I'm not worthy ... I'm not worthy!
August 14, 2005 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Rockin' Country Style You usually hear the music termed "rockabilly," but the creator of this site prefers the term "country and western rock 'n' roll," a term he feels reflects what observers of the music's prime era (the mid-to-late 1950s) thought was going on, and is more inclusive besides (racially and also in regard to artificial genre boundaries). Whatever you think about his "theoretical scope," there is so much here to explore. And so much deeply, deeply odd music. The usual suspects are here, among them Elvis and the usual Sun heroes, as well Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly, etc. What is really interesting about this site, however, is how one can explore the evolution of a performer's sound (see: Link Wray) or the sounds of a geographical area or city. Then there are just so many great song samples, like Hep Cat Baby from Eddy Arnold and Fickle Chicken by the Atmospheres - and that's only from the A's! The site also features compilations by label, photographs of singles, and likes to sites dedicated to labels and performers. Terry Gordon, who oversaw the creation of this impossibly thorough database, is now working on a second database site dedicated to southern soul.
posted by raysmj (14 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for the excellent post. This genre of music is often forgotten about, instead focusing on Elvis, which is not bad but some of the less known Sun Artists are forgotten. Who here has original Sun 45s? I have some by Carl Perkins amoung others.
posted by wheelieman at 8:08 PM on August 14, 2005

As a follower of the fine Reverend Horton Heat, I bear witness!
A lot of the former (older) punkers around here have become rockabilly greasers (and gearheads) in an effort to 'get to their roots'...
posted by Balisong at 8:34 PM on August 14, 2005

That is truly an amazing database! Thank you!
posted by Balisong at 8:42 PM on August 14, 2005

Great links.
posted by dhoyt at 9:00 PM on August 14, 2005

How odd. I just finished writing an article minutes ago on The Morells, Brian Capps, The Bel Airs, The Domino Kings, Dave Alvin, Redd Volkert (with The Twangbangers) and Hightone Records, all modern torch-bearers of this style. Minutes ago. Really.

Small world.

Excellent resource. A+
posted by sourwookie at 9:09 PM on August 14, 2005

superb, thanks raysmj. hours of fun there. don't know if this fabulous effort has ever been cited on MeFi before, but it makes a nice pairing. And this ain't bad on the other side of the divide.

i want to start a foundation to provide free web development and graphics support for record collector sites. although there is something about the homemade quality of the best ones that is appealing.
posted by realcountrymusic at 9:13 PM on August 14, 2005

As a former student of the mighty Rev. Horton Heat, and one who luckily got to see the Sun Rhythm Section on one of their last tours (they were in their 50s and 60s, in brown polyester suits which made them look like a bunch of insurance salesmen, and they totally rocked), thanks heaps for the heads up on this resource.
posted by Empty Planet at 9:47 PM on August 14, 2005

The original stuff is still great of course, but I love what it spawned even better, particularly: the Cramps, Girl Trouble, Alcohol Funnycar, Gas Huffer, the Monomen, the Supersuckers, etc. Great post!
posted by psmealey at 5:19 AM on August 15, 2005

Only one correction: Re the "racially" part, I happened to be looking at a page from the still not-ready-for-prime-time soul page when checking that one out. Woops. The singers featured here are mostly white, given that it was singers from a white country background discovering or just somehow incorporating nearly obvious elements of rhythm and blues - and putting the results on record.
posted by raysmj at 6:03 AM on August 15, 2005

Nice post. I do wish that we could hear the full song in many of these cases, but I guess we'll just have to wait for, you know, 2085 or so when they're public domain...
And I wish that Honking Duck wasn't RA format (c'mon, just use mp3s!)
Still, lots of neat stuff from my home area that I had no idea about...
posted by klangklangston at 6:23 AM on August 15, 2005

Very nice resource. I'm not a huge fan of rockabilly, under whatever name, but this db is amazing.
posted by OmieWise at 11:20 AM on August 15, 2005

thanks, raysmj!
posted by safetyfork at 12:31 PM on August 15, 2005

The great African-American rockabilly star -- and a member of the second greatest neo-rockabilly band in history -- was Buzz Wayne, lead singer of Buzz and the Flyers. (Buzz Wayne also sported the first "fade" hairstyle I ever saw post-1964, and may have single-handedly revived this style among African-Americans.) Anyone who ever saw Buzz and the Flyers live knows how incredibly special they were, with their crisp, dry, light, perfectly balanced rockabilly sound. I can remember the night they opened for the Blasters at the Pep in NYC in the mid '80s. It was the Blasters first east coast gig. Buzz and the Flyers blew them off the face of the earth (the Blasters with their muddy sound, poor musical skills, and mush-mouthed vocals never got any better).

However, the greatest rockabilly show of modern times was Buzz and the Flyers and the Tom Cats (Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker's pre-Stray Cats formation) at Club 86 in --what -- 1983? There was barely a soul in the audience, and both bands rocked their little hearts out. Brian Setzer and his fifties-attired girlfriend danced through Buzz and the Flyers whole set, right up in front of the band, with Setzer shouting "go, go, go!" while the incredible Michael Gene whipped through his Cliff Gallup-style leads. (Michael Gene is dead now.)

Buzz and the Flyers album is worth having not just for the great covers, but for their outstanding original "Every Walk of Life," which points the way to a kind of pop-rockabilly hybrid, if anyone ever wants to take it up.

(By the way, the best neo-rockabilly band of all time was the Beatles. Listen to: "I'll Cry Instead," "She's a Woman," etc.)
posted by Faze at 1:22 PM on August 15, 2005

posted by destro at 7:59 PM on August 15, 2005

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