My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Classic Rewind: Nat Stuckey – ‘Sweet Thang’

5 responses to “Classic Rewind: Nat Stuckey – ‘Sweet Thang’

  1. Ken September 1, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Nat Stuckey on the Porter Wagoner Show performing a song that he wrote. Released on the Shreveport, Louisiana based Paula label Nat was backed on his studio recording by The Uniques, a pop group that also recorded for Paula and included young Joe Stampley. “Sweet Thang” became Nat’s first hit reaching #4 in November of 1966.

    Two versions of this song were released. An early issue of the Paula 45 opened with Nat saying “Sshhhhhh…” – and chuckling few times just before singing the first line. Later issues deleted Nat’s comical opening and began with the first line of the song.

    Nat was an underrated and unfortunately underappreciated singer. He had a deep expressive voice that needed no studio manipulation as you can hear on this live performance. Porter Wagoner’s band The Wagonmasters backed Nat on this clip that features Buck Trent – who usually plays electric banjo – pickin’ guitar on the instrumental break at 1:15.

    Nat died of lung cancer in August 1988.

    • Paul W Dennis September 2, 2018 at 1:19 am

      Although this proved to be Nat’s biggest chart hit, many associate the song with ET & Loretta Lynn, who recorded the song as a duet and performed it together on the Opry (and other venues). Over the years I’ve heard the ET & LL version on the radio at least as often as I’ve heard Nat’s recording

      • Ken September 2, 2018 at 1:45 pm

        Country stations in my area briefly played the E.T. & Loretta duet when it was a current record but never afterwards. However Stuckey’s hit was played as an oldie well into the 70’s. The duet – though well done – was not a chart hit stalling at #45 in Billboard. The wisdom to release a cover version of that song as a single was questionable. Stuckey’s version had just been a national top ten hit a couple of months earlier and was still being played regularly at many stations. Had Stuckey’s single failed it might have made sense to attempt to cover his recording.

        I also enjoyed the Jimmy Dean & Dottie West version from 1970. It was on their RCA duet album and as the B side of their single “Slowly.”

      • Luckyoldsun September 5, 2018 at 10:54 pm

        The ET & Loretta cover probably benefited from the song really being a natural duet. In Stuckey’s version, in more than half the lines, he’s “quoting” his unseen wife (and those are all the best lines)!
        I first heard the song as a comparatively recent (2000s) remake by Gene Watson and Rhonda Vincent. Then I bought a car that came with a free one-year subscription to Sirius XM radio (first brand new car I ever had) and I used to hear the original Stuckey version every once-in-a-while on the “Willie’s Roadhouse” channel.

        • Ken September 6, 2018 at 10:39 am

          Ultimately there wasn’t much of a “benefit” to Ernest & Loretta as their duet version never rose above #45. Stuckey’s clever lyrics were so well designed that the song could be performed as a solo or a duet. But Stuckey’s excellent solo performance was hard to beat. His humorous inflections perfectly captured the philandering husband and his duplicitous behavior. The detailed description of his unfaithful activity perfectly sets up the chorus with the wife’s response.

          I strongly disagree that the “best” lines are those attributed to the wife. Those from the husband are equally clever and just as important to the overall narrative. Word by word it’s a very well constructed song with every line important to the overall story.

          Few times in country music history has a remake that was released soon after the original hit been successful (2 years or less) Excluding the 1940’s & 50’s era when multiple versions of the same song simultaneously charted or country re-makes of current or recent pop hits a few examples come to mind:

          Webb Pierce’s “In The Jailhouse Now” was already a #1 hit for a month when Jimmie Rodgers’ 1930 version received new instrumental backing by Chet Atkins & Hank Snow’s Rainbow Ranch Boys in March 1955. That new version peaked at #7 in early July 1955.

          Warner Mack’s March 1958 #9 hit “Is It Wrong (For Loving You)” returned to the chart with a June 1960 #11 recording by Webb Pierce.

          Don Gibson’s 1960 RCA recording of “Sweet Dreams” was a #6 hit in January 1961. Patsy Cline’s Decca single peaked at #5 in June 1963.

          Ray Price’s version of “Make The World Go Away” was a #2 hit in October 1963. Two years later in December 1965 Eddy Arnold’s recording became a #1 country hit and #6 pop record.

          Wilma Burgess’ December 1966 #4 hit “Misty Blue” returned to the chart a few months later when Eddy Arnold’s rendition peaked at #3 in July 1967.

          Zella Lehr’s version of Dolly Parton’s song “Two Doors Down” was a #7 hit in March 1978. Dolly’s own recording topped the country chart two months later In June 1978 as the tag-along B side to “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right.”

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