Saturday, May 20, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Wild Tchoupitoulas (33 1/3) by Bryan Wagner, excerpt four)

from The Wild Tchoupitoulas (33 1/3) by Bryan Wagner

Much of the album is set on Mardi Gras. Jolly sings: “Mardi Gras morning, we are coming through. I’m sending my gang down, two by two.” Encounters with other tribes are eagerly anticipated. We hear some great boasts (“The only thing gonna make them mad / I got the gang they wished they had”) and wild threats (“Uptown Rulers / Let ‘em come now / I got the gun now / Set ‘em on fire / Fire on the bayou”). Individuals are described acting their rank and status (“Big Chief standing on the avenue / Spy Boy he turned the corner / Flag gave the signal, we’re meeting a gang / Big Chief say do what you wanna”), as the Big Chief boasts about the members of his tribe (“Your Spy Boy eat raw pork chop / My Spy Boy eat liver / Meet you that morning, you don’t stop / He gonna make you jump in the river”). More than once on the album, we move through the entire cycle of the holiday, with Jolly closing it down: “I’ll bring my gang all over town / Drink firewater till the sun go down / We get back home, gonna kneel and pray / We had some fun on the holiday!” Or then two tracks later: “We’re all over town on Mardi Gras day / Now it’s late in the evening / I took them up, took them down / Now the whole damn gang is leaving.”

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