Monday, May 18, 2009

All Come to Meet Her Now

From 1968, and their near-masterpiece Wow, please enjoy Moby Grape's brilliant and hilarious ode to the ultimate biker chick "Motorcycle Irene."

There she sits a-smokin'
Reefer in her mouth
Hair hanging northward
As she travels south
Dirty, on her Harley
(But her nails are clean)
Super-powered, de-flowered
Over-eighteen Irene

I've seen her in the bare
Where her tattoos and her chains
Wrap around her body
Where written are the names
Of prisons she's been in
And lovers she has seen
Curve-winding, bump 'n' grindin'
Motorcycle Irene

Ground around like hamburger
Layin' in a splat
'tis Irene, her sheen I seen
In pieces crumpled flat
Her feet were in the bushes
Her toes were in her hat
Stark-raven, un-shaven
Motorcycle Irene

The Hunchback, The Cripple
The Horseman and The Fool
Prayer books and candles and
Carpet, cloaks and jewels
Knowing all the answers
But breakin' all the rules
Stark-naked, un-sacred
Motorcycle Irene
That's genuine poetry, I think, as well as a brilliantly subversive gender-fuck of all those 60s car crash/hoodlum songs, the Shangri-Las "Leader of the Pack" most notably. It's written by the Grapes' tragic genius, Skip Spence, of course, and if you don't know from him -- and his astounding solo album Oar -- your life is the poorer for the lack.

In any case, you can download the song HERE; as always, if the authorization has expired by the time you get there, just e-mail me blah blah blah.


steve simels said...

Note to self: My obsession with Moby Grape continues to strike PowerPop readers as more inexplicable than I remembered.

Libby Spencer said...

I don't remember the song but I do remember the albunm cover. Should have added that one to the listomania about it. And I understand why you liked them. I liked that band too. They were somewhat under-appreciated.

Noam Sane said...

Is that a surrealist Ocean Beach in SF, Cliff House in the background? Never saw that cover before, but I like it.

Those are some great lyrics. Certainly reminiscent - to me, anyway - of Al Anderson's song "Macho Maria":

Ahhh Macho, Macho, Macho Maria
Oh, maybe someone’s right for her
But mainly on the whole
I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole

She works in a gas station
Rides a Harley-Davidson
She’s been on probation all year long
Her two front teeth are missin’
What has she been kissin’
When she comes around I will be gone

In her mouth a cigarette
A big tattoo says "No Regrets"
She’s never seen without a can of beer
She don’t take no lip from you
You best know who you’re talkin’ to
Dungarees and motorcycle gear

Beneath that hard exterior
I’m sure a warm heart beats in her
In school she had the cutest little curls
But I’m afraid it’s much too late
Close the door and shut the gate
The image is much bigger than the girl

Ahhh Macho, Macho, Macho Maria
Oh, maybe someone’s right for her
But mainly on the whole
I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole

David said...

Just to complete the hat trick, Neil Young's "Motorcycle Mama" (won't you lay your big spike down) deserves mention. I think we might have a brilliant mix tape in the works...if there are any more songs about lady bikers. But if you take the lady part out and just include quirky songs about bikers, you could add that Arlo Guthrie song in which he rhymes motor-sickle with pickle, and of course, Fountains of Wayne's brilliant "Leave the Biker."

steve simels said...

Songs about biker chicks?

Hey -- did Cher sing anything in MASK?

NYMary said...

She did not.