I love my boy, always have, and I’ve always tried to share my taste in music with him.
I figure I’ve done a pretty good job, because he’s a helluva kid. He’s a good guitar player, very funny in a wry kind of way and kinder than any person I know. He listens to all sorts of music, from electronica stuff to good old twangy guitar. His mother made him a good person, but I take at least partial credit for that breadth of musical taste.
I used to have this old collection of cassette apes from college and beyond, music that had gotten me through and made me think. I used to play them for him everyone once in a while.
Anyway, one afternoon when he was two or three, I left him listening to one of my favorites, Stan Ridgway’s “Partyball,” while I ran upstairs to grab something.
I came back down and the music had stopped. I came around the corner and found him, the light of discovery in his eye and a big smile on his face and the entire tape draped over his body. He liked the music so much, I guess, that he wanted to see what it looked like.
This was a tragedy. The album in question was one of those rare things that I was never able to find in a record store, and still haven’t been able to find online today. It came to me purely by accident, when I was the entertainment reporter in Vail.
It was a very experimental album, full of bizarre songs and random stories. I loved it because it was so full of narratives, funny asides and sound effects, you couldn’t listen without it messing with your mind.
But it didn’t fit with the popular music at the time and wasn’t a commercial smash. Like I said, I never saw it for sale in a record store – and I looked. Online record databases talk about it and the songs, but they don’t point to a place where you can download it.
I still have most of the songs memorized, even though I haven’t heard a single track in years. “Uba’s House of Fashion” is the one I want the most, but “The Overlords” and “Beyond Tomorrow” are close seconds.
I bring this all up because I learned that Stan Ridgway is following me on Twitter.
I started following him a couple of weeks ago, just after he’d wrapped up his East Coast tour. He was playing down in Mass., about two hours south. I didn’t know until too late, so I didn’t see the show. Now, according to his Twitter feed, he’s back out, west playing.
Some day, should he read this and decide to venture on up to Maine, I’ll be at the show listening, and I’ll bring my boy. And Stan, if you do come, play “Uba’s House of Fashion.” Hell, play it for the folks out in Utah if you get the chance.