"It's a Jungle Out There: Sounds of the Tropical Forest in 3-D" is exactly what it sounds like -- binaural recordings made in the cloud forests and lowland jungles of Costa Rica, capturing a variety of species and environments. However, the manufacturer, Tapir Tapes, has opted to sticker the tape with the industry standard "Explicit Lyrics" warning label. Why? Because it contains "mating calls and other lyrics which, while not in English, are nevertheless of an obscene and animalistic nature," the label says. "The tape includes fowl language and features a variety of crude songs intended to appeal to base instincts and prurient interests. Bestiality is a particularly frequent theme."
Tapir says it opposes censorship in any form: "However, due to the uncertainty over the manner in which pending legislation in certain states might be interpreted by the courts, the company has reluctantly chosen to go to the expense of labeling its product." The tape includes a running-time guide to enable listeners (and perhaps overzealous prosecutors in Broward County, Fla.) to identify the assorted species on the 60-minute tape, part of whose proceeds will benefit the Children's Rainforest Project. "Jungle" is available for $9.98 from Tapir Tapes, 6171 Bernhard Ave., Richmond, Calif. 94805.
Mojo's Got His Henley Working Mojo Nixon, rock's answer to Spike Jones and Ray Stevens, has a penchant for perverse takes on stardom, from his contentious complaint that "Elvis Is Everywhere" (except, he says, in Michael J. Fox) to last year's "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child" (she wasn't, but at least Nixon beat the tabloids to the rumor). On his new album, "Otis," Nixon (a k a Kirby McMillan when he was a Danville, Va., native) takes on a new target with "Don Henley Must Die." Sample lyric: "Turned on the TV and what did I see/This bloaty hairy thing winning a Grammy/Best rock vocalist, compared to what?/A bunch of pseudo-craft, Instamatic satanic fluff/Don Henley must die/Don't let him get back together with Glenn Frey." This last line apparently had no effect, since the Eagles look to be getting back together for a major tour next summer. This Nixon offers no pardons, demanding that Henley be sent to the electric chair for being "pretentious" and "whining like a wounded beagle."
Obviously Nixon is not a fan of rock's old boys or their network. When the album was sent out to radio stations by Enigma, it had a sticker that read "Please DON'T play 'Don Henley Must Die' ... It might upset him" (a clever, and cheap, ploy to secure airplay). Whether it upset Henley, his record company or his management, no one's saying, but Enigma was apparently "encouraged" to squelch that particular line of promotion -- the first time a warning sticker has been recalled. Instead Enigma put on a new sticker quoting the notoriously thin-skinned Henley from a Los Angeles Times reaction story: "I think the boy just needs a good laxative."
Nixon, who will be at the 9:30 club Nov. 19 and 20, impersonates the spirit of rock-and-roll in the upcoming sequel to the 1979 low-budget film "Rock & Roll High School" (performing the anthemic "High School Is a Prison"). He certainly brings a much-needed dose of humor to the genre, as can be heard on "Otis" in songs like "I Wanna Race Bigfoot Trucks," "Put a Sex Mo-Sheen in the White House" (yes, a tribute to James Brown) and the replacement single, "Destroy All Lawyers." As for the album title, it's a tribute to all of Nixon's favorite Oti -- Redding, Blackwell, Shugie, Johnny, Otis the Elevator and Otis the Mayberry town drunk.
More Music in a Box A few more boxes to augment last week's rundown: in November, Warner Bros. will release "Lifelines," a four-CD Jimi Hendrix set featuring interviews, outtakes, home demos and concert tapes culled from 1988 Westwood One radio shows, and a previously unreleased concert recording from a 1970 Los Angeles radio show; England's EMI will release an eight-CD Kate Bush in a box, featuring her six studio albums and two CDs of rarities; Rhino will release a four-CD "Rocky Horror Picture Show" with the original cast and soundtrack recordings, selections from four foreign cast recordings, songs left out of the film and special selections from cast members; Quest/Reprise has a combo package for "Listen Up: The Many Lives of Quincy Jones," featuring a CD or tape of the soundtrack (plus three cuts not in the film) and an oversized book that has even more information than the film.
Speaking of boxes, the Smithsonian has just released an updated and revised version of its award-winning "Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection." The 100-song set (six LPs or four cassettes and CDs) traces the history of country music from the '20s through the '80s, and includes an excellent 84-page booklet by Bill Malone. It's available at Smithsonian shops or by mail from the Smithsonian Collection of Recordings, Box 23345, Dept. NR, Washington, D.C. 20026. Individual CDs will be sold at regular record stores (the booklet can be ordered separately).
Hitchhiking With Carpenter Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose new album, "Shooting Straight in the Dark," will be released next week, is featured tonight on the Nashville Network's "Hitchhiker Music Hour," along with fellow CBS country-folk-rockers the O'Kanes, James McMurty, Darden Smith and Shawn Colvin. (The show airs at 8 and is repeated at 11.) Carpenter's new single and video, "You Win Again," are already making inroads on the charts.