johnny devlin

Content tagged as johnny devlin.

Johnny Devlin: How Would Ya Be (Ode)

Johnny Devlin: How Would Ya Be (Ode)

I was too young to be swept up in the fervour surrounding Johnny Devlin, New Zealand's first shirt-rippin' stage-ragin' rock'n'roll star. But my older sister certainly had a Devlin EP -- sponsored by Coca-Cola as I recall -- which I later poured over. When I think about it though my sister was more into beatnik cool in the late 50s than...

LONDON ROCK AND ROLL SHOW 1972 (Rajon DVD)

LONDON ROCK AND ROLL SHOW 1972 (Rajon DVD)

What adjectives can you apply to this 80 minute concert film? Exciting, essential, hilarious, important, historic . . .?All of those, for sure. Since its heyday, rebellious and raw rock'n'roll of the Fifites has undergone periodic revivals (around the time of Lady Madonna, the early Seventies, late Seventies again with the Stray Cats...

SINISTER SONS AND DANGEROUS DAUGHTERS (Rocket/Triton DVD)

SINISTER SONS AND DANGEROUS DAUGHTERS (Rocket/Triton DVD)

Souped up and modified cars, teens running wild in the streets striking fear into the hearts of citizens, booze'n'dope, loud music their parents hate . . .  It could only be the Fifties, right? Anyone who thinks low-riders or boy racers smoking weed and playing pounding hip-hop on their car stereos are a new phenomenon need only look...

Various Artists: Come Fly With Me; Great New Zealand Rock’n’Roll 1964-72 (Sony)

Various Artists: Come Fly With Me; Great New Zealand Rock’n’Roll 1964-72 (Sony)

A decade ago it wasn’t easy to find collections of local rock’n’roll but today we’re tripping over them: John Baker’s excellent compilations of 60s garage band rock like Pie Cart Rock’n’Roll and Get A Haircut (the latter coming up to the D4 and Datsuns); the Johnny Devlin collection; EMI’s Day in...

Johnny Devlin: Matador Baby (1958)

Johnny Devlin: Matador Baby (1958)

It's widely known that Johnny Devlin was New Zealand's own Elvis Presley -- but unlike Elvis, Devlin wrote his own material. Certainly he covered the hits of the day -- Hand Jive, Wild One, Bony Maronie and so on. But he also wrote some creditable originals like Hard to Get, High Heeled Shoes, Nervous Wreck and so on -- which all were firmly...

Kay Starr: The Rock and Roll Waltz (1955)

Kay Starr: The Rock and Roll Waltz (1955)

Cheap Trick scored a lot of favourable press for their Surrender (see clip below) in which the kid wakes up to find mum and dad rocking and rolling (rolling numbers) and having his Kiss records out. If that song had a forefather it was perhaps this gimmicky and safer song by Kay Starr whose chart career had taken a bit of fall until she...

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Known mostly these days as the writer of Blue Suede Shoes (he sang it before Elvis' chart-topping cover), Carl Perkins was the man who was the most hillbilly cat of them all in the early rock'n'roll era. Looking like a cadaver with his sunken cheeks, and a heroic drinker, the married Carl was the Hank Williams of rockabilly . . . and Sam...

Roy Hall: Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (1955)

Roy Hall: Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (1955)

The origins of some songs are lost, but often a definitive version will stand out. So it is with Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On which exists in the minds of most as the Jerry Lee Lewis hit in '57. Most would even think that Lewis wrote it. He didn't, although his whipped-up version is almost a different song than the one which existed...

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

The Cramps' passion for old rock'n'roll is well known: they are archivists for music styles, bands and old singles which might have otherwise been forgotten or lost. This double disc (with a useful backgrounder booklet) pulls together 30 obscure songs on one disc and on the other Lux Interior and Poison Ivy speak about their passions through...

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve Forecast)

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve Forecast)

In a You Tube comment someone said Jerry Lee looked a little rough for someone only 74 years old. In his defense -- he's actually 75 now -- they were pretty full years, especially in the late Fifties, and he wasn't called the Killer for nothing, the man gave it all on the night. And of course there were the tragic (and slightly mysterious,...

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon -- who died in 1990 age 55 -- is best and perhaps only remembered for the great chart-topping single Runaway of '61, even now a thrilling slice of energetic pop. But far from a one-hit wonder as classic hits radio would have you believe, he also did top 10 business with Hats off to Larry and Little Town Flirt -- and he was smart...

BLUE SMOKE: THE LOST DAWN OF NEW ZEALAND POPULAR MUSIC 1918-1964 by CHRIS BOURKE

BLUE SMOKE: THE LOST DAWN OF NEW ZEALAND POPULAR MUSIC 1918-1964 by CHRIS BOURKE

In the introduction to Stranded in Paradise, his 1987 survey of New Zealand rock'n'roll from 1955, John Dix addressed the question he had been constantly asked, “What's happening with the book, Dix?” Doubtless Chris Bourke – a former Rip It Up editor, longtime music writer and author of the Crowded House biography...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

You really gotta love the JJ Revue who deliver hotrod rock'n'roll which draws from the Fifties (Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis) as filtered through the most wild and dissolute of Rod Stewart/Faces (or the Quireboys with more rocking honky-tonk blues in their soul) with the kind of trash energy of Grinderman. Produced by Jim Sclavunos (who...

Various Artists: Viva Elvis, The Album (Sony)

Various Artists: Viva Elvis, The Album (Sony)

Let's be very clear here, this astonishingly awful album has very little to do with Elvis Presley -- the man, as these people have forgotten, who recalibrated popular music and culture. This has a whole lot to do with a Cirque du Soleil show which sampled Elvis' vocals and then pasted them over backings which, in most instancers, sound like...

Various Artists: The Rarest Rockabilly Album in the World Ever! (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various Artists: The Rarest Rockabilly Album in the World Ever! (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

As with the blues, rockabilly is always out there, but only occasionally gets its time in the spotlight when artists such as the revivalist Stray Cats or -- more recently -- the great original Wanda Jackson get some serious attention. Expect then for rockabilly -- the up-tempo white country-based music which was a precursor to rock'n'roll in...

Jimmie John: Solid Rock (1959)

Jimmie John: Solid Rock (1959)

Rockabilly is a genre that seems to enjoy the fact that it doesn't change or grow, develop or move too far from a simple template of a backbeat and the invitation to dance. It is shamelessly self-referential (in truth it just borrows or steals from itself) and back in the early Fifties when it emerged it didn't take it too long to establish...

Unknown artist: The Spelling on the Stone (1989)

Unknown artist: The Spelling on the Stone (1989)

Of the innumerable "Elvis is Alive" hoaxes, this song has to count as having one of the best/funniest back-stories. So let's get this right: Elvis wanted you to believe he was just pretending to be dead . . . but he really wanted you to know he was alive by singing this song? That just like, sooooo, doesn't work. Right? ...

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Still ready to have a party

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Still ready to have a party

Wanda Jackson – at 73 – has had a number of careers: in the Fifties she was a rockabilly star and touring with (and dating) Elvis Presley while delivering belters like Fujiyama Mama and the classic throat-tearer Let's Have a Party; in the Sixties she went back to her country roots as rock'n'roll faded; by the Seventies she had...

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over (Third Man)

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over (Third Man)

The first Jack White-produced single from this album -- a shuddering Shakin' All Over and a discreetly revised version of Amy Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good -- were hints that White wasn't going to simply reheat the career of this 73-year old rockabilly star with some rock'n'roll nostalgia. In an interview with Elsewhere for this album...

Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers: Born to be Your Fool (1979)

Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers: Born to be Your Fool (1979)

Some songs hook you in with a great opening line or couplet, something which just makes you want to hear more. There are plenty of them about and it's a fine rock'n'roll parlour game after a few drinks to start ticking them off. Feel free to add to these. "When you get out of the hospital, let me back into your life . . ." (Modern...

Twinkle: Terry (1964)

Twinkle: Terry (1964)

There's quite a tradition of death ballads in rock -- Pearl Jam tapped into it when they covered Last Kiss which had been recorded to no great public interest by Wayne Cochran in '61. Perhaps the greatest of them all was Leader of the Pack ("look out look out look out!") by the Shangri-Las in '64. Coincidentally at exactly the same...

Peter Lewis and the Trisonic: Four City Rock (1960)

Peter Lewis and the Trisonic: Four City Rock (1960)

Outside of folk songs (eg this droll one), New Zealand has had no great history of name-checking local places in rock music. But back in 1959 Jack Urlwin of the Christchurch label Peak scribbled down some words and handed them to young singer Peter Lewis and his guitarist Pat Nihonihoni. The scribble didn't have a title but they were words...

Pixie Williams: Maori Land (1949)

Pixie Williams: Maori Land (1949)

If Pixie Williams had done nothing else, she would still be in the history books for what happened on October 3, 1948 when she turned up at a makeshift recording studio in Wellington, New Zealand, still wearing her hockey uniform. On that day she sang with the Ruru Karaitiana Quintette on Ruru's Blue Smoke, the first song to be written,...

Jimmy Patton: Okies in the Pokey (1959)

Jimmy Patton: Okies in the Pokey (1959)

Jimmy Patton (1931-89) was never really a rockabilly singer although this, his biggest hit, was certainly a rave-up in that style. But Patton's heart had always been in hillbilly country, right up until Elvis came along. Like so many others he grabbed a backbeat and made the shift sideways into rock'n'roll, and specifically the rockabilly...

Joe Jones: You Talk Too Much (1960)

Joe Jones: You Talk Too Much (1960)

Sometimes there is an eloquence and directness in simplicity: "Wild thing, you make my heart sing . . ." Hard to improve on that. Or this blunt sentiment by Joe Jones, a rhythm and blues singer from New Orleans who once had the gall to claim he wrote the classic Iko Iko for the Dixie Cups whom he managed. Wasn't the first time...

JERRY LEE LEWIS, THE LEAN YEARS 1965-69; The singer not the song

JERRY LEE LEWIS, THE LEAN YEARS 1965-69; The singer not the song

Given the amount of death and damnation which has attended Jerry Lee Lewis' life, it seems remarkable that in 2012 -- at age 76 -- he is still with us. He has seen off wives, children, cousins, friends, the FBI, prison sentences, more liquor and amphetamines than we can imagine, honkytonk nights, rivals like Elvis . . . And he's still here....

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