Thursday, October 13, 2016

'Rockin' Them Blue Shoes'!

Carl Perkins

Here we are, finally hitting the beautiful Autumn season, with pretty, earthy colors, and, hopefully cooler weather for most of us.  I hear it's pretty muggy out Florida way though!  I feel for you folks, and, I'm  trying to send some relief your way! 

I guess you're wondering why Carl's picture is headlining this post.  Well, Karo used to talk about Carl Perkins a lot.  He dearly loved Elvis, but, swore that Mr. Perkins probably set the stage for Rockabilly, and Rock n Roll music, as early as the mid 1940's.  Carl and Elvis did collaborate some, and, enjoyed 'jammin' with good ole Jerry Lee and, sometimes Johnny Cash.

Here is one such event...Million Dollar Quartet-I Shall Not Be Moved
Recorded at Sun Studio on December 4, 1956

Wasn't that cool?  Growing up, I never figured that great artists such as these guys could get together as friends and send out amazing music and song like this!  I mean, this could have been a sold out concert, if only...

Carl Perkins grew up in Tennessee, under pretty poor conditions. His father was the only white sharecropper on a cotton plantation, and, for a time, the family lived in a one room storehouse,   Carl listened to gospel, country and blues music every chance he got, and, mastered the guitar at the age of thirteen.  Well then, he and his two brothers formed a group, and performed a song that Carl himself wrote, at a local talent show.  They won the show, and, here is that song!

"Movie Magg"
written by Carl Perkins, released on Flip Records in 1955

In the late 1940's, the Perkins Brothers had added a drummer to their group.  They began performing at the El Rancho Club in Jackson,Tennessee, and,  on WDXT radio in Jackson.  Carl's brothers also worked in the cotton mills, and Carl worked as a baker for the Colonial Baking Company.

In 1953, Carl got married, moved to a Government housing project in Jackson, and began his family.  He and his wife, Valda, had three children, and were married until Carl's death in 1998.

Movie Magg, which was released on Flip Records was slow to sell.  Sam Phillips with Sun Records was very interested in Carl Perkins, but, he was reluctant to sign with him while he had his hands full with Elvis (I'm sure that was a job!).   Although the song Movie Magg was lagging in sales, it did help Carl score some bookings, and he even opened for Elvis and Johnny Cash.  Once Elvis left the Sun label, Sam Phillips focused on Carl Perkins as the major Rock and Roll & pop artist on the label.

~Sun Studio * Memphis, Tennessee
photo taken by Suzanne on location in 1999


One night in Parkin, Arkansas, oh, I'd say around 1955,  after a show, Carl Perkins overheard a guy on the dance floor telling his date to stay away from his new blue suede shoes!
Let's take a listen!

Wow!  I don't know about y'all, but I loved this!  I didn't know Carl was quite the dancer, did you?  Well, that's what the internet gives us now...the pleasure of seeing our favorite artists actually perform!  I was 7 or 8 years old when he was on this show.  If my parents watched it, I'll bet they were pretty impressed!

Within about a month after Carl recorded Blue Suede Shoes, it was released on the Sun label.  And, it put Carl Perkins on the map!  Well, then, Elvis came along, recorded the song, and, it became his third song to hit the top 40!  I think Carl was a bit knocked back about it, but, he did reap rewards, and, gently rocked over to the country side of music!

I could go on and on about Carl Perkins-I certainly wasn't aware of his accomplishments and popularity in my younger years.  And, I find that he had quite a following!  I believe it was John Lennon who said, "Without Carl Perkins, there would be no Beatles!"  One such example is the song Carl wrote and recorded in 1956 called "Matchbox".  Wow!  Perkins recorded this one on the Sun label in 1956, and it was released on the B side of  'Your True Love'.  Matchbox became very well known, and was recorded by the Beatles, and performed by the likes of Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and, Johnny Rivers!  That's just naming a few!  Next to Blue Suede Shoes, this song is my favorite Carl Perkins song.  I watched a performance of Matchbox on YouTube with Carl, Duane Eddy, and the Mavericks in 1994, and loved it!  Below we have a photo of Bob Dylan and Carl Perkins performing together-Dylan was a real fan of the song Matchbox.

~Bob Dylan and Carl Perkins

The  following are some accomplishments and credits awarded to Carl Perkins:
Rock N Roll Hall of Fame
Rockabilly Hall of Fame
Memphis Music Hall of Fame
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
Grammy Hall of Fame
* Carl Perkins helped establish the first center for
The Prevention of Child Abuse in Tennessee

Carl Perkins passed away in 1998 at the age of 65.

Thank you so much dear readers for stopping by.  There is so much more to Carl Perkins than what I was able to touch on.  I now know why my husband Karo admired him so.

Thank you, Google, Yahoo, Blogger
Wikipedia,,, Youtube

Step in and say hello if you get the chance.  I will be out of pocket until sometime early next week.  Computers are in need of medical attention, lol!

* Be safe this weekend,  hugs to you all!  ♫


  1. Hi, Suzanne!

    Thank you for bringing us another wonderful edition of Rock A Billy Rock in memory of your late husband and my good friend Karo.

    It was a pleasure to learn more about Carl Perkins, an artist that my big brother introduced me to in the mid 50s. My brother loved rock-a-billy and "Blue Suede Shoes" was in his collection. He and I played it often.

    I never heard that first song, an impromptu jam session between four legendary recording artists of the 50s, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. It's sad to realize that three of the four are now gone and only "The Killer" remains. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Million Dollar Quartet performing "I Shall Not Be Moved," a song recorded in the Sun Studios late in 1956 two weeks after I turned seven years of age. I also enjoyed hearing Carl's "Movie Magg" for the first time. It was a big treat to watch Carl and his combo performing "Blue Suede Shoes" on The Perry Como Show. You're right. Carl was capable of nimble footwork and body movement just like Elvis. Watching that performance gave me goose bumps as I was reminded of the rock-a-billy legend's talent and ability to delight audiences with his voice, musicianship, physical dexterity and charisma. It's nice to know that Carl Perkins helped establish the first center for The Prevention of Child Abuse in Tennessee.

    It's so true. Carl Perkins influenced the Beatles and countless other name acts that came after him, here at home and across the pond. He was a giant.

    Thank you again for the fine article, Suzanne. I hope you stay well and get your data transferred w/o any hassles. See you soon, dear friend!

    1. Hi Shady. It was such fun to learn more about Carl Perkins. I always knew of him, but, just didn't pay a lot of attention, since I was so Motown! But, what a great singer, songwriter! There was so much more to him than I could even touch on. I'm just glad I was able to shed a little light. Karo had asked me a year ago to write about him. I'm glad I did.

      Thank you for coming by to check it out. I'm really going to enjoy writing for this blog-it is a lot of work, and well worth it. Have a wonderful weekend Shady. Will be back on line, I hope, in a few days. ♫

  2. Hello, wonderful post and memories. Thanks for sharing Carl Perkins video. Happy Thursday, have a great day!

    1. Hi Eileen. Welcome to Rock A Billy Rock! My husband was from a small town in Texas, and was very musically inclined towards the older country music. I hope to continue his desire to bring some more of the Rockabilly sounds forward. Thank you for coming by, and for your kind comments. Have a wonderful day!

  3. Carl Perkins ~ one of the greats ~ Wonderful post ~ and thanks for commenting on my blog ~ ^_^

    1. Hi Carol, and welcome to Rock A Billy Rock! I really admire Carl Perkins, and was grateful to learn of his accomplishments and compassion for others. Thank you for coming by and commenting on this post. Have a great week! ♫