under the shadow of the palms he sings to call her to his arms

(8 comments)
May 18, 2009


--Spike Jones, "Shiek of Araby", though I think it got cut off...

Some explanation:
So growing up I loved the less-goofy "Canadian Brass" version of this song. It starts with an almost spoken-word verse:
Over the desert wild and free
Rides the bold sheik of Araby.
His Arab band at his command
Follows his love's caravan.
Under the shadow of the palms
He sings to call her to his arms:
And then of course a chorus that is (almost) shared with the Spike Jones version:
I'm the Sheik of Araby.
Your love belongs to me.
At night when you're asleep,
Into your tent I'll creep.
The stars that shine above
Will light our way to love.
You'll rule this land with me,
The Sheik of Araby.
I've always liked this and its hint of unrequited longing, even if it was a bit stalkerish (interesting how the Spike Jones version kind of flips the stalker aspect.) But just recently I found out there was a second verse that makes the Sheik an even worse guy!
While stars are fading in the dawn,
Over the desert they'll be gone.
His captured bride close by his side,
Swift as the wind they will ride.
Proudly he scorns her smile or tear.
Soon he will conquer love by fear.
Yikes! Now he just sounds like a big jerk.

So the above wasn't quite the Spike Jones version I was familiar with -- that one doesn't "reverse" who is creeping into whose tent, and adds a different verse:
Oh, I'm the Sheik of Araby
And all the women worship me.
You should see them follow me around. Not bad!
Even wives of all the other sheiks,
They beg to kiss my rosy cheeks
And that ain't bad -- in fact, that's good, I've found. I'm a cad!
When I lay down to sleep
I'm counting girls instead of sheep
From my harem I can't scare 'em out. Why should I?
They're beauties from all races,
And some have pretty faces.
I'm the Sheik who knows what love is all about.
In hunting up a transcription of that Spike Jones verse I found this dic.academic.ru page that reminded me that the Canadian Brass version adds a quiet "with no clothes on!" to the end of each line of the chorus. (Though that page says "with no pants on" is the more canonical refrain.)


"Tonight we're studying places to find water and how to make it drinkable..." "Think of all the potabilities!"
--Dream this morning. The first speaker was an artist who did a big installation on top of a building, with all these mannequins representing people who had died from laughter. In my dream, my pun got a big laugh.
Why do so many Java Webkits assume that what Java programmers really want to be doing is writing servlets? How about old Perl or PHP hacks?
This green hoodie seems especially enamored of hiding, camouflaging itself as a towel or blanket. Very stealthy!