Dig That Beat!

Interviews with Musicians at the Root of Rock ’n’ Roll


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About the Book

Disc jockey Alan Freed coined the term “rock and roll” in the 1950s. Rooted in rockabilly, rhythm and blues, country and western, gospel, and pop, the genre was popularized by performers like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. Rock and roll’s originators and revivalists continue to entertain crowds at roots music festivals worldwide. This book presents stories about performers’ lives on the road and in the studio, along with the stories behind popular songs. Informative biographical profiles are provided. Artists sharing their experiences include Dale Hawkins, Big Jay McNeely, Ace Cannon, Sleepy LaBeef, Billy Swan, Robin Luke, Rosie Flores and James Intveld. Conway Twitty, Buck Owens and Janis Martin are also featured.

About the Author(s)

Journalist Sheree Homer ran her own music magazine, Rockabilly Revue, for two years. Since 2006, she has contributed articles to various publications, including Blue Suede News. She lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Sheree Homer
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, notes, discography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7446-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2046-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Foreword by Smilin’ Jay McDowell  1
Introduction  4
One. Rhythm and Blues and ­Doo-Wop Legends  7
Dale Hawkins  7
Big Jay McNeely  18
The Orlons  22
Two. Rockabilly Pioneers  28
Clyde Stacy  28
Al Ferrier  32
Rusty York  34
Don Woody  38
Bobby Crown  41
Alvis Wayne  44
Janis Martin  48
Ray Campi  52
Three. Sun Stars  60
Glenn Honeycutt  60
Alton and Jimmy  63
Sleepy LaBeef  68
Eddie Bond  71
Andy Anderson  76
Vernon Taylor  82
Ace Cannon  88
Four. Country Hit Makers  92
Conway Twitty  92
Billy Swan  100
Leroy Van Dyke  103
Buck Owens and the Buckaroos  109
Five. Pop Sensations  116
Dodie Stevens  116
Robin Luke  122
Carl Dobkins, Jr.  127
Six. Roots Revivalists  130
The Four Charms  130
Ronnie Mack  138
James Intveld  144
Rosie Flores  153
Eddie Angel  158
Billy Hancock  162
The Paladins  165
Jerry King and the Rivertown Ramblers  170
Jai Malano  175
Seven. International Rockabilly Performers  180
Junior Marvel  180
Mars Attacks  183
Lil’ Esther  185
Jack Baymoore  187
Miss Mary Ann  191
Selected Discography  193
Chapter Notes  223
Bibliography  227
Index  229

Book Reviews & Awards

“Homer is an expert in the area of rock and roll roots music. Her books are filled with painstaking research, accurate assessments, and first hand recollections via interviews. This is an intelligent, insightful, fascinating examination of just what makes this music tick…highly recommended”—Examiner; “a fascinating collection of stories…. Both her experience and passion are evident in this excellent book”—Elmore Magazine; “includes a fascinating potted biography of some of the more obscure artists whose records are much revered by collectors”—Tales From the Woods; “enthralling”—Vintage Rock; “the book serves as both an entertaining read and a nice reference for some of the more obscure corners of rock and roll. A fun and informative read. Homer deserves a lot of credit for keeping these stories alive and presenting them to us in an easily digestible format that doesn’t feel at all like a dry reference manual or history book”—Rockabilly Romp; “there’s plenty to surprise even the most knowledgeable of music lovers. Sheree’s produced a fine book here and done justice to all the artists within. You should check it out yourself”—UK Rock Magazine; “well worth your time and money”—Blue Suede News; “a valuable reference”—Rock ’n’ Roll Musikmagazin; “wealth of detail”—Now Dig This Magazine; “well-researched…a wealth of interviews with rockability pioneers”—ARSC Journal.