Born on January 18, 1938 in Spring City, Tennessee, Hargus Marvin Robbins was rendered blind at the age of four due to an accident involving his father’s knife. In those days, there were few occupations a blind boy could dream of, but one of them was playing piano.
Any proper country music fan should know and love the rock band Ween’s foray into country music in the mid 90’s called 1’2 Golden Country Greats.’ Recorded at Owen Bradley’s legendary Bradley’s Barn studio at his farm just outside of Nashville, the album featured a stable of notable Nashville musicians dubbed “The Shit Creek Boys.”
Believe it or not, there’s even a deep history for more lewd comedy that would happen in country music under the covers. Roy Acuff, the “King of Country Music” cut dirty songs when nobody was looking, and so did other early country legends, some under assumed names. These recordings were like the peep shows of music in the early days, passed around at beer parlors or in the back rooms of studios.
If the unusual and offbeat of the country music realm is something you love to delve into—if the Roger Miller’s, the Shel Silverstein’s, and the John Hartford’s hold a special sway on your heart, and something just a little strange, unexpected, and funny is where you find enjoyable wrinkles in the forgotten shadows of country music’s otherwise explored reaches, then this album from Ween…
When I first saw Jonny Corndawg’s Down on the Bikini Line album come across the wires this summer, with this dude’s ironic name, the ironic album cover and title, and a track list of ironic songs, I didn’t even give it a sniff. But when The Nashville Scene anointed this guy an “Outlaw”, compared him to David Allan Coe, I knew I couldn’t avoid taking a deeper look and listen.
So Al Jourgensen, the Cuban-born front man and founder of the Industrial band Ministry has made himself a country album under the pseudonym “Buck Satan & The 666 Shooters”. An overall take on this album would be that it is a rushed, tracked-out, wank-off, studio vanity electronico side-project with little heart.
The standout in this album is Dale’s voice. He exhibits superlative control and wide wisdom singing his parts that come across confidently, without any sign of weakness or chipped paint even after years of honky tonkin’ and road doggin’. If Nashville had tried to strap an Auto-tuner to him, he would have fried the machine from the complexity of runs, and the diversity of volume and note changes just in a simple, short phrase. Nashville younguns take note of a master…