Bandy was born in 1944 on Lincoln’s birthday (February 12th) in the town of Meridian, Mississippi, where his grandfather had once worked alongside country legend Jimmie Rodgers on the railroad. While Moe was still a youngster, the Bandys moved to San Antonio and in 1972 he met producer Ray Baker, who agreed to cut a record with him – but only if Bandy would pay for the session (a deal some might consider “suspicious”). Moe hocked his furniture to come up with $900 to record “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today.” Even after the song was released, it still took Bandy over a year to get out of debt.
For years, Bandy was one of the few performers holding tightly to country music’s traditions, and for his efforts, the Texas State Legislature named him the official “King of Honky Tonk.” His string of hits continued until 1983, when they began to tail off. Finally, on July 4, 1986, Moe signed a new contract with MCA onstage during a concert in Oklahoma. With new producer Jerry Kennedy, he turned toward more positive songs, and returned again to country music’s Top Ten with such hits as “Till I’m Too Old To Die Young” and “Americana.” One of the very best of his later records (although it didn’t register very high on the charts) was the gospel-tinged “Many Mansions.” When Bandy opened his country music theater in Branson, Missouri (a very family-oriented tourist destination), he was able to put on a good, lengthy show because of these later “positive” songs. He voluntarily refrained from performing the earlier “cheatin’” hits during his live shows, possibly pressured by city officials to delete those because of the family-friendly atmosphere which Branson was trying to convey.