Kevin Fowler — Butterbean

The second song on the album is called Butterbean, a semi-saccharin song where the narrator describes the object of his infatuation.  The first thing ‘that I’ll say about this song is that it is very silly, you don’t even have to hear the song sung to notice that.  It has a consistent AABB rhyme scheme to the main verses with the exception of verse 2.  The chorus, which is repeated  4 times has a rhyme scheme of AAAA.  It is upbeat and cheerful and demonstrates just what can happen when someone becomes lovestruck!

Many times I’ve been told,
“That old gal ain’t got no soul
She’ll chew you up, spit you out
Leave you boy, there ain’t no doubt.”
Other men say she’s mean
That side of her I ain’t ever seen
A little sugar, a lot of spice
A little naughty, a little nice

The narrator here begins talking about how everyone talks about the woman he’s in love with.  She is apparently someone who leads guys on and then dumps them for fun, but the narrator’s convinced she’s the one for him.  This seems a bit familiar, doesn’t it?  The last song was about how the narrator finds a woman who seems to be everything he wants, but then turns out to be way more than he can handle.  If Kevin Fowler was meaning to put together a coherent narrative, this could be taken to be the prequel to Speak of the Devil or at least it’s thematic spiritual successor.

Another thing about this verse is that the overall tone is banter-y; you can imagine the narrator and his friends at a bar and after the narrator reveals who his new girlfriend is his friends all laugh and then, hushed at first, give him a warning, then after the narrator responds with disbelief they tell him exactly what they think she’ll do, because that’s what happened to them.  Obviously this doesn’t detour the narrator who goes on to describe her with stereotypical terms of endearment.

She’s my little butterbean
The cutest thing you’ve ever seen
Oh my little Texas queen
She’s my little butterbean

Speaking of terms of endearment, 75% of the chorus is nothing BUT terms of endearment.  Out of all the song, this has to be the most sugary, saccharin, mushy part.  Of course, this is the point, the narrator’s infatuated and that tends to bring out the silly in everyone.  Not much else to talk about here.

Well I met her down in San Antone
Those local boys left her alone
They all said she was the devil’s one and only child
I don’t believe it
Not one word
There ain’t one thing I’ve ever heard
They’ll never change the way I feel
That girl’s got me head over heels

Now we flash back to when they met and again we find the imagery that echoes the previous song.  The theme of her being untrustworthy apparently was not new and her reputation was so bad that all the guys ignored her.  Once again, the narrator refuses to listen to what the others say and admits to being completely absorbed in her.  In this verse we find a few instances of alliteration with ‘local boys left,’ ‘one word,’  and ‘girl’s got me head over heels.’  The narrator also continues the pattern of telling what others say before rebutting with his own opinion.

My little Lonestar hootchie-coo
Well I’ve chased her plum to Timbuktu
She’s gone from Fort Worth to Abilene
And every roadhouse in-between
She’s as hot as cakes on a griddle
That girl goes wild when the bow hits the fiddle
She loves to swing and do-se-do
That’s why I love her so

In this last verse, he breaks off from talking about what others say about his girlfriend to what his experiences with her are.  Apparently he turned out to be a bit to hot for HER to handle, because the narrator follows her wherever she goes in order to win her affection.  This stands in contrast to my earlier musing about this being a prequel to Speak of the Devil, but thematically it still could be counted as a spiritual successor.  Large use of hyperbole here and great imagery about them going dancing.

Overall, Butterbean is a cheerful, silly song about a man’s infatuation with the local troublemaker and how it seems to end well.  This isn’t one of my favorite songs just because of how sugary and corny it is, but then again I’m the type of person who likes songs with layers of meaning for the most part.  As for relating to other songs, it provides a kind of antithesis to Speak of the Devil where the narrator was faced with a seemingly innocent woman who turns out to make him miserable, because this time the tables seem to be turned and they both end up together and happy in the end.  The next song I’ll be analyzing is Penny for Your Thoughts, look for it next Tuesday, I promise I’ll be better about updating on time!


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