The Rockabilly Revival

Rockabilly might have been born from the jazz, blues and blue grass of the US south, but it’s lived on through five decades in one form or another.

While the Stray Cats enjoyed large-scale fame in the 1980s, the scene has had its own life in the 2000s. Over the past decade there’s been a convergence of the rockabilly style with the swing music scene. Brat Setzer of the Stray Cats played a big part in joining the two subcultures. He formed the Brian Setzer Orchestra as both a rockabilly and swing musician. The Reverend Horton Heat, Rattled Roosters and Royal Crown Revue are also popular in both scenes.

Today there are still lively rockabilly scenes in several major US cities – especially on the west coast. There are a number of big festivals including Viva Las Vegas and Hootenanny along with the Heavy Rebel Weekend Festival on the east coast.

The subculture also thrives in Europe where there is a big focus not just in contemporary musicians reviving the rockabilly traditions, but in artists from the ‘50s.

So why has rockabilly survived in one form or another for all these years?

Meg Appelton in her article “The Rockabilly in the New Millennium” argues that the rockabilly culture is an antithesis to current trends as it embraces its roots in "old school" societal fringes.

She says the rockabilly phenomenon has survived down the generations thanks to a growing dissatisfaction with mainstream culture, music and stylistic icons.

“Rockabilly frequently becomes a way of life or lifestyle to those active, who see the larger scene to be like a family,” she explains.

“The rockabilly lifestyle is not restricted to only the music but also the home furnishings, cars, and even small things like the cigarettes smoked.”

The hits are all here, along with some revealing album cuts, rarities and portions of a 1982 live broadcast that display the Cats' considerable live charms. This album will have you up and dancing - full speed from start to finish. To buy it click here