Friday, October 22, 2010

Country Music Month: The Texas Connection - Oom Papa Maow Maow

Most people who read this story will associate the Oak Ridge Boys with Tennessee and rightfully so. However, there is a Texas Connection with the Oaks. That would be lead singer Duane Allen who was born in Taylortown, Texas. This current iteration of the Oak Ridge Boys has been together for at least thirty years, except for a few years when William Lee Golden left the group only to rejoin them later. I met these guys when I was the emcee for their concert in Wichita Falls in about 1980 or '81. They were a great group of guys just to sit and talk with and they couldn't have made things easier for me because at the time I was a baby DJ. They put on a good show and the audience loved them and the guys loved the crowd right back. A more detailed bio of the Oaks can be found here on wikipedia.

I was lucky enough to have emceed their show just before the release one of the biggest songs of the year, or several years for that matter. The song? A remake of an old Dallas Frazier hit called Elvira. when the Oaks sang that song at the show, the crowd went ape! Elvira went on to become a super smash hit. The four guys we know as the Oak Ridge Boys today, Joe Bonsall ( a very funny man), Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and William Lee Golden, had some great songs in the '70s and '80s that should be staples on any Classic Country radio station in the USA. That they are still together after all these years is a testament to not only their talent, but to the quality of music they sing and they way they relate to their audience. They are plain old good guys who are happy doing what they do and it shows.

Some of my personal favorites by the Oaks are:
  • Thank God for Kids - Written by Eddie Raven, recently re-made by Kenny Chesney, this is a timeless song. I sing it to my little girls sometimes and, like the song says, "I look down in those trusting eyes" and realize how much God has blessed me and what a great job I have as a father. 
  • Y'all Come Back Saloon - Any song that has the phrase "late night benediction" in it is classic to me. Damn good song.
  • I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes - Remembering a lost love. Joe Bonsall sings and you feel the sense of loss.
  • Dream On - Because I like it.
  • I'll Be True to You - Lost love found again...but too late. Mucho el sad-o.
  • Sail Away - "go to sleep together with the rocking of water"...I am all in on that.
Other than the Statler Brothers, I can't think of another group that has done what the Oak Ridge Boys have done for Country Music. And I don't include Rascal Flats and all those "boy bands" that claim to be country. I don't mean to disparage Rascal Flats and groups like them, but who will be listening to Rascal Flats' music in 20 years? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

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