Rockabilly Essentials: Musicians You Need to Know About

By Buster Fayte, Featured Author, Sad Man’s Tongue

If you’re new to rockabilly, or haven’t had much chance to explore the genre,  you may feel lost when the conversation turns to the early idols. If you want to  keep up with the conversation, then you need some basic essentials to get you up  to speed. In this article, let’s focus on five artists who had a huge hand in  shaping the original art form that we call rockabilly music.

  1. Eddie Cochran: Eddie Cochran was one of the brightest lights of early  rock and roll music. He had a great future ahead of him when he died tragically  in an auto accident on the last night of a long tour of England. He was just 21  years old when he died. Eddie was a natural musician with an intensity that  ensured his success and natural charm that made him an instant favorite. The  image of Eddie and his hollow-body Gretsch guitar has become the iconic image of  the ultimate rockabilly musician. He maybe more than any other musician is the  reason the hollow-body guitar–and the Gretsch 6120 model in particular–have  become the standard for modern rockabilly acts. He had a number of top 100 hits,  but more than that many of his songs that were not his biggest hits have become  the standards by which all rockabilly is measured.
  2. Gene Vincent: Vincent was the perfect foil for Eddie Cochran as they  toured England, Australia, and America together. They became very close friends  and Vincent was in the car with Cochran the night Eddie died–Vincent was  injured, but not killed. In juxtaposition to Cochran’s classy good looks and  wardrobe, Vincent preferred to dress in leather and cultivate a bad-boy image.  Backed by his band The Blue Caps who included Cliff Gallup, considered by many  to be the best rockabilly guitarist of the era, Vincent presented a raw and wild  show. The Blue Caps screamed and threw themselves around the stage while Vincent  belted out some of rockabilly’s wildest and most creative songs.
  3. The Burnette Brothers Rock and Roll TrioSometimes called The Johnny  Burnette Rock and Roll Trio, the Burnette brothers also created some of the most  iconic rockabilly tracks ever. Like the Blue Caps, screaming and yelping were  integral parts of many of the trio’s songs and the band oozed energy. Johnny  Burnette’s urgent vocal delivery put an edge on every song and made each one  memorable.
  4. Buddy Holly: Pretty much everyone can name a favorite Buddy Holly  song, but many people don’t realize that Holly made his start with rockabilly  music. In fact, for rockabilly fans, Holly’s early rockabilly recordings are  indeed essential and many argue that those were the best songs of Buddy’s  career. Of course, Holly’s career was also cut tragically short when he died in  a plane crash the year before Eddie Cochran died.
  5. The Maddox Brothers and Rose: The musical Maddox’s don’t typically  get lumped in with the other luminaries on this list, but many consider them to  be the very first rockabilly act bar none. Some say that Fred Maddox invented  the signature slap-style bass playing that defines so much rockabilly. Of  course, arguments rage on both of these points, but any way you look at it, the  Maddox’s were playing an early form of rockabilly even in the late 1940s. They  were also one of the first acts to bring wild abandon to the stage and their  rollicking stage antics not only made a name for them, but influenced countless  other acts who followed their lead and let loose on stage. Some say it was the  Maddox Brothers and Rose who taught white people to really let loose and  dance!

So there are five rockabilly artists you simply have to know about in order  to join the rockabilly conversation. Seek out the music of the artists I’ve  included on this list. That will give you a great education in some of the  pioneers of rockabilly music.

Buster Fayte is an author and rockabilly musician. He Blogs at “Buster Fayte’s Rockabilly Romp” where he writes about the passion he shares with millions of musicians and fans for rockabilly and oldies music. Buster has written several books including the “Complete Home Music Recording Start Kit”. He writes original songs, sings, and plays both guitar and bass.

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About Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague

We are a Bar and Bistro where old school meets the new school, dedicated to preserving the roots of rock and roll and it's modern adaptations as well as preserving the cultural identity of our neighborhood through our food, the the principles of the slow food movement. A little bit of rockabilly and retro combine with the kustom kulture of today, in an atmosphere devoid of Pretension.
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2 Responses to Rockabilly Essentials: Musicians You Need to Know About

  1. Reblogged this on ATA MOTEK.

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