Friday 7 February 2014

Top 5 Songs about Tea

A chance conversation with an American I work with about making tea got me into a discussion about the first song on this list and from there my mind found it's way to pondering other songs about tea and inevitably from there to a top five.

I'm nothing if not predictable.

1. "T.U.S.A." Masters Of Reality - This was the song mentioned above, from the Masters' 2nd album which featured Ginger Baker on drums. Baker provided the words and sang lead vocal on this hilarious rant about the inability of Americans to make a decent cup of tea. It never fails to make me laugh and also acts as the perfect beginner's guide to making a proper cuppa.

Pour boiling water over the tea
How simple and clear can the instructions be?
They bring you a cup with a lemon slice
And an unopened tea bag beside it (How nice)
And a pot of water and it may be hot
But boiling it isn't so tea you have not
It's boiling water that brings out tea's flavor
With a dash of milk you've a real brew to savor
They drink luke brown water that looks like gnat pee
And it's got nothing to do with a good cup of tea

2. "Pennyroyal Tea" Nirvana - A fine tune from Nirvana's final studio album, "In Utero", that also features on "Unplugged in New York". This was due to be released as a single but was cancelled following Kurt's suicide. A poignant song that hints at the use of a herbal remedy for stomach pain but is ostensibly about someone with chronic depression. Probably summed up many of the anxieties that led to Cobain's untimely death.

Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
Distill the life that's inside of me
Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
I'm anemic royalty

3. "Everything Stops For Tea" Jack Buchanan - From the soundtrack to 1935 film Come Out Of The Pantry. The vocal couldn't sound more typically English but Jack was actually Scottish.

"The factories may be roaring, with the boom-a-laka zoom-a-laka-wee
but there isn't any roaring when the clock strikes Four, everything stops for tea"

4. "Have A Cuppa Tea" The Kinks - You can rely on the Kinks for a tune to capture the eccentricities of British life and they wrote a few songs that mention tea. This is from their 1971 album, The Muswell Hillbillies and again features some wonderfully observed lyrics.

If you feel a bit under the weather,
If you feel a little bit peeved,
Take granny's stand-by potion
For any old cough or wheeze.
It's a cure for hepatitis, it's a cure for chronic insomnia,
It's a cure for tonsillitis and for water on the knee.

5. "Tea For Two" Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli - There are loads of songs that name check Tea but I struggled to pin it down to one that I felt would round off this top five. In the end I found this instrumental version of "Tea for Two" that features the amazing guitar skills of Django Reinhardt alongside virtuoso violinist Stephane Grappelli which I think does the job pretty well.



Mr. Fatuous said...

My favourite is Extreme Noise T by Doctor and the Crippens.

It's basically a speed metal version of the Tetley tea music.

Chopper said...

Nice, even if he does mis-announce it!

Anonymous said...

what about "Tea In The Sahara" by Police??

Chopper said...

A good shout, one I'd forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Check out Michael Hurley's "Tea Song"