We're gonna have us a time
December 20, 2017 2:58 AM   Subscribe

Those fan-made videos that you come across on YouTube, the ones that throw up a different photo for every line of a song (you know what I mean) are usually, um... not my cuppa tea. But sometimes they get it so right that they really help you comprehend the songwriter's intentions, especially if the song is as long and wordy as Choctaw Bingo by James McMurtry. Check it out. This song is so kickass. And, oh yeah, hilarious. Oh, and here's a live version. And, like I said, it's wordy, so you might wanna check the lyrics here.
posted by flapjax at midnite (37 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's also badass. Badass Hebrews. Metafilterians confused by what's happening in the U.S. might listen to this song, which is going to outlive anything written by McMurtry's more famous father.
posted by texorama at 3:56 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


oh wow. my mom loves this guy. i'll pass this along.
posted by sio42 at 4:45 AM on December 20, 2017


Am from Missouri. Can confirm accuracy of all lyrics.
posted by jferg at 5:27 AM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


They didn't understand the line about East St. Louis
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:27 AM on December 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


fluttering hellfire: True, that.
posted by jferg at 5:34 AM on December 20, 2017


1 and 1 and 1 is pi
posted by fleacircus at 6:13 AM on December 20, 2017


1 and 1 and 1 is pi

You agreed to the terms.
posted by thelonius at 6:16 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've heard the song before and enjoyed it, but didn't realize that all the specific landmarks he mentioned were real places.
posted by tdismukes at 6:17 AM on December 20, 2017


The lyrics page is missing the verse with the bodark fencepost similie.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:26 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Love, love, love this song. That flag barn roof--!

Bodark fence post: "In addition, the bodark is renowned for its suitability in making natural fences, hedgerows, or windbreaks, and many farmers planted rows of trees for just such purposes; too, the wood is not prone to decay, so even when it was twisted or crooked, it was still valuable for use in making fence posts." AKA an Osage orange tree.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:44 AM on December 20, 2017




I first heard Ray Wylie Hubbard's version, which is perfectly fine, but he can't project bitterness like James McMurtry can (see: Cheney's Toy on Just Us Kids).

I do wonder if the title's a nod to Warren Zevon's Seminole Bingo. Both songs are dripping with bitter sarcasm.
posted by Leon at 6:49 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Gotta love the bicyclists at the biker bar....
posted by cccorlew at 7:08 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I remember hearing this song on Radio Paradise (along with Levelland) and thinking I really need to start looking for more of this guy's work. And then I forgot. So thanks for the reminder.
posted by suetanvil at 7:13 AM on December 20, 2017


Oh my lord, I know all those people. I mean, not *those* specific people, but those archetypes are all around me. I could get in my car and photograph four of the Texas flag barn roofs within 30 minutes.

I did not know about James McMurtry, and now, I must go find more. I've always loved Texas songwriters like this; Timbuk 3, Willy Nelson, etc., who manage to wrangle a good solid honkytonk vibe with biting social commentary.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:20 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I really need to start looking for more of this guy's work

God Bless America

Small Town

Too Long in the Wasteland

Copper Canteen
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:26 AM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


suetanvil: At the more-beautiful/less-angry end of the spectrum try Ruby and Carlos, which grows on me with every listen, or Charlemagne's Home Town.
posted by Leon at 7:29 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Sqeee! Loves me some James McMurtry. A brilliant, brilliant, brilliant songwriter. I own most of his albums.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:57 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to pop in to say that if you have an amazon prime account, some of his albums stream free. I discovered it as I ordered cds.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:04 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I too have eaten at that McDonalds.

And Lake Eufala is one of the ugliest bodies of water in the world. It often looks more like chocolate milk than a lake.
posted by yhbc at 9:13 AM on December 20, 2017


James McMurtry's music has been the soundtrack to a huge part of my life, starting with the first time I heard No More Buffalo on the local Dallas indie station back in the 90s while in college, driving through the empty fields (soon to be filled with McMansions) somewhere between Richardson and Denton, wondering what the hell I was going to do with myself. I immediately went out and bought both albums I could find from him, which at the time was It Had To Happen and Where'd You Hide The Body.

Going from working a job I hated in a career I didn't much care for (Stancliff's Lament), to feeling trapped in a long-term relationship by circumstance and my own cowardice (Angeline), to the end of that relationship and many many endless drives from Denver to Seattle and back on I-80 (Lights of Cheyenne and Holiday), those songs and words have accompanied me across all the years and miles between being a confused, bitter teenager stuck in North Texas to being a still pretty confused, but much happier and somewhat-less-bitter 40-something living on the West Coast (Childish Things). One of the things I'm looking forward to in a few months when I visit some Austin friends is catching one of his shows at the Cotton Club. He puts on a hell of a live show, and I still end up crying every time "Ruby and Carlos" and "Lights of Cheyenne" play.

I haven't found quite as much to love in his latest stuff as I did in his earlier albums - Complicated Game took a while and several listens for me to really enjoy it - but all of it is good, and worth a listen.
posted by hackwolf at 9:27 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


... when I visit some Austin friends is catching one of his shows at the Cotton Club ...

hackwolf: Perhaps you mean the Continental Club? He's a regular there.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:37 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


ZenMasterThis: Gah - yes, yes I did.
posted by hackwolf at 9:44 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I love this song so much. And I am soooo out of the demographic for this.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:09 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


We Can't Make It Here Anymore has once again begun to feel relevant.
posted by Seamus at 12:14 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Seamus: "We Can't Make It Here Anymore has once again begun to feel relevant."

I was just going to post that. I can't think of a single song that sums up so much wrong with the US today:
Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. C. E. O.
See how far 5. 15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one your stores
I bet you can't make it here anymore

And there's a high school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that

If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
Forget the career and forget about school
Can she live on faith' Live on hope'
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it's way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore
posted by octothorpe at 1:33 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


As a James McMurtry fan in the liberal Northeast I appreciated the illustration of the guns mentioned, as they all just ran together in my usual listening. Also the illustration of the Biker Bar.
posted by ldthomps at 2:13 PM on December 20, 2017


What a great song! Somehow I've missed hearing of McMurtry before; will immediately start remedying that with links from this thread.
posted by TedW at 5:53 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Check it out. This song is so kickass. And, oh yeah, hilarious.

No kidding!

Add me to the list of people who weren’t aware of him. Thanks for the post. I foresee going down a rabbit hole with his stuff in the near future.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:56 PM on December 20, 2017


He's damn fine all by himself: Hurricane Party.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:18 PM on December 20, 2017


That was impressive.
posted by 4ster at 6:44 PM on December 20, 2017


I was trying to figure out what this song reminded me of. It is the verses of “Come Together” by the Beatles.
posted by 4ster at 6:52 PM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Another great video in this same fashion is Ping Pong Pool by Max Stalling.
Ping Pong Pool
In a similar vane as James McMurty, it's a lyrical tour-de-force mostly built on advertising plagiarism but also features 2 recipes, a declaration of love at 1:46 and a breakup by the end at 2:59. Unfortunately, it's not as good as McMurtry's video because all the images of advertising plagiarism are not featured with the lyrics once you get to the jingles.


McMurtry paints beautiful lyrical pictures. My personal favorite is Valley Road
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:36 AM on December 21, 2017


I was trying to figure out what this song reminded me of. It is the verses of “Come Together” by the Beatles.

Yup!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:01 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


After watching that live in Europe video multiple times, I knew I had seen that keyboard player before and it was bugging the hell out of me that I couldn’t place him. After some googling and image searching I realized it was none other than Ian McLagan, who is looking pretty good for someone who has been around since the 1960s.
posted by TedW at 5:06 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Correction, was looking pretty good, as he died in 2014.
posted by TedW at 5:08 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Hah. Shortly after coming across this post and becoming an instant McMurtry convert, I was reading Stephen and Owen King's Sleeping Beauties and came across this passage:

They transferred the dead cop's music and drove to a hunting cabin that they had stocked for a rainy day long before. On the way, they burned through the rest of the CDs, agreeing that this James McMurtry fellow was probably a communist...
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:19 PM on January 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


« Older the happiest place on the internet   |   “‘Cause I wanna learn more, about letters!” Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments