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12 December 2005

Sober Up And Fly Right



Nat King Cole

Attention iPod People
of Planet Earth

Does this song make any sense to you?

It shouldn't make much sense to me, either, it was a smash hit four years before I existed.

But here's the deal. This song is a dialogue between A Reasonably Straight-Shooting, Honest Person, and a Jive Artist, a dude who just never deals straight with anybody. The Reasonably Straight-Shooting Honest Person has finally had more than enough, gets muy pissed off, and Shares His Feelings with the Jive Artist.

When it was performed by a Big Band, the entire orchestra would shout:

Straighten Up And Fly Right!

And Vleeptron has found an excellent MIDI for you to Open In a New Window so you can sing along.

For openers, the Entire Planet Vleeptron Choir might want to sing it to the Beach Mob in Sydney, Australia, and when you get to the chorus, sing:

Sober Up and Fly Right!

I've been to Australia and Australia has lovely people and Excellent Beer. (I'm quite fond of Red Centre.) But the Excellent Beer ceases to be Excellent after the ninth one.

~ ~ ~

Straighten Up And Fly Right

Words & Music by Nat King Cole & Irving Mills
Recorded by Nat King Cole 1943


A buzzard took a monkey for a ride in the air
The monkey thought that ev'-ry-thing was on the square
The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off of his back
But the monkey grabbed his neck and said:
Now list-en, Jack ...

Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down, Papa, don't you blow your top

Ain't no use in divin'
What's the use in drivin'?
Straighten up and fly right --
Cool down, Papa, don't you blow your top

The buzzard told the monkey: You are chokin' me
Release your hold and I will set you free
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said:
Your story's so touchin'
It sounds just like a lie

Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down, Papa, don't you Blow
Your
Top

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Olson said...

The lyrics of popular music are supposed to be unintelligible to the generation that preceeded them...how else would teenagers communicate with one another without their parents knowing what was being said?

I have never been a fan of pop music of my own generation. Mostly, because I can't hear the words to things if there is any background music. Even at parties, if there is a radio on in the background, I lose most of what is being said around me...my brain can't process that many inputs all at once. Its one of the reasons I prefer a capella choral music, solo piano or cello, or very, very early music where the instruments and voices double each other. Oddly enough, I am also a fan of organ music, which is frequenly very, very complex...I don't seem to have trouble hearing the inner parts of what is going on in a fugue, for instance. But I digress.

This Cole song is clearly code for something other than what it seems nonsensically say. I don't know what it is saying, but someone did once upon a time. Even when I have gone to look up lyrics to popular songs from my own generation, I am constantly amazed at either what is actually being said, or the not-so-subtle double entendres that fly by most parents ears.

Of course, Shakespeare was a master of the double entendre as well. And, lest the dear readers of this blog think that that is all old and not done anymore, permit me to post the lyrics to "The Cherry Tree Carol" a very traditional English Christmas carol, set for four-part choir in the Oxford Carol Book edited by Sir David Willcocks. (Every chorister in America, Britain and all current and former Commonwealth states own this carol book and are putting it to great use these weeks.)

The Cherry Tree Carol
i

I

JOSEPH was an old man,
And an old man was he,
When he wedded Mary
In the land of Galilee.

II

Joseph and Mary walk’d 5
Through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries
So red as any blood.

III

Joseph and Mary walk’d
Through an orchard green, 10
Where was berries and cherries
As thick as might be seen.

IV

O then bespoke Mary,
So meek and so mild,
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph, 15
For I am with child.’

V

O then bespoke Joseph
With words so unkind,
‘Let him pluck thee a cherry
That brought thee with child.’ 20

VI

O then bespoke the babe
Within his mother’s womb,
‘Bow down then the tallest tree
For my mother to have some.’

VII

Then bow’d down the highest tree 25
Unto his mother’s hand:
Then she cried, ‘See, Joseph,
I have cherries at command!’

VIII

O then bespake Joseph—
‘I have done Mary wrong; 30
But cheer up, my dearest,
And be not cast down.

IX

‘O eat your cherries, Mary,
O eat your cherries now;
O eat your cherries, Mary, 35
That grow upon the bough.’

X

Then Mary pluck’d a cherry
As red as the blood;
Then Mary went home
With her heavy load. 40

ii

XI

As Joseph was a-walking,
He heard an angel sing:
‘This night shall be born
Our heavenly King.

XII

‘He neither shall be born 45
In housen nor in hall,
Nor in the place of Paradise,
But in an ox’s stall.

XIII

‘He neither shall be clothéd
In purple nor in pall, 50
But all in fair linen,
As were babies all.

XIV

‘He neither shall be rock’d
In silver nor in gold,
But in a wooden cradle 55
That rocks on the mould.

XV

He neither shall be christen’d
In white wine nor red,
But with fair spring water
With which we were christenéd. 60

iii

XVI

Then Mary took her young son
And set him on her knee;
‘I pray thee now, dear child,
Tell how this world shall be.’—

XVII

‘O I shall be as dead, mother, 65
As the stones in the wall;
O the stones in the street, mother,
Shall mourn for me all.

XVIII

‘And upon a Wednesday
My vow I will make, 70
And upon Good Friday
My death I will take.

XIX

‘Upon Easter-day, mother,
My uprising shall be;
O the sun and the moon, mother, 75
Shall both rise with me!’

01:31  

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