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- Posted on Dec 13th 2010 3:00PM by Phil Brondyke
'Rag and Bone,' the White Stripes
Anybody got a Christmas tree? Can you part with a toilet seat? Truer words were never spoken about Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, the 'American Pickers.'
Wolfe and Fritz are the centerpieces of the History Channel's 'American Pickers' television show, the title of which refers to the pair's quest to sort through every barn, garage and basement in the United States in search of antique treasures. In a History Channel promo for the show, the two are shown in stop-motion manipulating the antiques they find to the tune of the White Stripes' 'Rag and Bone.'
The song and the show pair perfectly, as the tune is a reference to English "rag and bone men" of the 19th century. These men would patrol the streets, with horse-drawn cart in tow, for rags that could be made into fabric and bones that could be used to make glue. Wolfe and Fritz do essentially the same thing in present-day America, albeit in a large conversion van.
Off 2007's 'Icky Thump' album, the White Stripes' 'Rag and Bone' makes direct reference to this term, bringing it into 21st century America. The song is true to the Stripes' folksy motif, as the lyrics are recited from the perspective of two rag and bone collectors in the forms of Meg and Jack White:
Meg: I saw some stuff in here; now are you gonna give it to us?
Jack: Ah, Meg, don't be rude.
Meg: Why not?
Jack: They might need it/And if you don't want it, we'll take it/And if you don't wanna give it to us, we keep walking by ...
By inserting "Frank" for "Meg" and "Mike" for "Jack," one could be forgiven for confusing the lyrics of 'Rag and Bone' with a transcript from 'American Pickers.'
The show airs on the History Channel in the U.S. on Mondays at 9PM.