Dancin' Fool

Notes and Comments

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The disco folks all dressed up to kill
Like they's fit to kill
  Compare with THING-FISH. Mammy Nuns
THING-FISH: We is dressed to kill!
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*Youwsa, youwsa, youwsa*
From: (Charles Ulrich)
  Actually spelled "Yowsa, yowsa, yowsa". I think people really say this, though I'm not sure I've ever heard it in real life. Perhaps a corruption of "yes, sir".
From: (Shtimsdrow)
  This was the catchphrase of bandleader Ben Bernie (1893-1943).
From: John Henley <>
  "Yowza, yowza, yowza": this phrase was actually popularized in the 1920s by an American band leader named Ben Bernie. He was a white man who affected a black accent, and would often pop out with the phrase between or even during the musical numbers.
From: (David Demery)
  Does anyone remember the film They Shoot Horses Don't They? During the dance marathon section, I'm sure the MC (or whatever function this guy on the stage has) encourages the exhausted dancers on with the phrase, "Yowsa, yowsa, yowsa." Some of our older readers, who were around during the Depression, can, perhaps, clear this up for us. ;-)
From: John Henley <>
  Ya gotta go back way farther. Yes, Dem, I remember those days well. ;-) "Yowza yowza yowza" was popularized by the American bandleader Ben Bernie who flourished in the 1920s/30s. He was one of the first nationally-popular radio artists, and his program began some-thing like this: "Yowza, yowza, yowza, lads and lassies, this is the Old Maestro speaking."
  It's amazing how many old American pop culture references you can pick up from Warner Brothers cartoons. I believe they turned Ben Bernie into a tuxedo'd bird of some variety.
From: (Biffyshrew)
  I believe "yowsah" was archaic black dialect (or at least exaggerated/fabricated black dialect, a la Amos & Andy/Thingfish), literally meaning "yes, sir," but possibly also used as an expression of amazement. More to the point, "Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah" was the vocal hook (and subtitle) of a big disco hit of the '70s: "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" by Chic (their first hit, released 1977). Certainly this is what FZ is referring to in the context of his disco parody.
From: (Michael Gushulak)
  I heard "yowsa" times three in an old Warner Bros. cartoon, one of the early ones that feature caricatures of entertainers of the day. The phrase was uttered several times by a band leader named Ben Birdie, after Ben Bernie, a real band leader of the 1930s. I suppose "yowsa" was a catchphrase of the original B.B.
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*Say darlin'...can I buy ya a drink?*
Lookin' for Mister Goodbar?
Here he is...*
From: (Matthew D Lavallee)
  While oozing through my uncle's bookshelf, I found a book called Looking For Mr. Goodbar. It's about this lady who goes to singles bars and stuff, and sleeps with lots of dudes looking for "emotional fulfillment" of some kind.
From: David F Lynch <>
  There was a movie made of this, I think. The lady winds up getting killed at the end, I think.
  I'm wondering if anyone out there can clue me in to what the background vocals are saying behind the "Looking for Mr. Goodbar? Here he is..." section towards the end of the tune. I've tried like hell and I can't figure them out. Any takers?
From: (TAN Mitsugu)
  It is "Ki-ni-shinai," which means "Don't worry about it" in Japanese. I don't know if you notice it, but this phrase can be heard also in "Hands With A Hammer" of YCDTOSA, Vol.3. Here's a quotation from my contributed portion of YCDTOSA FAQ.
  At 1:11, during Terry's drum solo, you can hear someone (maybe Roy Estrada) shouting, something like "Kinishinai!". It is a Japanese word which means "don't worry about it", although Roy's intonation is far different from ordinary Japanese, no Japanese considered it as "our language." Interesting that the same word is also heard on the outro of "Dancin' Fool" (the background vocal of FZ chating).
  Source: 'ZAPPA!' (1992 Guitar&Keyboard Player special issue, p.87).
  My assumption is that "Ki-ni-shinai" was a sort of "secret word" during the Japanese tour of the Mothers. I think it is a nice "subliminal" message in that part of "Dancin' Fool," because it is likely to say that kind of phrase when hustling girls.

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