Listen, dear readers, I want to discuss the records that exist only in my mind. You know, the ones that would be perfect if you added one key component, or the ones that could never exist no matter what, but they should. Like if you poured glue all over the shitty Zeppelin record and then played it at 45 speed while the glue dried. Or if Alice Cooper scatted over Coltrane’s Ascension.
These, then, are those records.
While numbered, this order is contextual only—it can be rearranged by whim.
1. The King’s Singers cover Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced—instrumental tracks only.
The King’s Singers were a bunch of dorky Oxford graduates (or maybe they were Cambridge dweebs). Anyway, what they did was make really stilted a cappella arrangements of popular and traditional songs, and then they sung ‘em and recorded ‘em and sold ‘em to the masses. But what masses were buying these slabs of stridently stiff upper lip ridiculousness? That’s my point exactly. One of those masses was my dad, and he had a rule in his car, he’d let me play a cassette, and then he could. So for every daringly hip selection I made—Funkadelic lasted four minutes into Maggot Brain—he had a rather dreary classical piece, usually Mozart, usually played by some orchestra over there in Bavaria. But every now and then a glimmer would appear in his eye, and he’d slip in something goofy. And goofy doesn’t do justice to the King’s Singers. So, I always thought that Hendrix would have done better shutting the fuck up and showing off his guitar more and more. But wouldn’t the King’s singers have been better singing Hendrixian guitars in their black robes and their number 2 men’s haircuts? Yes. Press PLAY to continue.
2. Melvins’ Eggnog, extended play, featuring Ornette Coleman.
Yeah, Lorax, the bass player on this record, is fucking Shirley Temple’s daughter. So there’s that. Plus the lumbering pace of each sludge-filled selection lends itself to medicine cabinet lovers of the world. In fact, that might have been the alternate title—Medicine Cabinet devotees of the world unite! Slide in a dose of Ornette skronk every few moments, play it backwards, forwards, sideways, down, and you’ve got the best mash-up masterpiece of all time.
3. Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue with a chorus of cats screeching.
Fuck Miles Davis. I’m tired of that tinny ass goddamn trumpet. So add some cats, and man—you’ve got a whole roomful of Miles Davis skinning the fuzz off your eardrums.
4. Nina Simone and Screaming Jay Hawkins arguing while Hawkins’ version of “I Put a Spell on You” plays in the background.
Hawkins apparently keeps poking Simone in the chest because you hear her say, get your bony ass finger off of my tit, sonny. And then Hawkins starts trying to harmonize with the record, but he can’t because he’s high on glue and waffles.
5. Whichever Black Sabbath record you like best, with Hope Sandoval singing.
Yeah, metalheads are really annoying sometimes. But I’ve always loved Sabbath, especially because Ozzy sings/screams alright now in, like, every song, even on the records he’s not on! But imagine a doped-up LA chanteuse doing that, why don’t ya? Bliss.
6. Jay-Z and Sarah Jessica Parker duet on “Hard Knock Life.”
Carrie-what’s-her-name started out on Broadway, playing Annie, singing “Hard Knock Life” a fuckload. And it was right around the same time Jay-Z might have been running rocks in Bed-Stuy. So, you can see, getting these two together in my head was hardly much of a leap. I love show tunes. Guess what? So does Jay-Z!
7. Aretha Franklin, “Amazing Grace”—with Nigel Tufnel.
It could be any gospel recording, maybe even Mahalia, but since there is a book about this particular slab of divinity I think it’ll do. And Tufnel, of Spinal Tap fame, is about as devotional to music as any might-be chapeau salesman could be. So this is another no-brainer, as the vocals soar heavenly, Tufnel’s metallic arpeggios can only aid their rise. Celestial!
That’s it for now. Feel free to add your own slabs du kick ass. Why can’t these things happen today? Ask Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse. The bass line from “Mountain Song” mashed up with Bob Goulet is way more revelatory than the Grey Rekkid. Kick out the Dextromethorphan!