Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Comedy album of the original recordings of the Real LeRoy Mercer! 13 tracks.This CD is the official digitally re-mastered version of a series of recordings made in the late '70s and early '80s by a man who up until now has been a mystery. Alternately called "The Redneck Tapes," "Whup Ass Man" or "Leroy Speaks," these prank calls are legendary among truckers, country stars, and record shop employees. Taped, retaped, and circulated from fan to fan worldwide, this collection goes beyond a simple cussing out?it captures a true genius of psychological manipulation at work. Legend surrounded the author of these masterpieces of practical jokery: from FBI informant to a crazed ex-lawyer or a jailed con artist, the rumors created a figure larger than life and spawned a modern industry of prank phonecallers and cheap imitators. Over the past decade, many a fan has made a pilgrimage to East Tennessee in search of the man called Leroy Mercer, only to fail. That's because the author of these raspy recordings, a born prankster by the name of John Bean, died in the early '80s. Know this: John Bean is THE REAL LEROY MERCER.
Audio Remasterer: Randy LeRoy.
However you feel about Roy D. Mercer, there's no denying that mega-successful series of albums released under that pseudonym and all the crank phone calls within them owe a lot -- maybe almost everything -- to John Bean. Bean, who succumbed to cancer in 1984, recorded his country bumpkin pranks in the '70s. Passed around the trucker and country music communities bootleg style, these recordings became known as the "Whoop Ass Tapes" thanks to his LeRoy Mercer character's love of calling local business he's supposedly upset with and threatening to whoop their ass. Car dealers are asked to replace cars when the tires go flat and shoe stores aren't supposed to be surprised to find out you only own one pair of shoes and that your ass kickin' boots need to be replaced immediately. Rounding out this set of hootin' and a hollerin' phone calls is the really oddball "Ikey" -- a recording of John and a friend lost in Atlanta, high on red pills "that must have mushrooms in 'em (belch)" -- plus the moving "Tennessee," where a soon to pass Bean sings an ode to his home state, short of breath and signing off with "There's the end of it." Fans of the other Mercer, the Jerky Boys, or Crank Yankers probably won't immediately take to Bean. His style is slower and the perfect comeback is often missed but his characters are so well fleshed out and genuine they're remarkably charming even when threatening to whoop your ass. Even if the sound quality is rough, it's better than any boot you'll encounter and even if Dualtone's liner notes tell a disappointingly small part of the story, it's good to know Bean's sister was involved in the project. Thanks to Dualtone and Betty Bean, the man who inspired so many pranksters is now just as mysterious and no longer part of lost history. ~ David Jeffries