The Oak Ridge Boys Capture Magic in Boys Night Out
For a group of men who’ve hit the stage together for 41 years, the Oak Ridge Boys have enjoyed a boys night out or two — or in their case, four decades’ worth. Luckily for fans, the quartet comprised of Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban are sharing 14 of their biggest hits on the group’s first-ever live album, Boys Night Out.
Reaching back into their extensive song catalog, they’ve plucked live versions of their most beloved tunes. Ranging from their late ‘70s uprising with songs like “Y’all Come Back Saloon” and “You’re the One,” the CMA and Grammy-winning vocal group also pulls from notable career highlights like “Trying to Love Two Women,” “Make My Life,” “This Crazy Love” and, of course, their distinctive “Elvira,” featuring the unmistakable bass vocals of Sterban’s “oom poppa mow mow.”
This spring, the Oaks will release “Boys Night Out” on Cleopatra Records – a collection of fourteen of their biggest hits taken from the road show. The only live album in the foursome’s discography is a 10-song collection released in 1977. When asked why it has taken so long to document the Oaks’ concert experience, Bonsall said “To be honest, I don’t know. We have talked about it for a long time. It always seemed that another project would push its’ way ahead of it, and we went off in that direction. I guess the time is just right. We felt like it was, so we started taking recording gear out there. I think we’ve got about 50 songs in the can. But, we honed in on fourteen of the number one hits, the singing and the playing was good. I think it’s going to be really exciting for our fans, because they’ve been asking for it, so we’ve finally given it to them.”
One of the highlights from the set is their 1979 classic “Come On In,” one that Allen says works well in concert – for obvious reasons. “That song has always been nice in the fact that is features each one of the Oak Ridge Boys doing a step-out line. We’ve always been good at those quartet kind of songs that features everybody. That’s our foundation, and one of the components of how we learned how to sing. The old southern gospel quartets featured everybody. In the beginning, when we first signed with a country label, they weren’t accustomed to that. They were more familiar with groups like the Statler Brothers with one lead singer. But, all four of us have had hit records as the lead singer.”
Also on the disc is their 1984 ballad “Make My Life With You,” which Allen admits was very unorthodox – as it was a new track from their Greatest Hits, Volume 2 set – back when that was a rare occurrence. “We were short of two songs for our second Greatest Hits album. We searched through all the new songs that we had that we felt would be an automatic number one hit, and found these two. Both ‘Make My Life With You’ and ‘Everyday’ did become No. 1 records. We had a pretty good grip at that point at what people were wanting from us. So, to take a chance on putting two new songs on a Greatest Hits album before they were hits was a risk, but we felt very good that the songs would be hits. Fortunately, both of those chances turned out to be right.”
And, of course, the centerpiece of the album is their 1981 million selling signature song, the Dallas Frazier-written “Elvira.” Bonsall says from the beginning licks of the song, it’s magic. “There’s something about it when we hit that intro. It’s amazing how it lifts the crowd. People still love that song as much as ever. Back in those days, it was cool that parents would come up to us and say ‘My little three year old boy just learned to sing, and the first song he learned was ‘Elvira.’ Fast Forward to 2014, and we run into people who tell us ‘My little boy is three years old, and he loves to sing ‘Elvira.’ So, the staying power of that song can’t be denied. We get excited to sing it every night because of that. It’s the kind of song everybody wishes they had.” from BillBoard By Chuck Dauphin, Nashville
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