An American legend

The odd thing about the Banshee Guys, or Bratwurst Grills, or whatever B. G. stands for (as previously mentioned), is that they did not start off as a disco band. No indeed, their roots lay deep in the American folk-song revival of the postwar years, and in the course of mining that country’s traditions, they put to glorious music some of its most moving and enduring legends.

One of their most famous songs retells an ancient myth of the American Southwest, where to this day, the natives tell tales of that supernatural trickster, the Coyote. I reproduce the lyrics in full:

I started a chase which started the Road Bird running,
But I didn’t see that the chase was on me.
I set off the fuse which started the bomb exploding,
Oh, but my TNT, it was glued onto me.

I ran off a cliff, stood there as if it were solid and stiff.
Then I looked at the ground, and none being found, plummeted down,
Till I fell with a crash, which started the Road Bird beeping,
And a boulder broke free, and it crashed upon me.

Breathes there a man with heart so dead that he is not stirred to sublime emotions by the story of the Wily Coyote? Ah, it is a moving legend indeed; it has been clocked at over 60 miles per hour.

The unbearable lightness of disco

Just now, I happened to be within earshot of a radio loudly playing an ‘oldies’ station; and, as is liable to happen on such occasions, I heard a familiar old song for about the ten thousandth time. And as is also liable to happen, I had never before paid much attention to the lyrics; partly because they were sung in a screeching nasal falsetto, hard to distinguish, and partly because they are not really meant to draw one’s attention. They are merely mouth noises to carry the tune, and the tune is merely a noise to tell the stridently funky disco band when to change key. And that is merely the signal for people on the dance floor to do bad John Travolta impersonations.

But this time I did pay attention; and with a little help from the Internet (that infallible source of nothing but petrified truth), I deciphered them at last. Now I know what the Banshee Guys were actually singing about. I think that was the name of the vocal group; it was either that or Banana Grinders; but it is hard to recover the information at this late date in history, for they had a stubborn habit of using only the initials B. G. At any rate, here are the words, as reconstructed by the latest techniques in the science of musical archaeology.

(Cut for mild anatomical vulgarity…)

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