Jonathan Richman's self-titled 1989 record was the first recording I ever heard of his, by a slim margin... the Rhino CD release of The Modern Lovers was issued around that same time, and as soon as I got ahold of that (one of the first CDs I was to own back when I was still buying cassettes) it rocketed into my personal Top 10 Albums list and has remained there ever since. But the eponymous record remains my favorite solo Jojo record. To some extent his solo output is fairly interchangeable, so it's not surprising that one would tend to favor the first Richman LP one hears, but I really do think this one's sort of special. It has barely any band tracks, and mostly features Jonathan accompanying himself on electric guitar. There are a few foreign-language numbers but it's not a whole record of them as he would later do, and a couple of lovely instrumentals, and some of his very best joi de vivre songs in my my estimation: "Fender Stratocaster", "Miracles Will Start to Happen", and "Action-Packed", just to name a few.
And then there's "I Eat With Gusto, Damn! You Bet". If you received a mix tape (or, eventually, mix CD) from me at any time during the nineties, you have almost certainly heard this, at least in part. I'm posting this first out of all the nine covers I've cranked out over recent days in order to catch up with my 39-40 schedule because it contains a "Happy Hanukah" at the end, and as the Festival of Lights has just concluded as of this writing, that's not going to get any more topical for quite some time.
Rex Broome ~ spoken word
Miranda & Ridley Broome ~ stunned audience
"I Eat With Gusto, Damn! You Bet" performed by one Jonathan Richman