One of the great pleasures I have enjoyed throughout my life is that exquisitely exciting moment when you discover, again, Your New Favorite Song. Sometimes you know instantly that awesomeness has come your way, sometimes a song grows on you over time, but in both cases you end up playing the song over and over -- you can't hear it enough. Then sometimes a song will become a Permanent Favorite, one you always love and keep. And THEN, sometimes...you discover a song that for one reason or another blows past Permanent Favorites into that tiny little club of MOST FAVORITES OF ALL THE SONGS EVER.

I don't care if you think I'm a mental. I don't care if you think what I am going to play you here is the worst crap you've ever heard (and it may well be). I LOVE IT, and I've loved it ever since my old Chicago pal Kevin played it for me on a completely wrecked up 45 he found at a thrift store at least 30 years ago. Kevin is a lifelong aficionado of early rock n' roll, and always came up with the best obscure old stuff to share with me, which helped to broaden my musical tastes from British Invasion, garage rock, punk, garage punk, Garage Invasion, etc: twangy ancient hillbilly country, yodelers, completely insane weird rockabilly cats. And the latter description fits Tender Slim, the name of the artist of whom I rhapsodize here, and the record of which I speak is "Teenage Hayride" b/w "Hey Joe!"

Tender Slim??? BAHAHAHA! Even the name is weird. Try to picture a guy calling himself "Tender Slim," and not meaning he's low on cash. Tender Slim? You'll have to picture him, because I don't have a picture of him for you. For years, pre-internet, we knew nothing about the origins of Tender Slim. We theorized that this record could have been a one-off homemade deal recorded in what sounds like a room made completely of tin cans, aluminum foil, and electric eels with a lapel mic. Everything about these two songs is so RANDOM and WEIRD and MANIC. I fell completely in love with it, begged Kevin to sell it to me, and wisely, he did not. Turns out Tender Slim actually had some other records in the late '50s/early '60s and was notable enough to get a Billboard review for "Teenage Hayride" in November of 1959:

Good god, they even had a producer/director for this, and his name was Teddy Vann? BAHAHAHA!

Well, let's listen to the A-side first. Both songs come in at just under two minutes long, which endears them to me even more.

HAHAHAHA! HAHAHAH! I can't help myself. "Three Blind Mice," guys yelling "HA!" or "POW!" or who knows what, no lyrics until the end, some sexy girl going, "ohhh baaaybe," and the abrupt end with some wiseguy saying, "WHYYY NOT?"


Answer: SQUAT. Which is why it's so stupid, and great.

You think it can't get stupider or greater? OH YES IT CAN. "Hey Joe!" is not at all the famous rock song you know done by scads of artists like Hendrix, the Byrds, the Leaves, and Love. Nope, it's not that song at all.

I think I may have laughed myself sick when Kevin first played this for me. WHAT IS GOING ON THERE? From the speed metal guitar to the PLOINK at :38 to the Jerry Lee Lewis/Keystone Kops piano to the pause before the big chord ending, but mainly for the question asked: "HEY JOE!" "WHAAAT?? "let's go home," this is GENIUS STUPID.

Tender Slim and your friends there, I salute you with all of my rock n' roll heart. Sometimes you just gotta go a little damn crazy.