guilty pleasure monday: sneakin’ sally through the alley (robert palmer)

anyone else notice a leitmotif here in the guilty pleasure monday world?

yes, those of you observant enough (or even breathing, perhaps) might notice i’m picking GPMs featuring a lady’s name. although the lady in this song is clearly no lady.

and she sure as hell ain’t the singer’s wife.

you can’t talk about this song, a cover of new orleans legend allen toussaint’s,  without mentioning the late, great lowell george of little feat. i remember the first time i heard the sailin’ shoes / hey julia / sneakin’ sally through the alley montage and thinking — wait a minute — is palmer covering a little feat tune? i had heard the little feat version of sailin’ shoes, but not palmer’s.  george backs palmer on this album, and i think it shows.

so many people think of robert palmer as the slicked out, tricked out guy of the 80s with that annoying all-girl band.

(yeah. i’ll wait while the guys out there finish with the video…)

anyway, long before the creepy whiteface models (TM), a predecessor to the blue man group (sans tobias fünke), palmer was a purveyor of blue-eyed soul, as those crazy, cliche-ridden music writers like to call it. teamed up with george, he made a classic album filled with slide guitars and funky beats. my kids have been listening to this since they were, well, even littler, as it is never too early to experience the greats. sure, the lyrics aren’t exactly kid-friendly (there’s a lady in a turban in a cocaine tree and she does a dance so rhythmically. hello, division of youth and family services?) but hell, like me, they’re paying most of their attention to the groove.

the only problem occurred when BC, age 3 or 4, started singing hey julia to her little friend, named, not surprisingly, julia.

Hey, hey Julia, you’re acting so peculiar
I know I’d never fool you in a million years
A horn section you resemble and your figure makes me tremble
And I sure would like to handle whats between your ears

yes, i remember the day when girlfriend asked me about that last line. i think i told her the singer was talking about the woman’s brains, like in a horror movie. she accepted that, and we moved on. (i expect a bill from her therapist in about 20 years.)

so this threesome of songs (and don’t think that term won’t get me saddled with all sorts of perverted page hits now) goes from drugs to sex to getting caught. we don’t really get to know much about sally, beyond her generosity and her clandestine trips through the alley. but what we do learn? the sheer stupidity of the man telling the tale of woe. why, there’s nothing wrong with being friends, he tells his wife — sometimes, this chick lets me use her car!

i’ll say.

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