Streak o'Lean, Streak o'Fat
10. Streak o' Lean, Streak o' Fat (a.k.a. Hongshao Rou)
(music traditional, words by Abigail Washburn & Jon Campbell, arr. by Uncle Earl/©2006 Smokin' Granny Music, ASCAP)

Some people know this tune as “Hell Broke Loose in Georgia,” as played by the Skillet Lickers. A.A. Gray & Seven Foot Dilly called it “Streak o' Lean, Streak o' Fat”, and that's the version I first heard (on the compilation album, Times Ain't Like They Used to Be, Vol.1, Yazoo 2028). I loved the way the instruments groove like mad while a voice narrates over top. Before we knew what was happening, the g'Earls were sitting in a circle in the recording studio, busting down on the tune with JPJ on piano, and I was yelling lines out in Chinese. Although the reference may seem obscure to some, hongshao rou happens to be known as Mao Zedong's favorite dish from his home province of Hunan…really it's composed of a small streak o' lean meat with a big hunk of fat, and it freaks out the foreigners when it lands on the dinner table. If desired, a correlation could be drawn between the nutritional makeup of hongshao rou and the efficacy of general governance during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-76). – AW

Fiddle: gdae
Banjo: gCGCD
(lead vocal & banjo: AW; back-up hollering: the g'Earls & John Paul Jones; fiddle: RG; guitar: KA; mandolin: KCG; bass: EY; piano: John Paul Jones)