Adopt a Record Today!

For the price of a can of soda, you can give love and shelter to some of the neediest, most neglected albums of the last century

Don't know how Y2K is panning out for you so far, but I suspect there are plenty of people already trying to separate themselves from everything pre-millennium. Who could blame them for furiously pursuing new things? After reading all those "best of the century" lists, perhaps even you might consider yourself all caught up. Or fed up. But as you deepen in your conviction that nothing good ever came out of "that damned 20th century," who suffers? The music. The music suffers.

Each year, millions of orphaned albums languish from neglect in flea markets and thrift-store bins across this nation -- albums that could bring some much-needed stimuli to jaded ears that think they've heard everything. Yet these same albums have been routinely pushed aside for decades by people rummaging for rare and precious vinyl they can resell at marked-up prices. With less than half the households of this country now employing serviceable turntables, the odds of these records finding a home decrease exponentially with each passing year. The millennium dividing line will only make things worse.

Not even the most adventurous record reissue companies have considered converting these lacquers into digital audio, and no cultural revival has seen fit to champion this soundrot. Without a seductive-siren album cover to entice shallow bachelor-pad record collectors, dusty goodwill bins are sure to be the last stop for these forgotten, unwanted artifacts. They deserve some kind of home -- your home. Won't you open up your heart to the following case studies? Even if you can't love them, you'll be doing the Salvation Army a service by clearing room for the discarded Jewel, 98 Degrees, Garth Brooks, and Korn CDs of tomorrow.

Donny & Marie Osmond
Goin' Coconuts(born 1978)

Television viewers may have allowed Donny and Marie back into their homes, but only on the condition that they check their lousy records at the door, especially this album, the grinning he-and-she devil's very last together and the by-product of an unwanted movie vehicle. Goin' Coconuts did for Donny and Marie what Head did for the Monkees -- absolutely nothing. A bad premise -- bro and sis trying to outwit jewel smugglers -- is made worse by having to stop to perform songs written by Alan, Wayne and Merril Osmond. It couldn't have been easy for the elder Osmond brothers to be shunted aside in favor of the squeaky clean Marie and miss out being immortalized on the silver screen, but they managed to get even by forcing their "little-bit-country, lit-bit-rock-'n'-roll" siblings into Disco Dunderland. Quicker than you can say "aloha, tropical fruit," clueless Donny and Marie are cheerfully chirpin' the loony "Doctor Dancin'," complete with Donny belching "boogie boogie" like the Cookie Monster beggin' for treats. Bad as that sounds, seeing Donny and Marie butt-thrusting on the cover while giant coconuts masquerade as stool samples behind them might convince you to part with some spare change.

Mama Cass
Bubblegum, Lemonade & Something for Mama (born 1969)

If you find an album cover more nauseating than this one -- buy it. This one contains the most offensive album credit of the century, too: "Bubble Gum Border, Chewed by Russ, Annette, Amy, Henry, Sheri & Many More . . ." And you'll note I didn't say anything about a ham sandwich to get a cheap laugh. Until now.

The Ides of March
Vehicle (born 1970)

Ever wonder why one-hit wonders get stuck in the single digit? They got lucky! These Blood, Sweat & Tear droppers captured the early sleaze of the '70s perfectly on the title hit about a "friendly stranger in the black sedan." But then they hadda ruin it all by making a sleazy album. First they put out a cover that advocates the rape of a kewpie doll. Then they exhume poor old "Eleanor Rigby" and attack her with horn chops until she becomes the insufferable "Symphony for Eleanor." This version is even longer and more torturous than the Vanilla Fudge's savage attempt to stretch that old biddy's bones on a rack for eight and a half minutes. Please, spirit, show me no more!

The Ohman Brothers
The Glorious Sound of Brass (born 1966)

In the '60s, everyone was horny for the sound of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and knockoff Alpert albums sprang up everywhere. Today, they converge into one mass of thrift-shop clutter, still vying for your confused south-of-the-border attention. "The Mariachi Brass" (featuring jazz legend Chet Baker), "The Mexicali Brass," "The Brass Ring," "The Band I Heard in Tijuana" -- they all earned their daily crust by coppin' Herb. These Ohman Brothers were no exception. This album is clearly targeted to deceive that demographic, right down to the copycat Whipped Cream & Other Delights lettering. But when you look closely at the titles, there ain't a "Spanish Flea" in sight. "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah"? "I Would Be Like Jesus"? "Come Unto Me"? Duped into buying a trumped-up gospel horn fest is bad enough, but these horn-wielding devils have the effrontery to claim they're not apin' Alpert but rather trying to emulate General Joshua at Jericho. Lord knows how few people bought into their "lonely bull."

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