I’ve no strong objections to the sub-genre, but I’m certainly not a rockabilly fan; this afternoon, though, Imelda May, having been flown in specially with her band by private jet to play, impressed me on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show1. Check out this video of her performing Johnny Got A Boom Boom on Later… with Jools Holland to see why her record company is throwing money at her—in short: great vox, good songs, fine band, hot looks:
Although her “story” is the sort of cute thing that PRs lap up—“Irish rockabilly singer with residency in Birmingham burlesque club”—it’s a good indicator of her long-term potential that the live version of that song is better than the one recorded in the studio, which you can also find on YouTube.
- Readers who follow my Twitter feed will know why I made a special point of bigging up Radio 2. [↩]
The recognition has been a while coming for Imelda – for a while I thought that she was the best example of great word-of-mouth that went nowhere.
She’s quite something, isn’t she?
Also, open your heart to Rockabilly Damian. It’s the one little genre that I’ve found growing on me as long as I’ve lived. I always *quite* liked what I thought was the better stuff, but there’s loads out there.
I love rockabilly, it was my route into early rock and roll, early country, and eventually hillbilly music. I’ve got some pretty obscure stuff with some great guitar breaks and slap-bass, which I can happily listen to over and over.
Johnny’s Got A Boom Boom isn’t bad and it’s a vast improvement over most music being played right now, but to this rockabilly fan it is very ordinary. My guess is she’ll be a novelty act for a while but not really win over too many rockabilly fans.