Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sweatin, Smokin, Snortin

Todd Andrews, who recorded almost exclusively for the Nashville-based Nu Sound label, is one of my favourite of the many Song Poem singers. His plaintive yet disinterested style is so ill-suited to some of the material he was forced to sing that it adds to its absolute ‘wrongness’; this is miserablist country of the highest order. It’s clear from his intonation and phrasing that he never bothered to give any of these songs more than a single run through, the ‘country-by-numbers’ backing is so safe and similar that anyone with more than a passing interest in singing could work out which way the tune was going to lead them. The fact that he almost always breaks off into a spoken-word passage only enhances that sense of ‘I really can’t be arsed to learn this garbage’ for me.

I’ve tried to find out some info about the life of Todd Andrews but have drawn a complete blank. He’s certainly not to be confused with the much younger Todd Andrews currently gigging around the States (a relative, perhaps?), the comedian or the chess master of the same name. Our Todd, judging by his performances, must have been in his fifties during the 1970s - the time most of these sides were recorded. Other than that I know nothing. All info gratefully received.

Nu-Sound was an odd set up, knocking out the occasional vanity or self-funded 45 but specialising primarily in song poems: from 1967 onwards a Nu Sound Recording Studio operating in Nashville, was advertising its demo facility in Billboard while in the same magazine an ‘established, progressive’ Nu Sound Records of Nashville was looking for country singers. Other Nu-Sound companies exist (or existed): one based in Ohio, another in Kentucky, a third in Brooklyn and a fourth which was primarily a reggae label. All of these seem to be unrelated, and I’m sure there are even more out there somewhere.

So, apologies for the lack of info on today’s artist, but enjoy the great Todd Andrews on a couple of truly dreadful sides - Sweating It Out (Nu Sound 79N 1404, the b-side to the equally hideous Three Little Children by Carolyn Boyle) and his cautionary tale of a night spent at a pill popping party, the utterly brilliant Smokin’ Dope and Snortin’ Coke.


  1. "Smokin' Dope and Snortin' Coke" could have been written for my ex's family. They kept moving in with eachother and not paying bills. Windbag

  2. Good pedal steel!

  3. I have a nu sound record by Jim Wheeler called In my heart I'll never say goodby written by M Easley does anyone have any info on this record?


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