*A Mixed Bag Musical Potpourri-Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Rock And Rockabilly-In Search Of Lost Rockabilly Time
Click On Title To Link To YouTube's Film Clop Of Warren Smith Doing "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby". Wow!
In Search Of Lost Time
Lost Gold Rockabilly Collector’ Series, Original Historic Rockabilly Classics, various artists, Lost Gold Records, 1998
I have spent some time discussing the various rockabilly artists who did, or did not, make it in the 1950's out of Sam Phillips' Memphis-based Sun Records. I have reviewed at least one CD with a compilation that contained such one-shot hits as Sonny Burgess' "Red-Headed Women" and "Rock `n' Rock Ruby". I have also reviewed a very interesting PBS documentary on the 50th Anniversary of Sun Records that included the usual "talking head" commentary, although this time though including various artists who did not make the "bigs" for one reason or another. It is that last point that is relevant here.
I have also been spending a fair amount of ink in this space recently discussing those who didn't make it big in various genres like folk, the blues, early rock and now rockabilly. This compilation is a case study about why, out of all the talents who tried to become "kings of the hill" (and it was mainly, although not exclusively men), some did not make it. We have here the usual subjects for rockabilly songs of thwarted love, longing for love, the vagaries of love, two-timing women (and men, listen to the result, in "Black Cadillac"), cars, Saturday night dances and other things near and dear to the hearts of teenagers in the 1950's (and, with updating, now as well) that made up the lyrics of this genre. So that is not the problem.
What struck me after listening to this compilation a couple of times was that although there were some outstanding riffs, some hot guitar playing, some lines of parts of songs that could have made it big the whole package were not there. Only a couple of songs grabbed and held my attention throughout. Nothing came up to the two classics mentioned in the first paragraph. A number of songs barely were to the left of traditional country and western numbers. I do not know how much of a role being in the right place at the right time, being merely imitative of greater artists, like Elvis and Carl Perkins, as is obviously the case with some performers here or of not being willing to risk all for glory played in all of this. However, just as with the Sun rockabilly artists who didn't make it, or who were one shot johnnies (or janies) or who just gave up the grind was tough. If you want to know about those who didn't get to the top of the rockabilly heap listen here. This is the search for lost time, indeed.