Now that the dog days of summer have arrived – rather late – I might add, (as we had declared summer over before it started,) we here at WMMCM have really gone to the dogs.
In honor of our continuing canine capriciousness we are going to spend some more quality time delving through the dog-gone 1970′s. Why the 1970′s are dog-gone is anybody’s guess, but as we hunted down our favorite musical mutts it became rather apparent that the 1970′s are represented far out of proportion to any other decade in the commonality of canines coming to be commented upon in contemporary compositions.
Ah yes, the 70′s delivered a cornucopia of dog songs for some strange reason. (Could dogs have been in the air? Pink Floyd had their airborne pig, so why not?)
In 1971, Roland Kent LaVoie, a young Floridian who had been trying to make the big time all through the 1960′s, was bitten by inspiration just as he was finally getting a leg up in the business. He decided write a song about his passion for travel and the occasional petty crime along the way as he, his girlfriend and their best friend motored aimlessly from Georgia to Los Angeles.
I remember when “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” first hit the radio. Heck, in the early 80′s I had a girlfriend with – wait for it! – a dog named… Boo…
I have always wondered if dogs can be embarrassed by their names… Just thinking aloud here. Time to move on…
So, in 1971, the post hippie era and right at the start of the burgeoning singer/songwriter era in popular music, we’ve got a song about a young guy and his gal roaming the wide open spaces of the U.S. on their way to L.A. What’s wrong with that? Well, first off this is from a guy who calls himself Lobo.
Lobo. Spanish for wolf. Listen to the song again. Does anyone hear any wolves in the vicinity of “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo?” Who in their right mind would call a wolf ‘Boo?” And if you did, would you soon be on his personal menu?
OK. So now we’re on the road with the girlfriend and the dog – not wolf – named Boo.
“I remember to this day
The bright red Georgia clay
And how it stuck to the tires
After the summer rain
Will power made that old car go
A woman’s mind told me that so
Oh how I wish
We were back on the road again.”
Kind of wimpy but at least there’s a sweetness to it that makes it kind of believable. Not that I would perhaps enjoy this lifestyle myself mind you. I like travelling just fine but long road trips to nowhere in the early 1970′s with only will power as my fuel? I think not.
“I can still recall
The wheat fields of St. Paul
And the morning we got caught
Robbing from an old hen
Old McDonald he made us work
But then he paid us for what it was worth
Another tank of gas
And back on the road again.”
Here’s where the petty crime comes in. And golly, it’s sure durn for-tun-ate that Old McDonald was such a nice guy that he didn’t just blast them with his shotgun when he caught them stealing some eggs. (Either the girlfriend or Boo must be cute…)
The sound of “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” is so somnambulant that Lobo must have been in danger of dazedly meandering off into the nearest office or restroom as the recording sessions dragged monotonously on. It is well produced with chimey guitars and tight back-up singers and all that, and Lobo sings rather nicely if unconvincingly about his wild adventures. All that robbing eggs and driving all over creation stuff.
But why? There’s not a thing in this song that makes me want to pay any attention to it.
I know it’s rather unfair of me to try to decipher “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” in anything remotely approaching an intelligent manner. But when a song is too silly to have been a hit by a guy named Lobo, well? If it were, say, The Archies? I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But Lobo?
I know it probably wouldn’t have been good for his sales to have called himself Boo, but it would have been more accurate.
Lobo, (or “Boo,”) went on to create a few other pop insomniac classics such as “I’d Love You to Want Me” and “Don’t Expect Me to be Your Friend.” I’m not sure why.
“Me and you and a dog named boo
Travellin’ and livin’ off the land
Me and you and a dog named boo
How I love being a free man.”