Monday, January 28, 2008

Of Mules and Men (and Women)

     Consider the mule.  Is there any other beast of burden that is more humble, yet has been such an integral part of this nation's development?  The United States of America was built on the back of this animal.  (Okay, so there were some Chinese and Irish workers who contributed too, and yeah, there was slave labor as well...)  But as far as animals go, the mule occupies a special place.  The Erie Canal, the levees, 40 acres and one of them, etc. etc.  It's become part of this country's four-legged mythology.  And the poor things can't even have children.
     These songs don't really celebrate the mule, they just offer an excuse to write about them.  Really, though--"Hold My Mule"?  That's gotta be one of the best song titles ever.  It's a great story, too.  And man, how that woman can scream!  She puts James Brown to shame.  It's enough to make me reconsider my atheistic ways for a second or two.  Her version of Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" is good too, in case anyone hasn't heard it yet.  The other Tom Waits tune sort of relates to the theme, but it's mainly just a great, creepy one that I've been enjoying of late.

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