Song of the Week: “The Auctioneer” by Leroy Van Dyke

“The Auctioneer” is billed as a “country novelty standard,” thus attracting the bare minimum of casual listeners.  The song, of course, is a million times better than this description in a completely unironic way.  Maybe it’s the bizarre (unwarranted?) exuberance: boy quits school, becomes auctioneer, now he’s so successful he needs a plane to fly across the country selling things at auction.  Maybe, with the eyes of a parent, I appreciate now how irritating it would be having a child who actually practiced auction calls “night and day.”  “We just can’t stand to have a mediocre man selling things at auction using our good name.”

Mr. Van Dyke wrote the song while stationed overseas during the Korean War (My spouse: “My conception of war is apparently completely wrong.”), and first performed the song for the troops.  I’m picturing that scene from Apocalypse Now: “OK boys, here’s the Playboy Playmates . . . and Private Van Dyke with a song about an auctioneer or something.”  Anyway, it was a hit back in 1956.  According to his website, Van Dyke is still touring (and selling Arabian mules and auctioneer instruction CDs), and can be booked for your next big event (AWP, I’m looking at you).

-Cement Pond LLC

Cement Pond LLC‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Claudius App, NAP, InDigest, and Fence. Its puppetry can be seen here.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints? Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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