Wednesday, July 18, 2007

For My Friend Trip On His Fiftieth Birthday

Today marks a milestone for my writing partner. It was exactly one half-century ago that he arrived in the world, more or less simultaneously with the birth of the rock and roll era, and I don’t think it was mere coincidence. The man was made for these times.

As some of you know, despite undertaking this venture together for nearly a year, Trip and I have never actually met. Kindred spirits, we’re bound by common interests – rock and roll, college hoops, our families – despite being separated by half a continent and half a generation. Still, I feel like I’ve known him forever, and as this day approached, I thought hard about how to best commemorate it.

There’s a moment in High Fidelity when Rob, looking for purpose after his break-up with Laura, decides to arrange his albums autobiographically, in the order in which he bought them. “I pull the records off the shelf, put them in piles all over the sitting room floor,” he says, “look for Revolver, and go from there; and when I’m finished, I’m flushed with a sense of self, because this, after all, is who I am.” I have endeavored to do something similar for Trip, who, despite a far greater domestic contentment than Rob, has found deep meaning in the soundtrack of his life.

What I’ve come up with is 100 songs spanning 50 years. One song from 1957, the year of Trip’s birth, one from 2007, and two from each year in between, arranged chronologically. No artist appears more than once, and that includes artists in different incarnations. Uncle Tupelo isn’t here because Wilco and Son Volt are, and Rod Stewart’s presence ensures The Faces’ absence. The hope is to account for as broad a range of expression as possible in the limited space allowed.

The goal also is to reflect Trip’s sensibilities as accurately as possible, without respect to any historical rock orthodoxy. That’s why Badfinger’s “No Matter What” made the cut for 1970, and Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” did not (Van was but one of many regrettable casualties; earlier this week, and too late for inclusion, I learned the special place David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” holds for Trip). Still, if anything, the songs cling too close to consensus. There are not nearly enough of the sorts of bubble-gummy one-hitters that he so notoriously loves.

Trip is already intimately familiar with most of the music here. Any effort to capture the man without “In My Life” or something from Every Picture Tells a Story, Late For the Sky or My Aim Is True would fail. So the obvious choices are here, and from about 1965 to 1986 or so, I think I’ve pretty much nailed him cold. But I’ve taken a certain artistic license with some of the rest, in those years in which I’m not so certain, and have given my best interpretation of the man. Does he love “This Song” by Ron Sexsmith? I don’t know, we haven’t talked about it; I’m not even sure he knows the tune. But it seems like one that he’d love, and I’m willing to wager he does.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll catch a flight to Philadelphia, where I will present the collection to Trip in person. And after catching sets by Bob Mould, Cracker, Fountains of Wayne and the Fratellis, we’ll make our way to a watering hole, where we will hoist a pint or two to birthdays and friendship, and perhaps to Craig Finn and Feargal Sharkey. And when the next round comes, we’ll hoist one to you in thanks for sharing this space with us.

(Special thanks to our friends Mary Z. and Lou P. for their input on song selection, and to Lou for the ridiculously fantastic cover designs)

Based On a True Story: Fifty Years of Trip McClatchy

Disc One

Buddy Holly and the Crickets – Not Fade Away

Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
Little Richard – Good Golly Miss Molly

Ray Charles – What’d I Say
Chan Romero – Hippy Hippy Shake

Barrett Strong – Money (That’s What I Want)
Everly Brothers – Cathy’s Clown

Dreamlovers – When We Get Married
Elvis Presley – Little Sister

Booker T & the MGs – Green Onions
The Drifters – Up on the Roof

Kingsmen – Louie Louie
Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire

Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby
Kinks – All Day and All of the Night

Beatles – In My Life
Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

Bob Dylan – Visions of Johanna
Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long

The Who – I Can See For Miles
The Doors – Soul Kitchen

The Band – We Can Talk

Listen to "We Can Talk"

Disc Two

Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along the Watchtower

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising
Velvet Underground – Pale Blue Eyes

Badfinger – No Matter What
Jackson 5 – The Love You Save

Joni Mitchell – A Case of You
Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story

Rolling Stones – Loving Cup
Stevie Wonder – Superstition

Gram Parsons – Return of the Grievous Angel
Sly and the Family Stone – If You Want Me To Stay

Big Star – September Gurls
Jackson Browne – Late for the Sky

Patti Smith - Gloria
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

Graham Parker and The Rumour – Fool’s Gold

Disc Three

Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop

Elvis Costello – (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Television – Marquee Moon

Cheap Trick – Surrender
David Johansen - Frenchette

Undertones – Teenage Kicks
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Here Comes My Girl

The Clash – Clampdown
The Jam – Going Underground

X – The Once Over Twice
Pretenders – Message of Love

Marshall Crenshaw – Mary Anne
Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights

R.E.M. – Radio Free Europe
The Plimsouls – A Million Miles Away

U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)
Replacements – Answering Machine
Listen to "Answering Machine"

Disc Four

Run-D.M.C. – King of Rock
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?

Steve Earle – Someday
Dwight Yoakam – Guitars, Cadillacs

Prince – I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
John Hiatt – Have A Little Faith In Me

The Persuasions – Soothe Me
The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man
De La Soul – Say No Go

Sinead O’Connor – The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance
Neil Young – Days That Used To Be

Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend
Nirvana – In Bloom

Los Lobos – When the Circus Comes
Freedy Johnston – Trying to Tell You I Don’t Know

Disc Five

Liz Phair – Divorce Song
Urge Overkill – Sister Havana

Oasis – Cigarettes and Alcohol
Pavement – Gold Soundz

Son Volt – Windfall
Ben Folds Five – Alice Childress

Buzz Zeemer – Break My Heart
Wilco – I Got You (At The End of the Century)

Whiskeytown – Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight
Old 97’s – Barrier Reef

Lucinda Williams – Drunken Angel
Lauryn Hill – Every Ghetto, Every City

Fountains of Wayne – Amity Gardens
Beth Orton – Stolen Car

Marah – Point Breeze
Listen to "Point Breeze"

Disc Six

PJ Harvey – You Said Something

Alejandro Escovedo – Velvet Guitar
Ron Sexsmith – This Song

Bright Eyes – Lover I Don’t Have to Love
Beck – The Golden Age

Jesse Malin – Wendy
White Stripes – Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine

Rilo Kiley – Portions For Foxes
Drive-By Truckers – Carl Perkins’ Cadillac

New Pornographers – Sing Me Spanish Techno
The Hold Steady – Banging Camp

Scott McClatchy – Burn This
The Format – She Doesn’t Get It

The Ike Reilly Assassination – When Irish Eyes Are Burning


Reebs said...

I can't think of a better gift for Teeker...wish I'd thought of it.

PS - Where'd you get the picture??

Michael Atchison said...

Got the picture from Teek himself. He was easily (and clandestinely) manipulated for this project.

Kevin McClatchy said...

Great job, Michael. I hope to make your acquaintance one day.
Teek — Happy 50th. All hail Sink Man!

Shuggie said...

Goddamn Mike, what an incredible mix!

I was going to comment that 1966 looked like a golden year, then I saw 1972 and 1974 and 1977 and 1979 and 1983 and 1984 and 1997 and 2003 and 2005 and realized that it's a golden mix. Well done.

don said...

Great, great job!

(can we nitpick?) (nah) (oh what the heck, it's what I do)

I'd have gone with "Bittersweet" instead of "How Soon is Now" for Teek circa 1985.

Still, 99 out of 100 is pretty good ;)

-tom said...

Nice job !

I'll be around XPN fest all weekend
hope to meet you while you're here hanging out with Grandpa Teek.

Paula said...

Please let Trip know that Paula from XPN shares the same birthday, July 18. Happy belated to Trip!

donna said...

Wow, a perfect gift for a perfect friend.
Love and best wishes from Leech and his woman.
Welcome to the 50s. We saved you a seat.
Donna and John
Classy of '75

Satch said...


I can't wait to share a few pints with you and the 50 year old Geezer ... you are bringing CDs for everyone ... right? ;-)

Terri said...

If anyone has any complaints about this mix, they're outta there minds. Very awesome job!

Todd said...

You've chosen well, Mr Atchison.

I met Trip for the first time myself last weekend, with Shuggie and New Berg, in a dingy little dive in West Chester, watching another unknown band save Rock and Roll again.

He's a fine man, a prodigious purveyor of philosohical music prose and an unparalleled source of top-quality mix-CDs. Also, he doesn't cry when the last band comes on at quarter to one in the morning--he knows that it'll be worth the wait.

Happy 5-0 Mr Teek.

Vincent said...

To be 50 and have a loving wife and family, friends around the country and still discovering amazing new music. Who could have asked for more back in high school?

Still the man (kid)! Happy Birthday my friend!


Steve Arino said...

This is a great list which I am sure took a long time. I innocently ask if London Calling and Sound Affects did not come out in 79? Not trying to be a record geek, just too lazy to go check the album jackets. But wow what a project!

Ann said...

Phew. I didn't get something in my eye until I started reading the tracklist. Happy birthday, Teek, and many, many more. Great job, Michael - we should all have such friends.