For years I have been asked the question "How do you define Rockabilly?" I always reply, "I just know it when I hear it."
The Forties and Fifties were special times for me. I fell in love with music and eventually found I could actually carry a tune. And, there were a ton of tunes I heard that have influenced my music since I was a wee children.
The Big Band Era played a lot in my musical tastes. My Uncle Bill introduced me to the genre. He would always find it on the radio when he came home to visit. He knew all the hit songs; all the names of the bands; their musicians; and the lyrics to what I thought to be a thousand tunes. He always wanted to be a vocalist in one of the bands.
All of that was on my mind today. I heard The Dorsey Brothers Band mentioned on a Big Band station. One of my all-time favorites is a Tommy Dorsey instrumental: TD’s Boogie Woogie. If you never heard it, take a listen:
I don’t believe I have ever heard a Boogie I didn’t like. There is even a Gospel boogie song that I used to sing at the Gospel Music Festivals. Pat Boone and I may be the only Rock n Rollers to ever record it. The real title of the song is A Wonderful Time Up There.
And yes, I liked and sang all of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s boogies. Then there were boogies from the Andrews Sisters, Hank Williams, Moon Mulligan and on and on. Never heard a bad one.
Moon told me a funny story once. I have to premise this by telling you that he imbibed from time to time…aw hell, he drank like a fish. So be it, Moon was a friend of Jimmy Davis, the late Governor of Louisiana. The Gov. was quite free with his musician cronies when it came to appointing jobs at State Offices. You may have guessed it by now.
Moon was appointed to the State Alcohol,Tax and Tobacco Bureau. He laughed as he told the story and ended with the fact , “I was only there at the office one time…the day I was appointed."
I fondly remember those old songs. Just one facet of great music that I drew on when I started with the band and began appearing in public around Weatherford. We were just doing the kind of music that we liked and knew how to play.
No, we didn’t have a clue that we were eventually to be classified as …Rockabillies.
See you next time.
Keep on Rockin’