Wednesday, July 11, 2007

v. To Choogle

John Fogerty actually coined the word "chooglin'," you know. It's all over CCR's second album, Bayou Country, from January 1969, in both the song "Keep on Chooglin'" and the single "Born on the Bayou," which had Fogerty "chooglin' on down to New Orleans."

What does it mean? Well, you know, it's like to choogle along. Dean of all rock critics Robert Christgau, naturally, weighs in on the topic in his own oblique fashion:

Fogerty's compositions (two big exceptions: "Proud Mary" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door") fall into two approximate categories: choogling songs about rock and roll (forerunner: "Rip It Up") and songs of social and personal protest (forerunner, I insist: "Blue Suede Shoes"). Supposedly, there is no way to write an effective protest song; the genre is corny by definition. But Fogerty, the richest source closed to him, finds the way again and again, not just in famous successes like "Fortunate Son" and "Bad Moon Rising" but in minor pieces like "It Came Out of the Sky" and (a personal favorite) "Don't Look Now," which manages to encapsulate the class system in two minutes and eight seconds. The two categories come together in "Down on the Corner," which is about poor boys who choogle.

The energy implied by coinages like "choogle" and "ramble tamble" has more to do with vigor than with potency, more to do with simple activity than with sexuality.

Got that? Good. And incidentally, no one ever in the entire history of the world has ever pronounced it "choogling."

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