And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
Willis Alan Ramsey, who plays tonight at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, is a cult hero among Texas singer-songwriter aficionados; his eponymous 1972 debut is a benchmark of the genre. Lyle Lovett cut Ramsey's "Sleepwalking" on his 1998 album Step Inside This House, perhaps as a thank-you for "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)," which Ramsey co-wrote with his wife Alison Rogers.
However, most people know the 60-year-old Dallas resident - who told The Dallas Morning News about a year and a half ago that he was finally almost done with a follow-up to that first album; it still hasn't surfaced - thanks to "Muskrat Candlelight," which became a Top 5 hit for The Captain & Tennille in 1976 as "Muskrat Love."
Ramsey must have a thing about animals, because also on that album are "The Ballad of Spider John" (later covered by Jimmy Buffett) and "Geraldine and the Honeybee" (ditto, Widespread Panic). Rocks Off definitely has a thing about animals, because we decided to see how many songs about the beasts of the field and the birds of the air we could come up with in an afternoon.
Okay, we know some of them are probably about sex, but they do all have animals in the titles. We stopped at 75. This is a fun job sometimes.
FINE FEATHERED FRIENDS
Dolly Parton, "Eagle When She Flies" Tanya Tucker, "Two Sparrows In a Hurricane" The Beatles, "Blackbird" The National, "The Geese of Beverly Road" Elbow, "Starlings" Butch Hancock/Joe Ely, "If You Were a Bluebird" Wilco, "Hummingbird" Leonard Cohen, "Bird On a Wire" Neil Young, "Hawks & Doves" Ice Cube, "Ghetto Bird"
TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN
Buck Owens & the Buckaroos, "Tiger By the Tail" Spoon, "Paper Tiger" Bobby Charles, "See You Later Alligator" Metallica, "Of Wolf and Man" Los Lobos, "Will the Wolf Survive?" TV on the Radio, "Wolf Like Me" Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Gold Lion" Mumford & Sons, "Little Lion Man" The Descendents, "I Wanna Be a Bear" British Sea Power, "Bear" Elvis Presley, "Teddy Bear" Sweet, "Fox On the Run" Thin Lizzy, "Johnny the Fox" Entombed, "Wolverine Blues"
UNDER THE SEA
The Beatles, "I Am the Walrus" Led Zeppelin, "Moby Dick" Robert Johnson, "Dead Shrimp Blues" Faith No More, "The Crab Song" B-52's, "Rock Lobster" Jimmy Buffett, "Oysters & Pearls" Bob Dylan, "Catfish" Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, "Fish In the Dish" Gallows, "Leeches" Future of the Left, "Stand By Your Manatee" Ween, "The Mollusk" Sage Francis & Will Oldham, "Sea Lion"
Roky Erickson, "Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)" The Stooges, "I Wanna Be Your Dog" Big Mama Thornton, "Hound Dog" Led Zeppelin, "Black Dog" Doug Sahm, "I'm Not That Kat Anymore" Johnny Cash, "Mean-Eyed Cat" Rolling Stones, "Stray Cat Blues" Slick Rick, "Top Cat" Tyler, The Creator, "Tron Cat"
DOWN ON THE FARM
Clifton Chenier, "I'm a Hog for You Baby" Traditional, "Turkey In the Straw" Rufus Thomas, "Do the Funky Chicken" Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, "Milk Cow Blues" Daniel Johnston, "Walking the Cow" Tom Waits, "Get Behind the Mule" Naughty By Nature, "Pin the Tail On the Donkey" KT Tunstall, "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" U2, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" Echo & the Bunnymen, "Bring On the Dancing Horses" Southern Culture on the Skids, "Camel Walk"
John Lee Hooker, "Crawlin' King Snake" Motley Crue/Skid Row/Fleetwood Mac, "Rattlesnake Shake" Tony Joe White, "Roosevelt and Ira Lee (Night of the Moccasin)" Waka Flocka Flame feat. Cartier Kitten, "Snake In the Grass" Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Snake Farm" PJ Harvey, "Snake" Charley Pride, "Snakes Crawl at Night" Sonny Boy Williamson, "Fattening Frogs for Snakes" The Doors, "Peace Frog"
Dave Matthews Band, "Ants Marching" Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "Honey Bee" Sonic Youth, "Drunken Butterfly" Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "Wings Off Flies"
The White Stripes, "I Think I Smell a Rat" Ray Stevens, "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" Loudon Wainwright III, "Dead Skunk In the Middle of the Road"
MORE LIKE US
Nirvana, "Very Ape" Butthole Surfers, "The Lord Is a Monkey" Rolling Stones, "Monkey Man"
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.