Friday Five: Bending and Breaking

Juli Thanki | July 9th, 2010

  • No Justice5. “Bend But Don’t Break” – No Justice

    This Oklahoma alt-country quintet offers up some important life lessons: “Bend but don’t break/Give before you take/Always look ‘em right in the eye.” Also, put your underpants on before your trousers. That’s not one of the lyrics, but I think it’s good advice.

  • Old High and New Lows [Explicit]4. “Another Bender Might Break Me” – Hellbound Glory

    Hellbound Glory’s gravel-voiced frontman Leroy Virgil makes drinking and drugging until you wake up half-dead in a puddle of your own filth sound kinda fun, especially if this song serves as the soundtrack. If, as he sings, it’s “too late to save [him] right now,” might as well pour another round.

  • The Definitive Collection3. “I’ll Break Before I Bend” – Allison Moorer

    Moorer doesn’t pull any punches with this angry alt-country song from excellent live album Show. The way she snarls “The desk-bound clowns that run this town/Have watered down the sound like their gin,” it’s hard to tell what Moorer hates more: desk jockeys or weak drinks.

  • Greatest Hits2. “Bend It Until It Breaks” – John Anderson

    This 1995 single, which Anderson penned with his frequent songwriting partner Lionel Delmore, went to #3 on the charts. It’s an excellent song, but after listening to poor John wonder “How much more can this poor heart take/You bend it until it breaks,” it becomes clear that said heart needs to be a bit more flexible. Like this.

  • Americana Master Series: Best of The Sugar Hill Years1. “I’m Not Broke But I’m Badly Bent” – Ricky Skaggs

    This song, which has also been recorded by several artists under the title “I Ain’t Broke But I’m Badly Bent” is all about a young man trying to remember how all his money disappeared. The non-surprise ending reveals it was all spent on pretty girls. Check out the excellent version from Dan Tyminski and his band below.

  1. numberonecountryfan
    July 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Strong Enough To Bend by Tanya Tucker

  2. Mike Parker
    July 9, 2010 at 11:40 am

    @ NUMBERONECOUNTRYFAN… that was my first thought as well.

  3. Howard
    July 9, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Got nothing for the combination, but these are good one about being broken…

    Broken Hearted Beauty Queen – Willie Heath Neal
    If It Ain’t Broke – Whitey Morgan and the 78’s

  4. nm
    July 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    All this binary thinking is nonsense. What you need is a third way, like Steve Earle’s “The Other Kind.”

  5. Jon
    July 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    No, Juli’s #1 is pretty much all you need (though the early Grisman recording featuring Ricky’s vocal is the one you really need).

  6. Stormy
    July 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    #3 is pretty damned good too.

  7. numberonecountryfan
    July 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Just thought of another one: I’m Not Breakin’ by Steve Holy

  8. Andrew
    July 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Learning How To Bend by Gary Allan

  9. Kelly
    July 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    That No Justice song has always rubbed me the wrong way. When “dress right for the season” is listed in the “words to live by” and then followed with relatively heavy rock-guitar riff, it just sounds corny. First of all, that’s hardly sage advice and secondly, it’s not near manly enough to warrant such the overbaring singing and rocking guitar surrounding it.

    Good list though, Juli. I just had to vent about that one song :-)

  10. Rick
    July 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Hey, how about the 60’s pop song “Bend Me, Break Me” by the band American Breed? Its as “country” as the stuff being put out by Lady Antebellum these days…

    Allison Moorer’s “I’ll Break Before I Bend” was THE song on THE album that motivated me to write Allison and her music off after being a fan of her first three Universal South albums. Well, that and her political coming out as a big John Kerry supporter for the 2004 Presidential election…

  11. Chris N.
    July 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I’m sure Allison was heartbroken over losing such a discerning listener.

  12. Dave D.
    July 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Howard beat me to the punch on Whitey Morgan, but my current fave is Amber Digby’s After It Breaks.

  13. Saving Country Music
    July 9, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Always impressed by the breadth of young Juli’s music knowledge.

  14. Adam
    July 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm


    The song is called “Bend Me, Shape Me.”

  15. Barry Mazor
    July 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    This raises the tough question of exactly how much similar use makes a metaphor a cliche; you know, how often you can bend it or break it before you’d be better off leaving it alone altogether.

    I wouldn’t know. It’s like figuring the exact number of hairs it takes on an arm before it’s “hairy.” But this is a lot of pretty bent breaking and pretty broken bending.

  16. Ian
    July 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Love the Hellbound Glory tag.

  17. Rick
    July 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Adam, thanks for the correction. I guess I was just trying to make the song title fit this topic better! (lol)

    Chris, considering the crap I had stirred up on her fan forum at the time, I’m sure Allison was really soryy to see me disappear from the radar…(lol) What I like in discernment I more than make up for with attitude!

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