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An album by Moxy Fruvous

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Once I was the King of Spain

  • May 13, 2008
Pros: Stunning harmonies, biting political satire.

Cons: Offensive if one is insecure or doesn't have a sense of humor.

The Bottom Line: Moxy Fruvous is a music happening with a lot of energy. It's hard to sit still and listen to them. There is a lot of "boogie" energy.

Now I eat humble pie.

If you know Moxy Fruvous you understand. If you don't, then you are in for a treat. Look at every file-sharing site you can find until you find "King of Spain."

I defy you to sit idly by while it plays. Listen to it at least three times and you'll be hooked.

Moxy Fruvous is a Canadian band. They are strange, they are peculiar, they will stick in your head and poke you with sharp pointy sticks.

Comprised of members Jian Ghomeshi, Murray Foster, Mike Ford and David Matheson the group "busked" around doors of pubs in Toronto until they were invited inside to sing. They are known for their political leanings and satire.

I first found Moxy Fruvous before a long road trip. I was busily burning CD's for a trip to California and back. I was driving my baby girl out there to look at colleges (she graduates on Saturday from a university 45 minutes away from here) and I wanted some kind of music other than her boyfriend's gangsta rap. I had heard "Live at the World Cafe" on NPR and looked up all the volumes and tried to recreate some of them by "borrowing" tracks from different places. . . (no comment)

One of the tracks was "Gulf War Song" from Bargainville. I absolutely hated it. For almost a minute. The a cappella arrangement with sinuous harmonies was not my usual fare, but it captivated me and then I listened. . .

"So we read, and we watched
All the specially selected news,
And we learned so much more about the good guys.

"Won't you stand by the flag?"
Was the question unasked,
"Won't you join in and fight with the allies?"

What could we say? We're only 25 years old,
With 25 sweet summers, and hot fires in the cold.
This kind of life makes that violence unthinkable.
We'd like to play hockey, have kids and grow old.

Fighters for Texaco,
Fighters for power,
Fighters for longer turns in the shower.

Don't tell me I can't fight 'cause I'll punch out your lights,
And history seems to agree
That I would fight you for me,
That us would fight them for we."

I was hooked. I was so unbelievably touched by the poignancy of the lyrics and the purity of the harmony that I had to have more.

Next I found King of Spain. It's the ringtone I have on my phone for one of my friends. This song just makes me happy. I heard it and I played it for my children who were burgeoning adults. Every one of them thought it rocked the world. King of Spain is a satire of "Prince and the Pauper" and it chronicles the life-changing swap of the former King of Spain.

I think Moxy Fruvous appeals to a niche audience. It's like a secret club with a hidden handshake. If one knows Moxy Fruvous then one understands. This band is barbershop quartet on crack.

Bargainville was released in 1993 by Warner Music Canada. It's a strong first effort. Other tracks of note are their rendition of "Spiderman" and the songs "Stuck in the 90's", "Fell in Love" and "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors."

Moxy Fruvous creates songs that stick in your head and turn into "earworms." They are the kind of songs that keep you humming repeatedly.

Moxy Fruvous Anecdotes:

My daughter was living on base at Lackland AFB in San Antonio and was blaring her music out the open door and another airman walked by and said "Wow, Moxy Fruvous, you must be really cool." She thought so. Today she is married and living in England and is an internet DJ. She's proud to have a nice Moxy Fruvous collection to add to her play list.

I was flying to California, puddle jumping from Dallas to LA on Southwest Airlines. I sat next to a very pleasant schoolteacher from Ontario. At some point I asked her if she'd heard of Moxy Fruvous. She gaped at me and said she was stunned that I had. She told me that she loved the band. The rest of the flight passed very quickly as we discussed the various songs.

I was in class one day when my phone went off blaring "King of Spain." One student looked up and had a look of utter shock on his face. I answered the phone and the kid walked up to the front and then waited until I was done. "Miss, do you know what your phone played?" he asked. I had to admit that I did. The student seemed amazed beyond belief that I had heard of this fringe band and even had one of their songs as a ring tone. I got some major "cool" points for it.

Bargainville was just the beginning. It gets really strange from there. . .


Great Music to Play While: Driving

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Member Since: Oct 5, 2010
Last Login: Feb 12, 2011 09:06 PM UTC
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Moxy Fruvous: Michael Ford (vocals, guitar, guirra, harmonica, percussion); Murray Foster (bass, guitars, vocals); David Matheson (bass, guitars, accordian, vocals); Jean Ghomeshi (drums, vocals, percussion). Recorded at Dreamland Studios, Woodstock, New York and Comfort Sound, Toronto, Canada.
Song List: Disc 1
1. River Valley
2. Stuck in the 90's
3. B.J. Don't Cry
4. Video Bargainville
5. Fell in Love
6. Lazy Boy
7. My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors
8. Drinking Song
9. Morphee
10. King of Spain
11. Darlington Darling
12. Bittersweet
13. Laika
14. Spiderman
15. Gulf War Song
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Label: Atlantic (USA)
Artist: Moxy Fruvous
Release Date: February 08, 1994

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