The Hombres

A preachment, dear friends, you're about to receive on one-hit wonders, Dylan's scene, and the Memphis band Hombreees


Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) - Verve Forecast 1968
Rating = 8

Many of us, when children growing up in today's 1970's, listen to our father's old records. Mitch Miller, Linda Ronstadt, Herb Alpert - these three children and many others grew up listening to their father's old albums by The Child Molesters and Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. But my childhood was different - I didn't just grow up listening to my father's old records - I BROKE my father's old records! I would step on the ones I didn't like. Break `em with my bare feet. Like an asshole. Luckily, I cut my foot on one and bled all over town, which stopped my destructive habit before it resulted in the loss of anything important, like Brenda Lee's "All Alone Am I."

But one record that I never in a year would have even considered bustin' (along with The Choir's "It's Cold Outside/I'm Goin' Home," the Hogs' "Blues Theme/Loose Lip Sync Ship," the Nova Local's "Games/If You Only Had The Time," the Yardbirds' "Over Under Sideways Down/Jeff's Boogie," Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night/Luvin'," Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction/They're Gonna Get You," and many other singles that I like to namedrop to demonstrate how cool my Dad was when he was young and didn't own any Melissa Etheridge CDs) was the 45 single of "Let It All Hang Out" by The Hombres. This catchy, nonsensical little anthem was one of my favorite songs in the world. Still is! Three happy little descending chords, a Texan rambling about nothing - how could a fellow have issues with something of that ilk? Impossible. Especially now that I'm older and understand that it's a parody of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" lyrical style! I even have recordings of me at age 10 singing the song with Bryan Feeney, and some day those tapes will be worth millions of dollars, if not billions of cents.

When you are an adult of financial means, circumstances often invite you to do things that you would never have considered doing as a child -- so it was that one day my Dad and I "switched places" and he had to go to Mrs. McDivitt's 5th grade class in my body while I went to work at the General Motors Doraville Plant and tried to figure out his crazy grownup world. I warmed up to his coworkers by doing a few childlike things that none of his co-workers had ever seen stodgy old Mr. Prindle do before (put dark sunglasses on and dance to "Soul Man" while lipsynching into a mop, invite the whole office to take a field trip to the biggest toystore on earth, pick up 15 prostitutes and ball them over my desk, throw a spitball at Old Man McGillicudy), then went on the Internet circa 1983 to see what I, as a grownup, could order on ebay circa 1983. "Holy cow!," I pondered. "The Hombres did a whole album? A whole album of classics like 'Let It All Hang Out?' This I gotta hear! I'll just use Dad's credit card to pay the $1000 BUY IT NOW circa 1983 total! That way, it'll be free and we'll never have to pay it back!" 45 minutes later, it arrived on my doorstep. Dad (in my body) was still at school, so I put on his robe, poured a glass of brandy, puffed on his favorite pipe (boy! Did I cough!) and listened to the LP.

Wow! It was good! This band was no one-trick pony. Only two or three other songs could be considered "comedy" in the manner of "Let It All Hang Out," and those only because they were by all appearances calculated attempts to follow up that hit single with like material. There was "Am I High," an obvious as HELL drug song whose title is a "double-entendre" -- you see, the narrator is stuck at the top of a flagpole. The chorus: "Am I high? MAN AM I HIGH!" Then there was "Sorry 'Bout That," which wasn't so much a novelty song as a "fuck off" to an old girlfriend that for no reason at all features a kooky low gravelly voice stating the song title after each verse. Finally there's the most obvious attempt at a follow-up to "Let It All Hang Out" - the album closer "It's A Gas." Just like that song, it begins with nonsensical narration followed by a gross noise (the original has a Bronx cheer, this follow-up boasts a belch) and on into a stylistic Dylan parody. Which is a shame because it's hard to get past this stupid copycat crap to realize how great the song really is. Both the riff and the lyrics are much darker than "Let It All Hang Out," with a neat fast ascending guitar pick slide tied to lyrics like "Little kids play in the street while the butchers sell their parents spoiled meat." Not to bust your balls, Joe Pesci, but that's a far cry from "Saw a man walkin' upside down, my TV's on the blink! Made Galileo look like a boyscout - sorry 'bout that, let it all hang out."

Which brings up a question I have for you, the consumer: My Dad's old single was called "Let It All Hang Out," yet both this album and the SAME SONG are here entitled "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)." Any idea why? Did "Let It All Hang Out" mean to take all your clothes off or something? It sure doesn't sound like a marijuana or Satan reference. Send me a self-addressed stamped postcard with your answer on it.

Aside from the novelties, the album also includes the great Jan & Dean-style hot roddin' on the beach with girls songs "Little 2 + 2" and "Hey Little Girl," a "Louie Louie" ripoff called "Mau Mau Mau," a "Wooly Bully" ripoff called "This Little Girl" and three cover tunes -- the gorgeous ballad "So Sad" (Everly Brothers? Not sure), "Ya Ya" (same one John Lennon later covered) and Them's "Gloria," in which the band practically rolls around pissing with glee at the fact that "Let It All Hang Out" shares the same chord sequence.

And voila! There's your album! Which brings up another interesting musical argument that some might have. I KNOW that this is not a very good album. It's not very creative, it doesn't display much in the way of musical chops and it's only about 30 minutes long. HOWEVER, I personally have a wonderful time listening to it - the beats are mostly uptempo, the guitar tones are nice and '60sy, I like the dude's strange Southern accent and most importantly of all - it's a FUN ALBUM! And I'm talking even WITHOUT beer!

So take your quality and shove it up your asp.

Oh hang on....

Your assisted service provider just gave me a call and asked that I retract the previous statement.

But I don't bend over for corporate AmeriKKKa! I speak for the positive youth generation! The kids that will never have any impact on anything at all because they're all so concerned about entertainment and pot that they're gonna end up working in a pizza place the rest of their lives while all the rich prep school kids become their leaders and enslave them! That's MY generation, Jack!

POST-SCRIPT: The spoken intro of "Let It All Hang Out" is a quote from Red Ingle And His Natural 7's 1944 single "Cigareets, Whuskey And Wild, Wild Women."

Reader Comments
Hi sir, i was doing a google search for the hombres (my grandfather was in the band) and i foudn your site and im glad to see you like the song 8D i jsut started listening to grandfather is the drummer..he killed himself when my dad was 13 his name and my dads name are bother John Hunter 8( anyway write me back sir. (George Ehlers)
So, "The Hombres" were One Hit Wonders. So ing what? The truth is, one hit is a hell of a lot more than most bands ever accomplish. "Let It All Hang Out" is one of those addictive songs that if you hear it once, you'll carry it with you for the rest of your life.

Thanks for the memories. (Janice Slater)
Hi Mark,(hope i got the name right) I did a quiz on FunTrivia and got a question about Hombres song Let it all Hang Out and was pretty pleased with the fact that I knew the answer. Did a search for the Hombres and came up with your page! I had to laff when I read your stories of your Dad's records etc. I'm probably of a similar generation to your dad. I am an Aussie - remember that song so well, and can recall my own father laffing along with the song and he was on old dude then! He's sinced passed on, but anyway your page brought back memories and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thought the song was cool. The term "let it all hang out" as I understood it just simply meant to relax, stay cool, chill, no hassles, etc. And those of us back then listening to the Hombres sure did just that! (Tom Byars)
I like your write up on the Hombres record. I first heard that record when I was only in 4th grade back in the late 60's and it has been one of my fav from then on. Way cool! Thanks!! (Jack Velvet)
I really enjoyed reading about "LET IT OUT"....But not to argue, I met B.B.CUNNINGHAM a few years ago in a recording studio here in Memphis. And he gave me the impression he has been in Memphis all along. Regarding you mentioning a Texan rambling. But, he could have moved here when he was younger.

Anyway, I got him to autograph my HOMBRES lp, and also took some poor photos of him playing bass in the studio with WILLIE HALL on drums(the drummer on SHAFT and the drummer in the first BLUES BROTHERS movie. Also LOUIS PAUL on guitar. I won't go into detail on Louis, he is defintely one of Memphis wildest musicians though.

Anyway, thanks for making me laugh, and taking me back for a while. (Stu Richards)
I had a stab at playing bass with a bunch of friends in the 60`s and Let It All Hang Out was part of our repertoire. We practiced in our drummer`s basement, and after hearing our version of the Hombres` hit, his dad banned the song from being played in his house. It sounde like it might be dirty, he said, and none of us could really explain it to him, he was just too old to dig it. Now, I`m not too sure I could explain it to the young`uns either, but, hey, just screw your hats around, let your drawers sag, and dig it. Let it all hang out, sorry `bout that too, eh?TTFN. (Gary Heidrich)
The Hombres were a Memphis Band and the keyboard player also played on, earlier, Ronnie & The Daytonas and later, the Box Tops .
hey, it's me again. remember the kid who emailed you one or two years ago claiming to be the grandson of the hombres drummer? hehe, well i still live in memphis and i was just reading your review again its great ;D thanks for putting my email up! it's really horrible though so im writing another. thanks alot for the review it's really cool to see cause i didnt really know if anyone remembered the hombres it's cool that there are some people who really like that song. anyway peace out pal. (Bill)
I read and liked your review of The Hombres. I was a Messick High School friend of BB Cunningham. We used to practice playing the guitar at each others house after school. I remember cutting school several times with BB and going down to Sun Records and hanging out. We could do that because his dad (Buddy Blake) recorded for the Sam Phillips International label. I lost track of BB in the later High School years and later years. If anybody knows of an email address for BB, I sure would like to get in touch with him. (Rob)
Your Hombres website has no dates so it could be from circa 1983 for all I know but in case you haven't been told 1983 times already, according to the Nuggets liner notes, dear old dad's record was called Let It All Hang Out because some early pressings were like that, or in other words, somebody screwed up.
My god I thought I was the last guy on Earth to remember the Hombres. What a great thing to know there are still a few left who remember . (Jake Blue)
last night i played the record again. It's been a few years. when the song first came out everybody just liked the stupid words. nobody compared it to dylan or anything like it. bob had no fear of compitition. but the album is bad. if they had done a few more songs like gloria it would have been better.

Edie Masters
My husband Jerry Masters was the bass player in the group, the Hombres.

Thanks for all your comments, they made me smile. I remember the first time I heard “Let It All Hang Out”. DJ Poppa Don Shroeder in Pensacola announced it as I was driving out of the neighborhood to go to the beach (Pensacola Beach). I had to pull over, I enjoyed listening to it so very much. And then Poppa Don played it again……1967…what a fab year!

We are now living in Jackson, MS, and Jerry is one of the recording engineers at Malaco Records.
You'll be happy to know that the Hombres' "Let It All Hang Out" is included on the soundtrack of the new Cameron Crowe film, "Elizabethtown." (It's the 11th track, sandwiched between Lindsey Buckingham's "Shut Us Down" and eastmountainsouth's "Jesus Was a Crossmaker.") An advance copy landed on my desk this week, and so I was treated to this oddly bewitching song that I hadn't heard since 1968, when I was in sixth grade. Sweet.
Just listened to a copy of the album that I bought this morning at bootfair for £1. Excellent stuff with Am I High? the stand out track for me. The same seller sold me two early Japanese rock and roll 10" albums and its all left me wondering how they came to be for sale in a farmer's field near Hadrian's Wall! (Jim)
I remember the song. Just included it in a trvia quiz with my cousin. He has the 45. Great!
I just did a post on my web blog about this song @ I love it and can't get it out of my mind. I'm glad to find out info about it and I will probably go back to my post and link to here. Thanks

Talk about childhood memories. Like you, I have no idea why I liked that song so much, but I still play it today, albeit as an MP3 file.

Back in spring of 1968, the Navy sent one of its old diesel subs from World War 2 to New Orleans as part of an open house, and I went on board. Back in the engine room, someone had scribbed the words to the fourth verse on one of the engines.

Yes, the whole verse.

The oldtimers visiting the boat didn't have a clue, but I knew what it was. It became like an instant inside joke between me and the sailor who had left it there.

Anyway, thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. (Phil)
Anyone know where I could get a copy of the album or CD of The Hombres "Let IT All Hang Out"?
Hey I used to have a 45 of the follow up hit “Take My Overwhelming Love and Cram It (up your heart) I would love to get a copy of it if anyone has it.. (Wynn Osborne - Ocala, FL)
6 July 2006

Somehow, this record appeared in my HUGE stack of albums as a youngin’ (it must have been AT LEAST twelve inches high).

If memory serves me accurately, it appeared when I was about 11 years old (1972). I was learning to play the electric bass; and in those days, the Cadillac of basses was a Fender, Jazz or Precision, with those big black nylon strings, playing through a Sunn bass amp---the ones with two 15-inch speakers. My Dad, who just could not see things my way, didn’t want to fork over the bucks for that, so I ended up with an Ampeg B-15 amp and a “Microfrets” Bass. But HE DID BUY ME those big black nylon strings.

I was in Heaven, and the HOMBRES played frequently on my turntable as I plucked away on my bass.

My Cousin and I (He was a wannabe drummer) became enamored with “It’s A Gas”, the song with the BELCH. At this age, in the early 70’s, nothing was more radical than a big BELCH on a record. God, if only our Children could experience such meanial joys of life today :-)

Well, you all know how it is---you put the former things away, becoming an “adult” and settling down. Along the way, I lost this album.

Turn the page to two weeks ago. I rent the movie “Elizabethtown”. My wife and I are watching it, and for a few brief seconds, this song plays. It immediately rings some huge bell deep in my soul. I mention it to the wife in passing, but I cannot erase it from my mind.

The movie’s credits come around, and I see the name, “Hombres”, appear. “Oh My God! I thought I knew that music!“, I said.

After she went to bed, I logged on to ebay.

Well friends, two days ago I looked out my front door and saw an album sitting there on the porch. ‘Tis was THE HOMBRES. I ran it through my Soundforge software, cleaning it up and burning it to a CD. Just a few hours ago I just exited from my Hot Tub having listened to the whole thing.

As the reviewer accurately said, this album isn’t the best in the world, yet there IS something about it---the music, the cover, the times, the guys who played it (of which only the cover reveals)---It vibrates in unison with something down inside of me---It brings JOY my heart.

It’s a shame that these boys couldn’t keep going because they had greatness in their bones. Nevertheless, I sure wish that I could have been a "Hombre" ‘cause THESE GUYS RULED.
The Hombres made it down here in Australia too. Let it All Hang Out is one of the all time greats.

In fact I was Googling in an atempt to find the mythical album when I came across this site.

Our local PBS station (check it out just payed it in a set along with some Brother Jack McDuff.

any chance I can get the mythical album anywhere? Guys? :-)
This song is fantastic. It is being used in Sept 2006 for a new beer called Foster’s Twist in the UK. Go to the website to see the ad – which is different but wow – that sound gripped me straight away. I went to the Fosters site – no credits for the song. I tried google and came up with an obscure band with a Mexican sounding name. Great, got the song, better still recorded the year I was born. Go to Amazon - can’t find an Album. Found your site by accident. This song is great, it’s here, its now, its happening – or maybe I’m dated. Come to think of it I like 60’s and 70’s cars and I don’t like most modern music (UK pop and rap), maybe it’s me. Let it all hang out !
Like John O,Brien i heard the song on the Fosters beer ad , ive always loved this song and i have the same song - Let It All Hang Out on a single by Jonathan king released on Decca Records in 1969 !
You don't know shit – and you write like a five year old. I sincerely hope you didn't get paid decent money to write that illiterate load of old bollocks. How in fuck did Melissa Etheridge get into an "article" (biggest pile of crap I've ever read, more like) about music from the 1960s? What you know about music could be written on the back of postage stamp. Fuck off, septic wanker
the lyrics are Dylan-esk mid-60's surrealism -- Cunningham admitted in a interview that their original inspiration for the song had been Dylan 's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," which they regarded as a goof masquerading as something profound; but "Let It Out" was even more over-the-top, "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)" and rose to number 12 in the national chats in 1967.
The Hombres' "Let it all hang out" is now being used in a Fosters TV advert here in the UK.

The ad certainly prompted me to try and download the album, an yes, it's a treat for sure!
I was in a band in Little Rock AR (The Sole Society) in the mid 60s that opened for "The Hombres" on a gig. They were promoting "LIAHO", and I remember them being extraordinarily professional. B B Cunningham was very nice to a bunch of kids just getting started.

BTW, wasn't it BB's brother, and not BB, who later was in the Box Tops? (Mike Lytle)
Hi Mark, I saw your posting on the Hombres. Great review ! I also am a product of the 60's generation and LOVE that song LIAHO ! I have a free form radio show in KC where I not only play the hit, but other cuts from the LP. If anyone knows how to get a cd of this great album, let me know. I'd also love to get the extra Hombres cuts that only came out on 45s. Be well & keep rockin' ! (Jinny Koons)
I personally know BB, but haven't seen him since the late 60's. His father BB Sr. Was originally with Sun Records before Elvis. BB didn't play in the Boxtops, that was his brother Bill, who I also met.
My name is Gary Cunningham, I'm the son of B.B. Cunningham Jr. Please, allow me to clear up some things. My dad was an audio engineer and recorded lots of artists including Cher, Billy Joel, and Kenny Rogers. My uncle Bill Cunningham is the bassist for Box Tops. They are still performing around the country with Alex Chilton. Still the original band members as well. My grandfather is Bubby Blake and recorded on the original Sun label. He has long since past away. I'm told by my father that Sam Phillips once asked my grandfather to be Elvis Presley's Manager. He turned him down. Sam and my grandfather were best friends. My dad (B.B.) use to go over to Sam's and jam out with Elvis. My dad is now currently playing with Jerry Lee Lewis. They'll be on WKNO for the fourth of July show. Watch it, he's the bassist.
in regards to Jerry, Hey - It is Cebra giving you an applaude. I love you too Edie.
I have found a 45 ( Let it Out ) Let it All Hang Out. It was still in the slip cover and sound is great. I must have bought when I was teen many years ago.
You forgot to mention the byrds "eight miles high" segment they play in GLORIA. and Sorry 'Bout That has the same organ as Wooly Bully by Sam sham and the pharoahs.

More innaresting facts about the Let It All Hang Out:
its in cameron crowes film elizabethtown (girly movie, not as good as almost famous)
let it all hang out is included on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968 (which anyone who likes Hombres should buy)

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Click here to purchase any of several compilations that have "Let It All Hang Out" on them -- be careful though! Check the track listings before ordering! Don't let 'em "rip you off"!

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