By George Boyland
Twelve thousand years ago we were hunter-gatherers. We were fit, healthy and incredibly intelligent. We understood the land and its bounty, its dangers and its medicines. We knew where not to put our feet - SNAKE!
Then one day some ridiculous person rounded up a goat and a sheep, a cow and a pig; and we didn't have to wander any more. No more checking caves for bears. What fool can't construct a pen to keep that food nice and fresh? Cheese, milk, lamb chops, pork chops and curry goat. No more meandering. There are people extant who'll cut a steak off a cow and patch up the wound for next time, then drink their blood mixed with milk. However, the payback was that the animals transferred their worst diseases to us. Of course, the critters didn't know, but TB and smallpox could almost make you believe in God.
Well, I'll try anything three or four times.
How about Ella Mae Morse singing Cow Cow Boogie? What a voice, so relaxed and yet packing a punch, and the guys in the band were seriously good musicians.
Then of course there's the dancefloor fave Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs' Wooly Bully. No? Me neither. But I did cop off to it. And it's the music that counts, right? I don't know how many of them are on stage but they could build a pyramid.
Amon Duul's Pig Man sounds suspiciously Merseybeat-ish. Mind you, it's OK for that. I think if I'd been in The Cavern in 1970 and they'd played that I would have looked desperately grim. But from this distance I'm fine with it.
So this rather attractive young lady has a neighbour who looks like a porn star, apparently, but he reminds me of a binman. Jeez, I've nothing against binmen, they do me a great job every Friday. Anyway, she thinks his resemblance matters and invites him home. He's an ugly old fuck, but who isn't? The poor fella then discovers that she keeps a llama … in her living room! Would that put you off? Well, I'm pleading total innocence, but I've known some fellas … It's AronChupa and Lil Sis Nora – Llama In My Living Room.
I am reliably informed that Hugh's wonderful song is about chaps keeping their cattle in good order so that they can attract a wife. It's a kind of dowry situation in reverse. I had to provide a dowry back in the day – a wedding dress, two joints of red Leb and a little brother ‘cos Linda didn't have one and she loved him to bits.
I wasn't going to consider camels, but they've cropped up so often they're obviously alive in the public imagination. My sister, who is stunningly beautiful, and an ex-model, was in Egypt when she decided to take a camel ride to the pyramids. Two camel handlers ended up in a physical fight because one said that the others' camel was too ugly to carry Missy Annie. That's good enough for me.
Being a racing fan, and not generally seeing horses as livestock, I was determined not to include songs about horses in the A-list. But I collapsed and failed upon hearing this wonderful song. The Divine Comedy's My Lovely Horse tells us all we need to know about man's relationship with horses. Well, I say 'man's', but I've noticed that women ride them too. Yes! Two mounted WPCs passed me recently where I work. I mean 'mounted' in the working sense. I didn't mean 'mounted' in that way. That's not to say they weren't very attractive, though they had big bums.I stopped playing so as not to frighten the animals. "What is it with young ladies and horses?" I asked.
"Handbags and two-seater convertible sports cars," came the answer."
That explains it, thought I.
In my 66 years I've had many dogs and cats and I know they've loved me as much as I loved them. Some died naturally, some were killed and one cat was murdered. Oh, he was beautiful. Linda called him Toby, I called him ‘Cat, come here', and he always did. Jeez, I've just wet the keyboard. This bastard called me at midnight ‘cos my phone number was on the cat's tag (he used to climb through the bedroom window at bedtime). I took a bag and went and picked up his body. Buried him in the garden. Some time later a neighbour asked me to check my shed for her cat. Then she got the call from the same fucker. I should have fucking battered him. Too late now. So now we've got The Unthanks, whose cow has died. I understand every emotion they describe in the song. It's all real. The Unthanks - Gan To The Kye.
Been reading a lot of the Greek myths lately. They're kind of early psychology, a primal means of attempting to understand our humanity, I reckon. Jane Siberry in her song Bessie seems to turn things upside down. In it she is Zeus and her cow is Pegasus. I'm not going to argue. I've seen people riding cattle before. Usually, they get thrown, but do I care?
I'm a carnivore, OK? I wouldn't hurt an animal but if I had babies who needed feeding, well, you write the rest. The Dresden Dolls have written about putting down a sheep for food. The lyrics cover all the bases. I'm so conflicted that I had macaroni cheese for my tea tonight. Yes, I know, what a difference that makes to the animal kingdom. Here's The Sheep Song.
The Black Sheep B-List Playlist:
Quatermass – Black Sheep Of The Family
Sparklehorse – Cow
Pere Ubu – Misery Goats
Ry Cooder – J. Edgar
Robert Johnson – Milk Cow Calf's Blues
Dr. John – Saddled The Cow
Fotheringay – The Banks Of The Nile
Papa Freddie – Milk Cow Blues
Nelcy Sedibe – Holotelani
Mikaela – El Toro Y La Luna
Domesticated Wild Animal Card Pick:
Pluto Shervington – Ram Goat Liver
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Herd this one? Songs about four-legged livestock. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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