As has been well documented, I am a man with a considerable record collection. Many of my records are very, very good. Even more of them are solid if not outstanding. There are a select few, though, that I simply cannot offer a reasonable justification for having in my possession. Gaze upon the following and marvel at their inessentiality.
Hammer - The Funky Headhunter
All right, look. It was 1998, it was a radio station record sale in Madison, it was three dollars, and it was pretty much the ultimate trophy for an ironic record shopper of that era. There was no way I wasn’t gonna buy this.
Various Automobiles - Sounds of Speed
Some people bag on auto racing because they think the concept of watching cars endlessly circling an ovular track sounds mind-numbingly boring. That’s ridiculous. You know what’s really mind-numbingly boring? A long-playing record consisting solely of the sound of cars endlessly circling an ovular track, that’s what.
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Perfect
“Hey Sid, I was thinking: it’s 1985. The window’s probably closing on being able to turn a profit from an aerobics movie. We better get on that. Who looks good in a leotard? Maybe Tony’s kid, one who flashed her cans in Trading Places. Pair her up with that pretty boy from the mechanical bull movie, see if Jan Wenner wants to bankroll it for easy publicity. Oh, and get a bunch of that pop crap workout music for the soundtrack album: Thompson Twins, Pointer Sisters, one of the lesser Jacksons. Who else we got on contract? Lou Reed? I hate the son of a bitch. Let’s make him crap something out for this just to knock him down a peg. Hell, maybe 15 years from now there’ll be some poor sap Lou Reed completist who’ll feel obligated to buy this garbage just for that one song. I wanna make that kid feel some shame. Hey, have Donna send out for some coke, would ya? It’s 1985!”
Lou Reed - The Blue Mask Interview Disc
Speaking of Lou Reed completism, this is an interview disc from the early ‘80s. It contains no music, just recordings of Lou Reed offering brief answers to pre-written interview questions about his then-new album The Blue Mask. The idea was to have a DJ fake an in-studio conversation with Lou by reading off the script and then dropping the needle on this disc. It is not one of the most frequently played albums in my Lou Reed collection.
George Segal - A Touch of Ragtime
George Segal is an interesting actor, a man with the presence to pull off comedy and drama with equal aplomb. (Seriously, check him out in King Rat. Homeboy just oozes charisma.) He also plays the banjo. For a period in the 1970s, Americans were deeply fascinated with both George Segal and nostalgia for the Scott Joplin era. In that light, it makes sense that Segal would cash in by putting out a record of ragtime banjo standards. What doesn’t make sense is me owning said record.
Paul Horn - Inside the Great Pyramid
This is a recording of a man playing a flute in a pyramid. It is a double LP. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you it was recorded in 1976.