For the week of 3/26/2012…

“Orange Ball-Peen Hammer” by Mudhoney

This is a track from Mudhoney’s 1995 album My Brother the Cow, which, in my opinion, is one of the best grunge albums recorded in the period after Kurt Cobain’s suicide.  (Speaking of which, check out “Into Yer Shtik,” from the same album, which is a thinly veiled diss aimed at Courtney Love – and a pretty damn good song to boot!)

Anyway, back to “Orange Ball-Peen Hammer.”  It’s difficult to explain why I like this particular little-known Mudhoney song  so much.  The music really appeals to me; maybe it’s the presence of the harmonica or the fuzzy, bending guitar.  And the lyrics?  First of all, note the allusion to Led Zepp’s “Lemon Song” in the second verse.  (This is not the only song on the album which includes such references.  “Crankcase Blues” invokes a Howlin’ Wolf classic, while “1995” is in its entirety a love letter to the Stooges.)  Secondly, it’s worth noting that the title of  song is apparently an homage to “Orange Claw Hammer,” a bizarro 1969 poem/shanty by Captain Beefheart; however, this track is far more musical than that one, and the lyrics here aren’t avant-garde (or whatever), they’re just downright goofy.

Fortunately, I’m an unpretentious kind of guy, and lyrics like these are right up my alley.  Yeah, Mark Arm, sing it!  “A day without orange juice is like a night in jail,” indeed!

–Hardiman

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