One of my co-workers, hereinafter to be referred to as Anorexic Stoner Girl, or ASG for short,* dragged in a pile of CDs the other day.
The rest of us huddled in apprehension.
See, ASG's musical tastes are a little...well, they're kinda...sorta...uh...they just don't coincide with mine, which are otherwise surprisingly eclectic and run the gamut from Beethoven & Bach to hard-core '70s punk***. ASG, on the other hand, leans toward country & western ballads; ass-kickin' (not in a good way) truck-driving tunes; squeaky-clean, vapid-voiced female vocalists of all stripes and persuasions, the blander the better, apparently; and generically-rendered Christmas carols, which she plays all year long at least once a damn day every damn day.
The girl couldn't be any whiter if she tried.
Oh, wait. Yeah, she could. She's from Iowa.
Anyway, on this particular day she was particularly enamored with--as in played it repeatedly for the entire damn morning and on and off during the afternoon--a "Best Of" compilation by (brace yourselves) The Kingston Trio.
Yeah. The Kingston fuckin' Trio, the Whitest Boyz in Da (Gated) Hood, second only to SCTV's 5 Neat Guys (and they were playin' it for laughs).
My feelings for the American folk music revival, at least as presented on television in the late '50s and early '60s, pretty much follow the tone of 2003 mockumentary, A Mighty Wind: "Gawd, that was awful; let's make (pointed, but gentle) fun of it!" This is probably because my parents were devoted followers of The Ed Sullivan Show, which I loathed with almost the same vehemence I reserved for the soulless Bland-O-Tronic outpourings of Lawrence Welk**** because, well, bland and squeaky-clean never appealed to me, even as a child. What I wanted was total immersion in stuff that was edgy, exciting, innervating, fast-paced, and adrenaline-inducing, something ol' Ed (and Lawrence and the commercially-oriented folk music of the time) was not. However, as a kid I also operated on the (decidedly faulty) assumption that bad television was better than no television and thereby endured a helluva lot of disgustingly wholesome, commercially-slick folksingers with perfect enunciation, bad haircuts, and musical cues so precise they seemed machine-generated.
Including The Kingston Trio.
Anyway, ASG was merrily playing her album and offering various asides on how funny these guys were, how creative and innovative, while all the time I'm gritting my teeth, wondering if I can get a bulk discount on the gallons of insulin I'm going to be needing before the day is through, when up came one of The Kingston Trio's best known ditties, even to me, "M. T. A.".
So okay, yeah, I gotta admit "M. T. A." is funny. What surprised me is that ASG didn't quite get the metafunny parts.
First, a quick listen for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the song:
Definitely snickerworthy. The surprising part, given her extensive country music background, is ASG didn't know this was a parody/mashup***** of "The Wreck of the Old 97", pretty much a standard for Old School country singers everywhere******:
Anyway, the upshot was ASG was fascinated, and I mean fascinated all out of proportion by these odds and ends of useless musical trivia I happen to have stowed away in the dim recesses of my brain.
My guess is she'll be torturing us with a whole bunch of new CDs real soon now.
I have no one to blame but myself.
*Because, well, she's a classic anorectic and she's always high on...something. My guess is she's a-rockin' the ganj and poppin' speed, which gives her a...um...delightful**...bipolar disposition.
**Annoying as hell.
***With possibly unhealthy doses of Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, Meat Loaf, and Tom Waits.
****No offense to my paternal grandfather, who loved Lawrence Welk which, I suppose, was merely age-appropriate. He even had an autographed picture atop his television console.
*****Mashup as in "The Wreck of the Old 97" and an even earlier song, "The Ship That Never Returned."
******Well, maybe "The Wreck of the Old 97" is something found only in the Southern collective unconcious; certainly by the time I was in 4th grade I knew this variant:
He was runnin' down the road makin' 90 miles an hour
When the chain on his bicycle broke
He was found in the grass with the chain up his ass
And his teeth playing "Dixie" on the spokes