Thursday, July 09, 2015

"IF YOU SEE KAY" Randy Howard

Another tune with an "IF YOU SEE KAY" pun? Yes. While not as vivid as Sweetpie's jazzy number, it's a good 'un. It comes from the late Randy Howard.

Ol' Randy was a redneck's redneck. The proof is that he got killed in a gunfight. And he wouldn't be a redneck's redneck unless it was an unnecessary gunfight.

Before we examine his colorful last moments, you might NOT be a redneck if…your first thought is "Who the FUCK is Randy Howard?" Since I'm not a redneck, I only vaguely knew about him before his colorful death. While I'm a fan of a wide range of C&W including Homer & Jethro, Juice Newton, Mindy McCready, George Jones and plenty of others, and even owned a Johnny Paycheck "Greatest Hits," I'm not that strong on the overtly redneck world of Merle, Hank III, NASCAR, rebel flags, and the Randy Howard types.

Howard, a "hard-partying, gun-toting country caricature" (quoting the Fox News obit) gained attention in 1983 with his "All-American Redneck" album. The title track did well, but didn't propel Howard to stardom. At best, he was a solid opening act for the usual trouble-makers, and he could fill some venues on his own, too.

It's a testament to his abilities that he was still making some kind of a living from music over the next 20 years, and circa 2006, he gruffly deadpanned his way through "If You See Kay" live, while opening for one of the more popular "outlaw" stars. The sound ain't too bad on this cowboy boot. Nine years later, and Howard was hiding out in a cabin in Lynchburg, pissed off about his mounting legal problems.

Randy's offenses were just the redneck usuals; driving without a valid license, reckless driving under the influence, being reckless with a gun. It's the latter problem that ended his life.

The aging All-American redneck had enough of a price on his head to make him attractive to a local bounty hunter. Howard did not want to go quietly. He allegedly shot first, and the bounty hunter defended himself. What makes this ring true is that the bounty hunter had to be hospitalized. You don't shoot a guy then somehow fire a shot into yourself for a "he shot first" defense. The man was not expecting to shoot at all, since the reward on him and the jail time involved were fairly minor. Howard overreacted, and it was over.

Apparently Randy Howard did not have any last words. Not "Aw, shit." Or a demure, "F-U-C-K." Here's "If You See Kay..."


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