Lyle Lovett is many things — award-winning singer-songwriter, successful actor, horse enthusiast, motorcycle fan, proud Texas A&M graduate. He’s also a champion of witty wordplay, whether it’s in his lyrics or in his between-song banter with a concert audience.
Lovett is back on campus tonight in an acoustic show with fellow singer-songwriter John Hiatt, presented by MSC OPAS at Rudder Theatre. Bet on a few giggles as Lovett discusses songs with his trademark subdued delivery.
In honor of the occasion, we rounded up 10 of Lovett’s humorous moments in his songs.
1. She’s No Lady (1987): Lovett puts a more eloquent spin on the old “Take my wife, please” line.
Lyrics: “She hates my mama/She hates my daddy, too/She loves to tell me she hates the things I do/She loves to lie beside me almost every night/She’s no lady, she’s my wife.”
2. If I Had a Boat (1987): One of Lovett’s signature tracks turns the tables on The Lone Ranger story.
Lyrics: “The mystery masked man was smart/He got himself a Tonto/’Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free/But Tonto, he was smarter/And one day said, ‘Kemosabe, kiss my ass, I bought a boat, I’m going out to sea.’”
3. M-O-N-E-Y (1987): The “No finance, no romance” song was played during a pivotal scene in the 1993 film The Firm.
Lyrics: “I was out last night with my girlfriend/Things were going very fine/And I asked her, ‘Would you like a kiss?’/She said, ‘Thank you, no. I’ll have some m-o-n-e-y.”
4. Here I Am (1989): Lovett uses a rambling speech to chat up a woman in this quirky track.
Lyrics: “If Ford is to Chevrolet what Dodge is to Chrysler/What corn flakes are to Post Toasties/What the clear blue sky is to the deep blue sea/What Hank Williams is to Neil Armstrong/Can you doubt we were made for each other?”
5. Church (1992): The wonderfully soulful song illustrates what many of us have thought when our stomachs rumble during church. (Though most of us have resisted the urge to eat a live dove “right there and then.” I’m just guessing here.)
Lyrics: “And the moral of this story/Children, it is plain but true/God knows if a preacher preaches long enough/Even he’ll get hungry, too.”
6. Don’t Touch My Hat (1996): As Lovett details, do not get between a man and his cowboy hat.
Lyrics: “I wear a 7, and you’re out of order/’Cause I can tell from here you’re a 7-and-a-quarter/But if it’s her you want, I don’t care about that/You can have my girl but don’t touch my hat.”
7. Her First Mistake (1996): A bar pickup scene becomes a highly entertaining give-and-take, with plenty of self-deprecating moments.
Lyrics: “She just looked at me and she shook her head/‘Your lines are pretty sad,’ she said/‘You are a lonely, weak and pathetic man if this is doing the best you can’/It was then I knew I had made my third mistake/Three strikes right across the plate.”
8. That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas) (1996): Another trademark track, a swinging take on state pride. Pity the girlfriend-turned-interloper who wonders aloud, “How come you’re always going on about your Lone Star state?”
Lyrics: “Oh, the road, it looked so lovely/As she stood there on the side/And she grew smaller in my mirror/As I watched her wave goodbye.”
9. My Baby Don’t Tolerate (2003): It’s not exactly “hell hath no fury” territory, but the woman in this song is not to be messed with.
Lyrics: “I could tell my ship had run aground/’Cause when I puckered up, you know she puckered down.”
10. Pantry (2009): This bouncing track, written by Lovett and longtime girlfriend April Kimble, builds on the old food-as-the-way-to-the-heart saying.
Lyrics: “Don’t cheat on me with corn bread/Don’t cheat on me with beans/And don’t cheat on me with bacon, cooked up with collard greens/Don’t cheat on me with biscuits, with jelly sweet and blue/Keep it in that place where you know you will be true/Keep it in your pantry.”