Monday, February 12, 2007

Mixtape Monday: Raised On Radio, Side One

(What is Mixtape Monday?)

This’n dates back to 1994. In recent years I’ve become a fiend for themed mixes, but back in the day my remit rarely went beyond a catchy title. For this tape, however, I set myself one ground rule: I would include only songs I had heard on the radio in the last six months.

There was plenty of good music coming out in the mid-90s. Much of it was underground—the good stuff often is—but there was a shedload of fantastic skewed pop coming over the airwaves, too. People have been complaining about the tightening of radio formats at least since the demise of the great freeform stations of the 1970s, but it’s instructive to see that even ten, fifteen years ago, things were still pretty lively.

raised on radio

I can still remember where I was when I first heard most of these songs on the radio—which in most cases was the first time I heard them, period. A good whack of Side One, for instance, I heard on the road, on a desolate stretch of I-90 through western New York, while I was driving from Boston to Toledo for the Magazine Man’s wedding—one eye on the road, scrawling names and titles on a napkin as the DJ back-announced them.

One quick note to be fair; it wasn’t this version of “Easy There, Steady Now” that I heard on the radio; what I heard was a live version, on NPR’s Fresh Air (I wish I could find you the episode, but the online archives only go back to 1996, alas). It was just Richard and one acoustic guitar, and I swear to God it sounded like there were three guys playing.

Anyway: If this tracklisting doesn’t conjure up a lot of household names (and does conjure up visions of signs reading Terre Haute Holiday Inn Lounge Welcomes Possum Dixon), maybe that’s why the radio these days is such a drag; it just couldn’t sustain itself. But, y’know, in the words of another Richard Thompson song (and everything reminds me of a Richard Thompson song), “There’s beauty in what’s brief; there’s beauty in what’s small.”

Download Side One (45:29, 41.6 meg file: YouSendIt link good until 19 February), and tune in.

[ MP3 expired - so sorry ]

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