They turned up their collars and set back the clocks at The Bayou last night. It was Memphis in the mid-'50s -- blue suede shoes, pink Cadillacs and yellow Sun records. Rockabilly heaven.
Tex Rubinowitz and The Bad Boys set the mood immediately by evoking vivid memories of the "Memphis Cats" with their hiccuping vocals, sinuous guitar breaks and reverberating rhythms. Rubinowitz vocally recalled the masters of rockabilly without ever parodying them, while guitarists Eddie Heeron and Eddie Angel tucked each verse between alternate solos. They balanced the original tunes with classics like Link Wray's "Run Chicken Run" and left the stage with the audience clamoring for more.
Then out walked Rocky Burnette, the son of the late rockabilly star, Johnny Burnette, or as he calls himself, "The Son of Rock and Roll." That's not a reputation easily lived up to, and at least one member of the crowd called out for Rubinowitz to return. That comment visibly upset Burnette, but he managed to bring enough energy to his set to keep things jumping. He was at his best reworking some of his father's Rock 'n' Roll Trio hits, especially "RockaBilly Boogie" and "Lonesome Tear in my Eye." As with Rubinowitz, Memphis is very much a part of his music.