Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Money Music, Vol. One (Tapeworm, 1996)

In the '90s, I had the priviledge of contributing to three really fun fanzines: Radio On (edited by Phil Dellio), Why Music Sucks (edited by Frank Kogan), and Tapeworm (edited by Jeff Pike). Each had its own focus, and each included contributions from great music writers. Creations of the Snail Mail and Kinko's Age, they were labors of love in both senses of both L-words. While the online-community explosion made them easier to assemble and should've therefore kept them more alive than ever, it killed them off instead. (Or maybe the editors just excised me from the club. I don't know.) I do know that I looked forward to and enjoyed writing for them almost as much as I looked forward to and enjoyed reading them.

One of Tapeworm's recurring article ideas involved compiling a mix tape and send the cassette and its "liner notes" to Jeff Pike. Readers could request from him copies of the tape; he would publish the notes in the 'zine. What follows is my contribution to Tapeworm #4.

MONEY MUSIC, VOLUME ONE (Sony CD-IT, Type II [High Position], 94 min.)

Tapewormers, this is the tape you've been waiting for: twenty-six songs, twenty-five artists, over a dozen genres, three available-nowhere-else bootleg tracks by living legends, and--best of all--all the songs concern money! Sorry if the ninety-four-minute length puts Jeff in a bind. Maybe one song on each side will have to become a legendary, seldom-heard bonus track.


1. "There Is Nothing Quite As Wonderful As Money," Monty Python's Flying Circus (The Instant Monty Python CD Collection, Virgin '94)--One of the shortest songs here, and proof that Eric Idle was the cute Rutle.

2. "Born to Be Sold," Transvision Vamp (Velveteen, Uni '89)--One of the best rock-and-roll songs of the '80s, and proof that Wendy James should've stuck with songs not written by Elvis Costello.

3. "It All Comes Down to the Money," Terminator X and the Godfathers of Threatt with Whodini (Super Bad, P.R.O. Division/Ral '94)--Featuring Khadejia Bass on show-stealing "background vocals." One of the best rap songs of the '90s, and proof that that Terminator X should've stuck with songs not rapped by Chuck D.

4. "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)," Travis Tritt (Greatest Hits, Warner Bros. '95)--One of the funniest titles here, and proof that phone rates do affect scansion.

5. "Can't Buy Me Love," the Beatles (live bootleg, '65)--From perhaps the most famous rock-and-roll concert ever (Shea Stadium), and proof that Ringo was--well, he's inaudible, so he lacked either sufficient amplification or sufficient thwack. The shrieking girls, however, come through.

6. "Money (That's What I Want)," the Milkshakes (Twenty Rock 'n' Roll Hits of the '50s and '60s, Big Beat/Ace '84)--One of the best garage-rock covers of a Barrett Strong song ever, and proof that--um, that so far I've found six songs about filthy lucre.

7. "I Had but Fifty Cents," Jackie Gleason (And Awaaay We Go!, Scamp '94)--One of the funniest recitations here, and proof that if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, you should never make a hungry woman your wife.

8 & 9. "Money Talks" and "I Will Turn Your Money Green," Alex Chilton (live bootleg, '94)--Two of the loosest and lowest-fi recordings here, and proof that Chilton introduced the songs by saying, "We're going to do a couple of songs now about something that's not everything but that's way ahead of whatever's in second place--money."

10. "Shake Your Money Maker," Mud Boy and the Neutrons (They Walk Among Us, Koch '95)--One of the few non-B.T.O. songs on this tape to sound as if it could've been done by B.T.O. if B.T.O. hadn't been caffeine-avoiding Mormons; proof that Jim DIckinson, on his work with the Stones, Chilton, and the Replacements, was holding back.

11. "Gimme Your Money Please," Bachman-Turner Overdrive (Best of B.T.O. [So Far], Mercury '75)--One of the good songs left off the B.T.O.'s Greatest Hits CD, and proof that C.F. Turner once wrote and sang, "And I saw that he be liquored."

12. "If I Had 1,000,000 Dollars," Barenaked Ladies (Shoe Box EP, Reprise '96)--One of the funniest songs here, and proof that B.T.O. are not this tape's only Canadians.

13. "Take the Money and Run," Steve Miller Band (Greatest Hits 1974-78, Capitol '78)--One of the greatest throat clearings in the history of Top Forty, and proof, considering all the people who've robbed banks after hearing this song, that Capitol and all other responsible labels should have refused to have anything more to do with this Ice-T prototype.

14. "Git Dat Money," the A-Town Players (The Players, Vol. One, Premeditated '95)--One of the few songs on this great-and-getting-greater tape to refer to the profits that record companies hoped to make off those new-fangled, superior cassettes that would only play on those thousand-dollar, new-fangled, superior cassette players, and proof that "Wassup" is not the only phrase that kept these guys from being called the "A-Town Spellers."

Side Two

15. "If I Were a Rich Man" (Fiddler on the Roof, United Artists '71)--One of the few songs that I use in the classroom to review the use of "were" in "contrary-to-fact" statements, and proof that not knowing the words is no reason to not sing a song.

16. "Gravy," the Globetrotters (The Globetrotters, Kirshner '70)--One of the only songs that you'll ever hear from The Globetrotters, easily a better album than In Utero and Nevermind combined (especially combined); proof that the best hard-rock-soul-bubblegum song of the '70s came from the soundtrack to a Saturday-morning cartoon.

17. "Got to Get Myself Some Money," Solomon Burke (A Change Is Gonna Come, Rounder '85)--One of the funkiest pleas for "some genius [to] invent a pill that can make hundred-dollar bills" ever, and proof that King Solomon never considered the downright awkward (and quite possibly painful) consequences of trying to mint money that way.

18. "If I Had No Loot," Toni Tony Tone (Sons of Soul, Wing '93)--One of the few songs I know that cites the negative side effects of loot; proof that there's just no satisfying some people.

19. "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time," Mose Allison (Western Man, Atlantic '71)--One of the two by His Moseness that I considered ("Love for Sale" is the other; maybe on Vol. Two), and proof that no one tells the truth as if it's no big deal better than His Moseness.

20. "Gold and Silver," Crash Vegas (Stone, London '93)--Not one of the better songs here, but the only "Gold and Silver" song I could find to put before "Silver and Gold" by Beggars; proof that I'll sacrifice anything--even listenability--for symmetry.

21. "Silver and Gold," Beggars (Beggars, Island '95)--One of three "Silver and Gold"s I tested (U2's and Kirk Franklin's were the others), and proof that shimmery alternapop rules, dude!

22. "Girl Money," Kix (Hot Wire, EastWest '91)--One of the raunchier selections on this otherwise family-friendly tape, and proof that sexism and heavy metal, despite their long history of mutual antagonism, definitely can coexist.

23. "Eat the Rich," Aerosmith (Big Ones, Geffen '94)--One of the raunchier selections on this otherwise family-friendly tape, and proof that since Aerosmith themselves are among "the rich," they really want to eat themselves.

24. "Rich Boys," After the Fire (Batteries Not Included, Epic '81)--One of the "rich" songs that made the cut when I realized that ten minutes of Iggy Pop's "Rich Bitch" wouldn't fit, and proof that there was more to these zippy Brits than "Der Kommissar."

25. "Rich Girl," Hall and Oates (Bigger Than Both of Us, RCA '76)--One of the other "rich" songs that made the cut in lieu of Iggy's lack of discipline, and proof that I didn't need Iggy to include the word bitch here.

26. "Robert De Niro's Waiting," Bananarama (Bananarama, London '84)--One of the few songs here to use pidgin Spanish, and proof that Keren was the smart Banana.

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