Articles and thoughts from the mind of Deke
They were loved by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley; it would be hard to come up with a musical group more influential than the Maddox Brothers and Rose in the bawdy birthing of rock and roll music in the 1950s.
The great Al Schmitt has passed away at the age of 91. He was quite possibly the most famous and respected recording engineer of all time. I made up an excuse to interview Al a few years ago for a recording magazine.
Rock and roll was mostly the property of the southern states in the 1950s. It makes sense, however, that the city of Detroit spawned a real, honest-to-goodness rock and roll legend, Mr. Jack Scott.
Gene Vincent was an iconic rock and roller, with his tortured facial expressions, classic greasy coif, perfect cat clothes. And yet, from his very first session to his last, he loved to sing ballads.
Faron Young’s hillbilly boogie songs of the early and mid-1950s, with their braggadocio-laden lyrical content and aggressive boogie-woogie guitar-based sound, were highly influential to the new crop of rockabillies.
Johnny Paycheck spent years making a slew of brilliant honky-tonk, near-rockabilly, and stone country records, some of the best records he would ever make, under the forgotten nom de plume of Donny Young.
A little-known Italian country musician named Rex Gallion holds the distinction of being the man who suggested to Leo Fender in 1953 that the new instrument he was designing could have body contours for comfort in playing.
While it is true that Orbison himself preferred the softer songs and the pop ballads, and certainly that is where he found his greatest chart success, Roy Orbison’s veins pulsed with the blood of a rocker.
The story of Hallmark guitars and its namesake Joe Hall is an interesting, if obscure, tale in the history of the electric guitar.
The news is out that my friend Ray Campi has passed away. Ray was an original 1950s Texas rocker who kept the flame alive during the dark ages of the 1960s and 1970s, aided and abetted by Ronny Weiser and his DIY record label Rollin’ Rock Records.