55. Funny Food

Posted on 16/06/2017

55. Funny Food

A name like Fats Waller would not be accepted these days. Too discriminatory: he would have been known as Thomas. But in the 1930’s it was accepted and even embraced by Fats himself. One of his lines, in relation to food, is ‘with me most anything goes’.

The sadly shortlived trumpeter Fats Navarro is another Fats, as is Fats Domino, fortunately still with us in his late 80’s, but he is not actually fat, so much as pudding faced. I remember seeing Fats Domino and his face hung over his piano keyboard like a full moon, as he turned left of where he was playing to face the audience.

The following song is about buying food, and Fats makes the whole process hilarious.

The beginning is quite innocent: she sent him to the story to buy groceries. But he has entirely forgotten what for, except that he’s managed to get ‘a big one for myself’. But then comes the chorus when he asks the boys if his Mommie wanted him to buy pie, and then ‘rye‘ (which means whisky) and he replies that she ‘didnt want no liquid’.

My mommy sent me to the store, to the store, to the store.
But what my mommy sent me for
I really can’t remember.

I think it was the grocery
Let me see, let me see.
Oh gee. Oh gosh. Oh gosh. Oh gee.
I don’t remember.

I forgotten what she needed
For the pantry shelf.
All I know is that she said
To keep a big one for myself
And I got that.

But mommy sent me to the store to the store, to the store
But what my mommy sent me for
I really can’t remember.

Can you boys help me out?
(Male voices: Did she send you out for pie?)
No, you know she didn’t ask for pie.
(Male voices: Did she want a loaf of rye?)
You know my mama didn’t like no liquid. No!


It wasn’t pie.
It wasn’t rye.
Oh, what was I supposed to buy?

[Drum roll]

Oh I really can’t,
Really can’t

[Spoken]- My memory is so unreliable.

A wonderful jeu d’esprit. The following video actually shows Fats (most of the ones on Youtube show pictures of 78 records going round, like the one above). But ‘That aint right’ shows Fats at work in the last year of his life (sadly he died at 39). But he menages to run the whow, play the piano, smoke a cigarette and sing all at once. The casual repartee is splendid.

In response to Ada Brown’s ‘what is the matter with you’ he says firstly ‘nothing, nothing at all’ and then the uniquely phrased ‘one never knows do one?’ which is an ungrammatical approach to speaking grandly in the third person.

He does an even better version in another song (Headlines in the News) where he says ‘I woudst have a word with thou’, presumably having watched too much Shakespeare!

One of the more charming phrases in this song is ‘shrimples and rice’, presumably shrimps in a previously unheard diminutive!

The song runs through more or less every kind of fish, although his voice does not sound enthusiastic all the time: he would have preferred beef to fish in most cases I suspect. There is a rather less inspired song by him called ‘Rump Steak Serenade’ which is about the subject matter in the title, but also female bottoms (Fats being a master of the double entendre).

If only ‘one’ had lived a bit longer and recorded even more joyful stuff!






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