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Match the song title: Kerosene Hat

I'm still plugging away at the 1993 Upper Deck blog despite readership in the tiny numbers.
I still haven't figured out how to get it to update on my blog roll, and I know that's keeping people from finding it (though now that the thumbnails have reappeared maybe I should try again. EDIT: Tried again and it works! It's A MIRACLE). But I'll stay on course as long as I have the energy.
There will be another post up on there in a couple of days. I like reliving that year as it's one of those ones from the past that is epic to me. I'm sure we all have some of those. I have more than one. 1983 is a big one. So is 1987. So is 1998. 
1993 is special for me because of the Upper Deck card set, of course, but it's also the year that the light bulb went on over my head in my chosen profession and I started to have some direction. It's also one of the great music years in my life.
Turning away from radio fodder, with the help of a few co-workers, I found '90s alternative music, not necessarily Nirvana or Pearl Jam, that was never my scene, but other bands that you would find on "120 Minutes." I'd go to the local college record store and stock up on CDs (if I knew I'd like it) or cassettes (if I wasn't sure). Some of those I got:

Star - Belly
Last Splash - The Breeders
Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk - The The
So Tonight That I Might See - Mazzy Star
Republic - New Order

I know there were others, but those are what I remember/still own. One day, after catching Cracker's "Low" on 120 Minutes a time or two (the video where Sandra Bernhard knocks out lead singer David Lowery in a boxing match), I trudged over to the record store on the main drag and brought the CD to the counter.

Very rarely has the record store clerk ever commented on my purchases in the history of buying records/tapes/CDs but this guy did. I don't remember exactly what he said but in current parlance it was "every song's a banger."

I was thrilled. You never knew what you were going to get buying albums back then. If you were lucky some FM station would play the whole album shortly after release but that was usually only for superstar bands. You had to buy it and then decide if you liked it, not vice versa.

So I listened to it and I liked it, it was my favorite album of 1993. It's maybe not a critic-darling record but it's in my wheelhouse. I still gravitate toward stuff like alternative country/alternative rock and the early '90s is where I began to realize that (all those years of listening to REM in the '80s didn't ring a bell with me).

This period of my music journey is about the only one (besides current stuff) that I haven't covered with the Match the Song Title series (I suppose the Cranberries one was close), so let's give that time a fair shake.

Put on your Kerosene Hat -- though it's not that freakin' cold yet -- and join me, track by track.

Match the Song Title: Kerosene Hat - Cracker

Track 1: Low: There are several "Lowes" in Major League Baseball currently and I always get confused on how each one pronounces his last name, so let's go with one I know. He's a former Dodger and he's shown signing for fans. Good enough.

And here's one from the 2008 Dodgers team set, these cards always freak out dedicated set-collectors.

Track 2: Movie Star: Chuck Connors is more well-known for being "The Rifleman" on TV and he acted in a number of movies. But he also played a couple of seasons of major league baseball, chiefly with the Cubs.

That does not seem like a photograph.

Connors also played in one game for the Dodgers, so he's in the 1990 Target set. I have his card on an uncut sheet right here.

Track 3: Get Off This: The other song off the CD that received a decent amount of play. This was the most difficult match for me in this exercise. Look at how good Miguel Tejada is at getting off that ground.

Track 4: Kerosene Hat: This card is from the 1953 Bowman Firefighters set. There isn't much explanation on the card for the random "Keep Away From Kerosene Lamps!" headline.
The album title refers to two of the band members' earlier days when they had little money and lived in an old, rundown house with two kerosene heaters. To get more oil, they would walk in the cold to the gas station, wearing what they called a "kerosene hat."

Track 5: Take Me Down To the Infirmary: Nice to have a designated "team hospital" as this stamped '81 Gorman Thomas card says.

Track 6: Nostalgia: I could pick any card from 1974-78 for a quick hit of nostalgia. The 1974 cards that my brother and I had during that first year of possessing baseball cards are instant nostalgia. I don't remember more than five of them probably but Bob Oliver is one.

Track 7: Sweet Potato: Nothing quite as amazing as dressing like a skinned sweet potato for a ball game.

Track 8: Sick of Goodbyes: Yup. Sick of them all.

Track 9: I Want Everything: The card collector's anthem! My mind went right to the guy hoarding 1964 Topps Curt Flood cards. I mentioned it about a year ago. This one will always be mine.

Track 10: Lonesome Johnny Blues: Johnny looks lonesome, and a little raggedy (and scribbled upon).

Here's some company:

(Photo suitably crooked).

Track 11: Let's Go For a Ride: The back description on this card is terrific: "... A solid, spirited car. Front sway bar. Power steering. Power front disc brakes. Wall-to-wall carpeting!" The '70s fascination with carpeting is not something I ever understood. Also it says that the rear window defroster is optional. It is not optional in the northeast, buddy.

Track 12: Loser: The Major League team with the worst all-time won-loss percentage is the Marlins, sorry smiling Marlins guys. They are at .462 and the Padres at .465.

This is the point of the CD, if you weren't paying attention, or thought the CD was over, you missed some stuff. '90s bands loved putting hidden tracks on their CDs and there are a couple on this one. After a 41-second bit of noise called "Hi-Desert Biker Meth Lab" there are 54 "tracks" of 3 or 4 seconds of silence until you get to Track 69 (nice).

Track 69: Eurotrash Girl: I loved this song when I found it, it's an 8-minute tale about a guy's misfortune traveling through Europe. Katarina Van Derham is from Slovakia and apparently the longest-running St. Pauli Girl.

Track 71: I Ride My Bike: After another couple seconds of silence, this track appears. Remember when everyone got all gooey about Ben Zobrist riding his bike to Wrigley Field? There was a Topps Now card of this for some reason.

And that's where the needle comes off the record (or laser off the CD).

I hadn't listened to this CD in a long time. I don't really have a device to play CDs anymore, sadly. So I called it up on my favorite streaming device and it still holds up for me. Critics liked to say that Cracker was not as good as Camper Van Beethoven, Lowery's previous band, but it's a solid album, just like the record store clerk said.

And '93 Upper Deck is a solid set. Give it a read sometime. The posts are really short, so it won't take up your time. Not like this thing.


I forgot all about Cracker. I listen to several Belly songs a week to this day. King was a great follow-up to Star; and Tanya Donnelly's solo album Love Songs for Underdogs has some great tracks on it. And if you can find her beautifully slow and croon-y "Moon Over Boston", please do.
John Bateman said…
Thats Funny. I have about 5 Benchwarmer cards in my collection - that I bought on ebay about 15 years ago. One of them is a 2005 card of Katarina Van Derham. The back said she appeared in Monk and CSI. She looks a little older on this card but the card is in great shape.

I think CSI Miami had the song by the Who - Won't get fooled again.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Really wish you could still buy 5-disc CD changers… I should probably hit Good Will.
GTT said…
I actually really like 1990s music, and I like songs from all six 1993 bands you mentioned.
Brett Alan said…
I never got into Cracker. I did meet The The once, though!
defgav said…
Love me some Cracker. Their previous album with "Happy Birthday to Me" and "Teen Angst" was among the first dozen or so CDs I ever bought.
Matt said…
Wow. I hadn't thought about Cracker in a long time. "Get Off This" is such a great song. I feel the need to play this album on Spotify now....
Jafronius said…
I was a college freshman at the fall of 94. I had reconnected with an elementary school friend and subsequently became good friends with his roommate. He bought this cd after hearing Low on the radio and we instantly became big fans. Loved Eurotrash Girl as well.
Doc Samson said…
Living in Chicago my entire life, I got my first job in advertising at, wait for it, a Chicago advertising agency in 1993. It seemed like everyone on my floor listened to The Smashing Pumpkins. Except me, of course. I’ll always be a classic rock guy, save for Garbage and The Foo Fighters. Also strange but true: Wesley Snipes’ cousin was in the office next to me (a very nice woman) and Viggo Mortenson’s cousin was down the hall from me. Sorry for the name dropping.
night owl said…
To join you in name-dropping, Viggo Mortenson graduated from the high school that is three streets down from me.
Alan Deakins said…
-Collecting '64 Topps right now. Had forgot about the whole Curt Flood thing with the hoarder. Doesn't seem to really be a thing anymore, card is still overpriced but attainable. Had a couple of Cracker albums in the 90s and saw them later about 2000 in Chicago with Soul Asylum, weird at the time.
1984 Tigers said…
I recall a few of the names listed here but don't remember Cracker. Graduated from college in mid 80s. Remembered a few bands back then either with one big hit or maybe one big album. MR. Mister, Scritti Politti, Ratt, Y&T, Timex Social Club, Stacey Q, Rockwell, etc. Interesting to find out some of these groups still play and seem to draw decent crowds.
Doc Samson said…
@NightOwl Mr. Owl, your name-dropping is always welcomed. Viggo’s cousin unfortunately had a medical condition that made him sometimes shake uncontrollably. To his credit, he overcame this challenge and functioned as a productive employee.

Even more name-dropping: John C. Reilly was two years ahead of me at my high school. REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin also went to my high school years before me, and one time Reds manager Pete Mackanin, too. (What wonderful Topps cards Pete had in the 1970’s.)
Fuji said…
1992 to 1994 was a great period for music... or maybe I just remember it so fondly b/c I spent so much time hanging out at record stores like Tower Records and Streetlight Records in between studying and writing papers.

Out of those six albums you listed, I owned 5 of them (on CD) at one time or another. The only one I didn't own was The The.

I still have a CD changer in my car... so whenever I get tired of sports radio, I'll listen to one of my CD's.
Jon said…
I never could get into Cracker. What's funny though is that my mom really liked (and still does) the band, and used to play their cassettes in the car fairly often.