Friday, December 24, 2021

#50 Hoodoo Gurus (+ the return of MusiCards, kinda)

Hoodoo Gurus are card #50 in the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards Super Stars set. They're a band I've heard of, but couldn't name a song of theirs for you as I begin drafting this post. The photo here is an awkward posed shot, with the cropping making it look like half the guys are very tall (or the other half very short).

That's a pretty big write-up, as far as these cards go, though still doesn't give you much of an idea what they sound like. As for the back picture, it's something we haven't see so far-- not a photo or a band name wordmark, but a photo negative transparency.

I'm listening to a mix of their songs right now and "Miss Freelove '69" just came on and I lit up. Love this song! Guess I had forgotten the artist. So yes, I do in fact know a Hoodoo Gurus song after all.

It was the first single off their fifth record Kinky that came out in early '91. (I can't be the first to think the singer looks a bit like actor Elijah Wood, right?) That was their last album to really grab "the adulation of college audiences" mentioned on the cardback, with their subsequent albums no longer gaining widespread attention in the post-Nevermind era.

But while they might not be well-known in the States these days, they're Hall of Famers in their native Australia. The band formed in Sydney in 1981 and are still active 40 years later, currently finishing up their tenth studio album. There's a pretty extensive Hoodoo Gurus Wikipedia entry if you wanna read up on them further.

Hoodoo Gurus - "The Right Time" (live at the 1994 Australian Recording Industry Association Awards)

Listening to their songs now, this stuff is right up my alley and I'm surprised I haven't heard more from them. So hey, this blog continues to help me find new things to listen to. Pretty cool.

Any of you regular readers familiar with the Hoodoo Gurus? Let me know in the comments if you've got any favorite songs of theirs.

The Return of MusiCards, kinda

Changing gears, 2021 saw the return of new ProSet Super Stars cards in the form of Leaf autographs. Yep, looks like the entrepreneur guy who bought the Leaf name also brought in the rights to ProSet, and 2021 Leaf Metal Pop Century features stickergraphs inspired by the early MusiCard promos.

The checklist is a dozen subjects deep, with a range of musicians (plus a couple ladies known more for their work in front of the camera but also do some signing.. so, close enough).

Debbie Gibson
Edwin McCain
Fetty Wap
Jesse McCartney
Lindsay Lohan
Mark McGrath
Sean Kingston
Tone Lōc
Traci Lords

I can't see myself trying to go after that entire set, but I figured I'd pick up a couple of them as extracurriculars for my MusiCards "master set" I've got going.

Lōc-ed After Dark, boasting the crossover hits "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina", was one of the first cassettes I ever bought with my own allowance money back as a young'un. Loved that album start to finish and still have a soft spot for it today, even if Tone hasn't done much to be proud of since Ace Ventura. He's got OG MusiCards so we'll talk more about him later, starting at card #137.

As for Traci Lords... well, she's a very attractive woman. She was pretty good in the 1990 John Waters movie Cry-Baby, which I think is the source material for this photo. Leaf really flooded the market with her autos this year, it seems, with Traci having a ton of different autos in 2021 Leaf Metal Pop Century.

I thought it'd be interesting to see these new cards side-by-side with original Pro Set Super Stars promo cards from 1990 that provided the inspiration. I think Leaf did a fine job on their revamp. The 2021 cards are refractors or prizms or whatever the Leaf-equivalent is for a card that's on a Chrome-like cardstock and gets some rainbow shine in the light. But anyways, there are many different parallels, as you could imagine.. various colors and/or sparkly action.

The backs are reasonably faithful to the originals, too. An alternate photo would have been a nice touch rather than repeating the front, but oh well.

And notice that the word "MusiCards" never appears on the 2021 versions? I wonder if perhaps that's a separate trademark that Leaf doesn't own? 

I personally would love to see Leaf show 1991 MusiCards some love, such as more new cards like these, but using the main, more familiar MusiCard design for current musicians, preferably a decent base set in addition to autos and even buyback autos of the 1991 cards. That would be cool, but I won't hold my breath.

This Month in 1991

Woo!, we've made it through the end of this year-long lookback at what my life was like as a middle school kid in 1991. Pretty sure this is the only childhood calendar I've held onto over the years. I must have had an inkling that someday I'd be writing a blog involving the year 1991, lol.

December '91 was a glorious month of no school for me.

My wife and I decided against having children of our own, and it's not often that I have any regrets about that, but if I had a kid of my own one thing I'd be excited about is celebrating St. Nick's Day. It's essentially a little bonus holiday where you put out your shoes in front of your bedroom door, and you'd awaken to them filled with stocking stuffers like little gifts and candy. At least that's how it went down at my house. Made me feel like hot shit to have a bonus gift-getting holiday that none of my friends knew about. High five, Mom! Always lots of fun "pre-funking" the holiday season, so to speak, though some years we forgot to do it. But we were on top of it in 1991, written in on 12/5.

Other than a painful trip to the gum doctor, Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for me, getting a new Nintendo game, Super C (Contra 2) and beating it later that day (surely with Genie codes, because that's not that easy of a game!). I also got a Play Ball puzzle that I finished the next day; I don't remember much about it but I think it was a generic baseball scene. Also on the 14th, another new video game with Adventure Island and we got a Christmas tree. Man, I haven't had a real Christmas tree in a long time! I don't miss the hassle, but it was kinda fun and the Christmasy smell is nice. The next day we decorated the tree and made cookies. Always loved getting creative decorating the Christmas cookies! "You bet your ass there's gonna be a rainbow turkey this year! Lots of red hots for wreath berries and tree ornaments!"

Baseball card relevance! I can say with no doubt that I got my first 1992 Donruss baseball cards on 12/19/91. That must've been a nice pick-me-up after the orthodontist tightening my braces that day.

Cracker - "Happy Birthday to Me" (this song was released in March '92, so hey, it was probably written in 1991)

On my birthday I went with my mom and possibly other family to the candle-lighting service at her church. I was never much into church, and I'd usually just go once a year for the Christmas Eve thing as like a "gift" for my mom (ok, and the 4th of July BBQ because the church was right across the street from the high school field where the local firework display launched).

Here's a photo of me and my haul from Christmas morning '91 (wearing a robe over the swapmeet bootleg Bart Simpson shirt that I used as pajamas for a while), though I can tell from other photos that this trove also includes birthday gifts from the day before. I think the Sears catalog offered 3-packs of team-branded soft cushion balls.. I mainly wanted Chicago for the Bulls b-ball that came with a plastic hoop you could install. (Not sure I ever got around to putting it up.) There are a few new video games here, including 4 for the Sega Master System and a pair of NES games with Double Dragon III showing. The big money items here are the Reggie Jackson signed plaque and baseball (I had picked them out earlier at the overpriced card/memorabilia shop in the mall). Reggie was "my guy" at the time, and it was pretty cool to now have his autograph (twice). I eventually sold the ball years later, but still have the plaque. Card-wise, we can see minor league team sets from 1990 Pro Cards (the wood border ones).. I think one is the Tulsa Drillers and there's one with Scott (Gavin) Erickson in the Twins chain. I don't see it visible, but I know I also got a Blue Jays affiliate team set with an early Carlos Delgado card (that I still own today) and a Phillies one with Mike Lieberthal as the top card. And behind some cash there's a box of Topps Traded.. I believe that's the recently-released 1991 Topps Traded set. Loved the Olympic cards in there, plus first Topps cards of Bagwell and Pudge. Finally, a 365 Sports Facts A Year desk calendar-- not sure I kept up with it for all of 1992, but might have. Oh, and I think that's a little mail-order "1991 draft picks" set behind the baseball. By the Sega games are some stocking stuffing, including candy plus my mom would often throw in crap like fruit and walnuts because that's the kind of stuff she got as a kid in her stocking and I guess she wanted to keep that tradition going... though I didn't care too much about getting oranges and nuts as gifts, lol.

We had Christmas dinner with family friend Ken, whom I talked a bit about back in the August calendar segment. I remember this as possibly the lowest-key Christmas of my life. My mom and I just hanging out with a buddy in his small apartment, not the usual big family meal I was more used to with Christmas music playing and lots going on. But it was still a good time. I think we all played a board game together.

I ripped my first 1992 Topps on 12/28/91, then New Years Eve was celebrated at a party of a friend-of-a-family-friend in a real nice house in Leucadia, a fancy beach community Encinitas. I remember some epic hide-and-seek games on the property with the other kids. Honestly, it was so much fun, it's one of those memories I'd like to tap into in a crazy sci-fi way to relive again!

And so it's fitting I closed out 1991 on a high note. It really was a great year for me. I probably should have posted more photos in this segment over the year, and maybe then it would have helped it resonate a bit better. But the thing is, 1991 was me in peak "awkward stage" with bad acne, braces, questionable fashion and hair choices... so there's not a ton of shots I'm eager to share with the internet.

Thanks For a Great Year

But anyways, thanks for indulging me these past 12 months. I'm never going to "write my memoirs" or anything like that, so rambling about my childhood on a blog a couple dozen guys will ever read helps me feel like I've "told my story" to some degree, and there's some record of my life floating around somewhere in space after I'm gone. Again, no kids for me, so this saga will not produce a sequel to carry on the tale. But I'm just late night rambling, perhaps having partaken in something recreational this evening, on the night of my last day before the big 44. (Always been a favorite number of mine.. Aaron! Reggie! McCovey!)

Back a year ago I said I wanted to do a big year-long contest type thing to thank the folks who take a moment to read and comment on the blog. I'm not sure if anyone remembers who was gonna call me on it, but even though my grand plans haven't come together yet, I'm still intending to make good on my word and formerly thank the top commenting people with a little something.

Time to scan through the posts from the past year and confirm who are the folks who commented on the majority of the posts. With 15 posts, that means commenting on 8 or more posts got you onto the winners' podium.

drum roll...

Fuji and Night Owl tied for the title of top commenter, followed closely by Brett Alan and Billy Kingsley.

Special thanks to you four guys for engaging and being generous enough to share your thoughts here at least 50% of the time! You're going on my nice list and I'll get something neat sent your respective ways soon to show my appreciation.

You other readers are still appreciated, don't get me wrong!, but please don't be shy to chime in with your perspective on these artists and songs and stuff as we cover another batch of pop stars in 2022 here on the blog, and maybe next year I'll be working on something special to send you!

Thanks again for reading.. Happy Holidays and all the best in the new year.

Here's the Hoodoo Gurus covering "Little Drummer Boy" to close us out for the year.