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 www.rockabillyhall.com
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.