How bout them Oar Doovers, ain't they sweet?
June 23, 2014 4:40 PM   Subscribe

About the multi-talented Mason Williams [previously, and best known as composer of the iconic "Classical Gas"] -- Throughout his years in the Navy and college he wrote a series of poems he titled Them Poems. As he entered the folk music scene in the early 60's he wound up rooming with long time friend Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles. Some of the language from Them Poems is a consequence of creative word play that Ed and Paul Ruscha riffed on with Williams over the years. Ed Ruscha provided us with this recording [also released as "The Mason Williams Listening Matter", and reviewed here on allmusic by Eugene Chadbourne] from 1964. Recording starts around 35 seconds in. Also, here's Mason performing "Them Tummy Gummers" on Johnny Cash's variety show. Finally, Mason Williams Online.
posted by not_on_display (12 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
What can I say about Mason Williams that I didn't say in the previously? Still my favorite "Former Writer for the Smothers Brothers Show", more than Lorenzo (Carlton the Doorman) Music or Bob (Super Dave Osborne) Einstein... or, oh yeah, Steve Martin.

It's so nice to see his "Them Poems" have found a place on The Web, especially in a University's "Literature Collection".

From his website: "I guess the ultimate compliment for me is that a lot of folks think that Them Poems weren't written by anybody, that they are part of the great public domain body of work written by 'anonymous'. It's also great to have come up with a poem form that others seem to enjoy exploring. I'm glad it inspires them to get silly and have as much fun with the language as I did." (you gotta love that attitude toward "Intellectual Property")

And for the record, I believe he should be credited with the coining of the term "toad suckers".
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:27 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

good god, I never realized till now how much Young Ed Ruscha looks like Young John Cusack in that one picture of him by Dennis Hopper.
posted by scody at 5:37 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, a live performance of his "Them Poems" (with appropriate musical accompaniment) dominates Williams' (recently remastered) "Listening Matter" album. Thank you, n_o_d for inspiring me to look it up!
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:38 PM on June 23, 2014

"Them Hors d'Oeuvres" is my favorite, favorite poem of all time. But so much of the Reading Matter is beloved to me as well. Particularly fond of "How to Derive the Maximum Enjoyment From Eating Crackers." And the very simple "Diving into the pool, I envied the water's ability to touch her totally."
posted by Madamina at 6:02 PM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

So that's where Them Moose-Goosers comes from. I never thought to ask.
posted by uosuaq at 6:34 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is this Rap?
posted by DGStieber at 6:59 PM on June 23, 2014

Is this Rap?

How 'bout them Rap-Hoppers!
Flappin' they lips
Shakin' them hips
Hoppin' that hip

Rhymin' them rhymes,
Westin' they Kanye,
Biggin' they Smalls,
Packin' they Pac, too

How to be a dapper Rapper?
Just show some flow,
Reckon that'll do.
posted by uosuaq at 7:16 PM on June 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is this rap?

How 'bout them moose goosers, ain't they dumb? They got 99 problems, and a moose ain't one.
posted by Gorgik at 7:17 PM on June 23, 2014 [8 favorites]

Before the advent of the Internets, I remember watching the "Last Exit to Springfield" episode of the Simpsons and wondering what the tune was that Lisa played. Lenny says "Classical Gas", but it always sounded to me like he said "Classical Jazz", so for years I kept looking for a genre instead of a title.

Long story short: "Classical Gas" is awesome, Mason Williams is cool, and Libya is a land of contrast.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:55 PM on June 23, 2014

And for the record, I believe he should be credited with the coining of the term "toad suckers".

Umm... possibly, but then there exists the little place in Arkansas known as "Toad Suck Ferry."
posted by drhydro at 10:06 PM on June 23, 2014

I do love Mason Williams. My parents had The Mason Williams Phonograph Record but pretty much the only track that ever got played was Classical Gas. When I was in 6th grade I heard Them Dog Kickers on Dr. Demento and had a hard time believing it was the same Mason Williams. The Mason Williams Listening Matter is available on Spotify.
posted by usonian at 7:21 AM on June 24, 2014

And for the record, I believe he should be credited with the coining of the term "toad suckers".

Umm... possibly, but then there exists the little place in Arkansas known as "Toad Suck Ferry."

Like many amphibians, B. Marinus wards off predators by secreting a toxic goo from glands in its skin. The secretion contains a compound called bufotenine, which resembles the neurotransmitter serotonin and also occurs in certain toadstools and plants. Although these bufotenine-containing substances can be lethal, they have reportedly been used as intoxicants by some "primitive" societies.

Intrigued by these accounts, U.S. researchers synthesized bufotenine and began testing it in humans - along with many other psychoactive drugs - in the 1950s . . . to gain insights into schizophrenia and other mental disorders. The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency also supported the work as part of an effort to develop brainwashing agents.

[ . . . ]

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration outlawed bufotenine in the late 1960s. Ironically, the DEA's action inspired a few people to try licking live toads . . .
-- Scientific American, August 1990
posted by Herodios at 11:37 AM on June 24, 2014

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