Hello my little chickadees, and welcome to “Somebody Likes It.” Each week, we gather to talk about an album that, while very important to a lot of people, none of us really know that well. This doesn’t mean that said record is a cult classic, nay dear reader, as our intent is quite contrary to that line of thinking.
Bandwagonesque was the record we knew, framed by the apparently unforgivable historical fact that any band with any album might edge Nirvana's Nevermind for an Album of the Year designation. That happened. Some still haven't gotten past it. Voting on things brings controversy.
But this isn't that album. It's not even that argument.
Here we canvass Grand Prix, widely regarded as perhaps the pinnacle of Teenage Fanclub's jangly alt-pop catalogue: not so breakneck as the racer on the cover might suggest, not as European either, come to think of it. But it does sound like a band accelerating in pursuit of the act they're meant to be. Breathtaking, dynamic, harmonious. Buckle up.
I wanted this album to be worse than it was. I begrudgingly admit there are some solid Rock And Roll songs on it. Coming from someone that HATES mainstream capital R "Rock and Roll" from 19-whenever-through-2000-yeah-still-sucks, that is a solid head-nod.
Fats Waller, son of a minister and a musician, kidnapped star of Al Capone's birthday party, and Satchmo / Pops / Louis Armstrong, perhaps the most bedrock figure in the history of American jazz, may have only played together a handful of times during Waller's lifetime before he passed in 1943. But there's little question the stride pianist and buoyant trumpeter were tuned in to the same human channel.