Classic Album – Rick Nelson – Garden Party (CD review)

Rick Nelson – Garden Party (1972) – CD review –

Most people know the “Garden Party” song, but little else of the album it comes from.  Rick Nelson had been trying to shed his teenage idol status for several years; forming the Stone Canyon Band, and mixing healthy doses of folk and country into rock.  Garden Party effortlessly blends all of these styles and shows sides of Nelson seldom seen.

The album opens with “Let it Bring You Along,” which starts as gentle folk, then morphs into a hard rocker. The twangy “So Long Mama” is one of the best kiss-off songs ever.  He even revisits Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talkin’ About You,” which he first recorded back in 1964.  Here, he turns it into a fierce rocker with a jazzy middle section.  Of course, the title track is the real highlight; the countrified true story of Nelson’s experience at an oldies revival show, where his audience was upset at his updated looks and sound.  The single put him at the top of the charts for one last time, but its parent album only reached #32.  It is truly an under-appreciated gem of the early 70’s (so much so, it is currently not in print in the US). –Tony Peters