Robert Ellis & The Boys Back In Full Swing At Mango's

Mango's was packed last night for the return of Robert Ellis & the Boys' Wednesday-night Montrose barn dance. Ellis recently got back into town from a three-week solo tour that took him New York City and Chicago.

Only a few people were present when the band hit the stage about 10:15 p.m. and segued beautifully from Buck Owens' classic "Waitin' In Your Welfare Line" on the PA to a Buckaroos-like instrumental warmup. Within 30 minutes, 100 people showed and the dance floor began to fill.

Ellis then launched into Harlan Howard's "Heartaches By The Number," hitting it with way more energy than Ray Price ever thought about bringing to the tune. By midnight, the place was jam-packed and the Boys were smoking their way through country classics like George Jones's "Love Bug" and a monster take on the Possum's "White Lightnin'" that made so-called Legends country radio sound like schmaltz.

As honky-tonker Mike Stinson, who wandered in to catch a set with Pamela des Barres, says, "This is not your parents' country music, this is your grand-parents' country music."

And despite rumors to the contrary, it's alive and well. If you haven't caught one of these Wednesday night hoe-downs, it's time to do it before this thing gets too big.

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William Michael Smith