Mixtape Memories – Volume 2

After more than two years of searching, I finally found a box of mixtapes in my parents’ garage. These are mixtapes my dad made me as a kid, and they were my gateway into music. So I’ve been listening to them in the cassette deck of my Honda, and each week I’ll go through and share my opinions on the songs and my memories from the time I received them as gifts. I’ll try not to get too emotional.

Kip Unplugged
Recorded May 1995

1. The Beach Boys – “Barbara Ann”
2. Chuck Berry – “Reelin’ and Rockin’”
3. The Champs – “Tequila”
4. Richie Valens – “La Bamba”
5. The McCoys – “Hang On Sloopy”
6. The Troggs – “Wild Thing”
7. Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels – “Devil with the Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly”
8. The Righteous Brothers – “Little Latin Lupe Lu”
9. The Isley Brothers – “Shout”
10. The Beach Boys – “I Get Around”
11. Michael Jackson – “Rockin’ Robin”
12. Robert Gordon and Link Wray – “Sea Cruise”
13. The Contours – “Do You Love Me?”
14. The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”
15. Thurston Harris – “Little Bitty Pretty One”
16. Hank Ballard – “Finger Poppin’ Time”

1. Huey Lewis and the News – “Mother-in-Law”
2. The Georgia Satellites – “Hippy Hippy Shake”
3. Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs – “Wooly Bully”
4. Booker T. & the MG’s – “Green Onions”
5. The Beatles – “Rock and Roll Music”
6. The Safaris – “Wipe Out”
7. Mary Wells – “My Guy”
8. The Rascals – “Good Lovin’”
9. John Fogerty – “Centerfield”
10. The Romantics – “What I Like About You”
11. DEVO – “Whip It”
12. Harold Faltermeyer – “Axel F”
13. Kool & the Gang – “Celebration”
14. Donna Summer – “Hot Stuff”
15. Hammer – “Addams Groove”
16. The Georgia Satellites – “Hippy Hippy Shake”

Apparently I didn’t get another tape for two-and-a-half years. I’m going to assume I was too busy watching Animaniacs and playing with my action figures. The first side is all songs recorded prior to 1980. I was really into oldies at this point, which makes sense. Most oldies are pretty safe for young ears. Well, all except Chuck Berry’s “Reelin’ and Rockin’,” which is easily one of the dirtiest songs ever recorded. Like the Grease songs on the first tape, it all flew over my head until I got older. The only duds on this side are The Righteous Brothers’ completely disposable “Little Latin Lupe Lu” and Robert Gordon’s lifeless version of “Sea Cruise,” which does the great Link Wray a disservice. His “hoo-wee”s have zero emotion. But the rest of the tracks are certified classics, including “I Want You Back” and “Shout,” which would probably be in my personal Top 25.

The second side has probably the best run of any tape my dad ever recorded. It’s great track after great track, right up until the end, when the ’90s rears its ugly head. Surely one of the worst songs ever written for a movie, MC Hammer (referred to simply as Hammer) incoherently raps about the Addams Family. There were lots of tie-ins when that movie came out, but it’s hard to think of a musician more out-of-sync with the creepy, cooky and altogether ooky Addams Family than Oakland’s own Stanley Burrell. The only thing that makes less sense is why I enjoyed Donna Summer’s inappropriate disco hit at the age of six. My guess is I heard it at the skating rink (good ol’ Texas Skatium), which isn’t helping my case exactly.

Best Track on Side One: The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”
Best Track on Side Two: Booker T. & the MG’s – “Green Onions”

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