Things Go Better

So my pop e-mailed me a list of songs that he’d like me to locate & burn for him. He wrote, “It’s nice to put a CD in the machine and only hear songs that you like.” Which I took to be an extremely polite way of saying, “No little surprises this time, OK? Keep that Devo shit off this one.”

This is one of the ones he asked for.

  • Joe Tex, “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (with No Big Fat Woman)” (buyhere)

I love Joe Tex and all, but let’s face it, this is not one of his prouder moments.

It is the first Joe Tex song I ever heard, though, since Dad had and probably still has this on 45. He had boxes full of 45s when I was growing up and I listened to them all, which I imagine explains my lifelong weakness for trash pop, or, put more generously, my refusal to acknowledge cultural hierarchies. Today I think of his collection as a poignant memorial to the anything-goes spirit of Top 40 radio – I don’t think people realize how many kooky songs have found a place on the mainstream airwaves. Now, though, everything’s been scrubbed & sorted & separated into Soft Rock or Classic Rock or Modern Rock or EZ Lite or Urban Flow. I like it better when everything’s scrambled together. As good old Huck Finn would say: “In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.”