The Replacements “Tim”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day(#385 in the Series) is The Replacements, Tim

The barstool I happened to be sitting on was half a dozen steps inside Geno and Carlo’s, an “old school”, cash only bar in the heart of the Italian section of San Francisco known as North Beach, or as the locals prefer to call the area,” Naughty North Beach”. The drink of choice was a Makers Mark Manhattan straight up with two stemmed cherries. The clientele of this particular watering hole is a sublime mosh pit of professional types, Goth chicks, drunken homeless dudes, artists, and musicians. The atmosphere is more Woodstock than Altamont, with a definite “Star Wars bar scene” vibe to the entire proceedings.

I was nursing my second Manhattan, engaging in casual conversation with my barstool neighbors, when I was approached by a Fred Flinstonish looking guy wearing a John Deere baseball hat and a scarf in the colors of the Italian flag. His name was Eric, he was from Atherton which is one of THE most affluent cities in the San Francisco Bay area, but I decided not to hold that against him. As it often does in these types of social situations, the conversation turned to music. I have found over the years that a great conversational ice breaker is to ask someone what their five favorite songs are. This seemingly benign question is actually harder than it sounds. People tend to over think the question and have trouble condensing their internal data base of great songs down to five. His selections were what I would have expected from someone in his early 30’s and included songs by Prodigy, The Beastie Boys, The Dropkick Murphy’s, and surprisingly an Allman Brothers song that was not “Ramblin’ Man” (Whipping Post). All in All, it was a pretty solid group of songs.

It was then that I was thrown a curve ball. I had played the “Fave Five” game with probably over 50 people over the years and no one had ever asked me that simple, basic, follow-up question. “So, what are your five favorite songs?” I was asked for the first time.
For the record, your favorite songs can change with maturity, your mood, songs you have recently heard or re-heard, or as in my case, on this night, your particular level of intoxication. For the record the five songs I put out in the atmosphere were in no particular order:

  • Come a Little Closer (The Willie Deville Version)
  • My Stunning Mystery Companion (Jackson Browne)
  • Time Waits For No One (Rolling Stones)
  • Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson)
  • Here Comes a Regular (The Replacements)

I was so proud of my list and the reaction it received from Eric and those listening around us that I decided to celebrate with a new round of drinks, one for me, and one for my new BFF.

As I performed a pirouette on my barstool that the Black Swan would envy and spun around to summon the bar keep, I caught out of the corner of my left eye a young man that had just arrived and sat down between me and the empty barstool next to me. His girlfriend was sitting to his left with her right hand between his shoulder blades and her left hand resting on his left arm. Her posture was consoling, and his was kind of dazed and melancholy. In his hands he was holding a record album. The bottom of the album was pressed down firmly on the bar top. His left and right hands were gripping each side of the album almost in the classic drivers education style 10:00 and 02:00 position. The man’s eyes were fixed straight ahead not looking at the album so much, but more like looking through the album, past the cardboard, to some unknown garden where he was lost in his own thoughts.

What caught my attention first was the dramatic color contrast from the brilliant purple that was the primary cover on the upper ¼ of the album, and the dull gray over the bottom portion of the cover. Then of course, there was the name of the band in bright yellow block letters on the lower left, and the name of the album in cursive yellow in the upper right corner. It was of course the album Tim, by the Replacements.

Predicting that Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were not going to be walking in the door anytime soon to explain this psychic X Files phenomenon to me, I decided to use a more logical approach to figure out what I was witnessing. Perhaps figuring the mathematical odds would yield a logical explanation. What were the odds of?

  1. A random person asking me my top five songs (It had never happened previously)
  2. Someone in 2011 bringing an actual record album to a bar. Not a CD, but a vinyl record.
  3. That this person would sit virtually next to me.
  4. Me, verbalizing to a group of people that “Here Comes a Regular” was in my top five.
  5. And finally that “Here Comes a Regular” would be song number 11 on the album that was now standing erect four feet to my left.

At this point my abacus was about ready to explode, so, feeling a bit awkward intruding on what was obviously a poignant moment the couple was sharing, I decided to ask them how it had come to pass that they would bring this album to this bar on this night. It turns out that the man, John, had just left the home funeral service of a close friend. As part of his friends last wishes, everyone that attended his service was to choose on album from his vast collection that meant something to them. John chose the Replacements fourth full length album, “Tim”.

I have listened to this album many times since that night, analyzing it every which way, trying to find the deep meaning to the proceedings. “Tim” is full of songs referencing death (Party Down The Line and Hold My Life), alienation (Here Comes a Regular), and contains the Alternative Rock National Anthem (Left of the Dial). But, after five or so listens it still wasn’t coming to me. I couldn’t figure out why John had chosen this particular album. Finally after my 10th or so listen I figured it out. The answer was not paranormal, spiritual, or even blowin’ in the wind. The answer my friend is that it is one Damn Good album.

Walt Falconer

Track listing

All songs written by Paul Westerberg, except as indicated.

Side one

  1. “Hold My Life” – 4:18
  2. “I’ll Buy” – 3:20
  3. “Kiss Me on the Bus” – 2:48
  4. “Dose of Thunder” (Chris Mars, Tommy Stinson, Westerberg) – 2:16
  5. “Waitress in the Sky” – 2:02
  6. “Swingin’ Party” – 3:48

Side two

  1. “Bastards of Young” – 3:35
  2. “Lay It Down Clown” – 2:22
  3. “Left of the Dial” – 3:41
  4. “Little Mascara” – 3:33
  5. “Here Comes a Regular” – 4:46

Personnel

  • Chris Mars – Drums, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Paul Westerberg – Guitar, Piano, Vocals
  • Bob Stinson – Guitar
  • Tommy Stinson – Guitar (Bass)
  • Alex Chilton – Additional Production and Vocals on “Left of the Dial”
  • Tommy Erdelyi – Producer
  • Steven Fjelstad – Producer, Engineer
  • Jack Skinner – Mastering
  • Robert Longo – Artwork

Links

Listen to Tim via the Cool Album of the Day MySpace Page

Back to the Cool Album Home Page

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. coachmaddog (27 May 2011, 9:21)
    Reply

    Their masterpiece. Bastards of Young is a classic!



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