The Top 20 Billboard charts had "crossover" stars such as Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell moving toward the middle of the road. The aging duo that once poked manic fun at The Beatles, and got some jeers for it, weren't sure how far to go in making fun of "hippies." The old standby of cackling parodies involving ugly women…well, with women's lib, that kind of cornography was OUT.
Just as George Jones moved from high-pitched twangy things like "Why Baby Why" to baritone ballads and "He Stopped Loving Her Today," Homer and Jethro eased up and began making albums that were more "songs that have some humor to them" rather than outright novelty tracks. They also chose material that was "age appropriate." In other words...they started singing about aging. And death.
Back when they were 30 or 40, they made fun of old people as they did ugly women. A frisky parody of Hank Williams' "Settin' the Woods on Fire" chortled at someone "too old to cut the mustard." The comedy version of George Jones' "The Race is On" is sung fast and lively, even the line: ""My mind was making appointments my body just couldn't keep!"
By the end of the 60's? The end was in sight. "Old Grand Dad" points up some sad truths, and the "boys" are singing like older men. "Sow Sow Sow Your Oats" and "Laugh and Scratch" are more philosophical and upbeat about what to do until the reaper comes. Bill Clinton, on Letterman's show last week, said "every day's a gift." He said it after Letterman mentioned that they both had recovered from bypass heart surgery. Homer and Jethro's view on the gift of being alive another day? Drink whiskey! And remember: "Who's to say what's right and what's wrong? Keep laughin' and scratchin' we're not here for long."
Homer Haynes died of a heart attack in 1971. He was 55 years old.
OLD GRAND DAD Homer and Jethro
SOW SOW SOW YOUR OATS / LAUGH AND SCRATCH Homer and Jethro