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Ben Folds EPs

Ben Folds was the coolest fucking guy to me right after I started college.  Whatever and Ever Amen‘s piano-rock barely left my CD player after I bought it.  Then I saw Ben Folds Five in 1998 with the bands Train and Fleming & John opening after The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner was released.  I still have the ticket stub to this day, preserved in the back of the jewel case of my copy of Whatever.  About a year after that concert, the band broke up (although it was not, as “Army” might lead you to believe, in May.)

And then, as a solo artist, my love has waned with each subsequent release.  Rockin’ the Suburbs was still kind of cool, but something was off about it.  I have seen him live a couple times since then, and while he’s undeniably talented, it’s my opinion that he’s lost that raw energy that was evident on his earlier albums.  Songs for Silverman was almost unlistenable for me.

But before Silverman was released, he put out three EPs (Speed Graphic, Super D, and Sunny 16) in rapid succession – each one only four or five songs – and they contained everything I used to love about seeing Ben play live, combined with less production.  Unexpected covers, goofy lyrics, rousing piano.  They were released in a package form on Supersunnyspeedgraphic, The LP, but not in the same versions that endeared themselves to me, and those who simply bought that album missed out on a couple of tracks.  So here, my friends are two of the best songs off of those EPs.  One was released in a bastard form on Silverman and the other can only be found on the EP as far as I know.

“Give Judy My Notice” has this one part that kills me every single time; it’s right at the end of the song – about 30 seconds to go – after he sings “Judy” a couple of times.  When he sings the word “notice” the last two times he tweaks the note a little bit.  (You people who know music technically can maybe tell me what this is actually called.)  And it’s the prettiest and saddest part of a song that actually feels like a break-up.  It’s honest about the emotion and heartbreak that comes with the end of a relationship.

And “Protection” just rolls right on through you.

Both of the songs happen to be from the Speed Graphic EP.  Enjoy them because they may be the last vestige of the old Ben – the one that defined our late teens/early twenties.

Ben Folds – Give Judy My Notice (mp3) from Speed Graphic EP

Ben Folds – Protection (mp3) from Speed Graphic EP

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  • mark

    Train did a sweet cover of “Ramble On” that night.

  • Andy

    Man, I don’t remember that at all, Mark. I remember Fleming & John bringing some poor girl on stage to dance during one of their songs, and she made it through about the first verse/chorus and then realized how foolish she must look. Plus, it wasn’t a dance-y song.

    To her credit, she stayed up there for the whole song.

  • mark

    steve remembers it as well. I think we got to go backstage that night as well. Some girl picked up steve during the concert and i got to tag along. It was really awkward backstage. Steve and the girl played golf the next day and he never called her. classic.

    I also happen to agree with your assessment of BFF/BF in general.

  • Andy

    That’s a Steve move for sure. He probably complained about paying for a cart too.

    I think Folds now might have something to do with the fact that he’s now like 42 and unable to maintain the goofy persona.

    Did you even get his last album? I didn’t, and kind of regret not, but it would really have to garner mounds of praise for me to do it. It’s just sad that an artist I used to love that much has now become someone I won’t even bother to purchase.