Category Archives: Cloudcast

The Bo-Keys: Heartaches by the Number

BoKeys_HeartachesByTheNumberSouled-out country bridges Memphis and Nashville

Imagine if the two hundred miles separating Nashville and Memphis hadn’t birthed two entirely separate musical cultures. As if the country songwriters of the former had more freely shopped their material among the blues and soul musicians of the latter. That’s the premise of the Bo-Keys third album, as they give songs by Harlan Howard, Curly Putnam, Hank Williams and Freddy Fender a spin down Beale Street and on a road trip to Muscle Shoals. Traveling beyond Nashville, the soul transformation roams West for Merle Haggard’s early album track “The Longer You Wait,” and East (albeit, via Nashville Skyline) for Bob Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away.”

The Bo-Keys aren’t the first to put a soulful spin on these song; Swamp Dogg’s “Don’t Take Her (She’s All I Got)” started as a soul side before turning country, as did Curly Putnam’s “Set Me Free,” which had been given soulful treatments by Charlie Rich, Joe Tex, Van & Grace and Esther Phillips before Ferlin Husky took it to the Nashville mainstream. Even closer, Little Richard gave “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die” the full Stax treatment on 1971’s King of Rock and Roll. None of which takes away from the Bo-Keys creativity, but helps show that great songs can stand apart from the genre in which they were birthed. Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date,” for example, is equally compelling when shifted here from piano and strings to guitar and horns.

The opening “Heartaches By the Number” hangs on to its Ray Price beat, and though Johnny Tillotson added horns in an earlier cover, guest vocalist Don Bryant makes the song’s heartbreak darker. The band’s regular vocalist, Percy Wiggins, sings soulfully throughout, but really nails the spoken sections of “Set Me Free” with an edginess that reveals the song’s desperation. Eric Lewis’ pedal steel adds country notes to “The Longer You Wait,” but Wiggins’ vocal and the horn chart keep the song rooted in Memphis. The album’s two originals, “Learned My Lesson in Love” and “I Hope You Find What You’re Looking For,” fit musically and thematically with the covers, and fill out a great album full of jukebox heartbreak. [©2016 Hyperbolium]

The Bo-Keys’ Home Page

Hypercast #6: In Memoriam 2015

A collection of music from some of the artists who passed away in 2015.

Billy Joe Royal Down in the Boondocks
B.B. King Early in the Morning
Bonnie Lou Friction Heat
Ben E. King (The Drifters) Save the Last Dance for Me
Don Covay Come See About Me
Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate) Emma
Don Joyce Crystal’s Snowdrift Disco Bar & Thrill
Jack Ely (The Kingsmen) Louie, Louie
Leonard Nimoy Highly Illogical
Kim Fowley The Trip
Buddy Emmons Witches Brew
Cory Wells (Three Dog Night) Mama Told Me Not to Come
Jean Richie Dulcimer Pieces
Johnny Gimble Lone Star Rag
Little Jimmy Dickens Me and My Big Loud Mouth
Lynn Anderson Flattery Will Get You Everywhere
Curtis Lee Pretty Little Angel Eyes
David Somerville (The Diamonds) Little Darlin’
Ronnie Bright (Johnny Cymbal) Mr. Bass Man
Frankie Ford Sea Cruise
Allen Toussaint Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky
Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat & Tears) Spinning Wheel
Ramona Jones Whiskey Before Breakfast
Chuck Pyle Rio Rey
Cilla Black Conversations
Michael Brown (The Left Banke) Pretty Ballerina
Rod McKuen Jean
Percy Sledge Warm and Tender Love
Lesley Gore I Don’t Want To Be a Loser
Johnny Keating Theme From Z-Cars
Ward Swingle (The Swingle Singers) The Little Fugue
Jim Ed Brown Pop-A-Top
Owen Castleman Judy Mae
Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) Creep
P.F. Sloan Halloween Mary
Dave Pike Jet Set

Hypercast #5: The Fool Anthology

“The Fool” was written by Lee Hazlewood (though credited to his nom de spouse, Naomi Ford, and with a guitar riff borrowed from Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightnin’“), and first waxed by Sanford Clark in 1956. Since then, the song’s been recorded dozens of times across a surprising range of genres. Here, for your irritainment*, are twenty-eight different recordings, clocking it at over ninety-six oddly hypnotic minutes.

* Thanks to artist Gordon Monahan and his Exotic Trilogy series for inspiration.

Hypercast #4: In Memoriam 2014

A collection of music from some of the artists who passed away in 2014.

Arthur Smith Guitar Boogie
The Everly Brothers (Phil Everly) Made to Love
Lois Johnson Come on in and Let Me Love You
Weldon Myrick Once a Day
Johnny Winter Dallas
Little Jimmy Scott Everybody Needs Somebody
Jimmy Ruffin What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
Jay and the Americans (Jay Traynor) She Cried
Bob Crewe Music to Watch Girls By
The Orlons (Rosetta Hightower) The Wah-Watusi
Cream (Jack Bruce) I Feel Free
Joe Cocker Feelin’ Alright
Jerry Vale You Don’t Know Me
Deon Jackson Love Makes the World Go ‘Round
Acker Bilk Stranger on the Shore
Jeanne Black He’ll Have to Stay
George Hamilton IV Abilene
Sadina (Priscilla Mitchell) It Comes and Goes
Velva Darnell Not Me
The Bobbettes (Reather Dixon Turner) Mr. Lee
Jimmy C. Newman Artificial Rose
Jesse Winchester Do It
Bobby Womack What You Gonna Do (When Your Love is Gone)

Hypercast #3: Americana

A collection of recently released country, Americana, rock and folk, plus a few reissues. Click the artist names below for associated album reviews.

The O’s “Outlaw”
The Coals “Dirt Road”
James Booker “If You’re Lonely (Alternate Take)”
Owen Temple “Johnson Grass”
Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott with John Prine “Paradise”
The Everly Brothers “Long Time Gone”
Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition “Shine Like a Diamond”
Jonny Two Bags “The Way it Goes”
Moot Davis “Use to Call it Love”
Steve Poltz “Song for Hawk”
David Frizzell & Shelly West” “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma”
Sid Selvidge “Wild About My Lovin'”
Fearing & White “Secret of a Long-Lasting Love”
Marah “The Falling of the Pine”
James Booker “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby”
Terry Waldo “I’m Just Wild About Harry”
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs “Trouble in Mind”
Old 97s & Waylon Jennings “Iron Road”
John Anderson “These Cotton Patch Blues”

Hypercast #2: In Memoriam 2013

A collection of music from some of the artists who passed away in 2013.

Ray Price Heartaches by the Number
Tompall Glaser Drinking Them Beers
Richie Havens High Flyin’ Bird
The Standells (Dick Dodd) Dirty Water
Game Theory (Scott Miller) Jimmy Still Comes Around
Ten Years After (Alvin Lee) I’d Love to Change the World
Sammy Johns Chevy Van
Junior Murvin Police and Thieves
Bobby “Blue” Bland Cry Cry Cry
Jewel Akins The Birds and the Bees
Eydie Gormé Blame it on the Bossa Nova
Bob Brozman Stack O Lee Aloha
Bob Thompson Mmm Nice!
Divinyls (Chrissy Amphlett) I Touch Myself
Annette Funicello California Sun
The Doors (Ray Manzarek) Light My Fire
Slim Whitman I Remember You
Noel Harrison Suzanne
The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed) Pale Blue Eyes
George Jones I’ve Aged Twenty Years in Five
Patti Page Tennessee Waltz
Cowboy Jack Clement I Guess Things Happen That Way
JJ Cale After Midnight
Ray Price For the Good Times

Hypercast #1: Americana

A collection of recently released country, Americana, rock and folk, plus a few catalog items for good measure. Click the artist names below for associated album reviews.

Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott “Just One More”
Vince Gill and Paul Franklin “Nobody’s Fool But Yours”
Brian Wright “Over Yet Blues”
Escondido “Bad Without You”
Merle Haggard “The Fugitive”
Left Arm Tan “69 Reasons”
The Band of Heathens “Records in Bed”
One Mile an Hour “Sunken Ships”
Hall of Ghosts “Giant Water”
Greg Trooper “All the Way to Amsterdam”
Rick Shea “Gregory Ray DeFord”
The Barn Birds “Sundays Loving You”
Mando Saenz “Breakaway Speed”
Stewart Eastham “Crawl Up in Your Bottle”
Kris Kristofferson “Why Me”
Dwight Yoakam “Two Doors Down”
Nick Ferrio & His Feelings “Half the Time”
Kelly Willis “He Don’t Care About Me”