So you're thinking, "Timbuk 3, weren't they the ones who had that cool song back in the 80s...?" Yes, yes, we're talking about that husband and wife tandem of Pat and Barbara K. McDonald who gave the world the grin inducing "The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)" back in 1986. Maybe it's because I was living in their town, Austin TX, at the time, but it never did compute to me why they failed to strike gold again. For a one hit wonder, they sure had a mother lode of catchy, witty, hummable and even danceable songs that could have become anthems all by themselves.
One of those hidden jewels of radio ready sardonic wit was a ditty poking fun at how we Americans mark special days and although the lyrics stayed ambiguous enough to cover most any summer-themed holiday, it sounds a lot like they're talking about the Fourth Of July. Such was the theme for 1989's "National Holiday."
Starting out with a few opening notes dubbed in from a marching band, the proceedings quickly shifts to a funky strummed acoustic guitar and Pat's familiar folkie harmonica and light accompaniment. The song, like most of Timbuk 3's late 80s offerings, find them at their best in making keen observations and plainly spinning them into sharp imagery:
"They put the chairs out on the lawn
Grandma's got her new dress on
There's fresh flowers on Grandpa's grave
And Junior smells of aftershave
Oh boy, hey hey, it's a national holiday
Everything's ready for the big parade
The mayor's got his place in the shade
We can't wait 'till the sun goes down
Lie on the hill at the edge of town
By the presidential proclamation
Is blasting out across the nation
And Mad Dog and his band of jerks
Are lighting off the fireworks