|Image by Arthur Rackham|
1) "Dust Bowl Dance," by Mumford and Sons. I know, it's about the Dust Bowl years in the US and the Great Depression and very probably The Grapes of Wrath and All the Pretty Horses. I recognize that picking anything by this band is kind of obvious right now, as they are so hugely popular, but this song is so charged with anger, confrontation and energy, it has a "Jack" feel to me.
Also, it features a son who is the only "man" left in the family, which is certainly the case with Jack. I don't much like Jack, however, and have a strong sense of affinity for the ogre/giant in the story. Listening to this song makes me picture both the ogre and Jack as protagonist.
Most of all, the song sounds like the story. There's a sense of fighting, pounding feet, running too hard--and the whole song is about someone stealing from someone else. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is very much about theft as well. You won't see the lyrics here, as I have discovered that heavy lyric quoting is a legal no no, but it's not hard to look them up.You'll find that there's even a sense of fairy-tale/nursery rhyming near the end of the song.
2) "Slip Kid," by The Who. Obvious, again, in the sense that The Who is often derided as a band that can only truly appeal to guys guys deep in the throes of adolescence, and I have to admit, there is an angry young man quality to much of the best Who music. Jack is seems to be an adolescent male (despite what classic illustration suggests), so the song and its sense of starting something big makes its a good fit with the story.
I am a die hard Who fan, and this song features fantastic Pete Moon drumming. Actually, the whole band is in top form, and this song is an underrated classic. Again, like the first song, it sounds like the kind of energy you find in "Jack in the Beanstalk."
It's kind of amazing to listen to this song and realize it is 44 years old.
Here's the Jack connection: The term "helter skelter" means things flying and falling and spreading all over. There's not a lot of planning in "Jack and the Beanstalk"--and when he ogre falls down and "breaks his crown," there's a helter skeltered sense to his demise.
(Note: I know about the dreadful crime connected to this song. But I choose not to focus on it. It's not like the Beatles had anything to do with that mess. Just Google the song title if you want to know more.)