Ozark Jubilee Digitization Project, feat. Carl Perkins

Dec 13, 2021

Well, here’s a mind-blower—they’ve been slowly releasing old Kinescope films of the Ozark Jubilee TV show, and this morning they dropped a new (old) episode from 1956. This has never been seen before now—fast forward to 15:53 (although there are some KILLER Thumbs Carllile and Curly Chalker solos in Red’s “Tennessee Border” earlier in the show) to see Carl Perkins performing “Honey, Don’t” live in the television studio! This performance is ASTOUNDING! Not only because there aren’t really any other great early films or videos of Carl and his band (they would get in a near-fatal car accident five days after this was filmed, en route to the Ed Sullivan show), but also because this is just stinkin’ GREAT in every way possible. A lot of people always ask, “What IS rockabilly music?” There are lots of different answers depending on who you ask, but this clip, to me, answers that question. This is rockabilly. Acoustic guitar, upright bass, small drum kit played rockin’ but not too loudly, and one little 20-watt guitar amp sitting on the floor. Take those ingredients, add moonshine, inhale leaded-gas car exhaust, and throw on some fine gabardine clothes in loud colors designed for African American men but worn by hillbillies, and there it is: greased down, goosed up lightning in a bottle. This is rockabilly music! This early, primitive kind of rockabilly music was gone by 1958, when even guys like Carl added electric bass and moved to a more sophisticated, “rock ’n’ roll” version of rockabilly. But so amazing to see the real deal like this. Astounding! Fast forward to 15:53, and if your blood isn’t pumping faster when that song is done, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. Ha! What a find this is!

Check it out!