Marion Franklin Bandy, Jr., known professionally as Moe Bandy (born February 12, 1944), is a country music singer. He was most popular during the 1970s, when he had several hit songs, both alone and with his singing partner, Joe Stampley.
Early life and recordings
Marion Bandy was born and grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, the home-town of the country singer Jimmie Rodgers. He later stated: "My grandfather worked on the railroads with Jimmie Rodgers. He was the boss of the railway yard in Meridian and Jimmie Rodgers worked for him. He said that he played his guitar all the time between work."
He was nicknamed Moe by his father when he was a child. The Bandy family moved to San Antonio, Texas when Moe was six. His mother played piano and sang. Bandy was taught to play the guitar by his father who had a country band called the Mission City Playboys, but made little use of the ability until he was in his teens. His father's wish that Moe also play the fiddle never materialized.
He made some appearances with the Mission City Playboys, but generally during his high school years, he showed little interest in music and a great deal of interest in rodeos. He tried bronco-busting and bull riding and by the time he was 16, both he and his brother Mike were competing in rodeos all over Texas.
In 1962, tired of the bruises and fractured bones, he began to pursue a career in country music. He assembled a band that he called Moe And The Mavericks and found work playing small beer joints, honky-tonks and clubs over a wide area around San Antonio, Texas. When he was young he tried to sound like Hank Williams and George Jones - "I even had my hair cut short like his".
Although work was plentiful, the pay was poor and during the day he worked for his father as a sheet metal worker. This was to last for the next 12 years, during which time he made a few recordings for various small labels. In 1964, he had his first single, "Lonely Lady", on the Satin label, but it made little impression. He did manage to get his band a residency on a local television program called Country Corner and in this capacity, he provided backing for several touring stars.
In 1973, he went solo when record producer Ray Baker, who had listened to Bandy's demos the previous year, suggested that he come to Nashville, Tennessee. Bandy obtained a loan and recorded a song called "I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today". Initially released on Footprint Records with a limited pressing of 500 copies, it soon came to the attention of the Atlanta-based GRC label. In March 1974, it entered the US country charts, eventually peaking at number 17. Other minor hits followed, including "It Was Always So Easy To Find An Unhappy Woman (Till I Started Looking For Mine)" and "Don't Anyone Make Love At Home Anymore".
In 1975, a song written by his friend Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shaffer gave him a number seven country hit, firmly establishing his reputation. "Bandy The Rodeo Clown" was to become not only one of his own favorites but also one of his most popular recordings. (Shaffer was greatly amused by the way Bandy pronounced woman as "woh-min", and began to send him songs with the "woh-min" in them.)
Bandy sang in a simple style that extracted the utmost from his songs of lost love, sadness and life. Although by no means a Hank Williams sound-alike, his method of putting across his honky tonk songs shows a distinct influence from Williams. He met with immediate success at Columbia Records with Paul Craft's "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life" and quickly added further hits, including "Here I Am Drunk Again".
From 1977 through 1979, he was a country chart regular with singles such as "I'm Sorry For You, My Friend" (the song Williams had written for their mutual friend Lefty Frizzell), "Cowboys Ain't Supposed To Cry", "That's What Makes The Jukebox Play" and a duet with Janie Fricke, "It's A Cheating Situation".
In 1979, he achieved his first solo number one with "I Cheated Me Right Out of You".
That same year, in 1979, Bandy joined forces with Joe Stampley and recorded a tongue in cheek novelty single: "Just Good Ol' Boys". The song went on to top the country charts, and it led to a continuation of the partnership over the following years. The duo, commonly known as "Moe and Joe", had more novelty hits between 1979 and 1985, including "Holding The Bag", "Tell Ole I Ain't Here" and "Hey Joe (Hey Moe)". In 1984, they ran into copyright problems with their parody of the then-current Boy George/Culture Club phenomenon: "Where's The Dress" used the introduction from Culture Club's hit "Karma Chameleon".
During the 1980s, Bandy maintained a steady line of solo successes, including "Yesterday Once More", "Rodeo Romeo", "She's Not Really Cheatin' (She's Just Gettin' Even)" and "Till I'm Too Old To Die Young", and several others.
Bandy also registered duet successes with Judy Bailey ("Following The Feeling") and Becky Hobbs ("Let's Get Over Them Together"). Over the years, he maintained a touring schedule estimated at 250 to 300 days a year, and appeared on numerous network television shows. In later years, he cut back considerably on his schedule. He was never a regular Grand Ole Opry member, but has made guest appearances from time to time.
Bandy summed up his music when he said, "I really think my songs are about life. There's cheating, drinking and divorcing going on everywhere and that's what hardcore country music is all about." He added: "If I'd done all the things I sing about, I'd be dead."
Critics reviewing some of his later recordings wrote that it was strange that, when more artists were actually recording his type of music, some of his recordings were spoiled by string and or choir arrangements, and advised that an immediate return to his roots was necessary. Bandy opened his popular Americana Theatre in Branson, Missouri in 1991. He performs frequently in Branson, Missouri.
Moe, along with his brother, Mike Bandy, a six time NFR bull riding qualifier, were inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2007.