Thursday, January 31, 2013

John Hiatt "Wood Chipper"

Every other week, my Father-In-Law comes over for dinner.

It's always a good food night, because we have a meal.  He's a great cook, and even something as simple as a meatball dinner prepared by him is a delicacy.  Or if he doesn't cook, then my wife---who learned a kitchen-thing or two from him---makes something great.  Food is one of the languages that they can speak to each other.

Whatever we end up eating, you can count in there being some red wine.  And sometimes there's pie.

Dinner is inevitably followed by some lounging in the living room, in front of the TV.

I can't say that I care about "America's Got Talent" or "The Voice" or "American Idol," but it's something that they can watch when they are together, follow when they are apart, and talk about when they are on the phone.  It's a language they can speak.

Even though I suppose I wouldn't choose to watch these shows, I am game to participate.  I can weather the bad singing, the manufactured drama, the endless commercials and product placement, and the general hokey-ness of reality/competition TV. 

But I can't stand one, ridiculous cliche.

"Man, you could sing the phone book!"

That phrase should be barred from "American Idol" and the like.  Just stop saying it. 

No, they couldn't sing the phone book and have it sound good.  It would sound stupid, even if Pavarotti did it.

Or so I used to think.

Check out this John Hiatt song that Barbara Dacey pointed out to me.

It's a story song about a woman who has disappeared.  Perhaps falling victim to foul play and a Wood Chipper.  All that was found of her was a note that the narrator once wrote, and on the back was a grocery list.

That's a great little detail, and it would be enough to complete the story.

But Hiatt, instead, sings the grocery list.

"Eggs . . . Hamburger Meat . . . Bread . . . Funyons . . ."

He got me with the "Funyons."  It's both hilarious and effective.

One of America's premiere songwriters just sang the word "Funyons," and its the highlight of the song, and maybe the album.

So I don't know, John Hiatt, maybe next record you could try the phone book!

Hear the song on Youtube.

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