Starday Record’s Rockabilly Releases Enrich Rock and roll History

The sun Records label, owned and operated by the legendary Sam Phillips, has become the most famous rockabilly record label in history. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others turned out wonderful rockabilly records in their early years while signed to the Sun label. But Sun records wasn’t the only label that turned out great rockabilly. The Starday label out of Beaumont, Texas made a fantastic contribution to the rockabilly treasure trove with many excellent recordings.

Starday was formed in 1952 by Harold W. “Pappy” Daily and Jack Starnes with a focus on country and western, Cajun, and gospel music. In 1955, George Jones recorded his first hit and put Starday on the map pappy van winkle for sale. Of course Jones went on to country superstardom and was Starday’s main act until 1958 when Starday was bought by Mercury Records and Jones began releasing records on Mercury instead.

Jones wasn’t the only success story on Starday. The label also released wonderful country music by Dottie West, Willie Nelson, Frankie Miller, Cowboy Copas, Moon Mullican, The Willis Brothers, Red Sovine, Minnie Pearl, Jimmy Dean, Hank Locklin, and many others. The label was also home to J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, the rock and roller of “Chantilly Lace” fame who died in the same airplane crash as Buddy Holly in 1959.

As many country artists did when the rockabilly craze hit, many Starday performers turned their efforts toward creating rockabilly hits of their own. Starting in late ’54 and early ’55, Starday began signing performers that were strictly rockabilly and they too pumped out some classic gems. The first Starday rockabilly cat was Sonny Fisher who cut the wonderful “Rocking Daddy” for the label in January of 1955. in addition to that tune, some of the absolute best rockabilly records of the time came out on Starday. Many of these were featured in two compilations of Starday rockabilly, “Starday Dixie Rockabilly Volumes 1 and 2” that were released years later on Ace Records.

Other Starday rockabilly artists of note include finger-style rockabilly guitarist Hal Harris who’s “Jitterbop Baby” and “I Don’t know When” are two amazing recordings that were never actually released at the time but have since been recognized for their rockabilly brilliance and have appeared on rockabilly compilation records in later years. Sleepy LaBeef is another rockabilly artist who turned out great songs for Starday like “All the Time” and “I’m Through. ” And Starday lays claim to one of the landmark rockabilly tunes of all time, “Duck Tails” by Rudy Grayzell. Grayzell did other great rockabilly tracks for Starday as well.

Other artists who created rockabilly for Starday include Groovy Joe Poovey and Lucky Wray featuring the great Link Wray on guitar. Many other names appear on Starday rockabilly, many of which never made much of a splash in the pages of music history, but still created great, compelling rockabilly music that ranks among the best of what was ever recorded and released.

While Sam Phillips and his Sun Records label undoubtedly set the standard for rockabilly recordings in the later half of the 1950s, Starday Records also made a great contribution to the genre. If you’re into rare and obscure rockabilly, you will not be disappointed with a romp through the Starday rockabilly vaults! If you’re looking for things to do in Maine and your final destination is Bar Harbor, there’s plenty to do along the way that most tourists and visitors are never even aware of. But if you’re seeking a true Downeast Maine experience, you’ll find a great deal of adventure waiting just off of Route 1 between Belfast and Ellsworth: the gateway to Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island.

Belfast in one of the oldest cities in Maine and has a long and storied history. With the exception of the rail yard that was torn up after 127 years of service in 2005, much of downtown Belfast looks very similar to the way it did at the turn of the century. Some of the most influential and renowned architects of the nineteenth century helped to shape Belfast, including Samuel French and Ammi Young; both of whom have buildings standing in the city today. If you’re looking for things to do in Maine, a stroll through Belfast’s downtown area and waterfront will give you a rare glimpse into the past of a bustling seaport that once constructed some of the world’s most impressive 5-masted schooners.

Just a few miles north on Route 1 from Belfast is Sears Island- a beautiful sanctuary that has been the subject of heated debate and controversy for years. At one time the potential site for a nuclear power plant, a container shipping port and a liquefied natural gas facility, Sears Island is now largely under a conservation status. This means that tourists and locals alike can use the immense island for hiking, biking, walking and other daytime activities. There are no fees to explore this beautiful and pristine island, and visitors can even see remnants of old farm houses that have long since decayed to nothing but their original stone foundations.

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