Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hello Metaphor Part One: The Everly Brothers: "Bird Dog"

There is a time and place, as Andrew Cash once sang (and for all I know, still does); in this case, it's Christmastime and songs bought by/for kids always do well then; you might not think an Everly Brothers song would qualify, but this "Bird Dog" does. Written by Boudleaux Bryant, it is pure country slyness, the song mainly a protest that Johnnie's a bird (a slang term of the time meaning joker, as the lyrics themselves explain right away) who is dogging his girl - singing to her, making nice with the teacher so he can sit next to her - real junior high stuff obviously, and the Everlys take it about as seriously as it merits. Still, those high keening voices in the chorus are bolstered by the good humor in the verses, such as these:

"Johnny sings a love song [like a bird]
He sings the sweetest love song [ya ever heard]
But when he sings to my gal [what a howl]
To me he’s just a wolf dog [on the prowl]"

That's undoubtedly Don making the spoken word comments at the end in his lower voice, dubious as the class clown in the back who probably doesn't have a girlfriend at all. Brisk and clean and ever-so-suggestive that maybe it's the singers who are more aware of how to really get a girl than wily Johnnie.

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