Parliament: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 4, 2022

308) Parliament — “Little Ole Country Boy”

As I have said, Osmium, the album from which this song is drawn, is where it all began for Parliament (see #249). Mark Montgomery French writes that:

According to George Clinton, the five-man ex-doo-wop group Parliament performed polite music you could play for your mother, while their five-man backing band Funkadelic was the group that would scare your mother into cardiac arrest. The fact that all ten people were in the same band was simply a matter of convenience. In 1970, even though Funkadelic was already signed to the Detroit-based Westbound label, Clinton signed Parliament to the Detroit-based Invictus label and delivered Osmium. Parliament had released several smoothed-out hit singles in the previous years, so the raw and roughneck Osmium had the effect of discovering that your seemingly normal parents were actually two-headed Martian warlords. . . .

“Country Boy,” also the B-side of Osmium’s first single, is funk that lovingly sends up country music. You don’t see that everyday. It is such glorious fun. Mark Montgomery French says that “Parliament gets its Nashville on with . . . a hyped-up country-and-western song complete with pedal steel guitar solo, washboard percussion and lots of yodeling. Yes, yodeling.” Ned Raggett asks in All Music Guide “who else but this crew could have come up with the [song’s] trash-talking, yodeling twang . . . and still made it funky with all the steel guitar?” And Jive Time Records says that:

[“Country Boy”] swerves into mock-country territory, replete with jaw harp, tabletop guitar embellishments, and Fuzzy Haskins’ Southern-honky vocal affectations; think the Rolling Stones, but with tongues more firmly jammed in cheek. . . . (Yes, De La Soul producer Prince Paul sampled the yodeling part for “Potholes In My Lawn.”)

Great country songs tell great tales. What’s “Country Boy” about? As Grace Birnstengel says, it’s about a little old country boy “freaking out about being busted as a peeping tom after trying to find out if his girlfriend was cheating on him.” (

“Here I am riding along in this ambulance to the city jail. Going to jail accused of being a peeping tom. Dammit man, I’m saying any man would try to find out if his girl was doing, doing him wrong. That’s all I was doing there outside her home. Oh, I’m a little old country boy. Just a young’un in my teens. I don’t gamble, drink or swear, and she did this to me. Mama said son you’re going to fall for that common cajun queen. She’s going to take you for your all. And that’s what she done done to me. Cracked ribs, black eyes and a bloody nose. I’ve been victimized. I’m the victim of a one-sided circumstance. No one’s heard my side. And when you hear my side, you’ll see the rotten trick she pulled on me. How could she, that I loved, do this to me? . . . Out of sight by her door, I heard her give her love to another guy. I guess the guy must have heard me cry. He rushed to the door. That’s when I screamed, “Oh lord!” . . . Talk about surprised at her, when she screamed to him “It’s a peeping tom.” Then he beat me up. I took the beating but I felt more hurt when she called the cops. Spitting on twelve months! Twelve months of loving that girl ain’t my idea of a peeping tom. So officer, please let me go, ’cause I’ve done no wrong. Oh, I’m a little old country boy. Just a young ‘un in my teens. I don’t gamble, drink or swear, and she did this to me. . . . Let this country boy go, officer. Please, now that’s all I ask. Take this stick out my back and let me go. I don’t need her no more. . . .”

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