Every once in a while, you witness a live performance that really makes you stop to appreciate music. Saturday night was one of those times. In a stroke of sheer luck for Missouri fans, the Ozarks Amphitheater hosted a show in which each band had at least one member from the Show-Me state. The Comancheros opened the show, followed by The Kentucky Headhunters and The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
“It’s pretty neat to bring these three acts together because Doug [Phelps] is from Missouri, the [Ozark Mountain] Daredevils are from Missouri and so is Tanner (Jones) of The Comancheros,” said Richard Young of The Kentucky Headhunters.
“It’s wonderful to be back and to get to play in Missouri,” smiled Doug Phelps.
“We like it when we get to play in Kentucky and he likes it when we get to play here,” added Young. “There’s really not a lot of difference in us.”
The Headhunters are known for their southern rock music including hit song, “Dumas Walker” and drummer Fred Young infamously playing the length of the set in his underwear.
“He did play in his underwear,” Young chuckled.
“He probably hasn’t done that since about 1990,” Phelps added.
We’ll get a slaw burger fries and a bottle of ski:
The song “Dumas Walker” was written by the band’s five members at the time and was released as the second single on the record Pickin’ On Nashville. During their set Saturday, the crowd was shouting every lyric.
According to the Headhunters, there’s something special about a true, old-fashioned slaw burger. And they’ve shared their recipe.
“It’s pretty simple actually. Really, it’s just a patted out burger, with or without cheese and just mayonnaise slaw,” explained Young. “Then you can put mustard, ketchup on it or whatever.”
“The ironic thing about it is that they had slaw burgers at Emmett Jones Cafe in Cardwell, Missouri,” added Phelps.
“The only two places we ever knew to have slaw burgers was there and in Greensburg, Kenucky,” Young said. “Those two cafes in our home states… and that was years ago, long before we ever even met.”
“You gotta do the old-time patted out burger though,” Young reiterated.
“Yes, and Emmett always put a little sausage in his to make it go further,” Phelps laughed. “And he’d pat ‘em out about as thin as he could so they were crispy… boy they were good.”
The southern rock band is based in Columbia, Mo and lead vocalist Tanner Jones is from Kirksville.
“We played at the Ozarks Amphitheater ahead of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and The Ozark Mountain Daredevils a few years ago,” Jones said. “This is our fourth or fifth show with the Daredevils so it’s always fun.”
Richard Young describes them as “ZZ Top goes Star Wars” and produced their newest album, which is set to be released later this year.
“It was so fun working on that project with them. They’re good guys… We’re trying to get them a record deal because they deserve it,” Young added. “They’re really good.”
“We’ve got three full length albums right now and some other songs as well that are on all streaming services,” Jones said. “So far we’ve just got one song out that was produced by Richard and that’s “Old Mexico”. In the next few months we’ll be releasing the rest of that album.”
The Comancheros are playing the Kirksville Fair with Little Texas next month and have a few other local gigs on their upcoming tour dates. For more information, visit thecomancheros.com.
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
One of the things that makes the Ozark Mountain Daredevils so special and attributes to its 50+ years of music is the notion that the show must go on. A few band members, including OMD co-founder John Dillon, tested positive for COVID ahead of Saturday’s show and rather than canceling, the Daredevils adapted and overcame.
“We did a cruise a few years ago and Steve Cash was still living, but wasn’t able to make it and neither was John,” said band member Nick Sibley. “It was kind of the same configuration we had this weekend, so we’ve done that before. If somebody is missing it’s kind of like an orchestra… If one member can’t play somebody else just moves a chair over. Not that John can be replaced that easily but Supe did great. He filled the gaps and brought all of his energy for the Ozarks crowd.”
Michael “Supe” Granda led the band with his usual jokes and light-hearted conversation. As always, his performance during “Chicken Train,” was eclectic and paired with wide-eyed dance moves.
The last few months have been chalk full of firsts for the band, even half a century after its formation. The Daredevils made their Grand Ole Opry debut and were featured in a documentary on Ozarks Public Television.
“The Opry was an experience on a whole different level,” said Sibley. “It was a machine of good production.”
The May 17 performance can be seen at www.Opry.com by searching Ozark Mountain Daredevils. To view the documentary, visit optv.org.
“I was a fan of the band for a long time before I ever got to play with them,” Sibley added. “So to play the Opry or be in a documentary with these guys is just a privilege… There’s never been one band fight. Not one cross word. It’s just real fun.”
The Daredevils and Headhunters share a plethora of bluegrass and southern rock fans, but last weekend were the first shows the bands played together.
“We grew up listening to the Daredevils in the 70’s as kids…”If You Wanna Get To Heaven,” “Chicken Train,” all of that stuff… We’d heard all this great music and loved it,” said Young. “My sister saw them in Bowling Green with Black Oak Arkansas but I’ve never got to… so it was a great weekend.”
“Four or five years ago the Headhunters were the headliners at the El Dorado Springs Picnic, which is where I’m from, so I had actually seen them play before,” said Sibley. “But they did a really good job.”
According to Sibley, the members of the two bands were able to chat while preparing for the show and talked a lot about guitars, amps, music and their mutual appreciation.
“We heard them on the radio all the time and back when I worked at an electronic store, I used to sell their records,” said Headhunter Greg Martin. “Their one album [It’ll Shine When It Shines] was huge… we sold the crap out of it.”
“Oh yeah, “Jackie Blue” was the Number One record, it went number one,” Phelps added. “The Daredevils have always been a good band and it has been a fun weekend.”
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