And now for something completely different. I Hate CD’s offers a whopping 45 cuts from the vaults of “Wild Rock” specialists Norton Records. The selections span 5 decades or so of garage, rockabilly, psychobilly, power-pop, and other flavors of rock’n'roll. (Norton Records celebrated their 20th anniversary last year, but they’ve unearthed and reissued many obscure classics — starting with Hasil Adkins — from the ’50s through right now.)
There are plenty of legendary names scattered through this set, like ? and the Mysterians, Big Star, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Ramones, Doug Sahm, and Link Wray. But even the familiar names offer some surprises. The versions of Big Star’s “September Gurls?” and Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”? Completely different recording from those on Radio City and Ramones. Better yet, there’s tons of artists and songs you’ve probably never heard unless you’re already an obsessive devotee of Norton.
I usually feel kind of itchy if I spend too much time listening to music that’s not new, but I made it all the way through this set with ease. The sequencing could be based on Norton’s release dates (not sure), but it’s not at all related to recording dates, so the discs skip around in time. It was cool that I couldn’t always tell if I was listening to an obscure vintage classic (Yo La Tengo really should tackle Shades of Night’s “Fluctuation” if they haven’t already) or a more recent act (The Hentchmen don’t sound very 90’s).
This collection is only available as a digital download. I wish I could pore over extensive liner notes on the sessions and reproductions of the original sleeves and such, but good golly, it’s cheap. You can get it from eMusic, Amazon, or iTunes Music Store (I can’t figure out how to link directly to ITMS).
I can hardly wait for Volume II. I can’t wait … hardly wa-it. I can’t wait, hardly wait.