Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
For those fellows who are reliant on a woman, any woman or just their woman for so much in their lives, there's a language and a walk associated with this need, this reliance. There are two different manners of behavior that play themselves out when there is this burning yearning being stoked in them - willingly, involuntarily or through some sort of guilt or odd entrapment. One of them is reserved for the nights out with the boys, or the afternoons popping tabs on beer cans at the golf course for "business meetings." The language, both verbal and via the body, is that of confidence and blue humor. It's of talking about long legs, boobs and asses and not feeling any need to censor a thing. It's about lighting up those cigars that she hates smelling on their breaths when they come home, but being able to fend off the tiny storms of interrogation, with a specific cocksure-ness implanted in the backs of their heads that they are the men and they can ultimately do what they want. They know that they're going to fuck up a lot and they know that when they're in the doghouse, they've put themselves there. They've backed themselves into those situations and they've got no say in how long they will remain in the bad graces of the woman who agreed to marry them, bear them children or just share an apartment or a bed together. Either way, there's an ownership issue always at work with men and women and most of the time men know where they stand. They are the lesser of the species and they will be reminded of that. The other manner of behavior that we see out of men who makes valiant arguments about loving their woman and not knowing what they would do if she ever left is playing up that thought. They perform as the yes dear, subservient dudes, willing to do whatever and say whatever it takes to get back out there in the wild, to get back into those jeans. They want to smoke more cigars, stay up too late drinking with the old friends from high school and college. They want to misbehave. They want to look at other women. They might even want to touch other women. They know there will be a price to pay and many see how badly that price will hurt because they feel like they can beg and grovel well. They've mastered the art of apologizing. They've mastered the art of doing the wrong things, but then coming up big in the clutch and saying the right things just as the door was about to strike them across the ass on the way out. It's been the staple means of conflict and subsequent reconciliation in R&B and soul songs since the very beginning. It's men behaving badly and women - good women who don't deserve to have to put up with such behavior - softening and falling for the true love and the sad, puppy dog eyes of the apologetic man. Memphis band the Bo-Keys continue this tradition of giving us the tales of infidelity and wandering eyes relying on the brighter glare of real love to help them make it through the self-induced, choppy waters. The group's latest, "Got To Get Back!" is as strong of a collection of soul instrumentals and otherwise as anything that was heard on the Stax and Motown imprints back in the day. It's got the balls and the heart in the right places and in classic soul style, the characters in the songs are being rooted for. There's sympathy being felt for the cheating men - those guys who don't appreciate a good thing when they have one - and those women, who, against their better judgment, weigh their options and sometimes let those guys come back home. But not before letting them suffer a little - not before they've felt some pain in their pits, not before they've sweat it for long enough.