Monday, September 26, 2016

Rockabilly legend Joe Clay passes on

Sorry to read of the death of Louisiana rockabilly singer Joe Clay aged 77. Joe was a wild man on stage and his energetic act at a couple of Ponderosa Stomps and at last year's Viva Las Vegas will live long in the memory. Back in 1956 he recorded two rockabilly classics for the Vik label, Duck Tail and Sixteen Chicks, and played the Louisiana Hayride at around the same time as Elvis and even appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show before the King did. He made another record for Vik and a few in the early sixties but then faded from view, becoming a school bus driver for 25 years.
At the time of the rockabilly revival in the eighties he was rediscovered and played in the UK, as well as having a retrospective album released by Bear Family. When I saw him at the Stomp in 2011 and 2015 he put on a good and exciting show. At Viva Las Vegas, where he performed in the legends of rockabilly segment, taking a turn on the drums as well,  I wrote: 'Final act of this segment was Louisiana born Joe Clay, who leaped around the stage and into the audience like a man half his age. Numbers included his best known ones Don't Mess With My Ducktail and Sixteen Chicks and he also did a swamp pop number called Don't Know What To Do, which he apparently recorded (for Samter Records) under the name of Russ Wayne.'
Top photo shows Joe at the Ponderosa Stomp in 2015; the middle one at Viva Las Vegas in 2015 and the photo below at the Ponderosa Stomp of 2011.
Here's an article on Joe from the Stomp website:
And here are his two biggest hits:


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