Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Moe Bandy

  • I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today [GRC, 1974] A-
  • It Was Always So Easy (to Find an Unhappy Woman) [GRC, 1974] B+
  • Bandy the Rodeo Clown [GRC, 1975] B
  • The Best of Moe Bandy [Columbia, 1977] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today [GRC, 1974]
Whereupon the singing sheet-metal worker bequeaths to posterity a whole album of 'em--simple tales of pain, guilt, and hard-earned redemption, unadorned by violins or other self-indulgences. On side two especially he finds songwriters who take sin as seriously as he does--believe me, anybody who can top "This Time I Won't Cheat on Her Again" with "I Wouldn't Cheat on Her if She Was Mine" is covering all the angles. A-

It Was Always So Easy (to Find an Unhappy Woman) [GRC, 1974]
Next line: "Till I started lookin' for mine." B+

Bandy the Rodeo Clown [GRC, 1975]
Look closely at the bull on the back cover and you'll note piss coming out of his pizzle, but even combined with Bandy's vinegar it's not enough. However much you admire his stylistic single-mindedness, hard honky-tonk doesn't pack quite enough wallop in itself--it requires a less austere singer, or inspired material, or the kind of thematic single-mindedness that can make a whole audience love cheatin' songs again. B

The Best of Moe Bandy [Columbia, 1977]
Despite the definitive "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," Bandy's music on Columbia has followed the pattern of such GRC anomalies as "Bandy the Rodeo Clown" and "Cowboys and Playboys"--if not tinged with pop outright, then at least softer rhythmically or melodically. I like these songs when they're good. But they misrepresent him--the cheated-upon protagonist of "The Biggest Airport in the World" is naive, which misses Bandy's point completely. This compiles eight GRC hits (including the above-named anomalies) and the two CBS songs I've mentioned. It's an unusually solid country LP, and the GRC albums are all out of print anyway. But I miss "Smoke Filled Room" and "I'm Gonna Listen to Me" and "I Stop and Get Up (to Go Out of My Mind)." A-