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Info req: Tobacco Road

D-String 26 Aug 04 - 09:44 PM
Cluin 26 Aug 04 - 09:55 PM
alanabit 27 Aug 04 - 04:17 AM
The Borchester Echo 27 Aug 04 - 04:37 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 27 Aug 04 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Aug 04 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Lindsay 27 Aug 04 - 08:14 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 27 Aug 04 - 08:14 AM
The Borchester Echo 27 Aug 04 - 08:22 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 27 Aug 04 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,jp 15 Jul 15 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,# 16 Jul 15 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Peter 16 Jul 15 - 03:31 PM
fat B****rd 16 Jul 15 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,# 16 Jul 15 - 03:36 PM
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Subject: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: D-String
Date: 26 Aug 04 - 09:44 PM

I need a bit of background to "Tobacco Road". Who wrote it or is it aa trad song, who first recorded it, etc.


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Subject: ADD: Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk)
From: Cluin
Date: 26 Aug 04 - 09:55 PM

Tobacco Road, a great song written by the great John D. Loudermilk (a cousin of Charlie and Ira Louvin--their real last name was Loudermilk), published by him in 1960.

from http://members.chello.nl/~k.vanderhoeven/JDL2.html:


Loudermilk's signature song.

Partly autobiographical, partly not.
Tobacco Road actually was a grassy strip in East Durham, where hogsheads of tobacco were rolled down to the warehouse. So rough that the police would not venture there at night.
Loudermilk wasn't "born in that dump", nor "mamma died" and he never saw "daddy got drunk". But he knew Tobacco Road's reputation and actually saw it from a teenage job delivering telegrams, "to take money orders down there every saturday night and everybody would all be drunked up" (Info based on the booklet of the bear-cd)
Song originally was done as a folk song. Loudermilks first Columbia-version still is one of the best performances of the song. Strong and sober. But the 45 didn't sell.
Only place in the world where the record sold a little was Brisbane, Australia, where it reached a #27 position on the charts in 1960, though the flip Midnight Bus was chosen as the A-side at the time.
Loudermilk later re-recorded the song for his RCA and WB albums in a more country way.

Lou Rawls gave the song a soulful treat, and afterwards the Jefferson Airplane, who knew the Lou Rawls version, recorded it and turned the song into a rock standard in the sixties. An endless string of rock, blues, garage, beat, punk etc versions since then have been recorded. Little Michael Jackson sang it on the audition sessions of The Jackson Five for Motown in 1968 (video of it circulating).
Recent years mainly brought blues versions of the song.


'Official' lyrics: TOBACCO ROAD
w & m by John D Loudermilk
©1960 Cedarwood

I was born in a dump,
Mamma died and daddy got drunk,
Left me here to die or grow
In the middle of Tobacco Road.
Wo wo wo
Grew up in a rusty shack,
All I owned was hangin' on my back.
Only you know how I loathe
This place called Tobacco Road,
But it's home.
The only life I've ever known
Only you know how I loathe
Tobacco Road

Gonna leave get a job
With the help and the grace from above
Save my money get rich I know,
Bring it back to Tobacco Road.
Wo wo wo
Bring dynamite and a crane,
Blow it up, start all over again.
Build a town, be proud to show,
Give the name Tobacco Road
But it's home.
The only life I've ever known
I despise you 'cos you're filthy,
But I love you 'cos you're home.

(source: Country Hall of Fame No4 John D Loudermilk)


That's how the lyrics were published in the Loudermilk songbook. Loudermilk, and almost everybody else, sings 'm different at some points:
Only Lord knows instead of Only you know, grace from above becomes grace from God, the "dump" in line 1 sounds more like "lump" (Status Quo even sang here "bunk") and the "wo wo wo" is left out..




There's more info on the page linked to above on the looooooooong list of artists who have covered it.


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: alanabit
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 04:17 AM

A great post and very informative. Thanks Cluin. At the other end of the scale, John D Loudermilk was also responsible for the appalling, "Ebony Eyes", which I hope was written with his tongue very firmly in his cheek.
I can't recall when you first began posting here, Cluin, but you may recall that there was a time a couple of years back when the great man himself posted here a few times. It would be good to have him back. He was always interesting. We have had some distinguished company here!


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 04:37 AM

The improbably-named Nashville Teens, a UK "beat combo", had a top ten hit with Tobacco Road in 1964.


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 05:12 AM

Many years ago on late night BBC TV there was a one-off programme in which John D Loudermilk and Jake Thackray sat either side of a crate of beer and swapped songs - priceless, or maybe I was hallucinating since no-one else seems to remember it.

Roger


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 07:16 AM

Sir Roger de Beverley

I guess your not Roger Beverley who was into building his own set of Uillean Pipes and living at High Easter, in Essex in the 70'/80's ??

He's someone I lost touch with.

That sounds like it would have been an interesting programme, a little less pretentious than some of the stuff that gets served up now with all the talking heads. A time when music programmes were music programmes and not an opportunity to feature "celebs" chatting interspersed with a few short sound clips.

Yeah, the good old days when times were bad.


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: GUEST,Lindsay
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 08:14 AM

The Nashville Teens were, as far as I know, a Welsh duo, they were a good duo in the 60s, I saw them in 1967 at St. Albans City Hall - I think their version of "Tobacco Road" came out around 1966


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 08:14 AM

No, that isn't me. I'm from Hull and, after living in various parts of England and Scotland for the last 30+ years have now resettled near Hull - in Beverley!

Roger


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 08:22 AM

Tobacco Road by the Nashville Teens reached No 6 in the UK charts on 9 July 1964.

(Source: Guinness Book of British Hit Singles


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Subject: RE: Info reqd:Tobacco Road
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 08:39 AM

Found this as a web search under the Nashville Teens:

"In 1962 they were formed as a beat group in Weybridge, Surrey, England: Arthur Sharp on lead vocals, John Hawken on keyboards, Barry Jenkins on drums, Ray Phillips on bass and vocals, and guitarists John Allen and Pete Shannon. They went to Hamburg and played the clubs there in 1962 and 1963, as did other British rock groups such as the Beatles and the Searchers. They played backup for established rock star Jerry Lee Lewis at the Star Club, and an album of this association was recorded, although the quality of the recording is not very good. They went on tour backing Bo Diddley, which brought them back to England where they were seen by British rock producer Mickie Most.

Most was a pop entrepreneur whose formula for making money was to find good songs and have them recorded in a studio by good bands. He would have success with such notable British artists as the Animals, Herman's Hermits, Donovan and Lulu. In 1964 Most handed a composition by American songwriter John D. Loudermilk, Tobacco Road, to the Nashville Teens. The result was a rousing version of the song that featured Hawken's piano and some great vocals by Sharp and Phillips. The song was a hit, rising to number 6 on the British pop chart and number 14 in the US. It was followed by Google Eye, another top ten entry in the UK. Tobacco Road was eventually covered by dozens of other artists, but it is the version by the Nashville Teens that remains as the most popular."

Roger


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Subject: RE: Info req: Tobacco Road
From: GUEST,jp
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 04:39 PM

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbctwo/england/1976-07-28


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Subject: RE: Info req: Tobacco Road
From: GUEST,#
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 02:14 PM

Loudermilk was born in North Carolina and likely the Tobacco Road he referred to was in NC, not England. The tobacco growing area was collectively called Tobacco Road.


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Subject: RE: Info req: Tobacco Road
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 03:31 PM

Recorded by an English band, nobody said that it was about England.

Just found a version by Eric Burdon on Youtube - much better than the Nashville Teens!


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Subject: RE: Info req: Tobacco Road
From: fat B****rd
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 03:32 PM

I saw the Nashville Teens on the 1964 Chuck berry tour at Leicester De Montfort Hall. Their piano player joined King Size Taylor And The Dominos to back Berry.
Incidentally, "Tobacco Road was a book (1932) and a film(1941) long before it was a song.


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Subject: RE: Info req: Tobacco Road
From: GUEST,#
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 03:36 PM

"Recorded by an English band, nobody said that it was about England."

Pardon me all to hell and back. My mistake. I misread an earlier post.


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