THE ROCKABILLY WOMEN
A salute to the trailblazing women of 50's America
If Elvis caused a scandal in 1955 - imagine what it was like for women who wanted to ROCK!!!
"Narelle Evans had superb strength, a richness of tone not often encountered but once heard can never be forgotten"
- Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle.
A treasure trove of women recorded by Sun records and RCA records in the 1950's. Dozens of women who had recording contracts but were never promoted.
Why weren't they promoted? Because women singing rock'n'roll were considered outrageous, vulgar and obscene.
Unlike the men who became legends of their time, (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Hayley among others) the women have largely been forgotten. However, they left behind some fantastic music.
"These women unknowingly became pioneers. They laid foundations for the cultural and sexual revolutions of the 1960's. Here was a story we never hear about. It's an important story.
The show does not forget about the men and starts out with a tribute to the greats like Elvis Presley. Elvis is a running theme through the show.
When RCA Record Executives approached a 15year old Janis Martin they said "'Janis, we want to promote you as 'The Female Elvis Presley!" Presley and RCA were so impressed with her stage presence, they dubbed her the Female Elvis. Her velvet vocals and the way she moved was just like Presley himself. Elvis sent a dozen red roses to Janis and Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' manager, offered to take over her management seeing the potential of a successful double "boy-girl" bill - which the hot headed Janis refused. The title has stuck to this day and Janis is still regarded as the Queen who matched the great King of Rock'n'roll.
In 1955 a 17year old country singer Wanda Jackson was booked on a package tour with a rising young star. For a year
and a half she toured the South with Elvis - watching his career
explode. She became his girl and wore his ring. It was Elvis who convinced Wanda to change from Country to Rock'n'roll. Wanda said "I can't! I'm a country singer!". Elvis said "Well so was I!" and that was that. Soon enough through the guidance of Elvis both vocally and musically those country songs were served up with a good helping of Rock'n'roll.
Four women (including Wanda Jackson & Janis Martin) who defied convention and rocked in this era are celebrated. The show is built around their fascinating and heart breaking stories set against the backdrop of 1950's mid west America. The dialogue is based on actual quotes of the women and incorporates vintage stills and footage.
Creatively developed by celebrated and award winning Director Robert Jarman. Come and hear the gems these women recorded played live by some fine Sydney music luminaries:
Narelle Evans Vocals: (ACE awards, The Jive Bombers, Bridie King)