Before Wheeler Walker Jr. was melding raunchy lyrics with expert country instrumentation, there was Ween’s 1996 cult classic 12 Golden Country Greats. A collection of 10 songs — even the misnumbered title is a gag — the album finds the Nineties weird-rock duo parodying country clichés in tracks like “I Don’t Wanna Leave You on the Farm,” “Japanese Cowboy” and the ultimate kiss-off “Piss Up a Rope.” But the record wasn’t completely a lark: musically, it was superb, with Nashville aces like harmonica player Charlie McCoy, fiddler Buddy Spicher and the vocal group the Jordanaires backing up Gene and Dean Ween.
For two nights in October (as part of what they’re calling their Florida Georgia Line Tour), Ween and some of those players — dubbed the Shit Creek Boys — will perform songs off 12 Golden Country Greats at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Just the mere announcement of the show struck a chord with fans (Margo Price tweeted her excitement) for whom the LP is a touchstone of absurdist humor. Recorded at Bradley’s Barn in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, outside Nashville, with producer Ben Vaughn, the record was a departure for the already experimental duo, who two years earlier unveiled Chocolate and Cheese, which had at least one song that hinted at the coming country foray: the dusty murder ballad “Buenas Tardes Amigo.”
Ween toured after the release of 12 Golden Country Greats with the Shit Creek Boys, a run that yielded the band’s second concert album. Live in Toronto Canada, recorded in 1996, was released in 2001.
Tickets for Ween’s Ryman Auditorium shows, set for October 16th and 17th, will go on sale Friday, August 17th.