Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DJ Dewey Phillips dies this day in 1968

Dewey Phillips was best known for his radio show "Red, Hot & Blue" originating from WHBQ in Memphis.  His wild on-air personality made him a big hit.  He was the first DJ to play "That's All Right" by Elvis after friend Sam Phillips (no relation) gave him the first copy to play on the air.  The frenzy began after the first play and Dewey went on to play it several more times that first night.  Below are some radio and tv appearances (with Jerry Lee Lewis)...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lost Elvis interview

The upcoming box set from Elvis titled Young Man With The Big Beat (releases September 27) contains an unreleased Elvis interview from 1956 recently featured on Good Morning America.  See the clip here:

The interview has been available in previous special magazine releases but it's the first time it's appeared in full length on a nationally distributed RCA product.  This box set focuses on his RCA recordings from 1956 along with other unreleased live appearances and interviews from that time.  Here's a video trailer for this fantastic set:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Everly Brothers vs. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. You decide!

The Everly Brothers released "Gone Gone Gone" to radio in 1964 and the album containing this single in early 1965.  Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' cover was the debut single from their duo project Raising Sand released in 2007.  

Both great versions for you to decide your favorite here:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Glen Campbell with Dick Dale, Chris Isaak and Brian Setzer

Glen Campbell enlisted the help of Chris Isaak, Dick Dale and Brian Setzer on the track "In My Arms" from his  recently released "farewell" album, Ghost On The Canvas.  Preview it at iTunes or Amazon here:

See an audience recorded video of Glen recently performing the song here:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Get to know Chan Romero

If the name doesn't ring a bell, you've most likely heard his biggest hit "Hippy Hippy Shake".  Chan Romero released this single originally in 1959 on the Del-Fi record label.  Chan had a similar style to Ritchie Valens who also recorded for Del-Fi but was tragically killed in that plane crash in February of '59 along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.  "Hippy Hippy Shake" has long been a favorite of Paul McCartney as The Beatles used to perform this one live during their early Cavern Club days and he still periodically works it in to his set these days as well.  It's also appeared in such movies as Uncle Buck, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery and others.  The Georgia Satellites also covered it on the Cocktail soundtrack in 1988.  Hear the original from Chan here....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wanda Jackson at Third Man Records

Wanda Jackson performed earlier this year at Third Man Records along with a fantastic band led by none other than Jack White who produced her latest album The Party Ain't Over.  In case you missed it, here's a taste of the show:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Conway Twitty records for Sun under his real name "Harold Jenkins"

Harold Jenkins picked his stage name in 1957 by looking at a road map and spotting Conway, AR and Twitty, TX.  Before he became a Country music star, he recorded rock and roll with Sam Phillips at Sun under his real name.  He also wrote "Rock House" and sold it to another young singer at Sun by the name of Roy Orbison which became his second single there.  Hear both versions of "Rock House" in the video below...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Burnette brothers coin term "Rockabilly"! Hear an obscure song from the brothers here.

Johnny & Dorsey Burnette recorded the song "Rock Billy Boogie" on July 4th, 1956 in Nashville, TN.  Did you know the song was about their sons?  Johnny's son is Rocky and Dorsey's son is Billy (also featured on this blog) and the term "Rockabilly" just stuck with this new sound.  The Burnette brothers went solo in the late 50's but came back together in the early 60's.  Here's a bit more of an obscure number called "Green Grass Of Texas" recorded under the name The Texans.  Also, the classic "Rock Billy Boogie" for you to enjoy....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mark Robertson talks about the Legendary Shack Shakers & The Dirt Daubers

Mark Robertson from the Legendary Shack Shakers (third from left in above picture) recently spoke with Rockabilly N Blues Records about his early influences, his other band The Dirt Daubers and more.  Mark plays the upright bass in both bands and discusses how Buck Owens and The Ramones really aren't that different in his mind.

You obviously have a passion for roots, rockabilly, blues, etc. What are your earliest influences?
Probably my dads record collection...Chuck Berry, Jimmy Rogers, Everly Brothers, Elvis, etc.  I was a punk rock kid, but my dads records didn't sound so different from what I liked emotionally.  Buck Owens and The Ramones are practically the same thing in my mind...simple, honest songs that stay in your head, you know?

You handled production for last year's Agridustrial.  Tell about recording the percussion sounds at a blacksmith forge.
J.D. had been wanting to make that record for awhile, but we held off until Duane Denison joined the band.  He seemed like the right kind of player to help us achieve the sound we were going for...Agrarian meets Industrial.  Since we now had a famous indie punk guitarist from the Jesus Lizard/Tomahawk, it made sense to play to those strengths.  I don't know that it completely worked, but it was a very satisfying record to make and I'm glad we did it.  As far as the Blacksmith sounds go, we have a friend in Kentucky who is a blacksmith and his shop is pretty old world and way out in the woods.  We have a rule about sound effects...we never get them off the internet, or software...we have to make them ourselves.  That's always been the case. Anyway, the blacksmith, Layne, is a fan of our music and was more than happy to let me bring out a mobile recording rig.  We spent the day basically just banging on stuff!  We were firing up all the machines, playing beats with pieces of metal...then we went back to my studio (Stainless Sound, in Nashville, TN) and placed the sounds inside our songs...and in some cases, re-wrote songs to fit the sounds we'd made at Layne's shop.  So it took me a day to record the sound effects, and maybe 2 weeks to get it fully integrated into the record.  I would do that again in a heartbeat!  It was really fun, and a creative way to make music.

The Legendary Shack Shakers have toured with some great artists like Robert Plant, Hank Williams III, The Black Keys, Reverend Horton Heat and others. I'm sure there are lots of interesting stories. Are there any that stick out?
It's always amazing when your heroes, or people you look up to, validate what you're doing.  Hank 3 got the ball rolling for us in many ways.  I was in the band a day and a half before we went out to support Hank.  I was just gonna help out for two weeks so J.D. could get something going...that was like 11 years ago! The Robert Plant thing was surreal because he's such an icon in rock music. He was really kind to us.  He even reviewed the "Believe" record as his favorite release in 2005 for Rolling Stone!  How cool is that?!  Horton Heat has been a longtime friend of Th' ShackShakers...very supportive and we admire him a great deal, so that means a lot to us.  As far as stories's the usual...trailers flying off the van on the interstate, lawsuits, crazy drunk/drugged out weirdos.  We got the top story for 3 days on local Nashville TV news while we were on a Rancid tour.  J.D. allegedly did something somewhat lewd and we have since been banned from that venue.  But the news stories were so overstated and sensationalized.  They acted like we were satanic criminals.  Their news stories were so much cooler than what actually happened!

I read someone describe the band as a Rockabilly Sex Pistols. Does that feel accurate?
We've been very fortunate to get some pretty cool quotes.  Jeff Beck called us "...A cross between The Sex Pistols and early Yardbirds," which is flattering, but I don't really see the connection.  Older folks use "Sex Pistols" when they want to describe something as edgy or punk or whatever.  Then again, Jeff Beck is one of my all time favorite musicians, so as long as he liked it, he can say whatever he wants!  In truth, J.D. knows NOTHING about punk...he never liked it.  He was trying to be Howling Wolf or Jerry Lee Lewis, but it just came out the way it came out!  It's a fun band to be in.  Every night is different, and we NEVER phone it in.  Some shows are gonna be better than others, but we always try to get more out of ourselves.  I admire my bandmates so much...amazing players, great people, and all have such a great work ethic.  They play like they got something to prove every single night.  Very addictive :)

Your song "Swampblood" was featured in the HBO show True Blood which is full of great roots music. Has that won over new fans?
It didn't hurt!  All that stuff adds up, you know?  Heck, we once had a song in a Geico commercial and that got us tons of new fans.  Stephen King listed that tune ("CB Song") as one of his top 5 favorite songs of all time, and he first heard it on the Geico commercial!  The True Blood thing really helped because the show was a huge hit.  Then it got released on DVD...then it got put on a soundtrack...then the soundtrack got nominated for a in a way, Th' ShackShakers are a Grammy nominated band...not bad!

Your Shack Shaker bandmate J.D. Wilkes and you are also in The Dirt Daubers which is a great blend of country, roots, bluegrass, rockabilly, blues, etc. What can we expect from you guys coming down the line?
Our first full length record, "Wake Up Sinners!" comes out September 16th.  Me and my studio partner/engineer recorded it at Stainless and we are thrilled with how it came out.  It bears little resemblance to Th' ShackShakers, really.  Very little drums/perc., no electric instruments whatsoever.  Just acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjos, upright bass, accordion, piano...that sort of thing.  Our buddy, Steve Latanation played some drums, but he made sure to keep it down a bit...brushes and snare drum mostly and not on every song. The record is a cross between mountain music like Dock Boggs, George Peagram, Jimmy Martin, mixed with Harlem hot jazz like Cab Calloway, Hoosier Hotshots, Washboard Serenader's.  And Jessica's vocals and strumming style bring in a Carter Family element.  We're touring more frequently and looking forward to seeing what folks think of it.  So far, we're off to a great start.

GET A FREE DOWNLOAD OF THE TITLE SONG "WAKE UP, SINNERS" HERE:                                                        

What's next for the Legendary Shack Shakers?
More touring!  We've got some cool, strange ideas for the next record, tentatively titled "Dixie Noir," but that could change depending on the narrative.  I think it'll be simultaneously more swampy/blusey and more literate in a way...a bit more story driven than the past couple records have been.  I'm excited to get back into the studio with this lineup.  Brett Whitacre is one of the best rock and roll drummers on the planet today, and an absolute joy to play with.  As a bass player, he just makes my job so much fun.  He keeps getting better in the studio as well...loves experimenting and doing crazy interesting things.  Duane is putting more of a blues, greasy kind of feel into his normal artpunk noise thing.  That guy is just such a unique musician.  He's also my roommate on the road and we've become good friends.  We're in a good place right now to make some cool music.

For more info, music, video and tour dates for both go here:


Official music video for "Wake Up, Sinners"

Monday, September 12, 2011

George Jones turns 80 today

Country music superstar George Jones ("The Possum") turns 80 years old today.  Early on in his career he did a rockabilly style under the name "Thumper Jones".  Here is "Thumper Jones" with "Rock It" followed by Dave Edmunds & The Stray Cats covering the Jones' smash hit "The Race Is On"...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Vasti Jackson speaks on Robert Johnson, early influences and more

Vasti Jackson seems to do it all.  He's a renown guitarist, vocalist, producer, songwriter and arranger.  He's worked with B.B. King, Harry Connick Jr., Martin Scorsese, Cassandra Wilson, Z.Z. Hill, Johnnie Taylor and more.  Vasti (pronounced Vast-Eye) can move effortlessly from Blues to Soul to Jazz to Funk to Gospel and pretty much wherever else he wants to take you.  In concert, not only will he play his amazing originals but you may hear him cover Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Prince, etc.  We asked Vasti about his recent lead role in the play Robert Johnson- The Man, The Myth, The Music, his latest CD, touring and more.

You stay incredibly busy between studio production and session work, theater, film, recording your own solo projects and do you find time for it all?
I am so blessed to love music and related areas of art such as writing, acting, and video and audio science(s). These passions are my career and playground. When I am not on the road my work/play day starts at around 6:00 am and ends at about 9:00 pm. I have a small studio here at home, and with today's technology I do a lot more recording at home for clients all over the world.

Who were some of your early musical influences and who do you like to listen to today?
My earliest influence are my grandfather Samuel Jackson, and my grandmother Mary Jackson. My grandfather played guitar, harmonica, and sang. He was a deep down blues man who lived in Mississippi and New Orleans. He taught my grandmother to play guitar. She was the daughter of a preacher. I guess the saying that opposites attract is true. My mother (Josie Jackson), uncles, and aunt sang and played a variety of instruments. Outside of my family my early influences were Lighining Hopkins, and B B King. As a teenager it was Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, and the great drummer Billy Cobham. Being that my grandmother was very religious, I heard gospel quartets a lot.  That rhythm guitar accompaniment stayed with me.

How was the experience being involved with the Martin Scorsese documentary The Blues?

It was a great learning experience and a lot of fun. I worked with Charles Burnett (To Sleep With Angeron Warming By The Devils Fire, for which I wrote "Train Rollin' Blues", and with Wim Wender (Buena Vista Social Club) on The Soul Of A Man. We filmed in Vicksburg, Canton, and Jackson, Mississippi.

Claude Johnson and Vasti Jackson.
Copyright Vasti Jackson

You've recently played the lead role in the stage play Robert Johnson- The Man, The Myth, The Music. What was that like getting into the spirit of such of a blues icon like Robert Johnson?
Being from McComb, Mississippi (40 miles south of Hazlehurst), and the early mentoring of my grandfather gave me the cultural foundation. I met Claude Johnson (son of Robert Johnson) more than ten years ago while working on a the film Stop Breakin' Down, playing the role of Ike Zinnerman, one of Robert Johnson's mentors. I was the musical director for the film and had to do lots of research on Robert's music, deciphering various tunings, rhythmic approach, phrasing, and melodic choices for guitar and voice. Beyond the music it was important to get into what life might have been like for the average young black man in rural Mississippi during that time period. It was very important psychologically, spiritually, and physically to get into the stories of the songs without music being attached. Letting those stories dictate body language, speech inflection, facial expression, and then let music serve to bring greater emotional depth to the character on stage.  See a video excerpt of the play here:

Stimulus Man is your most recent studio project released in the fall of 2010.  One of the songs featured on there is "My Computer".  Tell us a little bit about that song.
"My computer" is about our relationship with digital technology and how it sometimes gives us the blues with the problems that commonly plague us such as hard drives crashing, slow internet speeds and online viruses. It is a funky, modern blues recorded with soft synths, live guitar, and vocals. I debuted this at the Chicago Blues Festival in an acoustic setting, and it was received wonderfully. The electric version was great fun recording, and experimenting with sound choices, and is fun to play with the band.

Looking at your concert schedule I see you have a lot of international dates coming up.  How is the blues received internationally?
I have been very fortunate in touring internationally since 1989. The international audience loves jazz, blues and gospel. This year alone I have toured France twice, Poland twice, Lithuania, Ukraine, Argentina, and Brazil.

What do you see happening for you in 2012?

More recording projects (gospel, Christmas, soul and blues) touring, and film.

Thank you Vasti for taking time with Rockabilly 'N Blues Records. For more updates, tour schedule, audio and video of Vasti Jackson, go to Here's some fun video footage of Vasti showing his acoustic side and blazing electric guitar side.:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Clips of Jack White from It Might Get Loud

"We're in the age of Pro-Tools," Jack says.  "Fixing things, Auto-tuning, removing mistakes or tiny little clicking sounds and any extraneous noise or tape hiss.  If you listen to the radio or a modern song, you don't hear any of that stuff.  I think all of that is soul to me, though.  That's the good stuff."

A couple of clips here from the It Might Get Loud documentary featuring Jack, Jimmy Page and The Edge.  In the first clip, Jack speaks about his favorite song from Son House.  The second clip has him playing a bit of "Fly Farm Blues".

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eddie Cochran signs to Liberty Records this day in 1956

After recording for Ekko and Crest labels, Eddie signed to Liberty in 1956.  During this time he enjoyed success with songs like "Summertime Blues", "C-Mon Everybody", "Twenty Flight Rock", "Somethin' Else", "Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie", "Sittin' In The Balcony" and many others.  Hear his hard rockin' cover of "Milk Cow Blues" here....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buddy Holly born this day in 1936

Charles Hardin Holley (known in the rock world as Buddy Holly) was born this day in 1936.  He will have a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame dedicated today on what would have been his 75th birthday had he not been killed tragically in 1959.  This week a new tribute album titled Listen To Me featuring Chris Isaac, Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Stevie Nicks and others.  Here's a behind the scenes look...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jimi Hendrix plays final concert this day in 1970

Jimi Hendrix performed his final concert this day in 1970 at the Isle Of Fehmarn in Germany during the Love & Peace Festival.  Hear the audience recording of "Voodoo Chile" below.  The setlist included covers of Howlin Wolf and others:

"Killing Floor"
"Spanish Castle Magic"
"All Along the Watchtower"
"Hey Joe"
"Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)"
"Message to Love"
"Foxey Lady"
"Red House"
"Ezy Ryder"
"Room Full of Mirrors"
"Purple Haze"
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"

Blues legend Jimmy Reed born this day in 1925

Jimmy Reed was born this day in 1925 and passed away in 1976.  His musical impact continues to live on long after his death.  His songs have been covered by Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Them (featuring Van Morrison), Dion DiMucci, Ike & Tina Turner, Etta James, Erma Franklin (Aretha's sister), Grateful Dead, Neil Young and many others.  Elvis himself covered several of Reed's tunes including this one..."Baby What You Want Me To Do"...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sun Records cake

Enjoyed this for my birthday today!  What's better than a record player cake?  Well...a Sun Studio record player cake!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Remembering Johnny Burnette and the Rock 'N Roll Trio

Johnny Burnette and the Rock 'N Roll Trio were one of the hardest rockin' rockabilly groups coming out of the 50's.  In 1956 and '57 they laid down a fierce collection of classics often covered by those coming after (Stray Cats, Yardbirds, Aerosmith, The Beatles and a long list of others).  They toured with the likes of Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent and more.  The trio consisted of Johnny Burnette on acoustic and vocals, his older brother Dorsey Burnette on bass and Paul Burlison lead guitar.  Johnny and Dorsey each went on to successful solo careers after the trio but it was during this time they recorded classics like "Rock Billy Boogie", "Rock Therapy", "The Train Kept A-Rollin'", "Honey Hush", "Tear It Up", "Lonesome Train", "Chains Of Love" and more.  Here they are doing "Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track)"...