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Rockin' Bones

ON THIS PROGRAM, we’ll explore some of the lesser known rockabilly artists, who often had one hit song then disappeared from the scene. We’ll tell the story of Suzie Q, a national hit for Louisiana singer Dale Hawkins, who was then working as a record store clerk. We’ll also meet another artist from the Bayou State, Joe Clay, who appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show before Elvis. He initially failed to make it big on the national scene and ended up driving a school bus. But in the 1980s, he was rediscovered and found new popularity in Europe, like many rockabilly artists from the Fifties.

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Johnny Cash
“Big Al” Downing, one of the few African-Americans in rockabilly, played piano with singer Wanda Jackson in the late 1950s. Travel was arduous for African-Americans during Segregation, so Downing often had to sneak into whites-only hotels with a blanket over his head. (Publicity Photo)