Big Wood and Brush

Gene Marshall Song Poems
Gene Marshall Song Poems

“Big wood and brush. Big wood and brush. Do you know the difference between big wood and brush?”, “Jimmy Carter Says Yes!”, “Little Love Bug”. These songs, from a cassette tape that Chris Zajkowski from the Squires of the Subterrain gave us, have been stuck in our heads for twenty years. And we don’t even have a tape player anymore. The cassette was a collection of song poems, hand labeled, “Beat Of The Traps”, and I think he got it from someone in NRBQ. The songs were lyrics by anonymous people put to music by studios that advertised in the back of magazines. A couple hundred bucks and you had a box of 45’s with your song on it.

Our friend and neighbor, Monica, had just returned from Paris and so we had her and Rick over for dinner last night. We made barley mushroom soup from the Moosewood cookbook, chicken marinated in a lime juice vinaigrette and a green salad. Rick made a no cholesterol angel food cake for dessert and we ate that while watching “Off The Charts, The Song Poem Story”.

The charming Gene Marshall, who claims to have cranked out 10,000 songs, was responsible for “Big Wood and Brush” and “Jimmy Carter Says Yes” and he stole the show. He dominates his band and bulldozes arrangements on the fly while “sight singing” lyrics that have just been put in front of him. Improvisation is one thing but watching him try to keep a straight face and get through these songs in one take was thrilling.

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