After floating in the pool while listening to internet radio this weekend, I offer the first of several postulates as irrefutable fact.
Postulate I: Popular music from the early 70s presents a dysfunctional relationship between humans and the animal kingdom, to the detriment of the animals
Proof is presented in the following three exhibits of truth.
I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name / It felt good to be out of the rain …
It felt good to be out of the rain, yet after only two days in the desert sun, the singer’s skin begins to turn red. How quickly circumstances change in the unforgiving desert climate. Clearly the singer is unprepared for the journey.
After nine days in the desert sun, he sets Nameless free, presumably to save him from a hallucination-induced imaginary rising sea.
So, we’ve got a hallucinating singer riding a generic horse through a place where “you can remember your name,” yet he fails to give his faithful method of transportation the same satisfaction of an identity.
Let me resolve the tune by writing this new final verse:
On my last day in the desert sun / The horse began to lead me / To the headquarters of ASPCA / Where I signed over every royalty.
I feel better now. Nameless Horse, I dub thee forever, Free.
Many people think it’s Canadian musician, Neil Young, performing lyrical animal abuse. Ironically, it’s the group America.
. . .
Little Willy Willy won’t go home / But you can’t push Willy ’round, Willy won’t go / Try tell’n everybody but, oh no / Little Willy Willy won’t go home
Why is Little Willy so adamantly refusing to go home? I know I don’t get out much, but there is only one creature that cannot be forced into doing something it doesn’t want to do, and that’s a cat.
The band, The Sweet, admitted as much. The song’s inspiration came from a stray cat that hung out at their garage as they practiced. That’s called a muse my friend! At least you put a name on it.
Too bad only Little Willy chose to hang around; otherwise, the band might have had another hit. It’s not every day one finds a cat that can drive people silly doing the shimmy shuffle as Mama chases him down the hall. I guess one takes what one gets, doesn’t one?
Mama, you might as well give it up. Cats are all about the drama. Little Willy’s enjoying your frustrated chases. The shimmy shuffle Willy is doing is only meant to grab your attention. To the cat, the chase is the dance.
To the band, The Sweet, you failed to see the potential offered by the blues genre. Little Willy the muse cat would have given blues musicians a career of songs on homelessness, health hazards of living off of human scraps, and the terror, and subsequent loneliness and despair of cats too easily frightened away by a screaming woman.
. . .
And Exhibit C:
Jeremiah was a bull frog / Was a good friend of mine / Never understood a single word he said / But I helped him drink his wine / He always had some mighty fine wine
Oklahoma song writer, Hoyt Axton, wrote “Joy to the World,” which was made famous by Three Dog Night (I will ignore the animal reference in the band’s name. It is beyond the scope of this proof).
One may presume that Jeremiah is financially stable. The frog has no issues with Hoyt consuming large quantities of even his best of his wines.
There is no evidence of an exchange of currency or services between Hoyt and the bull frog. In fact, Hoyt consistently refers the wine as being the frog’s, even though Hoyt says he doesn’t understand a word the frog says.
Hoyt (I love saying Hoyt) reveals quite a bit about himself in, “Joy to The World,” but little else about his so-called “friend” the frog. Hoyt loves the ladies and loves to have his fun. He’s a high night flier and a rainbow rider, and a straight-shootin’ son of a gun. I said a straight-shootin’ son of a gun.
The bull frog remains just a bull frog. The unanswered question is, how can a frog and man become close friends without a bull-frog-to-human-with-Oklahoma-Accent translation device? Seems as though the translation is embedded within the wine.
The true nature of their relationship is unclear, but the possibilities are disturbing. Let’s assume that Hoyt is simply using the frog as a hook to draw in listeners, where he proceeds to make the song all about himself.
As my tshirt says, “Hoyt Axton is a bull-frog-user” (front); “There is nothing worse” (back).
. . .
Again, a blues musician could turn this happy song into something darker and more mysterious. Picture Robert Johnson at the crossroads, not with the devil, but with Jeremiah the bull frog.
Man and frog meet at the convergence of country roads near an old Mississippi cemetery. It is a few minutes before midnight.
There is silence except for the sounds of Robert’s frequent mosquito-killing slapping of flesh with both hands. The frog slurps slapped-dead insects that fall within tongue range.
Jeremiah pulls the cork from a bottle and lifts the cork to Robert’s nose. The frog waits for approval.
It’s here at the crossroads on that fateful night where Robert exchanges his soul, not for supernatural talent, but for a glass of Chianti with a complex aroma.
At the stroke of midnight, man and frog disappear in a blinding flash of lightning. All that’s left at the crossroads is a broken bottle labeled, “Mighty Fine”.
Later it will be said that Robert played his best slide guitar using the broken glass neck from that bottle of wine. From then on, it will forever be known as a bottleneck slide. The rest is history.
And a cork. The cork was still in the road.
. . .
I close with a piece of trivia worth twice the price of today’s free blog post: Hoyt Axton’s mom, Mae, co-wrote “Heartbreak Hotel,“ one of the biggest hits for Elvis. She bought a hot tub with the money.
Whip out that fact at your next party and watch potential love interests swoon. “Anybody can spew facts about Hoyt Axton (as many often do),” they will exclaim in amazement. “This person just laid down truth about Hoyt Axton’s mother!”
The hook is set in the jaw of your own listeners. Reel in your interested love interest with this follow-up fact: Mae drowned in her hot tub in 1997.
Lasting Marriages have been formed from less-impressive irony.
. . .
Next time between posts of prose and poetry, we explore what happens when I change the internet radio station to public radio while floating in the pool.
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