Adelaide's hillbilly jazz, Texas swing band Meanwhile... Back At The Ranch are currently fine-tuning their next live performance when they take to the stage as part of Semaphore Music Festival's Umbrella Festival beach party.
Comprising three members of Nobody's Sweethearts: Ted Keeley (vocals), Wilson Main (rhythm guitar) and Ashley Turner (fiddle), they are joined by in-demand lead guitarist George Klirononmos, the fabulous drummer Enrico Morena and dynamic bass player from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Belinda Kendall-Smith.
"We like to call our music cactus swing! It's hillbilly jazz and western swing from the 1930s to the '50s. It contains elements of New Orleans jazz, traditional fiddle tunes, '30s swing, '20s blues, hillbilly boogie, country and more."
Ahead of their live performance alongside rock & roll, rockabilly band The Lincolns at Semaphore Workers Club on 1 August, the band share five country songs that feature witty lyrics.
"Hi folks. Ted Keeley here from hillbilly jazz/ western swing band Meanwhile... Back At The Ranch. Here's my top five great songs with a country flavour and witty lyrics to boot!"
1: Chuck Mead - 'She Got The Ring (I Got The Finger)'
Chuck Mead, handsome singer-guitarist of alt hillbilly band BR549 released a solo album in 2009 called 'Journeyman’s Wager'. On it was this gem.
Chuck gets jilted by his not-so-true love who just wants a wedding ring. It culminates in a classic chorus that goes: "She wanted all the bling that married life could bring her / She didn't want to waste her time with no worn out singer / She got the ring – and I got the finger..."
With its chugging feel and punchy horn section, it wouldn't be out of place on The Stones 'Exile On Main Street'.
Hilarious 2008 song from young(ish!) singer-songwriter Hayes Carll. An angry arsehole, (possibly a Proud Boy because his pride is certainly hurt here!) bemoans the fact his girlfriend has left him and tells him she's found Jesus.
2: Hayes Carll - 'She Left Me For Jesus'
He's furious with her – he's an anti-Semitic, red-baiting redneck and he vows to wreak revenge upon the "long-haired freak in his sandals" who stole his gal.
Every verse is a classic, and the chorus goes: "She says if I can find Jesus, I'll find peace at last / Well if I ever find Jesus, I'm kickin' his ass!"
Do yourself a favour and check out this song and the rest of Hayes Carll's stuff.
Well, SCOTS name says it all really. They play rock & roll, country, surf, lounge, Mexican wrestling tributes and any other style you like. One of my favourite bands of all time.
3: Southern Culture On The Skids 'Liquored Up And Lacquered Down'
This title track from their 2000 album is a tribute to huge beehive hairdos and small town hairdressers everywhere.
"A cigarette hangs from her red lips, teasing hair in an old green slip / Pours herself a drink of gin / She likes booze 'cos it keeps her thin." And: "When we walk into a bar, people think she's a movie star / Women smirk but the men just stare / Yeah that's my baby with the big top hair."
But the great thing about this song is the fact that it doesn't make fun of her – it applauds her and the fact that "she's got the biggest hair in town".
The song's got a cha-cha feel and mariachi horns – if you don't want to sing-along to this after a few tequilas, you're dead.
What can you say about Nick Lowe that hasn't already been said? This is from his last great rock & roll album, 'Party Of One', produced by compadre Dave Edmunds, and featuring the super group of himself on bass, Ry Cooder and John Hiatt on guitars and the great Jim Keltner on drums.
4: Nick Lowe - 'All Men Are Liars'
It's a stone-cold classic for our times, despite the fact that it was released way back in 1990.
It has the classic lines that refer to the awful era of '80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman. "Well do you remember Rick Astley, he had a big fat hit it was ghastly / He said I'm never gonna give you up or let you down / Well I'm here to tell you that Rick's a clown."
And the beautiful chorus: "Hey girls, bring rusty pliers to pull this tooth / All men are liars, and that's the truth!"
After the fall of the archangel of rock & roll, Jerry Lee Lewis, to the depths of Hellfire after marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin, Jerry Lee's record company reinvented him as a country singer.
5: Jerry Lee Lewis - 'What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)'
In the '60s the Schlitz beer company had the slogan: 'The beer that made Milwaukee famous.' And in 1968 Jerry Lee released this classic tears-in-your-beer ballad.
It's a stone-cold classic and the best version you can listen to is his '70s version recorded live at the Palamino Club in North Hollywood. He sounds drunk and and tired but it suits the song brilliantly.
"Anyway, look them up on YouTube, Spotify or better still, buy the records if you like 'em."
Meanwhile... Back At The Ranch and The Lincolns play Umbrella Festival at Semaphore Workers Club (Adelaide) 1 August (3.30pm).