Sometimes you just can't say it better. Take a note that our friend, the Ferret-Faced Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy sent me last week after I lent him my copy of Hank Williams Jr's "The Bocephus Box" for his listening enjoyment.
I tend to acquire things at such a rate that I don't always get time to listen to them right away, so since I had enough in my CD changer I was happy to lend this three disc collection to Stephen before I had had a chance to digest it.
Funny thing is, when I read his e-mail, I realized no review of mine would do the set justice like this would.
So here's a piece from guest reviewer Stephen T. McCarthy:
"THE BOCEPHUS BOX"- Hank Williams Junior
Hey, Buddy, that is one darn good Bocephus compilation! I got to hear a number of songs I hadn’t heard since my pre-CD Licorice Pizza era, and a bunch of songs I’d never heard before in ANY era.
As always, certain songs got left out that leaves one scratching their head. Of course, they needed to include the big Country-Western hits, and after that, which non-hits to include becomes a subjective matter. But I’m thinkin’ to myself: How could you leave out ‘Dinosaur’? [“You’re singin’ a song about makin’ love to your drummer. Well, gay guitar pickers don’t turn me on.”]
And ‘The American Way’? [“Some high-society lady says, ‘Is your horse outside?’ No, ma’am, he’s between my legs but you’re too fat to ride.”] And ‘Won’t It Be Nice’? [“I don’t always hit the ball over the fence.” – I always loved that simple line!]
Well, obviously, acquiring The Bocephus Box won’t allow me to jettison my copy of ‘Habits Old And New’.
And they didn’t include ‘The Coalition To Ban Coalitions’ [“Now the latest thing they want to stamp out is violence on TV / And worst of all is that Oscar-winning rabbit, Bugs Bunny / Farewell Foghorn Leghorn, so long Yosemite Sam / They're messin' with our heroes and we’ve got to stop them now!”] or ‘Ballad Of Hank Williams’ (one of the funniest songs ever recorded).
Well, obviously, acquiring The Bocephus Box won’t allow me to jettison my copy of ‘The Pressure Is On’.
And neither does the set include ‘Young Country’ or ‘I’m For Love’ :
Mothers against drunk drivers, The Pope is against the pill
The union’s against the workers, Working against their will
The President’s against the Congress, The Senate is against the House
People are against politicians, And I’m against cats in my house
But I’m for love and I’m for happiness
And I’m for “If you don’t like it can’t you just let it pass?”
And I’m for turning off the news and turning down the lights
‘Cause I’m for nothing else but me and you tonight
The city’s against the county, The county's against the state
The state is against the government, And the highway still ain’t paved
The banker’s against the farmer, The farmer’s against the wall,
The doctor’s against me smoking, And the devil's against us all
The cops are against the robbers, The laws are against the cops
Justice is against the system, And some people are blowing their tops
The horse is against the automobile, The bus is against the train
The train is against the jumbo jet, And I’m against fishing in the rain
So, I guess I’ll also need to hang on to my copy of ‘Greatest Hits, Vol. 3’.
But, heck, I might have to get The Bocephus Box anyway because it’s loaded with good stuffs!
It’s funny that I have heard the song ‘Mind Your Own Business’ a thousand times (a kick-butt Country rocker!), and knew that Reba McIntire and Willie Nelson each sang a verse, but I had never realized that one of those other verses featured Tom Petty. Really? Tom Petty? So I listened to it again and – DOH! – of course that’s Tom Petty’s voice. What, am I deaf? How could I have failed to note that all these years? I just never dreamed that Petty would be on a Bocephus track and so my mind overlooked the obviousness of Petty’s highly identifiable vocal quality on that particular verse.
I love the fact that the set included the LIVE version of ‘My Name Is Bocephus’ – one of my all-time favorites by him. It made my Blogfest entry for “All-Time Greatest Drinking Songs”:
Here we have Hank Junior doing a kind of Muddy Waters “Mannish Boy” / “Hoochie Coochie Man” thing. On his list of Desert Island Music Albums, my friend Mr. Paulboy wrote of The Who’s music: “When I hear The Who I want to kick somebody’s ass. Too bad I’m alone on this island. Heck... pause the music, I’m gonna walk around and see who I can find!”
Ha! Well, that’s kind of the way I feel when I hear “My Name Is Bocephus”, only I don’t have to go to the other side of an island to find some dude to fight – I just gotta walk around to the other side of the bar. “YOU! I’m talkin’ to YOU! …No, not you; you’re too big. I’m talkin’ to that little guy standing next to you.”
During one of our earliest listening sessions at your house, I played you ‘My Name Is Bocephus’, but I think you weren’t at all open to Country at that time and, as I recall, your reaction was the equivalent of a shrug. I remember thinking something like: Hokey-Smoke! How can LC not LOVE that song? I just wanna go outside and kick somebody’s ass now. Anyone will do…
(EDITOR'S NOTE-a few times a year Mr McCarthy and Mr. DiscConnected will gather and play select cuts off of new acquisitions or old favorites. A good way to share music with your friends, although stereos are getting harder and harder to find)
I was looking at some of the thumbnail photos of old Bocephus albums on one of the pages toward the back of The Bocephus Box booklet and counting how many of them I had owned on Licorice Pizza. And when I got to the album ‘Five-O’ (his 50th album in 1985!) I recognized that I’d owned it and read the liner notes about it.
Turns out that’s the album with the Zevon cover of ‘Lawyers, Guns & Money’. When you played that at your house last Sunday, I didn’t have any recollection of having heard it before. So, I was wondering how could I have forgotten that? And then it dawned on me: ‘Five-O’ is the album that also includes his cover of the famous Fats Waller tune ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ (I’ve probably heard at least 15 different versions of that song in my lifetime, including the Fats Waller original). And that song just SO OVERSHADOWED everything else on that album that I seem to have forgotten every other track but that one.
Bocephus owns – OWNS! – ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’. He even stole it from Fats! It is, in my opinion, a literally PERFECT track: Great arrangement, wonderful musicianship, and Hank’s vocal is absolutely spot-on PERFECT! He sings it in such a relaxed, fun, easygoing way (right down to the little laugh at the very end, when you think the track is already over) that it is unquestionably my all-time favorite Bocephus song, period.
‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ by Bocephus was the first song mentioned on my blogfest entry for “Favorite Love Songs”:
It was written by Fats Waller and it’s been sung by everyone with a tongue, but no one ever had more fun with it than Hank Junior. The Countess and I – this was “our” song.
One last thing about The Bocephus Box . . . I had never heard his version of Skynyrd’s ‘Tuesday’s Gone’ before. I think it’s head and shoulders better than the Skynyrd original. I was never crazy about that song before, but Hank just makes it seem so heartfelt and bluesy.
Anyway, Bro, I’m-a think I-needs to get The Bocephus Box. Approximately how much did you pay for yours? Do you recall?
~ Defense McDogg, Scourge Of The Southwest
So there you have it. If that don't make you wanna get yer mitts on this collection, nothing will! And since he wrote this message to me, I happen to know that our good friend McDogg picked up his very own copy of "The Bocephus Box!"
A happy ending if there ever was one. There's no place like DiscConnected's CD room!
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