Sep 12, 2012
Bartholomew is as big a name in the New Orleans sound as Allen Toussaint, The Meters or Fats Domino, probably covering more ground musically than anyone but Toussaint. He co-wrote a lot of Domino's big hits like "I'm Walking" and "Ain't That A Shame" and produced a lot of classic sides for Fats, Lloyd Price and Shirley & Lee.
"The Monkey" has a mean guitar just slashing behind Bartholomew with his near-talking blues delivery, taking the piss out of the evoluton argument, Darwin and the religious by letting "the monkey speak his mind".
'And three monkeys sat in a coconut tree
Discussing things as they are said to be
Said one to other now listen, you two
"There’s a certain rumour that just can’t be true
That man descended from our noble race
Why, the very idea is a big disgrace, yea”
No monkey ever deserted his wife
Starved her baby and ruined her life'
I won't bore you with the analysis of those lyrics. It's a nastly little joke and almost plainly political, wrapped up in a sound that the Stones and Chuck Berry would drool over. It's that good.
Most of the stuff from Bartholomew I had heard before this was big-band or jump blues type numbers, so you can imagine the hairs standing on end as that tube amp sound kicked in.
"Here’s another thing a monkey won’t do
Go out on a night and get all in a stew
Or use a gun or a club or a knife
And take another monkey’s life
Yes, man descended, the worthless bum
But, brothers, from us he did not come
Yea, the monkey speaks his mind"
Aug 21, 2012
Eddie Bo had a long career and you can sort of track his styles from early rock and roll/R&B to 60’s funk, but he always had that New Orleans feel handed down from Professor Longhair and Dave Bartholomew.
I found this track while compiling a bunch of songs about rock and roll. It seems rock and roll and heavy metal are the only genres that have hundreds of songs about the genre itself. It’s a practice that has died out, although the Stones have valiantly tried to keep it alive with the most recent being “You Got Me Rocking” in 1994, although that’s a bit of a cheat. It’s more of a double entendre for the dirty deed in the tradition of B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby” etc. AC/DC still do it unapologetically, as they do everything in their career.
This Bo song isn’t a world-beater, but it works as Saturday night music, even in 2012.
Here’s a few other Bo numbers from over the years:
Hook And Sling Part 1 (1969)
Walk That Walk (1957)