John Bean The Real Leroy Mercer
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by Roy D. Mercer ~ Hits the Road (Live) ~ $5.38
- Released: August 19, 2008
- Originally Released: 2008
- Label: Dualtone Music Group
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Audio Remasterer: Randy LeRoy.
However you feel about Roy D. Mercer, there's no denying that mega-successful series of albums released under that pseudonym and all the crank phone calls within them owe a lot -- maybe almost everything -- to John Bean. Bean, who succumbed to cancer in 1984, recorded his country bumpkin pranks in the '70s. Passed around the trucker and country music communities bootleg style, these recordings became known as the "Whoop Ass Tapes" thanks to his LeRoy Mercer character's love of calling local business he's supposedly upset with and threatening to whoop their ass. Car dealers are asked to replace cars when the tires go flat and shoe stores aren't supposed to be surprised to find out you only own one pair of shoes and that your ass kickin' boots need to be replaced immediately. Rounding out this set of hootin' and a hollerin' phone calls is the really oddball "Ikey" -- a recording of John and a friend lost in Atlanta, high on red pills "that must have mushrooms in 'em (belch)" -- plus the moving "Tennessee," where a soon to pass Bean sings an ode to his home state, short of breath and signing off with "There's the end of it." Fans of the other Mercer, the Jerky Boys, or Crank Yankers probably won't immediately take to Bean. His style is slower and the perfect comeback is often missed but his characters are so well fleshed out and genuine they're remarkably charming even when threatening to whoop your ass. Even if the sound quality is rough, it's better than any boot you'll encounter and even if Dualtone's liner notes tell a disappointingly small part of the story, it's good to know Bean's sister was involved in the project. Thanks to Dualtone and Betty Bean, the man who inspired so many pranksters is now just as mysterious and no longer part of lost history. ~ David Jeffries
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