Monday, April 9, 2012

The Naughty Bits: Dinah Moe Humm

Frank Zappa: Dinah Moe Humm

There are bits that are naughty on Over-nite Sensation, my favorite Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention studio album (from 1973). In tune with our theme of naughty bits this week, in addition to my choice here, the list of songs on the album includes such memorable titles as Dirty Love, Camarillo Brillo and an album cover that is messy. Maybe not even naughty, and closer to nasty - but peoples' perception of these sorts of things (personal taste) is always relative. (Click the image above to view a larger version where you can peruse the frame in more detail - should you so wish.) The album includes musical input from Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke and, uncredited, Tina Turner and the Ikettes.

Just one chunk of the lyrics of Dinah Moe Hum should suffice to give you a taste:

[I] Whipped off her bloomers and stiffened my thumb
And applied rotation on her sugar plum
I poked & stroked till my wrist got numb
[And I] Still didn't hear no Dinah-Moe Humm

Not intending to confuse fun with funny (bloomers!), I always thought that the man himself looked kinda funny (that furry facial hair). And I know that what I perceive as a wacky sense of humor in his lyrics is not to everyone’s taste. Zappa has been accused of being immature ["puerile"] at times, but for my part, I chuckle at the way he makes fun of American suburban tastes - on one hand appearing not to take anything too seriously, and on the other hand cranking out some serious political opinions about changes that he felt were needed in American culture/morals/law. He was a strong opponent of the trend during his lifetime towards more state censorship in song lyrics. Mixing themes of naughty and politics, these selected lyrics from "Brown Shoes ..."  about "city hall fred" embody his position:
I'd like to make her do a nasty
On the white house lawn

The MGM censors understood something very different from what Zappa had in mind. The PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center that included Tipper Gore) had their own interpretation of some of his lyrics; he had his. I urge you to read his comments to Congress in 1985 if you value your First Ammendment rights.

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