Monday, January 11, 2010

Best Thing I Heard Today: Merle Haggard and Leona Williams doing "The Bull and the Beaver"

This delightful tune might be the sexiest trucking song ever (give or take Garth's "Callin' Baton Rouge"), if it weren't so goofy. And it's not just me--after the song played on Rick Jackson's Country Hall of Fame yesterday--and after Lea and I finally figured out what it was about--Rick Jackson himself practically collapsed into giggles talking about it. He could barely get a word out! Your results may vary, but here you go:

What else? The sax solo reminds me of something off Paul Simon's Graceland, weirdly enough--maybe it's just the timbre. This song is NOT on the album pictured above, but Bear Family's still a great label, so how could you go wrong? And it occurs to me that "Bull/Beaver" may also be the sexiest jargon song (which I'm thinking of redubbing "shoptalk songs") ever, not that there's a lot of competition on that front (unless you read "Strawberry Roan" WAY differently than I do). I mean, you gotta love that Merle ACTUALLY SINGS this verse:

"Well, it won't be hard to back it,
Babe, I'm right behind you--
Just put them air brakes on and let 'er slide!"

Ah, romance.


James said...

When this song came out, I was a kid and thus had no clue about all the sexiness I was hearing. Sure sounds different now. Thanks for bringing this one back onto my radar.

Unrelated note #1: The only time I saw Merle, his opening act was Leona, and the entire show was done by 9:00. The people in San Angelo Colosseum were very unhappy.

Unrelated note #2: Garth's version of "Callin' Baton Rouge" is inferior to the original by New Grass Revival.

Josh Langhoff said...

Now that I am old, finishing a show by 9pm sounds ideal. We went to Lorde in March and she didn't go much later than that, it was great.

I keep thinking I should listen to New Grass Revival. For one thing, Eric Church shouted them out on his last album. And then on Record Store Day I saw them in the local "prog" section, which should really be renamed the "record store geek" section because it also contained stuff like Pentangle and I forget what else. Other weird British folk and psych, I think. But anyway, I looked up their "Callin' Baton Rouge," and man, Garth copied it pretty slavishly -- his version's just amped up in a way that screams "Garth!", similar to his version of "Shameless." Your recommendation might push me over the edge.