Lee Rocker 8/20/2010
Beverly Arts Center,
Here is a real entertainer, to say the least. Lee Rocker, who is also well
known as the bass player for The Stray Cats, showed us the amazing
flexibility of the double bass. Rocker’s “slap bass” style has that double
bass throwing out unique sounds and he makes it do things that were
probably not part of the original design of the great instrument. He
carried it around and played as if it were the size of a regular bass
guitar, he stood it up and stood on the body while he played, spun it
around like a top, and then carried it around on his shoulder. All this
while still playing and singing.
He told us a story of how rockabilly music first started, with “That’s
Alright”, and “Blue Moon”. He spoke of 706 Union in Memphis, Tennessee
which is the home of Sun Records where many great artists such as Elvis,
Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins as well as the
many early black recording artists of the blues began. Howlin’ Wolf,
Junior Park, Little Milton, B.B. King, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, and
Roscoe Garden all recorded there in the 1950’s¹ . He gave us a verbal and
musical account of a guitar, a bass, and a drum that sounded like a train.
Then he played “Lonesome Tears” by Buddy Holly, and if you closed your
eyes, you could feel Buddy right there in that room. When he mentioned
Hank Williams, Buzz Campbell fired up the banjo with “Tear In My Beer”.
What a cool way to learn about real American history.
With Buzz Campbell on the Gretsch guitar, and Brophy Dale also on guitar,
and Jimmy Sage on the drums, and Lee Rocker’s bass and vocals, the place
was on fire. Lee and Buzz warmed our hearts with a duet of “All I Have To
Do Is Dream”. Several fans added to the mood, dressed in the style of the
1950’s. They were dancing in the aisles, and everybody thoroughly enjoyed
Their music reminds us of a better time; an easier, laid back era. This
was an innocent, magical time, with the huge success of rockabilly music,
before the British Invasion revolutionized the teen scene.
¹Wikipedia,http//.en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Studio, August 30, 2010