Wednesday, May 18, 2022

#55 INXS (+ concert-going rambling)

INXS slots in at #55 in the 1991 MusiCards set. It's a strange posed shot of the Aussie boys each doing their own thing while gathered together in an empty room. Looks kinda like the guy in white is all, "Hey guys, check out this new riff I came up with." Meanwhile Michael Hutchence is all, "Yeah, sounds good, Tim, but I gotta check out this fascinating camera over here."

Sadly, the design's misplacement of the Super Stars logo essentially spoils what could have been a fine looking trading card. Poor Andrew Farriss on the left there gets the "blockhead" treatment while the lower right corner cries out its vacancy. Such a shame. (But stay tuned.)

They had a great run, and give credit to the Pro Set writer for ably summing up the band in the space allotted. Seems like most bands in this set didn't really remain relevant in the wake of the Nevermind sea change happening as these cards were on retail shelves, but INXS were still riding their peak to some degree. Bangers still ahead of them here include "Not Enough Time" and "The Gift", both tracks I remember enjoying on the radio and MTV in the early/mid 90s. But Elegantly Wasted (1997) was kind of a dud, and Hutchence tragically hung himself later that year (...which was rumored to be a case of autoerotic asphyxiation gone awry, though that seems to be just gossipy hearsay, with evidence indicating he was doped up and distraught over drama involving access to his young daughter).

INXS - "Not Enough Time"

The card's back photo is similar to the cover for 1990's X (above), sourced from the same photoshoot and utilizing the same outline effect.

That back image was also used on shirts and posters for that tour. By the way, "X" marked 10 years since their 1980 debut album. I thought perhaps it was their tenth studio album, but that distinction would go to Elegantly Wasted.

The last time we saw a variation in this set, its purpose was to correct a typo on the back of a Debbie Gibson card (#43). This time, the back of the variation is untouched, and the only reason for the revamped card is simply because it makes all the sense in the world to kick the logo to the opposite corner to better fit the photograph.

Ah, this variation found only in Series 2 packs is like a breath of fresh air after the constrictive original. I know I'm sounding like a broken record on the matter, but it sure would have benefitted the set had the layout designer(s) simply chosen which corner to put the black box based on how it worked with the photo from the get-go, rather than forcing it to the upper left before fixing a few problematic cards with later variations.

INXS also have a separate card in the second series (#314), plus there's a pair in the UK edition too, so the band is penciled in for a return to the blog eventually. We'll delve into their career more in those future posts. For now, I've got a couple personal anecdotes I wanted to cover here.

INXS - "Never Tear Us Apart"

In a random early memory of mine, I'm a pre-teen in the late 80s riding in a car with some family members in Chicago on the way to my great grandmother's funeral. I haven't really matured into listening to "real music" by this point, but at sometime during the trip I overheard a catchy song on the radio or something. I forget the context, but somehow I work part of the lyric like "two worlds collided" into the conversation and my cool older cousin kinda perked up and asked "INXS?" I just nodded and felt like hotshit for kinda impressing her with my vague familiarity with current hit singles. As an only child, she was as close as I had to an older sibling, and she would go on to help nudge me along my path of musical discovery as I entered my teen years.

I still love that song-- Kick really is a great album start to finish-- and even worked up a "reimagined" cover version that I enjoy rocking out from time to time when I practice playing guitar. I recorded a rough version in 2015 that's still collecting dust on the internet in case you want to check it out. It's not very tight, but in my defense it's all me: guitar, singing, keyboard, and even the sloppy drums.

I should also mention that-- unless maybe I'm overlooking something?-- pretty sure INXS is the only act in the entire 1991 MusiCards set that I've personally seen perform live in person. Yep, it was June 21st, 2006 at the Embarcadero Marina Park South in San Diego. On lead vocals was the winner from their Rock Star competition reality show, JD Fortune. I had caught most of those episodes (chiefly thanks to Dave Navarro co-hosting, as I was a diehard Jane's Addiction fan at the time), so it was nice having some "bond" with the guy through getting to know him through the show (and the rest of the guys in the band, for that matter), but the experience was still just a step above watching a cover band, hearing all the INXS classics with somebody besides Michael Hutchence singing.

Here's a custom for the latter era of the band. They kept it going as INXS for a few years before finally calling it quits in 2013.

But yeah, it was a fun night at a pleasant outdoor venue. My friend Chris had stumbled into free tickets-- gotta admit I would've never considered actually spending my own money to go to the show, but for free? Sure! My concert-going heyday was the mid 90s through the 00s, but I usually went to alternative/indie rock shows, so there's not much overlap with the MusiCards checklist. While I dug plenty of larger acts of the day-- huge Tom Petty fan, for example-- I just rarely ponied up the dough for large venue concerts. That's still true today, though I have more discretionary income to play with now. I find it hard to pay $100+ for tickets to see somebody play from the rafters when there are several HD video recordings available to watch free on YouTube, ya know? My buddy Doug recently bought a single ticket to see Paul McCartney in Seattle. He's a huge Beatles fan who had never seen him live, so that was monumental for him to pull off. He was texting me video clips while it was happening and it was a vicarious blast. But I don't know if I have a personal equivalent of that where I would pull the whole "Shut up and take my money!" meme to buy a ticket at any cost. That might make a good question prompt for the comments: Is there any musical artist alive today you'd happily buy a $200+ ticket for the opportunity to see perform live if their tour happened to stop at your largest local sports arena?

Maybe this is on my mind because a tour was recently announced with Jane's Addiction opening for Smashing Pumpkins. The current version of both bands is a far cry from their glory days, but I'm debating it. I've seen Jane's several times, but never the Pumpkins (despite being a big fan). Tickets are like $75 and it's at the Moda Center where the Trailblazers play. It's an easy commute for me-- the train passes it on my way to and from work-- but I've never been in the building. I'm sure it won't come anywhere near selling out, so maybe I'll take a look closer to the mid-November date and see if I can score a cheap ticket or two. 

Welp, I've probably rambled enough to fill out the post. I'll have to get around to listing out my favorite INXS songs when we eventually get to their Series 2 card. In the meantime, please let me know in the comments if you've got any thoughts or memories to share regarding INXS. I'm also curious about the aforementioned "expensive ticket" question, and-- if you're looking to kill some time-- maybe count up how many acts you've seen live from the 1991 MusiCards checklist. Might be interesting to find out who among our readers here has caught the most. I'm setting the bar pretty low with 1! (And that one barely counts, considering the replacement singer.)

Oh wait, I just found a second artist in the set that I've "sort of" seen live! Back in August '96, fresh out of high school, Doug and I drove up to Big Bear, California for a music festival in the mountains. We were mainly there to see Porno For Pyros and Love & Rockets (who were both great). Lady Miss Kier also performed a set, and she's featured on a MusiCard with Deee-Lite (#268), who had recently broken up at the time. I don't remember much of her set, as we were still milling around the grounds for most of it, but I recall thinking it was cool to see her-- the far-out lady from the fun "Groove Is in the Heart" song/video-- even if her music that afternoon was a bit too "dance rave" for my taste. So yeah, I'd say that plus seeing INXS with a new singer combines for a solid "1" for my Acts-Pictured-on-a-MusiCard-I've-Seen-Live total, or 2 if we're being really generous about it.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

#54 Information Society (+ getting a MusiCards wantlist up)

Information Society are #54 in the 1991 MusiCards set. The trio each have something quirky going on in this photoshoot, with one guy on roller-skates, one guy in gardening gloves and a Jughead hat, and the third guy in unusual headwear as well. 

This card makes for a compelling argument that Pro Set really would have been better off being looser with placement of the logo box. It'd be a nicer looking card if the photo was centered better and with the logo in the lower right corner instead. But no, series 1 cards all have the box in the upper left-- with the exception of a handful of variations that were actually only available in series 2 packs-- while the cards in the series 2 checklist all have the logo box in the lower right. The UK edition also sticks the box in the lower right without exception. Sure would have made more sense to just decide which corner to place it based on what worked best with the photo at hand, but apparently that thought didn't jive with the Pro Set employee(s) who were making those calls during the design phase of the product, so we get some awkwardly framed cards like this, the lone Information Society entry in the MusiCard universe. I would whip up a custom variation if I could find this photo online, but I wasn't able to track it down.

I did find the back picture, however, from the same photoshoot. Now the third guy has added kooky glasses to his ensemble.

I think of Information Society as a one-hit wonder, with their "Pure Energy" getting played on the radio a ton when I was a kid. But I rarely, if ever, saw the video on MTV, or recall any other song from them, and just don't ever hear anyone mention them anymore, so much so that I had been wondering if perhaps it was more of a regional hit in the San Diego market. But nope, turns out they built up a decent following. Wikipedia is telling me they were active from 1982–1997 and then 2006–present, with these 3 guys still at it decades later.

Information Society - "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)"

It's a pretty cool song, though the video is laughably dated with late 80s ridiculousness. They had a woman in the band for a while, but she left sometime between this video and the aforementioned photoshoot. Fun fact: Apparently they were able to clear the Star Trek sample because Leonard Nimoy's son was a fan of the band. While "Pure Energy" is the only track of theirs I could name off the top of my head going into this post, according to Spotify they've got another song that's also very popular called "Repetition":

Information Society - "Repetition"

"Repetition" has 11 million plays (compared to 14 million for "Pure Energy"). "Repetition" doesn't ring a bell nor really do anything for me (and yes, I'm repeating "Repetition" a bunch as some dumb meta joke), but while checking out their other popular tracks, there was one song that perked me up in a "wow, I probably haven't heard this song in 30 years!" way...

Information Society - "Walking Away"

Honestly I don't know if I'd go as far as to say I liked "Walking Away" back in the day, but I definitely remember it for its catchy, eye-rolling chorus. I remember joking with my buddies poking fun at it. Like, after turning off a Nintendo game, I might deadpan, "I am walking away from, walking away from, games that suck such ass," or something dumb like that.

Are you readers familiar with Information Society? ... like, beyond the "Pure Energy" song? Let me know in the comments, if you'd be so kind.

Getting a MusiCards wantlist up

I found some time over the past couple weeks to sort my duplicate 1991 MusiCards with the intention of putting together a 2nd set (Series 1 + 2 + UK). Got pretty close, but ended up short a few.. many of which are the common, garden-variety Series 1 cards, thankfully pulling the vast majority of tougher Series 2 cards from a retail box of the stuff. (I didn't luck into pulling a hologram insert, though.. which would be a dream of mine, but not enough to rip through dozens of boxes looking for one).

I figure having a second set would be nice to have around, not just as something productive to do with my many dupes, but also because occasionally when I pull out my set to get card images for the blog, I'll notice a printing flaw or condition issue hurting the card's appearance. So it'd be nice to know I've got a complete backup I could turn to in situations such as that.

Instead of listing my needs in this post, I went ahead and made a separate page for my MusiCards wantlist that I can link on the sidebar and update going forward. If you've got some MusiCards available, please take a look and get in touch if you've got any I need and wanna swing a little trade.

Also.. Anybody working on a MusiCards set or want to start? I've got lots of triples available from Series 1, Series 2, and the UK Edition that I'd be happy to thin out in trades without expecting much in return. Just let me know!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

#53 Indecent Obsession (+ Tears For Fears bonus)

Indecent Obsession slot in at #53 in the 1991 MusiCards set. I've never heard of them, you? Guy on the bottom looks eerily like a young Tom Brady. The dude behind him is wearing a Harley Davidson shirt that reads "More Than a Machine", a statement that was so important for him to make that he went against the guys' trend of plain white tees under a black leather jacket. It's funny to imagine that being a source of contention at the photoshoot: 

Young Tom Brady: "Bro, where's your white shirt?! Coach ain't gonna be happy." 

Rebel with a Karen haircut: "I wanna wear my HARLEY SHIRT and that's that! And I'm not gonna hunch over for the photo, either! I'm standing tall and proud so everybody can see my badass shirt!"

Anyways, these guys are giving off a New Kids on the Block vibe, which is generally a bad sign. I try to keep an open mind with any act in the set I'm not familiar with, and am often pleasantly surprised when I hear them, but judging by the front photo, I'm assuming I'm not going to enjoy the musical output of this group very much.

Well, they write all their own songs, so that's cool. And they're from Australia? Perhaps I dismissed them as a wannabe NKOTB prematurely. Looks like only the singer gets included in the back photo, with a moody black & white shot. The write-up doesn't provide any clue as to what they actually sound like, so I'm off to Spotify and YouTube to have a listen.

Indecent Obsession - "Fixing a Broken Heart" (Duet Version)

Spotify only has 2 of Indecent Obsession's 5 albums available. Their most popular track there by a wide margin is "Fixing a Broken Heart" (Solo Version), followed by the "Duet Version" of the same song, and a long drop-off to their 3rd most-popular track, "Lady Rain". Those all seem to be pop ballads.

Indecent Obsession - "Tell Me Something"

The upbeat "Tell Me Something" from '89 was their only single to crack the US charts, though they had moderate success in their native Australia before disbanding in 1995.

Listening to this stuff for the first time today, I'm not into it. But back in the day when I was regularly pumping tunes by the likes of Richard Marx, Paula Abdul, and Milli Vanilli? Sure, Indecent Obsession would've fit right in. (Hell, I'll admit their were even a couple New Kids songs I kinda liked for a brief moment as a young'un. [The best "dirt" I've got on my longtime best friend Doug is I clearly remember once in elementary school he told me New Kids on the Block were his favorite band. I never let him live it down! He denies it today, but it happened. That brief window when NKOTB were cool to all the kids in school, before quickly becoming a girls-only fandom.])

After watching these videos, it's apparent that the person featured in the card's back photo is not the singer as I assumed, but rather the guitar player, Andrew. So, it's neither the guy who sings (David, the Tom Brady-looking guy) nor the guy who writes most of the music (Michael), but I guess the person at Pro Set choosing photos just decided the guitarist looked the coolest of the bunch. lol

If you're wondering, the Harley shirt guy is the drummer, Daryl. Here's the link to their Wikipedia entry in case you're inspired to learn more about Indecent Obsession.

Australia will have more representation in the set coming up very soon with INXS a couple cards away. Scanning the checklist, looks like Men At Work show up later in Series 2, while Australian sisters Dannii Minogue and Kylie Minogue each have 4 cards in the UK edition. 


Changing gears, Tears For Fears released a new album last month. They're one of my all-time favorite bands, and conspicuously absent from the MusiCards set, so I knew I was going to have to whip them up a custom eventually, and I figure I might as well do it now while they're back in the music press.

I know I took some liberties by breaking the photo out of the restrictive design, but this custom would have made a fine addition to the set, if I say so myself. I even used an era-appropriate photo from 1990. The Seeds of Love was released in late September 1989 and went on to be an international hit, riding high on the charts for several months in several countries as they toured the globe throughout 1990. Must've been a licensing issue keeping them from receiving a MusiCard, as I'm sure Pro Set would have loved to include one of the biggest bands in the world at that time in their product. (It's not like they were bumping Tears For Fears off the checklist so they could make room for Indecent Obsession, LOL.)

I know I've blogged about the story before, but one time when I was a young kid, I was at a friend's birthday party at the local roller-rink one weekend afternoon circa 1985... just having fun skating laps with the gang while the arena was filled with not only light beams bouncing off the mirrorball above, but also popular hits of the time playing over the soundsystem. I remember "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" came on and my eyes widened-- I was like "(WOW! This is great!)"-- a perfect song to go along with the perfect time I was having. Just an incredible feeling all around. It was like a grand awakening for me and basically from there I was on my way to music being a key aspect of my life. I'm sure you other music lovers have similar stories from when a song first "blew your mind" like that as a kid... That first "fix" that led you to become a music junkie.

If I had to rank the TFF albums by my personal preference, I'd say Songs From the Big Chair (1985) and The Seeds of Love are neck-and-neck for the top spot in a virtual tie. Love 'em start to finish. The Hurting (1983) is an excellent debut, but the production leaves me a bit cold compared to the lush, orchestrated albums that followed. 1993's Elemental is incredible, but the absence of Curt Smith sort of makes it feel like a Roland Orzabal solo album rather than a true TFF album.

Raoul and the Kings of Spain followed in 1995 and I didn't even bother to listen to it. I heard the single "God's Mistake" and didn't like it, mostly preoccupied with heavier alternative rock at the time. I finally listened to that record years later, and it's okay, but again, feels like it should have been released as a solo album. And yeah, I know Roland does the majority of the songwriting and singing in Tears For Fears, but it still feels off when Curt isn't around.

Thankfully the pair buried the hatchet in the following decade and 2004 saw the release of Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, which is among the best reunion/comeback albums I've ever heard; a forceful return to form.

I was able to catch Tears For Fears perform live in 2014 at a music festival here in Portland. It was a terrific set and my wife and I had a blast. During the show, once between songs they mentioned they were working on a new album. I waited patiently... and then waited less patiently... and now nearly 8 years later, The Tipping Point was finally released here in early 2022. I like it, though it hasn't grabbed me quite as much as Everybody Loves a Happy Ending did. --at least not yet, though I want to listen to it a few more times in the coming weeks and see how it grows on me.

Further illustrating my indecent obsession with the band, I've got some quirks with my preferred method of listening to TFF albums, with tweaks to the playlists in my music library:

  • The Hurting - I tack on "The Way You Are" as a bonus track on the end. The album otherwise ends abruptly with the stressed-out "Start of the Breakdown", so a lighter, non-album song from around that timeframe works as a nice outro track.
  • Songs from the Big Chair - I've got a playlist that's called "Songs from the African Big Chair" and all it is is a mix that begins with Toto's "Africa" to set the mood, then Songs from the Big Chair in its entirety, then we close with "Africa" by John Coltrane which brings it all around and works as a continuation of the album's closer, "Listen". Yeah, I don't know, man, but it's an enjoyable mix in my rotation.
  • The Seeds of Love - I find the start of "Advice for the Young at Heart" jarring following the fade out of "Sowing the Seeds of Love" so what I've recently done is create a medley of "Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)"-- a strong non-album cut from that era (I will say most of their b-sides are forgettable; I've hunted down pretty much all the band's rare tracks and there ain't much worth multiple plays --Oh, but updated to add that they released a covers EP from 2014 called Ready Boy & Girls? that is very enjoyable)-- that then crossfades with "Advice for the Young at Heart" to slot into that point of the album. "Laid So Low" starts suddenly, too, but not as bad as "Advice for the Young at Heart", which has jolted me awake many times over the years while listening to the album on my iPod as I drift off to sleep.
  • Elemental - If you're familiar with this album, you know how the penultimate track "Brian Wilson Said" sort of starts repeating itself at the end? Well, I made myself an extended mix that loops back a couple times to essentially play the song three times total. I suppose it's a testament to that gorgeous song that it feels incomplete to me if I only listen to it once in a row!
  • Raoul and the Kings of Spain - N/A... I don't listen to this one much, though now I'm thinking I should revisit it.
  • Everybody Loves a Happy Ending - All I've ever known is the version with the 2 bonus tracks ("Pullin' a Cloud" and "Out of Control"), so the record would feel incomplete to me without those two tunes at the end.

I've been slowly-but-surely watching through the show Psych on Prime, though I haven't gotten to the episode with Curt Smith's guest-spot yet. Happy to have his autograph along with a 7-Eleven lenticular disc from 1985 to represent the band in my card collection. Maybe I'll print out a copy of the MusiCards custom from earlier to complement the ensemble, and I'd love to score a Roland Orzabal autograph someday, but unfortunately he doesn't have a convenient auto card on the market like Curt does, so I might have to eventually settle for a signed CD cover or something.

Let's wrap up the post with a bonus MusiCards custom, this time using a recent photo in the Legends subset design. These dudes are getting old! As are we all. Let's hope they keep thriving for many years to come.

What do you think? Favorite TFF song(s)? Any thoughts you might have to share regarding Tears For Fears (or even Indecent Obsession, or like the first time you really connected with music as a kid, or whatever), I'd love to hear it in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

#52 Hothouse Flowers (+ Red House Painters bonus)

Hothouse Flowers are next up in the set. I've heard the name over the years, but don't know anything about them and can't recall ever hearing any of their songs. I think I conflate them in my mind with Red House Painters just because of the similar name and another band I've heard of but am not very familiar with.

Ah, I'm a little surprised to learn they're an Irish band. Without even hearing them, I bet they get a lot of U2 comparisons.

Hothouse Flowers - "Don't Go"

Looks like their two best-remembered tracks in the US are "Don't Go" and a cover of "I Can See Clearly Now". Listening to some of their greatest hits while working on this post, they remind me a little of the Alarm, Call, and Simple Minds at times. Oh, and some Waterboys. Surprised it's unfamiliar to me, as this stuff would be right up my alley in the early 90s, but I guess my local alternative radio station didn't play them much.

Reading up on them on their Wikipedia entry, Hothouse Flowers are still a band all these years later, with their latest album being released in 2016. 

Hothouse Flowers - "I Can See Clearly Now"


Ok, normally I use the Custom Corner segment to make a card for a favorite of mine who's not in the 1991 MusiCards set. This time for a twist, it's a band I'm not at all familiar with, but I think it'd be funny to pair up the Hothouse Flowers with the Red House Painters, and maybe forcing myself into a compare-and-contrast will help me finally keep them separate in my brain.

Dibs on the first Blank-House-Blankers band go to Hothouse Flowers who started in 1985, while Red House Painters followed in 1988. They're from San Francisco.

Per Wikipedia, Red House Painters "were one of the most prominent acts associated with the slowcore/sadcore subgenre." So like, mellow, melancholy rock songs. Frontman Mark Kozelek eventually morphed the band into Sun Kil Moon. I'm a bit more familiar with Sun Kil Moon, but haven't listened to a whole lot from them either.

Red House Painters' most popular song is "Katy Song". As I did with Hothouse Flowers, I'm checking out some of their stuff while drafting this post. Some really good tracks! Some of it might be a little too "dreary" to stick in my rotation, but for the post part I can see myself turning to these guys when I'm in a low-key mood.

"Between Days" is one of their more rockin' numbers.

In conclusion, I should now be able to remember the difference between these two bands. Hothouse Flowers are an Irish rock band that have been around since '85. Red House Painters are an indie band out of San Francisco who became Sun Kil Moon and usually keep things mellow. I can dig them both fine.

How about you readers? Are you on one side of the Hothouse Flowers vs. Red House Painters question? Both? Neither?

Thursday, January 27, 2022

#51 Bruce Hornsby (+ Grateful Dead bonus)

Hey everybody, 2022 finds us up to number 51 in the 1991 MusiCards set with Bruce Hornsby. Fine live shot here with Bruce at the Baldwin and The Range tucked in to his right. Seems a little cramped; is this an edited shot or are they really that huddled together?

In case you didn't get a good enough look at him on the front, there's a clear headshot of Bruce on the back. I consider The Way It Is to be one of my all-time favorite albums. Just an incredible group of piano-forward Americana pop-rock songs to make you tip your cap to Bruce and his associates. That record had a couple big hits, and his collaboration with Don Henley on "End of the Innocence" in 1989 was another big hit for him. That's basically what I know him from, but he's kept at it for years, releasing over 20 albums and still going strong at 67.

Bruce Hornsby and the Range - "Every Little Kiss"

I should really check out more of his stuff besides the The Way It Is album. I bought the CD for my mom as a Christmas or birthday gift one year circa '91, and while she liked it fine, I liked it more and it eventually found a home in my music collection. (Not one of my better gifts, I suppose!) So I know that album like the back of my hand, but couldn't name you any of his other songs or albums off the top of my head. The only other thing from him in my music library is Intersections (1985–2005), a 4-CD collection of mostly unreleased recordings. Some lovely instrumental pieces there along with jam-band jams.

Grateful Dead ft. Bruce Hornsby - intro jam + "The Valley Road" (live October 30, 1990, Wembley Arena, London)

Back to the card, must have been really cool for Bruce become a touring member of the Grateful Dead after he was in a cover band in college with several Dead selections in their repertoire. With the Dead, he performed over 100 gigs from September 1990 to March 1992. (I'm always curious trying to nail down the deadline for the back write-ups, seeing how late into 1990 [or maybe even early 1991?] they cover.) Bruce also had the honor of inducting the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Strangely enough, the Grateful Dead aren't included in the 1991 MusiCards set, not even in the whole subset of concert posters of late '60s gigs from the Bay Area. (We'll start hitting those cards after we get into the 200s of the set.) Perhaps the Dead had already signed an exclusive card deal with Brockum, who put out a 10-card "Grateful Dead Legacy" insert set, which I assume was available in packs of 1991 Brockum Rock Cards, a competing line of music cards from '91 that focused more on metal of the era, but slipped in a few mellower oldies too.


Yes, it's the return of the Custom Corner! No more old calendars of mine! The technical difficulties that hampered me in 2021 have been mostly squared away and now I'm getting back into the groove of making customs in Photoshop. Seeing as I've noticed the Dead are conspicuously absent from the '91 MusiCards set, we've got a clear choice of who to feature in today's Custom Corner!

I decided to make this card in a "Legends" style to mix things up since we haven't had one of those in a while.

I was never a real "deadhead" though have been a casual Grateful Dead fan for a long time. As a teen, I bought their album American Beauty (though that was mainly because it includes "Ripple", which had been covered by my favorite band at the time, Jane's Addiction.) Some all-time classics on that record, with "Box of Rain"/"Friend of the Devil"/"Sugar Magnolia" making for a very strong opening. 

Grateful Dead - "Box of Rain"

My mom bought Workingman's Dead-- I believe a selection from the brief window she was signed up for the BMG Music Club scheme-- so I heard that one a lot growing up too, with "Casey Jones" and "Uncle John's Band" among the highlights. I eventually got Anthem of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa on CD as well and enjoyed the majority of those cuts. As an adult, I've checked out most of their other studio albums and of course some live recordings, but you've really gotta be deadicated (sic) to delve into their live recordings, as you could probably listen to nothing but live Dead for the rest of your life and still never listen to the same recording twice.

Grateful Dead - "Bird Song" (live)

These days, I'd probably give the nod to "Bird Song" as my favorite Grateful Dead track. Technically it was originally released on Jerry Garcia's first solo album, though it became a frequent part of Dead setlists for years. I just now learned it was written by lyricist Robert Hunter as a tribute to Janis Joplin. (Hey, I'll have to feature her in a Custom Corner one of these days. She doesn't have a solo MusiCard, though Big Brother and the Holding Company has a concert poster card coming up at #254.) But yeah, it's a gorgeous song that I've turned to from time to time in recent years when I've needed to chill out from high anxiety getting me down.

Bonus Jerry Garcia custom.

That'll do it for this post. Please feel free to share your thoughts on Bruce Hornsby and/or the Grateful Dead in the comments below.

Oh yeah-- update on last year's contesty-thing... All 4 "thanks for commenting" prizes were mailed out on Wednesday (1/26), so those should start arriving soon.