THE NASHVILLE TEENS - 'Tobacco Road'/'I Like It Like That' (Decca F.11930) June 1964

One of the earliest R&B groups from England during the beat boom were The Nashville Teens. They formed some time in 1961 (according to the liners on the back of their one and only EP release) when vocalists and founding members Ray Phillips and Arthur Sharp got together soon to be joined by John Hawken (piano), Pete Shannon (bass), Mick Dunford (guitar) and Roger Groom (drums).

This line-up travelled to Germany in 1963 and worked at Hamburg's renowned Star Club. After making a name for themselves as a tight and energetic unit they were asked to become backing band for Jerry Lee Lewis on his 'Live At The Star Club' LP.

Mick Dunford and Roger Groom were replaced on their return to Britain by John Allen and Barry Jenkins respectively. Thus the 1964 line-up was settled along with a contract with Don Arden who came in as The Nashville Teens Manager. He got them prestigious backing band gigs with the touring Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. They even recorded with Carl Perkins on his Brunswick single 'Big Bad Blues.'

The Nashville Teens debut 45 'Tobacco Road', written by John D. Loudermilk, became an instant classic and reached #6 in the charts. I've read that Loudermilk was inspired to write his song after reading a novel titled 'Tobacco Road' by Erskine Caldwell. This book was published in 1932 and chronicled the living conditions of poor whites from the southern States in America.

The Nashville Teens rip the original version to shreds with their potent brand of R&B with it's vicious backbeat, boogie piano, pounding rhythm and nasty vocals. The production of Mickie Most adds echo to the drums and guitar which really beefs up the overall sound. 

The flip 'I Like It Like That' is tame beat by comparison.

Record Mirror - July 1964

NME - July 1964

NME - July 1964