How much is that houn' dawg in the
I do hope that flea bag's for sale. How much is that houn' dawg in the
winder? The one with the long mangy tail . . .
Henry Doyle Haynes and Kenneth Charles Burns, both 33, are singing Tennessee hillbillies who take such pop hits as Doggie in the Window and turn them into guitar-plucking parodies. Professionally, the boys are known as Homer and Jethro, and last week they were as busy as a combine at harvest time, raking in money ($60,000-$70,000 this year) from some two dozen such recorded tunes and personal appearances.
The gags on a good number of these parodies are old, Homer and Jethro admit, but no one, least of all RCA Victor, which has them under contract, cares much about that. Among their better recordings: Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyeballs ("I cocked an eye at her, she cocked an eye at me/ And we just sit there cockeyed as could be"); You Belong to Me No. 2 ("Bring me pawpaws in a paper poke / Send me money, darlin' when I'm broke / Make your will out to me when you croak / You belong to me").
Guitarist Homer and Mandolin Player Jethro were just a couple of traveling Knoxville musicians in 1938. Then they "got to kiddin' around," and did a parody of Over the Rainbow (to the tune of John Henry). Later, a recording of it sold more than 100,000 copies. After that the boys became a good draw wherever they went on the hillbilly circuit. In 1948 they joined the National Barn
Dance on Chicago's WLS, where they have been radio headliners ever since.
Homer and Jethro admit that Victor, in the past, has been unaccountably worried about their sales. But the boys' Tennessee-style logic is too much for Victor's citified executives. "Like when we were in New York last for a recordin' session," says Jethro. "One of the execs came down to ask if we had any ideas would help the sales of our records. I told him, 'Sure thing. Put Perry Como's name on the label.'" Says Homer: "We get a kick out of havin' those fellows go away talkin' to themselves."
The boys believe they may be getting into the "fanatic fan" class. Says Jethro: "After we appeared on a hillbilly show at Symphony Hall in Bostonthat's the best hillbilly town everthe young gals outside like to tore us apart.
"Just shows you how serious some folks can get over a couple of musicians who know a gag when they fall over one."