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Roots and Rhythms

Roots and Rhythms
Wednesday January 4th, 2017 with Renny
Rockin' Ronnie Dawson. Original Texas Rockabilly from Ronnie Dee & The D-Men a.k.a. The Blond Bomber a.k.a. Commonwealth Jones a.k.a. Snake Munroe. The Wildman from Waxahachie rocked from 1956 until his death in 2003.

A sampling of Ronnie Dawson's rockabilly recording career, from his first recordings as a teenage rockabilly sensation to his rediscovery in the Eighties and his last recordings from the Nineties. Rockin' 'til the end.
Ronald Monroe Dawson was born in Dallas, Texas in 1939, to Gladys and "Pinky" Dawson. Pinky Dawson was the leader of the western swing band the Manhattan Merrymakers. The family moved to Waxahachie, Texas when Ronnie wa a baby. His father taught him how to play drums, bass and guitar. He attended the Southern Bible Institute until he was expelled for smoking cigarettes.
In 1955 he won a talent contest at a Future Farmers Of America fair and formed his first band, Ronnie Dee & The D-Men. The appeared regularly on the Big D Jamboree radio show out of Dallas, winning the radio show's talent contest ten weeks in a row. He was signed by Gene Vincent's manager Ed MacLemore. His first single Action Packed was released on MacLemore's Backbeat Records label in 1958 and his next release, the legendary Rockin' Bones was released on Rockin' Records a year later. Both singles sold well in Texas.
Dick Clark signed Ronnie Dawson to Swan Records and marketed him as a teen idol rather than a rockabilly. Dick Clark was soon embroiled in the payola scandal and shut down his label.
Action Packed ('58, Backbeat Records)
Ronnie Dee & The D-Men - Rockin' Bones - '86, No Hit Records
Rockin' Bones ('59, Rockin' Records)
Ronnie Dawson "The Blond Bomber" - Rockin' Bones - '86, No Hit Records
Congratulations To Me ('59, Rockin' Records)
Ronnie Dawson "The Blond Bomber" - Rockin' Bones - '86, No Hit Records
After the Dick Clark fiasco Ronnie Dawson played guitar and toured with the famous western swing group the Lightcrust Doughboys. During the Sixties he joined a Dallas folk group called the Levee Singers. During one of their recording sessions he broke into Do Do Do. It was recorded and released under the psuedonym Commonwealth Jones on Columbia Records.
Do Do Do ('61, Columbia Records)
Commonwealth Jones - Rockin' Bones - '86, No Hit Records
Who's Been Here ('61, Columbia Records)
Commonwealth Jones - Rockin' Bones - '86, No Hit Records
During the Seventies Dawson formed a country rock band called Steelrail.
In 1986 No Hit Records owner and rockabilly afficionadio, Barnie Kourmis flew to Dallas and phoned every R. Dawson in the phone book until he found Ronnie Dawson. Kourmis put out a collection of his original recordings and then Still A Lot Of Rhythm was recorded two years later in England.
Still A Lot Of Rhythm is mainly covers. Hillbilly Blues is a cover of the great electric blues guitarist Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, while V Eight Ford Boogie is by an obscure rockabilly called Hollis Albin "The Louisiana Coon Hunter" that was originally recorded by Albin in 1959 and released on Hammond Records.
Hillbilly Blues
Ronnie Dawson - Still A Lot Of Rhythm - '88, No Hit Records (U.K.)/'94, Crystal Clear Sound (U.S.)
V Eight Ford Boogie
Ronnie Dawson - Still A Lot Of Rhythm - '88, No Hit Records (U.K.)/'94, Crystal Clear Sound (U.S.)
Monkey Beat! was recorded in 1994, again in England and is perhaps one of Dawson's best recordings. Check out his version of the classic Coasters' song Down In Mexico, written in 1956 for the Coasters by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
Snake Man
Ronnie Dawson - Monkey Beat! - '94, No Hit Records (U.K.)/Crystal Clear Sound (U.S.)
Monkey Beat City
Ronnie Dawson - Monkey Beat! - '94, No Hit Records (U.K.)/Crystal Clear Sound (U.S.)
Down In Mexico
Ronnie Dawson - Monkey Beat! - '94, No Hit Records (U.K.)/Crystal Clear Sound (U.S.)
Just Rockin' & Rollin' was recorded in 1996 by No Hit Records (U.K.) and leased to the American label Upstart Sounds. One of the featured guitarists on the recording is the great Eddy Angel of The Planet Rockers and the instrumental group Los Straightjackets.
She's A Bad Un
Ronnie Dawson - Just Rockin' & Rollin' - '96, No Hit Records (U.K.)/Upstart Sounds (U.S.)
Veronica
Ronnie Dawson - Just Rockin' & Rollin' - '96, No Hit Records (U.K.)/Upstart Sounds (U.S.)
Sucker For A Cheap Guitar
Ronnie Dawson - Just Rockin' & Rollin' - '96, No Hit Records (U.K.)/Upstart Sounds (U.S.)
Two party songs because rockabilly is, if anything, a party music. Party Time from Just Rockin' & Rollin', a cover of a Ray-O-Vacs, a vocal R&B group that recorded in the Forties and Fifties. Party Slab is from Ronnie Dawson's first American recording in over thirty years, More Bad Habits.
Party Time
Ronnie Dawson - Just Rockin' & Rollin' - '96, No Hit Records (U.K.)/Upstart Sounds (U.S.)
Party Slab
Ronnie Dawson - More Bad Habits - '99, Yep Roc Records (U.S.)
More Bad Habits was Ronnie Dawson's last recording, released by Yep Roc Records.
Dig the wonderful version of the King Cole Trio's The Frim Fram Sauce.
The Frim Fram Sauce
Ronnie Dawson - More Bad Habits - '99, Yep Roc Records (U.S.)
Ronnie Dawson rocked from 1956, at the young age of seventeen, until shortly before his death in 2003, aged sixty three. Rockin' Bones indeed!.
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