Saturday, 13 August 2011

And Honey, I Hate You

I've always hated Bobby Goldsboro.

Now I'm sure he's a fine, upstanding man - kind to children, gives to charity, goes to church - but he is responsible for some of the most mawkish, maudlin pap to ever trouble the pop charts. Take the multi-million selling Honey, with it's insipid lyrics about some bint who dies after doing a spot of gardening, the risible Summer (the First Time) with its dodgy intergenerational plotline or the winsome Watching Scotty Grow (ignoring it's post-ironic use in The Simpsons) a song about a dyslexic four year old, with its pay-off 'Me and God, watching Scotty grow'. Bleugh!

But these horrors pale into insignificance when compared to the truly awful A Butterfly For Bucky a song I must admit had completely passed me by until I was introduced to its awfulness thanks to BBC4 screening vintage episodes of Top of the Pops.

It's vile: the story of a child born sightless who, wouldn't you know it, gets his vision back in the last verse through the power of prayer. Actually, vile isn't a strong enough word to describe this stinker: it's an audio abomination. If you think I'm being overly dramatic just have a look at the words to the opening verse:

Buck was born on a beautiful morning, and I felt very proud
Lets just say its not every day that you see me cry out loud
Hair like Sunshine, a smile as warm, and the prettiest eyes you'll find
One day last spring my lady and I found out those eyes were blind

Someone pass me a bucket; I'm going to be sick.

Bobby Goldsboro's musical career began in 1962, when he became the guitarist for Roy Orbison, releasing a couple of 45s under his own name including the minor hit Molly. In 1964 he enjoyed his first proper success as a solo artist, with the top ten US hit See the Funny Little Clown; other successes included a version of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David oddity Me Japanese Boy, I Love You. His biggest hit was 1968's Honey, which topped the US charts for four weeks, reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart in both 1968 and again in 1975 and made number one in Australia. After a couple of dozen US hit singles Goldsboro retired from performing full-time in the 1980s, although he continued to dabble in music, writing the the soundtrack to the Burt Reynolds sitcom Evening Shade and an American kid's TV show amongst others. Nowadays, outside of the occasional concert appearance, he spends most of his time painting, selling the results (an unusually high number of which feature butterflies) on his website.

What really makes me hate him though is the lack of emotion in his delivery; every song sounds the same, as if it were sung by a slightly wobbly automaton. The constant references to God and the sickening sentimentality are major turn offs too. Still, make up your own mind for here, for your enjoyment, is Bobby Goldsboro and A Butterfly For Bucky.


  1. wrote:
    Yes, Goldsboro did record a lot of drek, but he also had some decent songs that no one mentions anymore (I particularly like "It's Too late", "Voodoo Woman", "It Hurts Me", & "If You've Got a Heart".) Those songs were all recorded 1965-66, and probably were catchy for arrangements by Bill ("Raunchy") Justis & Joe Sherman. After Justis left for Hollywood in 1966, Goldsboro got a new arranger (the classically- trained Nashville musician Don Tweedy), and a new producer (Bob Montgomery, Buddy Holly's former partner in the 1950's just before he founded the Crickets. Goldsboro's main producer from 1964-1967 was usually Jack Gold.)With Montgomery/Tweedy's arrangements, the songs started to get drearier. "Honey" was written by the late Nashville songwriter Bobby Russell, and was first recorded by former Kingston Trio singer Bob Shane in a straight-folk version for Decca Records before Goldsboro got a hold of the song, and thus, made it more "pop/Countrypolitan" flavored by adding the angelic tones to it. "Bucky" was recorded eight years later, and was Goldsboro's last record for U-A before leaving the label after 12 years for a contract with Epic Records. Incidentally, Goldsboro has claimed in interviews that he always hated "Molly", thinking it was more depressing than even "Honey".That song was issued by Laurie Records in 1962, and was his first one to chart in Billboard's Hot 100. (At Number#43.)

  2. Summer the first time is soft pop genius.

  3. Thank you for the listing. I didn't know about this POS. One of my 45s friends sent me a decent copy of "...Butterfly..." recently. Wonderfully awful. I'll sleeve it with my 2 Lp set, Goldboro's ANNIVERSARY set on United Artists. No sense wasting shelf room on another Lp.

    You rock, dude. Windbag

  4. Oops, I found a more "interesting" version of this song on a Mormon pop-country (er, should I put that in quotes?) album, THE ROBINSONS, WHEN I THINK OF HOME Lp. It dates about late 1981. Mo music was a kind of parallel dimension, like US Christian pop distribution through Christian bookstores--copy someone else's style and make it more plain yogurt.



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