Better than Pusherman? Hmmm.

Earlier this year, my friend Al in Milwaukee sent up a blast from the past — an old end-of-year music roundup from the FM station we listened to in central Wisconsin in the ’70s.

Most interesting about WIFC’s Top 95 Heavys of 1972 was what was tacked onto the end — a list of the 30 most-requested album cuts. It, like the top 95 singles of that year, was a rather eclectic list.

After 37 years, I can’t remember all those album cuts, but I know most of them. But not the one that was No. 1 on the list.

I … simply … could … not … remember …


“Poor Boy Boogie,” Mac Davis, from “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me,” 1972. It’s out of print, but is available on this 2-on-1 CD along with another Davis LP, “Stop and Smell the Roses” from 1974.

The minute I heard “Poor Boy Boogie,” I remembered it. Ah, yes. A jug band song — a jug band song! — was more often requested than “Pusherman,” by Curtis Mayfield, off the “Superfly” soundtrack.

That should tell you everything you care to know about the musical tastes of central Wisconsin in the early 1970s.

My curiosity about “Poor Boy Boogie” got the best of me on a recent visit to Amazing Records, our local used vinyl emporium.

I was checking out the LP, but didn’t want to spend $1 on it. My friend Jim, who runs the place, said “Just take it. I’ll never sell that.” Always wanting to support record stores, I counteroffered 50 cents. Jim said no. I counteroffered 25 cents. Jim relented and took my quarter.

Some updates, for no apparent reason …

— More on this curious vocal tradition at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog.

— It may be the song that wouldn’t die. Witness this video, from 1980:



Filed under October 2009, Sounds

5 responses to “Better than Pusherman? Hmmm.

  1. Makes you wonder where they’re hiding Jim Stafford.

  2. whiteray

    Even after hearing it, I don’t recall this at all. Not sure what its No. 1 status says about Wisconsin or Mac Davis, but it’s a fascinating tale . . .

  3. That 25 cents will buy you lots of great used-record store karma.

    Strange song — if I’ve ever heard it before I don’t remember. (But it sounds like something they would have played on the Muppet Show.)

  4. It sounds like he was so eager to get rid of it he was almost ready to pay you to take it.

  5. Shark

    Something I’ve always found intriguing about Mac Davis….didn’t he look just like Lynn Dickey, the Green Bay Packers quarterback from 1976-1983?

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