Today’s Random 10 is brought to you by the letters C and B, where C stands for Carver Middle School and B stands for bus. Carver was the middle school next to ours—immediately adjacent, oddly enough—where a lot of the kids from my neighborhood went, some of the nice ones and some of the troublemakers. I rode the bus with them through three-quarters of the town and a 30 minute morning commute to attend the next door middle school, which had a gifted program. Watching them go their way as I turned and trudged mine probably goes a long way toward explaining my reluctance to accept the privileges in my life at face value, as I know how close the alternatives are.
And that bus goes a long way toward explaining my bizarre memory for 80s pop and hip-hop. The alpha kids at the back of the bus always had a radio, a boom box really, which the driver tolerated since it kept them from beating up the other kids (usually). And that radio would always be tuned to some reasonably urban station or other, which (in the days before really rigid formats) could also be counted on to drop some choice dance tracks alongside the hip hop. I first heard Doug E. Fresh do “The Show” on that bus, and “Roxanne Roxanne” … and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Which explains its presence with the former two songs on my first brace of 80s compilations.
And the rest of today’s list? To me today, the other nine songs look like the fruit of my long running attempts to run away from the music on that bus and find something different. It was a quest led me down a lot of blind alleys as well as to a lot of new and interesting places. But it never succeeded in excising those other songs, which tormented me for years—the knowledge that the troublemakers may have gotten the worse school, but they still had my attention because I couldn’t get their music out of my head.
- David Byrne, “Good and Evil” (Rei Momo)
- Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Relax”
- James Brown, “Bewildered” (Star Time)
- Richard Buckner, “Faithful Shooter” (Since)
- Miles Davis, “Assassinat (take 2)/Julien Dans l’Ascenseur” (Ascenseur Pour L’échauffaud)
- Mogwai, “Friend of the Night” (Mr. Beast)
- Funkadelic, “Funky Dollar Bill” (Free Your Mind…And Your Ass Will Follow)
- The Wedding Present, “Shatner” (George Best Plus)
- Mogwai, “Punk Rock/Puff Daddy/Antichrist” (Come On Die Young)
- Camera Obscura, “Dory Previn” (Let’s Get Out of This Country)