Banjo & Sullivan
The Ultimate Collection 1972Ė1978
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2005, Volume 12, #7
Written by T.J. Simon
Adam Banjo and Roy Sullivan were country music journeymen ó Adam playing Nashville sessions and Roy on the bluegrass circuit ó who discovered each other in 1972 and delighted southern honky-tonk barrooms with their bawdy brand of country-infused novelty tunes, such as Iím at Home Getting Hammered (While Sheís Out Getting Nailed) and Dick Soup. As the legend goes, Banjo and Sullivan married some nice girls, who joined the band prior to a relentless tour of the south that continued until tragedy struck in 1978. While on the road in support of their latest single ó a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrdís Free Bird ó the duo checked into a local motel, after performing at the legendary Barn Door Roadhouse. The motel became the site of the grisly murder of duoís wives at the hands of two escaped felons from a gang known to the police as "The Devilís Rejects." Though the bodies of Adam Banjo and Roy Sullivan were never found, they, too, were presumed dead at the hands of their wivesí murderers. Today, they are only remembered by this collection of 10 rollicking roadhouse songs, which includes their posthumous (and eerily coincidental) hit: Lord, Donít Let Me Die in a Cheap Motel.
The story of Banjo & Sullivan is the stuff of country legend, and the music is pure roadhouse fun which is why it is so odd that no one has ever heard of them. The reason is simple: Itís complete bullshit.
In fact, Banjo & Sullivan is the creation of heavy metal star and horror movie auteur Rob Zombie, whose film The Devilís Rejects concerns the story of the duo and the murderous gang who slaughtered their wives. The photos of Banjo and Sullivan within the The Ultimate Collection 1972Ė1978ís packaging are actually the filmís stars Lew Temple and Geoffrey Lewis, and the music was written and performed in its entirety by talented, contemporary country star Jesse Dayton.
Nowhere within The Ultimate Collection 1972Ė1978 is there any indication that the product is a movie tie-in or that the detailed story of Banjo & Sullivan came from the imagination of Rob Zombie. In fact, the only suggestion of Daytonís involvement in the project is a small production credit. Of course, none of this would matter if the music on the disc wasnít so good. At 30 minutes in length, the joke never has time to get old, particularly because of Daytonís command of country music conventions, which he manages to parody without a wink on hilarious tunes such as I Donít Give a Truck and She Didnít Like Me (But She Loved My Money). He more than earns his Parental Advisory sticker on the filthy fun of Honeymoon Song.
Banjo & Sullivanís The Ultimate Collection 1972Ė1978 is not only one of the coolest marketing ploys in recent memory, but itís also one of the most enjoyable and smile-inducing country albums released this year. Hats off to Rob Zombie and Jesse Dayton. Long live Adam Banjo and Roy Sullivan.
The Ultimate Collection 1972Ė1978 is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box