(Note: I realize this is a long post, but, if you stick with it, there’s a free mp3 at the bottom … who knows, it may be worth it!)
I first heard Cracker’s break-through “hit” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” when it was brand new at a mall record store in Charlotte, N.C., on my day off at the good old Stanly News and Press. I didn’t take too much notice — although the line “What the world needs now is another folk singer / like I need a hole in my head” did stick with me. I didn’t know who sang the song until much later, during an ill-fated trip to see an up-and-coming band, Counting Crows.
On a whim, good buddy Brian and I made the trip from Concord, N.C. to Chapel Hill’s Cat’s Cradle to see the Counting Crows, who were riding high at the time with the hit “Mr. Jones.” Counting Crows were on tour in support of Cracker and, for some odd reason, I thought we could just walk up and get a ticket.
I underestimated the popularity of the Counting Crows.
We stood outside the club and waited for someone to try to unload tickets.
No one did.
As it got closer and closer to show time, I just knew someone would come along and offer up two tickets for face value.
No one did. For face value or otherwise.
The show started and the Counting Crows began to play, opening with “Around Here,” if my fuzzy memory serves me correctly. Since we could still hear, although fuzzily, we stayed outside the club to listen.
During the intermission, the club emptied as everyone stepped outside to either smoke or get away from smoke (being that one of North Carolina’s main crops is tobacco, smoking was still permitted indoors). During this intermission, someone came up and offered us their tickets for Cracker, since they only came to see the Counting Crows. So, for around $15 (again, it’s a little fuzzy) each we got the tickets and went inside.
And that’s when I saw Cracker. They were touring for Kerosene Hat (their second album), with its main hit “Low.” They were great. They played all the hot ones, including a long, long version of “Euro-Trash Girl” and, to spark my visit to the record store, “Teen Angst.” (“Oh, so THAT’S who sings that song …”).
I bring up that memory because earlier this week I was trolling around the Internet, as I am apt to do, and came across a live recording of Cracker at the Cat’s Cradle available as a free mp3 download from the Internet Archive. Ever been to this site? It has a lot of obscure and wonderful music, and, although the concert included here isn’t exactly the same one I went to (the download is from 1991, I saw them in either late 1993 or early 1994), it still has the same spirit.
So, you know, check it out. And check out the other recordings (including a whole section of Grateful Dead stuff, if your like into that).
By the way, I included a recent Cracker video (instead of one that is more vintage of the fuzzy memory) because I was happily surprised to find out the band was still touring. And still sounding pretty cool
I still love this song.