Rock & Roll Memories (Jewel)
A young man of the South, Rusty was transformed by the hillbilly and bluegrass songs pouring from a beloved radio. Opry broadcasts were among his favorites. With a guitar given to him by his father, he realizing regional performing success with bluegrass. But he perceived that greater popularity and reward lay in the then-young rock and roll style.
His jumping 1959 cover of the Marty Robbins-penned "Sugaree," with all the bare-boned intensity common to upstarts of the era, made #77 on the Billboard chart. It would be his highest commercial moment, though numerous fine rockin' tracks followed.
Following "Sugaree's" chart placement, Rusty and his band, the Cajuns, joined a Dick Clark package tour. Also appearing were Duane Eddy, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello. Rusty's group opened the Hollywood Bowl show, becoming the first rockers to play the venue.
Rusty also ran Jewel Records, and built a home studio. He stopped gigging in the '70s, but eventually resumed live performances, A new generation of rockabilly afficianadoes had sprung up, in both
America and Europe. They treasured golden era rockabillies. And they dug "Sugaree."
Though Rusty York never ascended the highest heights of celebrity, he had carved out his own place in musical history. For that, he was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
He died in 2014.
Recommended "Sugaree," "Sadie Mae," "Sweet Love," "Shake 'Em Up Baby," "You Better Leave My Baby Alone," "Goodnight Cincinnati, Good Morning Tennessee"
(Rusty York, center)