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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stephanie Schneiderman
"rubber teardrop" (Zerone Music)

Stephanie wins out, sculpting into oneness notes, thoughts, beats, and passions. Her art soothes and stimulates; it pleases while provoking to upper planes. Her guitars gambol nimbly, and her keys pirouette across hypnotic passages. The finest jewel, though, is her tender and frank whispering.

As strikingly beauteous as this creation is, it importantly never projects aura downward, instead reassuringly springing from our own level. Stephanie is both singular and one of us. And we, in turn, feel much better for the association.

Recommended "hush now (remix)," "rubber teardrop," "wide open"

- DC Larson

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Set for RM #49


The Tremors
Demon Boogie Fever (Brain Drain

North Carolina's Tremors are lurching into their own.

True, previous discs "Scourge of the South" and Invasion of the Saucermen" already distinguished the slapped-up/stripped-down trio from bop contemporaries: the former reveling in hectic and gruesomely-technicolored fracture, the latter venturing into B-monster macabre.

It may be difficult to make 'old' sound new. But the Tremors did it, with stark and freakish hillbilly terror.
New CD "Demon Boogie Fever" passes by its predecessors, careening into a tilted romp 'n' stitch dimension not found on conventional maps. Sure, the basic sound is more pronounced traditional hillbilly than before. But it's what they do with that past -- twisting and contorting it into a strange new creature of unspeakable visage -- that accounts for its wonder.

"One of the things that really makes the Tremors different from a lot of our contemporaries is our unpolished, rural sound," says guitarist/yelper Jimmy Tremor. "It seems to become more rural with each record.

"We listen to a lot of primitive small label rockabilly, hillbilly/country from the late 40's and 50's and it's just so genuine & heart-felt that you can't help being influenced by it and wanting to play music that resembles it. The cover shot of us in the cornfield was just kind of the icing on the cake."

Tremors inimitable material, unsurprisingly, is the snarling/writhing product of combined effort.

"Usually, Slim or I come in to practice with the basic idea of a song," Jimmy says. "In some cases the songs are fully written, sometimes they need to be fleshed out. but every song is different in it's creation, and that of course, adds to it's personality.

"'Sweet Lovin' Man' originated from a loose jam while we were rehearsing. With 'Devil's Eyes' and 'Late Night Drive-In Monster Show' from 'Invasion.' Slim wrote the words and I wrote the music. Sometimes we'll add phrases to the other's song. but by the time that everyone's worked out their part and the arrangement is set, it really a band collaboration and reflects our unique stance as a band. That's why we always credit our tunes as group collaborations.

"Most of the covers that we put on records are songs that we've been playing since we started the band seven years ago. We learned tons of authentic rockabilly tunes to play long gigs and really immersed ourselves in it. But we worked up 'I Got It' and 'Big City' just for the record though.

"The covers that make it to a record are the ones that are closest to the songs we write ourselves, or songs we feel that we pull off a decent slant on. Some of them are songs that i wish that i had written myself (especially 'Drive-In' by Mack Vickery from the 'Uranium Rock' EP)

"I guess what it all comes down to is that we choose covers by how well they fit in with our identity as a band.

"We've been really lucky to have been able to work with someone like Steve Graham at Steve's House of Funk as our recording engineer/co-producer for so long. He worked with us on the 'Uranium Rock' EP and 'Invasion of the Saucermen,' previously. He really knows how to get the sound we're looking for. He's like a fourth band member in the studio. He's changed buildings since 'Invasion,' and I think the smaller room in the new studio really works better for the rockabilly sound. The whole band feels that this is our best sounding record to date.

"When i was calling around to get the mechanical rights for the cover songs, I called Knox Publishing concerning 'Rock Boppin Baby". The man who answered the phone said they didn't handle it there, but was curious about which song I was interested in. When I told him, he said, "That's an old song. I played on that".

It turns out that I was talking to with Roland Janes. I couldn't believe it. He seemed like a very nice, humble guy who had no idea of how extremely important his music really is."


Steve Hooker
"Before the Rooster Crows" (HKM)

"Oh, it's over, and it's not coming back," John Mellencamp recently told USA Today, of rock'n'roll. "The music is now fifth or sixth generation, and the farther you get away from the original, the worse it gets."
The pop notable hailed early Beatles, Stones, and Dylan, asserting that just as once-famous big band leaders are today largely forgotten, so eventually would be most rock'n'rollers.

England's Steve Hooker has been at rock'n'roll for decades -- he's gigged and recorded with pegged personages like Robert Gordon, Wilko Johnson, Boz Boorer, Johnny Thunders, and Levi Dexter. I emailed him for his thoughts on Mellencamp's bleak prediction.

"You caught me at a good and bad time," Steve responded. "I was just about to go to the studio to record with Levi Dexter, feeling unprepared and crazy!"

All such aside, though, he had at hand a ready idea-arsenal:

"[Mellencamp is] wrong in the first instance," he began. "Because of the Internet and other modern recourses people today are far more aware of the origins of roots music than they were in the 50's and 60's - I doubt if many teenagers over here knew the Beatles and the Stones were covering Arthur Alexander or that Dylan dug Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps any more than some American kids realized Pat Boone had pissed Little Richard off big time!

"Conversely - the problem I have with this authenticity obsession is that just like the song says 'you gotta move' - Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent didn't want to play beaten up old blues men's boxes - they wanted space rocket Fender fucking Stratocasters - even Bruce Sprinsteen didn't want to be the next Bob Dylan - he wanted to mix it up and be Mitch Ryder and Gary U.S. Bonds as well and he was!

"John wouldn't get that in the same way as I do - I can go out of an afternoon, sit in a bar and talk to ordinary people about this stuff and I can tell you their taste and knowledge is in advance of newspaper writers and media personalities."

His latest is what we'd expect from the RockabillyBlues/SoulMan. From the gut, thoroughly genuine. A corrupting beat-trove of slide-guitared dirty fun. The way taboo rock'n'roll (in its varied and thorny/horny countenances) sounded in its early years. And the way that, Mellencamp's dismalness to one side, it can still come over.

"I can't play in any other way than what's true to me," Steve wrote. "I guess this type of rhythm 'n' blues hybrid music became 'Mid Atlantic' when I was a kid - I can't and don't want to play or sing anything except what is deep inside of me - for instance I don't often refer to cars, automobiles or motorcycles except in passing because I don't have a drivers licence. I wouldn't sing that I was born Mississippi - but I might write about a girl in Tennessee or Las Vegas because I just spoke to her by email. It's all around us."

Sterling recommendations are "40 Dollar Picture (In a Priceless Golden Frame)," "Jeannie With the Dark Blue Eyes," and "Sugar Devil." (The video for this last, on Youtube, features Bernie Dexter.) The songs bounce and drive, crazily cool, sliding and swaying wonderfully in straight-on and rough-grained rock'n'roll rudeness. Bluesy harmonica swipes pack out the rollicking blast.

Special guests on some tracks include longtime Hooker pals Boz Boorer, Wilko Johnson, and Levi Dexter. Other familiar names joining Steve on "Before the Rooster Crows" are bassist Terry and drummer Eddie, who also helped out with Steve's earlier "Stagger Lee Is Back" and "Boptown."

Too, previous line-up the S.T.s are featured on "Motorcycle Ditch," and Rizlaz men Tetsuji and Hiroshi also pop in.

Think of basic, guitar-led romps of the sort the Rolling Stones gave up, back in the day. Or early Faces.
Steve agrees with that assessment. "I think we all drink from the same well. Obviously the Stones draw on the whole history of American music and growing up in the fifties with the development of television. I was influenced by the same things."

Steve digs that it isn't only the raucous sound but the brash attitude, the way our music makes you live and love and yell and dance and feel -- inside and out -- that won't ever go away. Can't ever go away.

Hell, he won't let it.


Hillbilly Casino
Tennessee Stomp (Hobolight)

HC's blooming anti-Industry bootstrapism -- entailing self-recording /booking/
everything -- grows organically from the band's above-all calling: taking rock'n'roll (in all of its sundry aspects, including honky tonk and punk) to barrooms full of hoarse-throated, mug-waving true believers. And now, the group is even better than before. Take that, Handlebar.

Recommended "Tennessee Stomp," "The Ballad of Psycho Steve"


Eddie Clendening featuring the Modern Sounds
"is...Knockin' At Your Heart" (Ventrella)

A lean and hungry cat -- trim sports jacket, trucker sideburns, talent in wicked abundance -- snaps open like a hipster's jacknife. Slicing off echoey slabs of flair is Chicago's uber versatile roots spellcasters Modern Sounds. If not royalty reborn, Mr. Eddie heads the shadow line.

Recommended "Long Tall Lou (from Louisville)," "Respectfully, Miss Brooks"


"Bound For Nowhere" (self)

A finer runway showcase for Karling's purring pouts and creamily sleek Grand Ol' Girlisms couldn't be designed. The tunes are skin-fitting, the players -- including Joel Morin, Joey Altruda, Wally Hersom, and Jeremy Wakefield -- steady and calculating. CMT should trashcan the prefab 10-gallon pop ooze and exalt this unabashed real country.

Recommended "My New Man," "Cowboy In Red"


The Chop Tops
"Deadly Love" (Swillbilly)

No surprise that these three cruel cats drew impressive fan numbers at Viva. As grit-stocked punk pools tilted outlook with country/ska/blues/verboten Sun psalmizings, pomaded thugs furiously kick-dance on a switchblade's razor: fists curled, 'fuck-you' eyes aflame.

Recommended "Hard Luck," "Nothing For Something"


Jimmi Accardi
Cry of the Wild Guitar (self)

Before broaching this all-instrumental picker's holiday, understand that there are no genre distinctions impervious to muse's free beckonings. Jimmi roams expansively, as naturally expressive within and attuned to twanged roots tips as more radical, provocative inclinations. Such is our reward.

Recommended "Cat Man Blues," "Funk Juice Part 2"


Carolina Chocolate Drops
Genuine Negro Jig (Nonesuch)

Clap hands, bend knees, and know that it's good to breathe. Raise dust 'round the porch to these upturned hearts anthemizing a jump-down, turn-around people -- and that's all of us, this being a chunk of America's heart. Yesterday/today seamlessness locates actualization via banjos, fiddles, leg percussion, and "computer hard drive 'triangle.'" Humanity steps it down.

Recommended "Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine," "Cornbread and Butterbeans"


Truly Lover Trio
"Bullseye" (Twinkletone)

Suavity, enthrallingly gentle melodicism, implicit ebbulliance -- these rank prominently among TTT's identifiers. Affectionate and winsome nods to the Wink Troubador elevate Bullesye tall o'er less graceful and clambering roarers. Refinement, it seems, offers a strength not accessible to unthinkingly cacophonous cut outs.

Recommended "Twice Sorry," "You"


Kings of Nuthin'
"Old Habits die hard" (Sailor's Grave)

Having crossed the line between college kicks and bill-paying proposition, the Kings articulate matters that require living. Amid raucous-as-ever, punk-splayed and hyper-sudsy r&b (still the group's finest weapon) are a mature-perspectived can't-go-home essay, an aware, seasoned blast at the corporate music industry that routinely crushes musicians, and a markedly pensive piano/violin/cello moment in which strained-angst throat pipes nod toward Tom Waits.

Recommended "The List," "Congratulations"


"Police State" (Hazard Hill)
Laced up, splenetic and politically aware trio agitpunk, cut in 2006. (A congratulatory review of the latest Howitzer disc appeared earlier in these pages.) "They took our freedom with the Patriot Act...One world run by corporate greed" is, sadly, no less relevant in the Obama years as the Bush ones. Boots on!
Recommended "Inciting a Riot," "Some Gave All"


Hot Rod Hillbillies
"You Wanna Race" (HRHB)

Galloping down into town from the highest ridge is fatal thunder: The Xavier Ortiz Gang rides again. At the Lone Star string-strangler's elbow, their Colt's spitting flames, are Tony Slash, David Cisneros, Al Martinez, Dave Irish. As always, it's a crashing bar-chord hoedown. There'll be one helluva pit down at the old corral tonight...

Recommended "Good, Bad, Ugly," "Probation"


Mystery Train
Enjoy This Boogie! (Goofin)

New film Deuce of Spades features this resurrected 80s Fin 'billy phenom in its soundtrack -- which handily recommends the cinema. Smoothly-phrased, bouncing bop with swing in its light step. Sonorous harmonies glide on melodic breezes. Smoldering. Surefootedness bespeaks rockers of letters.

Recommended "Boogieman," "Keep Up the Beat"


The Whiskey Daredevils
"Introducing..." (Drink N Drive)

Too rarely does one encounter players so enjoying their work. Atomic blast country-rock'n'roll plows recklessly into pixilated cheer. Superior songcraft, from unreined, flashing neon muse.

Recommended "West Akron Shakedown," "Me and My Black Eye"


Gino and the Lone Gunmen
s/t (Caspian See)

It is in its original moments (which predominate, 8 to 2) that this rollicking set shines coolest: envigorating neo-rockabilly that swings with bouyant jive. Gino Meregillano's assured voice and crazy-legged Gretsch sweep up to dizzying Everycat Acme. And Jonny Bowler (Guana Batz, Buzz Campbell Band) and Hal Smith (New Eldorado Jazz Band, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio) are the roundhouse rhythm team that will not be denied. Grab her tight -- gotta move.

Recommended: "Carolina Shag," "I Need A Drink," "North Park Swing," "Rockabilly Girl"


Las Vargas
Shivers (Crazy Times)

Some communicate intensity with hurtling desperation. But that acute quality is here cultivated and polished to high, tasteful gleam with nuance, lilt, and matured measure. As diverse tempos are ushered, Miss Black Vargas offers dulcimer tones and assured deploy most crowning.

Recommended "La Chica Alborotada," "He Ain't Mine No More"


Billy Hancock
"For Rockabilly Fans Only - The Lost Tapes" (Turkey Mountain)

Fever-shaker Billy's pegged bonafides as 2nd Wave neo-rockabilly master, long since established, are reasserted by red-hot early 80s (plus one 2006) studio and live cuts. Additional attractions include Danny Gatton, Dave Elliot, Bob Newcaster, Evan Johns, Johnny Castle, and Pete Ragusa. Legends out loud.
Recommended "Not Enough Rock'n'Roll," "Heart Beatin' Woman"


"10 Year Old Zombie" (Nacional)

This is the same Senor Flavio who fronted million-sellers Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Hailed today as a founder of the Latin Alternative movement, he works his guitar like a shiv, deftly opening and laying exposed psycho, surf, and even relaxed ballads. Hip in espanol. Multi-hued, variously textured, important.

Recommended "Muertos Vivos," "Mandragula"


Marty Allen
The Sun Sessions

Honesty breathes fully in this vintage-tailored "Honky-Tonk Rockabilly" newly cut on historic Union Ave. It hooks immediately. Marty's deep, life-lined everyman voice and hand-tooled guitar feel like old friends.

Recommended "Find Me a Woman," "I Got a Dog"


Sarah Blackwood
"Wasting Time" (Stomp)

Such is the crackling furnace psycho blast of Canada's Creepshow that one might never suspect fetching frontwoman Sarah harbors a suppler side. Oh, but she does. Often acoustic and sweepingly luxuriant, in an affable, elbow-caressing fashion. Velvety expressiveness. We are pleased.

Recommended "Drags Me Down," "These Are the Days"


Memphis Morticians
"1,000,000 Delinquents" (Space Hearse)

Even amid vaunted psycho nobility, the Morticians shone eerily on Rockin' Raven's 2007 "God Save the King" comp. Digging and throwing spades-full of ground-glass resting soil, adorning the seething pile with strangled haranguings, they flail and twist in bimstone bacchanalia.

Recommended ""Trash Devil Rock," "Roll them Bones"


Cosins Kids
Country Boy (Get Hip)

Mother Tammy and son Shin (aided by father Tetsuya on "wood bass" and Ta-Bo on drums) recreating
Lorie and Larry may fill seats, but miles and miles of jaw-dropping picking ala Joe M. from 11 year-old Shin helps keep them that way. All hands involved kick in their own jaunty right.

Recommended "Just Because," "The Rockin' Gypsy"


Viktor Huganet and his band
Come Back Train" (Big Beat)

Twanging guitar-led trio neo-rockabilly at a roof-shaking extreme. The massive, downfalling platinum quiff is not the only tip France's Viktor has copped from early-80s Brian S. The solos, the songs, the brash swagger -- all echo the S. Cat in his salad days. But what might otherwise seem rote derivation then skyrockets with its own personality.

Recommended "School of Rock'n'Roll," "Rock Around With Ollie Vee"


The King Baker's Combo

"The Crest Sessions" (Crazy Times)

Covers account for all but one of these 15, revealing affinities for genre salad days austerity and Teddy Boy cheek. Individuality flashes between familiar postures, particularly in the soloing of picker Jim Berrehouc.
Recommended "King Baker's Boogie," "Blue Blue Day"


Hard Fall Hearts
To All Believers (Double Barrel)

Claims to sound association with The Rev, Living End, and Tiger Army are validated the moment this disc is spun. Those who missed the HFH's debut (present writer included) can now join the unabashed ferment. Nimble and bracing, its head-thrown-back punk/rockabilly recalls, too, the Strays. This will be a frequent choice.

Recommended "Someone In My Head," "Stay"


The Boppin' Gliesers
"Gliese Attack" (Crazy Times)

Sideburns beyond the stars. Fractured aliens ripped up planet after spinning planet, as this Paris trio blasted out frenzy sufficient to forestall even the most hideous intersteller conquest scheme. The Gliesers succeeded, which is why you are reading these words.

Recommended "Jenny Beauty Jenny," "If I Rock the Blues"


The Brains
"Zombie Nation" (Stomp)

These Canadian risen remind a bit of of Zombie Ghost Train. Their often hyper, calcium-splintering works boast similarly shadowy funeral parlor vibes. But there are also individual zestfulness and eviable ardor.

Recommended "We Gotta Go," "Zombie Nation"


Morry Sochat & the Special 20s
"Eatin' Dirt" (Galaxie)

Postwar Chicago blues included full drums and liberated fervor to rival ambient city noise. Said exultant raucousness is reposited here. Morry et al sway, rock, bump, holler, and seethe with visceral vim. Jagged blues strikes where you live.

Recommended "Empty Pockets," "Riot Up In Here"


Crispy Jones
"New Day" (Apocalyptic Productions)

Chris excels at alluringly tuneful neo-rockabilly. And in simplicity breathes strength. Elevated by crack playing, infectious arrangements sweep with bubbling purposefulness. Powerful, to be sure, but never at good humor's expense.

Recommended "Dig the Wig," "Die Eine"


Skye Paige and the Original Recipe
"Whole Lotta Woman" (self)

Knuckly, balled-fist hooks are thrown at runaround tomcats, to confident honky tonk. This is the gut-level, good-sounding stand-up woman revenge road previously taken to reward by rockin' country queens of bouffant and claw.

Recommended "Paint the Town Red," "Stick a Fork In Me I'm Done"


Crazy Rocket Fuel
"Vol. One" (self)

Four clawing kittens gone bad. Perpetual rockabilly gyration. Hip-swinging, fist-throwing.
Recommended "Tacheedah Bound," "(Who My) Baby Daddy"


Better Off Dead
"Girls Guns and Money" (Garageland)

Rockin' blues of infectious, loose-limbed timbre is an ensemble proposition. (It takes a group to raise a ruckus.) Each player knows the score, slicing hip meat on the smoker. Guitarist/singer VD King, though, is the good-foot master of ceremony, penning all but one here, giving up bluesy conversational vocals reminding of "Full House"-era Peter Wolf.

Recommended "Back To Memphis," "500 Miles"


Standard and Poor
What's In the Big Black Bag? (Unrepentant)

While S and P locate resounding moments in pile-up chorded moss-gathering (with occasional Johnny echoes -- Thunders, Ramone, and Rotten), spiky directors to new relevance loom, too. Especially when underlining the meretricious hate-church/$ nexus.

Recommended "I Wanna Go Back," "Religious Right"


The Running Kind
"The Girl For All the World" (Bossanova Music)

For all the primitivist luster on deck -- reflective, sure-picked six-string, jaunty hardwood rhythms, assertive keys, promenading pedal steel -- it's when satin-voiced Leslie Ann Bosson takes wing to higher ranges that majesty doffs its cloak. This is how you keep them down on the farm.
Recommended "Two Roads," "I Still Love You (Like I Loved You Before )"


He's the Hero
EP (Blue Duck)

Discerning appreciators of melodies within acerbic guitar punk will hurriedly note that 1) said tunefulness rides high on the arm of gravelly explosivo, and 2) economy is the keyword here. Meaning no unnecessary notes. Each punctures.

Recommended "Sirens," "Villains"


Jarrett Fenlon

Assurance welcomes. Impressive singer/songwriter Jarrett is oh-so-smooth when appropriate, tough as the hard life when such is summoned. Strutting through newly wrought blues, country, and jazz gems, stellar players hip to the tip roll each arrangement homeward in Cadillac style. Major labels used to sound this good. Sometimes.

Recommended "Love Slave," "Mean-Hearted Woman"


"Night At the McPike Mansion" (Brown Bag Propaganda)

Clever angle: gnashing psycho perpatrators join cruel forces to fuel restoration of historic and reputedly haunted Illinois manse. 19 participants, including the Koffin Kats, Psycho Charger, the Outsiders, Stellar Corpses, Lugosi's Morphine, and the Henchmen. (For another prize moment in rockers-as-philanthopists lampooning, see the McClaren-era New York Dolls' 1975 'benefit for Euthanasia.') Scowled paeans and distemperous schizzing guitars abound, as do water-torture rhythms. Chain-dragging ghosts, hatchet-hefting psychos -- we're all Frankies.

"Elvis Tribute" (Big Beat)

Eight US/English/French acts caught at 2007's Rock Brune Festival in France. Maybe no one can touch The King's rock'n'roll magic -- or could such idealistic fatalism wrongly condemn as superfluous all post-Union Ave efforts? CD/DVD set commemorates only-in-America icon Elvis' 75th birthday, this anniversary observed by a French label. American labels, where were you?

Recommended "Devil In Disguise" (Robert Gordon/Red Hot), "A Fool Such As Il" (Little Tony and Friends)

Back In the Day: 1998

Paul Burlison
"Train Kept A-Rollin'" (Flying Fish/Rounder)

The erstwhile Burnette Trio six-string sensation roared anew from the Pantheon. A host of talented admirers including Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, Mavis Staples, Kim Wilson, and Rocky and Billy Burnette helped Paul re-establish himself as raw cat royalty. And the Tele screamed.

Recoomended "She's Hot," "Train Kept A-Rollin'"



One Night Standards
sunset (Weapon of Mass Destruction Records)

Davenport, Iowa instrumental surfbilly, emphasizing reverbed Mosrite and general party beach-vibe. Yes, much is familiar. But such is to be expected in retro endeavorings, and is hardly disqualifying -- not when laced with spiritedness, as is here the boon. Fun, and fun alone. Nothing wrong, there...

Recommended Tracks blast off, sunset

- DC Larson


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bettie Page: Sweetheart Eternal of the Fishnet Underground
DC Larson

"We'll all always love her, and I imagine it will be no different for future generations. She will always be the best, there will never be another."
- Heidi Van Horne
"Bettie will always be our sweetheart!!! We love you Bettie!"
- The Rumblejetts

In December, Bettie Page succumbed to the black fate mortality promises. But the deliciously taboo and perennially desired 1950s Teaser Girl will never be completely gone.

Review electric throngs at rockabilly festivals and hot rod shows. How many arrestingly magnetic Bettie-banged hair-teases flip and fly? How many fever-wracked rock'n'roll psalmists have celebrated her, since the Queen of Curves first enflamed a nascent Fishnet Underground?

Bettie was and remains the American male's feminine ideal on 6-inch, black leather stillettos. A riveting, wild-side enchantress, she combined the wholesome loveliness of a Sunday School teacher with the crazy curves of a bad girl. In undraped splendor, she seemed at utter ease.

But she was much more than deliciously alluring, opiatic pulchritude. Her twinkling eyes, flirty winks, and dazzling smile -- full, reddened lips spread wide, perfect teeth agleam --sang of fraternity unconditional.

The two-dimensional dream-unlaced and her page-thumbing beaus were as one.

And in 1955, historic rebel noteriety was assured her. Joined by censorious governmental officials, US Senator Estes Kefauver, of Tennessee (Bettie's home state, also) launched a subcommittee dedicated to combatting the alleged causal link between girlie snapshots and juvenile delinquency.

Though subpeonaed, Bettie was never called. But her employer, Irving Klaw, did appear before the inquisitors; as a result, his professional fortunes suffered irrevocably.

(Incidentally, while Page herself preferred the spelling "Bettie," her name did sometimes appear in film loops and magazines as "Betty" -- a version that occasionally echoes, still.)

Following the 1977 passing of The King, one commentator remarked that surely every man had, for at least one moment, wished that he were Elvis Presley. It is hardly preposterous to suppose that women fans of the vaunted Bettie knew similar yearnings.

But even if they could not be the seductive sensation, countless young women wanted to follow her unafraid example. And sought her experienced counsel.

"Young women write me untold numbers of letters," Bettie said in a 2005 CMG marketing firm release. "They look up to me. They thank me for helping them see how they can be themselves, or how they can reinvent themselves, assert themselves, lose their inhibitions, and come out of their shells. Of course just posing for pictures I never intended to do any part of that, but I am gratified to see that what I did so long ago has meant something to so many."

"I don't care about fashion trends, or how the World Series ends/
You can keep your success and fame, her fresh lips drive me insane!"
- "Bettie's Kiss," Danny Dean and the Homewreckers Rockabilly Lover (Delirium 2007)

During the suffocatingly straight-laced Ike era, Bettie didn't appreciate the significance of her spectacular, fleshly flauntings. Nor did she guess that the carnally spurred would in decades hence hold her scarlet images in steamy esteem.

But venerate the voluptuous and racy lass, subsequent generations nevertheless have.

A Rockabilly Magazine comment request brought immediate responses. Everyone, it seemed, loved and respected Bettie, and leapt to offer intimate testimonies of admiration, gratitude, and grief.

Among the fetching contemporary pin ups in whose works Bettie's deliriously naughty imprint bares itself is model and RM Kitten, Dayna Delux.

"I would be honored to say a few words," she emailed.
"It's heartbreaking to know Bettie is gone. A lady who has influenced so many people and paved the way for us all. She has left a lasting impression on everyone for the past years and I'm sure for decades to come. It would be an honor for any of us if we could leave a mark in our lives as she has in hers. She may be gone but she will never be forgotten."

"Visual, tangible, sweet exotic realm/a ship on fire, with desire at the helm"
- "My Baby Looks Like Bettie Page" Wes Pudsey & the Sonic Aces

Australian rockabilly Wes Pudsey recorded his upbeat anthem for Curtis, in 1998.

"Yeah, I've heard the news," he wrote us, "and it's a real shock...Bettie's natural, buoyant beauty will always be iconic; her look is so trademark Bettie Page; but just the same, playing that ol' song I wrote will never be the same again.

"Bettie has clearly inspired so much of the modern burlesque and pin-up scene," Wes continued, "and the image of the girl with the black bangs and dazzling smile will no doubt continue to inspire rockabilly gals, pin-ups, photographers and even songwriters for a long time to come.

"Right now, though, I feel so very sad to think someone so individual and special has left our world. I know the generation that inspires the modern rock'n'roll fan is aging and passing away, but what a loss to us who've gained so much from their creativity and their originality."

The international character of Bettie's purple shadow was also exemplified by Brigitte Handley and Dark Shadows. Australians, like Pudsey, all three members spoke to RM:

"Bettie Page was an original who stood out from the rest," said singer/guitarist Brigitte. "She was confident, sensual, playful, dangerous, and different.

"There was something really dark, wild and mysterious about Bettie that always appealed to me. She was the alternate to Marilyn and the mainstream and stood out on her own as an individual with fantastic style.

"Her pictures really illustrated and captured that same raw, raucous energy that drew me into underground rockabilly music and culture. Nobody wears back-seamed stockings and 6-inch heels like Bettie Page!"

Dark Shadows bassist Carly Chalker enthused, "The most photogenic gal of all time with the loveliest curves, bangs and smile!"

"Bettie Page was one sexy gal," agreed drummer Nerida Wu.

"If you don't look like Bettie Page, if you don't move me like Bettie Page/
If your hair doesn't grow black to the roots, you can go kiss Bettie Page's boots --
Like I do..."
- "Betty Page Is Back" Gretschen Hofner (Blueyedog 1992)

"Bettie Mae Page -- an iconic figure in pop culture who had a great impact on society," avered model/RM Kitten Victoria Vengeance. "Her lack of inhibition in front of the camera will continue to be an influence and an inspiration. Freedom of sexuality and expression at its finest. R.I.P."

"Trend setting!" was the pithy commendation of Bettie sent by longtime California-based singer and guitarist Jerry Sikorski, of 1980s American Patrol and current Jerry Sikorski Combo.

Model Kim Falcon showered praise. "Betty was a huge influence in my life and my work! She will never realize what a great impact she had on this earth! She will be greatly missed! May God bless her!"

"Bettie Page was both overexposed and underappreciated," lamented singer/guitarist Kim Lenz. "Sure, you find her pictures everywhere, but I don't think most people stop and realize what an effect her persona had not just on the rockabilly scene but on mainstream culture.

"She was a true 'modern' woman, comfortable with her power and sexuality in a way that was WAY ahead of its time.

"Thanks for paving the way, Bettie..."

"I first became aware of Bettie Page in the late 1980s," said Darla Crane. "Way before I started modeling. A girlfriend of mine had just landed a gig editing a magazine called "Bondage Life" and she loaned me a stash of Bettie stuff she found crammed away in a corner of her new office.

"I was already familiar with Bettie's likeness (it seemed to be plastered across half the t-shirts in Los Angeles) but this was the first time I had a name to go with that amazing face and body and I was smitten.

"When that same girlfriend finally convinced me to model in bondage, I took my cues from Bettie and tried to convey the "sweet, naughty tease" of it all. Bettie was also one of the first celebrities I was able to impersonate and my Bettie lookalike work led to wonderful relationships with GlamourCon, Golden Apple Comics, Dave Stevens, and Olivia De Berardinis.

"I was eventually able to give Bettie a few promo shots of myself done up as her and the handwritten thank you note she sent me is one of my most prized possessions. Simply put, I would not have the terrific life I live today without Miss Bettie Mae Page."

"Bettie, Bettie, where can you be? I ain't seen the likes of you in Hustler magazine"
- "Bettie Bettie," BR5-49 Live From Robert's (Arista 1996)

The same brashness and estrogenic self-confidence so distinguishing Bettie's tease and bondage pictorials positively seethe in the hopped-up oeuvre of wildcat siren Josie Kruezer.

"I am saddened by the passing of Bettie Page as it marks the end of an era," Josie told us. "Her daring free-spirit, brazen sexuality and her girl-like innocence inspired so many women to gain sexual independence in a very repressive time.

"Her legend lives on as she continues to inspire the girls and women of the X, Y and now the Z generation as they begin to discover their own sexuality and feminine power. She is an icon who will be truly missed."

"The thing, above all else, that always stood out to me about Bettie Page," said actress and model/RM Kitten Heidi Van Horne, "was the attitude- that look coming from behind her eyes, the fact that she was in on the joke. Yes, she was hot, yes, she had a great smile, killer curves and a great haircut- but the strength behind the eyes is what makes her images stand out, and what makes them just as stirring today as they were when they were first captured fifty years ago."

"Bettie Page will never be forgotten - while my friend Bernie Dexter is still struttin' her stuff!" emailed veteran English guitar rocker Steve Hooker. Famed retro model Dexter was, in fact, a scheduled speaker at Bettie's funeral. The pin up was ultimately laid to rest near glamour peer Marilyn Monroe.

Independent film house Cult Epics released Bettie Page, Dark Angel, in 2004 (predating by a year major-budget biopic The Notorious Bettie Page). Paige Richards starred.

"I was saddened to hear the news of Bettie's passing," Paige told RM. "However, grateful for all that she has done for all of us.

"When I was cast in the movie Bettie Page, Dark Angel I was able to get to know her through research for the movie. I did not know her personally but felt like I did through her work, I think that is how she made us all feel.

"There is just no one like her and never will be. She quit modeling 50 years ago and still no one has pulled at our heart strings quite like Bettie. I feel that she will live on forever through her work...and her inspiration. No one has influenced modern pop culture like Bettie.

"I am grateful that she was able to realize the influence she was having on, well... everything. I am also thankful she has able to see how much she was appreciated and loved by all us fans."

Cult Epics recently scheduled theatrical showings for Dark Angel. As was noted in an earlier RM review, the film recreates such prized Bettie dance and bondage 16mm loops as ""Whip Dance," "Fighting Girls," "Dominant Betty In Black Corselet," and "Bound and Gagged."

"Queen of Pain, Queen of Pain/ I love your metal bra that points"
- "Queen of Pain" The Cramps Big Beat From Badsville (Epitaph 1997)

Dark Angel was the product of auteur Nico B. "Bettie Page as an icon is the visualisation of the perfect female; sexy with beautiful curves, innocent but naughty, and my favourite attribute: black hair," Nico recently told RM.

The film's fanciful and rollicking rockabilly soundtrack moments were dreamt and realized by plectrum Paganina Danny B. Harvey.

In a previous RM interview, Harvey had mused, "Bettie Page's influence over both men and women alike is off the Reichter scale, as far as I'm concerned. Girls all over the world dress like her, walk like her and cut their hair like her. Her look is timeless and will always be in style.

"I would think that if some future civilization uncovers pictures of her, when digging through 20th and 21st Century archeological digs, it would only be a matter of time before the females in their civilization would start dressing like Bettie Page. How could she not be an inspiration?" ("Have Guitar, Will Travel, part II" RM June 2005)

In addition to Dark Angel, Cult Epics collected Bettie's 16mm loops with full-length featues Teaserama, Striporama, and Varietease in top-shelf, DVD-format box set. Released prior to its subject's departure, it stands as indispensible.

"I was about 8 or 9 years old when I saw a picture of Bettie in a magazine at a friends' house," RM was told by veteran Rockat-turned-solo guitarist/singer Barry Ryan. "I got a raging hardon but I had no clue about what to do.The memory lives on. RIP Bettie."

"Talk to me like you talk to them, let me hear it in an 8x10/
Spell it out in monochrome, things I never would have known"
- "Hey Miss Betty," Chris Spedding Guitar Graffiti (RAK 1979)

Barry's fellow Rockat ( now Detonators leader), singer Dibbs Preston, was insistent. "Bettie Page is still alive in her sexy, fun and mysterious pictures.''

Founding Sha Na Na drummer Jocko Marcellino penned tribute "Betty Page" for Buzz Campbell and Hot Rod Lincoln, also playing drums on their studio version. "She was the goddess of the rockabilly movement," Jocko said, "almost single handedly setting the female fashion style."

As heartfelt as were those thoughts from modern day Bettie-hued sorts, though, the most touching issued us came from 1970s drive-in icon Tura Satana (Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill, The Astro-Zombies, and others):

"It seems that 2008 was the year of losing a lot of very wonderful and gracious entertainers," Tura said. "When I heard about Bettie Page passing, I really began to feel my own mortality.

"I know that she lived in seclusion towards the end of her life and I am sorry for that. She was a trend setter of her time and she always seemed to enjoy that little touch of mischief that she displayed in all of her photos. She brought a lot of happiness and smiles to our servicemen overseas and to the youths that grew during her era.

"The world is a sadder place for all of the wonderful actors and actresses that have passed this year and they will all be missed. I am sad that Bettie never got to know that she was still loved long after the bloom of youth had left her cheeks. But her fans and supporters over the years will always hold her very dear.

"Bettie, I know that your fans and friends and family will always miss you and I know that they are sorry that they didn't get a chance to say goodbye to you.

"Goodbye Bettie, even though we have never met, I think that you are smiling now for all the joy you gave over the years."

The example left by Bettie is that of the vibrant nonconformist daring to stride freely. For that, she merits catagorization with Elvis Presley and Lenny Bruce, other post-WWII touchstones in the annals of the unrespectable disrupting popular culture for the better.

Philosophical waxings to one side, though, this essay's introductory assertion remains of foremost import: Our Bettie will never truly be gone.

At least, not from the hearts of the Fishnet Underground.

"When I go down to the juke joint, all the girls look like you"
- "Betty Page" Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln Runaway Girl (King 2006)