You remember when baseball stopped for a while because of contract disputes? Remember when your favorite player was traded, or when he left to make more money on another team? Here’s a song for that baseball player that plays for the love of the game. Hat’s off to them.
Let’s go to a wedding today, shall we? A dear friend of mine is tying the knot (or “hitching the knot” as another friend once put it) and this will be on the car stereo as I drive up.
The first full week after being away from D.C. for almost two and the immediate wheels-down-at-DCA thought still remains. It’s like a fusion of Plato’s Cave and the twist at the end of “The Sixth Sense:” I see tweaked-out, type-A, overachieving anxiety-balls. I have a much better understanding of why people say that D.C. is a bubble. I kind of knew that while I’ve been here for the past decade, but now it’s even more obvious. I still love my “funny little town,” but dudes. Seriously. Chill.
I may or may not be obsessed with the show “Hell on Wheels,” and by may or may not I mean am. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to clear your schedule, get some snacks, and hie thee to a Netflix account. It’s fantastic. The show follows the adventures of one Cullen Bohannon, a Civil War veteran on the Confederate side whose family was killed by Union soldiers. The show begins with him hunting them down and the plot hinges on what happens to him in their pursuit.
Plot plot plot blah blah blah. The music is awesome and is so successful at putting you in the time period that you hear twangy guitars after the show ends, and walk around with a pretend six-shooter on your right hip. Never mind that the life portrayed in the show is awful. You want to be Cullen Bohannon.
The song “Takarasaka” puts me in that frame of mind.
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?
I am sitting here watching Señor Boyfriend trying to pack his suitcase for our upcoming vacation. His meticulousness reminded me of how the little blocks fit into each other in Tetris. (He is now telling me that it reminded him of Tetris and that I laughed. Yeah, yeah, okay, fine, true.) So we just had to hear the Tetris theme song. But why listen to the original 8-bit version when you can listed to a ska version? I mean, what? No conversation necessary.
Holy wowza, that was a tough week and Lord knows it’s not over yet. Your plucky heroine is spending the weekend working*. But that’s okay, dogs. The tides are turning. So I’m putting on a strong pot of coffee and turning on some Twin Shadow to keep me company today. I hope you’ll join me.
*In her cool apartment. #winning #hashtag #Isawthegreatestmindsofmygenerationdestroyedbyhashtags
Sorry this is late, Tune-Up fans – I’ve been on the water all day doing the most pirate-y thing ever: kayaking. I am a yuppie pirate (AAARH!). But we did see snapping turtles on logs (AHOY!), and paddle boaters (LANDLUBBERS!) and a Pirate Cruise (…WHAT THE HELL IS THAT! AAARH!). And then we drank beer and ate barbecue. So, basically: Pirate Day.
SATURDAY! Yay! Let’s go outside and play. This is another one of my personal theme songs. “You can look back, babe, but it’s best not to stare.”
It’s cool and rainy here in our nation’s capital and I’m looking at a pretty mellow, introspective Saturday. If you are, too, I’d recommend putting this song on.