Something to Chew: April 2021

Hi gang. It’s barely a little over a week into the 2021 White Sox season, and we’re already on an emotional roller coaster ride that’s going to hopefully culminate into something special.  I’m not going to get into all the early injuries, bullpen failure and…. WAIT, STOP IT, JACK!

Yup, this is about records and food; let’s f-ing go!

Something(s) Old: What Now My Love – Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass (1966), Flat as A Pancake – Head East (1974-5)

Please, bear with me as I attempt to intertwine two somewhat completely different artists and records. 

Let’s start with Mr. Alpert.

This dude is such an amazing success story it’s unfrickinbelievable.  The record I picked was I believe his sixth and his most successful. Nevertheless, it’s a favorite, and I think you should check it out. Heck, check out all his records, and if you’re in a certain age group (like me) you’re gonna be like, this dude’s recordings are all over pop culture.  I mean, he’s gotta be worth a fortune for all the music you’ve heard in game shows, television shows, movies etc….

*History Lesson: Ever heard of A&M records? Herb Alpert founded the independent label along with Jerry Moss in 1962.  Herb is the whole package.  There’s more; check out Wikipedia.

Anyhoozle, let’s skip over to a local fledgeling band from East Central Illinois. Yeah— we’re talking about Head East.

This band formed while its members were attending University of Illinois and Eastern Illinois University.  They released Head East independently on Pyramid Records in 1974 and when a certain record company called A&M ——*DING! —- got wind of their local success, they signed them to their label and rereleased the album on their label in 1975. 

Let’s get a little weird, listen to an Herb Alpert Record, maybe Somewhere…, then listen to Flat as…, maybe I’m feeling myself a little, but I feel like they kinda flow together.  (holy heck, what has gotten into me?)

Let’s wrap this never-ending story up.  Head East self-imploded down the line after their initial success, but the people at A&M kept trying to get them to reach higher and I guess they just couldn’t fight their demons, they’re still around in other incarnations, but…. you know.  I guess I just find this a little interesting, and my inner blowhard wanted to share a little something-something with you. Thanks for indulging me; I’ll never do this again.

Something New: Hard Promises – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (1981)

Okay, I know this record came out in 1981, but I recently bought a beautiful 180-gram reissue of this album, and it’s new to my ever-expanding record collection.

My blog, my rules.

This is their fourth studio record that was released after their mega-hit album Damn the Torpedoes, and IMO it doesn’t get put on nearly as high of a pedestal as it should.  Yes, it has plenty recognizable songs, but its deep cuts are one better than the next.  I’m gonna go out on a limb, which is pretty crazy considering my horrible fear of heights, but I’ll say this is Top Three in Tom’s incredible catalog.  Give it a lengthy listen and listen to the song “Nightwatchman” a few extra times and let me know if you agree with me.  You can also tell me if you don’t agree; then I’ll immediately mute you on Twitter.

Something Borrowed:  Songs from The Film – Tommy Keene (1986)

This under-appreciated album gets borrowed from the new play-by-play voice of White Sox radio, Len Kasper. He is a huge fan of this artist/album and is spot on this recommendation.

I didn’t exactly speak or tweet with Len personally about this as much as whenever he is interviewed about musical inspirations, he always brings it up, so I’ve decided that’s good enough for me.

It’s an infectious power pop record that gets better every time you’ll listen to it.  Tommy was an incredible artist that left us much too soon.  Please, seek this one out and I hope you enjoy it as much as me and Len.  

I’ve really stretched my writing abilities as well as the parameters of each subject so far, but what the hell.  Let’s get something to eat. 

Something to Chew: Panaderia Del Refugio 1339 W. 18th St, Chicago (Pilsen)

You guessed it; I’m taking you to one of the best bakeries in the city. 

I don’t care that my Spanish speaking abilities are not very bueno; the international language of food prevails. 

Everything they sell in here is super fresh and delicious.  They have all the standard fair you’ll find in an unassuming panaderia, and you can’t go wrong with anything. 

My top two hits in this oasis are this pound cake thing and the jalapeño cream cheese bolillo bread. 

First, this cake is incredible, and it comes in a few different variations. I love them all, but I like the one with pecan the best.

Second is this sesame seed covered bread that has a delightful surprise of a small amount of cream cheese and pickled jalapeño slices inside.

OMG, this is a perfect snack!  Perfect to fill the soul of a slightly hungry mailman.

I can’t say enough nice things about this place and definitely want you to check it out.  Remember, cash only (crazy reasonable prices) and please wear a mask whilst observing social distancing guidelines.  RUN HERE, you won’t regret it. 

This has been fun; let’s talk again soon.

Mailman Jack

Leave a Reply