Monday, May 14, 2007

The Birthday Coupe de Grace

My old friend The Elk dropped by Sunday night to give me my birthday present, play some full-contact Scrabble and have a libation with me.

He and I have a long tradition of giving one another bad records for birthdays and holidays. One night nearly 20 years ago, we had a Guiness-fueled discussion at The Gingerman about songs and albums that would never come out on cd. We had a bet--a keg of Guinness was the wager-- of who could find one of two things first on cd: the horrendous 1974 Blue Swede hit "Hooked On A Feeling" (that of the "Ooga-chugga, Ooga-chugga" chorus) or the Jim Nabors Christmas album.

It was a double win that cancelled each other out. I found the Blue Swede song-- it was first released on cd on the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack-- and The Elk found the Jim Nabors cd about the same time.

Usually, though, our bad gifts involve vinyl. The Defranco Family's hit song "The Heartbeat is the Lovebeat." Captain and Tenille albums. For god's sake, even David Soul records. We have no shame.

One year, The Elk shot himself in the foot: he found the Robert Mitchum Calypso album at a garage sale, and gave it to a friend as a gag gift. Turned out it's a rarity on vinyl and worth a bundle. His friend thanked him.

This year, though, The Elk may have dropped the big one. Yes indeed, it's Pat Boone, the whitest man in history.

It's gotten ugly, people.

12 comments:

Bubs said...

Man that F*CKING rocks!

My eldest got me "Raunchy" by Bill Justus on vinyl.

I love going to thrift shops and digging thru records. Even if the record is unplayable, the covers make great artwork.

Tenacious S said...

You know how I feel. MORE VINYL! Pat Boone...when are we invited over for drinks?

Splotchy said...

Isn't Pat Boone 1/16th Cherokee?

That looks like some nice vinylage.

The Elk said...

Just saw a similar copy on EBay for $10.00... I Paid $.50 cents at a Garage Sale
Rats ! Curses!
While I am curious to hear his cover of "Sweet Georgia Brown" on the album, I'm sure Mr. Yen will forward it to me ad nausem...
Is that Pat Boone or Ben Affleck on the Cover?

Natalie said...

That is an awesome tradition. Scrabble sounds like a good time too!

Anon. Blogger said...

I love scrabble.

I sold better than half of my albums in a garage sale in 2000 in Naperville.

I just couldn't stand to look at that box or haul it to one more house!

I really enjoyed watching the collectors make their finds! It made me feel good.

I most remember selling the Mary Poppins album with Julie Andrews on the cover, second only to the Partridge Family album!!

Skylers Dad said...

I still have some albums I picked up in Taiwan where they don't care about copywrite issues. They are the same photos on the original albums in the US, but a lot of the words re mis-spelled! It's wonderful...

GETkristiLOVE said...

Let us know what the retaliation is!

Dale said...

Hey. Lay off the Defranco Family!

Johnny Yen said...

Bubs-
I love cool record covers. Julie London seems to have done plenty of them.

The Container Stores have frames for framing lp's. I plan on buying a couple next time I'm there.

TenS-
I'm getting ready to divest a lot of my vinyl, but there are certain records I will keep either for sentimental reasons or to frame (see above).

Splotchy-
Which part?

Elk-
You are just too good to your friends...

I'm curious too. I'll have to hook the record player back up.

Natalie-
One time when Elk, our friend Mark and I were rooming together in Wrigleyville in the eighties we had a "play the worst record" contest. The Elk can help my memory-- what was the song that made our upstairs neighbors come down and beg us to stop? Was it Kung Fu Fighting? Heartbeat is the Love Beat (sorry, Dale!) ? Redbone's Come and Get Your Love?

Anonymous Blogger-
We play both regular and online Scrabble around here. Both fun!

I'm running my vinyl to a friend of ours' used record store, but that would definitely be fun, watching collectors enjoy.

Have you seen High Fidelity? It centers around the life of an owner of a used record store here in Chicago. There's a scene in it where one of the employees, a total music snob, refuses to sell a record to a guy. It's pretty funny.

Skyler's Dad-
I saw a lot of that in Shanghai, China when I was there five years ago.

What was really funny was seeing Chinese wannabes wearing Tupac Shakur t-shirts and trying to look "street."

Kristi-
Will do!

Dale-
But they're so fun to make fun of!

Tenacious S said...

Let me reiterate an earlier request. If you want to divest, please allow me to invest. OK? No plans on downsizing here.

Johnny Yen said...

I haven't forgotten that, TenS!