ROSIE FLORES & the Two Dollar Pistols
GENE VINCENT'S Blue Caps
JERRY NAYLOR (Crickets) w/The Roses
DR. TOM BUTT
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
TO BE PRESENTED TO
BY WINK MARTINDALE AND CRYSTAL GAYLE
MASTERS OF CEREMONY
STEVE KING & JOHNNIE PUTMAN (WGN-Chicago)
RED ROBINSON (CBC-Canada)
FEATURING THE TALENTS OF
THE A-TEAM BAND
BOB MOORE ... MUSICAL DIRECTOR
BUDDY HARMAN, BOOTS RANDOLPH, THOM BRESH, DAVID BRIGGS, BOBBY COCHRAN, KENNY LOVELACE & DAVE ROWE
Ticket Information - Charge by Phone (615) 255-9600 & At All Nashville Ticketmaster Locations
FOR PERSONAL TICKET PICKUP ONLY!
RYMAN AUDITORIUM BOX OFFICE
116 Fifth Avenue, North Nashville, Tennessee 37219 (615) 889-3060 BOX OFFICE HOURS 7 Days Weekly: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Primary Seating Tickets = $50 each
Secondary Seating Tickets = $40 each
TOTAL RYMAN SEATING = 2090
QUALITY INN HALL OF FAME MOTOR INN
IS SOLD OUT!
BEST WESTERN: CALUMET INN
Near the Nashville Airport
Reservations: (615) 889-9199
Please ask for the "Rockabilly Rate"
$49.95 per night - 1 to 4 persons per room
The ROCKABILLY MUSIC FOUNDATION
P.O. Box 331066
Nashville, TN 37203
Rockabilly returns to Ryman
''It's an infectious music, and I love it,'' Lee continued. ''It's a fusion of country and R&B, and I grew up on both of those. My rockabilly songs have been so big in Europe, but the only chance I get to perform them is when I go over there.''
Lee was a rockabilly star before she was even a teen-ager, recording the growling, rollicking Bigelow 6-200 as well as Let's Jump the Broomstick, I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus and others. In the United States, she's best known for countrypolitan classics like I'm Sorry and Fool #1, but show organizers are hoping Thursday's award presentation will revive interest in her rockabilly material.
If most rockabilly revivals have been spurred by European interest, there remains a core group of American fans fascinated by the music's visceral blend of slapping string bass, twangy guitars, echo-heavy vocals and hillbilly spirit. The Bluegrass Inn on Lower Broadway often features rockabilly from locally based acts, and rock clubs such as Exit/In and 12th & Porter often present visiting rockabillies including original Sun Records artist Sleepy LaBeef.
''To me, rockabilly is just the integration of all the good things, like swing and R&B and blues and country,'' LaBeef said. ''It's really just American roots music.''
LaBeef was there for the rockabilly boom years of the mid-1950s, and he was there for the late-1970s European revival.
''That was a pleasant surprise,'' he said. ''I had to get a birth certificate before I could go over there. See, I was delivered by midwife and I hadn't ever had a birth certificate. I had to go to Little Rock to get that fixed up.''
Born July 20, 1935, in Smackover, Ark., LaBeef performed in 1954 at Houston's Magnolia Garden. Rockabilly's home turf was Memphis, but Texas had its share of luminaries. One of them was a Dallas teen-ager billed as Ronnie Dee, now known as Ronnie Dawson.
Dawson also released records under the names Snake Monroe and Commonwealth Jones, and he ended up playing drums on hits including Bruce Channel's Hey Baby and Paul & Paula's Hey Paula. His rockabilly career languished until he began to hear from European fans and promoters in the 1980s.
He cut some rough-but-righteous albums in Europe, then caught back on in America, releasing albums including 1996's brilliantly slinky Just Rockin' & Rollin', a rockabilly guitarist's dream that featured Nashville's Eddie Angel and virtuosic Dutchman Tjarko Jeen. Dawson is now semi-retired, working on an autobiography, so Thursday's appearance at the Ryman will be a rare chance for Nashvillians to see him.
''I always have a good time playing in Nashville,'' said Dawson, who will appear with a band that includes Angel on lead guitar. ''I'm planning on getting pretty wild. To me, restrained rockabilly ought to be outlawed. It's like hearing 'lite rock.' Come on, get away from me with that. There ain't no such a thing, and I don't want to hear it if there is.''
Mercury recording artist Eric Heatherly will also be on the bill, as will Janis Martin (of Bang Bang fame), rockabilly filly Rosie Flores, Jack Scott (Burning Bridges, Go Wild Little Sadie), Boots Randolph, Billy Burnette, The Jordonaires, D.J. Fontana and numerous others. Serving as hosts will be not-so-rockabillies Crystal Gayle and Wink Martindale. The show is intended to promote the wildest-eyed of indigenous southern art forms and to raise money for a project Rockabilly Music Foundation officials hope will culminate with the construction of a Nashville-based Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
''A lot of big rockabilly records have been cut here in Nashville, by artists like Elvis Presley, Janis Martin, Johnny Burnette, Warner Mack and a bunch of others,'' said legendary session bass man Bob Moore (who will play with other heralded session players in the backing band). ''We didn't really even know it was called 'rockabilly' back then, we'd just have more shuffling drums and slap bass.'' Lee, who used Moore on many of her Nashville sessions, even suggested she might once again record in a rockabilly style, noting Dolly Parton's successful shift back to bluegrass from country.
''Dolly hasn't done bad going back to her roots, has she?'' Lee asked. ''Rockabilly is a completely different type of attitude than singing ballads, but it's a fun way to sing. I believe I can still do it.''
Getting there . . .
Rockin' at the Ryman, featuring Ronnie Dawson, Gene Vincent's Blue Cap, Sleepy LaBeef, Rosie Flores, D.J. Fontana, Janis Martin, Jack Scott, The Jordanaires, Jerry Naylor (of the Crickets), Eric Heatherly, Boots Randolph and many more, is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at Ryman Auditorium. Tickets: $40 and $50, available through Ticketmaster or in person at the Ryman box office.
Tennessean music writer Peter Cooper can be reached at 259-8220 or by e-mail at email@example.com.