C'est Cheese!




Yo, Little Sugie!

So, last month, before my class started, I went to visit Sugarbear up in Seattle. I wanted to take him a little kissy-package (tm Mother), and, when me and The Husband-Type Man finally succumbed to the siren song that is Napster, I knew just what to do.

I made him a 3-CD set of our childhood. Oh yes.

I scoured Napster – and the bowels of my memories – and discovered all sorts of magical things! I found weird shit we hadn’t heard in decades. I found tracks from his favorite childhood records. I found horrid c(o)untry songs that Blevins, Stepfather Number Two, used to play. I found songs that brought back those summers watching MTV. I found novelty stuff from a now-long-defunct morning radio show we listened to. I found songs that just play say "Sugie" to me (i.e. "Don’t Bogart That Joint"). I found stuff that would just plain make him groan in agony. Put it all together, and what do you get? Why, you get Yo, Little Sugie!

All songs are special, personal, and evocative of Sugarbear and/or our childhood. Some’re pretty self-explanatory, but others are pretty off the wall…. To wit:

    • Yo, Little Brother – Nolan Thomas: I always thought I imagined this song. I remember it from the early days of MTV, in the summer of 1982. Suge and I stayed at Gram’s house a lot, and there wasn’t much else to do but watch TV and fight. Well, he actually had friends, so he’d go out with the Juvenille Delinquents while I watched MTV. And there was this one early lite-rap song that I remembered, with a chorus that went "Yo, yo little brother! Whatcha out there tryin’ to discover?" And I remembered the video, with two young boys in baggy New Wave-ish clothes and dyed blond curly hair, on a really cheap-looking street-scene stage set. But I never heard the song on the radio, and never saw the video other than those couple times that summer. Years later, people would look at me like I was nuts when I asked if they remembered the song or video. Then, several months ago, Milla, who somehow manages to know the most obscure of the Obscure Pop Culture References, actually said "YES! I know what you’re talking about!" Mere minutes later, she’d e-mailed me all the info on the song. I wasn’t crazy after all!
    • Harley David (Son of a Bitch) – The Bollock Brothers: Ah, in honor of Blevins, Stepfather Number Two.
    • Smoke Two Joints – The Toys
    • The Stroke – Billy Squire: Sugie was into "hard rock" back in the early 80s, while I, a good girl, was into pop. This video got a lot of MTVplay in the early 80s… and Sugarbear, of course, made up obscene lyrics with accompanying hand gestures to it… when he wasn’t cackling about the wad in Billy’s skintight jeans….
    • Don’t Bogart That Joint – Little Feat
    • Detachable Penis – King Missile
    • Convoy – C.W. McCall: Oh, man. This is the kickoff of the Blevins Montage on Yo, Little Sugie…. Ten four, Big Ben! This is Rubber Duck! Looks like we got us a CONVOY! Woo hoo!
    • Delia’s Gone Johnny Cash: Iffen he hadn’t’ve shot poor Delia…. Just like Blevins, it don’t get more dysfunctional than this… although, granted, Johnny’s tongue-in-cheek….
    • Amarillo By Morning George Straight: Up from San Antone. Oh, this song cracks me up! "Lost my wife and a girlfriend somewhere along the way…." What, didja leave ‘em both at the same truck stop, George? Gawd damn.
    • I Love My Truck Glenn Campbell: If ever there was a Blevins Theme Song…. The only thing worse than listening to this song was having to watch Bl clog dancing to it.
    • Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road – Louden Wainwright III: For some reason, Mother LOVED this song. She thought it was the funniest thing. And the morning radio station me and Sugie listened to played it often. So at least once a week, we’d be woken up by her busting in our rooms and singing along loudly "…and it’s STINKIN’ TO HIGH HEAVEN!" C’mon. Stink.
    • Teddy Bear – Red Sovine: Ohmigawd. See, Teddy Bear- Teddy Bear… Oh, man… just check it out for yourselves! Even the most sentimental sloshy-head just has to find this whole thing sick-making!
    • Kinko, the Kid-Loving Clown – Ogden Edsel: an appropriate follow-up to "Teddy Bear," huh? And a great segue into...
    • Dance Little Jean – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Blevins, needless, was a big fan of the Dirt Band. ("Nitty Gritty Dirt Band"?!? Whoever thought that name up oughta be bullwhipped!). He thought this song was so sweet, all about a little girl at a wedding reception, but…well…. "Dance, little Jean/a prayer that you had/was answered today/your mama’s marrying your dad." Oh yeah. Dance, little bastard! Dance! Holy moley.
    • Vanz Kant Danz – John Fogerty: This is another one of Those Songs I Thought I Imagined. It came out after "Centerfield." Sugarbear and I used to laugh ourselves silly over it… because the video featured this Claymation break-dancing pig. And again, NO ONE knew what I was talking about when I’d mention it later. (And again, thanks to Milla, I found out I wasn’t nuts!) Of course, the song is way, way boring sans pig video. I hear tell it’s about The Industry. But like I cared about that when I was 14….
    • Walk the Dinosaur – Was (Not Was): You mean the best these two talented producers/jazzmen could come up with was "Boom boom acka-lacka-lacka boom"?
    • Rico Suave – Gerardo: Oh, wow, dude…. Since I used to scream and turn the radio/TV off violently when this song was played in its heyday, I really missed the sheer Specialness that is Rico Suave. "Special" in the short-bus sense, mind….
    • I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred: Sugie used to make up new lyrics for this song, too. He could manage to relate it to whatever was around him at the time. He did a whole routine once about how he was too sexy for his cat TJ. I’m sure TJ was quite relieved, too.
    • Rock Me Amadeus – Falco: The German version, of course. And yet another one of the songs that Sugie could re-work to his own purposes. I fondly remember "Ooooh, rock me Bobby Jinks" about our "uncle" Bobby who’s spent all his life smoking too much pot and has this speech impediment that my brother can imitate to a tee. He’ll occasionally call me doing his Uncle Bobby voice. Once, when I picked up the phone at Gram’s, I heard "Ooo-ooo-ooo howdy-howdy, Dawn! Is your Gramma there? Ooo-ooo-ooo" and I said "Yeah, right, Paul, whatever." And Uncle Bobby went "Um, what was that?" Oops. Thank God… thank GOD he’s usually too stoned to know what’s going on!
    • Shock the Monkey – Peter Gabriel: Not only did Sugarbear just LOVE monkeys as a child, he, naturally, turned this song into "Spank the Monkey." As you can well imagine.

Volume II

    • Sexcrime (1984) -- Eurythmics. Yeah, "Sex c-c-c-c-c-rime, c-c-c-c-c-rime" was REALLY funny to an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old.
    • Illegal Alien – Genesis
    • Up All Night – Boomtown Rats: Sugarbear was convinced that the song was saying "Ooooh, Santa!" as in Santa Claus, in the background (instead of "Who said that?") We had several Quibbles about it. Not that the fact that "Ooooh, Santa" makes no sense stopped Sugie from insisting he was right….
    • Pac Man Fever – Buckner and Garcia: What a disappointment! The memories of this song were so much better! It really kinda… kinda sucks.
    • Empire Strikes Back Medly – Meco: YES! Kick ass! I had this on a K-Tel album. What could beat a lightsaber fight set to disco music?
    • Rapper’s Delight – Sugar Hill Gang: The Husband-Type Man was impressed (or something) when, upon downloading this song, I proved to him that despite having not heard it since I was, like, 12, I could still sing (or rap) along with 90% of it. "The macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mooshed, and the chicken tastes like wood!"
    • Don’t Ride the White Horse – Laid Back: What a weird song. We didn’t know it was about drugs. All we knew was that it was… weird.
    • Der Komissar – Falco
    • Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell: Who knew that Rockwell was Quincy Jones’ kid?
    • Help, I’m a Rock! and It Can’t Happen Here – Frank Zappa: Oh, man… this is gonna take some explaining. Ten million inside jokes stemmed from these two songs, featured on Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out album. My mom used to play them for us when we were little (rock on, Mom!). You know how you have inside jokes with yourself? Yeah. Well. Any time someone says "Kansas," in my mind I automatically go "Kansas, Kansas, do-do-do-do-do" and crack up laughing. Someone says "Washington DC" and I think "AC, DC, AC, DC, AC, DC!" One chorus of "Man, it’s a drag bein’ a rock" or "gonna get a TV dinner and cook it up" and I’m a hysterical mess. The only thing funnier than hearing these songs again after over 15 years was the Family Sing Along we had in Sugie’s truck whilst listening to them together. Oh, Frank…. And, hey… if I suddenly break into "I remember, do-do, I remember, do-do, they had a swimming pool… and they though it couldn’t happen HERE!", y’all’ll forgive me and understand, won’t you? Ain’t that right, Suzy Creamcheese?
    • Coconut – Harry Nilsson: You put the lime in the coconut. You drink them both up. You put the lime in the coconut. You drink them both up. You put the lime in the coconut, you call the doctor an’ woke him up and say "DOCTOR!"….
    • Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport – Rolf Harris: I don’t know if Suge remembers, but I remember a friend of our Dumb Dad playing this song on the piano to entertain us on one of those few, early, post-divorce visits with Daddy… you know, the visits where he took us to go see one of his friends and we sat around bored? Yeah. Anyway, I thought it was "Tymie Kangaroo, Down, Sport!" Like the kangaroo’s name was "Tymie Kangaroo" and the guy was admonishing "down, sport!"
    • Boogie in Your Butt Eddie Murphy: Another one of the songs featured on the morning radio show we listened to in the early 80s. I’m ashamed to say, it STILL cracks me up. No pun intended, mind. ‘Cos… "crack"…? Butt? Crack? Butt- I’ll stop now.
    • Rappin’ Rodney – Rodney Dangerfield: Another song that 1) didn’t age well and 2) is really lame without the accompanying video.
    • ‘Cos I’m a Blonde Julie Brown: Only because we totally OD’d on "The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun"….
    • Keep On Groovin’ The Brady Bunch: Sugarbear does the dance, too.
    • Bitchin’ Camaro – Dead Milkmen: "You're kidding!" "Of course I'm kidding; the Bahamas're islands!"

Volume III

    • Mama – Genesis
    • Apache (Jump On It!) – The Sugar Hill Gang: Did y’all know The Sugar Hill Gang had another song? "Tonto! Jump on it! Jump on it! Jump on it! … Kemosabe! Jump on it! Jump- " This was great shit to a pre-teen and a sort-of teen. And again, whenever I’d say "Do you remember that song that went ‘Custer! Jump on it!’?" folks would look at me like I was a taco short of a combo plate….
    • Super Bowl Shuffle – Chicago Bears: Who thought letting the football players rap was a good idea?
    • I Wanna Sex You Up – Color Me Badd: Tick tock, you don’t stop. Ooooooo-oo-oooooh....
    • My Prerogative – Bobby Brown: Another song that gets remade into an Ode to Uncle Bobby. "Ooo-ooo, my name is Bobby! That’s what they ooo-ooo call me!"
    • Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot: My anaconda don't want none unless you've got buns hon. I get SPRUNG! Double up, uh uh!
    • The Cars that Go Boom – Tigra and Bunny: See, DumbAss thought he was hot shit, because he had a custom-painted Mustang with a ten-million-dollar custom-built stereo and a trunkful of woofers. And all the kids at school called it "the Pimpmobile" behind his back. And he’d come to pick me up and pull up in front of the house with the damned thing blaring, and-
    • Sunshine DayThe Brady Bunch
    • The Mysterious Fox of Fox Hollow – Tom T. Hall: This’ll also take some explaining. My mom got Sugarbear an album called Songs of Fox Hollow (I got Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall), and Sugie LOVED it! He’d listen to it incessantly. He still HAS the damned thing somewhere! But with no turntable…. And it never made its way onto CD, needless. Between this, "Hey Paul, It’s Your Birthday," and the Little Thinker story tapes, Sugie could sing all sorts of strange songs. I was thrilled when, two years ago, I found a Tom T. Hall greatest hits CD that had a couple tracks from SOFH, like "I Love" and "Sneaky Snake," but even that wasn’t enough. At last, via Napster, I was able to score the album’s title track, and "How to Talk to a Little Baby Goat" (you don’t go cackle like a hen!) and, my all-time favorite, "The Song of the One-Legged Chicken." Oh my. I’ll just break into the One-Legged Chicken Song on occasion… it’s THAT spectacular. I mean…

Do you like true stories? I do.
That's why I'm singing this song
A song about one legged chicken
Who lives in the straw on the floor in my barn
I remember the day she was hatched out
The vet came to see her and said
"She has only one leg she'll never grow up"
He said that chick would be better off dead!
I said "no let's just let her keep growing…
We'll just wait and see how she gets."
Before very long she was hopping
and pecking and chasing the bugs with the rest
And now she is a beautiful chicken though she has only one leg
When I go to see her each morning
she hops from the nest and she leaves me an egg
And she cackles
Do you like true stories? I do.
That's why I've sung you this song
The song about the one legged chicken
Who lives on the floor in my barn

*sniff* It gets me every time.

Now if I can only find Little Thinker, I’ll have fulfilled my duties as a big sister… and hopefully made up for the time when Sugie was 4 and I told him there was a little man under his bed who’d come out and get him when he was sleeping and so Suge slept in my mom’s bed until he was 8….

But lest you think the gift-giving was all one-sided, Sugarbear presented me with something special, too… Eminem Haikus!

Do you remember any of these songs? Do you have a song that is particularly redolent of childhood for you? Do you have a one-legged chicken who lives on the floor of your barn? Write to Dwanollah and tell her all about it, and you could win a ker-nifty fabo-keen prize package! For reals!