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Opie Hendrix – San Jacinto

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I’ve been sitting on this last piece of found musica for too long, so I’ll just knock it out here for you while I sit and listen to it. I found this one on my desk when I got back from Minneapolis a week or two ago, a present from The Wife. I finally got to listen to it on my drive back from Austin last week.

It’s really hard for me to say just how much I like this album, and how much I dig Opie Hendrix. There’s really nothing wrong with it that I can find (except for one slow song that I just can’t abide). I’m already on record as saying that Opie’s nothing short of a Texas musical genius, and this CD just makes me believe that even more. He’s an awesome guitarist, and I love to hear him wail. So, let me just kind of take this track-by-track, if you don’t mind. But really…you should just trust me on this one and go buy it right frikkin’ now. You will not make a mistake by snagging Smashed Hits at the same time, my friends.

1) A 30 second intro that cracks you up…

2) Can’t Even Yodel – a nice little “saloon by the train station & a broken heart” song about drinking, sorta shuffly and blue. Good pedal steel guitar here, and some superb fiddling, too. I want to hear this one out under the stars. And Opie does a passable yodel in there, too.

3) Little Party – heh…a good “caught you in the middle of doing wrong” in classic Ft. Worth Stockyards country music style. I can just see the hats twirling the rhinestone jeans around in a sweet, well-practiced two-step. Lopes along beautifully, has a good honky-tonk piano plinking along in there, and the chorus a great sing-along (the dog is the only one who agrees with me.)

4) Golfing & Gravy – a folky, fun little thing, full of aphorisms and metaphors, strung along with what I’ve come to consider a typical Opie style — bright notes peeking out, kinda poppy, but fun — a real toe-tapper & head-knodder. Great line: “gotta keep singin, even when no one’s dancin…”

5) Beautiful & True – slow love song — UGH! But wait…there’s a nice accordion, and a cool San Angelo mex-tex sound back there. It’s got a name, but I can’t recall it. Sounds like Family Dance Night at the VFW in Brady

6) You & Me – good “we’re both a couple of drunks, so let’s get drunk, get together, and have some fun” song.

7) Suddenly Susan – a whole 45 seconds of noodling on the guitar. Whatever, Opie.

8) Mr. Blue – this is the kind of song that makes Opie a madcap musical genius. It’s a dang 1954 doo-wop song, complete with pedal steel guitar and falsetto backing vocals. Hilarious. “Call me Mr. Blue/wah-wah-oooooh.” You just hafta grin.

9) Texas Love – starts out like slow Bob Wills tribute, then kicks into a shit-kickin’ mandolin-pickin’ stomp, then drops back to Bob. Opie and the band jam through all the gears on this one, and it’s weirdly beautiful.

10) My Favorite Waitress (aka, Big Boobies) – every damn radio station in the land should be playing this one at least once an hour. If you don’t grin and jump around and sing along at the top of your voice with this one, you’re clinically dead. You gotta love the chorus:
She’s got big boobies
Likes dirty movies
She can suck a golf ball through a garden hose
Shaves her beaver
I’ll never leave her
Just get her wasted and it’s anything goes.

An instant classic, my friends…mix tape fodder for generations yet to come.

11) Two Swinging Doors – slow song — the only punch-out song on the whole disc. It’s good country blues, but it ain’t my style.

12) You Don’t Care (Slight Return) – this was on Smashed Hits, and it really is a slight return. I’m glad he re-issued it or re-did it or whatever it is. I love this song, mucho. Adding a tee-tiny bit of surf-y guitar in there jazzes me, too. Great line: “Someone slipped me cocaine/Must have been in that powder I was sniffing” Yeah, it’s a dope song, which goes agains my grain, but it’s a funny song. I’ve had women who busted me down enough to gobble up a pile of reds, I reckon.

12) Shoulda Known Better – the Ghost of Waylon Jennings haunts this song. It’s uncanny, and it’s awesome. I kept hitting the re-do button on the CD player and listened to this about 10 times in a row. Opie brings in a guest lead vocal on this one, one Capt. Mike Bly to play guitar and sing along with him. The song’s one of those “fish out of water” deals, with crazy drunks covered in weird tattoos and stinking of cheap perfume: “when she smiled, she was pretty/in that scary kind of way”. Waking up in the car with a grotesquely swollen head, police tappin on the window — aw, hell, just buy it and listen to it. This song is worth the price of admission alone.
If I’d known then, what I know now
I’d have never learned what I know now

Hehehehehe. Gorgeous.

14. Things Gotta Change – another durn style-change: Texas blues, with a by-God organ snakin around in the background. It feels like I’ve been listening to this song for a hundred years in a thousand smoky bars with a million cold beers in my hand, and it always just pole-axes me how gorgeous the blues can be. I get all wrapped up in the Texas honky-tonk stuff, and rightly so, but I will never stop loving the blues shouters. Not never.

15) It’s My Life – ack…slow song. Opie! Son! Put this at the beginning of the album. It’s bluesy – girlfriend done left him, and he’s all angsty, and getting drunk & misty. Blech. Purty, but not for me, bud.

16) If I Had A Girl Like You (I’d Shoot Myself) – this is such a classic punky Americana midwesterner song, and it rocks your lame ass. Very ‘Mats circa 1992, which could quite easily be where it came from. I swear I’ve heard this song before, but it’s not even listed as a song, and there aren’t any credits. Officially, it doesn’t exist, but my gosh! it’s a great rocker. I just wanna pogo around and play air guitar and be a big scowling screaming punk when this one’s on. If anyone knows the provenance of this song, let me know.

There you go. What I dearly love about this CD is the fact that it covers a lot of great styles that I enjoy, and Opie does it with typical Opie flair. I wish to hell that more people knew Opie Hendrix and the Texas Tallboys. I’ve seen him several times, but it ain’t enough. He’s one guy I’ll stop down for and make an effort to catch when he comes to town. When I miss a Dallas show, I’m always sad, because I know I missed a good show. And in my books, Opie is one of the good guys when it comes to musicians. I genuinely like the guy, and I don’t say that about many musicians I meet.

Go buy it and support independent Texas music, and support a truly great guy.

It makes me sick to my stomach that Houston gets to claim the Opester & the Tallboys. You swampy sonuvaguns better go support him — there will be no [crosses fingers] Camus quoting. You might get a Hendrix replay and walking on the bar while playing the guitar, but not Camus.

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About Scott Chaffin

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Scott! great to hear from you and Opie.