College Countdown, The First CMJ Album Chart, 8

I got a call earlier today from my friend Sarah. Long-time listener, not a first time caller. She’s one of the few people I know who still makes radio broadcasting her profession, and she was nearing the end of her air shift when word came over the wire that Casey Kasem had died. I hadn’t heard yet. Sarah is the one who let me know, just as she was instrumental in a bunch of radio listeners getting the news, not unexpected but sad all the same. We talked for a bit, and Sarah told me about how she used to listen to Kasem’s syndicated radio show American Top 40 every week, tracking the progress of her favorite songs up and down the chart. For her, Kasem provided a unique introduction to radio as something other than background. Instead, it was a medium built on personalities and dependable shows, the sorts of programs that were worth making a point to catch. I think Kasem probably provided the introduction to that concept for a lot of us.

So for my friend Sarah, in memory of the man who taught us all how to count backwards, we’re sending out this long distance dedication. It’s not a song that ever made those charts that Kasem tracked through, but maybe it should have.

And now…on with the countdown…


8. Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg, Twin Sons of Different Mothers

Well, it was fun while it lasted. After three straight weeks of splendid classics that helped define new wave and essentially represented what I imagine college radio to sound like when I close my eyes and conjure up an idealized 1978, we’re back to bland, fusion-based elevator music. Dan Fogelberg had four prior albums to his credit when he connected with flautist Tim Weisberg for the collaborative effort Twin Sons of Different Mothers. Weisberg has been releasing his own records at a steady clip since the early nineteen-seventies. Together they formulated a release that is long on intricate noodling and short of, well, just about everything else that one would hope would go into an album released as the end of the seventies were looming. Song after song just slips out there, with nothing much to draw attention, except for those who really get off on twee flute jams.

Most of the album is comprised of instrumentals. Tellingly, the two singles released from the record were two of the three tracks that include lyrics. The first single was a cover of “Tell Me to My Face” by the Hollies. While the original, a retort to an ex-lover who’s delivered a “Dear John” letter, was a typical sixties Brit-pop nugget, clocking in at just over three minutes, Fogelberg and Weisberg stretch their repetitive version over the seven minute mark. Though the lyrics are fairly barbed (“You just took the coward’s way to say goodbye”), there’s no passion or real emotion at all to the song. Similarly, the second single is achingly drab, although this one at least has AM Gold written all over it, almost literally. “The Power of Gold” brims over with faux intensity, the shaky shadow of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion perfectly suited for those who were aging into weariness but wanted to hold onto some vestige of the music they once loved.

Fogelberg and Weisberg both went back to their own individual career tracks after Twin Sons of Different Mothers, eventually reuniting almost twenty years later for the cleverly-titled No Resemblance Whatsoever. Their reforged camaraderie was fairly short-lived, however. Within a couple years, Weisberg sued Fogelberg for breach of contract and fraud, alleging he was owed money for the reunion album and tour.

An Introduction
–26: Darkness on the Edge of Town
–25: Give Thankx
–24: Caravan to Midnight
–23: Next of Kihn
–22: 52nd Street
–21: Crafty Hands
–20: Luxury You Can Afford
–19: Some Girls
–18: Mr. Gone
–17: Stage
–16: Pieces of Eight
–15: Bloody Tourists
–14: Along the Red Ledge
–13: The Bride Stripped Bare
–12: On the Edge
–11: Parallel Lines
–10: More Songs About Buildings and Food
–9: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

7 thoughts on “College Countdown, The First CMJ Album Chart, 8

  1. The Twin Sons album is a good listen unless you are close-minded to hearing anything outside your comfort zone. They do a great job of melding the Hollies song with Laurindo Almeida’s version of “Miserlou.” Weisberg was apparently a big fan of bossa nova as a youth. Also a nice cover of the Judy Collins ballad. Don’t believe everything rock critics have said about Dan Fogelberg. I didn’t care for his eighties hits, but his first two albums are a great mix of two hybrids: singer/songwriter and country rock. “(Someone’s Been) Telling You Stories” is a gem of a song (even if you hate the Eagles).

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