1st Rockabily/Rock ‘N’ Roll Song Identified by Rock Historian Joseph Burns

(Arthur Crudup at the College of Commerce, Edinburgh, 1969. Credit: Phil Wight, who believes Crudup sang "That's All Right Mama" three times that night.)

This is my last blog for the week–Thanksgiving and a house full of family.  I’m Stoked.  I’m not actually going to write anything myself, but I want to share a link that was sent to me by my good friend and harmonica mentor, Charlie Musselwhite.   As you may or may not know, Charlie lives down the street from me and, over the years he has generously shared his wealth of knowledge about the harmonica with me.  Also it was his Grandfather, “Mr. Charlie,” who brought in Al Spenser and his rifle in my story/song “Winchester ’94.”

Anyway, Charlie sent me a link that writes about the first Rock ‘N’ Roll song ever–Their (writers Jennifer Viegas and Historian Southeastern Louisiana University rock historian Joseph Burns) claim is that it is “That’s All Right Mama” by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, and recorded in 1946.  The link is


You’ll need to cut and paste, but the effort is well worth it.

I urge you to go there and listen to it.  It is “a rockabilly piece with a blues melody line over top,” and I argue that if it is Rockabilly then it is Rockabilly, and why call it Rock ‘N’ Roll?  As Carl Perkins said, “They called it Rockabilly, before it was Rock ‘N’ Roll.”  Whatever, read the piece and make up your own mind.  Also, included are some great songs, and a etymology of the phrase, Rock ‘N’ Roll, that you don’t want to miss.  Comment back if you’d like to.


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