Rockabilly and Moderation Don’t Mix!

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

Some forms of music benefit from a bit of judiciously applied moderation.  Classical music’s ebbs and flows build emotion, tension, and release. Many folk  songs are brilliantly understated and thus work in a way they wouldn’t if they  were performed at full tilt. However, rockabilly music isn’t one of those forms  of music!

Rockabilly draws its energy from letting loose with everything it has.  Whether you’re a musician rockin’ out on the stage or a fan tearing up the dance  floor, it’s best not to fight rockabilly’s natural full-speed-ahead attitude.  You might as well just let loose with everything you’ve got because that’s what  rockabilly demands!

When Elvis first started his recording career in the Memphis Recording  Services studios, he wasn’t there to record rockabilly. After all, depending  upon who you ask, rockabilly may not even have been born yet. Instead, Elvis was  there to record a few country ballads. No one realized yet that the “King in  waiting” was attempting to hold back something that was as natural a part of him  as his trademark curled lip. Or maybe he wasn’t trying to hold it back. Maybe he  just hadn’t fully discovered it yet.

But Elvis’ moderation couldn’t last. It was impossible to hold back the  energy within him and eventually during the course of his recording session, he  burst forth with all the raw energy that became the young idol’s trademark. He  began singing old R&B numbers in a way that no one had seen a white man sing  before. There was no doubt that moderation had no part in Elvis’ delivery. The  only way they could moderate the King was to shoot him from the waist up on the  Ed Sullivan show in order to protect the young girls from the suggestive  gyrations of unrestrained rock and roll sensuality!

When cats like Carl Perkins and Eddie Cochran hit the stage, their all-out  go-for-broke guitar and vocal styles put the word “moderation” as far out of  anyone’s mind as it could possibly get. Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jack  Scott, Wanda Jackson, Sparkle Moore, Johnny and Dorsey Burnette… all of these  artists were of a new breed. This music was raw. It was fresh and wild. It put  the kids into a frenzy and the adults into fits of despair over the salvation of  their innocent ones.

These musicians were inventing a new musical art form as they went along. The  world called it rockabilly, but it was the formation of rock and roll. And it  wasn’t a slow-crafted process of invention. It was the kind of creativity that  explodes out of a “let’s try this and see what happens” attitude. And no stodgy  holier-than-thou high-necked chaperon was going to thwart that creation. No  network sensor was going to bring moderation to this new music, no matter how  the camera framed these performers!

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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1 Response to Rockabilly and Moderation Don’t Mix!

  1. Reblogged this on ATA MOTEK.

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