Aging Rockabilly Stars Rock On

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

Rock and roll is getting older. Those young, brash kids that brought their  youthful exuberance to the world with screaming guitars, bashing drums, and  sheer attitude are not so young anymore. While we watch our early heroes like  the remaining Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and others  grow ever older, we’re continually amazed at their everlasting energy as they  still rock on. And more advanced than that group of musicians are the originals  themselves: the Rockabilly cats and ladies who hit the scene in the mid to late  1950s.

Of course, many of the most famous rockabilly artists have passed on from  this world. Thankfully we still have their music to keep us company in their  absence. But there are still several rockabilly musicians who, now mostly in  their 70s, are still making appearances on the rock and roll revival  circuit.

In 2011 the hottest of these is Wanda Jackson, the “Queen of Rockabilly.” In  February of 2011, Jackson released a new CD, “The Party Ain’t Over” produced by  White Stripes cool man Jack White. The new record has been getting lots of buzz  and Jackson has been making the rounds and doing many live performances. At 73,  the small lady with a big voice and even bigger attitude still rocks out and  puts on a great show. And, though at her age she does have to take things a  little easier than she did when she was first making a splash on the rockabilly  scene while still in her teens, she nonetheless puts a ton of energy and spunk  into her live shows.

Another rockabilly performer in his 70s, Jack Scott, is also still out on the  road making live concert appearances. Scott never really became a household  name, but it’s a bit difficult to understand why. He had four huge hits in his  career and for about an 18-month period at the end of the 50s he had more  charting singles than anyone else has ever had in a similar period at any time  in their careers. And that includes Elvis and The Beatles. Scott might now be  best known for his bad-attitude rockabilly classic, “The Way I Walk.” He was  dangerous looking and dangerous sounding and he still rocks out today when he  hits the stage.

And there are many others from the early era still out there rocking. These  two names are just two that stick out to me and they make great examples of  maturing rock and rollers who never seemed to have gotten the memo that explains  that rock and roll is for the young kids! The rock and roll revival circuit is  alive and well and though the natural progression of age as well as tragic  youthful deaths have definitely thinned the ranks of the original rockabilly  performers, you can still catch some of these stars at various revival festivals  throughout the world.

And if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing one of these shows, I can  almost guarantee that you’ll be amazed at how good these performers still sound.  Their voices are still clear and strong. The music still energizes them and you  can see that they clearly love to be on stage entertaining their fans even after  five decades of performing.

No one knew what to expect as our early rock and roll idols began to age.  When they were young, it never occurred to any of the fans that one day they  wouldn’t be so young any more. When they hit their 30s, people began to wonder  whether or not they were too old to continue. When they turned 40, fans began to  be surprised that they were still at it. As they reached 50, the world started  to realize that there might not be any age limit on rock and roll after all. As  they entered their 60s, we cheered them on and encouraged them to keep rocking.  Now in their 70s, they are inspiring us to live our own lives to the fullest.  Undoubtedly some of these rockers will make it into their 80s. And something  tells me that when they do, they will still be rockin’ and enjoying every last  minute of it all!

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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4 Responses to Aging Rockabilly Stars Rock On

  1. Cindy Meitle says:

    I very much enjoyed seeing Wanda Jackson perform at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix a few years back. She told some charming stories, gave a lot of great big hugs and autographed many items for fans who formed a line from the stage to the back door. She had a sparkle in her eye that reminded me that Yes! Music keeps us young, if not young at heart!

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

      Great story and perception on your part. She is such a living legend, I have not had the opportunity to see live yet, but hopefully someday.

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