"The Wendell Who Plays Gitar"


I already admitted that Wendell Ferguson, the Canadian Country Guitar Player who has done studio work with Gordon Lightfoot, Jane Siberry and a whole bunch of other artists I don’t recognize – probably because they’re all Canadian – is funnier than I am. Anybody who titles his “Live!” album “The S#!t Hits the Fans” has the kind of self-effacing inferiority-complex humor I can relate to. Forget that he was named the Canadian Country Music Associations’ “Guitar Player of the Year” seven years straight, forcing the Assn. to “retire” him from future competition.

But as a life-long aficionado of Funny Music from Spike Jones the Elder to Weird Al the Yankovic (and who once gave Dr. Demento a record he had not yet discovered but which he played on his show), I am damn proud to share monikers with this Ferguson fellow. Especially since I can take the day off from being funny myself and just quote his songs for laughs:

I don’t watch my weight or my cholesterol
Cause I don’t have to worry ’bout getting old at all
I’m never gonna have to taste the taste of Geritol
Not with the way I drive

Life in the fast lane is life lived wrong
And I’m livin’ proof but I won’t be livin’ long
Fast lane’s nothin’, if you want to have fun
You oughta try life in the “oncoming” one

-excerpted from “The Way I Drive”

Don’t call your girlfriend “Honey” when she’s standin’ by a bear
The bear might get excited and try to get his share

Don’t call your girlfriend “Ducky” when she’s swimmin’ in the lake
Some myopic hunter might make a bad mistake

Don’t call your girlfriend “Bambi” when she’s standin’ by a buck…
Cause he might be in season and she just might get…

-excerpted from “Don’t Call Your Girlfriend Honey”, which does end right there.

To the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”:

Late last night I took a big bite
My face went white and my throat got tight
Cause I didn’t chew
I tried to talk but my throat was blocked
All my air cut off couldn’t even cough
Cause I didn’t chew

Who’d have thought that I could suffocate?
Just because I didn’t masticate
I saw St. Peter standing at the gate sayin’ to me
How does it feel? How does it feel?
To be comin’ back home?
Life on earth is blown
By one chicken bone

There is lots more… he ‘borrows’ a punchline from the Smothers Brothers:
I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy
You can see by my outfit I am a cowboy too
We can see by our outfits that we are both cowboys
If you get an outfit you can be a cowboy too

and makes it a jumping-off point for “If You’re Gonna Be a Cowboy”…
You need to learn to ride, learn to rope
and learn to use them pistols
You need a horse, pure white, to rear up high
and come runnin’ when you whistle
You need a trusty friend, loyal to the end
like Jingles, Pat or Tonto
If you’re gonna be a cowboy…
it’s gonna take some gittin’ onto

But that’s enough plagiarism homage for today…

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