Without further ado, I present the Top 10.
10. “I’m like a fish out of water, I’m just a homesick man.”
Fool for the City – Foghat (1975)
Cool band name, cool cut, and cool album cover. Takes me back to flipping through the albums at Musicland, Lindstrom’s, Co-Op, and The Platter once upon a time.
9. “Just for the record let’s get the story straight, me and Uncle Tom were fishin’ it was gettin’ pretty late.”
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Warrant (1991)
A hair band, a story song, a fishing line, and a banjo? Poke fun all you want, but I think this is a darn good tune.
8. “Well, it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these time passages.”
Time Passages – Al Stewart (1978)
This one deals in reminiscing and what a wonderful collection of lines. To a guy who digs fishing, tunes, writing and waxing nostalgic, this song is spot on. Also see, Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” for some more sonically (and visually) appealing lyrics.
7. “And it don’t matter if we sit forever and the fish don’t bite, jump in the river and cool ourselves from the heat of the night.”
Fishing in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1987)
I’ve long said that fishing ain’t just about catching fish and this song is proof. I guess that I’ll just leave it at that.
6. “But I got to stop wishin’, got to go fishin’, down to rock bottom again.”
A Pirate Looks at Forty, Jimmy Buffett (1974)
This tune came out when I was seven years old, I didn’t discover it until I was in my twenties and the “forty” in the title is well over a decade in the rearview mirror. Wistful and a bit melancholic with the selected fishing line expressing that there are few better pursuits than fishing to soothe what ails you.
5. “If it were easy as fishin’ you could be a musician.”
Takin’ Care of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive (1973)
Now, BTO could rock, and I dig many of their tunes. But fishin’ is “easy”? Sure, it makes for a great lyric in a classic tune but some days, fishin’ ain’t quite as easy as these fellows might think. I suppose playing guitar ain’t a walk in the park either.
4. “Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel pumpin’, black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same.”
Black Water – The Doobie Brothers (1974)
Hate to say it, but I can’t recall any instances where I’ve witnessed catfish jumping. Rolling, maybe, or perhaps I just haven’t been in the right place at the right time. These days, Asian carp would qualify but that would ruin the whole flow of the song. And besides, they are an invasive species. Regardless, is there anyone who can resist singing along to the “funky Dixieland” part of this tune?
3. “Hands are full of a fishin’ rod and the tackle on our backs.”
And It Stoned Me – Van Morrison (1970)
It don’t get much better than Van Morrison and an autobiographical tune about the exploits of a couple young boys out fishing. Been there, still do that and could say that it still can stone me all these years later.
2. “If you want to talk fishin’, well I guess that’ll be okay.”
Don’t Ask Me No Questions – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)
Some days, these lines and this song title just about say it all. I suppose that I would add music and baseball to the allowed topics as well.
1. “Now he lives in the islands fishes the pylons and drinks his green label each day. Writing his memoirs, losing his hearing but he don’t care what most people say.”
He Went to Paris – Jimmy Buffett (1973)
I’m no Parrothead but have simply always loved a good story song. Fishing, booze, writing and a bit of a recluse; there have been occasions when I’ve aspired to be that guy.
It’s been a fun ride for me this week as anytime I can work some tunes into an outdoor blog, I’m a happy camper. Here’s hoping that you may have learned something new, rediscovered a forgotten tune or have some fishing tunes of your own to offer (let me know as MTV will turn 50 eventually).
In closing, I’d like to thank J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, and Alan Hunter. And, to paraphrase the Top 40 legend, Casey Kasem…
“Keep your lines in the water and keep reaching for the dipnet.”
Talk to you later. Troy