Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gentlemen Be Seated

If the "People Hater" didn't make you feel like a misanthrope, here's a song that will really make you hate people.

I like this song because it's a classic spoken word country tearjerk suspense play, but presents a situation so awkward and unexpected that you'll gently slap your forehead and say "Damn, I didn't know there was a song about that."

I hate this song because it's crass and callous, and predicts a C-level reality show premise. It's heartbreak heaped upon pathos heaped upon piggishness.

The story is this: narrator calls together three men to announce the impending burial of Juanita, a woman to whom each of the men had been married. It is implied that each man cheated on and left Juanita in turn, and that somehow led to her untimely death. "So Gentlemen, be seated." There will be no flowers for her grave, nor funeral mourners unless the four men join together in their guilt and go (as a group?).

My question to the narrator: What makes you so sure Juanita wants to see any of you jackasses?

Also I like literally visualizing the title command. By the third time he says "Gentlemen, be seated," I picture the three other guys just kind of shifting around on their feet and scratching the backs of their heads but not wanting to sit down for this ill-advised pity party.

Finally, after he apparently gets them seated and buys them a round, narrator says "gentlemen, set down your drinks and come with me." At this point I picture the hawk faced and whisky-stiff narrator leading the way, two embarrassed guys shuffling behind, just because it seems like they should do the right thing. And then the fourth guy stays seated at the bar, arms crossed like "hell no, I ain't goin' to that bitch's funeral." Maybe I should write an answer song as one of the "Gentlemen"?

The backup band sounds hypnotic and great on this record.

Gentlemen Be Seated

To read about Neal Merritt see the page on, where you will find out more about his prolific songwriting career including his biggest hit, "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose".


  1. AH, I love your idea of writing an answer song as one of the gentlemen! YOU are the man to do it. Please let me know if I can help put together a mail-order backing band here in Chicago for it!

  2. I listened after reading the second paragraph and tried to guess what the awkward situation could be. Now I really really really want to hear a tearjerker about a guy apologizing to his in-laws for making his wife a lesbian. That...probably could not get recorded today.