Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Band - Rag Mama Rag (1970/ No. 16/ 9 weeks/ Capitol)

Now here's an exercise of remarkable audacity and boldness - The Band decided to freshen things up in the studio by swapping instruments, and the resultant thrown-together song of lurching and joyous experiment became the hit single!

Everything about this is off-centre - the fiddle saws and the tuba puffs, the way that rinky-dink piano slips and slides all over the place. It all fits a non-realist lyric about a skinny girl who just wants to rag mama rag instead of other activities, which would be evidently more appealing to the singer.

"Its dog eat dog
and cat eat mouse.
You can rag mama rag
all over my house."

The tale takes in caboose and turtles, railroads and telephones. It is not a surprise to learn that "the bourbon is 100% proof" in the world of this song.

This single opens a gate into another land for the listener, a place where life is lived differently.

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