Thursday, December 06, 2007

My morning commute is not long enough

There's just too much good stuff on XM in the morning. Bob Edwards on XMPR (channel 133), Dr. Oz on Oprah and Friends (156), Bill Anderson, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty's shows on XMX (channel 2) not to mention the the baseball Home Plate Channel, the comedy channels, and all the great music. This morning I was listening to Tom Petty's "Buried Treasure". I like this show almost as much as Bob Dylan's "Theme Time Radio Hour." Petty doesn't have a theme, just plays whatever strikes his fancy, much of it fairly obscure -- he's a big Zombies fan, for instance -- but much of it is songs that you've heard before, albeit not in a while, which makes you pay attention to them more than usual.

This morning he was playing Howling Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson, some stuff I'd never heard before and I was listening hard. Then he played a song I've heard many times before but instead of tuning out like I normally would for a song I've made up my mind a long ago about, I kept listening hard. It's by the Dixie Cups who are more famous for "The Chapel of Love." You've heard this one too, but have you paid attention to? It sounds a little like one of those rhymes little girls used to jump rope to -- you know, like the one where Cinderella can't tell her fella from a snake. "Iko Iko" shares some of the same disturbing imagery but the rhymes aren't that good. The chorus is utter nonsense, but check out the first verse:

My grandma and your grandma
Were sittin' by the fire.
My grandma told your grandma:
"I'm gonna set your flag on fire."

And if rhyming "fire" with "fire" and two old ladies threatening each other with flag desecration sounds bad, watch what happens when the Cups turn the violence level up in verse two:

Look at my king all dressed in red.
Iko, Iko, unday.
I betcha five dollars he'll kill you dead.
Jockamo fee nané

Damn. In verse three they get lazy and repeat verse one, only this time they substitute "flagboy" for "Grandma." Really that's the only difference.
Then in verse four, they turn from violence to sex:

See that guy all dressed in green ?
Iko, Iko, unday. He's not a man;
He's a lovin' machine.
Jockamo fee nané.

According to Wikipedia, this song's been covered by everybody from The Grateful Dead to Cyndi Lauper. I wonder why. It's not near as good as "Cinderella dressed in yella."

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