Southbound Pachyderm: A Mixtape For An Elephant

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Elephants are awesome. Science surely has a more in depth way of expressing mankind's fondness for our giant pachyderm friends, but, "Elephants are awesome" does the trick just fine.

I postulate that if you don't like elephants then you must be a terrorist. Scratch that -- even terrorists like elephants. I know because I asked Yahoo! answers and got the above.

It was on this day way back in 1796, when America wasn't even old enough to drink, that the first elephant was introduced to our shores. He came in the care of a man with the Skyrim-worthy name of Captain Jacob Crowninshield.

The Captain had purchased the elephant in India for $450, and brought him to New York City as an attraction. The unnamed animal was the longest running, single animal exhibition in American history and toured all over the country until at least 1818. Audiences were charged a quarter a gander.

Nowadays, even the Renaissance Festival has elephant rides now. It's a big, old elephanty world folks, and to celebrate the day the USA first got in on the Loxondonta love I've made a mixtape of my favorite elephant songs. Anything else... would be irrelephant.

The Toy Dolls, "Nellie the Elephant": Olga and the Toy Dolls are still out there making their own bizarre brand of upbeat punk music, even after all these years. God bless them, "Nellie" was their only real hit, and even then only in the UK. Until recently, the chorus of the song was used to teach people the proper rhythm of CPR. Now, the more appropriately titled "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees is used.

Muhammadali, "Elephant": Speaking of underrated geniuses who haven't received the recognition that they deserve, this is Houston's own Muhammadali off of their self-titled 2010 album. Before you go off an follow their advice to eat an elephant, you should know that a) you can only kill an elephant legally under very strict hunting laws; b) doing so runs you around $50,000 for the privilege; and c) it's not very good.

Lee Press-On & the Nails, "Pink Elephants on Parade": You're probably intimately familiar with the original version from Disney's Dumbo, where Dumbo and Timothy start hallucinating pink elephants after drinking absinthe... because Disney used to give a lot less fucks back in the day.

Rather than show you the video that probably scarred you for life as a kid, I thought I'd showcase Lee Press-On's version. Not that it's not just as creepy, but at least we don't have to watch dead-eyed fever dreams perform in a marching band while a baby elephant cries his innocence out.

Syd Barrett, "Effervescing Elephant": Ah what the hell, let's keep it weird. Syd Barrett supposedly wrote this tune when he was only 16, and brackets a set of happy, Suessian lyrics with bone-chilling jungle samples that sound like incidental music from Cannibal Holocaust.

Primus, "Southbound Pachyderm": "Winona's Big Brown Beaver" gets all the accolades for its brilliant video, but when it comes to works from Tales from the Punchbowl, you just can't beat the amazing stop-motion masterpiece that is "Southbound Pachyderm"

It's still my favorite Primus song of all time a potent mixture of energy and sadness as Claypool laments the decline of the African elephant population through illegal poaching.

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