About as far from Pat Boone as you can get are the true believers in the power of rock’n’roll to raise hell, whilst speaking in tongues and letting most all of everything hang out. Fuelled by the increasingly powerful radio stations broadcasting across America, post-war teens came out of the MOR closet and ignited by the spark that was Elvis, quiffed or bouffanted their hair and cut loosefrom the restraints of austerity. Suddenly anyone could be a rock’n’roll star, with a few chords and a backbeat and enough attitude to carry it off. As the big companies were slow to get it daddy-o, indie record labels sprang up to fill the void, and into the void was sucked the weird, the wonderful, the wild and the downright demented.
Some 30 years later these demented teens inspired a whole new desire to take apart rock’n’roll and reconstruct its constituent parts into a brand new monster. And so it came to pass that the meek may have inherited the earth, but the sun, the moon and the stars were domain of extreme rock’n’roll and long may it wail.
photo caption: The Meteors, courtesy Chiswick Records
Rockabilly Psychosis And The Garage Disease
Psych / Garage
Various Artists (Big Beat Various)
Rockabilly Psychosis & The Garage Disease
Carpet-chewing, head-banging, foot-stomping, hip-shaking, knee-trembling, mind-blowing, hair-raising, eye-popping, scary rock’n’roll and that’s just the first track. For over 25 years this has been the introduction to the outer limits, the ultimate trip into musical madness. You have been warned.
Charlie Feathers would be equally at home in our Cult Heroes section, so revered is he in rockabilly circles, but his idiosyncratic way with a hiccupping vocal and uncanny ability to bop have him and label-mate Mac Curtis firmly among the great rockers of the 50s.
She had a date with Elvis for real and a date with history as the fiercest female rocker of her day. Wanda tears into a song with the most remarkable rasping vocal and a “don’t mess withme” attitude that obviously attracted the hillbilly cat and that she carried with her into the 21st century.
Raised on a diet of B movies and B-side rockabilly 45s carved out of ancient wax, the Meteors turned it up past 11 as the audience hung on for a hair-raising ride through a hellish blood splattered sci-fi, graveyard landscape in 3D and black and white. Reinventing the 50s as nightmare in the 80s.
“If it hadn’t been for my musical talent, I would have been a nerd,” confessed Roddy Jackson, but best not suggest that to him. Despite the long thin blond look, Roddy and his mixed Mexican, black and white band the Blue Notes tore up California’s Merced County scene for a brief but incendiary couple of years in the late 50s, leaving these few recordings in his wake.
A Rocket In My Pocket: The Soundtrack To The Hipster's Guide To Rockabilly
Rockabilly / Hillbilly
Various Artists (Rockabilly Compilations)
Rocket in My Pocket
No sooner had Elvis had his first brush with success on Sun Records than every independent record label in the South went in search of another hillbilly cat who might rock the bobby socks off the young girls and drive the young men wild with jealousy. This soundtrack to Max Décharné’s latest book features 28 of them.
How Dean Carter was not incarcerated for his destruction of Jailhouse Rock we will never know, but this Midwest mid-60s collision of garage and Elvis is a time-warped amalgam of everything rock’n’roll probably shouldn’t be. To be taken in small doses as it might just do your head in.
Welcome to the crazy world of Vince Taylor and the man who made the best ever British rock’n’roll record, was the inspiration for Ziggy Stardust, was covered by the Clash and eventually developed a messianic complex in keeping with his status as a true legend, a true star.
Lux Interior and Ivy Rorschach knew how far too far could go and went beyond it. For most groups it is a career or even a calling, for the Cramps it was a whole world that they inhabited and they introduced a new generation to it from the late 70s on with incredible records and devastating stage shows of terminal rock’n’roll.