Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965 to 1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
Track 59/118: Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) by The Hombres
From: Memphis, Tennessee
Aphoristic Rating: 7/10
LET IT OUT (LET IT ALL HANG OUT) – The Hombres [2:03]
[First pressings were titled “Let It All Hang Out”]
(Bill Cunningham/John Hunter/Jerry Masters/Gary McEwen)
Personnel/BILLY “B.B.” CUNNINGHAM: vocals, organ * GARY McEWEN: guitar * JERRY LEE MASTERS: bass * JOHNNY HUNTER: drums
Produced by HUEY P. MEAUX for SHELBY SINGLETON PROD.
Recorded in Memphis, TN
Verve Forecast single #KF-5058 (8/67); Pop #12
The Hombres started out as the touring version of the Daytonas. The Daytonas had enjoyed a #4 hit with ‘G.T.O.’, a Beach Boys clone, but sent a phantom band out on the road to capitalise on their success.
The Hombres had worked up an original song, ‘Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)’. It took them a year to convince someone to produce and release it, but it became a #12 hit. The riff is suspiciously like ‘Gloria’, while Billy Cunningham delivers a Southern Dylan impersonation, inspired by ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’. The opening line – “A preachment, dear friends, you are about to receive on John Barleycorn, nicotine and the temptations of Eve” – is iconic, taken from the 1947 novelty hit ‘Cigareetes, Whuskey and Wild, Wild Women’ by Red Ingle and His Natural Seven.
The Hombres never enjoyed another hit. Followup single ‘Am I High (Boy Am I High)’ bombed, and their sole album sank without a trace. The band broke up in 1969. Shockingly, two members of The Hombres died by gunshot – vocalist B.B. Cunningham was killed in 2012 while working as a security guard.
‘Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)’ featured in the 2005 movie Elizabethtown, while it’s been covered by John Cougar Mellencamp and Jonathan King.
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