Thursday, August 02, 2007

Eggs Ain't Poultries

I would like to nominate the following lines from Little Willie John's hit, "All Around the World" (written by Titus Turner), for inclusion in our newly formed Short List of All-Time Great Lyrics:
"Well, if I don't love you baby,
Grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultries,
And Mona Lisa was a man."
Really, I find it hard to imagine a better turn of phrase. "Grits ain't groceries"? Brilliant. "Eggs ain't poultries"? Even brilliant-er.* That, my friends, is how to sweet talk a lady.** Love it. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's belted out by one of the best voices that ever existed.)

More for the list, please. Submit your nominations.

* I particularly like the plural form—"poultries". Magnifique!

** Admit it, gals, nothing melts your heart like grits-talk. Am I right? Am I right? (Or maybe that's just my lady.)

8 comments:

  1. I should add, according to our source (Herr Professor Matt), Little Willie John was the only singer James Brown ever claimed to admire and emulate.

    Sarah just told me, this is one of her top five favorite songs of all time.

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  2. Anonymous7:57 AM

    Damn, nice.

    I'd like to know what her other four are!

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  3. Sophie8:51 AM

    This song reminds me of the lyrics to Lee Dorsey's "A Lover Is Born."

    If I don't love you baby,
    A Creole don't make gumbo
    A drunken man don't stumble
    A seein' eye dog can't learn to lead the blind.

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  4. I love the first two lines of this chorus, but the "Mona Lisa was a man" bit is lame. It tarnishes the song with a goofy, 'novelty' feel. LWJ's singing just isn't well-suited to that sort of r and b novelty genre-- I'd even say it's beneath him.

    James Brown also cited Roy Brown as a major influence, but James recorded an entire tribute album to LWJ.

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  6. to say that corny lyrics were beneath lwj's talent is kind of confusing, I think...
    (this is an interesting appendix to a previous slimbolala thread).
    while I agree w/ matt that anyone of lwj's caliber should never stoop to please the masses, I'm not sure that he did. my favorite lwj song, "leave my kitten alone" is nothing but corny lyrics and cookie-cutter arrangements. but the delivery is something no one has ever been able to touch.
    I guess I'm trying to say: lyrics is lyrics, music is music. sometimes they go together perfectly, sometimes they don't even have to.
    often, the greatest music is the corniest, lamest lyrics sung by the most unique, inimitable geniuses.
    how about some votes using this concept?

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  7. 'Kitten' is great- LWJ sings those lines with a driving intensity, more Tex Avery than Tom & Jerry. I just think the Mona Lisa gag in particular falls flat. A cultural reference like that-- as goofy and banal as it might be-- requires distance and irony, totally absent from LWJ's singing.

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  8. By the way, "...Kitten..." is also a Titus Turner song.

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