Legend has it that when Gene Pitney first heard Los Bravos' "Black Is Black," he turned to his manager and said, "Funny, I don't remember recording that!" Billy Joe Royal's "Down in the Boondocks" might have caused Pitney to do a double take as well. Built on a very similar Latin rhythm as Pitney's earlier hit "24 Hours From Tulsa," only syncopated a bit to better fit the southern boy's tale of woe, and sung by Royal in must have been a conscious aping of Pitney's instantly familiar quavering style. (None of Royal's follow-up hits featured the generally gruff-voiced singer singing in this high a register.) Lyrically, it's basically "Patches" without the drownings, your basic cross-cultural tale of the rich girl and the poor boy who loves her. However, it's the novel sound of that rhythm and the twangy lead guitar that makes the song.