My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Moe Bandy – ‘Hank Williams You Wrote My Life’

In 1976 Moe’s contract was transferred to Columbia, but there were no immediate changes to his mursic, which remained uncompromisingly traditional honky-tonk, with prominent fiddle and steel, softened only by the Jordanaires’ backing vocals.

His first release on the new label, the title track of his new album, was his biggest hit to date, peaking at #2. Written by Paul Craft, the song is a wonderful tribute to the music of the great Hank Williams, with some of Hank’s song titles serving as the soundtrack to the protagonist’s own disastrous love life –

You wrote ‘My Cheating Heart’ about
A gal like my first ex-wife

The second single was less successful, only just creeping into the top 30, but is actually a very good Sanger D Shafer song in which the self-deluding protagonist has been stood up in ‘The Biggest Airport In The World’ (which at the time was Dallas-Fort Worth) by a fiancée he met only a week earlier – in a bar of course.

A couple of other Shafer songs also made the cut. ‘I’m The Honky Tonk On Loser’s Avenue’ anthropomorphises the barroom location of so many country songs and real life heartbreaks. ‘The Lady’s Got Pride’ is a strong song about the cheating protagonist’s unhappy stand-by-her-man wife.

‘You’ve Got A Lovin’ Comin’’, written by Roger Bowling, is a sincerely delivered love song to just such a long suffering wife from a man who has decided to change his ways.

In Bobby Bond’s ‘Hello Mary’ the protagonist calls home from the bar claiming he is engrossed in a ‘business deal’ (while actually gambling with friends). This is exactly the kind of tongue-in-cheek song Moe would later do with Joe Stampley, and it is very entertaining.

The up-tempo ‘Ring Around Rosie’s Finger’ was co-written by Connie Smith, and is about a player who has decided to settle down with his true love. ‘The Hard Times’, written by Edward Penney, Tom Benjamin and Hugh Moffatt, is a ballad about a couple dealing with financial difficulties but sustained by their love. ‘I Think I’ve Got A Love On For You’, written by Dallas Frazier and Larry Lee, is a pleasant but filler love song.

‘I’m Not As Strong As I Used To Be’ is about a heartbreak which has got only worse with time, and is another fine song.

Overall, this is a good and solidly country album. It has not been re-released digitally as such, but the tracks are all available on iTunes in rather poor quality.

Grade: A-

6 responses to “Album Review: Moe Bandy – ‘Hank Williams You Wrote My Life’

  1. Ronald February 12, 2018 at 12:53 am

    Sorry to have to correct you, but this album has been digitally released along with Cowboys Ain’t Supposed To Cry on Audium Records in 2003

  2. Ken February 12, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Moe’s Columbia debut was indeed similar to his first three albums on GRC Records mostly because Ray Baker continued as his producer. Their only misstep in my opinion was selecting “The Biggest Airport In The World” as the second single release. Obviously the fans agreed because after scoring the biggest hit of his career with the title track that follow-up single was very disappointing. But to be honest I don’t think any of the other songs would have been a slam dunk either. Good album tracks with excellent traditional country backing but none had solid hit potential.

    To be clear Moe’s move to Columbia was not a “transfer” of his contract but rather he was signed to Columbia after GRC had shuttered their Nashville operation. The story of GRC Records (General Recording Corporation) is rather interesting because it was started by Michael Thevis who had made his fortune in illegal pornography. Under investigation by the FBI in the early 1970’s Thevis established several legitimate businesses to launder the money that came from his nefarious activities. Based in Atlanta, GA. Thevis’ entertainment empire eventually included several record labels including GRC Records, a state-of-the-art recording studio, publishing companies, a booking agency and a film company.

    A Nashville office for GRC was opened in August 1973 and a roster of country singers was eventually signed to the label including Moe Bandy. But GRC’s most successful act was Sammy Johns who scored a top five pop hit with “Chevy Van” in early 1975. In August 1975 GRC closed down their Nashville office. By that time Thevis had been convicted of obscenity and conspiracy to commit arson and sent to prison. He escaped in 1978 and while on the lam he killed the former partner that had testified against him and his associate. Thevis was recaptured, convicted of murder and at last report was still serving his sentence in a Minnesota prison. Several accounts mention that was not Thevis’ first murder as he reportedly had killed a competitor in 1970.

    Hard to believe that Moe’s early success was backed by a pornography gangster.

    • Luckyoldsun February 14, 2018 at 2:07 am

      Now, THAT is a great story!
      According to Wikipedia, which has a very sketchy article on him, Thevis (Great name!) died on some unstated date in 2013. Given that he’d be in his upper 80’s by now, and prison is not exactly conducive to a very long life span, I’ve got to figure he’s deceased. I’d also bet that the pornography that he produced would look tame compared to the legal stuff that’s come out in magazines and film/video/digital in the decades since.

  3. Tyler Pappas February 13, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Where have they been released digitally, I’ve seen them on cd but not mp3?

    • Ken February 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      I believe there’s some confusion with the word “digital.” Both CD’s and mp3’s have digital files.

      Regarding CD vs. DOWNLOAD availability – Hank Williams You Wrote My Life & Cowboys Ain’t Supposed To Cry were issued on a two-fer CD in 2003 by Audium/Koch [AUD -CD-8181] but those albums are not available as downloads.

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