Week 100: “The Badger” by The Tea Party

The Tea Party is a Canadian band that gained a healthy following in Canada in the 1990s. They were a bit of a curiosity: in the midst of a decade where simple, three-chord grunge was the secret to mainstream success, The Tea Party was experimenting with strange instruments, odd time signatures, and a sound that brought to mind the phrase, “Zeppelin Goes To India”.

They earned a spot in my cassette collection (yes, cassette collection) with big tunes like “The Bazaar” and “Fire In The Head”, but the song that I’m most compelled to give another listen to 17 years later is this little instrumental beauty.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The title. It’s about time that the under-appreciated badger got a song named after it. I’m not sure which attributes of this animal we’re supposed to be hearing in the song, but I like to imagine the badger waking up with a stretch, brewing himself a cup of coffee, and getting ready for a busy day of whatever it is that badgers do.

2. The Hurdy Gurdy. Aside from having the coolest name in instrument history, it’s one of the wackier looking instruments you will ever see. Part violin, part old-timey movie camera. Listen for it at the beginning; it’s the one that sounds a bit like a mellowed-out set of bagpipes.

3. The guitar. Jeff Martin was (is) a very talented musician. I saw The Tea Party live once, and he seemed to switch instruments every minute or so, and played each one masterfully. But his home is the acoustic guitar, and in this song he makes it do lovely things.

Recommended listening activity:

Digging through your closet to find summer clothes you forgot you owned.

Buy it here.

P.S. For those of you who, like me, find significance in multiples of 10, this week marks BSOTW’s 100th post. Yay!