Friday, 23 May 2014

The Nashville Teens - Nashville Teens (New World) (1972)

The Nashville Teens hit their commercial peak with their debut single, the John D. Loudermilk penned "Tobacco Road" in 1964 on Decca Records, reaching number 6 in the UK charts. Their second single "Google Eye" release later that year would also rise to a respectable number 10. These records would do pretty well in the U.S too, prompting an LP release but oddly, not in the UK. The band continued to trudge through the 1960's with several flop singles, most of them in the beat style of the highest quality. The band never kept a steady line-up with the exception on singer Art Sharp, who stayed with the band from 1962 to 1972. This may be why Decca never offered the opportunity to record an album for the UK market.

An albums worth of material did turn up though, better late than never in 1972 on the budget label New World. "Nashville Teens" is a collection of some of the band's late sixties singles but also includes some killer unreleased psych, which I'm guessing was recorded at least a few years before it's release date. A few of these songs have appeared on compilations: "Widdicombe Fair" and "Ex Kay One LX" both on Incredible Sound Show Stories Volume 3 and "I'm A Lonely One" on Psychedelia Volume 4. One track which I'm surprised wasn't picked up by a comp is "Day & Night", a moody, heavy folk number which sounds like it could be straight off a soundtrack to an obscure British horror flick. A re-recording of "Tobacco Road" is on there too, although it's pretty similar to the original. With the exception of a couple of so-so blues songs, this is actually a really good compilation which highlights what a great band the Nashville Teens were and I'd imagine they were a killer live act too.

I'll leave you with the opening cut on the LP, the Randy Newman penned, Vic Smith produced "The Biggest Night Of Her Life", also recorded by Harper's Bizzare for their third album "The Secret Life Of...". Released by Decca in September 1967 as a single (backed with the equally ace "Last Minute") for me, is the band's champion song. A hard pop nugget with subtle psychedelic undertones. It should have been a massive hit.

The Nashville Teens - The Biggest Night Of Her Life
(Randy Newman)

Susie's going out tonight to her sixteenth birthday party 
Her shoes are pink, her dress is white 
And she's a beautiful sight to see 
And you can bet it will be the biggest night of her life 

Susie's got a boy she likes 
And his name is Tom Van Fleet 
Susie's parents think he's nice because his hair is always neat 
And you can bet it will be the biggest night of his life 

Two kids out dancing, having fun till the sun comes up 
In a high-school sweater and a paper hat 
What could be wrong with that? 

Susie's going out tonight to a promise she must keep 
She thought about it all last night 
And she was too excited to sleep 
And tonight's gonna be the biggest night of her life


  1. Great version of this song! A bit more sprightly than Harper Bazaars' more baroque take. I really like the Martha My Dear-like piano, an instrument not often utilized by garage bands (who keeps a piano in their garage anyway?). Also didn't know know they were from the UK. Because of the name, I always assumed they were from Detroit ;) Ion

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  3. I just happened to Google this song (not Google-Eye it!), and found your comment and your interesting take on it. I always thought it was totally breathtaking, with its relentless beat and its extraordinary explosion into what seems like the wrong key in the middle section. (Only Randy Newman would have dared to do this!) The song is delivered with meticulous precision, and the whole thing has always seemed to me a bit like one great musical exclamation mark.