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Joe Clay

Rockabilly singer/guitarist Joe Clay was on the cusp of stardom in 1956, when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show at 17 and won a contract with RCA Records. But Sullivan, in typical repressive fashion, told the young singer to play the Platters subdued "Only You" instead of his rollicking "Duck Tail," and Clay's domineering manager refused to allow him to play outside New Orleans and eventually drove RCA away. But it wasn't the last the world would hear from Joe Clay. Born in Louisiana's Cajun territory as Claiborne Joseph Cheramie, Clay began playing in a country band at 12 which went on to get a gig on WWEZ radio. RCA created a subsidiary called Vik Records, which called the station looking for talent. The label then offered Clay a contract, to which Clay replied, "Hell yes!" Clay, who had already recorded Sixteen Chicks, Goodbye Goodbye, and You Look That Good to Me in Houston, was flown to New York, where he recorded with some of the finest black rhythm musicians of the time (guitarist Mickey Baker, guitarist Skeeter Best, bassist Leonard Gaskin, and drummers Bobby Donaldson and Joe Marshall) in one of the earlier integrated studio sessions. But the raucous music went nowhere. Clay played like Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, and appeared on Sullivan months earlier than Presley, but only succeeded in playing backup on some Elvis recordings. Clay spent the next 30 years singing in the Bourbon Street lounges of New Orleans, eventually driving a bus to support himself. By the 1980s, after he'd given up performing, Clay was becoming a star in Europe, unbeknownst to him. A West German label issued a '50s revival album featuring Clay that took off, and a diehard English promoter spent years trying to track Clay down, placing classified ads, calling DJs, and working contacts. Willie Jeffrey finally found Clay and arranged a tour of England in 1986. ~ Ron DePasquale
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Rockin' Bones: 1950's Punk & Rockabilly

Disc 1

1. Rockin' Bones

2. Let's Go Baby

3. Baby Let's Play House

4. Little Girl

5. Cat Man

6. Lobo Jones

7. Juvenile Delinquent

8. Froggy Went A Courting

9. Rattlesnake Daddy

10. Down On The Farm

11. Rockin' In The Graveyard

12. Dancing Doll

13. Long Blond Hair, Red Rose Lips

14. Action Packed

15. Boppin' High School Baby

16. Believe What You Say

17. Sunglasses After Dark

18. Rumble

19. Down The Line

20. Pink Cadillac

21. Black Cadillac

22. Who's Been Here

23. I Need A Man

24. Please Give Me Something

25. Sinners

Disc 2

1. Rock Around With Ollie Vee

2. Lou Lou

3. Rock Crazy Baby

4. Love Bug Crawl

5. Fool I Am

6. Red Hot

7. Love Me

8. She's My Witch

9. Lordy Hoody

10. Bloodshot

11. Trouble

12. Hot Shot

13. Long Gone Daddy

14. Curfew

15. Put Your Cat Clothes On

16. Pink And Black

17. Domino

18. Jungle Rock

19. Ubangi Stomp

20. Chicken Walk

21. Chicken Rock

22. Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe

23. Shirley Lee

24. Woman Love

25. One Night Of Sin

Disc 3

1. Blue Suede Shoes

2. Duck Tail

3. Stack-A-Records

4. Daddy-O Rock

5. Move

6. Brand New Cadillac

7. Rumble Rock

8. Hep Cat

9. Cast Iron Arm

10. Switch Blade Sam

11. Ballin' Keen

12. Sweet Rockin' Baby

13. Get Rhythm

14. Rock Billy Boogie

15. Crazy Baby

16. Susie-Q

17. Worried 'bout You Baby

18. I Love My Baby

19. Come On Little Mama

20. Whistle Bait

21. Spin The Bottle

22. Bertha Lou

23. Real Gone Daddy

24. My Pink Cadillac

25. Draggin'

Disc 4

1. Action Packed

3. Who Do You Love

4. Summertime Blues

5. The Way I Walk

6. Wild Wild Women

8. Get Hot Or Go Home

9. Swamp Gal

10. Miss Pearl

11. Mercy

12. Rock Boppin' Baby

13. Rockin' Daddy

14. Rock It

16. Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll

17. Shake Um Up Rock

18. Red Hot Rockin Blues

19. Bang Bang

20. One Hand Loose

21. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

22. Fujiyama Mama

23. I Got A Rocket In My Pocket

24. Oh Love

25. School Of Rock 'n Roll

26. Rock-N-Bones

Comments

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Good rockabilly tune

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