Diving straight in today.
Ellie the Elegant Elephant
Not the kids books and recordings. I couldn’t find an actual recording of this song by Two Ton Baker, though while I was looking I came across two songs from the 1940s that wouldn’t be made today:
- The Too Fat Polka – which includes the line “I don’t want her. You can have her. She’s too fat for me.”
- Slap ‘er Down, Agin, Paw – apparently in the 40s it was OK to have hit songs about beating your daughter. Apparently, even the priests got in on the act because you “don’t want the neighbors talking about her sin.” You know, because girls are slatterns leading men into hell. I’d love to think this troglodyte thinking is outdated, except, you know the VP won’t be alone with a woman not his wife. Jesus wept.
I have many memories of Meme and Pawpan, many of them tied to the corner of the living room near the front window and cabinets (where some puzzles and records were stored) and near the bullet mark in the floor from when Pawpan hadn’t unloaded the chamber when cleaning his .32 revolver.
Now and then, Meme would pull out records – Sink the Bismark, Snoopy and the Red Baron, Bill Cosby albums (OK, he’s a scumbag, but his standup is fucking hilarious – though he’d never say “fuck”. Voopa, voopa, ting, “Noah.”), and others. The one that sticks out is Ellie the Elegant Elephant. The bitch of it is, I can’t remember anything other than “Ellie the Elegant” and then drums.
LOL, as I was looking for lyrics, Two Ton Baker, who sang the song, also recorded “No Beer in Heaven.” Well. It ain’t much of a heaven then, is it!?!! Not sure if this is the same song, but there’s a German polka, In Heaven, There Is No Beer:
In Heaven there is no beer
That’s why we drink it here
And when we’re gone from here
All our friends will be drinking all that beer
Marty Robbins again. While I love this song, I never could quite understand why the young cowboy had to ride into town guns blazing. Makes for a good song, but, I remember thinking even as a kid, “what a dumbass. Sneak in at night man.”
This song is also the sole reason I’d like to go to El Paso one day in the hopes that I find a Mexican restaurant called Rosa’s Cantina to be served by Felina.
The Oxford American music issue has cost me lots of money over the years as I go out and buy music from the artists on the CD. If you love music and great writing, heartily recommend the Oxford American in general for the writing and the annual music issue in particular for both.
The Gourds is one group I discovered listening to one of the CDs years ago. A little weird and funky, dig their music.
Evelyn Is Not Real
My Morning Jacket is another group I discovered via the Oxford American. This was the first song of theirs I heard and I was hooked. Give it a listen and see if the same happens to you.
Every Breath You Take
The Police were inescabable in the 80s. Every Breath You Take is the prettiest song about stalking you’ll ever hear. One of the few times I can remember my Mom paying attention to lyrics was on a Police song as we were driving into San Antonio for vacation in summer of 1988. I think it was King of Pain when he talks about killing himself or something, which she found objectionable though I don’t think that’s how I interpret the lyrics. Of course, we had just listened to the song about pedophilia, Don’t Stand So Close to Me.
Huh, WTF was up with those guys?
Cool fact: Sting wrote the song in Jamaica at the same desk as Ian Fleming wrote James Bond novels.
“The Too Fat Polka” was a staple on the Gateway Party Liner – the riverboat I worked on for a little over a year while in high school. I worked with the company that catered the Captain’s Dinner Cruise. Same food, same music. I knew it was time to get my stuff ready to move when they played the Hokey Pokey.
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