Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Do you want a song to put on mix-tapes that's not going to get lost in the shuffle? Today's track should do nicely. Karen Mantler (daughter of the famous jazz-person Carla Bley) (they both sport the same strange haircut) recorded this ode to her dead cat Arnold in 1996 on her utterly essential album "Farewell." You might not guess the subject from the song title. It's called "Arnold's Dead."

I once read a review that pointed out that the lyrics on this record sound like they've been translated into French and then back into English again. It is wonderful how they never rhyme or scan. Mostly they detail Karen's troubles in life: she owes money to the electric company, she lusts after her male assistant, and her life is hell (as one song goes). Worst of all, though, is the loss of her beloved cat, who had appeared with her on the cover of her two previous albums (My Cat Arnold and Karen Mantler and Her Cat Arnold Get The Flu). Poor Arnold!! Be sure to stick around for the atonal munchkin chorus at the end of the song!

This post leads into a very short feature I'll be doing for the next few days on some people related to Karen Mantler, but there's going to be only a slight bit of jazz content, so don't worry (if jazz normally worries you).

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