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.