What makes Rockabilly today (louder, faster…better?)

Posted by Angel On November - 30 - 20103,381 views

Elvis had to join military service and became a moviestar, buddy holly died, ritchie valens died, eddie cochran died, johnny cash gave his soul to the lord, aswell as to amphetamine pills. Roy Orbison broke down because he lost his family in a fire…

And so, where did it all go? Well numerous places. Back in the rockabilly days parents had worries about their daughters passing out at Elvis gigs. “Shoot him from the waist down”.. A lot of people thought it was the devils music and had to be brought to a halt. But did it? Hell no, popular music just went through a new fase. The Beatles and Rolling Stones were both heavily influenced by the wildmen of the fifties. But how did rockabilly survive? Many people think it didn’t.. But a lot of famous musicians in the sixties and seventies never forgot about it. Led Zeppelin were big Cochran fans and like to let people know where they got it from (as long as they didn’t have to pay royalties…) Creedence Clearwater Revival, also one of the supergroups who liked to play straight up rock ‘n roll. In the early seventies even Stevie Ray Vaughan had sideburns and played Rock ‘n roll. Even punk musicians reported to have been influenced by those who really showed their wildness to the public. Psychobilly?

The eighties? Music was sort of took over by synthesizers and Mtv! Finally, a music channel on tv! Shame that a lot of the ‘musicians’ shown those days on Mtv didn’t even record their hits themselves. For me, those early Mtv days were where i was first introduced to The Stray Cats (aswell as to Stevie Ray Vaughan btw). Stray Cats where wild, rock solid and basic. AND the Usa didn’t want them so they left for England to play in bars to audiences who where appreciative. With a record deal they went to create what some may call ‘Neo Rockabilly’. One could say that punk influences could be heard; Full circle? I don’t know really. What i do know is that Brians Gretsch and Lee’s doublebass sure gave me something to remember!

After the Stray Cats (who never really split up but went to take yourneys on their own) there wasn’t much old school rock ‘n roll to be found. Maybe most people didn’t know where to look, that’s maybe a better way of putting it.. In the nineties Brian starting his big band to have fun and honour his musical fathers. Jeff Beck recording an album of Gene Vincent covers with Rock ‘n Roll group the Big town playboys. Excellent album by the way! Even Huey Lewis and the news stepped out to make a Rock ‘n Roll album.

While acid house and boy bands emerged there was still enough real and honest music to be discovered by us young people. With popular music turning in such strange directions many people must have thought; I want rock ‘n roll. Let’s buy guitars and classic amps, haul around a big doublebass and just have fun! Well, thanks to all those people today’s rockabillies (young or old) can still enjoy that energy and honesty. Maybe not in big stadiums but more intimately in pubs and bars or small festivals.

And even though Rockabillies today still say they don’t like digital technology and things of that nature; We have to give credit to the internet for letting us find interesting sites like Rockabilly-Online and probably most of all youtube with all those people who share their stuff. I don’t care that mr Youtube gets richer because of me, for instance, let him be! He made me discover my music all over again! It sure makes for an interesting winter evening and good to find out what gigs you’d want to attend!

My conclusion here is that Rockabilly was never dead, today there’s just a better way of keeping the spirit! Now, let’s do some surfing!

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