Friday, October 19, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Monkey and the Engineer

One characteristic I look for when choosing music for the Little Dude is lyrics that he can easily pick up and remember.  One recent addition to his playlist does just that, while incorporating two of his favorite things: animals and trains.
Jesse Fuller
Monkey and the Engineer was written by folk legend Jesse Fuller in the 1950s. It’s a funny song about a monkey who had been a very faithful companion to a train engineer. They’d spent so much time together, in fact, that the monkey learned how to drive the train and one day decided to take it for a spin. Or a roll. Or whatever they call driving a train. Fortunately he’d learned how to drive it from an experienced engineer and did a great job controlling locomotive #99 all the way down the track.

Though many artists have covered it, I first heard a cover of this song by the Grateful Dead who probably learned it from Jesse Fuller while he was living in the San Francisco Bay Area while they were growing up.  Though they didn’t often play it live, it was a staple of their acoustic tour in 1980. Here’s one of those performances from Radio City Music Hall:

I discovered that someone recently published a children's picture book based on this tune. I might have to check it out for my Dudes. 

What's your favorite animal-themed song?

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