Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ain't Got No

I was listening to an old song the other day that I've heard a hundred times in my life, "Ain't Got No Home," by Clarence "Frogman" Henry.

Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. Usually I do. It seems very off the cuff as songs go. The fact that Frogman can sing like a frog and can sing like a girl always amazed me as lyrics, since anyone with a normal throat and the ability to utter sounds can sing like a frog and a girl, assuming you're not already a frog or a girl.

The first part is straightforward enough. He seems like a normal guy, but he "ain't got no home." He's a lonely boy, he ain't go no home. Then he goes on to sing like a girl, that he ain't got a man or other familial relationships that would be good from girl's point of view. Then my favorite, he drops it a few registers, way down deep in the swamp, to lament from a frog's point of view that he ain't got a mudder, fahder, sister, or brudder.

He's lonely, he ain't got no home. Whether man, woman, or amphibian.

Concerning his great ability to sing like a girl and a frog, like I said, that's not that tough. If you start singing as a tadpole, you don't lose it after the transition. I remember us kids singing, or especially talking, like a frog a lot. It's just a matter of burrowing down a little deeper in your throat and letting the sounds grind through your gears a little differently than usual. The unusual thing about it is that a guy could put it on a record and not only get a hit out of it but also an enduring nickname!

Personally, I got a home. I've lived in one all my life. It's the place I sit everyday watching the world turn round. But there is something I woke up to that I ain't got none of, and that's my morning milk. I'm used to having a big tall glass of milk everyday, but we ran out yesterday and I didn't make it to the store. O for the days when the milkman came! I ain't got no milk!

Plus I ain't got no cow, so I can't go out and get it straight from the spiggot. Loosening up my hands a bit, pushing the arthritis over to the side, just in case a cow shows up at my front door. But I ain't got no milk pail. And I ain't got no stool. Ain't got no hay. Ain't got no rope. Ain't got no pasteurizer. Just a glass. I got a glass, a big fat empty glass.

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