Rockabilly Music: Listening Just Isn’t Enough!

There’s something special about rockabilly music. Something you can’t really describe fully. But I’ll try! Some music is for listening to, but not rockabilly. Oh, of course, you can listen to rockabilly. But I think it might be physically impossible to simply just listen to it. There’s something infectious in the music. No matter how you try to simply listen, it only takes a few beats of the song before listening morphs into active participation.

Sure, the music starts and you have to tap your toes, but pretty much any music will make you do that. Tapping your foot to the beat hardly qualifies as something beyond listening because it just happens. Some music also makes you slap your hand to your thigh or on the steering wheel in time with the snare drum. OK; that’s a little beyond listening, but still that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about music that draws you into it in ways you can’t resist. Rockabilly is one of those types of music and for me, has the greatest effect on me in that respect of all types. The music is just fun–plain and simple. It makes you smile when you hear a good rockabilly tune. And it has a different energy than any other genre of music. It’s a raw, serious, and yet happy energy. It makes you move and you can’t really resist.

I’ve been to a lot of music shows over the years and I have yet to find any type of music that has a more profound effect on a crowd than rockabilly does. At a rockabilly show, almost everyone dances! Maybe it’s partly because the music spans so many generational boundaries. The young kids love it when they hear it for the same reasons that the young kids of the 50s loved it when they heard it. And the “old” folks love it because it’s the music of their youth. And those of us in the middle love it because we got hooked on it in our youth when the rockabilly revival hit in the 80s.

Or maybe that’s just trying to over analyze the issue. Maybe all generations love it because it’s the ultimate feel-good music. It’s simplicity presents the music in a raw form. There are not a lot of bells and whistles with rockabilly. It simply is what it is. Simple songs, simple arrangements, simple instrumental parts, simple vocal treatments. Not that rockabilly musicians don’t have to be talented–they do need talent and some of the most amazing guitar and bass work has sprung from rockabilly. Maybe it’s even a special musical talent that can take such a simple form of music, build it up with complex instrumental technique, and still present it as simple to the listener.

Or, maybe the music is just plain fun. And maybe that’s why “just listening” to it is not an option!

Post time: 12-01-2017