As the Greater Yankette Community knows, Salubrious Saturday is the go-to place for music that soothes, encourages, ennobles, or inspires. To borrow from the Anglican hymnal, an aptly salubrious selection will leave one feeling that hearts are brave again and arms are strong.
As you will hear, “What D’Ye Mean You Lost Yer Dog” is just such a song. But so is “Surfin’ Bird” and for that matter “Onward Christian Soldiers.” So what is it exactly makes this song so salubrious?
First, good Lord: just listen to it. Now do you get it?
Second, it’s a polka. Unless you live in Milwaukee, you simply cannot have too many polkas.
In addition, this performance, hits the sweet spot that a lot of novelty songs miss: there’s no mugging on display here, and no sloppiness. Each instrumentalist plays with the same precision and polish and care that they would bring to a performance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The snare drum crackles; the slide whistle is crisp; the whistling and dog voicing is spot on.
This piece was the theme of Steve Cannon’s legendary afternoon drive-time radio show on WCCO Radio in Minneapolis. That show and this piece were particular favorites of my sainted father. Dad never missed a performance of the Minneapolis Symphony. He sat through long evenings of Sibelius and Mahler, God help him, with real appreciation. But he loved this song too. He would have turned 100 this year, and my goal this year is to introduce “What D’Ye Mean You Lost Yer Dog” to no fewer than 100 people in his honor. Starting with you.
[Editor’s note: Seriously, Tune-Up fans – forward this to your friends. Let’s make this happen. My grandfather was an outstanding member of the human race. Post this on Facebook, Twitter, email it to your bridge club and your softball league. Share the love.]
I’ve got a dog named Rover.
“Here Rover. come Rover.”
He roams around all over;
just home three time a day.
I bet he hears my whistling,
See the neighbors are list’ning
“What d’ye mean you lost your dog?”
I hear the people say.
Has anybody here seen Rover
I’m looking for him now all over.
He’s a hunter’s dog all right,
He keeps my hunting day and night.
This is what I worry over:
Say who put the “rove” in Rover.
My whistle’s getting dry.
It seems as if I hear that mongrel whine:
I should worry like a tree
And have somebody trimming me.
Where’s that dog-gone, dog gone dog of mine?