Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Jackie Robinson of Rockabilly


Happy Birthday, "Big Al" Downing (Jan. 9 1940). The man is a genius and maybe the greatest rock'nroller of all time. Big Al will live forever in the hearts of minds of cool cats everywhere, if for no other reason than the fact that he wrote and recorded two amazing songs, Georgia Slop (hit version by Jimmy McCracklin)

I stopped to get a soda and dig that jive
I met a chick, she weighed about three-eighty-five
I started lookin' and I couldn't stop
She and I got together and did the Georgia Slop

and Down On The Farm, by Bobby Poe and the Poe Kats, an all-white rockabilly band from Tulsa (my wife El Naar knows how much I like this one!).

You might think, I'm a crazy fool
But I saw a horse doin' the bop with a mule
Down on the farm, down on the farm
Down on the farm, rock 'n' roll is takin' over my barn


See: Big Al Downing, The Poe Kats Connection, at: http://www.rockabilly.nl/artists/big_al.htm

There’s a good interview with Big Al in the documentary film about the female rockabilly singers, called Welcome To The Club, in which he talks about the difficulties he faced as a black man on tour with Wanda Jackson and her band in the ‘50s. See:


http://www.pbs.org/itvs/welcometotheclub/ and http://wandajackson.com/

Visit here for some sound samples and extremely rare label shots of Big Al’s records: Rockin’ Country Style, A discography of Country Rock & Roll and Related Records, 1951 – 1964: http://rcs.law.emory.edu/rcs/artists/d/down2000.htm

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