Della and the Dealer. Drugs, Murder, Anthropomorphic Animals?

I love the song “Della and the Dealer”. It opens up with “It was Della and the Dealer and a dog named Jake and a cat named Kalamazoo”.

My question is, are Jake and Kalamazoo really supposed to be a dog and a cat?

I mean, the song is a gritty story of a “Dealer” who gets coked up and kills a bar musician over Della who runs away with the dealer afterwards. So what’s with the gun-toting dog and the rye-drinking cat?

Around the time the song came out “cat” could still mean dude in hipster slang. (It’s passe now of course.) Now “dog” can mean dude (ala Randy on American Idol) but people didn’t use the word “dog” that way then. “Dog” usually meant an ugly woman.

So I guess the song could be referring to another couple traveling will Della and the dealer, i.e. Kalamazoo and his ugly girlfriend “Jake”, but somehow that doesn’t really seem right either.

The song also says “if that cat could talk” so maybe this dude Kalamazoo is a deaf mute too.

Somehow the song works better as a real dog and cat. Like Brian on Family Guy.

Anyone else know this song have a comment?

PS: I may name my next cat Kalamazoo.:smiley:

Yep. Remember, this is the same guy who gave us a bullfrog named Jeremiah.

I hope you’ve seen this (17:39).

Oh great, now someone posts a reply, and now I’ve made a doofus of myself in a snippy lack of response thread. Thank you Lute. I hope you come to my getting banned from the Straight Dope party.:wink:

I’m pretty sure that they’re real animals, not people and not ones who can talk.

I love this song, ever since first hearing on the WKRP ep linked above when it first aired. It’s all over YouTube as well (with back up band and denim Siren chorus). There have actually been times when this song was to me what ‘Surfing Bird’ was to Peter Griffin (sung for any reason or following ‘did you hear in the news about the canine drug bust in Arizona?’ leading questions).

I always took them to be real animals. It was supposed to be dreamlike or a f_cked up fairy tale. (I don’t know what the policy on profanity is in CS so I took out the ‘u’ in case you were wondering what the word was.)

ETA: Was this song ever a hit? I only know it from plays on WKRP and some other Hoyt Axton appearances but I don’t recall it getting much radio play.

And all these years later I still miss Hoyt Axton. Loved his voice, both when singing and talking.

It was played on country stations, I know, and quite often. I’m not sure of any chart position though

That was nice. I noticed that the song was non-specific about who won and left with Della and who stayed on the floor, in the last verse. He was just referred to as ‘her lover’. The chorus went on to say that the cat could tell stories about the Dealer, but the song didn’t really say that the Dealer left the bar.


Holy cow, you’re right! I’ve loved this song for years and never thought of it that way! Thanks Yllaria! Dopers are so cool!!

Kalamazoo and Jake were just what they are - cool, dumb, but trying really hard to avoid detection. They’re great, as will be described in my forthcoming novel based on the song. Best really to not “over-analyze” something like “Della”, just enjoy the trip - and it IS a trip…!!!

Around the time the song came out “cat” could still mean dude in hipster slang. (It’s passe now of course.) Now “dog” can mean dude (ala Randy on American Idol) but people didn’t use the word “dog” that way then. “Dog” usually meant an ugly woman.

( dirty dog)
It is not about talking animals. Remember that they are all coked out of their head, but I think you were right about the cat being a deaf mute

Given the number of hunters dogs with (access to) guns kill every year, I think they should probably be disarmed, except in cases of zombie outbreaks. So they’re okay here.

Cats with access to booze, on the other hand, I am okay with. It’s not like they could be bigger violent assholes, and when they get impaired by prescription drugs it’s hilarious, so it would be even funnier watching drunk kitty try to navigate that jump to the kitchen counter.

Did they have quad cabs back then, or were two of them in the bed of the pickup truck? If so, it would probably be the dealer and Kalamazoo in the cab with Della and Jake in the bed, because cats are less good at that than dogs and humans, and in the '70s chicks didn’t drive when there was a man available.

Hoyt Axton’s performance of “Jealous Man” on WKRP is my second favourite threat on film, after Tom Sizemore’s staring down the man at the diner in “Heat”.

Also, the cat was not a deaf mute, the cat was cool. That is why she never said a mumbling word.