The Bellamy Brothers
Wormy Dog Saloon
311 E. Sheridan
Theyre a pair of lighthearted old hippies that time couldnt bear to part with. Raised on a farm in Florida, theyre country boys at heart, but their tastes travel widely across reggae, gospel, folk and rock.
Theyre Howard and David Bellamy, aka The Bellamy Brothers, who scored one of the 1970s biggest hits in Let Your Love Flow, then went on to be one of the best charting country acts of the late 70s and 80s, with more than 50 hits. The group performs Friday at the Wormy Dog Saloon.
The duos big break came when fellow Floridian Jim Stafford recorded Davids greasy rock come-on Spiders and Snakes, and took it to No. 3 on the pop charts. That enabled them to leave Florida and make for Los Angeles, looking for the big time.
They found it in an unusual place, thanks to their friendship with Neil Diamonds band some of the first people they met on the West Coast. Diamonds drummer Dennis St. John directed them to a song, Let Your Love Flow, by their roadie, Larry Williams.
He said, This sounds like something you guys would do. And we freaked out when we heard it, because it was one of the best songs wed ever heard. So then we had to convince the record labels to record it. They didnt want to, Howard Bellamy said. We loved it, and finally talked (a label) into recording it, and the song took off so fast it was one of those things like, How do we keep up with it? That 1976 hit not only went to No. 1 in America, but in 15 other countries as well. It launched their career, and although they never had anything quite that world-beating, theyve continued to rack up hits here and abroad.
When their second album, Plain & Fancy, didnt find the same success as Let Your Love Flow, they moved away from folk/soft rock into country for 1978s Beautiful Friends. Over the next decade, theyd score many hits, including If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me, You Aint Just Whistlin Dixie, Dancin Cowboys and Do You Love as Good as You Look.
Although the siblings began to lose commercial favor in the 90s, they remained a popular touring act and adventurous artists. Their last album, 2007s Jesus Is Coming, was a gospel record, and theyre in the process of recording another. Its another of their longtime loves.
Thats really where we cut our teeth, and learned how to play and sing, in church every Sunday. So thats how we grew up and after a while we just decided to do a gospel album, and I enjoyed doing that album as much as anything, Bellamy said. Weve always done things a little different, and weve done a lot of variety, and we enjoy all of it. I suppose at some point, people wondered what we did do, but I think our fan base now kind of expects anything out of us.
Over the last few years, theyve engaged in a number of collaborations. In 2006, for the 30th anniversary of Let Your Love Flow, The Bellamy Brothers released Angels & Outlaws, Vol. 1, featuring duet re-recordings of their biggest hits, with George Jones, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson and Willie Nelson just some of the big names. In 2009 they released a single and video, Guilty of the Crime, recorded and shot with The Bacon Brothers. Last year, they recorded an album with Switzerlands Gola. It spent six weeks atop the Swiss charts and will eventually be released in America.
The Bacon video got into rotation on CMT, and proved a minor sensation, although nothing like their latest, Jalapeños. A snarky song about political correctness and scandal, it observes that lifes less a bowl of cherries than a jar of jalapeños because what you do and say today itll just come back and burn your ass tomorrow.
The song, which laments the loss of freedom of speech, was ironically banned on radio and CMT. Not because it uses the word ass, but because they note the warning on Viagra, and wonder why since there aint no such thing as being too erect.
The ban didnt hurt much. The video which features people in Tiger Woods and Sarah Palin masks received nearly 1.5 million hits on YouTube.
It actually helped. Its probably the most requested song we have in our show these days, Bellamy said, expressing their reason for putting humor into many of their songs. Its kind of like the role of humor in life I guess. Without it, itd be a pretty boring place.