Daily Song Study

Jerry Reed – Lord Mr. Ford

In songs on August 25, 2011 at 7:41 am

My beginnings in music are solidly based in novelty tunes, with hours spent taping the Doctor Demento show off the radio (where I discovered this song). Most music lovers use the term “novelty” as a pejorative. I disagree, primarily because no one can quite agree what constitutes a novelty song. It could be anything from an odd-sounding movie theme to a spoken word piece, or something like today’s song, written by Dick Feller.

Artists like Jerry Reed understand that categories are bunk. If it’s a good song, don’t bother with where it fits on someone’s periodic table. Despite the inaccuracies here (Henry Ford did not himself invent the horseless carriage), what we have here is an excellent social commentary mixed with badass instrumental licks and a driving stomp. It’s just a great song.

If exploring novelty tunes is the only way to get exposure to songs like this, I’m all for it.

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  1. Big fan of novelty songs myself and i have SUCH fond memories of Dr. Demento growing up. But humor in music is sometimes sorely lacking and can be used to immensely inventive results (Existential Blues anyone?). I used to tune into this one show every afternoon simply because in the commercial break they played a commercial for an entire week which used ‘Guitarzan’ which i adored and that commercial was the only way i had to hear the song.

    • Ray Stevens used to be a big hero of mine, but his recent Teabagger turn gives me a sad…

      One thing I miss is having local DJs who would throw in novelty tunes at their own discretion (shocking!) from time to time. Many of those songs were locally produced, and occasionally spread to other areas. I suppose that’s the role the internet is playing now, but that memory makes the experience of listening to the radio very empty these days.

  2. […] As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t use the term “novelty” as a pejorative. Many of the best tricks that George Martin brought to the Beatles albums are things that he learned while working on novelty songs. Sometimes the only way innovation in a particular genre occurs is when someone brings in something from another field that catches the audience’s ear because it’s unexpected in that format. A good thing to keep in mind. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. ▶ No Responses /* 0) { jQuery('#comments').show('', change_location()); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'none'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'inline'); return true; } else { jQuery('#comments').hide(''); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'inline'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'none'); return false; } } jQuery('#showcomments a').click(function(){ if(jQuery('#comments').css('display') == 'none') { self.location.href = '#comments'; check_location(); } else { check_location('hide'); } }); function change_location() { self.location.href = '#comments'; } }); /* ]]> */ […]

  3. […] why I first heard them on the Doctor Demento show in the late 1980s. This is in keeping with my earlier ramblings about how that oft-maligned designation does produce quite a bit of innovation, which is definitely personified in the band’s 1990 masterwork […]

  4. […] we are taken into Grandpa’s living room and know the man well. Songs like this help reinforce the point that just because something is ostensibly a novelty tune, that approach has absolutely no …. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. ▶ No Responses […]

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