Camper Van Beethoven

Cigarettes & Carrot Juice: The Santa Cruz Years

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There are a number of reasons why, of all of the bands that were major contributors to the indie/alternative revolution in the mid-'80s, Camper Van Beethoven is one of the least well-known. One of them was the band's eclectic sound, which incorporated acoustic sounds like violin and mandolin, and which was so different that it's hard to see just how Camper Van Beethoven could possibly be thought of alongside harder-rocking artists like Hüsker Dü, the Butthole Surfers, or The Replacements, despite being played on the same college radio stations and having performed in the same venues. Probably more responsible for the group's relative obscurity was the low availability of their early releases; even though they were eventually reissued by IRS following the group's demise, it was too late -- those who already knew of the band already had the releases, and those who didn't probably couldn't be bothered to check out the band's mix of rock, ska, and folk, especially in a post-Nirvana world where volume was more valued than variety. It's therefore nice (if a tad puzzling, this far down the road) to see the Cigarettes & Carrot Juice: The Santa Cruz Years box set, which collects all of the band's pre-Virgin albums, the Camper Vantiquities collection, and a previously unreleased set of live material. Each of the five discs here is repackaged in a small cardboard sleeve that reproduces the original album artwork, and a small booklet containing two essays recalling the early days of the band accompanies these. Those who already have the band's early albums have little incentive to pick this one up, especially as the disc of new material in the box set (quaintly titled "Greatest Hits Played Faster") mostly consists of material from the two Virgin albums. And contrary to the title's claim, they're pretty similar to the album versions. Those who don't have this material already, on the other hand, are strongly encouraged to check this one out -- not only does it have almost all the Camper Van Beethoven you need, but the low price of this set leaves you with no excuse.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:50
2 3:14
3 1:59
4 2:41
5 1:54
6 2:36
7 1:52
8 2:06
9 2:22
10 1:48
11 1:37
12 2:32
13 1:59
14 2:23
15 2:13
16 3:55
17 2:29

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:53
2 1:43
3 4:03
4 1:17
5 2:20
6 1:46
7 1:37
8 2:22
9 1:31
10 1:49
11 2:32
12 2:53
13 1:54
14 2:38
15 2:29
16 3:07
17 2:51
18 2:10
19 3:09

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:56
2 2:31
3 1:38
4
2:40
5 1:29
6 2:09
7 3:27
8 2:32
9 2:52
10 3:50
11 2:03
12 1:50
13 2:39
14 1:57
15 7:45
16 1:26

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:08
2 3:24
3 4:12
4 2:28
5 3:04
6 3:24
7 2:06
8 3:24
9 3:01
10 2:38
11 2:58
12 3:49
13 2:57
14 4:04
15 3:48
16 19:39

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 5:26
2 4:34
3 3:57
4 5:14
5 3:35
6 3:45
7 3:10
8 4:00
9 5:12
10 2:55
11 3:36
12 3:58
13 3:40
blue highlight denotes track pick