Moe’s debut album in 1974, on the GMC label, based in Atlanta, was a moderate success in its time, but a classic today.
The title track, and Moe’s first hit single, peaking at #17, is a classic honky tonk lament, written by legendary writers A L “Doodle” Owens and Sanger D Shafer. The narrator is a country fan whose love for songs about the wild side of life hits a juddering halt when they turn out to be reflections of reality in his own life and his wife turns out to be cheating on him. Drinking his troubles away is no good when the jukebox is loaded with songs which are all too close to home. Loaded with steel guitar and honky tonk piano, it is a great song, with many lyrical nods to other classic songs.
The second single, which reached #24, was the same writers’ ‘Honky Tonk Amnesia’. Another solid honky tonker, with a bit of tongue in cheek in the lyrics, this one has the protagonist the one on the cheating side, fuelled by his heavy drinking:
She’d be hurt if she knew I was drinking
Cause one’s too much and twelve just ain’t enough
She knows how it messes up my thinking
How it makes me look for someone else to love
I get honky tonk amnesia
I forget where all my love belongs
I get honky tonk amnesia
And sometimes it lasts all night long
His poor unsuspecting wife, meanwhile, sits trustingly at home.
Sanger D Shafer composed ‘Cowboys And Playboys’, an amusing song from the point of view of a wealthy northerner who finds a new perspective on life when he moves to Texas and the girls are unimpressed by his Cadillac style. Shafer co-wrote ‘How Long Does It Take (To Be A Stranger)?’ with Dallas Frazier, a short steel laced ballad lamenting a breakup.
Frazier and Doodle Owens wrote ‘This Time I Won’t Cheat On Her Again’, with Moe rebuffing former illicit flame who might be in the market again. Owens teamed up with Dave Burgess for ‘Home Is Where The Hurt Is’, a great steel dominated ballad about a man delaying his return to an empty home:
My glass is empty
And so are my arms
The lights are down low
And so am I
I drink not to think
And I hate to go home
Home’s where the hurt is
My sweet love is gone
Owens also wrote a couple of tunes with Gene Vowell. In ‘How Far Do You Think We Would Go; he dances around the idea of breaking up another couple’s marriage:
Are you sure that loving me would be worth losing him?
Would his memory ever leave us alone?
‘Get All Your Love Together (And Come On Home)’ (co-written by the pair with Glenn Sutton) appeals to his estranged spouse to make a new start. ‘I Wouldn’t Cheat On Her If She Was Mine’ is another fine song, in which Moe wants to offer a new love to a women who has been hurt by the past. It was written by Bucky Jones, Joane Kelle and Paul Huffman.
‘Smoke Filled Bar’ (written by Ginger Boatwright) is a honky tonk wailer about missing a deceased wife
Some other bar
Another round and I’ll get drunk again
If the party girls sing about what might have been
Do angels miss the ones they love in heaven where you are
And I’m so lonely as I play my sad guitar
And tonight I’ll sing my songs again about you
And try to face another night without you
I’ve tried to find someone and learn to love once more
But then I stopped ’cause you knock at my memory’s door
The album is available on iTunes, and is an essential part of any traditional country fan’s music collection.