Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ronnie Pearson: 1950s Kansas Rockabilly

Anyone care to comment on "Rockin' Bones", the 4 CD set of 1950s rockabilly music released by Rhino in July? I play it over and over. Like Rhino's first Doo-Wop box, about the only complaint is what got left off (no sonny Burgess!) I still prefer box sets w/ discs in jewel cases. No such packaging here.

I was stunned to see a record here from my hometown: look at page 30 in the enclosed book: "Hot Shot" by Ronnie Pearson. It says he is from Topeka, KS, and his manager was Bob Bobo (who is also credited with writing this song). I never heard of Ronnie Pearson. Bob Bobo ran a restaurant called Bobo's, just two blocks from where I grew up. (It's still in business.) Bobo had a record label in the early and mid 1960s called Casino. Some garage-band era rock bands here had records on Casino. As to Ronnie Pearson, I asked local cats Carl "Crazy Legs" Palmer and Dick Ryan. Carl Palmer says he remembers Ronnie. He says Ronnie came from Osage City (35 miles South of here). He says he remembers seeing Ronnie in a parade sitting on a convertible promoting his record. He said if Bob Bobo recorded him it was probably in his studio in his house on SE Hudson St. I don't know how he might have gotten three records released on Herald, which is a New York label famed for doo-wop records, not Midwest rockabilly! (This friend of mine, Carl Palmer was a friend of the elusive Dale Lowery who interviewed Buddy Holly on tape here in '57. Carl's information was crucial in locating Dale Lowery a few years ago!) Dick Ryan told me just two days ago that he has the original 45rpm of Ronnie Pearson's "Hot Shot" on Herald and that his copy is autographed by Bob Bobo!

There is just no end what's to be heard in rock 'n' roll. Don't ever think you've heard it all.