The latest installment of the Happy Happy Birthday singles club appeared in my mailbox last week. It's funny how sometimes something will arrive, and you will manage to wait to listen to it until the exact moment that you need to hear it. I listened to Tullycraft's rendition of "On Tape" just before I left the West side about four hours later than I was planning to, and just after I had learned that poor Kristen was stuck at work and would not be able to help me DJ My Little Underground. Incidentally this was also the exact moment that I had given up on trying to complete a fanzine article in a way that made any kind of sense. As you might imagine I was a bit stressed at that point. From the second that I heard the snappily drummed intro, and the words "I've got Long Vermont Roads (Long Vermont Roads, Long Vermont Roads) the original Harriett version..." filled the room that I was in I was too busy grinning from ear to ear to be worried about that night's show. I've always thought of Tullycraft and the Pooh Sticks as bands that are similar in their ability to make ultra-obscure references sound charming and relate-able as opposed to pretentious. Check out the original "On Tape," and Tullycraft's "Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend's Too Stupid Too Know About" for the ultimate examples of this. Though the original version of "On Tape" might be poking good natured fun at record geeks like... um me, it doesn't matter. In fact that is a huge part of what makes it so great. After all, it's having an actual appreciation of the thing that you are kind of skewering that tends to yield the most humorous results. And at any rate, both versions of the song are pop heaven. Tullycraft's cover may not quite compare to the original. In all fairness though, it would be nearly impossible to top those anxious, jangling guitars leading into "I've got Falling and Laughing (Falling and Laughing, Falling and Laughing) the original Postcard version..." Their update on both lyrics and arrangement was a very clever route to take. Of course the best part may very well be the googling that I was led into by Tullycraft's version. Googling obscure references in Tullycraft songs is somewhere on my top ten list of favorite pass-times, and this one provided a good twenty minutes or so of that.
I'm fairly certain that the only way to own this song is to have pre-ordered the Happy Happy Birthday to Me singles club last year. Maybe just maybe it will find it's way onto Tullycraft's myspace page in the future. With any luck at all a picture of the fantastic cover art will show up there as well. If I notice that either of these things have happened, believe me, you'll be among the first to know.