Who knew that Ft. Worth, Texas was such a hotbed of cool garage rock back in the day? Certainly not me, but after watching Teen A Go Go, I do now. In the mid-to-late ’60s there were scenes in strange little pockets all over the nation. Lenny Kaye’s ground-breaking Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 double-LP collection was the first to acknowledge this phenomenon back in 1972. It set off a cottage industry of various-artists sets, focusing on wild obscurities seemingly lost to the ages. Teen A Go Go takes this nearly archaeological approach to the music of Ft. Worth during that era, and tells a fascinating story.
When producers Melissa Kirkendall and John Keeyes started delving into the musical history of their hometown of Ft. Worth, they discovered a rich history that had nearly been forgotten. Their mission to tell the tale was a arduous one, but they did an outstanding job in the end. Along the way they interviewed many of the players, including members of The Elites, Larry Roquemore and The Blue Notes, Creep and the Deacons, and the all-girl Kandy Kanes. The music is classic garage/psych, and at its peak the town hosted numerous dance nights at various halls.
Some of the songs may be familiar to those who follow this type of music. A couple of the more notable tracks are “Hey! Baby,” from Bruce Channel, which featured a young Delbert McClinton on harmonica. As the legend goes, it was this song that inspired John Lennon to use the instrument on The Beatles’ “Love Me Do.” The Elites hit big with “One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four,” which actually started out as a spoof of “Surfin’ Bird.”
For a little perspective, Melissa and John traveled to New York to interview the guru himself, Lenny Kaye. They also spoke with Billy Miller, the owner of Norton Records, which specializes in reissues of this type of material. One thing everyone agrees on is just how unique the scene in Ft. Worth was, and how unusually high the quality was. As Miller puts it, “The Ft. Worth scene had a very high batting average, with really, really good records, that will always sound good.” Based on the evidence presented in Teen A Go Go, he is right on target.
There are four bonus segments included on the DVD. “A Beatles Story,” “The Making of the Ft. Worth Teen Scene CDs,” “Lenny Kaye and Nuggets Interview,” and finally “The Making of Teen A Go Go.” It all adds up to a lot of fun, and Teen A Go Go is a great historical look at a fantastic scene from days gone by.