Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-The Kentucky Headhunters
At the height of their popularity in the early 90s, The Kentucky Headhunters' mix of country and rock attracted a significant fanbase mostly in the country music market. At the time, they only recorded three albums for Mercury. But they're still around but not on a major label. They are actually a family band from Glasgow, KY. Guitarist and vocalist Richard Young, his drummer brother Fred Young, and cousins Anthony Kenney (bass) and Greg Martin (lead guitar) started out in 1968 as Itchy Brother. They mostly had regional success in the 70s and were even signed to Led Zeppelin's Swan Song label. But Swan Song closed in 1981 and Itchy Brother disbanded in 1982. Richard Young worked as a songwriter for Acuff-Rose. Fred Young worked for country singer Sylvia. Greg Martin worked for country singer Ronnie McDowell. Jason Kenney quit the music business. When Itchy Brother reformed in 1985, Kenney declined and Martin brought in bassist Doug Phelps from the McDowell band and he brought his older brother Ricky Lee Phelps in to be the new lead vocalist. They changed their name to The Headhunters but there was already a band with that name so it was changed to The Kentucky Headhunters. They recorded an album that they planned to sell at their live shows. But instead it earned them a contract at Mercury and Pickin' On Nashville was their 1989 debut. Their cover of Don Gibson's Oh Lonesome Me was their biggest hit and reached #8 on the Country Singles chart. The album went double platinum. Their follow up albums did OK but not as well as the debut. There was conflict within the band over creative direction. Doug & Ricky Lee Phelps wanted to be more of a country group. So they left and their band Brother Phelps recorded a couple of albums. Jason Kenney returned and Mark S. Orr was hired to be the new lead vocalist. Honky Tonk Walkin' is from their 1993 CD Rave On!. Again, this did not sell as well as previous albums and the group left Mercury. This budget CD is a comp of their Mercury CDs. Orr left in 1995 and Doug Phelps returned. The Kentucky Headhunters have recorded for Nonesuch, BNA, Koch and currently record for CBuj Entertainment. They released a live CD last year. Richard Young has worked as a producer and Greg Martin has a couple of side projects. Here's the video for Honky Tonk Walkin' by The Kentucky Headhunters.