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Five More Parenthetical Songs

List Of The Day

While Bing Crosby certainly knew how to get off on parenthetical songs, many others also did the same (that would figure, no?) And let us use James Brown, the Godfather of Soul (Funk and everything else) as our "transitional" artist as we begin our drive towards the latter half of the 20th century when suddenly the world appeared in color.

"Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)"-- Andrew Sisters: When I left the Andrew Sisters off my "Five Best Sister Acts," the venomous emails I received from their small but hardy fanbase made me feel like I'd really touched a nerve. From the amount of bile, you'd think I was collecting people's taxes. Ease up on a guy, will you? These girls liked the parentheses (and used them every chance they got). There's even another tune called, get this, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)." That damn thing even rhymes. How you gonna compete with that? (You can't.)

"(I Got A Woman, Crazy For Me) She's Funny That Way"--Count Basie: Hey, in English class, we called these run-on sentences. But these crazy musicians have no respect for grammar. Why else do you think we have "culture warriors" keeping an eye out for us? (Um, mostly because there's money in it?)

"What's the Point Of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again?)"--Louis Jordan: Ah, don't you hate rhetorical questions? What's the point of asking a question (if you don't really want to know the answer)? Or there really isn't an answer (meaning it's a bad question). That said, what is the point of getting sober? Wine in the morning. Wine at night. The doctor said it was better than eating donuts all day.

"I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door I'll Get It My Damn Self)"--James Brown: We'll let the double negative slide. But I do find it a bit unsettling that the singer is calling for his independence here while clearly instructing another person to open the door for him. If Brown was really looking to assert himself, shouldn't he open the damn door himself as well. (And don't blame a guy for asking the obvious question. For it is often the obvious question that goes unanswered. For obvious reasons.)

"Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine"--James Brown: I can't say that I understand the minds of genius. They won't even let me mop the floors at MENSA. So maybe I'm a tad too stupid to understand this. (Can I walk into a punch or what?) But why, WHY, why is there a parenthesis around any of this? The phrase "I Feel Like Being A" doesn't feel unnecessary to me. You get rid of it and suddenly the title doesn't make any sense. (Unless Brown has indeed named his private part "Sex Machine" and in which case is instructing it to "Get up." But I would venture that a man like James would nickname it something more along the lines of "Big Jim" or "Larry.")

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