Posts Tagged ‘Billy Lee Riley’

I’ve been revisiting a lot of very old work lately here in the studio, taking little walk down memory lane. Some of the memories  are pleasant enough with “oh, yeah, I remember that” coming up periodically in my mind. Some are  cringeworthy, making me glad I moved past that time. Some please me greatly and some make me smile. Such is the case with this  little piece done in 1994.

Called Rockin’ Billy, it was done quickly in crayons. It’s rough-edged and kind of crude but has movement. I think I was listening to a bunch of old rockabilly at the time. Johnny Burnette, Warren Smith, Jerry Lee Lewis, that kind of stuff– rough-edged and a little crude with some real movement.

But I am pretty sure that this piece was a direct result of Billy Lee Riley and his distinct guitar playing, especially in a couple of my faves from that time, Flying Saucer Rock and Roll and Red Hot. Every time I stumble across this piece I have to break out the rockabilly for at least a few songs and that’s how it is on this Sunday morning. Here are those two songs from Billy Lee Riley.

Oh, what the hell, let me throw in Johnny Burnette’s Rock Billy Boogie. I can see Rockin’ Billy dancing across the stage now. Hope this helps you have your own rockin’ good time today.

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I went to the Little Gems opening last night at the West End Gallery.  It was a really great crowd and I was able to see a lot of people I don’t get to see but a time or two a year.  A lot of good conversation.

One friend, guitarist Bill Groome, reminded me of a piece that I had given him back in 1999.  It was a little piece I had done years before that, before I ever thought of showing or selling my work.  It was done with crayons and was of a guitar player dancing to his own playing.  I called it Rockin’ Billy after rockabilly guitarist Billy Lee Riley, who distinctive, edge-of-wild studio playing rocked most of the early rockabilly recordings at Sun Records, including his own hits Red Hot ( …my gal is red hot, your gal ain’t doodley-squat…) and Flying Saucers Rock and Roll.   There was just something about the player in this little piece that felt liked he was moved by the spirit of that early music.

I didn’t have any images of the piece but when I got into the studio this morning, I found that Bill had emailed me a scan of Rockin’ Billy.   Thanks, Bill.  Even though it’s rough edged and maybe not a virtuoso piece in itself, I still really like this little guy a lot.  I can still hear Billy Lee’s guitar echoing in my memory…

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