Please Sir, I’d Like Some More Cowbell

So we’ve all seen the SNL-Christopher Walken-Blue Oyster Cult sketch. We’ve all heard, “I’ve got a fever … and the only prescription is more cowbell!” to the point where you’re ready to drown the next person you hear say it (like most SNL-sketch catchphrases). But I dig songs with cowbell, and I dig playing cowbell (there’s one on my drumset, which is currently in my parents’ basement in Baltimore), even if it does elicit the inevitable jokes. I’d like to get all academic and whatnot for a moment and point out that there is a difference, however, between a cowbell and go-go bells. Go-go bells are higher pitched and come grouped, so the player can alternate between tones. They’re what you hear in a lot of hip-hop, mostly sampled from the classic “Take Me To The Mardi Gras” by Bob James (which you can pick up at the always illuminating Souled On). For example, in this Run-DMC cut, which immortalized Jam Master Jay and gave us the phrase “God-damn, that DJ made my day”:

Run-DMC – Peter Piper (Buy It)

and also this Ghostface track that’s been on repeat on my mp3 player for a couple weeks:

Ghostface – Ooh-Wee (Buy Ghostface Killah music)

As for real cowbell, I’ve got a couple of rock songs for you. The first is from The 101ers, which was Joe Strummer’s pre-The Clash band. If you’re into The Clash, definitely pick up Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited.

The 101ers – Junco Partner

And then there’s the recently deceased best-female-rock-band-ever that was Sleater-Kinney. This song is off their last album (at least until the reunion – fingers crossed).

Sleater-Kinney – Rollercoaster (Buy It)

posted by Adam


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