Wednesday, May 03, 2006

45s: Out in the country

"Maggie's Farm," by Bob Dylan
Written by Bob Dylan

"Junior's Farm" by Paul McCartney & Wings
Written by Paul McCartney

"Sex Farm," by Spinal Tap
Written by Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel), and Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls)

Farm productivity
Maggie's Farm is probably a profitable piece of land, if the work is so hard people write groovy folk songs about it.

Junior's Farm? Good for laying low and nothing else. While our pop culture shows many examples of good men (and bad) hiding out on farms—Shane, for instance, or Witness—they at least had to do chores. Repair fences, build barns, that sort of thing. How hard is McCartney really willing to work? If the effort put into the lyrics of this song are any indication, not very.

Scratchin' at the henhouse, pokin' hay, silos bein' raised high. Clearly, a lot is happening on the Sex Farm. Tractors and pea patches are also mentioned; I dare not contemplate the double-entendres suggested by the latter. Workers on the Sex Farm deserve their cornbread and TV at the end of a hard day. And I mean hard.

Harmonica, the people's instrument
Gratuitous amounts out at Maggie's Farm.

None on Junior's spread. It could only help.

There's a different kind of blowing—excuse me, blowin'—on the Sex Farm.

Working conditions
The National Labor Relations Board needs to check on Maggie's Farm. Scrubbing the floors may be honest labor, but clearly all her relatives are assholes. Fines for slamming the door? Paid in spare change? Pa puts his cigar out on your face? Can't those National Guardsmen do anything?

I don't know that anything happens on Junior's Farm, however. Nor do I understand why McCartney feels so exhausted after hanging out in casinos and going to the grocery store. Clearly, all the "Let's go" business has little to do with genuine physical effort.

I'd say conditions are pretty awesome on the Sex Farm.

Dylan's cult has traced his every move and meal since 1961, so we can definitively say he's never done farmwork, unless we count that day Joan Baez made him carry mulch.

As "Fixing a Hole" tells us, McCartney enjoyed repairs on his Scottish farm; as the cover of Ram suggests, he had no fear of livestock, either. That he has written numerous songs about his dogs cinches this category in his favor.

The Tap has minimal experience. I mean, "Hosing down your barn door"?

Immortality index
"Maggie's Farm" is a classic, one of Dylan's best-known songs and pretty funny to boot.

"Junior's Farm" lacks personality even relative to the rest of the Wings ouevre. It lacks comprehensibility relative to the rest of rock and roll, and that's saying something.

My personal favorite Tap song, though I'm aware the majority opinion leans toward "Hell Hole" or "Big Bottom."