Tuesday, January 02, 2007


GL Crockett, Look Out Mabel.
GL Crockett, Did You Ever Love Somebody.
The Cyclones, Bullwhip Rock.

All right, back to business. Let's finish off the '50s, yes? Hopefully before the springtime comes.

George L. "Davy" Crockett was a black rockabilly musician--he was born in 1929 in Carollton, Mississippi, and had moved to the Washington DC area by the late '50s. His complete oeuvre consists of some three or four singles, the first (and only '50s release) being "Look Out Mabel"/"Did You Ever Love Somebody."

"Mabel" wears its influences pretty openly--the melody is similar to "Mystery Train," and Crockett's vocal owes a bit to Bo Diddley, though Crockett has his own brand of loopy enthusiasm. Crockett (or maybe Earl Hooker) provides some pretty sharp guitar as well (allegedly, this is one of Mark Knopfler's essential songs), and some unknown master delivers the rollicking piano.

To make things ever more confusing, there were multiple takes recorded for both "Mabel" and "Did You Ever" during Crockett's first session--one set of takes was used for the 1958 single, Chief 7010, and another pair was used for a re-release in 1965, on Checker 1121. (The 1965 re-release was prompted by the success of Crockett's "It's a Man Down There," his biggest hit.) Both of the tracks featured here, I believe, are from the '65 single (but were recorded in '57 or '58).

Crockett died in Chicago in 1967. Only one picture of him exists (see below), and he never granted (or was asked for) a single interview.

Find on That'll Flat Git It! Vol. 10.

The Cyclones rolled out of Tyler, Texas--they were Wayne Brooks, Jr., who had a thundering, relentless piano style, Dennis "Thunder" Jones on lead guitar, Mike Henderson, Johnny Harvey and Pete Martinez. Bill Taylor and, later, Bob Williams sang on a few Cyclones tracks, none of which amounted to much on the charts.

"Bullwhip Rock" was actually the B-side of the Cyclones' first single, "Nelda Jane," which was one of the first releases on Trophy Records. But DJs soon flipped the disc over in favor of "Bullwhip"--it became a major hit in East Texas, and even broke the Billboard 100 (hitting #83).

Released in September 1958 as Trophy 500. Find on Golden Age of American Rock N Roll Vol. 8.

1 comment:

John said...

Regarding the Cyclones, as a young piano student (6th grader) in Palestine, TX, my wife's first piano teacher was Wayne Brook's mom. She said she always wondered whatever happened to him and his music. The subject of "regional hits" came up w/ a cousin and I mentioned this group but we couldn't remember the name of the group ... kept thinking it was something to do w/tornadoes!!

Thanks for the post!