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by Chuck Eddy

July 28, 2014

Whodunnit Songs

by Chuck Eddy  |  July 28, 2014

Certain musical mysteries may never be solved: Who's zooming who, who's cheating who, who's making love to your old lady while you were out making love, and meanwhile whose bed have your boots been under? Who stole the soul, the keeshka (a Polish sausage, for those not hip to polka lingo), Will Smith's car, or Redman's satellite van for that matter? Who put the bomp (in the bomp, bomp, bomp)? Who put the overalls in Mrs. Murphy's chowder, and was it the same joker who put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine? And -- borrowing from TV and real life -- who shot and/or killed J.R., Laura Palmer, JFK and Marilyn?

Time to call Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Chan -- which, actually, is what funky Cape Verdean-American family band Tavares did in their R&B-chart-topping 1977 hit "Whodunit," which leads off this culprit-hunting playlist, and not just because it asks "Where were you on the night of the 12th?" Smokey Robinson and the Miracles come next with 1970's "Who's Gonna Take the Blame," a yearning number that starts with a kid throwing a rock through a window. Before you know it, there's intrigue aplenty about considerably more violent crimes: George Jones asking who shot Sam; Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith asking who shot Willie; Notorious B.I.G. asking who shot you; Tex-Mex new waver Joe "King" Carrasco asking who buys the guns that kill the nuns; The Fall's Mark E. Smith asking who makes the Nazis; on and on.

Bing Crosby, Bob Dylan, the Ohio Players, Tears for Fears, the Misfits, Public Enemy and more join in with their own queries about unsolved capers and murders, attempting to locate missing radios, monkeys and the like, until The Staple Singers finally close the mix wondering who took the merry out of Christmas. If you have any clues, private detectives are on call now.

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