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This Week with The Chicowitz:

When the Music Was Fun

Last week: “Eat the Rich

See... we didn’t have to worry about being “politically correct” back then. We did not worry that some people may be offended by our silliness. It was generally harmless. There were far fewer over-educated, over-employed, over-paid pointy-headed sociologists supposedly looking out for what’s good for us. (’Course, the cynic in me would note that so many of the current over-educated, over-employed, over-paid pointy-headed sociologists are boomers.)

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One of the things that makes the music of the boomer years so special is the goofy songs. Yes, we had our share of serious songs, protesting all sorts of social ills. But many of us did not take ourselves too seriously. We had plenty of time to laugh. That came through in our music. We had so much fun with our music.

I have a collection of oddball boomer songs. Every now and then, when I am feeling down, I pull some of them out and play them. I offer some of them to you today to remind you to stop being so serious all the time... and just laugh.

My all-time favorite goofy boomer song is “Does Your Chewing Gum Loose its Flavor on the Bedpost Over Night?” by Brit Lonnie Donegan:

Oh me, oh my, oh you.
Whatever shall I do?
Halleleuah,
The question is peculiar.
I’d give a lot of dough,
if only I could know,
the answer to my question, is it yes or is it no.
Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost over night?
If your mother says don’t chew it, do you swallow it in spite?
Can you catch it on your tonsils, and you heave it left and right?
Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost over night?

Every time I hear it, I sing along. It just cracks me up! Every time.
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavor?

        “Please Mr. Custer, I don’t wanna go.”
        xxx

Roger Miller had a string of silly songs in the 60s. My favorite was “Dang Me”:

They say roses are red, and violets are purple;
sugar’s sweet and so is maple surple.
I’m the seventh out of seven sons;
my pappy was a pistol, I’m a son of a gun.
I say dang me,
dang me;
they ought to take a rope and hang me
high from the highest tree,
woman wouldja’ weep for me?

Johnny Horton’s first hit was “The Battle of New Orleans”:

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip’.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more, and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Country & western hillbillies Homer & Jethro responded with “The Battle of Camp Kookamonga":

In nineteen and fifty-nine we took a little hike
With our scout master down to Lake Oneeganite
We took a little pizza and we took some sourkruats
and we marched along together till we heard the girl scouts

We’re the boys from Camp Kookamonga
Our mother send us here for to study nature’s ways
We learned to make sparks by rubbing sticks together
But if we catch the girls, then we’ll set the woods ablaze

        “My friend the witch doctor
        He taught me what to say.
        My friend the witch doctor
        He taught me what to do.
        I know that you’ll be mine
        When I say this to you"

       

Jim Stafford recorded a bunch of goofy songs. This is from “Spiders and Snakes”:

I remember when Mary Lou
said, “You wanna’ walk me home from school?”
Well I said, “Yes, I dooooo.”
She said, “I don’t have to go right home,
and I would kinda like to be alone some, if you would.”
I said, “meeeee, toooooo.”

I don’t like spiders and snakes,
And that ain’t what it takes
to love me
like I wanna be loved by you.

        “Chick-a-boom, chick-a-boom,
        Dontcha’ just love it?”
       

Ray Stevens is the king of goofy songs. I always loved “A-hab the A-rab”:

Let me tell you about A-hab, the A-rab
The sheik of the burning sand
He had emeralds and rubies just drippin’ off ’a him
And a ring on every finger of his hand
He wore a big ol’ turban wrapped around his head
And a scimitar by his side
And a- every evenin’, about midnight
He’d jump on his camel named Clyde,
and ride...

See... we didn’t have to worry about being “politically correct” back then. We did not worry that some people may be offended by our silliness. It was generally harmless. The society was not as coarse back then. There were far fewer over-educated, over-employed, over-paid pointy-headed sociologists supposedly looking out for what’s good for us. (’Course, the cynic in me would note that so many of the current over-educated, over-employed, over-paid pointy-headed sociologists are boomers. Yes; many of us have gone astray... far, far astray.)

An elementary school principal in New York thought that singing Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA (“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free) might offend people. So, for the kindergarten graduation ceremony, she replaced it with Justin Bieber’s Baby (And I’m in pieces, baby fix me; and just shake me till you wake me from this bad dream; I’m goin’ down, down, down, down; and I just can’t believe my first love won’t be around). — Kindergarten, mind you.

        Elizabeth Borden took an ax
        And gave her mother forty whacks
        And when the job was nicely done
        She gave her father forty-one!

       

Of course, in many cases the lyrics do not do the songs justice. One of the goofiest was “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow,” by the Rivingtons:

Funniest sound I ever heard
And I can’t understand a single word.
Is he serious, is he playin’?
“Papa-oom-mow-mow"
is all he’s saying.
Papa-oom-mow-mow
Papa-oom-mow-mow
Papa-oom-mow-mow
Papa-oom-mow-mow

You have to hear that to get it. It’s just hilarious.

In 1964, an artist named Major Lance had a big hit with a song called, “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um.” Yep; that is the title.

Walking through the park, it wasn’t quite dark
There was a man sitting on a bench
Out of the crowd as his head lowly bowed
He just moaned and he made no sense
He’d just go

Um, um, um, um, um, um
Um, um, um, um, um, um
Um, um, um, um, um, um
Um, um, um, um, um, um

(I should note that a year earlier, he had a hit with a song called “The Monkey Time.”)

And then... in the mid 70s, Piero Umiliani recorded a song called “Mah Na Mah Na.” That is not only the title, it is the lyrics, too. Over and over and over again. So silly, you had to love it.

(You younger boomers might remember the Muppets using it in a show. It was a wonderful!)

        You’ll see green alligators and long-necked geese,
        Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees,
        Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born,
        You’re never gonna see no unicorn.

       

I suppose they are still recording goofy songs today. But the only one that comes to my mind right away is a response song to Cindy Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

A group called Exude recorded “Boys Just Wanna Have Sex.” Cute... but the innocent silliness is missing.

Dickie Goodman, Alan Sherman, David Seville.... there are so many of them. (We have a collection of goofy song titles listed in the Music Room at BBHQ.)

It was just fun... just pure fun.

I am so glad that I have these great, goofy songs in my collection.

Still.... when I turn on the radio in the car, I miss the fun.


A BBHQ Pop Quiz: From the BBHQ Lyrics You Know You Know collection, fill in the missing word:
    I said Jenny Diver... ho, ho, Sookie Taudrie.
    Look out a’ Miss Lotte Lenya;
    and old Lucy Brown.
    Oh the line forms, on the___________ , babe;
    Now that Mackieeeeeee’s.... back in towwwwwwwwwwn.
    .... look out old Mackie is back!


Your final answer is....






 


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06/19/17