Photographer's Note

At Robert's Western World for the second time that day, we saw a rockabilly act called John England & the Western Swingers.

Rockabilly is an interesting little genre, nestling between blues, country and rock n' roll. Many of the most famous early rock acts, including Elvis Presley himself, started as rockabilly guys; Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Bill Haley, even Johnny Cash were to one degree or another playing rockabilly before settling into their more familiar genres. One of the genre's hallmarks was its use of previously 'black' music like blues and R&B, recorded by young white male artists, which, in the era of the racially segregated 1950s, dramatically increased its popular appeal; there were many black artists doing things similar to what Elvis and company eventually achieved, but their work often lay in obscurity until popularized in the 1950s.

The term 'rockabilly' wasn't really applied to these artists at the time, but emerged in the early 1950s as a combination of 'rock n' roll' and 'hillbilly music'. Rockabilly is fundamentally very much like rock and roll in its use of drums especially, often accompanied by only a guitar and upright bass, but sometimes including other instruments. A good example of rockabilly music can be found here - 'Ooby Dooby' by Roy Orbison. Rockabilly style was also an important contribution to the early rock era; the guitarist here is a good example of it, with stylized suits and hair in a pompadour sort of style. Many rockabilly sayings and phrases found their way into rock culture as well, including the title of this photo.

In the background, you can see the stage of Robert's Western World, with its beautiful yellow mural of major country and western stars; the largest face there on the left is Patsy Cline, whose cover of Willie Nelson's 'Crazy' is one of the most well-loved country songs of all time. Lyrics below. The link will take you to Patsy's version on Grooveshark.

'Crazy' - Patsy Cline, Lyrics by Willie Nelson

Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so lonely
I'm crazy, crazy for feeling so blue
I knew you'd love me as long as you wanted
And then someday you'd leave me for somebody new
Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wond'ring what in the world did I do?
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you.

Larger version on Flickr, here.

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Additional Photos by Andrew Lipsett (ACL1978) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 884 W: 75 N: 1695] (7511)
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