‘Muskrat Love’ came out on the 1976 Captain & Tennille’s second album Song of Joy and the single charted #4 in the US. The duo Daryl “Captain” Dragon and Toni Tennille are best known for their string of seventies and eighties-era hits, including the now-ironic ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’, and for Dragon’s apparent delusions of nautical credentials. They were part of an era in which married couples making pop music together was somehow a pretty common event, but they never reached the star status of Ike and Tina, or Sonny and Cher. The Captain was diagnosed with a neurological condition similar to Parkinson’s in 2009, a situation that causes him to have tremors that became pretty severe at times and interfered with his ability to play keyboards. Tennille filed for divorce in 2014.
Rolling Stone rated ‘Muskrat Love’ as being one of the 10 Worst Songs of the 1970s even though this song peaked at #4 and spent 20 weeks on the charts. It was written by the Texas singer Willis Alan Ramsey in 1972, who recorded it as ‘Muskrat Candlelight’. America the group known for ‘A Horse with No Name’ recorded the song on their 1973 album Hat Trick (it charted at #67 US) before Captain & Tennille recorded their hit version in 1976. This song is about two muskrats making love chronicling the romance between two semiaquatic rodents.
Daryl Dragon’s godfather is Danny Thomas and Toni Tennille’s father, sang as a member of Bing Crosby’s Bob-Cats, while her mother hosted a local television show. Mike Love of the Beach Boys gave Daryl Dragon his nickname “the Captain”, dubbing him “Captain Keyboard”. Dragon has two co-writing credits on the 1972 Beach Boys album Carl and the Passions and Toni Tennille played with the Beach Boys on their 1972 tour. Toni belted backup vocals on Pink Floyd’s 1979 epic The Wall, and she also lent her voice the Elton John song ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’.
This song’s composer, Willis Alan Ramsey, is one of the more mysterious men in rock. Based in Austin, Texas, his 1972 self-titled album was released on Shelter Records when he was 21. It quickly got lots of attention, and Ramsey was lauded as a new breed of “progressive country” performer. Ramsey was poised for stardom, but it never happened. He moved to Los Angeles and worked on songs at Leon Russell’s home studio, but couldn’t get a sound he liked.
Muskrat, Muskrat, candle light
Doing the town and doing it right in the evening
It’s pretty pleasing
Muskrat Suzie, Muskrat Sam
Do the jitterbug out in Muskrat Land
And they shimmy… Sam is so skinny
And they whirl and they twirl and they tango
Singing and Jinging a Jango
Floating like the heavens above
Looks like Muskrat Love
Nibbling on bacon, chewing on cheese
Sam says to Suzie, Honey, would you please be my Mrs.
Suzie says yes with her kisses
Now he’s tickling her fancy, rubbing her toes
Muzzle to muzzle, now, anything goes as they wriggle,
Sue starts to giggle
Written for Love Is In Da Blog where Bee asks us to find the worst ever love song.