Rockabilly: Which CDs Do I Need? What About Psychobilly?

I just bought a Charlie Feathers CD (His Complete King Recordings) and I’m officially hooked on rockabilly. Since I’m already a punk fan (Ramones, The Clash, Minor Threat, NOFX, et cetera, et cetera) I’m also thinking of buying my first psychobilly CD. [brag]I already have a pretty good place to buy them: Ear Candy in Missoula has a whole section (OK, two racks) devoted to rockabilly and psychobilly. They also sell Oblio Joes CDs, and an Oblio Joes bandmember works there. (Yep, they’re a damn fine Missoula band.)[/brag]

So, which CDs should I buy? I’m very much aware that rockabilly came and went prior to the Era of the Album, and that I’m going to get a lot of compilations and ‘Best Of’ and so on. Psychobilly sounds interesting and more modern, and I would greatly appreciate some help there as well.

My suggestion would be Social Distortion. Their older stuff is more punkish while the new(er) stuff is more of a rockabilly style. I love their version of Ring of Fire and Story of My Life is one of my all time favorite songs.

If I had to choose only one album, I would probably pick their title album. The page I linked has some samples in Quicktime, including the two I mentioned.

Much thanks.

Dead Rock West
(I think they expect to have the album available in August)
Maybe not “pure” Rockabilly, but if you’re only interested in “pure” Rockabilly you’ll just load up on albums that sound exactly like one another- such is the nature of the genre.

Definitely check out The Knitters, a Rockabilly / Blue Grass project featuring essentially the same line-up as Punk Rock stars X.

Old Brit band The Meteors were excellent.

Such is the nature of all genres.

Thanks for the information from everyone so far.

Johnny Burdett and the Rock n Roll Trio for authentic rockabilly.

Reverend Horton Heat should have something good in the Psychobilly range, but not sure what CD.

Cramps of course for what was probably the original Psychobilly. any of their early albumns. The one with The Crusher on it probably is as good as any to start with.

Link Wray is, of course, quite good. Though his style tends to be to just find a groove and stick with it rather than filling out a full song (but really nice grooves!)

For what it’s worth—and I’m not familiar enough with the genre to be able to say how much it is worth— here’s The All-Music Guide’s list of Rockabilly Revival albums (the “1st, 2nd, 3rd” refer to “1st tier” etc.)

And here’s their Psychobilly list:

(I don’t know whether my links will work, or whether you have to be registered with the AMG site.)

  • get a best of Eddie Cochran (Summertime Blues, C’mon Everybody, 20 flight Rock, etc.
  • get a best of Gene Vincent (Be Bop a Lula, Race with the Devil, Say Mama)
  • Get The Humbler by Danny Gatton and Robert Gordon
  • Get the Brian Setzer album where he covers the old Sun records stuff - Rockabilly something or other Volume 1 - starts with My Gal is Red Hot
  • get the Sun Records 50th Anniversary 2-disc best of collection - amazing stuff…
  • Get a best of Jerry Lee Lewis - but only if it has Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee on it…

You’ll be all set. As for newer stuff - agree with Social D and Rev Horton Heat…

Rhino has a box set coming out: Rockin’ Bones: 50’s Punk & Rockabilly. Looks awesome if you can afford it. I have a few of their other box sets, and they’re great.

I can’t recommend Reverend Horton Heat highly enough to a new rockabilly/psychobilly fan. You might as well start with their greatest hits album, Holy Roller:
(They are also possibly the best live band I’ve ever seen, alongside Less Than Jake and Ben Folds.)

Brian Setzer’s seminal '80s rockabilly revival trio, the Stray Cats, are a necessity. My favorite of the multiple compilations, if only for the amount of songs on a single CD, is Runaway Boys:

If you’re the least bit interested in the Brian Setzer Orchestra (as you should be, for he is awesome in all he does), my favorite album by them is their second, Guitar Slinger:
His vocals go back and forth between ultra-cool lounge crooner and snarling rockabilly badass, and his reverby Gretsch guitar sound melds perfectly with that tight, fat horn section.

I agree with the previous poster who cited Social Distortion, for their perfect rootsy punk/rockabilly hybrid sound. I should also recommend frontman Mike Ness’ solo album Cheating At Solitaire, one of my favorite albums of all time, which perfectly captures the rockabilly rebel/outlaw spirit and sound:

Luckily, allows you to listen to audio samples from most of the CDs they sell. In that case, I recommend you check out some tracks by the Hillbilly Hellcats to see if you like them ( ), and also the Cramps ( ) and the Horrorpops ( ), a Danish psychobilly band with a sexy female singer/bassist.

On the Psychobilly front, you can also try Nekromantix and maybe also HorrorPops.

No psychobilly collection would be complete without a little something from Elvis Hitler.

Check out the Blasters.

Wow. There is a lot of wonderful information in this thread so far. Thanks a lot. I’ll definitely make a special rockabilly/psychobilly trip to Ear Candy the next time I’m in Missoula, and I’ll have scribbled notes from this thread in hand.

[QUOTE=China Guy]

Cramps of course for what was probably the original Psychobilly.


Thank you! I can’t believe it took 7 posts to get to them. I remember the last time I saw Lux Interior…naked except for stockings and his high heeled shoes held over his genitals. God I love that man.

Oh yeah, their CD’s are good too :smiley: .

A psychobilly thread without love for the Supersuckers? Can’t be allowed to happen. “The Smoke of Hell” is my personal favorite.

Well, since many of the basics have been mentioned, may I suggest Jason and the Scorchers with a chaser of Goober and the Peas?

“I’m a funky funky cowby…”

Even more suggestions. If nothing else, there are some cool band names in this thread. :wink: