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! And don't think I'm talkin' about "in the sack" either! (though I did break that record too - take it from me, if you wanna please your woman all nite long - develop a painful case of priapism!). No but all seriousness aside, I would step on my Dad's old records that 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 trying to figure out why all the little girls and half of the little boys were trying to give him their lunch money for an "Around The World," 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! Aside from "Sorry 'Bout That," which I actively loathe, there's not a song on here that isn't in some way really really lots of fun! 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."
Thanks for the memories.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 http://www.pbsfm.org.au/) just payed it in a set along with some Brother Jack McDuff.
any chance I can get the mythical album anywhere? Guys? :-)
The ad certainly prompted me to try and download the album, an yes, it's a treat for sure!
BTW, wasn't it BB's brother, and not BB, who later was in the Box Tops?
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)
Back to Mark Prindle's Hilarious Novelty Piano Where All The Keys Give You Really Powerful Electric Shocks