Keeping Our Past Alive–Remembering the Unremembered

Jerry Byers-Thanks to Granddaughter, Dasha Byers

I think a lot about those early Rockabillies who are, for the most part forgotten.   Not just Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, or Johnny Burnett, but people like Rocky Bill Ford, who owned a barber shop and recorded such tracks as “Have You Seen Mable?” one of my favorites. Or Ronnie Self, who recorded Ain’t I’m a Dog and Bop-A-Lena.  I mention these singers and few know who I am talking about.  Also Jerry Byers who had several 45rpm records: “Red White and Blue”  on the Golden Wing label;  he also had a record on “Cardinal” Label, Side one, “Sweet Jenny Lee” and side two, and “The Byers Stomp” on the Cardinal label, but died of cancer at twenty-nine years of age, and just before he made it big (thanks to his granddaughter, Dasha Byers for this information).

Sound gets lost.  records just go away either into vast collections where they are swallowed up, or just tossed as unimportant.  We Indie-music kats are many times as bad as the big labels.  Oh yeah, we are united against them, and we fight them because they do not pay us enough attention and give us lots of money, and we feel dissed because they ignore our alternative music.  But we in turn pay very close attention to Johnny Cash and hardly at all to those older and mostly forgotten Rockabilly kats.

And it gets weird, too.  I’ll be playing something not popular by Carl Perkins, like “Movie Mag” or something by the Maddox Brothers and Rose, like “Ugly and Slouchy”, and I’ll be damned if someone doesn’t want me to play “something by Willie.”  AND for crap’s sake, I’ve had people do that to me when I’m singing something like, “Survivors,” by John Stewart!

I think that Dasha wants to write something about her Grandfather, and she should.  Anyone who works hard enough to be recorded by a couple of labels should go unnoticed into the annals of time.  But I am brought up short that I had not heard of him until I received a message from NorCal Rockabilly asking if anyone knew anything about him.  I just wonder how many others, who are really good, have been and gone on the music scene and just plain forgotten?  Go Dasha, keep it going.  I know he was your Grandfather, and therefore special, but Dasha, in a real and true way he is our Grandfather, too, and we want to hear about him as well.

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3 thoughts on “Keeping Our Past Alive–Remembering the Unremembered

  1. Thanks Hiliary! I’m gonna do my best! I’m very sentimental n get sad when history dies as those who remember it leave this earth! We gotta preserve it!
    -luvs!

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