The Alabama State Troupers - Road Show (1972)

The Alabama State Troupers were a short-lived touring band led by Don Nix.

In 1971 Elektra Records decided to put together a travelling road show to showcase various southern musicians they had signed. The original plan was for it to be led by guitarist Lonnie Mack, but apparently he vanished just days before the tour was to begin. So the role of bandleader fell to singer-songwriter Don Nix (who had that year worked closely with Mack on the latter's The Hills Of Indiana album). The full lineup (credited as The Alabama State Troupers Road Show and The Mount Zion Band & Choir) consisted of Don Nix (vocals/rhythm guitar), Wayne Perkins (guitar), Tippy Armstrong (guitar), Clayton Ivey (piano), Ken Woodley (organ), Bob Wray (bass), Tarp Tarrant (drums), Fred Prouty (drums) and the choir itself (Jeanie Greene, Marlin Greene, Brenda Patterson, Mary Anderson, Carolyn Watkins and Marianna Watkins). They were also joined by veterean bluesman Furry Lewis, who Nix seemed to have taken under his wing (he made cameos on both of Nix's albums from that same year). Lewis was a true character - 78 years old, a heavy drinker, and with just one leg, he had originally performed in the 20s but had recently been brought out of retirement as part of the 60s folk-blues revival.
Recordings were made of the tour, and a double live album was released in 1972, with Don Nix, Jeanie Greene and Furry Lewis on the sleeve as featured artists. Lewis opened the album with a whole side to himself, before three sides of full band arrangements, the vocals shared between Nix, Greene, Brenda Patterson and the choir as a whole. The result was a brilliant southern mix of rock, blues, gospel and country. Nix featured some of his best songs, including the blues classic "Going Down", and "Asphalt Outlaw Hero", which Lonnie Mack was presumeably supposed to sing originally (he had recorded it for The Hills Of Indiana along with several other Nix songs). There were also the traditional songs "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", "My Father's House", "Dixie" and "Jesus On The Mainline", and a cover of Cowboy's "Living In The Country".
After the tour all the musicians went their seperate ways, and the album sunk into obscurity.



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Anonymous said...

I think I have a scratchy copy of this on vinyl in my closet, had forgotten about it

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