Cloaca Melodia

My life in concerts, by Mike Sauter.


Beat Farmers

Colemans, Rome, NY

My hometown friend Dave was attending Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, while I was at Ithaca College. He told me that The Beat Farmers were going to be playing near in in Rome (where my mother's side of the family is from). I didn't have a car, so I took a Greyhound to Utica and Dave picked me up. I've never been to the bar before or since, but it was a pretty standard type of wood-panelled bar with a lot of 4'x4' tables in front of the stage and standing area around the perimeter of the room. The band was just like the title of their later live album: Loud 'n' Plowed. Jerry Rainey and Buddy Blue were somewhat memorable, but it's hard to compete for brain-space when you've got a guy in the band like the late, legendary Country Dick Montana. Montana, the big guy dressed in a duster and cowboy hat behind the drum kit, punctuated his percussion with frequent shouts of "Hah!"

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He came out from behind the drums to take lead vocals on two of his signature songs. First was "Happy Boy," the odd song about a happy guy with a dead dog, during which Montana performed live his famous Budweiser gargling solo. But his other number was an absolute show-stopper: a set-closing rendition of "California Kid." During an instrumental break of the song, Montana laid down on the stage and tried to drink a bottle of beer with his boots--only to have the bottle slip from his pedal grasp and smack him in the face. The song has a brief section near the end spoken by Montana in his basso profundo; to perform it, he leapt up on top of one of the tables. He suddenly realized he chose one of the bar's few empty tables, so he jumped down and hopped up onto a full table. "Hah! You thought it was funny was I was over there!" he declared triumphantly to those sitting at his new table, before he launched into the song's conclusion. A great night.

1. Reason to Believe
2. Ridin'
3. Bigger Fool than Me
4. Texas (Jerry Raney intro: "Here's a song about sheep-fucking in Texas.")
5. Selfish Heart (Raney, before song asks crowd to move closer "so we can see what kind of scum we're playing to")
6. Bunny Call (Country Dick on lead vocals)
7. Happy Boy (Country Dick on lead vocals; Country Dick intro: "Alright, pigs, this one's a sing-a-long. Gonna need a little help here!")
8. Big Ugly Wheels (Country Dick on lead vocals)
9. Bigger Stones
10. Powderfinger (Neil Young cover; Raney intro: "This is a song from the new Beat Farmers album, Van Go. It's in the stores, you should be able to go and buy it.")
11. Death Train
12. Rosie (Tom Waits cover)
13. Make It Last (Raney intro: "This is a song for my girlfriend back home.")
14. Road of Ruin
15. Big Rock Candy Mountain (Country Dick on lead vocals; Country Dick intro: "")
16. Blue Chevrolet
17. Riverside
18. Seven Year Blues
19. Deceiver >>
20. Key to the World
21. There She Goes Again
22. Big River (Johnny Cash cover; Country Dick on lead vocals; Raney intro: "You guys are in for a double-big treat! Country Dick Montana's gonna play you some gee-tar, but he's going to play it for you on the guitar made out of 157 popsicle sticks today.")
  [encore break]
23. Acapella Led Zeppelin Medley (Country Dick intro: "We're going to do something extra-pretty. Sensitive and tender, the way I like it.")
24. California Kid
25. Revenooer Man (Raney: "This is a song by George Jones.")
  [encore break]
26. Carol (Rolling Stones cover)

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