For Wile E. Coyote they use Bo Diddley's “Roadrunner.” President George W. Bush gets a whole bunch of Texas tunes, such as “The Eyes Of Texas.” President Jimmy Carter is represented by (what else?) “Georgia On My Mind.” Big John Wayne’s theme is adapted from the Max Steiner score to the classic film The Searchers.
Finally, artist Ad Reinhart is subjected to a bit of an inside artistic joke as his portrait consists of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata No. 6,” incorporating the signature riff of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” For those familiar with Sixties avant-garde art, Reinhart was (in)famous for painting his canvasses in strict shades of black.
Of the five tracks, I found the fifteen-minute “John Wayne” to be far and away the most compelling. In addition to Steiner’s score, “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” and “Dixie’s Land” are incorporated into the whole. The song also features musical whirlwind Jim O’Rourke on bass.
Five American Portraits is an absorbing slice of artistic fun from a master prankster, one who has been at it for over four decades now. As the title of their second album put it, God Bless The Red Krayola And All Who Sail With It.