For a few years bookending the turn of the millennium, another wonderful tradition played out at my aunt and uncle’s small farm in central Alberta. I speak, of course, of the legendary New Year’s Eve bonfires. During the preceding year a healthy stockpile of wood based refuse, be it windfall from around the farm or renovation junk from the city, was collected in the pasture and promptly set ablaze on December 31st. Friends from near and far would gather to enjoy the vast blaze while sharing laughs and copious amounts of beverages. These were the best of times.
Some years we would luck out and the weather would be relatively mild. Still winter, mind you, but tame enough that a decent jacket, mitts and toque was enough to prepare one for many hours in the outdoors. Other years, well, let’s just say old-fashioned Alberta winters can still happen. These were the years when we took coolers with us to keep our beverages warm enough that they didn’t freeze. The temperatures would push toward that minus 30 Celsius mark and it would take multiple layers of professional grade oil patch attire to keep one from freezing solid. Well at least our backsides. Our fronts, facing the huge inferno, were toasty warm regardless of the ambient air temperature.
And what would such a party be without tunes. Music was my responsibility and I spent many weeks leading up to the bash preparing several mixed CDs of the very best party music from rock to country, classics to cheese, and old to new. I even tossed in the odd gospel tune to appease the faithful among us. This was Alberta bible belt territory after all.
Each year I made every effort to present a completely new slate of music. The popular bands remained the same, but I didn’t repeat the same hits from year to year in an attempt to keep things fresh and novel. This endeavour became more difficult as the years rolled by and pretty soon I was left with no alternative but to start asking party stalwarts for requests.
This song was one such request and it was kind of a surprise to me. My aunt, who has admittedly eclectic tastes in music and certainly doesn’t present herself as the biggest fan of country music, asked that I play an Oak Ridge Boys song. Now you’ll immediately assume she asked for one of their memorable cross-over hits like “Elvira” or “American Made” but I can assure you those had already been played years previously (I know my middle-aged, rural, white audience). Instead she asked for a song I had never heard before, even after having dug into the deeper ends of most acts’ catalogues for bonfire music.
Not only was this song a new one for me, it was a gem with an almost gospel quartet vibe to it. And as one would expect with The Oak Ridge Boys, the harmonies are killer. But bar none, the biggest reason I am kicking of your weekend with this song is because I get to share with you the utterly hilarious video that goes with it. I have no idea if this was a Hee Haw skit or what, but it is fantastically ridiculous. The homo-erotic undertones here are fabulous (said with a snap of my finger). I present to you, “Dig a Little Deeper in the Well” from the 1979 album The Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived by (Is this a trick question?) The Oak Ridge Boys.
Goofy Video Version: