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Friday, August 13


Ah... Sparkle Moore. Under-appreciated princess of wild, raucous, obscuro rock n' roll. An acquired taste perhaps, but a fine vintage nonetheless. It wasn't too long ago that I praised the folks at Aquarium Drunkard for their wonderful blend of "then and now." This post from late last month is more evidence to their credit.

Now, Rockabilly was and is, like a lot of music, male dominated, but that doesn't mean that there never were or never will be "kittens" who could hang with the "cats." Wanda Jackson's more hell-cat than kitten and it makes alot of sense that her name came up in the aforementioned AD article. Though, I wonder, just as I did when I got my very own copy of Ace's Good Girls Gone Bad (Weird, Wild, And Wanted), why one particular lady was left out.

Dubbed "the female Elvis", teen-queen Janis Martin could rock, roll, and bop with the best of them. A personal favorite, "Bang Bang" comes to mind. "Two Long Years" is another side, among others that deserves to be highlighted.

Was she just not "wild" enough? Maybe. Though, it didn't stop her from being included on Rhino's phenomenal 4-disc box-set Loud, Fast & Out Of Control. She didn't have the snarl n' growl that Jackson did, but there's definitely an air of defiance that shouldn't be overlooked. Martin was there first, she signed with RCA in '56, though the label canned her only 2 years later after they got word that she had secretly married her boyfriend and was pregnant after visiting him while he was stationed overseas (she was 16). Jackson was entered into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, Martin was never nominated (I don't think). Both could get your toes tapping and heart pumping, just as quickly as they could pull at your heart strings. Both charted for their labels, Martin at RCA and Jackson at Capitol. Martin had Elvis and Jackson had Gene Vincent.

"Bang Bang" vs. "Funnel of Love", "Queen of Rockabilly" vs. "Female Elvis"; maybe it's a debate for another time. For now, I just thought it worthwhile to throw a couple cuts your way to see if they'd stick. Dig?

Highly Recommended:
Janis Martin - The Female Elvis: Complete Recordings 1956-1960 (Bear Family)
Wanda Jackson - Queen Of Rockabilly (Ace U.K.)

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