Who Is the Big Boned Gal? k.d. lang’s anthem for the Everywoman

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Every artist has their crowd favorites, even if the artists themselves are sickened unto death of them. For k.d. lang , one of these is surely “Big Boned Gal”. It’s lighthearted, catchy, easy to learn, and tells a story. Everyone loves a story, right?   I confess, that when I am feeling down in the dumps, I hook my phone up to the Bose and stream this song as loud as legally possible. And I imagine what it might be like to have a voice like k.d.’s and/or to be the Big Boned Gal.  I listen to the simple bass line, the ear-pleasing melody and the integration of k.d.’s voice with her band. Musical ambrosia with a country flair!

To my mind, this song tells two stories; one about k.d. lang’s exceptional voice and the other about the girl in all of us. If you are not convinced of k.d lang’s tremendous vocal ability, just take another listen to “Big Boned Gal”. Of course, she makes it sound easy to pull off, but put down your air guitar and try, just try , to even speak the lyrics with the same pace and rhythm as k.d. does. Next, try to hit those notes all over the staff and add some hoots and howls (not too much mind you, just enough) while you are paying attention to phrasing and subtle changes in syncopation along the way. Are you kidding me? Yes, her ability is sick. Truly. On top of it all, it even sounds like she is having fun! This is a tough gig to pull off, and I feel this tune goes unnoticed by “experts”. Further, the songwriting  weaves together the simple with the elaborate in such a way that our ears are fooled into thinking anyone could make this tune pop on Karaoke night.

The other story is about the excitement of  being  the main focus of attention. I think one of the reasons so many of us like this song is because there are actually very few such events in our lives. We are enticed by the Big Boned Gal because it seems everything is ahead of her. She is fearless, mesmorizing, full of life and headed straight for it. Another reason I think we like this song is because we are not entirely sure of her intentions. Is she “headed to the legion hall” just to dance? or is she up to no good? Being big boned, we know that she may not fit the mold and we know she is from a small town. We like that she “holds them in a trance”, but we are not assured why she does this.  “With a bounce in her step and a wiggle in her walk, she’d be swinging down the street”. Is this because she is young and innocent, ready to flee a small town, or because she is a bit awkward? Perhaps it is all of these things.

One thing I am convinced of is that the Big Boned Gal represents all women. She is indeed Everywoman. For at some point, the focus has been entirely on us. Yet for  the majority of us, that focus is usually found between crossed arms and stomping feet, impatiently waiting for us to fail. Sometimes, perhaps we have “failed” (whatever that may mean). But in the end, we each have had the chance to be “reelin’ and a’ rockin’ yelling out for more”.

Big Boned Gal 

She was a big boned gal from southern Alberta
You just couldn’t call her small
And you can bet every Saturday night
She’d be heading for the legion hall

She put her blue dress on and she curled her hair
Oh, she’s been waiting all week
With a bounce in her step and a wiggle in her walk
She’d be swinging down the street

But you could tell she was ready by the look in her eye
As she slipped in through the crowd
She walked with grace as she entered the place
The big boned gal was proud

Hey hey
Now people would come from miles around
Gather there to dance
But when the big boned gal came shufflin’ in
She’d hold them in a trance

But you could tell she was ready by the look in her eye
As she slipped in through the crowd
She walked with grace as she entered the place
The big boned gal was proud

Hey, hey, the big boned gal
Ain’t no doubt she’s a natural
Shakin’ and a’snakin’
And a’breakin’ up across the floor

Hey, hey, the big boned gal
Ain’t no doubt she’s a natural
Reelin’ and a’rockin’
Yelling out for more

Now I said, hey, hey, the big boned gal
There ain’t no doubt she’s a natural
Shakin’ and a’snakin’
And a’breakin’ up across the floor

Hey, hey, the big boned gal
Ain’t no doubt she’s a natural
Reelin’ and a’rockin’
Yelling out for more

Songwriters
LANG, K. D. / MINK, BEN

Read more: K. D. Lang – Big Boned Gal Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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