“You’ve Never Been This Far Before And Now You’re Having My Baby – Must Be Muskrat Love”

[NOTE: Getting ready for the Sister Bay Rummage Sale this weekend, coordinating ads for the Memorial Day issue of the Pulse, and packing to move has me buried. Thus I reprint one of my columns from bygone days. The following was originally printed in the Door Reminder back on July 3, 2001.]

With the arrival of summer, almost every aspect of our lifestyles alters. The longer days mean that we are outdoors longer, working in our yards, playing in our yards, or doing other activities…outdoors. And it is precisely this outdoor mentality which led to television programmers to devise the summer rerun season.

While television programmers love to tout the opportunity to see shows you missed during the regular season, or the ability to watch favorite episodes again, the reality is that almost none of us watch reruns at all (whether or not we ever saw them the first time around). This led television gurus to devise new “summer only” shows (which are usually shows that weren’t good enough to make it into the regular season schedules), and the reality is that none of us watch those shows either.

With Molly now up for the summer, two kids in the house keep the household moving at a constant frenetic pace. Still, despite arguments from both Molly and Andrew to the contrary, they are still kids, and they still need a reasonable amount of sleep (to say nothing of the recovery time Barb and I require). So after dinner, we sit down for some quiet time. Occasionally this will mean a game or two, and sometimes it means a little TV viewing.

During this past week, the TV has gone on every night because, while there may not be anything to watch on the networks, satellite offers an array of opportunities and, this week, TLC has had replays of Junkyard Wars at 8 pm. I won’t go into a whole explanation of this show but I will say this: anyone who thinks they are creative with their hands and that they have a modicum of engineering skills should sit back and watch an episode of Junkyard Wars, where two teams build working hovercrafts out of nothing but scrap found in a junkyard in less than 10 hours without any advance notice of what they will be asked to create. It’s astounding.

The real point of my mentioning all this however, is that watching a new channel has exposed me to a new set of commercials. One commercial, in particular, assaulted my cerebral cortex: an advertisement for Conway Twitty’s greatest hits.

While Conway Twitty is not a singer I am particularly fond of, I recognize that he has legions of fans. Despite this success, however, Twitty wrote and recorded one of the worst songs ever written, “You’ve Never Been This Far Before.”

After viewing the commercial for the eleventh or thirty-fifth time, hearing Conway croon to his “you’ve never been this far before” cohort, I began mulling some of the truly awful songs that have enjoyed inexplicable success among the masses of music enthusiasts.

While Twitty’s embarrassment is enough to make Janet Reno blush, nothing…and I mean nothing…can equal the revulsion that Paul Anka’s “(You’re) Having My Baby” achieves. While Anka’s lyrics are insipid in their own right, the manner in which they are recorded is even worse. My case in point is in the latter portion of the song where Anka adds a female singer and forces her to sing the following lyric: “I’m a woman in love and I love what’s goin’ through me.” Hello, Paul? Have you ever been around when a woman was delivering a baby? Paul?

And then, of course, there’s the song, which perhaps more than any other song revolted me in the mid-1970s: “Muskrat Love.” Incredibly this song has been recorded by a number of artists. It was written by Willis Alan Ramsay in 1971 (who recorded it, initially under the title “Muskrat Candlelight”), and was later recorded by the band America (who have it on an astounding five separate albums). But The Captain & Tenille recorded a version in 1976 that truly stands out in infamy. Just the mention of The Captain & Tenille causes bile to flow into my mouth.

And just what was Mr. Willis Alan Ramsay thinking (or smoking, or snorting) to think of muskrats. The operative syllable here, folks, is rat. A muskrat’s only distinctive characteristic is a flat, scaly tail. Oooh! I’m getting a warm and gushy feeling just thinking about these parasite-infested garbage eaters.

So, because TLC isn’t a network station and consequently doesn’t have a lot of advertisers, by the time Wednesday rolled around and I had seen the Conway Twitty commercial for the sixty-seventh or eighty-third time, I began to wonder.

What if the recording industry had the unique opportunity to do a record with Conway Twitty, Paul Anka, and The Captain & Tenille all singing together? Yes, folks, together for the first (and only time) these three giants of music singing their big, big, big hit: “You’ve Never Been This Far Before And Now You’re Having My Baby – Must Be Muskrat Love”!

Nibbling on bacon, chewin’ on cheese

What a lovely way of saying that you’re thinkin’ of me

And I can feel your body tremble

As my trembling fingers touch forbidden places

Rubbin’ her toes

Muzzle to muzzle, now anything goes

You’re a woman in love

I can tell you’ve never been this far before.

I can see it, your face is glowing

And as I taste your tender kisses

As they wiggle and Sue starts to giggle

I only know I’ve waited

For so long for this chance we’re taking

Singin’ and jingin’ the jingo

What a lovely way of saying how much you love me

But tonight will only make me love you more

Are you happy knowin’

That you’re having my baby?