“La Douleur Exquise”
This is dedicated to the sad eyed boys and girls of The Trans-Pecos, Little Texas and Southwestern New Mexico. United in monolithic sameness, well scrubbed teens huddled 'round the radio imagining a world beyond the flat desolation surrounding them. Teen pop or teeners as aficionados of the genre prefer to call it, reigned supreme during the early 1960s. With the specter of nuclear annihilation hanging over head, music reflected the sullen mood of the age. These young fellows thumbed their noses at musical trends and drew inspiration from the early days of rock & roll. It seemed as if Pat Boone and not Elvis Presley had won the battle for the hearts and minds of American teenagers. Clean cut was cool, rebellion was not. Everyone wanted to fit in, conform to the norm.
“May we never part” was the rallying cry. The search for one true love, the crusade for which all were destined. In Southern New Mexico nobody wrenched a heart like the goosestepping maestro of teener heartache, Frank Thayer. A Senior at NMSU, Thayer in collaboration with homespun producer and music engineer, Dennis Adams recorded a series of teener pop ballads that distilled sadness in the same manner that a bootlegger distills spirits from sugar and corn grain. Standing atop the burning pyre of unrequited love, Thayer pined for the women that he obviously scared off with his moody and obsessive nature. Frank is fascinating “partly truth and partly fiction” a man ahead of his time and yet hopelessly stuck in the past. Which is why, in my opinion Frank Thayer defines teener pop so well.
Teener pop was a conscious attempt by the record industry to turn back the clock. To white wash the negroid influences of mid-1950s rock & roll with a sparkling double coat of copacetic conformity. Teener was so chock full of loneliness and despair that it's a miracle American teenagers didn't hang themselves en-mass. La douleur exquise. “I miss someone who isn't mine to miss. I dream about someone who isn't mine to dream about. I love someone, who isn't mine to love” Turn off the water works baby, that don't move me no more. U.S. teeny boppers had to grow the fuck up and two forces were combining to drag them kicking and screaming into adulthood, Vietnam and Beatlemania. The words of love fade like darkness itself at the coming day. “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lloyd Nash vanished from the face of the earth. I imagine he hiked up and over The Organ Mountains to Aguirre Springs dragging a Shure series microphone behind him. Eventually he collapsed at the outer edge of the white sands and there was transformed by nature back to his original essence. Lloyd Nash recorded less than a handful of tracks for GUM records in Mesilla Park.... they were utterly mind blowing, soulful doo wop (The Right Time) ballads (Put Your Trust in Me) and even a dance number (The Quiver) and then he melted back into the obscurity of everyday life. Who was he?... I believe him to be the same Lloyd Nash who graduated from Las Cruces Hs. in 1960. A Boy Stater and the son of a Congregationalist preacher of the same name.
A young man possessed with a God given voice. Lloyd Nash had another calling, he was destined to pursue his destiny in a more mundane manner. This wasn't uncommon at the time. Jim Slone who rose to modest regional fame with “The Girl With the Flaxen Hair” gave up music after graduating from ENMU to build a radio empire in Tucson. Slone Broadcasting and Slone Radio, which he sold to Citadel Communications in 2000 for $63 million, consisted of KIIM-FM, then the top rated station in Tucson, as well as KHYT, KOAZ, KTUC and KCUB (of which he bought 48% ownership for $5000) Not bad for a guy from Causey, N.M. Slone attended high school in Portales, N.M. enrolling at ENMU upon graduation. He landed his first radio job at KENM, the lone radio station in Portales
Having earned his degree in industrial management at ENMU, Jimmy Crocket Slone hooked up with fellow graduates Trini Chavez from Santa Fe and Gil Poch from Iowa, to form The Shy Guys, a vocal trio somewhat like The Lettermen or The Four Preps. The trio recorded at Norm Petty Studios in Clovis N.M. scoring a radio hit with “The Girl With the Flaxen Hair” The song received national radio play which led to The Shy Guys touring the western states before moving on to bigger and better things. Episode 32 is heavy with Yucca Records recording artists, Bobby Fuller, The Ravons, Jerry Bright etc. but Suemi, Coronado and Goldust Records acts are represented as well: Bill Taylor and The Sherwoods, David Hayes and The Pawns, Pat & Dodie plus a few indies, Frank Thayer, Lloyd Nash & The Cavaliers.
The last few episodes of Dirt City Chronicles Podcast have more or less synced up with Dirt City Chronicles, the blog. Episode 32 was meant to sync up with two previous posts on Dirt City Chronicles: http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/10/star-mountain-babylon.html and http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-plural-of-aggies.html both of which cover the music scene along the El Paso/Las Cruces borderlands during the mid-1960s. That didn't happen, so I present it here with links to both features. Just click, read and listen. Charging from the bass knives to the treble, deconstructing the myth, one rock star at a time, Dirt City Chronicles takes an unflinching look at music and musicians. I live in the desert, I embrace and celebrate my home, the land of enchantment.
Text accompanied by music, Dirt City Chronicles
Evening Shadows- Frank Thayer
The Troubled Streets- The Night People (Frank Thayer)
You Hold My Letter (Not Me) Bill Taylor & The Sherwoods
The Girl With the Flaxen Hair- Jim Slone
Lonely Teardrops- The Fortunes
Be Mine- Jerry Bright
He's Gone From Me- Pat and Dodie
Last Night- Don Chaney and The Ivy Jives
The Right Time- Lloyd Nash & The Cavaliers
Yes I'll Be Lonely- Frank Thayer
I'll Always Be- Jerry Bright
Just as I Love Her- Bill Taylor &The Sherwoods
A New Shade of Blue- Bobby Fuller
One and Only Love- Jerry Bell and The Original Rockets
Lonely- David Hayes and The Pawns
Everybody's Laughing at Me- The Ravons
Put Your Trust in Me- Lloyd Nash & The Cavaliers
The Glory of Her Love- Frank Thayer
Lonely Before Dawn- The Night People (Frank Thayer)
This is Love- The Fortunes
Gently My Love- Bobby Fuller