Meet The Hard Pack - R.J. Reynolds

This is a free country, and there was a time where a company, no matter what they sold, could market their product in any way they wish. Suffice it to say, these days, between public opinion and over-reaching government officials, don't expect the Marlboro man to cut an album anytime soon.

This cassette contains twelve songs, all of which are about or are loosely based around smoking and Camel brand cigarettes. I can't find much information or the name of the actual band who recorded this. I suspect that tidbit of information is kept secret as a condition in their contract. The songs are various blues styles; pretty much like every other hack blues group of the time, their blues style is akin to the riding on the coat tails of The Blues Brothers. Very generic. Very repetitive. To be fair to the band, if I was paid to wright an entire album about a controversial product I would be half-assing it as well.

According to the backside, this tape was published in 1993. It seems pretty easy to figure out why many people in congress wanted to see the death of Joe Camel. This cassette doesn't blatantly market to children but there is an image RJR were going for: The cool guy was the one who smoked Camel brand cigarettes. Kids like to be cool. Every kid wants to be 'that guy'. But kids don't like Blues. I'm guessing their target age were those in the early-20's. It would be the perfect thing to hand out on a college campus, right?

I picked six songs to share to best illustrate the abortion of a marketing campaign this tape is. Who was in charge of Public Relations down there in RJR? The poor guy had to smoke a carton a day in order to counteract their level of stress.

No Way No Way - Vanilla

Irregardless how much they try there is nothing sexy about this video. Nothing at all! And who was the genius who thought using "Ma na ma na" was a bright idea? No wonder I've never heard of this girl band; they reek of failure.

Leroy The Redneck Reindeer - Joe Diffie

Living in a southwest and being part of an extended family who could by those less tolerant consider "redneck", first offends me, and second, leaves me with a few questions: We have a reindeer with a John Deere hat, overalls, and an old pickup truck and living in a big hunting community. First, given he wouldn't hunt his brothers, what would he hunt and what keeps him from being hunted? Turkey or wild hog I guess and according to my dad, "He has a flying pickup to keep him out of trouble. That's true I guess.

And he's, "Singing Jingle Bells with a rebel yell". I know exactly what that sounds like. Merry Christmas everyone! I for one can't wait to spend our Christmas with my deer huntin' family.

Christmas Wrap Rap - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Oh yes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The freakish characters who, every five years or so, try to force themselves down another generation of kids' throats. All the while we all wonder why the hell they were once popular in the first place. Didn't know they were Christian; that's a new twist. They missed a grand opportunity though: Teenage Jewish Ninja Turtles. Come on now, I can't be the only one who would love to see their version of Dradle Dradle Dradle.

German Cover of Achy Breaky Heart (Brich mir nicht mein Herz)

Through the dusty passages that is my brain I keep stumbling over the memory from when I was living in Austria, hearing a German version of Achy Breaky Heart. We falsely hoped cheesy, mullet-driven honky-tonk was left behind us in Oklahoma until Mein Gebrochenes Herz spewed from the radio once again clogging our minds in a completely different way.

If this is worse than the English version, I'll leave that up to you.