Mudcat Café message #3895576 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17531   Message #3895576
Posted By: Jim Dixon
24-Dec-17 - 12:37 AM
Thread Name: Funniest Talking Blues Song
Subject: Lyr Add: TALKIN' KARATE BLUES (Townes Van Zandt)
Somebody (I can't remember who) recommended this, and I expected I would like it, because I've liked several other songs by TVZ, but I must say, I'm disappointed with the way this descends into racial stereotypes. I think he even mixes up Japanese with Chinese stereotypes. I wouldn't recommend performing this song without doing some major surgery on it.


TALKIN' KARATE BLUES
As recorded by Townes Van Zandt on "For the Sake of the Song" (2007)

Well, I ain't very big for twenty-one,
An' it seems like I never could have any good clean fun,
'Cause ev'ry time I'd go outside, some great big ol' bully'd come along,
An' he'd hit me in the face an' he'd knock me to the ground,
An' he'd start to kickin' me all around,
An' that ain't exactly fair, friends; that's wrong.

So I got me a paper the other night,
An' I crawled up on the sofa an' I turned on the light,
An' I flipped through the pages till I found the classified ads.
Said: "Take karate from Lee Hung Chow.
Man, make your first appointment now.
This course is guaranteed to make you bad."

Well, the next day I drove to the address,
An' by the Japanese design I was real impressed.
It looked like a reg'lar House o' the Rising Sun.
I walked inside; I was all alone.
I had a nervous feelin' down in my bones.
I's kind o' sorry I'd ever even come.

Then a giant Jap came through the door.
He must 'a' been at least 'bout seven foot four,
An' he looked like he's prone to easy aggravation.
He said: "Lee Hung Chow, ah kee dung!"
That's Japanese for "Fee fie fo fum."
I tried to explain my entire situation.

He said: "Number one course, Yankee: self-defense.
Two hundred dollars an' twenty-five cents."
I said: "Uh, what's the twenty-five cents for?" an' he said: "Repairs."
I said: "Repairs to what?" 'n' he said: "To you."
An' I thought to myself: "Man, that won't do."
I felt about a half-inch tall underneath that ol' slanted stare.

Oh, you think he was yella.

I said: "I b'lieve I better go check another place."
He said: "Ah so! Yankee don't like my race."
I said: "Now, there's a mistake, man, an' that's true.
Well, I been for you Japanese all along.
You Japanese just can't do no wrong,
An' I thought you got a mighty dirty deal in World War Two."

Well, he grabbed me by the hand an' he gave a heave,
An' I figured there's a pretty good time to leave,
Before he had a chance to do me any definite harm,
But m' plan worked out in the end, you see.
Now no bully's gonna pick on me.
Who's gonna hit a fella with just one arm?