Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Old Man Willis" is a shocking song about domestic violence

I can't believe this hasn't been discussed before. In the light of recent events in the US where an angry white male went on a killing spree against women, I thought I'd mention it.

One of my favourite albums is "The Best of Tony Joe White". Best known for "Polk Salad Annie", the guy is the coolest dude I can imagine.

In 1968 he wrote a funky swamp rock song about a crazy old man. A guy who had four racoons, a cat an a hound dog that ate from his dinner table, drank from his water bucket and slept in the same bed with him.

A crazy old man but probably harmless enough. Tony Joe's brilliance is how he lures you into complacency. As you're enjoying the song you almost don't notice the final line each chorus. "He used to chase his young'ns and his wife, with his double bladed sharp knife".

Here's a version that shows how easily it creeps up on you

Now, you won't find this anywhere on the internet, but I recommend you get hold of the Tony Joe White song (buy it in iTunes or the Play Store). You'll hear Willis chasing his family with more and more dangerous weapons and then this disturbing finish:

"He finally caught his young'ns and his wife, and slayed em with his hunting knife"

I've heard this song hundreds of times and I still feel cold sickness and embarrassment at the end of it. For a guy who writes cool songs, Tony Joe put a real sting in that one. Sadly, the world has chosen to only go with the bubblegum versions.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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