Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Carl Perkins, as much as anyone, was present at the Creation. In the early 1950s, Perkins and his contemporaries - Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and others - sat down with the legendary Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis and carved out what is now rock 'n' roll.
Presley went on to a fame far exceeding his gifts, while the other rockabilly heroes all had their hits and their moments. It was different for Carl Perkins. Automobile accidents and hard times took their toll, and after "Blue Suede Shoes," Perkins' monster hit in 1955, he disappeared into session work and backing up the Johnny Cash stage show.
Now, happily, all that may be changing. Thursday night at the Cellar Door, Carl Perkins wheeled his audience through a first rate rockabilly set, a primor on rock 'n' roll that somehow transcended nostalgia.
The songs were agreeably familiar - "Match Box," "High-heeled Sneakers," "Honey Don't" - and Perkins worked in a Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis medley for anyone who missed the point.
All Perkins' material reflected the genesis of rock music - faithless love, midnight trains, working-class Saturday nights, and all were dished up by an appealing performer and a fine rockabilly band.
One wonders why it took so long to find Carl Perkins, and why there were any empty seats at the Cellar Door Thursday. Tonight, there shouldn't be a one.