Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rockabilly ... Then And Now

We've been singing the praises of The Cadillac Casanovas ever since the first time we saw them open up the show for Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Rick Nelson's twin sons who put on the tribute show to their father, "Ricky Nelson Remembered".

These guys are as authentic as they come.  As such, we're treated to GREAT rockabilly classics by artists like Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Dale Hawkins, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and many, many others whenever they perform.

But they ALSO keep the Rockabilly Renaissance alive, too, by featuring recent tracks released by rockabilly aficionados like Queen, ELO, The Stray Cats, Dave Edmunds and more.

Here are a few of my favorites:

CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE by Queen - a #1 Hit that came out of nowhere for the Glam Rock Band who ALWAYS seemed to have something new hidden up their sleeve ... anything from disco/funk like "Another One Bites The Dust" to Rock Opera like "Bohemian Rhapsody" to "Somebody To Love" to rock camp like "Killer Queen" and "Fat-Bottomed Girls" to flat out great pop music like "You're My Best Friend".  We lost Freddie Mercury WAY too soon ... there's no telling what other surprises he may have had in store for us.

STRAY CAT STRUT by The Stray Cat.  Brian Setzer single-handedly brought rockabilly back to the forefront with his early '80's hits "Rock This Town", "Stray Cat Sturt" and "She's Sexy And 17", paving the way for other musically talented fans to follow suit ...

Like LED ZEPPELIN ... (whoever knew that guitar virtuoso Jimmy Page had it in him?!?!)  Yet Robert Plant cut "Rockin' At Midnight" with The Honedrippers in classic '50's style while Page "let 'er rip" on this track from Led Zeppelin's final LP.

Another HUGE fan was Jeff Lynne of The Electric Light Orchestra.  He first showed off his rockabilly prowess on "Hold On Tight", a track you STILL here countless times per day ... but then again on THIS one ... which is every bit as good (yet you rarely hear at all!)

This Rockabilly Son is purebred ... His Daddy was Johnny Burnette and his Uncle was Dorsey Burnette ... so when young Rocky Burnette hit the charts with this one in 1980, he was simply carrying on a Family Tradition!

Separately, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds were long-time proprietors of the rockabilly genre ... so when the two of them got together, it was a sure thing that magic was going to happen.  The duo cut a VERY faithful tribute with their '80's Everly Brothers EP ... and The Cadillac Casanovas do some damn good Everly Brothers tracks ... but I chose to feature this one that Nick cut with "His Cowboy Outfit" in 1985.

And it doesn't come much more authentic sounding than this ... Lubbock, Texas-born Mac Davis struck rockabilly gold with this 1981 gem, "Hooked On Music"!

Finally, on what ended up being is final LP, Ricky Nelson returned to his rockabilly roots and redid not only some of his biggest hits from the '50's ... but also cut this brand new track that sounded every bit as fresh in 1985.  (This one ABSOLUTELY should have been a hit!)  Nelson was putting the finishing touches on his last LP, "Rockabilly Renaissance", when he died.

You are gonna want to see these guys the next chance you get ... this is NOT a show to be missed.

More info on their website regarding upcoming appearances (along with a couple of live concert videos):  


And let me tell you, they're every bit as much fun to watch as they are to listen to.  Please check them out the next time they hit your area ... you can thank me later!  (The Cadillac Casanovas have just been added to a special Arcada Christmas Show, December 5th, that will feature the return of Matthew and Gunnar Nelson ... as well as The Cowsills.  Put me down for a front row seat to this one!!!)  kk 

Most will agree that The Cadillac Casanovas are just one big break away from busting wide open ... so here's a suggestion, guys!

You need to find a song ... a modern-day, well-known song about as far removed from rockabilly as possible ... and then you need to add your spin to it ... reinvent it, if you will, with a stroke of rockabilly magic ... and make the rest of the music world stand up and take notice.  It's got to be the RIGHT song ... with the right feel ... and when you're done with it, the whole world will be shouting your name.