MOE BANDY:
(Jukka Joutsi * up-dated: 12.4.2020)

MOE BANDY:

A) Marion Franklin "Moe" Bandy, Jr. (born February 12, 1944) is an American country music singer. He was most popular during the 1970s, when he had several hit songs, both alone and with his singing partner, Joe Stampley.

Marion Bandy was born in Meridian, Mississippi, United States, also the hometown of the country singer Jimmie Rodgers. He later stated: "My grandfather worked on the railroads with Jimmie Rodgers. He was the boss of the railway yard in Meridian and Jimmie Rodgers worked for him. He said that he played his guitar all the time between work."
He was nicknamed Moe by his father when he was a child. The Bandy family moved to San Antonio, Texas, when Moe was six. His mother played piano and sang. Bandy was taught to play the guitar by his father who had a country band called the Mission City Playboys, but made little use of the ability until he was in his teens. His father's wish that Moe also play the fiddle never materialized.
He made some appearances with the Mission City Playboys but during his high school years he showed little interest in music and a great deal of interest in rodeos. He tried bronco-busting and bull riding and by the time he was 16, both he and his brother Mike were competing in rodeos all over Texas.

In 1962, he began to pursue a career in country music. He assembled a band that he called Moe and the Mavericks and found work playing small beer joints, honky-tonks, and clubs over a wide area around San Antonio. When he was young he tried to sound like Hank Williams and George Jones – "I even had my hair cut short like his."
During the day he worked for his father as a sheet metal worker, a job that lasted for 12 years, during which time he made a few recordings for various small labels. In 1964, his first single, "Lonely Girl", made little impression. In 1973, he went solo when record producer Ray Baker, who had listened to his demos, suggested that he come to Nashville, Tennessee. Bandy's song "I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today" was initially released on Footprint Records but it came to the attention of the GRC record label. In March 1974, it entered the US country chart, eventually peaking at number 17. Other minor hits followed, including "It Was Always So Easy To Find An Unhappy Woman (Till I Started Looking For Mine)" and "Don't Anyone Make Love at Home Anymore".
In 1975, a song written by his friend Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shafer gave him a number 7 country hit. "Bandy The Rodeo Clown" was to become not only one of his own favorites but also one of his most popular recordings.

Bandy found success at Columbia Records with Paul Craft's "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life" and added further hits, including "Here I Am Drunk Again". From 1977 through 1979, he was a country chart regular with singles such as "I'm Sorry For You, My Friend", "Cowboys Ain't Supposed To Cry", "That's What Makes The Jukebox Play", and a duet with Janie Fricke, "It's A Cheating Situation". In 1979, he achieved his first solo number 1 with "I Cheated Me Right Out of You".
That same year, in 1979, Bandy joined forces with Joe Stampley and recorded a tongue in cheek novelty single: "Just Good Ol' Boys". The song went on to top the country chart and it led to a continuation of their partnership. The duo, commonly known as "Moe and Joe", had more novelty hits between 1979 and 1985, including "Holding The Bag", "Tell Ole I Ain't Here", and "Hey Joe (Hey Moe)". In 1984, they ran into copyright problems with their parody of the then-current Boy George/Culture Club phenomenon: "Where's The Dress" used the guitar-riff introduction from Culture Club's hit "Karma Chameleon", which reached No. 1 for 3 weeks on the Billboard pop chart early that year. "Where's the Dress" peaked inside the Top Ten, at No. 8 on the country charts.
During the 1980s, Bandy maintained a steady line of solo successes, including "Yesterday Once More", "Rodeo Romeo", "She's Not Really Cheatin' (She's Just Gettin' Even)", and "Till I'm Too Old To Die Young". Bandy also registered duet successes with Judy Bailey ("Following The Feeling") and Becky Hobbs ("Let's Get Over Them Together"). Over the years, he maintained a regular touring schedule and appeared on television shows. In later years, he cut back on his touring schedule.

Bandy summed up his music when he said, "I really think my songs are about life. There's cheating, drinking and divorcing going on everywhere and that's what hardcore country music is all about." He added: "If I'd done all the things I sing about, I'd be dead."
Bandy opened his popular Americana Theatre in Branson, Missouri, in 1991 and performs frequently there. Moe, along with his brother, Mike Bandy, a six-time NFR bull-riding qualifier, were inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2007 (Wikipedia, 2020).

MOE BANDY:

MOE BANDY:

(Rolling Stone, 2018): Moe’s trad cred got another boost in 1975, when he scored hits with records called “Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life” and “Bandy the Rodeo Clown,” the latter co-written by honky-tonk legend Lefty Frizzell only months before his death. Frizzell’s tune gave Bandy a signature song, and with it, he rose nearer to Nashville’s top ranks. “It’s a Cheatin” Situation,” from 1979, won the ACM award for Song of the Year. “I Cheated Me Right Out of You” gave him his first solo Number One hit the same year.
“People were telling me, ‘Golly, you’re doing a lot of cheating songs,'” Bandy remembers. “I think they understood it was part of the business – like acting, doing the role.”
There was less distance between Moe and his drinking songs. As the decade continued, the singer’s alcoholism had worsened. Looking back, he describes how the culture of the country music industry fed his addiction. “I was playing all these bars and joints, you know? And in Nashville, back then, it was who you drank with and who you hung out with that got you in the business a lot of the time. We all drank and partied, and it was part of it. I just went overboard and it got to affecting my personal life.”

Bandy got sober in 1983. But in the four years prior, he and Joe Stampley had become known for the party songs they sang as a duo. “Just Good Ol’ Boys” had gone to Number One. Then, on the heels of the Urban Cowboy phenomenon, they opened their own bar: the Moe and Joe Club, a Texas honky-tonk that, in true Moe fashion, both knocked off and parodied the famous Pasadena, Texas, venue Gilley’s. Where Gilley’s housed a notorious mechanical bull, Moe and Joe installed a bucking armadillo that could toss riders with equal force.
Stranger than the armadillo, even, was the duo’s song “Where’s the Dress?”, a Boy George–inspired novelty hit in which Moe and Joe decide to dress in drag – become “country queens” – in a bid to revitalize their careers. The plan goes awry when they enjoy gender-bending so much that it instead puts their careers in jeopardy, and the music video ends with the conservative Roy Acuff using the bow of his fiddle to beat the mascara-wearing singers off the Opry stage. (In Lucky Me, Moe credits this episode mostly to Joe.)
Moe and Joe made their last studio album together in 1984. Moe continued scoring hits through “Too Old to Die Young,” which went to Number Two in 1989. In the Nineties, he became one of the stars of Branson’s old-timers circuit. Yet now, when it comes to Bandy, country music seems to be undergoing a little honky-tonk amnesia of its own. The singer has been shut out of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and in his memoir, he recalls being refused tickets to the ACM Awards when no one in the office recognized his name.

Meanwhile, Bandy’s style of song seems to be suffering a similar fate. Listen to an afternoon of country radio and you may not hear the word “cheating” once. Bandy attributes this to people becoming “more soft” than they used to be. “I don’t advocate cheating, of course, but it does go on,” he says. “And that’s life. There have been so many great marriages that have been ruined because of the cheating. You gotta just sing about life, and that happens to be part of it.”
Yet even today, fans continue to seek out not just Moe’s music but Moe himself. Bandy never actually worked as a rodeo clown, but try telling that to his most loyal listeners. “To this day, I have people say, ‘What year was it you quit clowning?’ or ‘You saved my life when I was riding bulls,'” he says.
It’s easy to see why the persona stuck. Moe may never have clowned in a rodeo, but through his music, he invokes the spirit of the clown in the fullest sense of the word.

For the drama teacher and theorist Giovanni Fusetti, this sort of clown is an “archetypal figure” that humans have always used to help understand their own folly. “We have the concept of perfection, and success and order,” says Fusetti. “And we also know that most of those things will never happen, so we are constrained by life’s limitations. Therefore perfection is more of a myth, a reference point. We can either take this very badly and get really pissed off, and fight against gods, and in theatre we call that Tragedy; or as the clown does, just fall and laugh about it.”
So goes Moe, caught between earnestness and irony, knocking out men but reconciling himself to the fate of the gods, delivering lyrics in which devastating heartbreak is given up to devastating pun. For 50 years, his music has kept the honky-tonk tradition alive, and given voice to those, like him, trying their best to hang on to that bucking armadillo of life.

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