Monday, April 22, 2002

Last week, I exchanged homemade mixed CDs with Katie of A good deal all around. One of my favorite cuts on her impressive disc was Gin and Juice, a audacious take on a Snoop Doggie song done in a jacked-up bluegrass stylee by The Gourds (photo). This cover is perfect for two reasons. First, it kicks ass and is way funny. Second, it recontextualizes the song so listeners hear it as something else. Instead of Snoop’s lightly ominous West Coast Gangsta rap, we get yearning redneck harmonies crooning tales of the bitches and ‘hoes out in the living room (they keep the original lyrics, as far as I can tell). Why does that sound right? Because the most likely place to hear rap in the Orlando ‘burbs is pumping from the bass bins of some cracker’s pickup truck. Racism might not be dead, but plenty of music’s racial boundaries are.

So away way, a few days ago, I’m blasting that song in the car on my way home to pick up Jake and his sitter (Charon) for Jake's swim lessons. Charon’s a fairly cool, if mainstream 24-year-old, and we often talk about music. She’s a bit too into the whole ‘N Sync thing for me (I think she went to high school with one of them), but it’s always good to hear a different perspective. A few weeks ago, I tried to turn her on to They Might Be Giants. She liked a few cuts, but most of it was a bit out there for her. But any time I hear a great song like Gin and Juice, I want to share it. So I’m wondering, Will this be too much for Charon? I mean, the lyrics are pretty raw - lines about having a pocketful full of rubbers and wanting to bust a nut and with plenty of drug and booze references, etc. I have a little political correctness argument with myself - Will Charon be offended? Will she think I’m coming on to her? Might I scare away a very good sitter?

I’m still pondering my options and liabilities as I load them into the car and back out the driveway. The CD starts playing automatically and Charon’s looking at the sleeve (which has all the titles). I start explaining how I got the CD, how there’s this one cover song I really love, but...

Gin and Juice starts playing and Charon shouts “Oh I LOVE this song!” She’s instantly singing along. She not only knows the song, she knows this version of it, cranks up the volume and starts singing It’s two in the morning and the party’s still jumpin’ cause my Mama ain’t home / I got bitches in the livin’ room gettin’ it on-on and they ain’t leavin’ ‘till six in the morin’!

So that was my perfect moment for the day, you know? I think I’m Mr. Music - into the hip stuff - and it turns out my kid’s babysitter’s been singing along to this CD for weeks. Damn. Give the kids a chance and they will impress you...and then make you feel really old and out of touch in the process.

If you want to check out the Gourds doing Gin and Juice, head over here, to their Yahoo Group. While there, you can also download a little Quicktime file of Snoop himself hearing the Gourds’ groove on his work.

No comments: