Monday, February 4, 2008

Turkey Mambo Momma

Dismiss this as a novelty tune, thanks to the title, at your own peril. This entry from the band’s fabled first Peel Session in ’81 knowingly borrows a xylophone motif from Violent Femmes’ “Gone Baby Gone,” but that’s not all. Like that famed first album from Gordon Gano et al, ‘Turkey Mambo Momma” is thick with heady sexual paranoia. Detailing some sort of encounter in Seychelles (an island in Africa and popular tourist spot), the song at times verges on a delirious parody of harlequin romance novels. Jarvis ends the tale with a typically morbid flourish. “Impaled on the rocks as she tears me in two/ At last I’ve found the answer, and the answer is you.” In light of a song like this, the naïvely romantic tone Jarvis pitched on It in 1983 sounds more and more like a mere aberration.

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