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Pinkard & Bowden

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Biography

In the tradition of Homer and Jethro came the riotous barnyard humor and song parodies of Sandy Pinkard and Richard Bowden. Unlike their forebears, Pinkard and Bowden's humor was often coarse, and their language was sometimes rough enough to warrant explicit language warnings on their records; in fact, they were the first country comedy artists to have such an advisory posted on their music.

Both Pinkard and Bowden were successful singers and songwriters before teaming up. Pinkard began his music career with Ramblin' Jack Elliott in California. He made one unsuccessful bid to get signed in Nashville and entered the professional rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas. He met John Anderson in 1975, who listened to Pinkard's demos and encouraged him to try Nashville again, even purchasing him a round-trip ticket. This time he succeeded, and such artists as Tanya Tucker, Ray Charles, and Brenda Lee recorded his songs; in 1979, Mel Tillis had a number one hit with Pinkard's "Coca Cola Cowboy." Other singers scoring top hits with his songs included David Frizzell and Shelly West ("You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma"), Anne Murray ("Blessed Are the Believers") and Vern Gosdin ("I Can Tell By the Way You Dance").

Bowden got his start working in the Texas band Shiloh alongside future Eagle Don Henley. After their group disbanded, the two joined Linda Ronstadt's band, which included another future Eagle, Glenn Frey. When Frey and Henley left to form the Eagles, Bowden briefly teamed with former Flying Burrito Brother Sneaky Pete Kleinow. He then hit the road and played with different performers, including Roger McGuinn. During the early '80s, he and his band Blue Steel opened for the Eagles.

Pinkard and Bowden were introduced to each other through their mutual friend, record producer Jim Ed Norman. They began writing songs together; although they tried to write seriously, they found that everything they penned was funny, so they took their act onto the national comedy club circuit and built up a following. Their debut album Writers in Disguise featured such musical parodies as "Blue Hairs Drivin' in My Lane." The two had their first chart success with "Adventures in Parodies," a montage of clips. Among their other favorites: "Elvis Was a Narc," "She Thinks I Steal Cars," and "Libyans on a Jet Plane." In 1992 they released Cousins, Cattle, and Other Love Stories, which featured takeoffs on pop songs like Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" ("Propane"). By the early '90s, Pinkard and Bowden were more involved in performing at comedy clubs than with country music; they also began appearing on rock radio station morning shows to promote their evening gigs. After making the switch, their comedy has became a little bluer and definitely blacker, as seen in their song "Friends in Crawl Spaces," inspired by serial killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.

Top Songs

Formed:

1983

Genre
Years Active:

'90s

Influencers

Contemporaries