Listening to the career retrospective (with three new songs) Boneheads CD makes me want to buy cowboy boots and take up darts at a creaky old bar. The bar is an unassuming joint with a jukebox that only plays 45s and has walls adorned with wooden surfboards, a signed Johnny Cash photo and a faded valentine to a guy named Duke from Valerie who sends her love from Austin that’s taped to the Jack Daniels mirror behind the bar.

Just when the night seems like it may be a dud, the bartender unplugs the jukebox and throws “Above Average Songs” into the house stereo and turns it up loud enough so you have to shout your PBR order; loud enough for the old lady upstairs to bang on the floor with her cane. “Another Fine Mess” starts playing, and the regulars yell in unison, “Boneheads time!”

And over the course of 18 songs, hearts are broken, dreams are shattered, punches are thrown, smooches are stolen out back, fences are mended and nobody — but nobody — leaves without having a turn with the flashlight-turned-microphone and belting out a verse, chorus or entire song.

For this, I give thanks to Steve Jones, Bob Colwell, Scott Elliot and Dickie “Doo” Hollis. Charlie Gaylord also gets a nod for bringing this collection to light on his Cornmeal Records.

Some of you may be longtime Boneheads fans; others, like me, had heard of them but hadn’t really well, heard them. So although I’m late to the party, I’m in like Flynn.

Favorites include “Dreamer’s Blues” with lyrics such as: “I got nowhere to go but up, I’ve got nothing to do but smile/ I’ve got nowhere to go, nothing to lose/ I’ve got those dreamer’s blues.” It’s a song that should have been a hit, or for all I know it was at some point, somewhere.

The same could be said of the six minutes of perfection called “Hideaway” with its smooth saxophone from Lefty McCauslin, fantastic backing vocals and the downtrodden lyrics of a guy at the end of his rope hoping to catch a break. Move over Van Morrison. Seriously.

My numero uno of the CD is “Harder Hangin’ On.” “Still he drags himself out of bed and tries to clear his head/ It’s so hard letting go, but harder hangin’ on,” sings Jones, while an accordion gently weeps.

It’s just not possible to not sing along with “Jimmy Jimmy,” and it’s just not possible to not laugh during “Drunk as a Skunk,” recorded live during a 2004 show in Connecticut. It’s kind of a nod to Jimmy Buffet, without the complications of a Mexican cutie tattoo and busted flip-flops: “I’m boozing down in Bimini on a tropical retreat, eating jalapeno poppers ’til I couldn’t take the heat/ I fought fire with fire water until I lost control and violently erupted into my volcano bowl.”

“Above Average Songs” is available at Bull Moose Music locations.

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at:

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