Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers’ ‘Ode to Ben Dorcy (Lovey’s Song)’ Is a Dream-Come-True Duet With Waylon Jennings [Exclusive Video]
Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers never thought they'd see their names on a song with Waylon Jennings, but six tracks into their forthcoming new album, Hold My Beer, Vol. 2, the seemingly impossible happens. "Ode to Ben Dorcy (Lovey's Song)," written by Jennings but never officially recorded, owes its release to Jennings' son Shooter and the bonds formed by the tune's namesake, a beloved roadie for and friend of some of country music's biggest names.
Dorcy, known as the "World's Oldest Roadie" and nicknamed "Lovey," died in 2017, at the age of 92. The native Texan served in the military and worked for the Ice Capades before, in 1950, beginning work as part of Hank Thompson's road crew. Throughout his life, Dorcy served as John Wayne’s personal valet and toured with Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and dozens of other major artists; both Bowen and Rogers considered him a friend.
"He lived a long, very fruitful life, and he worked for everybody under the sun," Rogers tells The Boot, explaining that Waylon Jennings wrote "Ode to Ben Dorcy" but never turned the song into his publishing company or created an official record of the track. Its existence was well-known among Dorcy's friends, acquaintances and bosses, however.
"Ben would always play that song for people when he would meet them, and it was almost like a validation for Ben. Ben loved that song," Rogers explains, adding that when he and Bowen started working on Hold My Beer, Vol. 2, they called up Shooter Jennings to get permission to give "Lovey's Song" an official release.
"We called Shooter, and Shooter called his mom [Jessi Colter], and they said, 'Yeah, go cut it,'" Rogers recalls. "And we asked Shooter to sing on it -- it was really that simple."
Waylon Jennings' vocals, taken from the worktape of the song that Dorcy had, begin "Ode to Ben Dorcy." When Bowen and Rogers were in the studio, producer Lloyd Maines piped the late country icon's lines into their headphones as they recorded.
"We're sitting in the studio, you know, with our headphones on, in the vocal booth, getting ready, and all of a sudden, Waylon's voice comes into our ears, like he's sitting in the next room recording with us, like a duet," Bowen remembers. "That was one of the coolest moments we've ever had in the studio. I mean, just, it's unbelievable; obviously we never thought we'd get to say we have a duet with Waylon Jennings."
"I remember walking out of the studio thinking, 'I cannot believe that we just did that,'" Rogers adds.
"It's just one of those things that, those magical moments that happen in the studio that you'll never -- you can't trade them for anything in the world, and you can't get them back," Bowen continues. "They're just moments that you'll never forget."
The final version of "Ode to Ben Dorcy" earned the Jennings family's approval -- "One of the coolest texts I ever got was [from Shooter, saying], 'My dad would really, really enjoy this,'" Bowen shares -- but Dorcy himself died before Bowen and Rogers brought the song to life. He knew it was happening, though.
"He was so excited that we were doing the song ... We were supposed to go in the studio a few other times, and he was so excited that we were going to cut this song," Bowen says. "And so, I hate that he didn't get to hear it, but he does. He hears it -- right?"
Bowen and Rogers' above rendition of "Ode to Ben Dorcey (Lovey's Song)" comes from a performance of their entire Hold My Beer, Vol. 2 album, recently filmed at the legendary Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas. The special show will premiere on Facebook on Thursday (May 7) at 10PM ET, and will be followed by a live chat with the duo, to celebrate the record's release on Friday (May 8).
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