Describing "us two and him" is a difficult thing to do because there's not another group like them. They are an imaginative musical trio consisting of brothers Jim and John Rickman ("us two") and Phil Comstock ("him"). Jim plays the stand-up bass while Phil and John play guitar. They capture on stage the feeling of three good buddies enjoying themselves—telling stories, harmonizing, pickin' and grinnin'. For more than four decades, "us two and him" have been entertaining and after all this time, they are still having fun--and it shows. They specialize in banquet entertainment suitable for all audiences regardless of age or socio-
economic background. They play for business and civic groups, churches, and industry.
Their versatility meets varied situations spanning the spectrum from conventions, trade shows, sales meetings to private parties, plus a clever program to enliven and amuse as after-dinner "speakers". Their unique talent has taken them to a guest appearance on the world famous "Grand Ole Opry". They have appeared on "The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree", "Nashville Gospel Show", WSM's "Bill Cody in the Morning" radio show, and for eleven years they were semi-regulars on Nashville television's popular "The Ralph Emery Show". They have shared the stage with noted celebrities and have been the subject of numerous articles in local, state, and national publications.
What makes "us two and him" stand alone is their original compositions. They have successfully recorded and packaged these tunes in four albums. In addition, they perform other hilarious numbers such as, "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore", "Snuff Dipper", and "The Rooster Song". Entertainment with an abundance of enthusiasm best describes "us two and him". Each member of the group has a particular talent complimenting the other two, resulting in a delightful blend and approach to entertainment. They sing songs of growing up country, a foot-stomping music laced with homespun humor, bringing a laugh and a toe tap from the worst critic. Many consider them a most refreshingly different group, conveying a light-hearted, comical theme, yet a surprising sophistication in story and song.
"us two and him" have been compared to the Smothers Brothers and the Kingston Trio. Comstock agrees they might be compare to "Riders in the Sky", a cowboy-dressed group based in the Brentwood-Green Hills area. The South Central Tennessee boys are like characters in the Andy Griffith Show with a touch of Ray Stevens' lyrical madness, toned down from "The Streak", and the lines, "It's me again, Margaret".
About the Musicians
Jim and John Rickman, "us two", and Phil Comstock, "him", all grew up about thirty-five miles south of Nashville in the small rural community of Chapel Hill, Tennessee. Chapel Hill resembled Andy Griffith's Mayberry, so "us two and him" created a song, "The Folks of Mayberry", reflecting a day when the pace of life was much slower:
"I'd sit on the porch and pick with Andy, make eyes at Thelma Lou, Get thrown in the pokey with Otis Campbell, that's something I always wanted to do, Skip rocks on the pond with Opie, chit-chat with old Aunt Bea, Ride with Barney with his siren on through the streets of Mayberry."
All three were influenced in their youth by extended family gatherings. Their song, "Chicken Necks and Wings", describes how little kids might view these get-togethers:
"We sat at the second table eating chicken necks and wings, A leftover dab of gravy, juice and fatback from the beans, Fresh peach cobbler without peaches, melted ice cream from the churn, Wasn't very much to choose from once those grown-ups had their turn. (Grand Ole Opry star, Mike Snider, recorded this one.)"
As teenagers, the older Rickman boys were part of a rock-and-roll band that swept first place in "The Nashville Tennessean's Discovery of the Year" contest in 1965. Then in 1972 John, Jim and Phil came together forming "us two and him". Note the self-deprecating lyrics of one of the group's songs entitled "The Chapel Hill Pickers":
"We played rock-and-roll music back in '65, the girls would follow us around. We wore shoulder-length hair and skin-tight pants and, Man, we had a groovy sound. But now our hair's fallin' out and our skin-tights don't fit, the girls they just giggle and snicker. We used to be the group called "Electric Soul", but now we're just "The Chapel Hill Pickers"."
These are men of character, college graduates, outstanding citizens, businessmen, churchmen, civic-minded and family-oriented. They are the kind of people with whom you like to associate.
John is the songwriter and lives in Tullahoma, Jim is the group's "funnyman" and lives in Murfreesboro, and Phil, the trio's spokesman, resides in Chapel Hill. All these talents blend making an "us two and him" performance a distinctly clever musical presentation.