One for Friday: Bongos, Bass & Bob, “Cain’t Grow a Beard”


I believe it is inevitable. Anyone who is a deeply devoted fan of pop music and all its many offshoots is likely to find themselves identifying with the stories embedded within the lyrics. That’s certainly been the case for me. Especially in my college years, when I was intently defining and then redefining myself, I clung to the heady truths etched into vinyl grooves. In short order, I knew which songs bolstered my happiness and which spoke for my sadness. My heartbreak was melodic, always. The soundtrack to my life has a tracklist that stretches into infinity. As much music as there is that’s stitched into my soul, I can say with some authority that there’s no song I relate to more than “Cain’t Grow a Beard” by Bongos, Bass & Bob.

The band’s first and only album, Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here’s Bongos, Bass & Bob was in the campus radio station’s rotation when I arrived in the fall of 1988. It was considered notable for two reasons: Penn Jillette, famed as half the edgy, comedic magic team of Penn & Teller, played bass on the album, and it was on blue vinyl. It helped that most of the songs were punky and snarky, qualities that played well within our gaggle of on-air personnel. There are loads of songs on the album that I like, but it’s “Cain’t Grow a Beard” that speaks to the depths of my soul, lyrics such as “It’s all over town that my hormones let me down” expressing my personal turmoil in a manner than only great art can.

I shaved this morning for the first time in several days. It’s debatable as to whether I really needed to. The song still rings true.

Listen or download –> Bongos, Bass & Bob, “Cain’t Grow a Beard”

(Disclaimer: It is my belief that the Bongos, Bass & Bob album is long out of print. Indeed, it’s likely a mystery as to who would even hold rights to the 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Watts catalog. This, I believe I am sharing this track without causing undue fiscal harm or otherwise impeding fair-minded commerce that would duly compensate both the artist and the proprietor of your favorite local, independently-owned record store. I will gladly remove the song my my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)

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