Moe Bandy shares his story…
By: Gina Kay Singerhouse
“That didn’t really happen, did it Grandpa?” asks his granddaughter.
She has been sitting upon his knee the whole time that he told his story. He brings her in close to give her a hug and grace her with a kiss upon her forehead.
With a smile on his lips, he replies, “Why yes it did! It happened just like I told you…”
It’s moments like these. The precious time spent with his grandchildren that make life worth living. Not all the Gold records and music awards, can ever give him the blessedness that he receives from any one of his grandchildren.
Satisfied with her story, she hops off his knee to go play with her dolls. With love in his heart, he realizes that this little girl may never remember the stories he has told her.
As he watches his granddaughter, his mind brings him back to the memories of others sharing stories with him. Oh, how he wishes he could go back and write those stories down so he can revisit them. Life is a collection of stories and so many of those tales are lost in the void known as time.
In 2017, legendary Country Music entertainer Moe Bandy teamed up with writer Scot England to compose his autobiography called Lucky Me.
“I’ve had a pretty interesting life. I wanted my grandchildren to know about it, you know.” shares Moe Bandy. “If everybody could just write down how they feel, how they think about things—three generations later, it’d be very interesting. I wrote it with that in mind and the book has done just so well!”
Born in Mississippi and raised in Texas, Moe began as a bronco busting and bull rider at the age of sixteen. His father was an avid musician who played in a band called the Mission City Playboys and taught Moe how to play the guitar.
In 1962, he became tired with all the bruises and broken bones that came with the rodeo life and he began seeking a career in music. During the day, he worked as a sheet metal worker with his father and at night, he spent performing at local venues.
In 1973, Moe moved to Nashville where he recorded his first song called “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today.” However, it wasn’t until 1975, when he recorded his signature song “Bandy The Rodeo Clown,” that he gained national attention.
Moe Bandy went on to record and release over twenty-four albums including his latest called Lucky Me. Throughout his fifty plus year career, he has entertained us with songs like “Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life,” “It’s a Cheating Situation,” “Someday Soon,” “Till I’m Too Old To Die Young,” “Brotherly Love,” “This Night Won’t Last Forever,” and his ever popular patriotic song “Americana.” Through it all, he has maintained his down home traditional country style.
“No, because that’s pretty much what I am.” tells Moe when asked if it was hard to stay traditional. “Somebody said that ‘you couldn’t go Pop if you had a mouth full of bubble gum!’ or any of the other music too. I was just too country; I never really had a desire… I love country music so much. I love the 50’s rock-n-roll, I loved that a lot. But country was my bag.”
Moe gives readers a first hand account of his career while sharing with them the behind the scenes story of his life.
The book opens with a foreword by First Lady Barbara Bush. Later in the book, Moe shares with the readers his introduction to and friendship with Barbara and President George H.W. Bush and their family. This friendship allowed Mr. Bandy to perform in the White House as well as visit with the Presidential family at Camp David. What makes Moe’s stories about the President so attractive is the fact that he told them with no political agenda attached.
“With the Bush family it was just incredible! They were so gracious, real nice, made sure I was comfortable and it was just a thrill.” shares Moe about performing in the White House. “I became very good buddies with President Bush and we talked a lot, we played golf...we played eighteen holes of golf one day, just the two of us. We talked a lot, so I felt like family...I really did! I got to meet their kids, their grandkids and I saw what a great, wonderful family and that’s what I write about; not the politics, but the family and how they supported each other and the strength they had.”
Nonetheless, what makes this entire book so compelling is the fact that Moe invited his family, friends and band members to share their own stories about him.
“Actually, I wrote those! Yeah, let’s see...I’ll be so and so now…,” laughs Moe. “Everybody was so nice, you know, about that. I appreciate it. Scot did that more, I guess than I did. ‘Cause I didn’t want to go to people and say ‘hey, can you say some good things about me.’ And I sure didn’t want them to say bad things about me!”
Through the years, Moe has worked with numerous entertainers including Becky Hobbs and Janie Fricke. Nonetheless, some of his career success is due to a partnership with fellow entertainer Joe Stampley. The two teamed up to form the Moe and Joe duo that recorded three albums from1979 through 1985. The success of the duo came with their songs “Just Good Ol’ Boys,” “Holdin’ The Bag” and their ever popular hit song “Where’s The Dress.”
Moe shares with the readers his time spent touring with Joe Stampley as well as working with other such notable entertainers. He also shares stories about new entertainers who opened for him, like George Strait and Reba McEntire.
“I wished that I could’ve worked with Hank Williams. I’ve always been a big Hank Williams fan. But he was before my time. I would’ve loved to work with Elvis Presley or somebody like that! Have him open for me or something…” laughs Moe. “You know there is a lot of people, but I was so lucky and blessed that I came in right at the end of a lot of my favorite singers’ careers and they were still going. I got a chance to do shows with them and do all that. That’s one of the main things the book is about. I got to do shows with Ernest Tubb, Marty Robbins, and all these great super stars, in my book.”
You haven’t made it as an entertainer in country music, unless you have performed on the historic Grand Ole Opry. Moe shares his story of how Legendary Opry Member, George Morgan, introduced him on stage.
“Lorrie Morgan and I talk about that every time we get together.” adds Moe. “The first night I was on the Opry, I looked in the wing...I don’t know who all was there? Maybe Faron Young, Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff; I mean it was just like a dream because these people were my heroes and they were so good to me.”
Although majority of the autobiography is quite light and entertaining, Moe does share with the readers some of the low points in his life. Like many entertainers, Moe dealt with alcoholism and shares with us on how he over came his problem.
Nonetheless, the authenticity of the man comes out as he writes about the night he came close to taking his own life.
“Well...there is hope for anybody. You can get through that stuff and of course I couldn’t have got through any of it without the good Lord. That was just the strength that I went too and just helped me so much. People say ‘I’ll be a drunk for the rest of my life’ or this and that; but you can change. You can turn it around.” humbly shares Moe.
Moe Bandy continues to perform and tour today. He is currently in the studio recording new songs for an up coming album. He states that the album will be released later in 2018 or early 2019.
With the help from Scot England, Moe opens the doors to his life in this well written autobiography. On these pages, he takes us on the journey from his humble beginnings as a child to his rodeo days and through his career as a country music entertainer. As you read this book, you will laugh and you will wonder, as this is just a glimpse into this multi talented and humble man.
“I want them to see that you can have a life like I did, that might have and might not. But the main thing is to work hard, I really worked hard.” shares Moe. “If you see a dream that you’ve got, you just gotta go for it! You might not make it! But you can always say that you really put your all out there!”
Time is inevitable and as time passes by, stories are lost. He sits in his chair with a smile upon his face as he watches his granddaughter play. He knows deep in his heart and soul that his stories will live on for generations to come. That is why he wrote this book. When his earthly days are done and his stories have ceased to exist, they will forever remain in this book. It was for his grandchildren’s grandchildren, so they could know where they came from…
(This article was printed in the July / August 2018 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
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