Monday, October 15, 2012

Never too late to learn

For many years, I have wondered just what it was that Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra were talking about in their song "Jackson." 

Here's another link to another version they did.

So I went to Google and learned the following things:

Lee Hazlewood (1929 - 2007) was an interesting fellow, a Korean War soldier who came home and wrote songs such as "These Boots Are Made For Walking" and "Summer Wine" and a lot of movie themes as well.  When you're up late watching David Letterman and he does his "Small Town News" segment, the music Paul Shaffer plays as the segment theme song is "This Town," a song Lee wrote that Frank Sinatra sang in 1967.

Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998) was an American singer, perhaps best known as the father of Nancy Sinatra (1940 - ), whose stirring rendition of "These Boots Are Made For Walking" and "How Does That Grab You Baby?"  - another Hazlewood composition - are fondly remembered as ushering in the go-go boot and miniskirt era in American fashion.

So.  1967. Nancy, always on the cusp of the new trends, records a country album in Nashville with some of the best country musicians down there, and she did a duet on "Jackson" with Hazlewood, although it is not a song that he wrote. 

And since then, I have been puzzled by two things, things that you hear in the song if you click on the links above or read in the lyrics below:

We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout
We've been talkin' bout Jackson ever since the fire went out
I'm goin' to Jackson I'm gonna mess around
Yeah I'm goin' to Jackson look out Jackson town

Well go on down to Jackson go ahead and wreck your health

Go play your hand you big talkin' man make a big fool of yourself
Yeah yeah go to Jackson but go comb your hair
I'm gonna snowball Jackson go ahead and see if I care

When I breeze into that city the people gonna stoop and bow

All them women gonna make me teach 'em what they don't know how
I'm goin' to Jackson you turn loose my coat
Cause I'm goin' to Jackson goodbye that's all she wrote

They laugh at you in Jackson and I'll be dancin' on the pony keg

They'll lead you around town like a scalded hound
With your tail tucked tween your legs
Yeah yeah yeah go to Jackson you big talkin' man
And I'll be waitin' there in Jackson behind my Japan fan

We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout

We've been talking bout Jackson ever since the fire went out
Goin' to Jackson and that's a natural fact
We're goin' to Jackson ain't never comin' back

We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout

We've been talkin' bout Jackson ever since the fire went out

The song was written by Jerry Lieber and Billy Edd Wheeler in 1963.  Questions? 

Uh, yes.  What is a pony keg and why would someone be dancing on it?  And what is a Japan (pronounced JAY-pan) fan?

It turns out that in the wide world of beer, one can find regular-sized kegs of beer and, for nights when the entire family can't come over, the popular "pony" kegs are available, holding about 1/2 as much beer, but just as much fun, if you space it out right.  A smaller keg would be easier for Nancy and her miniskirt to dance upon.

I'm a big fan
And apparently, in some parts of this nation, Japanese fans were referred to as "Japan fans," probably by people who refer to manicotti as "EYEtalian food."

My research ends here, but it also revealed that the 1980's English band Prefab Sprout took their name from a mondegreen of the words "pepper sprout" in "Jackson."  They did a song in tribute to the great American country singer Faron Young in their song "Faron Young."

The term "mondegreen" comes from someone misunderstanding these old Scottish lyrics:

They hae slay the Earl of Murray,
And laid him on the green.


They hae slay the Earl of Murray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

I sincerely hope this clears everything up.

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