Showing posts with label American Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Music. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chickens' Hits

There are lots of songs about food, but I suspect that of this group a large number of them have to do with the chicken. “Anyone seeking an understanding of American music,” writes Michael Jarrett, “could start by pondering the chicken” (287). If you stop to think about, the chicken is ubiquitous. Besides all the songs about the chicken, musical groups have named themselves after the chicken as well (Chicken Shack, Christine Perfect’s—aka Christine McVie’s—first band; The Dixie Chicks), and the chicken frequently shows up in the movies, on television, in old minstrelsy jokes (“Why did the chicken cross the road?”), and as a figure of poetic justice (“The chickens have finally come home to roost”). A few years ago, a hit movie starred chickens: Chicken Run (2000). And none of us who love ‘toons could fail to mention that great Southern star of Warner Brothers cartoons, Foghorn Leghorn. Speaking of roosters, the French, who when pondering anything think first about how they might cook and eat it, have even managed to make use of an old, tough rooster, and in doing so transformed the method into a world famous dish—Coq au Vin. But why does one need to ponder the chicken to understand American music and film? Because surrounding the chicken are several issues, including sex, race, class, and—of course—rhythm.

For your aural pleasure, here’s a 16-piece variety big box meal of chickens’ hits. Bon appetite!

Jimmy Smith – Back at the Chicken Shack (Back at the Chicken Shack)
Cab Calloway – Chicken Ain’t Nothin’ But a Bird (Are You Hep to the Jive? 22 Sensational Tracks)
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Chicken an’ Dumplins (At the Jazz Corner of the World)
Charles Mingus – Eat That Chicken (Oh Yeah)
Mel Brown – Chicken Fat (Chicken Fat)
Little Feat – Dixie Chicken (Dixie Chicken)
Steve Goodman – Chicken Cordon Bleus (Somebody Else’s Troubles)
Ry Cooder – Chicken Skin Music (1976)
The Beastie Boys – Finger Lickin’ Good (Check Your Head)
Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow, Chicken (Songs With Legs)
The Meters, Chicken Strut (Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology)
Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Chicken (The Best of Rufus Thomas: Do the Funky Somethin’)
Little Jimmy Dickens – Take an Old Cold ‘Tater (and Wait) (I’m Little, But I’m Loud: The Little Jimmy Dickens Collection)
Southern Culture on the Skids – Eight Piece Box (Peckin’ Party)
Big Joe Turner – The Chicken and the Hawk (Up, Up and Away) (Big, Bad & Blue: The Big Joe Turner Anthology)
Link Wray – Run Chicken Run (Rumble! The Best of Link Wray)