Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sweet Nothings: Women in Rockabilly Music

Janis Martin, 1956, Age 15
Image courtesy of the WRVA Collection, Library of Virginia

After 6 1/2 years of graduate school and much blood, sweat and tears, my Master's thesis "Sweet nothings: women in rockabilly music: LaVern Baker and Janis Martin" has been published and is available for download (free!) online through my university. It is 99 pages of rockabilly goodness, focusing on LaVern Baker and Janis Martin, of course.

Lewin-Lane, Stephanie P., "Sweet nothings: women in rockabilly music: LaVern Baker and Janis Martin" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. Paper 11.

The most exciting part is that I was granted permission to include transcripts of several interviews with Janis Martin, and her mother Jewel, that have never been available for scholarship. This was through the generosity of documentary filmmakers Beth Harrington (Welcome to the Club) and Elizabeth Blozan (Rebel Beat: The Story of L.A. Rockabilly).

Do yourself a favor and check it out. It's an easy read, if I do say so myself!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rebel Beat: The Story of LA Rockabilly DVD Review


I picked up Rebel Beat: The Story of LA Rockabilly to use as a source for my Master's thesis and quickly fell in love with it! Chock full of interviews and archival material, this documentary not only covers LA rockabilly, but also a history of rockabilly overall, especially after the revival in the 1970s & 80s. The music selection is great and if I wasn't already in love with Big Sandy I would be after watching this film! I also love the inclusion of rockabilly culture and how it has affected new generations, even if just for fashion.

What's on the DVD you may ask? Here's a short blurb from the website that pretty much sums it up:
"Rebel Beat" interviews over 30 promoters (including legendary Rockin' Ronny Weiser of Rollin' Rock Records), musicians (including Glen Glenn, Ray Campi, Big Sandy, Dave Gonzales and Janis Martin), car customizers, DJs and dancers, plus features rare archival photos, vintage TV clips and music montages that highlight the fashion, cars, pomps, ink and dance moves of the pussycats and hound dogs of LA Rockabilly, a strange family who share the distinctly American bent to define reality on their own terms and an LA creativity for casting the past with the hand-picked heroes, making for one hell of a party.

You can go to the website for more in-depth coverage of what is on the DVD and to buy it. At $12 (including shipping) the DVD is a steal. The filmmaker Elizabeth Blozan (Betty B) is passionate about the material and an all-around great gal, so please support her efforts!

As an extra bonus, Betty B has made some outtakes available online. Here is my favorite: