Moe Bandy

I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today

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When Moe Bandy released his first album, I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today, on GRC Records in 1974, country music was immersed in one of its periodic infatuations with pop crossover. Bandy wasn't having any of that. He was based outside of Nashville and was a hardcore honky tonk singer who made no concessions to pop. In a way, he was a kindred spirit to the emerging outlaw country movement, since both disdained Nashville and were trying to get the music back to its roots, but Bandy had none of the rock or folk influences of outlaw; he was country, pure and simple, as his debut illustrates. This is direct, unadorned country music, with plenty of steel guitars and barroom weepers, all about heartache, drinking, and cheatin' women. If Bandy's voice is somewhat plain, lacking the rich resonance of George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, or Ray Price, he doesn't lack character; he's learned from the greats and his plaintive voice emphasizes the directness of his music. Plus, he knows how to deliver a line, knows how to wring emotion out of a great song. Fortunately, he has more than his share of great songs here. Not one of them is a cover of a well-known song. Instead, they're all newly written tunes, most by Sanger Shafer and A.L. Owens, which gives the album its own character, as if it was a collection of forgotten favorites. The title track and "Honky Tonk Amnesia" were the hits, breaking Bandy through to a wide audience, but they aren't the only highlights here. There isn't a weak song or a weak performance on I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today, and its strict adherence to the tenets of hardcore honky tonk resulted in one of the all-time great pure country records.

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