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Wednesday, 10 April 2019

State of the Union - Iowa

George writes:
This week it’s Iowa. And I have again found evidence that songs from musicals are absolutely terrible. This week I listened to 44 seconds of Iowa Stubborn, from a Disney musical of 2003 called The Music Man. I wanted to puncture my own eardrums. There’s an album called Iowa by Slipknot, the last track of which lasts 15 minutes and is called Iowa, it gets going after three minutes of meandering nothingness, and after a further five minutes I wish it hadn’t bothered.

(Run for the hills! It’s a musical)

Non-country fans, if there are or even could be, such a thing, will be delighted to learn that no country songs will feature this week. That’s because the only one I could unearth was Sioux City Sue by the singing cowboy Gene Autry. Rubbish is too generous a description.

So off to Bandcamp I went and found a Russian prog. track called Iowa! Which, at $2.50 was not getting purchased. And it’s not prog. either, despite labelling itself thus. And then I found this joyful, weird,  lo-fi track, called Des Moines, by an outfit call Prahnas. I have no idea if it is one person or a group. But the album also has tracks called Phone Call From Your Ex-wife At A Bad Time and Love Letter To Putting On Your Shoes. I think I heard a kazoo too. I bought the album.

And after confirming that Cedar Rapids was in Iowa I found this joyful instrumental by The Jet Stole Home, called Cedar Rapids. And yes, I did purchase the album.

I see I have used the word joyful twice, it must be hysteria’-related after listening to so many ghastly songs with an Iowa connection.
I also purchased an album by an artiste called Lucy Bucket, called Cedar Rapids (although no song of that name is on it)

(I typed in Lucy Bucket into a search engine and it gave me this)

Other complete balderdash I listened to includes the execrable Dry Cleaner From Des Moines by Joni Mitchell, well, 45 seconds of it. That was the worst thing I listened to, even worse than that song from the musical mentioned above. Yes, even worse. And there was a song blethering about growing up in the “Hawkeye State with a combine on every corner”, and going to bed at 9 0’clock and getting up at 4. Good god almighty, the things I listen to on your behalf…….and for the sake of your own sanity steer clear of Iowa Gold by Jane Roman Pitt (after 25 seconds of that I went out to throw myself under the next bus, but it would have meant a three hour wait, so I went for soup instead).

(A very interesting view of a very interesting state………)

So far, no interesting facts about Iowa. and that’s because there are none, it is the most tedious of the 14 states in the series so far, there is nothing noteworthy about the place. Except this: Captain James Tiberius Kirk will be born there in 109 years time.

I associate Iowa with the presidential candidate caucus , and potatoes…...and now, some excruciatingly awful songs

Another one next week.  

CC writes:
I didn't know that Sioux City was in Iowa. Here are The Jayhawks from the Blue Earth album with a song that I wish Johnny Cash had featured in his American Recordings series.
I've also been to see a Blues guitarist called Catfish Keith who comes from Iowa.


  1. I'm amazed that you found so many songs about Iowa cos it's hell to rhyme it with anything else.

    The Johnny Cash song "I've Been Everywhere" mentions a few places in Iowa, including Oskaloosa and Sioux City. That might come in handy for you, cos it mentions at least 50 other places in the USA.

    And there's a song by country singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall called "It Sure Can Get Cold In Des Moines" although it's not one of his best.

    1. FBCB, Tom T Hall listened to and firmly rejected. Johnny Cash song does not fit the criteria ie place name in song title.

    2. I don't reckon the Iowa Tourist Board will be using will this post for publicity purposes somehow but it made me laugh.

      As for musicals, I gave Anna and the Apocalypse a go last night but soon regretted doing so. Shame, as I rather liked the idea of a zombie comedy musical set in Port Glasgow.


    3. Glad you enjoyed it Jamie.

  2. One thing I always remember about Iowa is that Bill Bryson came from there; this is what he had to say about Des Moines, I think it probably sums up the whole state:
    "When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without question and settle down with a girl called Bobbi and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can't wait to get out and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever."

    1. C, I was so despondent about the music I was listening to, I could not be bothered investigating any famous people or strange Iowan facts.

  3. C has beaten me to it, but yes when I hear mention of the state of Iowa I am reminded of Bill Bryson, his book The Thunderbolt Kid, and his description of growing up there in the 1950s. Another couple of quotes from me:

    “It's hard for people now to remember just how enormous the world was back then for everybody, and how far away even fairly nearby places were. When we called my grandparents long distance on the telephone in Winfield, something we hardly ever did, it sounded as if they were speaking to us from a distant star. We had to shout to be heard and plug a finger in an ear to catch their faint, tinny voices in return. They were only about a hundred miles away, but that was a pretty considerable distance even well into the 1950s. Anything farther - beyond Chicago or Kansas City, say - quickly became almost foreign. It wasn't just that Iowa was far from everywhere. Everywhere was far from everywhere.”

    “They talk about big skies in the western United States, and they may indeed have them, but you have never seen such lofty clouds, such towering anvils, as in Iowa in July.”

    C and I are tag-teaming this week as seem to be thinking along the same lines in many places (cryptic).

    Forgot that Captain Kirk was from Iowa. So was Riley Finn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer which I know you are familiar with. Season 4, episode 14 is Goodbye Iowa which followed episode 13, The I in Team (not Iowa).

    No idea of any songs, singers or bands from Iowa so sorry guys.

    1. I am indeed familiar with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, we have the boxed set and I watched the lot. Every single one

  4. No to Tom T Hall AND no to Johnny Cash?!?!??! Jeezo - you are a tough crowd to please!

  5. Dar Williams - Iowa (Travelling III)

    Janis Ian - Jenny (Iowa Surprise)

    Bear Hands - Vile Iowa