Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Song of the Week: Grey Goose

Song of the Week has been moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays.

Huttie Ledbetter's (aka "Leadbelly") 2 chord song "Grey Goose" is similar to the Thai "Freedom Bird" storyline: no matter how much anyone shoots the grey goose, plucks the feathers, boils the meat, saws the bones, the bird refuses to die. The punchline of the song is perfection, as the baby goslings in essence thumb their beaks at the people below (that is, if they were to have thumbs).

Here are Leadbelly's lyrics:

Well, las' Monday mornin', Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
Well, las' Monday mornin', Lawd, Lawd, Lawd

My daddy went a-huntin'
Well, he carried along his zulu
Well, along come a grey goose
Well, he throwed it to his shoulder,
an' he ram his hammer' way back
Well, he pulled on de trigger
Well, down he come a-windin'
He was six weeks a-fallin'
He was six weeks a-findin'
An' he put him on de wagon,
An'he taken him to de white house
He was six weeks a-pickin'
Lordy, your wife an'my wife,
Oh, they give a feather pickin'
An' they put him on to parboil
He was six months a-parboil',
An' they put him on de table,
Now, de fork couldn' stick him,
An' de knife couldn't cut him
An' they throwed him in de hog-pen,
An' he broke de ol'sow's jawbone
An' they taken him to de sawmill,
An' he broke de saw's teeth out
An' de las' time I seed him,
Well, he's flyin' across de ocean,
Wid a long string o' goslin's,
An' they all goin': quank quink-quank!

Full audio with stills of Leadbelly.

This song has two chords (three, if you want to get fancy, but two will do). Start on an A chord and switch to the E chord with the first "Lawd, Lawd, Lawd," and then keep it on E until the last "Lawd" of the second line. For example:

Well, las' Monday mornin', Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
Well, las' Monday mornin', Lawd, Lawd, Lawd

Keep going! If you're playing this song on a 12 string guitar, so much the better.

There are many covers of this song. I like the Dan Zanes one in particular because he so obviously relishes the "Quank-quanks" of the song that he brings them around a couple of times. A link to a sound sample is here (Track #15).


limpy99 said...

Grey Goose!?!?

Alkelda's marketing vodka to children!?!?

Stop the presses!!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy99: I'm a terrible influence on the youth. Obviously.

Quank-quank! (Thumbs her nose at Limpy99).

jules said...

These. are. awesome.

diana said...

I loved it! That was the highlight of my day!