Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Watergate in Song

One of Ralph Steadman's many Nixon drawings
This past Sunday was the 41st anniversary of the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.

I was but a lad ...

Nixon was driven from power by what became known as the Watergate scandal.

Watergate, as it turns out, inspired a number of songs in the realms of blues, soul, country and rock, several of which are included here. Some were bitchen tunes by great artists. Some aren't. You decide which is which.

Let's start out with the great Howlin' Wolf. His "Watergate Blues" celebrated Frank Wills, the security guard at the Watergate who discovered the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.




Another "Watergate Blues" is a wry little country tune by Tom T. Hall. But by the last verse the Storyteller gets pretty serious. The melody is lifted from the song "White House Blues" (performed by Charlie Poole, Bill Monroe and others), which was about the assassination of President McKinley



Fred Wesley, best known for his work with James Brown did "Rockin' Funky Watergate" with The New J.B.s



Even better is proto-rapper Gil Scott Heron's caustic "H2O-gate Blues."



I'm not really familiar with bluesman Bobo Jenkins, but his "Watergate Blues" is pretty spooky. Listen closely and at the 1:03 mark you can hear a phone ringing.



Here's an obscure country singer named Les Waldroop applying some Cash-style Chunka chunka to the Watergate saga. It's called "Watergate Bugs."



This one, by someone called "The Creep" is just plain tacky.



And here is some incisive commentary from sampling pioneer Dicky Goodman.



Do you ever get Dick Nixon mixed up with Billy Jack? Me neither. But this band, appropriately called The Dick Nixons, did.



So now if there were some scandal taking place here they'd call it "Watergate-gate"
They say that on a full moon night you can see Nixon's ghost
 peering out of a sixth foot window of the Watergate

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