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Eddie writesLet’s Eat! A CHIRP Radio Thanksgiving Playlist

by Eddie Sayago

Artwork: "Freedom from Want (Hipster Version)" by Tristan Elwell

There aren’t a lot of songs about Thanksgiving, which is a shame because this is a very unique holiday with plenty of history.

he woman who wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb '' had spent decades petitioning to get Thanksgiving to become an official national holiday. Macy’s got involved with a parade. Black Friday became a thing, along with Black-out Wednesday.

But also, all the food. And booze. And desserts. And a four or five day weekend if you are lucky enough to have that much time off. And leftovers, which go well with Christmas ales brewed from your favorite brewery, or the harder stuff.

Here are some songs and trivia to share for neutral conversation-starters into the day-long feast stuffed with football with a side of disgruntled uncles and last minute guests and scrolling on your phone for Christmas gifts.

I am thankful for all the song suggestions from our fellow CHIRP volunteers and DJs Shawn, Craig Reptile, Jennifer, Alex, Moizza, The Audible Snail, Allí, Joe, and Bradley, who responded first to my inquiry about food songs.

“Cooking Up Something Good” by Mac DeMarco
From the album 2 (Captured Tracks, 2012)

Food is the guest of honor at any Thanksgiving feast. Everyone has a dish they are looking forward to on this day. For me, it’s a homemade macaroni ‘n’ cheese that my mom has made for as long as I can remember. The texture and taste makes it half mac ‘n’ cheese and part macaroni salad.

“Mashed Potato Time” by Dee Dee Sharp
From the album It’s Mashed Potato Time (Cameo Records, 1962)

This is arguably the easiest dish to make for any dinner, but on this day, mashed potatoes can make or break a Thanksgiving feast. “It needs more salt.” “Add more butter.” “NO, don’t add that butter!” “More salt.” “Add the cheese after this.” “NO, not that much salt!” “Peel more potatoes.”

This novelty song includes a dance that you might wanna try before the meal, because this is a very intensive dance that no one should try.

“Vegetables”by The Beach Boys
From the album Smiley Smile (Capitol, 1967)

There are many vegetables besides the potato that have their time to shine for the big food holiday. And so many dishes to choose from.

Like vegetables most of the time, The Beach Boys’ Smiley Smile was conceived as a simplified version of Smile, which was supposed to be released soon after. (As of now it’s still unfinished, though the sessions were released in 2011.)

“Biscuits” by Kacey Musgraves
From the album Pageant Material (Mercury, 2015)

One of a handful of country musicians to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, Kacey Musgraves is a natural when writing lyrics. The chorus to this song ends with “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”

Biscuits are simple and don’t need a lot of ingredients to make. Life should be more simple like your grandmas favorite biscuit recipe.

“Cranberry Sauce” by Arcwelder
From the album Pull (Touch and Go, 1993)

A simple yet very sweet staple at Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce is more commonly served for Christmas in the United Kingdom and Canada. The latter country celebrates Thanksgiving in early-to-mid October, which is when the harvest season traditionally ends.

Before becoming Arcwelder, the band went by the name Tilt-A-Whirl, which needed to change after being slapped with a lawsuit by the creators of the carnival ride.

“Jive Turkey” by Ohio Players
From the album Skin Tight (Mercury, 1974)

By the time Ohio Players released their album Skin Tight, they developed a reputation for being one of the most exciting funk bands around. (And their then-risque album covers featured models who also appeared on Playboy also didn’t hurt their popularity.)

he term/song title “Jive Turkey” was a popular catchphrase amongst Black Americans during the '70s, meaning that someone is unreliable, dishonest, and offers empty promises. Turkey itself can be very filling, depending on whether you prefer light or dark meat.

“Stuffy Turkey” by Thelonious Monk
From the album It’s Monk’s Time (Sony, 1963)

The most common foodstuff (besides stuffing) is the turkey. And some people still have issues cooking a turkey. There is still the hotline one could call (or text) asking for advice, though this item is best prepared and cooked by a pro, whether it’s your mom, grandma, dad, the culinary legend in your family.

Speaking of legends, Thelonious Monk is one of jazz’s most revered musicians. In addition to giving jazz a jolt, Monk is also one of the forefathers of bebop and was one of the first jazz musicians to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine.

“Red Red Wine” by UB40
From the album Labour of Love (A&M/Virgin, 1983)

This song has had quite a life. (Read more about it here.) Also, if you’re in need of a wine-related gift for a wine and music lover, this lovely print is available. (Or a birthday card for someone turning 40.)

“American Pie” by Don McLean
From the album American Pie (EMI, 1970)

Like apple pie and baseball, “American Pie” by Don McLean is a true piece of Americana, which is odd because the song is a lengthy critique of the land of the free. He is singing “bye bye” to the American dream that was sold to millions and millions of people for about a century by the time this song was written and recorded in 1970.

Until the time of this article being written/typed, “American Pie” was the longest song (clocking in at 08:42) to peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This record was broken this week by Taylor Swift, when her song “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” reached the top spot, clocking in at 10:13.

So if you have a niece who’s a fan at the table, you could share this tidbit of trivia while figuring out which casserole to try next.

“Peaches ‘n’ Cream” by 112
From the album Part III (Bad Boy, 2001)

The three most popular pies for Thanksgiving are pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple, and all three are very good, but peach pie or cobbler with a dash of whipped cream is also a great treat.

This 2001 hit single from boy band 112 is not about dessert, at least not in the traditional sense. This is a song reserved for after dinner, or before you stuff yourself with food and drink.

“I Can’t Help Myself” by The Four Tops
From the album Four Tops Second Album (Motown, 1965)

“I Can’t Help Myself” is both the signature song for Motown band the Four Tops and an expression almost everyone reading this has said aloud after going overboard with the pie and booze. (Please drink responsibly should you consume alcohol this holiday season.)

This love song was inspired by songwriter Lamont Dozier’s grandfather. “He was a bit of a flirt, and would say “How you doin’, sugar pie? Good morning, honey bunch....I’m sitting on the porch watching this, soaking it all up.”

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Categorized: Post Mix

Topics: thanksgiving

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