Rockabilly Gems Emerge From the Depths of Obscurity

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

Rockabilly music maintains a level of obscurity as a genre. To those of us  who love rockabilly and listen to lots of rockabilly songs, it’s easy to forget  that many people don’t even know what rockabilly is. So, while one could  legitimately argue that rockabilly itself is obscure, there’s another level of  obscurity that goes even deeper yet. That obscurity–those obscure artists and  their recordings–holds immense treasure for the rockabilly music lover.

As with any musical genre, rockabilly has its royalty. Of course, there’s the  King, Elvis, along with Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Johnny  Burnette, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others who’ve found varying degrees  of fame and fortune. The music that these cats made defines rockabilly history  and for anyone new to the genre, well, you can’t go wrong with these names.  Listening to their music will give you a great education in rockabilly lore.

But once you’ve become familiar with these guys and start scratching past the  surface, that’s when you really start to uncover the untold riches that lie  beneath the surface. First you run into names like Wanda Jackson, the Queen of  Rockabilly and some of her fantastic early rockabilly recordings. That whets  your appetite for more female rockabilly and you soon discover Janis Martin, the  Collins Kids (with Larry and Lorrie Collins), Rose Maddox, and Sparkle  Moore.

Then, as it dawns on you that there was much more to the rockabilly genre  than you thought, you dig even deeper. There you find names like Jack Scott,  Glen Glenn, Sleepy LaBeef, and Billy Lee Riley. You learn about Sun Records and  find out with no little bit of surprise that Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, and  Charlie Rich all started out at the same place that Elvis did and begin to  realize the influence that this tiny Memphis record label had not only on the  world of rock and roll, but also on modern country music.

Now you’re really getting interested. Further research uncovers names like  Earsel Hickey, Groovy Joe Poovey, Charlie Feathers, Warren Smith, Joe Bennett  and the Sparkletones, and so many, many more. It doesn’t take long before you  begin to realize that what you first knew about rockabilly was not even close to  the entire puzzle. Maybe those more famous names make up the big pieces of that  puzzle. But you realize that with just those big names and their more famous  recordings, you have hundreds of tiny holes in the picture.

It’s those names and the recordings that begin to appear out of the mist of  obscurity that really start to make the picture whole. There’s no doubt to  anyone who loves the rockabilly genre that this music is fun. But like any good  puzzle, the real fun comes with discovery. Each new piece you uncover, each one  that you snap into its proper place, gives you a more vivid understanding of the  entire story. And what a rich, rich story this tale of rockabilly is!

So, what new pieces of the puzzle have you discovered lately? If you’ve  already discovered all of the names that I’ve dropped here, then try Paul  Louise, Mr. Mack, Sonny Sheater, Coye Wilcox, Norm Sharkey, Hugh Lewis, Bill  Thomas, Ebe Sneezer And His Epidemics…

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 Gems Emerge From the Depths of Obscurity

  1. Buster Fayte says:

    Thanks for the post fellas!

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

      Just are way of showing love and respect for the man 🙂

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