Neon Philharmonic, The

Band members               Related acts

- Don Gant (RIP 1987) - vocals
- Tuppy Saussy - conductor, keyboards 



- Don Gant (solo efforts)


Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Moth Confesses

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: WS 1769

Year: 1969

Country/State: Nashville, Tennessee

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $20.00


Having achieved minor recognition as a Nashville-based sessions player in 1969 Don Gant hooked up with writer/arranger Tuppy Saussy (himself best known for having adapted some of the Mary Poppins songbook to a adult oriented jazz sound via "The Swinger's Guide to Mary Poppins"). The two decided on a collaboration, resulting in Nashville's The Neon Philharmonic.


Signed by Warner Brothers, the duo debuted with 1969's self-produced and arranged "The Moth Confesses". Rather than go into the details, I'll simply quote from the collection's rather accurate if pompous liner notes:

"The Moth Confesses is a condensed opera, with variations on a single itinerary themes: desperation. There is great movement in desperation. The state of being desperate implies a choice between alternatives, and as we watch a protagonist choose his  directions we are held in suspense. The protagonist in this miniature opera is moth like, indeed. He is hardly bound to one place; he is always looking for an elusive light. He emerges from his cocoon in the first song, in which he shares his initial fascination for making love with his first lover. It might be said that all the remaining songs have to do with rediscovering, recreating that feeling ... Don Gant's rough hewn voice gives the material a very exciting texture." 

Want to know what it really sounds like?  Utter crap! Overblown, pompous crap, this was the kind of aural trash that gives 1960s music a bad rap. Apparently intended as a insightful social commentary, the result was at best hysterically inept.  Ironically, the Philharmonic actually achieved a moment of fame with the release of the single 'Morning Girl' b/w 'Brilliant Colors' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7261). Backed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the single somehow climbed into the top-20. Luckily, the parent album failed to chart. 

"The Moth Confesses" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Brilliant Colors (Tupper Saussy) - 4:18
2.) Cowboy (Tupper Saussy) - 2:18
3.) New Life out There (Tupper Saussy) - 5:32
4.) Morning Girl (Tupper Saussy) - 2:12

(side 2)

1.) Midsummer Night (Tupper Saussy) - 5:44
2.) Little Sparrow (Tupper Saussy) - 3:16
3.) Last Time I Saw Jacqueline (Tupper Saussy) - 3:42
4.) Morning Girl, Later (Tupper Saussy) - 2:31


(In 1996 the Sundazed label reissued the album in CD format (catalog number 6084). The CD included six no-LP sides: 1.) Heighdy-Ho Princess, 2.) Don't Know My Way Around My Soul, 3.) Flowers for Your Pillow, 4.) Clouds, 5.)




 Snow and 6.) To Be Continued.)

Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Neon Philharmonic

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: WS 1804

Year: 1970

Country/State: Nashville, Tennessee

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: cut corner

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $20.00



Gawd only knows why but for some reason Warner Brothers executives decided to allow the duo to record a sophomore album. Released the following year, the cleverly-titled "The Neon Philharmonic" was even more over the top than the debut. A nauseating mix of MOR moves and pseudo-intellectual lyrical pretentiousness, my third grader could have done better than 'F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Shakespeare'.  Elsewhere anyone capable of sitting through melodramatics such as 'Are You Old Enough To Remember Dresden?', 'Forever Hold Your Peace' and 'No One Is Going To Hurt You' was far stronger and patient than I was. It would have made dandy material for a Jimmy Webb customer, or another Richard Harris album ...

"The Neon Philharmonic" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Are You Old Enough To Remember Dresden? (Tupper Saussy) - 5:18
2.) Forever Hold Your Peace (Tupper Saussy) - 2:21
3.) You Lied ( Tupper Saussy) - 3:25
4.) Harry ( Tupper Saussy )- 4:06

(side 2)

1.) No One Is Going To Hurt You (Tupper Saussy) - 3:53
2.) Long Live the Pirate (Tupper Saussy) - 5:14
3.) F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Shakespeare (Tupper Saussy) - 5:10
4.) The Mordor National Anthem (Tupper Saussy) - 0:43

Over the next couple of years Gant and Saussy reforming the operation for two singles: 1972's 'So Glad You're a Woman' b/w 'Making Out the Beat You Can' on TRX Records and 1976's 'Annie Poor' b/w 'Love Will Find a Better Way' on MCA. 

Gant returned to sessions work. Only 44, he died in March 1987. 

Saussy's post-Philharmonic life was far more bizarre and interesting. He divorced his first wife, remarried, moved to the country and began to follow a series of interests that included ghostwriting convicted assassin James Earl Ray's biography, running a restaurant and becoming a vocal opponent of the tax systems. The latter became an all consuming interest and in 1985 he was convicted on federal income tax evasion charges. Rather than serve the one year sentence, he spent the next ten years in hiding (not that the government spent much effort looking for him), finally being captured in California in November 1997.




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