This song, though it only climbed to #9, was Billy Joe Royal's biggest career hit. He was on the Billboard chart with three other Top-40 songs in the '60s. It has become a staple of oldies' radio since then, popular for its clear, distinct lyrics and clean guitar sound. The lyrics are easy to identify with, at least for us working folks.
"Boondocks" is a word we've adopted for any rural area, the same as "out in the sticks." But it was ported to the US through American servicemen stationed in the Philippines - there it comes from a Tagalog word meaning "mountain." Even in the Philippines, a "boondock" means an uncultured or illiterate person from a rural area.
Billy Joe Royal is a Baby Boomer musician who's had a combination career - pop-rock in the '60s, country & western since the '80s. While mainstream audiences wonder if he's disappeared since the '60s, country fans know his chart success starts with 1985's "Burned Like a Rocket" at #10 on the US Country charts, and he had over a dozen more Top 40 charting singles there well into the '90s.
"Down In The Boondocks" was written and produced by Joe South, a country/folk singer who had a substantial career in his own right. You'll probably know him from either his 1969 hit "Games People Play
" or his 1970 hit "Walk a Mile In My Shoes."
You can hear the American deep south in every syllable of Royal's vocals; he hails from Valdosta, Georgia, from where you can just about pitch a 'gator at the Florida border.
Kenny Loggins covered this song for his 1978 album, Nightwatch.