Monday, September 15, 2008

The Rhino Replacements Reissues - Installment #1: Tim

If you've been keeping up with my ramblings, you know that Rhino is reissuing the four Replacements records from their Sire years. And there was much rejoicing. I had feared that it would be most of the stuff from the Nothing For All record tagged on to the end of pertinent releases. There is some rehashing, but also some bona fide vault stuff that even the most seasoned Net trawler would be interested in. Trust me, you want it.

The first of the re-issues, chronologically, is Tim. It's the last record with Bob and was produced by Tommy Ramone nee Erdelyi. The reissue fans the flames of the question that has haunted me for nigh on twenty years: Is Tim my favorite Replacements record or is it Let It Be? The two records, along with Pleased To Meet Me comprise the legendary holy trinity of Mats-dom. No band could remain unsigned after releasing a record as amazing as Let It Be. The boys did try admirably, of course, but even one of their drunkest CBs shows ever couldn't put Seymour Stein off the scent. Tim was released on Sire in October 1985 and the rest is history.

The first time I saw The Replacements was at the Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY. The Chance was the only oasis of smaller rock nearby, a bottle's throw from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center where I saw my first metal shows. I was too young to get into the Chance, which prompted me to fall back on the customary eventuality that occurred until my mid-thirties: Go with my Dad. My Dad is a great man and has great taste in music. As I recall, it didn't even take too much harassment to get him to agree. Either way, we turned up early and saw Agit-pop open (poorly). Little did I know how significant the band would prove fifteen or so years down the line, but that's a story for another day.

Agitpop wrapped up and roadies began to set up and line check the Mats gear. The lights dimmed and a roadie came out and placed three cases of Heineken in front of the drum riser. The band shuffled down the stairs from the dressing room looking a bit worse for wear. Tommy's green Rickenbacker was covered with Mr. Yuk anti-poison stickers while Paul sported his customary sunburst Jr. He shuffled up to the mike and said," Well, I guess we'll just play some" and kicked into Bastards Of Young. It was the first time I ever heard the song and honestly one of the most significant experiences in my life.

When I bought the record, I, of course started with Side Two, as Bastards Of Young led the flip-side off. When I finally bought Tim on cd, it always fucked with me, as I could never see why the band would open the record with Hold My Life, when side two was so obviously superior. Of course, flipping the order has the record closing with Swingin Party rather than Here Comes A Regular, a shuffling of cosmic proportions for many a Mats fan. I feel more than justified in my reshuffling.

Tim is truly a classic record, one unparalleled by any band since. The closing trio of Left Of The Dial, Little Mascara and Here Comes A Regular deals a death blow instantly to any potential rival. The reissue adds six bonus tracks: alternate versions of Waitress In The Sky and Regular, a demo of Kiss Me On The Bus and Can't Hardly Wait, plus Nowhere Is My Home, whose signature riff launched the mighty Superchunk. I couldn't be more grateful. Twenty-three years on, it's still wonderful to hear in my house. Now, if only it had Answering Machine on it.

Buy the reissue of Tim here. You need it. They are doing vinyl, too, dork.

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