When the Rave-Ups played Cabaret Metro (Chicago) in 1990, they introduced themselves by saying we’re The Rave Ups from Pittsburgh, PA. They then launched into their biggest hit “Positively Lost Me” which in the middle of they did a brief but melodic cover of The Stones “The Last Time” that not only worked but was a great example of their talents. Unfortunately, there were about the same number of people in the crowd that night as there was when they played that same song in a scene from the movie Pretty In Pink.
These guys were an underground hit that came at the beginning of the rockabilly genre, though they were more rock than billy. Their first album, 1985’S Town and Country sold 40,000 copies and featured a map of suburban Pittsburgh on the inner sleeve, even though the band moved to L.A. just before it was released.
“Positively Lost Me” is the most recognizable of the songs (they never do say positively lost me in the song, the chorus is “you lost a lot when you lost me”), there are several other gems deeper in the recording. “Radio” got some play on the cooler and college radio stations. My personal fave is the cover of The Byrds –“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” which was written by Bob Dylan, but could have been in the top 40 from this version.
One of the many cool things about this album was hearing how much fun they had in writing and playing. As short as the final song “Rave-Up” is (1:52), so too were the careers of these garage band musicians who on this record sing about their car (“My Gremlin”), kids they didn’t like in high school (“Class Tramp”) and parents who tell them to turn the music down (If it’s too loud it’s not too late- lyric from “Radio).
This is a promising debut album from a talented group of kids that makes you feel great about knowing who they are, not great because too many others don’t know. Ironically, Fun Stuff records loaned the rights of “Positively Lost Me” to Rhino records for a compilation called ‘New Wave Hits of the 80’s, but the song was left off the soundtrack to the movie that featured them on stage.
You get the idea that front man Jimmer Podarsky could have done a longer record, given the title of their follow up (The Book of My Regrets). Town and Country is a great record (You can get it on Rhapsody label now, I paid $50 for a German import of the original from Fun Stuff Records)
– John Driscoll, Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Positively Lost Me (Podrasky) 5:07
- Remember (Newman’s Lovesong) (Podrasky) 2:59
- Better World (Podrasky) 4:48
- Class Tramp (Kaniecki, Podrasky) 3:38
- In My Gremlin (Kaniecki, McGrath, Podrasky) 2:18
- Radio (Podrasky) 5:22
- By the Way (Podrasky) 3:31
- Not Where You’re at (But Where You Will Be) (Podrasky) 3:52
- You Ain’t Going Nowhere (Dylan)4:26
- Rave up/Shut Up (Leonard, Podrasky) 1:52
The Rave Ups
- Tom Blatnik -Bass
- Timothy Jimenez -Drums, Percussion
- Jimmer Podrasky – Guitar, Vocals
- Terry Wilson – Bass, Guitar, Vocals
- “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow – Pedal Steel