by wjw on May 1, 2023

You know how the Internet allows you to dive deep on some weird, forgotten subject? I’ve fallen victim to the deep dive syndrome more than once, diving on turnspit dogs, Venetian galleys, Bobbitt worms, and Anglo-Saxon kings.

It’s all by way of wasting time while pretending to educate yourself.

The latest quest was a result of listening to Fluffy Hunter’s classic “The Walking Blues,” which opens with the line “I got a man who likes to hucklebuck.”


What, pray tell?

I sort of assumed this was a euphemism for something fairly raunchy but it turned out to be a moderately raunchy dance craze of the 1940s, inspiring the song “Do the Hucklebuck,” which in turn was revived by Chubby Checker in the Sixties. (He’d got people to twist, maybe he thought he could bring the magic back with another dance.) The song has been revived every twenty years or so by one group or another.

Looking for videos to discover what the dance actually looked like was fairly unprofitable. Usually they use videos of any old swing dance with “Do the Hucklebuck” playing over it.

One of the best versions was that of Art Carney on an episode of “The Honeymooners.” He actually did the hucklebuck, but there was a whole half-hour sitcom to watch along with it.

So here is an Irish band called Crystal Swing, featuring the singer actually hucklebucking. Crystal Swing is a “country and Irish” band from Cork, consisting of a mother and her son and daughter. They are something called a “showband,” which seems to be an Irish thing, but I’m not going to do another deep dive now, okay? Showbanding is right out, I’ve wasted enough time.

But the video is fun. Check it out.

Matte Lozenge May 2, 2023 at 5:02 am

Fun! Also, Otis Redding’s version is classic and proves why he was the king of soul.

Henry Farrell May 2, 2023 at 7:40 pm

The essayist Fintan O’Toole has a couple of excellent early pieces on the cultural politics of Irish showbands. They were something.

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