Monday, April 24, 2023

Secret live appearance/Wild Carnation/Brenda Sauter

Long-time Friend of Tape Mountain Chris emailed and asked if I wanted to be a game show contestant at a live podcast taping at Passages Bookshop. Of course. All the questions come from 1930s-era trivia books. FOTM Ned R. was also there doing a podcast about J.R.R. Tolkien. Ned is serious about J.R.R.T. - the first thing I saw when I entered the grad-student apartment I would share with him in 1995 was a pen-and-ink drawing of Mr. Tolkien himself. Serious!

Aquarium Drunkard's email list noted that Wild Carnation's album Tricycle was getting a reissue. I had somehow completely missed the boat on this 1994 album* featuring the bassist from the Feelies Mk. II. I checked it out on the YouChoob and it turns out to be totally great, an oversized jangly comfy sweater, the apple that didn't fall far from the tree.

And it helped me realize that I had highly underestimated Ms. Sauter. Her bass playing was always there and I always enjoyed it, but I had never put her on my list of great bassists. But she is great! Her bass playing helped propel the Feelies and Wild Carnation's music, kept it in constant motion, but it was never showy in the sort of way that drew attention to itself. Hearing this album (and comparing and contrasting with some contemporaneous-ish Wake Ooloo stuff) helped me realize what a crucial piece she is/was/will be.

*To be fair, I was in Peak College Radio Mode at that point, so I should have been aware? I don't think I would have ever been too cool for a Feelies offshoot. Maybe the record label didn't send promos to radio stations who, as my favorite promo said, featured "more power than most light bulbs!"