Please Rise For Bobby Joe Owens

I really enjoyed the album art for Bobby Joe Owen’s new disc, Please Rise. He’s artistically rendered in a rose embroidered Nudie type suit, wailing away into a microphone. Just looking at it gave me high hopes for what was inside. Created by French graphic artist Sophie Lo, it has a fun, retro feel.

Please Rise was produced by Jimbo (Confederate Buddha) Mathus. Owens put out two other discs with Retro Deluxe on his own label, Rinkled Rooster: Baby, It’s Hot! and Watermelon Tea. I’d listen to the second just because I’m a sucker for poetic names. Both of those had a bluesier, rockabilly flavor.

I’ve heard one song that’s not on the disc, but is available as a single on his site. We’re Buckaroos was a really enjoyable Buck Owens tribute song. Goofy and repetitive, don’t listen to it if you have a hangover. But, if you’re in a good mood already (or need something ridiculous to put you there quickly) then tune it in. One thing I learned. Do not turn it on in a car with young ones unless you like it enough to hear it fifty-seven thousand more times in the next ninety minutes.

As someone who actually grew up singing a buckaroo song, this is one of the better ones. I can vouch for that. Back in Texas, ours was painfully out of tune and rhymed in the way that only grade school kids in the seventies could make it. I’m a buckarooOO! How ’bout youOO? We climb mountains and streams, tooOO!

This version definitely has an old school feel, but in a genuinely humorous way, not like the original ones which were like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep reminded me of kd lang’s Big Boned Gal. Less rollicking, this was a slower ode to a big haired, big footed gal. She’s got big hair. She’s got big feet. She’s got a great big heart. She’s got what I need. I  don’t think I’ve heard another song honest enough to mention a woman having a full time job as being a plus.

From the opening of My Cadillac Has Fins, you know you’re going to have fun. This might be what it would sound like if Jerry Lee Lewis put his spin on Johnny Cash’s song about bringing home his cadillac from the factory One Piece At A Time.

For me, the slower songs were less successful on the album. I hate to say it (can you be against Mama in country music?) but Momma’s Song was not one of my favorites. Maybe it’s just that the fast songs are so very good that even a perfectly fine slow song just does not appear to rise to the occasion next to them.

Others have called Bobby Joe Owens garrulous, pugnacious, legendary, boozy, (and) seductive. They left out one thing. Fun!

Goes good with: Retro Deluxe, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash

Rating: 8/10

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