Carl Perkins - guitar, vocals; Lee McAlpine - piano; David Sea - rhythm guitar, saxophone, harmonica; Stan Perkins - drums; Gregg Perkins - bass, vocals
This is the second set of an evening recorded at New York's Lone Star Café for the Silver Eagle radio show. The Lone Star was a club at 5th Avenue and 13th Street, just to the north of the West Village's Washington Square Park, that served as an unlikely refuge for Texan expats that needed a little country in their rock.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the blues had a lot to with rockabilly music," says Perkins before launching into an uptempo version of the oft-covered folk-blues classic "Sitting On Top Of The World." The introduction is Perkins' way of relating his new-found revival through rockabilly back to his roots. While Perkins was well-known as a country and R&B performer, rockabilly had just gotten a huge, early-'80s boost thanks to Brian Setzer's Stray Cats, and Perkins found himself called back into the limelight as an elder statesman. In fact, Perkins collaborated in 1986 with Stray Cats Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker, among a star-studded cast, on the TV special, Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session.
Perkins was one of the early rockers that The Beatles most admired. And two of Perkins' most famous songs, "Matchbox" and "Honey Don't," he personally gave them permission to cover (Perkins popularized, but did not write, those songs). Perkins plays a nice take of "Honey Don't" during this set, but does not cover "Matchbox" or his early '80s Paul McCartney collaboration "Get It." (All three appear on the earlier set.)
A centerpiece of the earlier set is the medley. During this set, the medley is nearly a minute shorter, but still clocks in at eight-and-a-half minutes of hits from the '50s. This medley contains most of the same monster hits, beginning with "Roll Over Beethoven," and making its way through "Tutti Frutti," "The Twist," "Hound Dog," and the obligatory "Didn't the 50's Rock."
Perkins also does a full-length version of "Blue Suede Shoes," which is only given a cursory nod during "Roll Over Beethoven" as part of his '50s medley in the earlier set. Arguably his biggest song, Perkins wrote "Blue Suede Shoes" and turned it into a smash hit before being put out of commission by a car accident just as it topped the charts. Elvis Presley subsequently used the song to create a name for himself, and his version ultimately became more famous. It has been said by some, including Sun Records founder Sam Philips, who was instrumental in launching both artists' careers, that, had Perkins not been involved in the crash he would have been bigger than Elvis.
Perkins plays a brief encore for this broadcast after the MC coaxes him with "New York loves ya!" Perkins plays his version of "When The Saints Go Marching In," "When The Saints Go Rocking In," which name-checks many legendary fallen saints of rock, from friend and rival Elvis to Jimi Hendrix, and from Patsy Cline to the Big Bopper, Bill Haley.
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