Thursday, June 16, 2011

Microgenres - Niche Compilations

I've written about my own mix CDs, but I haven't yet delved into compilation records and CDs here.  I think the first compilation I bought was Columbia Records' "Exposed: A Cheap Peak at Today's Provocative New Rock".  It's a double-album and I think it was $3.98 or maybe even cheaper.  In 1981 I don't think I had heard of most of the artists on the record (Judas Priest, The Romantics, and Steve Forbert were probably the exceptions), but it featured Loverboy, Adam and the Ants, Ian Gomm, and the Boomtown Rats among others.  I discovered the Psychedelic Furs later in the year from the quickly released followup, aptly titled "Exposed II: A Cheap Peak at Today's Provocative New Rock".  These records were legitimately a cheap peak at what was then an unkown genre for me, but it was a very broadly and sloppily defined genre.

I still love compilations, but I've gotten a lot more finicky about microgenres and niches.  As promised, I'm providing more commentary on the track list of my most recent mix CD, Nothing But Good Things #46.  Following The Mountain Goats, I featured two songs from compilation CDs I recently bought at Amoeba.  The compilations Rock-a-Billy Choo Choo from Buffalo Bop and Roots of Chica from Barbes Records explored 1950s train songs and psychedelic cumbias from Peru ('68-'78) respectively.  The two compilations feature a total of 47 songs combined.  I don't actually have any desire to listen to either of them start to finish, but once loaded onto my iPod, I am very pleased to have them each showing up regularly on random play.

Beyond the two tracks I put on my mix CD, my second favorites from each record were Juaneco Y Su Combo's "Me Robaron Mi Runa Mula" and Stan Johnson's "Big Black Train".  I may need to quibble about the fact that Rock-a-Billy Choo Choo does not feature one of my all-time favorite 50s train songs, Jimmy Dale's "Tennessee Ghost Train".  I think that's from 1953 and may qualify more as hillbilly music rather than Rock-a-Billy music, which might explain it's exclusions.  Then again, it might just be a copyright issue, and they already found 30 songs in this tiny microgenre for goodness sakes.

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