but what if I don’t want Christmas tree?

A fun time-passer our visiting friends Bob and Susan introduced to us is what they call “The Rhapsody Game” (after the music service): one person chooses a song, and the next person then chooses a song with some connection or other to the previous song, etc. – sort of an “Exquisite Corpse” of a playlist mix. (The nice thing about Rhapsody for this game is that subscribers can stream nearly any song in its library for no additional charge.)

I do not not remember the predecessor song, but I ended up pulling up Rosemary Clooney’s “Come on-a My House” recently. This is a seriously odd song for 1951…let’s see, we have jazz harpsichord, for a start, and the lyrics seem, at first, kind of strange. Turns out (thank you Wikipedia) that the song was co-written by two Armenian-Americans, Ross Bagdasarian (a/k/a “David Seville” of Alvin and the Chipmunks fame…) and writer William Saroyan, and some of the lyric images refer to Armenian customs.

Had it been my choice to follow this track, the song I would have chosen would have been the B-52s’ “Give Me Back My Man.” That’s because Fred Schneider’s lyrics for that song quote “Come on-a My House” (“I’ll give you candy / I’ll give you…everything”). But the mood is rather different. There’s a real desperation in Cindy Wilson’s vocal performance (amusingly, Rosemary Clooney is said to have hated “Come on-a My House” and recorded it unwillingly – she claims you can hear her anger in her performance…), and the way its melody rests on unstable intervals contributes to its unsettling atmosphere. Of course, it still rocks utterly – one of my favorite B-52s’ songs.

Rosemary Clooney “Come on-a My House” (1951)

The B-52’s “Give Me Back My Man” (Wild Planet, 1980)


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