The Hombres started life as the road band version of Ronny & the Daytonas of "G.T.O." fame; guitarist Gary McEwen, organist B. B. Cunningham (brother of Box Tops bassist Bill Cunningham), and bassist John Hunter had all attended Memphis High before they became the touring version of the Daytonas. They spent years playing under that name and doing that repertory, but had greater aspirations. Cunningham and McEwen authored a song called "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)," which seemed like it had some possibilities as a single. It took them the better part of a year to get anyone in the business interested, during which bassist Jerry Lee Masters joined their lineup. Finally, Shelby Singleton brought producer Huey P. Meaux aboard to produce the record, which was issued by Verve Forecast in the summer of 1967. By that time, the group had briefly worked as the Bandits before settling on the name the Hombres. Cunningham sang lead and spoke the introduction on the folksy, country-ish narrative, filled with lyrics saturated in elements of surrealism reminiscent of Bob Dylan's mid-'60s work. This was no accident -- Cunningham admitted in a Goldmine interview that their original inspiration for the song had been Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," which they regarded as a goof masquerading as something profound; but "Let It Out" was even more over-the-top, and also had a decided working-class southern feel that made it a little more regionally appealing than its inspiration, and a short two-minute-and-six-second running time, which made it ideal for radio. "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)" entered the charts in September of 1967 and rose to number 12 nationally. The band tried issuing more humor-laced singles, including "Am I High (Boy Am I High)," and an LP that disappeared without leaving a trace, and the Hombres were history by 1969.
Share this page