Sam Phillips is arguably the single most important name in the history of rock’n’roll music. In 1950 he opened a recording studio in Memphis and his label, Sun Studio, went on to make much of the earliest – and still the greatest – rock’n’roll music ever recorded. (more…)

Any appreciation of the roots of rock’n’roll has to include jump blues pianist and singer Floyd Dixon – the self-appointed “Mr Magnificent.” (more…)

Here’s another one of those proto-rock’n’roll tunes from another of those under-appreciated musicians of colour, this time from 1950 by Piney Brown. (more…)

This is another branch in the roots of rock’n’roll, and Johnny Otis was a key figure in many ways, but he may not actually play on this tune. (more…)

There weren’t many women involved in the birth of rock’n’roll. And there were even fewer Native American artists. Kay Starr was both.


The more I delve into the increasingly wild R&B music being made in the five or six years after World War II, the stranger it seems that most people think rock’n’roll began with Elvis and Bill Haley in the mid-1950s. (more…)

Let’s talk about rockabilly. And let’s start the conversation with Hardrock Gunter. His debut single Birmingham Bounce is another entry in the pantheon of proto-rock’n’roll.


Lefty Frizzell is one of the forgotten names of country music. But he was one of its biggest, most influential – and controversial – stars.