DOUG CLARK AND THE HOT NUTS

by Tony Maygarden

Douglas P. Clark passed away on September 16, 2002, at the age of 66. With his passing, the music world lost the leader and founder of one of North Carolina's most popular, long-lived, and notorious party bands, Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts.

A native of Chapel Hill, NC, Doug Clark formed his first band, The Tops, while in high school. By the early '60s, he had formed the Hot Nuts. The band toured up and down the east coast, with college fraternities (which at that time were pretty much all white) providing most of their gigs. They also played all black clubs, such as The Square Club and The Goodwill Club in Durham, NC. Clark stated in an interview with The Chapel Hill News shortly before his death that "we didn't make any money, but we had a million dollars worth of fun."

The band, which featured Doug's brother John on saxophone, specialized in danceable R&B mixed with a heavy dose of risqué musical numbers, jokes and skits.

Doug Clark - Nuts To You LP cover

Nuts to You (Gross 101), released 1962.

Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts released nine albums on their own Gross label. Recorded live, the albums have a definite party atmosphere. The first release, Nuts to You features a front cover picture of Doug flipping the bird to the audience.

The band's repertoire included period dance songs like Phil Upchurch's "You Can't Sit Down," ribald R&B like Dave Bartholomew's "My Ding-a-ling" (to which they liberally added their own verses), re-workings of popular songs (such as turning Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" into "Big Jugs"), and original songs like "Panty Raid." The band's signature pieces, which furnished vehicles for their endless bawdy word play, were "Gay Caballero," "Two Old Maids" and "Hot Nuts."

Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts were playing regularly until shortly before Doug's death. A one-of-kind band, their music, and the laughter they created so easily, will be truly missed. (Note: A recent article in The Chapel Hill News stated that the band, with Doug's son as a member, will carry on performing as Doug Clark's Hot Nuts.)

Doug Clark - Panty Raid LP cover

Panty Raid (Gross 105)

Summer Session (Gross 106)

Doug Clark - Baby Let Me Bang Your Box single label

"Baby Let Me Bang Your Box" single released on Jubilee in 1966. They had another single on Jubilee, "Go, Doug Go," and one on the the Port label, "Peanuts."

They also released two 7" EPs on the Gross label.

 

Doug Clark - Freak Out LP cover

Freak Out (Gross 108)

Other albums by Doug Clark and The Hot Nuts:
On Campus (Gross 102)
Homecoming
(Gross 103)
Hell Night (Gross 107)
With a Hat On (Gross 109)

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