Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
After celebrating their 25th anniversary last year with two commemorative CD collections, the Bellamy Brothers are moving full steam ahead into the next chapter of their career with a new relationship with Curb Records and forthcoming album, "Redneck Girls Forever."
The signing with Curb rekindles a longstanding relationship between Howard and David Bellamy and the Curb organization. "We were one of his first artists," says Howard of the duo signing a deal with Mike Curb in 1975, which led to their first single, "Let Your Love Flow," hitting No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. "Our career goes back to his beginnings and ours."
The duo began on Warner/Curb and later was on MCA/Curb before leaving the label in 1986. In 1990, they launched their own Bellamy Brothers Records. Howard says, "We started it when we saw the new country craze coming on and realized we were fixin' to get put out to pasture."
During the past decade, the Bellamys have operated their label, partnering with other companies for distribution. And while they are signed to Curb, they will continue to operate Bellamy Brothers Records. Thus, "Redneck Girls Forever" will be a Curb/Bellamy Brothers release, due July 16.
Among the album's 18 cuts, the duo reprise "Redneck Girl," a 1982 No. 1 hit. "The reason we put 'Redneck Girl' on there is somewhat of a tribute to that song," Howard explains. "It has become our anthem. I was doing radio interviews today, and they were talking about a new crop of 'Redneck Girl' fans. Young kids come along and think we're new artists because of that song. Of course, once they see us they know better, but it's amazing what that song has done. We're puzzled by it, but something that works, you quit questioning it."
"It's probably the strangest record we've ever had," David agrees. "There are people who are fanatics over it. We just played a $250,000 wedding where the bride wanted to put on her Ropers [boots] and hat at the reception and dance to 'Redneck Girl.' She flew us in from Chicago, and her guests danced all night."
The Bellamys also put a couple of other vintage cuts on the album: "Our Family," a humorous treatise on family eccentricities, and "The Andy Griffith Show," a wistful tribute to the program that expresses a longing to return to simpler times.
"After Sept. 11, several people told me we should re-release 'The Andy Griffith Show,'" David recalls. "And there's another song on there called 'Bubba' that refers to finishing off Saddam Hussein."
Two of the songs were written in reaction to the events of last Sept. 11. "Let's Roll America" was inspired by President Bush's speech at Ground Zero. "Howard had the chorus and part of the bridge," David says. "Then I started working on the verses and then finished the bridge, but we knew it wasn't something we were going to release immediately, because every songwriter in the world had a Sept. 11 song."
The poignant ballad "Crazy Old World" was also a response to Sept. 11. "If you're a writer, you've got to write about it," says David, who either wrote or co-wrote 16 of the album's 18 cuts. "I thought, 'Everybody in the world is going to have a patriotic song. What if we just have a song where the guy is comforting his wife or girlfriend or kid or whoever it is, just saying "Hang on to me. It's a crazy old world"?' After Sept. 11, everybody reviewed their priorities and asked, 'What really is important here?' Most everybody figured out real quick [that] it's your family."
On June 10, Howard married Nashville songwriter Sharon Vaughn, best-known for such cuts as Willie Nelson's "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" and Oak Ridge Boys' "Y'all Come Back Saloon." The couple penned a new holiday song called "The Reason for the Season" for a Christmas album the Bellamys are working on that is due this fall. The collection will include two other new songs, as well as such classics as "White Christmas" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." There will also be a cowboy-oriented version of "Jingle Bells."
Through their career, the Bellamy Brothers have charted 26 top 10 singles, including 11 No. 1 hits. "People are still interested in their music," Curb VP of sales Benson Curb says. "When you make good records like they've made and are making, people stay interested in the music."
Excerpted from the July 6, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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