Irlene Mandrell: Work Those "Thighs Of Texas"

MandrellTexer.jpg

Irlene Mandrell

Texercise (1983)

You already know the greats of Texas' recorded history. Roy Orbison. Lightnin' Hopkins. ZZ top. Jandek. But no Texas record collection is complete without this regional remnant of the exercise album craze, Irlene Mandrell's Texercise.

Born in Corpus Christi, Irlene grew up in the shadow of her successful sisters, Barbara and Louise, and cast about involving herself in various projects trying to find her niche. While her siblings were playing No. 1 hits at the Grand Ole Opry, Irlene was guest-starring in skits on Hee-Haw, attempting a career as a stock-car racer and joining the "aerobics" craze with Texercise.

Swapping leg-warmers for cowboy boots, Irlene leads us though a full workout of Texas-themed moves: The Pecos Pull. The Big Bend. The Thighs of Texas. No longer would Texas housewives with a few extra pounds have to work out to exercise videos made by commie Hollywood celebs or the liberal East-Coast gymnastic elite. This one was all Texas, down to its Texas-size gatefold album cover. The "yee-haw" calls were even provided by none other than Asleep At The Wheel's Ray Benson.

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Happily, a video has emerged with clips from the VHS (or perhaps Betamax?) accompaniment to the record. So y'all pull up a saddle, get out your best workout boots, and get Texercisin'!

Irlene didn't last long in the exercise biz. But now, it seems she has finally found her calling: guns. She hosts a yearly "Celebrity Shoot," is a spokesperson for Smith & Wesson and... well... just check out the pic from the front page of her Web site.

Seriously.

See Nick DiFonzo's Web site at www.bizarrerecords.com.

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