Fred's Country Fried Rock: Whitey Morgan and the 78s, “Where Do You Want It?” (2010)

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There are a lot of underground country connections to explore with this song.

First off, it’s based on a 2007 incident in which Texas music legend Billy Joe Shaver shot a man at a bar in Lorena, Texas. Eyewitnesses to the shooting claim that after Shaver pulled his gun, he asked the man, “Where do you want it?” before shooting him in the face. Shaver has denied those claims and says that he shot Billy Bryant Coker in self-defense after he pulled a knife. It’s recounted in the first verse of the song written by fellow Texan Dale Watson: “Got in a tangle, fellow pulled a knife, Billy pulled his gun, and the kind of outlaw he is, Billy asked him: ‘Son, where do you want it?’”

The song was written shortly after the incident, and Watson called up his friend Shaver and asked his blessing to perform the tune live. According to Watson, Shaver groaned when he was told and again denied the claim. But it’s too good a story not to tell, and Shaver, probably knowing that a little legend and myth around a country artist can’t hurt, gave Watson his blessing to keep singing the song — with the caveat that Watson tell people up front that Shaver denied asking the question. Watson never put “Where Do You Want It?” on an album, but a few years later, he gave it to Whitey Morgan and told him he should record it. He did for his band’s 2010 self-titled sophomore release on Bloodshot Records.

The Flint, Michigan-based outfit sticks true to Watson’s Texas-style melody, but injects just a little more attitude into the music, funking up the guitar part a little. Morgan’s vocals are done in a fair imitation of Watson’s delivery, with maybe a little more rock ‘n’ roll. Don’t get the wrong impression from that, though, because there’s not a lot of rock ‘n’ roll in the Whitey Morgan sound. It’s pure country out of the early-1980s mold, and this song fits in perfectly.

You’d be hard-pressed listening to this or any other Morgan tune to peg him as a Michigan native. His sound would probably be much more at home in Texas. The band is currently working on a live CD to be released some time this year.

As for Shaver, he was acquitted in April 2010, after it was ruled that he acted in self-defense — and he continues to tour Texas and the surrounding region.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Fred Phillips

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