Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who The Hell is Hank C. Burnette?

What fascinates me the most about rockabilly is the absolute obscurity of it all. To this day, most people haven't even heard of it, and trying to explain to squares and non-believers is an exercise in futility.

Some social climbing square that I work with is baffled, yet threatened by this mysterious entity. If she's never heard of it, then it can't exist. My greasy demeanor alone is perplexing enough to her, but an entire lifestyle and musical genre that she cannot fathom seems to irritate her beyond words. An entire sub-culture that is thriving world wide, is a concept so alien that she just choses to ignore it.

Yet she keeps picking away, asking stupid questions like " Is Elvis Costello rockabilly? ". I try to hide my contempt when I answer " Not even close". My tone would suggest saying instead " Fuck off, square" , but hey, I don't want to get fired.

Strangely enough, my family doctor knows what rockabilly is. Conservative as he is, I guess he must have been a cool cat in university.

Others have only heard of the Stray Cats. I have hazy memories of trying to drunkenly get my point across when some obviously threatened square in a bar was going on about how my pomp is an 80's haircut. I was basically being put in the same category as a Flock of Seagulls haircut.
My buddy's wife was on stage , so I didn't want to pound this retard and cause a scene at my friend's gig.

People seem fixated on the 80's. At another friend's gig an other similar encounter happened. I was wearing a ( I thought) cool vintage 50's shirt very similar to one that Gene Vincent owned.
It was a rare find and I was diggin' this shirt. Until some square chick snidely commented that it looked like an 8o's shirt. It would require 6 months of reading for her to even come close to understanding one stupid shirt.

I just ordered an other drink and now only wear that shirt at rockabilly shows.

There are literally thousands of cats who recorded rockabilly during it's very short lifespan ( '55 to '57). The availability of recording facilities was abundant. All you had to do was get some cats, pay your 10 bucks and you could cut a record.

What this means now, is that there are a lot of obscure records floating around out there somewhere. Some are true forgotten gems, some are unbearably bad.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Al Ferrier at Viva Las Vegas. Al's claim to fame is a song called "What is This Thing Called Love". It was recorded by the, legendary to some, Eddie Shuler.

Eddie had a company called Gold Band records out of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The recording studio was one microphone set up in his garage. His claim to fame is that he recorded Dolly Parton when she was just 14 years old.

Al seemed surprised that I knew about Goldband, but at Viva, it should come as no surprise. Later that evening he rocked the stage. 75 years old and still rocking.

For some real obscure rockabilly information, Rockabilly Hall of Fame is the final word. The have bios of cats I've never even heard of. Check it out

One of my recent discoveries is a cat from Sweden called Hank C. Burnette. To this day Scandinavia produces some of the best traditional rockabilly bands ( Jack Baymoore, Barnshakers, etc. ) but Hank marched to the beat of his own drummer.

He was a one man band, playing all the instruments on his recordings ( not unlike Billy Lee Riley). Here is a short bio that I found on Rockabilly Hall of Fame's website. That's

Sven-Ake Hogberg was just a regular guy from Sweden, who was fascinated by American rock'n'roll and played in a band. Then, somewhere in the early sixties he kinda lost his mind: broke up the band, started collecting records, then sellin' them in his record store, and eventually - makin' own rockabilly recordings under the pseudonym Hank C. Burnette at his multi-track downhome studio. Those tapes brewed around the world, and Hank C. became a celebrated cult person. His "Spinning Rock Boogie" went to British TOP10 in 1976, and even the one and only Sun Records (International) released his "Don't Mess With My Ducktail" - LP (originally issued on British Sonet Records).

That's some good ole primitive rockabilly It all seems to have been sung phonetically as well.
All of his recordings are available on torrent sites. Get greasy and enjoy.

1 comment:

    Real name: Sven-Åke Högberg, better known as The Legendary Hank C. Burnette with over 70 records/CDs to my credit on a myriad of labels all over the globe, the first being the US Blue Horizon label out of Warrington, Florida many a blue moon ago. Biggest seller, "Spinning Rock Boogie" (recorded in my parents makeshift garage!!), originally released on the US Seagull label out of Nashville, Tenn. and then re-released on the UK Southern Sound label and finally hitting the counters in its re-edited hit version released on the UK Sonet label and described by the U.K. Sounds magazine as (quote): "The most original, amazing instrumental ever released"! It has sold more than 8 million copies and has received both Gold and Platinum records and has also been featured as a Theme track on a handful of TV Series throughout the planet. I'm also the only European that's been released on the Godfather of Rock'n Roll labels, the yellow SUN label in the US of A. where cats like Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, etc., etc., etc. kicked off their career. And, just to make the story complete for those of you who still don't know it, I play all instruments on my recordings myself and handles all the vocals, plus do all the production and sound engineering!! Talk about being self centered and having an ego bigger than Mount Everest, ha, ha!! If you have any more questions about my illustrious career, just know where to find me! Complete discographies and bios are available in case you're interested, but PLEASE don't beg me to send you a list of my 500+ vintage guitar collection, THANKS!! Best always, Hank C...
    P.S. You can find close to 300 of my recordings (much more to come!) uploaded on You Tube in case you'd like to check 'em out! Just copy and paste this link into your browser: You can also find me on Facebook and Reverb Nation. P.S.2. I started my first band in 1958 called Teddy & The Teddy Bears. Broke the band up a year and a half, or so, later and started gigging as a lead axe slinger with Little Johnny & His Red Dynamites. Moved to my present location (Oxelösund, Sweden) in the autumn of 1960 and started dabbling in sound-on-sound recordings about two years later. And I'm still as active as ever, with new recordings and record deals flourishing all over the planet. At present I'm under contract to four different foreign record coy's and have also made musical scores to several full length (90 min's) US Documentaries! I've never recorded in a 'professional' studio, but has always done my work under home based environments (anywhere from my parents living room and makeshift garage to cramped cellar spaces as well as my own apartments and, believe me, I've had a few throughout the years!!). The name Hank C. Burnette was really the brainchild of US Blue Horizon boss, Larry Stevens (a half Cherokee indian with heavy country music background), picked out from three of my truckload of favorite artists at the time, aka HANK Williams,Chet Atkins and Johnny BURNETTE (of the Rockabilly Trio's fame). The added 'THE LEGENDARY...' was something that UK Sonet boss, Rod Buckle, came up with (without my knowledge!) in time for my first Sonet single and LP in late '76!). The they pretty much history...DIG IN & KEEP THE BOP ON TOP!! D.S.