Back when I started this weekly music-sharing endeavor, my friend Lauren, blessed with youth and beauty, commented, “I’m intrigued to find out what type of thing you listened to in college.” She correctly ascertained, perhaps before I did, that the songs posted here would come disproportionately from the thick sliver of years that I spent as a wee, impressionable undergraduate at the student-run radio station at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (go Pointers!). While the bulk of the offerings that can be carbon-dated to the years between 1988 and 1993 offer a fair snapshot of who I was, I’d argue that the clearest indicator of my prevailing taste is found in the most obscure bands that I routinely found my way to back then, those that, as I’ve lovingly reported before, resided the part of the music library we called “the C stacks.” One of those artists was a Northern California band called Field Trip.
The quartet’s debut album, Beautiful, came out in 1989. I knew almost nothing about them, apart from the fact that they made a record that was everything I was looking for. It sounded like a bunch of guys just banging out their songs, trying to find their way to something honest and truthful. There was an earnestness to the music that appealed to the pining, emotionally tumultuous teenager that I most certainly was. There’s was a rough-edged, mildly punky energy throughout the album that reminded me just enough of my beloved Replacements to make the album a suitable substitute whenever I felt I’d been overplaying the scraggly Minneapolis ruffians. Unlike a lot of my favored albums, I didn’t have a couple of songs that I returned to over and over again. Instead, I was satisfied wherever I dropped the needle.
To give credit where it’s due–without directly pointing out my individual provider to the feds–this was an album that was lost to the wilds of my personal history until some enterprising music fan posted it the interweb. I doubt it’s even in the radio station library any longer, undoubtedly relegated to some spooky, vinyl-warping deep storage if it hasn’t been sold or just tossed away. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never encountered it in any record store, even when it was a new release. Since I took issue with the idea of music downloads last year, stirring up an interesting conversation in the comments section, I should note that I’ve also been the great beneficiary of them, getting the chance to rediscover music that it would be otherwise inconceivable for me to have ever heard again. I have Field Trip’s Beautiful in my iTunes now because of that, and when a song like “Run” shuffles up, I’m as grateful as can be for the scandalous souls who choose to share their sonic treasures with strangers online.
(Disclaimer: I didn’t even bother looking up Field Trip to see if the album is available for proper purchase, that’s how certain I am that this is long out of print. With that being the case, this is absolutely being posted here with the understanding and belief that sharing it will not cause any amount of money due to the artist, their label or any copyright holder will be compromised or jeopardized by this action. Should I be contacted by someone who has the due authority to request or demand its removal making just such a request or demand, I will gladly and promptly comply.)