~Portraits in Blues~



Lee Rocker 8/20/2010
Beverly Arts Center, Chicago, Illinois

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 the show.

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


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Lee Rocker's website can be accessed by clicking the link below:

 "Rockabilly, Americana, roots rock... it's all Lee Rocker On-Line."


You can also find him on Alligator Records










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