The ever-missed John Peel used to theorise that any record with birdsong on it would probably be automatically good. (The title track of Bridget St. John's Ask Me No Questions, which Peelie produced and released on his Dandelion label, even takes a break at the end for an interval of church bells and hand-picked birdsong clips from the BBC Archives).
i sort of feel the same about records with the sound of barking dogs on. i will pretty much always listen to a track that features a dog barking, even if it is completely gratuitous, silly or unrelated to the song. This holds true even if the dog is hamfistedly sampled (DMX), not even a real dog (Slim Gaillard), or even both at the same time (the truly egregious Woofers and Tweeters Ensemble). i'm still not quite sure why this is.
Anyway, July's mixtape is entitled Hey There's a Dog Over There!1 and each of the 20 tracks feature either real or simulated woofing. Weirdly, i've got enough of this sort of stuff to make another mixtape again of it, so i might drop that some time in the future.
Click track names for individual files or the link at the bottom for the mixed version.
1. M.I.A. – "Bamboo Banga" (from Kala, 2007)
Dog action? Some barking samples, most notably the confusingly sexy bit where she sings about "doggin' on the bonnet of your red Honda" (blimey) and a vicious-sounding snarl abruptly breaks the reverie.
2. Bilge Pump – "Sling Yr Hook" (Let Me Breathe, 2002)
Dog action? Full-on free jazz barking solo from 01:42 to close.
3. Frank Zappa – "Hot Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel" (Broadway the Hard Way, 1988)
Dog action? In the form of Obvious Samples played as percussion on what is presumably some sort of early sampling keyboard, presumably by Bobby Martin, live in concert. Pretty silly.
4. Jane's Addiction – "Been Caught Stealing" (Ritual de lo Habitual, 1990)
Dog action? Iconic. They open the tune and attempt to keep the beat over the first few bars, with varying success.
5. Black Sheep – "Similak Child" (A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, 1991)
Dog action? Wins extra credit for actually interpolating the barking into the beat as a percussion instrument, as two dogs stage an enthusiastic bark-off.
6. De La Soul – "Dog Eat Dog" (Stakes Is High, 1996)
Dog action? Freeform barking underpins chorus and parts of verses, emphasising cannibalistic nature of rap game.
7. The Mighty Underdogs – "Doglude" (Droppin' Science Fiction, 2008)
Dog action? Rhythmical, dense, layered - total dog win basically. Even a series of epic howls to conclude in proper style.
8. Slim Gaillard Trio – "Serenade to a Poodle" (1947-1951, 2002)
Dog action? Slim is evidently pissing himself all the way through this tune, possibly at the instigation of questionable dog impersonator Jim Hawthorne, whose overdone barking refrains turn frankly ridiculous by the end of the track. But in kind of a good way.
9. Le Tigre – "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?" (Le Tigre, 1999)
Dog action? Dogs contribute jubilant barking coda to discussion of art cineaste reputation.
10. Tom Waits – "Buzz Fledderjohn" (Orphans: Brawlers, 2006)
Dog action? Providing rough bluesy ambience to a tune that could well have been recorded in a barnyard.
11. Cassetteboy – "Dogs Dogs Dogs Dogs Oh Yeah Dogs" (The Parker Tapes, 2002)
Dog action? Dog sample nirvana. "No cats here, of course..."
12. Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown – "Alligator Eating Dog" (No Looking Back, 1992)
Dog action? Fearsome introductory growling totally misrepresents really rather jolly song.
13. Contrastate – "Poodles in Practice Dress At the Battersea Dogs Opera" (Four Years In 30 Seconds : A Collection Of Music From Around The World, 2007)
Dog action? Fucking weird spoken word/noise action. Dogs saturate its 34 seconds. The second half of the parent album also features it (along with all the other tracks) played backwards. Damn, last.fm, you don't half dish out some fucked-up recommendations sometimes.
14. Cassetteboy – "Yeah Duggan... Austin, TX" (Mick's Tape, 2005)
Dog action? Backing up The World's Whitest Rapper as he pays tribute to the dog in question.
15. Woofers & Tweeters Ensemble – "We Can Work It Out" (Beatle Barkers, 1983)
Dog action? Oh man, this whole record is made of really poor primitive sampling-keyboard arrangements of Beatles songs. "Guys, this is just RIDICULOUS, and totally disrespectful to the music of The Beatles. I mean WOW....jeez." comments one Heather. Well, i agree, but i think that's why it's so good. (Commonly misnamed as "Beatle Barkers"; that's actually the album title).
16. DMX – "Stop Being Greedy" (It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, 1998)
Dog action? Maybe the single most prolific dog-sampler in music, it'd be remiss to skip him. Sometimes his sampler doesn't work so he just does the dog voices himself.
17. Man Parrish – "Hip Hop, Be-Bop (Don't Stop)" (12", 1982)
Dog action? Seminal throw-everything-at-the-wall-see-what-sticks '80s electro groundbreaker finds time for a snatch of pitch-shifted canine in the mid-section. Then promptly on to the next thing. Brill.
18. The Flaming Lips – "The Big Ol' Bug Is the New Baby Now" (Zaireeka, 1997)
Dog action? Gorgeous semi-spoken tribute to Stephen Drozd's dog (and Zaireeka closer) ends in an cacophonous eight-channel avalanche of barking (if you're doing it right).
19. The Orb – "Towers of Dub" (U.F. Orb, 1992)
Dog action? Takes up all of side three of U.F. Orb. Man's best friend makes an early bid for glory as Kris Weston and Dr Alex dub the piss out of him.
19. Can – "Aumgn" (Tago Mago, 1971)
Dog action? It's a prerequisite of making a groundbreaking, extended sample collage that a barking dog will be required at some point. This set that rule.
20. Wonder Dog – "Ruff Mix" (12", 1982)
Dog action? Wow. This is why everybody hates the '80s.
1 Inspired by an entirely throwaway line in an early episode of Friends. Janice asks who of the group have nearly slept with one another, and they all attempt to change the subject swiftly. "There's a dog out there!" was Joey's priceless effort. i've only just found the actual script just now, but i misremembered it as "Hey there's a dog over there!" for years, so that's yer title. Yeh, so maybe it was a Seinfeld rip-off, but there was still some great comedy writing on that show at times.