Monday, June 29, 2009

Remembering Lowell George - 4.13.1945 - 6.29.79 "Two degrees in bebop, a PhD in swing..."

"He was born under a bad sign, the Hollywood sign," said his old friend and songwriting partner, Martin Kibbee in the liner notes to the posthumous tribute CD, "Rock and Roll Doctor: A tribute to Lowell George." Growing up in movie society (next door to Errol Flynn & a stone's throw from Grauman's Chinese Theatre) during Hollywood's glamor era, this son of a Beverly Hills furrier synthesized an incomparable mix of R&B, blues, country and funk into perhaps the most eclectic and technically proficient American rock sound ever as the founder, frontman and guiding visionary of Little Feat. From an early age, Lowell displayed a wide range of philosophical and musical interests. In between blasting around the Hollywood Hills in a battered Morgan sports car, he earned a black belt in traditional Okinawan karate, mastered the saxophone, harmonica, slide guitar, shakuhachi, (traditional Japanese instrument) and his virtuosity on classical flute can be studied at leisure on "Juliette" from Little Feat's 1973 album "Dixie Chicken". Following the obligatory apprenticeship with various L.A. garage bands, he formed The Factory, making a few demos produced by Frank Zappa, then had a brief alliance with proto punk band The Standells. He caught the eye of Frank Zappa again who enlisted him to play guitar and sing with The Mothers of Invention where he appears on "Weasels Ripped My Flesh". His predilection for dabbling with controlled substances didn't sit well with the notoriously straight-laced Zappa however, who fired him in 1969 and told him to start his own band. Little Feat was the result of that, and the recordings they made from 1970 to 1979 showcase an improbable combination of surreal lyrics, garage band blast, funkified New Orleans second-line rhythms and grooves of earth-moving proportions. Beginning with their second album, "Sailin Shoes" avant-garde artist Neon Park's delightful & disturbing album cover art completed the package. 1975's release, "The Last Record Album" however, seemed to portend George's gradual waning of his authority within Little Feat, as well as a reduction in his songwriting, as his contribution to that effort resulted in only three songs. "Time Loves A Hero", released in 1976, further evidenced his decline and the growing internal rift & artistic differences between keyboardist Billy Payne, guitarist Paul Barrere and George. His sole songwriting credit on that consisted of "Rocket In My Pocket". Despite George's health problems stemming from substance abuse, hepatitis & motorcycle crashes, Feat managed to release in 1978 their crowning achievement, (commercially, at least) "Waiting For Columbus" a magnificent live album with material taken from performances at London's Rainbow Theatre and Lisner Auditorium in Washington D.C. In the summer of 1979 George embarked on a tour to promote his solo album "Thanks, I'll Eat It Here" and following a gig at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium was found dead in his motel room in suburban D.C. The Rock & Roll Doctor was dead at 34. Years of substance abuse, chain-smoking, obesity and just generally his hard-driving rock & roll lifestyle had taken their toll. He was cremated and his ashes scattered from the stern of his sailboat into the Pacific Ocean.

"The best singer, songwriter and guitar player I've ever heard, hands down"......Bonnie Raitt

A Tribute
Lowell's approach to slide guitar

Guitar Player Magazine Interview


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rockabilly Queens: My Top Ten

While the vast majority of rockabilly recordings reflected a music industry still overwhelmingly dominated by men, there were some very exceptional exceptions, to be sure. Since rockabilly itself was widely perceived to be immoral in the conservative fifties, women singing it added another layer of transgression. Most of the female rockabilly artists that achieved national recognition - Wanda Jackson, Barbara Pittman and Rose Maddox- seemed to be more closely aligned to the country and western traditions that seamlessly reabsorbed them once the rockabilly craze ended. Most followed the lead of Patsy Cline and toned their acts down, as in the case of Brenda Lee and her more syrupy 1960 smash hit "I'm Sorry," which effectively pointed all in a different direction. Nevertheless, recordings from the 1950's reveal that these queen-rockers could deal with the best of them, often equaling there male counterparts in energy and intensity. Here is my personal top ten song list from the fifties, and here the number one song is my favorite.

1) Janis Martin: "Let's Elope Baby" from 1956. Wonderful vocals and very tight arrangement. Guitar and piano are sweet.

2) Jean Chapel "Don't Let Go" from 1959 or 1960. This is Jean really tearing loose with an excellent backup band.

3) Joyce Green "Black Cadillac" from 1959 on the small Vaden label from her home state Arkansas. This was Joyce's big hit and it's a classic.

4) Sparkle Moore "Rock a Bop" great vocals by Sparkle on this authentic rockabilly number.

5) Brenda Lee - Not sure of the name of this one but it is pure, raw rockabilly with an edge and exceptional solos. She must have been fourteen or so when this was recorded. My how Brenda changed with time.

6) Barbara Pittman "Sentimental Fool" from 1956 on Sun. Very nice arrangement with a tight ensemble. Great sax solo.

7) Wanda Jackson's "Tongue Tied" is a classic from the "Rockabilly Queen" probably from 1957. Wonderful guitar work.

8) Rose Maddox: "My Little Baby" from the mid fifties. Rose didn't cut too many rockabilly records. This one has a country western feel with a pure rockabilly guitar solo.

9) Elaine Gay's "Rock Love" is simply a classic with sweet vocal arrangement and Texas swing guitar by this totally obscure rocker. Mid fifties.

10) Barbara Tennant's "Rock Baby" is forgotten rockabilly from around 1960. Barbara offers her critique on the stars of the 1950's. Nice sax solo.

Today some very talented artists are carrying on this tradition in a huge way. My favorites are Kim Lenz, Marti Brom, Ruby Ann, Nicotyna from Mexico City and and the eclectic Sue Moreno, who does everything from rockabilly to Les Paul/Mary Ford covers. All are exceptional talents.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Forgotten Giants: Rudy Toombs and Amos Milburn

The creativity of rhythm and blues tunesmith Rudy Toombs during the decade of the fifties is far reaching. Toombs effectively launched Ruth Brown's career by penning her upbeat number one hit "Teardrops from my Eyes" in 1950 and a year later her 1951 smash "5-10-15 Hours, " performed live here in 1983. Toombs also had a significant influence on the career of the rhythm and blues group The Clovers, writing their number one hit from 1951 "One Mint Julip." In fact, Toombs composed several "drinking songs," a theme which reflected the widespread popularity of consuming hard liquor during the post war period that continued throughout the fifties.

Houston born Amos Milburn also cashed in on the prolific song writing skills that Toombs shared with so many. By 1946 Milburn was establishing himself as a solid boogie woogie pianist in Houston and had already assembled a big band in the mold of Wynonie Harris and Louis Jordan when he was invited to Los Angeles by the Jump Blues label Aladdin to record. In Los Angeles Amos quickly melds into the rich Central Avenue Blues and Jazz scene, associating with other great R&B artists like Johnny Otis, Big Jay McNeely, good friend Charles Brown and Shifty Henry, many of whom also recorded for Aladdin. From the late 1940s up through the mid fifties Milburn charts consistently on Billboard and has several number one hits. His first success is a cover of the boogie woogie composition by Don Raye, the multi covered classic "Down the Road a Piece," in which he showcase his considerable skills on piano.

Unlike so many musicians of the period, Milburn apparently did not have an alcohol problem. Nonetheless, many of his best known singles foreground the drinking theme. Perhaps his most recognizable of these is his cover of the Toombs classic "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer," recorded with his small ensemble the Aladdin Chickenshckers . Great sound. In the same vein is Milburn's big band arrangement of another Toombs classic "Thinking and Drinking." Very nice piano solo here by Amos. Milburn's warning about the dangers of excess are heard in "Bad Whiskey," which charted in 1952. In full band Jump Blues mode, Milburn's classic "Chicken Shack Boogie," from 1949 allows his Chickenshackers to really cut loose.

Milburn's success is significant in that in many ways his work represents the transition from Jump Blues big band arrangements to a trend toward smaller piano centered combos. His influence on Fats Domino and Ray Charles is well documented and his upbeat, boogie sound constitute a crucial link in the transitional process that culminates in the "rock n roll" sound that had matured by the mid fifties. Twenty years later, Danny Gatton and his Fat Boys commemorate the impact of Milburn's legacy on Gatton's first album from 1975, entitled "American Music." Interestingly, Aladdin Records was revived for this recording which includes the song "Tribute to Amos Milburn."

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Fascinating Legacy of Robert Wilkins

The aesthetic debt that so many rock musicians carry as a result of their appropriation of traditional roots material, be it country or urban blues, rockabilly or soul music, is nothing short of astonishing. This trend was most pronounced in the 1960's, when solid musical reputations were being forged in part with help from much earlier recordings like Blind Willie' McTell's "Statesboro Blues," covered by the Allman Brothers, Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," and Skip James' "I'm So Glad" by Cream, Memphis Minnie's "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zepellin, and, the most interesting case of Robert Wilkins' "That's No Way to Get Along" covered and even renamed "Prodigal Son" by the Rolling Stones on their Beggar's Banquet album. Interestingly, Jagger and Richards did not credit their cover to Wilkins until legal action was threatened. It must have been an oversight by producer Jimmy Miller.

The recording career of blues legend Robert Wilkins is strikingly familiar: born in Hernando, Mississippi, early exposure to Delta blues of Charlie Patton and later the minstrel and jug band traditions of Memphis, initial recordings in the late 1920's for the race record label Vocalion, additional recordings in 1935, religious conversion and finally, thirty years of complete obscurity living in Memphis. During this period, Wilkins alters the tenor of the lyrics to his songs for religious purposes, yet his remarkably gifted guitar picking style remains intact. As was the case with many "rediscovered" blues legends like Furry Lewis, Sleepy John Estes, Skip James and Fred Mcdowell, Wilkins' career is resurrected with the country and folk blues renaissance in the early 1960's. Wilkins is invited and performs at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival the same year Mississippi John Hurt appears.

A fine example of the Wilkins technique can be heard in his number "I Do Blues" , listen to the fine alternating thumb work and fascinating vocal style. The more upbeat "Alabama Blues" displays Wilkins' familiarity with the minstrel based traditions which he worked in with equal facility. Check out "Get Away Blues" to hear another technique altogether, unique phrasing and train imitation is remarkable. Finally, the Stones' debt to Wilkins doesn't end with their "Prodigal Son" appropriation, for Wilkins was also the first to record the song entitled "Rolling Stone," which undoubtedly served as the basis for the later Muddy Waters version here. The Water's version is generally credited as being the inspiration for the name "Rolling Stones" of the famous rock band.

Appreciation for Robert Wilkins has continued in recent years. Country blues guitar magician John Miller has put together an instructional on the guitar style of Wilkins which is a testament to Robert's unique guitar technique. Watch Miller perform and explain Wilkins' "Police Sargent Blues" here. Simply outstanding work by Miller who captures Robert Wilkins' style better than anyone I have heard to date.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Arkansas Rockabilly: Twelve Classics from the 1950s

I stated some time ago that I have been researching Arkansas rockabilly musicians with the intention of posting. As I got deeper into researching this, I soon realized the sheer breadth of the project would require far more space than a normal post would. For that reason, instead of posting about the origins and historical evolution of the more than forty rockabilly musicians from the state, I offer 12 classic recordings from the 1950's by some musicians well known and others more obscure. Their numerical ranking is in no way a reflection of my favorites. Andy Starr was not included here due to his appearance in a recent post. Enjoy these classic gems, and many thanks to those collectors on youtube who help make this possible.

1) Larry Donn from Bono. Larry's classic 1959 Vaden recording "Honeybun" is the real thing, and the original 45 is a collectors item among European rockabilly fanatics. Larry is still active today and has recently cut a new album.

2) Billy Lee Riley from Pocahontus. Billy's 1957 Sun recording "Searchin" is my favorite by him, the vocals are outstanding. Riley is still active today.

3) Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland but raised in the small Delta town of Dyess. Johnny's early Sun recording of Big River helped launch the career of a legend.

4) Sleepy LaBeef from Smackover. Sleepy has become a veritable legend in his own time. "Little Bit More" from from 1958 is an absolute gem, never get tired of Sleepy's guitar work. He is still active today. He just released a new album appropriately named "Roots."

5) Ronnie Hawkins from Huntsville. Ronnie's 1959 cover of the Billy the Kid Emerson classic "Red Hot" is a bit different than the Billy Lee Riley cover. I like this one a lot. Hawkins is still active.

6) I realize Dale Hawkins was born in Louisiana, but he spent much of his life in Arkansas, and on this cover of the classic Little Walter tune "My Babe," he is backed by Arkansas born guitar legend Roy Buchanon, who was born in Ozark, Arkansas. A true gem from 1957. Dale is still kicking.

7) Pat Cupp from Nashville, Arkansas, but grew up in Texarkana. Pat's "Do Me No Wrong" is classic rockabilly from 1957 with great vocals and guitar work. Pat still lives in Arkansas.

8) Bobby Lee Trammell from Jonesboro. Controversial, wild and into politics in later life, Trammell's "Hi Yo Silver" is pure 1957. Great opening and full band accompaniment with great sax work.

9) Sonny Burgess from Newport. Sonny's "Red Headed Mama" with his group The Pacers for Sun is one of the finest rockabilly cuts from the period. Great piano and trumpet work. Sonny tours Europe frequently.

10) Edwin Bruce from Keiser. Although Bruce has since moved to pure country music, "Doll Baby" recorded for Sun in 1958 is pure, authentic 50's rockabilly.

11) Tillman Franks from Stamps. Due to association with country music, almost forgotten is the fact Franks teamed up with Johnny Horton to write and record the classic "Honky Tonk Man" from 1956. Later covered and popularized by Dwight Yoakam in 1987.

12) Narvel Felts from Keiser. Narvel's early career in the 1950's was pure rockabilly. Check out "Foolish Thoughts of You," from 1957. Great guitar and overall sound.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Missouri Jazz Legends

The central importance of Kansas City in the development of American Jazz is widely recognized and has been documented in excellent fashion in the exhaustive study "Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop, A History," (2006) by Frank Diggs and Charles Haddix. Also, Kansas City native Robert Altman's classic gangster film "Kansas City" successfully captures the pulse of the city in the thirties and forties by focusing on the intersection of race, music and politics during the Pendergast era, a period that coincided with the apex of the city's unique jazz scene. Ken Burn's has also contributed by examining the city's central role as a musical forging ground in his larger documentary devoted to American Jazz. Known as the hub city for the traveling "Territory Bands" from Texas and Oklahoma, Kansas City was the center of U.S. jazz scene up until the second world war. What has been lost to many is the number of local musicians who participated in the development of the "Kansas City Sound" that became the springboard for the development of Bop Jazz that emerged after the war in the late 1940's.

While the list of local Missouri musicians who participated directly in the Kansas City Jazz scene is too long to analyze, a few of the more notable and also somewhat forgotten musicians deserves mention here. Without the efforts of Kansas City's own pianist Bennie Moten and his Kansas City Orchestra and later, with his Blue Devils it is difficult to envision the movement unfolding as it did. Jimmy Rushing, Hot Lips Page and Ben Webster all played with Bennie at various stages. Listen to Bennie with the Orchestra here with Count Basie from 1929, a tune that retains echoes of New Orleans Jazz yet also demonstrates the emerging blusier Kansas City style. Jones Law Blues is another fine example of the same dynamic. Bassist Walter Page, from the small town of Gallatin in northern Missouri, played for Moten until joining Count Basie in a series of bands. Page is instrumental in the development of Kansas City swing as a bassist during the 1930's. Listen to this extraordinary recording from 1940 of Page with Basie, Lester Young and the legendary Charlie Christian on guitar. The trend here is to smaller combos with "riffing" improvisational solos for each musician.

Another fascinating Missouri figure from the 1940's is the blues and proto R&B singer Julia Lee from Fulton, Missouri. One of her classic "double entendre" hits was King Size Papa, recorded with session musicians Jay McShann on piano and Benny Carter on alto. Julia's recordings are unique in that they combine elements of the Kansas City sound, the jump blues of the forties and anticipate early rock n roll. Check out her Julia's Blues, with the same great supporting cast.

Often overlooked is the fact that perhaps the two most important pioneers of modern jazz saxophone hail from Missouri as well. Coleman Hawkins, from Saint Joseph and Ben Webster of Kansas City are widely regarded as the grandfathers of jazz sax. The "Hawk's" huge influence on almost all subsequent tenor players cannot be overestimated. Check out the majestically smooth ballad "Angel Face" for a step back into noir film from the 1940's. Webster is never far behind the Hawk, give a listen to to the range and blusier feel in Poutin from the early sixties.

Other Missouri jazz pioneers include Wild Bill Davis and Jimmy Lunceford. Davis, from the small town of Glasgow on the Missouri River, is generally credited with being one of the first to incorporate the organ as a jazz instrument, establishing a tradition that was perpetuated by master Jimmy Smith and today by the unrivaled king of jazz organ, Joey DeFrancesco. Listen to Davis' smooth touch on April in Paris after a special introduction by Duke Ellington. Lunceford, from Fulton, was a contemporary of the Kansas City Jazz scene yet chose to work elsewhere, primarily the East Coast. Jimmy's Swing band Orchestra rivaled those of Duke Ellington, Earl Hines and Count Basie and was noted for extravagant live performances and exceedingly tight arrangements. Listen to Jimmy's Orchestra perform the incredible Jazznocracy from 1934. Very nice work by tenor player Joe Thomas.

Finally, any mention of Missouri jazz stars would have to include Charlie,"Bird" Parker," born in 1920 in Kansas City. After work with Kansas City's own Jay McShann's Territory Band, he moved to New York to work with master pianist Art Tatum and later with Earl Hines. Parker's is now a story of legend and here I will only say that together with Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, Parker has to be considered a founding father of Be Bop jazz. Listen to "Bird" and fellow Missourian "Hawk" (Coleman Hawkins) soar together here on Ballade.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rest in Peace Koko

I found out two days ago that Koko Taylor, "Queen of the Blues," passed away on June 3rd. I was lucky enough to see Koko perform live back in the 1980's and there is no doubt she was a top notch performer, in the tradition of Big Mama Thorton and Big MayBelle. Koko performed her signature piece "Wang Dang Doodle" live as recently as a month ago. In this classic version of the song from 1967 she is accompanied by the legendary Little Walter on harmonica.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hybrid Roots: TexMex Kings Take Different Paths

In several recent posts I have emphasized a movement toward cultural integration of musical styles between black and white recording artists of the 1950's. While this trend is deserving of further analysis, there is another lesser known phenomena that occurs at the same time: the unique Hispanic musical expression that is a another variant of the cultural amalgamation between blacks and whites. While the fusion of jazz and latino musical styles such as the Cuban jazz of Mario Bauza and the Pachuco swing of Lalo Guerrero extends back to the 1930's, in this post I will discuss the sound that came evolved in Tex-Mex and conjunto music during the 1950's and 1960s.

The panoply of musical styles percolating in Texas in the post war period make the state a fascinating region for ethno-musicologists. The admixture of urban and country blues, Texas swing, country western, Mexican norteno, polka music, Tex Mex conjunto and jazz open the door to the unique sounds of Texas musical recordings in the early 1950's. TexMex conjunto music emerges in this cultural framework. It is a uniquely hybrid form of American roots music in that it is essentially derivative of the Mexican norteno style while at the same time receptive to appropriating American R&B and Country Western influences. Linguistic code switching between Spanish and English in song lyrics provide an additional layer of cultural texture to the genre. A much more thorough analysis of this unique genre and its use of the accordion can be found here.

While the roots of TexMex accordion music stretch back to the late nineteenth century, two living Texas legends who are emblematic of TexMex conjunto music are the contemporaries Esteban "El Parche" Jordan and Flaco Jimenez. Born the same year in Texas, these two master accordion players embody the spirit and evolution of Tex Mex: always willing to appropriate without straying from the roots of the style. Jordan is a transcendent musician in that he has taken the accordion to uncharted territory, stretching the traditional boundaries. In many ways, Jordan accomplishes on the accordion what Coltrane, Hendrix, Gatton and Thelonious Monk do for their respective instruments. Early association as a guitarist for Cuban Jazz innovator Willie Bobo in the early 1960's was a formative experience. Since then, through technical experimentation and unparalleled prowess, Jordan has become a true roots legend of his time among TexMex conjunto aficionados. Listen to Esteban smoke on the Hohner product here.

Grammy award winning legend Flaco Jimenez grew up playing for migrant workers in Texas and has gradually gained acclaim from all that have heard him play. Appreciated on both sides of the border, Jimenez career was boosted by early association with Tex Mex R&B rocker Doug Sahm in the early 1960's. He later joined Sahm and Freddy Fender as part of the legendary conjunto The Texas Tornados. Check out Jimenez and Fender ripping it up here on the famous "Hey Baby Que Paso" in a bit of a tribute to Doug Sahm, whose death in 1999 marked the end of the original Texas Tornadoes. Flaco remains very active today in a band with Texas vocalist Nunie Rubio.

The advent of rockabilly and rock n' roll is felt all over the U.S. by 1955 and influences Texas Chicano musicians who are eager to record and leave their own imprint on the novel musical fusions being heard. While California born Ritchie Valens is the most well known example, Texas is not immune to the new trends. Born near San Antonio, Texas, Rudy Grayzell was swept up by the sound and landed a contract with Capitol Records that gave us the classics "Ducktail" and "Let's Get Wild" . Rudy's popularity waned as the tamer styles of the sixties took over and ended up playing lounges in Las Vegas until the second rockabilly revival of the 1980's. In 1998, Rudy returns to the studio, cutting an outstanding record in the studio of Lou Whitney of the Morells in Springfield, Missouri with D. Clinton Thompson (guitar) and Lou backing him up. Very highly recommended.

Baldemar Huerta was a contemporary from southern Texas. Seeking exposure among anglo audiences and looking to extend his popularity beyond Texas, Baldemar changes his name to Freddy Fender. A great example of Fender's fifties style can be heard in "I'm Gonna Leave"
and "Crazy Baby." Eventually, Freddy breaks through with his hit single 1960 "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" . His new-found fame leads him to association with Augie Meyers and Doug Sahm whom he had known since the late fifties. After achieving fame and charting several number one pop hits in the 1970's, Fender returns to his roots by collaborating with Doug Sahm as a member of The Texas Tornadoes. In a sense, Fender's joining the Texas Tornadoes in 1990 with Flaco Jimenez represents the culmination of the modern TexMex sound.

A sound much more akin to Doo Wop and soul can be found in the 1950's recordings of the eclectic Sonny Ozuna and his SunLiners. "Out of Sight Out of Mind" and the 60's recording "Smile Now Cry Later" capture the sentimentality of the period. Recording in both Spanish and English, Ozuna melds the popular 1950's Latin bolero style with elements of Doo Wop and American Soul music to forge a unique sound that garnered some national attention. Sonny, like Flaco and Rudy, remains active as a musician.

Finally, continuation of the traditions forged in Texas in the fifties and sixties remain alive among contemporary Latin musicians here in the U.S. Perhaps the best example from Texas is the group Los Lonely Boys, an authentic Texican phenom band, and the L.A. based group Los Lobos is internationally renowned. There are also some very strong roots oriented Latino groups in California. A couple of my favorites are Big Sandy and his Fly- Rite Boys for versatility and the retro chicano sound of Pepe Torres.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Few Roots Favorites

Since it's impossible to post on everything I would like to, the first week of every month I will post a few roots favorites in the different genres. Some very nice things are happening over at youtube, and without it much of what I do here would be without sound. I have some interesting ideas for upcoming posts, but for now let's just enjoy some top roots sounds. I will be posting again on Friday.


1) Wardell Gray: Gray never got the press that Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and Lester Young did, but he is a first rate tenor player. Check out his "One for Prez," an early bop experiment.

2) I left Irving Ashby off my top guitarists of the fifties, and he could very well have been there due to his versatility in so many styles. . This recording of "Route 66" with Nat King Cole is after Ashby replaces Oscar Moore. Fine arrangement and nice solo by Ashby.


1) He may not have been Blind Blake, but Buddy Moss came about as close as anyone. Buddy could lay down some wicked ragtime/blues guitar. "Tricks Ain't Walkin' no More" was recorded in the late twenties.

2) Blind Blake is one of my favorites and now that everything has been remastered and put up on youtube, check out one of his finest songs of all: "Sweet Jivin Mama." Never get tired of this one. Covers fall far short.

2) Frank Frost , from the musically rich Delta around Helena, Arkansas, is a one man show. Coming out of the Sonny Boy Williamson tradition, this recording of "Back Scratcher" is probably from the early 1960's. A really nice sound.


1) From Sunset, Texas comes sax player and vocalist Link Davis whose musical career stretches back to the 1930's. He cut some classic early rockabilly as well as R&B. Check out this classic, "Don't Big Shot Me." Incredible sound from 1956, really nice.

2) Rudi Grayzell the TexMex rockabilly ace from San Antonio, Texas. Rudi is an energetic vocalist with a great band, as his 1957 rendition of "You're Gone." demonstrates. Very nice vocals and guitar.