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. I forgot on which song, but Montana also played guitar on one song, which he introduced by saying, "I'm going to play you a song on this here guitar I made out of 275 popsicle sticks." About the only other item I remember from the show is the band doing a George Jones cover. A great night.

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