Rockabilly comes and goes

My love for rockabilly never wavers. But rockabilly as a popular trend peaks from time to time. For good and ill, lots of young musicians discover rockabilly and they form bands. A few of these bands get to make records. Most of them are simply rockabilly by numbers. Fit the formula. Do your “mystery train” shuffle, your Travis picking, and slap the bass.

In the final days of Napster, I signed up for the service and download all of the rockabilly I could find. Old and new.

Tonight I started trolling through the archives … and came across a band that certainly deserves more fame than it ever archived — the Road Kings. As far as I can tell, the Road Kings released one CD in 1999 (though some of the tracks I grabbed off of Napster are not from that album), but they managed to take the genre places neither Brian Setzer nor Rev. Horton Heat could ever manage. It’s still rockabilly, but it’s also rock and funk and soul. There’s also enough musicianship going on to keep even the most exacting aficionado revved up.

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