Sunday, February 7, 2010

If You Like Janis- You'll LOVE Lorrie Collins!

For those of you who like Janis Martin and Wanda Jackson, you should know about Lorrie Collins of The Collins Kids. Considered Rockabilly Royalty, she was Ricky Nelson's first girlfriend, on TV and off. She sure looked sweet but had a voice with incredible warmth and power. She tended to stir up a little controversy because she would sing the same words her male counterparts did when she covered their songs. All of this was done in the most stunning 50s outfits.

It is unfortunate that she took time off of music because she got married at 17, but this is too often the story with female performers of the time. It was assumed that women merely dabbled in whatever they did for work to keep them busy until they had children, whether they agreed or not. Her early departure from performing also caused a rift between her and her brother Larry, the other half of The Collins Kids and a lightening-fast guitarist. In 1997 they reunited and began to perform again, lucky for us, and they still perform at various Rock n' Roll festivals around the world.

The best collection of theirs is Hop, Skip and Jump, which is pretty definitive. Unfortunately it is usually pretty expensive too. I would suggest getting Rockin-est because it is a decent overview of their hits.

Also, if my posts about female rockabilly singers has piqued your interest and you want to learn more, pick up a copy of The Women of Rockabilly: Welcome to the Club by Beth Harrington. It was a PBS special chock full of interviews and footage. I was lucky enough to buy a copy when it was still $24, which still happens from time to time. You can also rent it from Blockbuster online and Netflix, as well as some libraries.

You can view Lorrie Collins segment of the documentary on youtube. It is almost 10 minutes long, but worth it :)

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