Saturday, February 16, 2008


Title: Guantanamera
Artist: The Sandpipers
Purchased: Can not remember
Verdict: Digitizing two tracks

It's been a rough week. My normally stompy cat buddy Tiny was laconic and pooping blood. A lot of blood. When I got him to the vet, they told me that he needed a transfusion. AAAHHH! It's not the money. I just hate having my cats suffer, and hate leaving them at the vet because they hate it. That came in the midst of my regular job, working on a new book, writing an essay as a favor for a brand new satirical college publication in Nebraska, and trying my hand at another kind of writing assignment. Stressed out of my mind, I was doing all this work in our office, and getting more and more frustrated.

"WHY DO I HAVE TO STEP OVER ALL THESE RECORDS!!!!" I screamed, at least on the inside.

Then I came upon the solution. I would start a blog in which I would write about all the thrift store records I had indiscriminately purchased over the years, and decide if I was going to keep them or ditch them.

Then I had a realization: I already started such a blog about two years ago. I just hadn't written anything in it in the last eight months, and that was after promising to work harder at it.

So now I'm really going to work harder at it!

On to Guantanamera. I didn't really pay attention when I bought this. I looked at the cover, saw the tracks and the exotic beach scene and thought it might be a nice bit of exotica. Had I flipped the album over for more than a quick glance, I would have noted the group of…I don't know how to best describe them. 60s collegiate dorks? The bad element from The Lawrence Welk Show? One of the best, safest pompadours I have ever seen? All that.

After listening to the title track, I was ready to stop. By the second track, a listless version of "Strangers In The Night," I was less impressed. By the end of the first side, I was gleefully preparing titbits of destructive prose that would tear the Sandpipers a new one, about 40 years after it would do any good. "Flawlessly bland." "A wall of somnolence." "Would describe it as robotic if it were more interesting."

And then came side two.

The problem with me, as a music consumer, is that I'm a sucker for certain cover songs. I realized that I was in trouble when I saw that the second side started off with a version of "Louie Louie." That song and "Sunshine Superman" are my kryptonite. And sure enough, The Sandpipers delivered. It was slow and sexless, but it was just a little creepy. Unsettling. Like, you know this is supposed to be belted out drunkenly by people who don't know the words, yet here it is. Quiet. Restrained. And in Spanish. They completed their one-two punch with a cover of The Beatles "Things We Said Today," which, though not in Spanish, still seemed slightly alien and soothing.

I almost liked the last track "Angelica" (pronounced "ahn-juh-LEE-kuh," which I'm guessing is their best approximation of a Latino accent), but on the second listen, it wasn't as dense and interesting as I thought it was. It was just more dense in comparison to the rest of the album.

In any case, two pretty good songs are no longer enough to warrant keeping a whole album when hard drive space is so cheap. I'll keep those and dump the rest, and to hell with the consequences!


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