which I'm pretty sure she did mostly because she was tired of me being such a damn smartass.

That's the kind of teacher I wanted to be, years later. But that's for later.

So anyway we sometimes got to listen to music in class, and on this hot May/June/July day I had brought in my favorite album. I had gotten it a few months before through the almighty Columbia Record & Tape Club. I knew every last rock and rollin' classical-ass note of the damn thing. My dad liked it, my mom liked it, my brothers liked it. I just knew everyone in class would like it.

Mark K., the coolest kid in class (his dad owned a Porsche dealership in the next town, he lived in the only swanky part of the district), came over to watch while I took the record out of the slipcase and put it on the public-school-level-nasty record player. I carefully placed the needle on the outer band and turned up the volume so everyone could rock out to Electric Light Orchestra.

Problem: I picked side 2, the side that starts with the weird disco-pop number "So Fine." If I had done side 1, starting with "Tightrope" I might have...nah, I was pretty much screwed either way. This was not a record for a 5th grader to bring to class, at any time, ever.

The class was unhappy; there were snickers, Kitty H. deployed her famous sarcastic wit. Mark K. called me gay. Ultimately, though, I didn't care. It was good for them to hear a good record. I refused to take it off and they all had to sit there, in that sweaty classroom, all through the next 17 whatever minutes -- all the way even through the extended coda of "Shangri-La," with all those little tinkly notes falling down like stars, like a million Bill Walton hook shots, like the sparks after fireworks. They hated me and I hated them and it was beautiful.

Walking in the woods
the critic looks at the trees
Seen 'em all before


quick hit thursday

ITEM: Around our place, we're totally already rooting for Denise Jackson on "American Idol" -- Madison LaFollette High School REPRESENT!

ITEM: Apparently, David Raposa is blogging again. I can't find it anywhere. Hints? UPDATE: It is here.

ITEM: The new season of "24" is boring me so far, even though Jack bit a dude to death in the neck and then shot Curtis (horrible inexplicable personality change for the C-man, poorly timed too) and then Valencia got itself blowed up. Chloe's husband is a nothing, although that's the way I feel about Mary-Lynn Rajskub after she said Rush Limbaugh was "brilliant and hilarious." Plus there was no reason for them to give a pardon to that one dude, he was cooperating anyway. Argh. I'll probably still watch it until it gets good again mid-season like last year. A little Grand Guignol goes a long way, but if we hadn't had Jean Smart going nutso last year I woulda been out of there by Episode 7.

ITEM: In other news, Elia Aboumrad rocks a whole lot, especially with a shaven head. I'm not sure why she didn't come in and kick Cliff's wrasslin' ass off of Marcel, but I'm sure she had her reasons, like trying to figure out why she had just shaven her damned head.

ITEM: This website is very very funny.

dammit gotta go more later, including some stern words for a former student


Hello children, let me school you like mr. Kot-TAIR --

First-a-ly: liking Rodney's blog a lot, even though it's only one post old. I disagree with him about Stevie's "Sweet Little Girl," though. Where Rodney sees the "other voice" as an inexplicable embarrassment, I think Stevie is just doing what he does all over Music of My Mind: undercutting his own image. Until this record, he had never been allowed to have the creative control he had always craved. Sure, he was writing some of his own songs, trying harder and harder to make them relevant and deep. But -- like Marvin, like a lot of Motown folk -- Stevie had been chafing under the Berry Gordy lockdown. Now, after the success of What's Going On, Stevie gets the chance to take the reins. What has he done in the first two songs here? "Love Having You Around," a three-minute song that keeps going for another four point three minutes building up ambiguities in its music and in Stevie's voice, and "Superwoman," which morphs into that whole "where were you when I needed you last winter" hook that Lauryn Hill sang on that Common song that made me hate Common back then. As a deconstructionist (and a white guy) I tend to think that Stevie is just throwing in the fakey-ghetto voice on "Sweet Little Girl" to undercut the rest of the song's oh-so-motown-y sentiments, a way of taking the piss out of himself so everyone knows he was in on the joke the whole time. However, I see where Rodney might not feel that way...especially in the very last comment Stevie's pimped-out second narrator makes, right at the deep fade. So yeah -- this is a blog that can be learned from.

Second-ly, check out this other blog by Mordecai. So far, I like it, although I eagerly await the time when he decides, "You know what, screw P'fork and Spin and all lists, I wanna write about what I wanna write about." That will be fun. And he seems to pretty much like everything, which I admire (I do the same thing) but I don't trust (most days, I wouldn't trust me as far as I can throw me). One word for dude: if you're going to imply that Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, for example, doesn't mean a thing, then just SAY IT. You'd be wrong, but it's the bold step. Don't walk up to the edge and then just peer over, yo.

But both are smart guys and I reserve the right to argue with both of 'em in the days to come. I love them whippersnappers, but sometimes I gotta lay the (gentle and constructive) smackage down.

With a lame flourish
I rise from my comfy chair
World saved once again


Wow that resolution to write every day sure didn't work out very well now did it?

More jazz reviews: here and here. I am a lot more interested in reviewing jazz now than any kind of indie rock. I know I should say that this is because I am old, but I think it's just that indie rock is stupid and boring. I was watching "Saturday Night Live" last night and the Shins were on and JEEXUS H. CRISTO WERE THEY BORING. Much more compelling to Watch me lapse further into irrelevancy...live! right here!

But at least I'm wasting my life because I don't have an MBA, or a master's, or a Ph.D. I heard this yesterday from a certain family member who shall remain nameless. Okay, it was my father. He thinks I should take night classes or something. I tried to argue that I enjoy spending time with my children and wife. He thinks I am a big pussy* who is squandering my enormous intellect and massive potential. OH I'LL SHOW HIM I'LL WRITE MY NOVEL AND PUBLISH MY BOOKS AND MAKE A MILLION BUCKS AND THEN HE'LL SEE THEY'LL ALL SEE.

Haha if he only knew.

*Not his words. But pretty clearly.

Lazy on Sunday
Soon the world will all explode
Better dance and sing


ITEM: Here is a pretty good review I wrote about a jazz album.

ITEM: Here is a pretty bad review I wrote about a rap album. (I also wrote an article there about "New TV Characters 2006" but I don't like how it turned out so I won't link to it.)

ITEM: Since I write about music and contributed to the Idolator poll, I guess I better say something about it. In two words: What. Ever. I listened to exactly three of the top 21 albums, and only voted for one of them. I'm sure they're fine, I'm just not all that interested in many of them. Everything slides towards a soggy middling consensus, nothing is very surprising, same as always. Pazz & Jop will be kinda the same, except a lot lamer. But it's all good. Kinda.

I'm having a tough time right now understanding my place in the universe. I have a lot to say but I'm not going to say it right now. I'll hit you up later.

i aint got no map
never wanted/needed one
being lost aint bad
ITEM: Here is a pretty good review I wrote about a jazz album.

ITEM: Here is a pretty bad review I wrote about a rap album. (I also wrote an article there about "New TV Characters 2006" but I don't like how it turned out so I won't link to it.)

ITEM: Since I write about music and contributed to the Idolator poll, I guess I better say something about it. In two words: What. Ever. I listened to exactly three of the top 21 albums, and only voted for one of them. I'm sure they're fine, I'm just not all that interested in many of them. Everything slides towards a soggy middling consensus, nothing is very surprising, same as always. Pazz & Jop will be kinda the same, except a lot lamer. But it's all good. Kinda.

I'm having a tough time right now understanding my place in the universe. I have a lot to say but I'm not going to say it right now. I'll hit you up later.

i aint got no map
never wanted/needed one
being lost aint bad


You know how sometimes you are going somewhere but you end up on a whim going somewhere else, and while you're on the way there you end up trying a new way to get there and you end up seeing something that reminds you of something else and you just keep going, and suddenly you are somewhere you don't know, but you kind of like that, and you kind of like the place too, so you end up staying there?

Well, me neither.

Returning home again
like I've done a thousand times --
weatherman says rain --


Around here we have been watching a lot of musicals. I mean a LOT of musicals. Part of the reason for this is because Emma is portraying Ethel Toffelmier in her junior high production of "The Music Man"; another part is that Sammy is obsessed with being a Broadway star; a third part is that they are awesome. But it's not just for them -- L. and I stayed up way too late last night watching "Cabaret," which we hadn't seen for some reason. (Turns out that it was a good reason...we found it massively overrated, although we did argue about it a little.)

Here is a partial list of all the other musicals we have watched in just the last two weeks:

Kiss Me Kate (I don't know about this one, not as great as I remember it)
Once Upon a Matress (I didn't see this, they watched it while I was at work)
Oklahoma (Adding TWO half-hour ballet numbers might not have been a great idea)
The Sound of Music (Say what you want but you cannot eff with Robert Wise's direction, the most underrated director in Hollywood history)
The Producers (New "musical" version, great in some ways but just not as awesome as the original)
The Pajama Game (Playing right now, very odd but I love it a ton, and Doris Day should always have been cast as a hard-boiled labor activist, hubba hubba)
Bye Bye Birdie (This movie has some awful moments, Dick Van Dyke was right to hate it; but OMG ANN MARGRET OMG SO HOT)
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Unjustly forgotten but very surreal)

That doesn't count the original The Producers or Billy Elliot, both of which are pretty much just musicals, nor any of the other DVDs we've been renting from the library at an alarming rate. We still have How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, the Gregory Hines movies Bojangles and Tap, and a couple others around here for watchin'.

(Well, plus the fact that Sammy got West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and Guys and Dolls for Hanukkah, and Emma got the High School Musical DVD, which we didn't really need because we've memorized it all from having it on the DVR for months and months.)


Anyway, Carol Haney is awesome in The Pajama Game, but it was her only movie. Read more about here and here. So tragic!

Nothing tastes better
than Fritos and Mountain Dew
at the cast party


I am trying to like you, "Dirt" on F/X, but I'm not sure it's going to work. First of all, I hate that your main character is named Lucy Spiller, "spill the dirt" lol no. Secondly, I hate the way Matthew Carnahan tries to do Hollywood dialogue, all "tweaked" and "you people need us" and all that, barf-ola. (I've said the same about Carnahan, prose-wise, before.) Thirdly, a show about tabloids is an interesting idea but it's just going to be disappointing, innit? And this whole dirty-dirty aesthetic, unhappy unpleasant characters equaling "edgy awesomeness," stolen from "Nip/Tuck"...yuck.

But wait, "Dirt," what are these curveballs you are throwing me? The two minor reporters sending each other text messages in the middle of the meeting, which we can read onscreen? CUTE. The psychotic paparazzo seeing visions of words floating out of people's mouths and talking cats? AWESOME. Rick Fox taking a strap-on for all it's worth? OH YEAH. And seeing Lily from "The 4400" except no longer an ancient lady but now a young hot morally ambiguous actress? YAY x100!

But using Shannyn Sassafrass this way? Boo. And then to end it with just another depressing-ass irrational thing that works out "ironically" was just for suck. So maybe it's just not gonna work out between us after all.

Why do I still care so much about TV? I'm supposed to be above all this -- I'm supposed to be communing with angels and devils, to be spending my wonderful huge brain on more refined things. But I don't. Instead I stay up until 12:30 watching crap shows and then end up writing...um...nothing much at all. Just this, my young friends, just these silly little words.

But at least I got to see Courteney Cox taser a guy in the nuts. That was pretty cool.

Too much input man
I need a week in the woods
to detoxify


Why didn't you bastards tell me that Cheap Trick's All Shook Up was re-released last year with good sound and bonus tracks? Is it too much to ask, people, that you keep me in the loop? Oh, wait -- 2007 is the year of Matt's Zen-like calm in the face of betrayal and calumny. Well, okay, I'll try. But come on, yo, Cheap Trick is clearly one of the great American bands, this was their "difficult" album (although really how "difficult" can it be when it's produced by George Martin?), why wasn't this massive news all over the musicsphere? Or were we too busy wringing our hands over [insert popular critical strawband here]? Grrr.

Anyway, it rocks. But I just found out that I have to spend my day doing all kinds of crazy stuff here at work so no more warmup exercises for me.

Woke up late again
So I'm eating cereal
at my desk again


New Year's Day morning
Waiting for coffee to boil
typing on laptop

This blog has come back, somewhat predictably, because I have a lot of stuff to say about a lot of other stuff. I do not predict it will last very long, but that's the chance you take with stuff like this.

Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Matt. I am 40 years old. I was born in San Francisco, grew up mostly in Oregon, went to college at Harvard, have lived in Boston and New York City and Chicago, and currently live in Madison, Wisconsin. I have a beautiful, hilarious, and intelligent wife named Liza (I'm not only saying this because she discovered my blog one night, it's also true) and two whip-smart, creative, and warm-hearted children named Emma and Sammy. If all goes according to plan, we will be adopting a child from Ethiopia this year.

I work for an educational publishing company as a staff writer; sometime this year, my job is supposed to change to be more of a management position like the ones I have had in the past here. If it doesn't, I will be looking for a new job. I have also written four children's books, several plays, and a whole bunch of poems. In the mid-1990s, I was very involved in the poetry slam scene; one year, I was the national Head to Head Haiku champion. (God, all this me me me stuff is making me a little sick.) Oh, and I work on a couple of sports satire websites, the links to which can be found somewhere here.

Over the last ten years, I have also turned into a music reviewer. I started out just doing stuff on the Internet so that I could grab free discs, but I also take some paying periodical gigs sometimes now. My main focus is international music, for a lot of reasons, but I also love lots of other music, as you will see in the rolling sidebars to the right. I have a very ambiguous relationship to music writing, and my publishers have a very ambiguous relationship to me.

I cannot promise that I will update this thing every day, but I will try really hard to do so. I reserve the right to talk about sports (especially basketball, baseball, and international football), politics (liberal to the point of being a flaming radical), television (we watch a lot of stuff), film, music, my personal problems, whatever. All of that. I don't know why anyone would actually read this, but I'm writing it, so welcome to my online world.

Coffee having brewed,
pour a lot of it into
my favorite mug