If you hate it when your cherubic children start singing, "Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts," you're going to hate this review, too, so you may as well stop reading right now.
However, if you are among the irreverent who love to teach those songs to everyone else's kids, have I got a book for you. It's "A Prairie Home Companion Folk Song Book."The book is full of songs about dead dogs ("I'm Looking Over My Dead Dog Rover"), bald-headed men ("On Top of Old Baldy"), garbage dumps ("Down by the Old Garbage Slough"), food ("I Love to Go A-Gorging") and kids who hate school ("I Shot My Poor Teacher").
School, in fact, represents quite a portion of the book. There's "From the Halls of School's Dark Prison," to be sung to the tune of "The Marines' Hymn," and "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Burning of the School," to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
To get a clear idea of the inanity of some of these songs, an example is necessary. Try this to the tune of "Onward, Christian Soldiers":
Onward, Christian bedbugs
Marching down my sheet
When you reach the bottom
Please don't bite my feet.
The songs are selected from the ones sent to Garrison Keillor on "A Prairie Home Companion." Keillor's two requirements were that the songs were heard from someone else and that they were ones "to which you remember the words mostly."
People nationwide sent in nearly 1,800 songs. Marcia and Jon Pankake, who compiled the book, are collectors of old folk songs and have a folk band called "Uncle Willie and the Brandy Snifters." They appeared regularly on "Prairie Home Companion" in the early years.
Lest you think all these songs are for the mindless, think of the words to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" sung to the tune of "Deck the Halls."
The erudite among us also might have a high old time with Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." The suggestions for tunes include "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," "Sixteen Tons" and "Your Cheatin' Heart." I was particularly impressed with "The Canterbury Tales" by Chaucer to be sung to the tune of "April Showers."
Since all good things must end, I'll leave you with one more song for the road to be sung to the tune of "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night":
While shepherds washed their socks by night
While watching MTV
The Angel of the Lord came down
And switched to BBC.
And switched to BBC.
In case you don't remember all the words to "Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts," you'll find the entire verse on page 133.