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Sonny Fisher

"The Wild Man from Texas," rockabilly cat Sonny Fisher recorded a series of little-heard but incendiary singles for the Starday label during the mid-'50s, finally winning acclaim from European audiences close to a quarter century later. Born Therman Fisher on a farm outside Chandler, TX, on November 13, 1931, he grew up in Tacoma, WA, but eventually returned to the Houston area. First drawn to music by his father, an amateur singer and guitarist, the adolescent Fisher also favored Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, and Ernest Tubb. Fisher formed his own country band in 1951, assembling fiddler Paul Vaughan, steel guitarist Red Leonie, bassist Leonard Curry, and drummer Darrell Newsome. With the addition of electric guitarist Joey Long, the group began incorporating R&B covers into its repertoire, and after Fisher witnessed Elvis Presley's late 1954 appearance at Houston's Texas Korral, he steered his music fully in the direction of rockabilly, sacking Vaughan and Leonie while dubbing the remaining trio the Rocking Boys.

Following an appearance at Houston's Cosy Corner, Fisher signed with the local Starday imprint, cutting his debut single, "Rockin' Daddy," in early 1955. Though earning little notice outside the local market, the record remains a classic example of rockabilly at its most primal, galvanized by Fisher's impassioned vocal and Long's ferocious guitar soloing. "Sneaky Pete" followed in the spring, and while it too failed commercially, Presley was so impressed that he borrowed Newsome for a series of Houston performances. Fisher and the Rocking Boys closed out the year with "Rockin' and a-Rollin'" and in mid-1956 resurfaced with the blistering "Pink and Black." When all four singles netted Fisher a royalty check amounting to only 126 dollars, he refused to renew his Starday deal, instead co-founding Columbus Records with Newsome. Fisher produced sides for singer/guitarist Eddie Eddings and saxophonist Hub Sutter, but never recorded for Columbus himself, eventually selling his share of the company to Newsome. After the Rocking Boys split, he led his own R&B group for a time before returning to country, working the Houston nightclub circuit until 1965, when he retired to mount his own flooring business.

In 1979 Ted Carroll and Ray Topping, founders of the British reissue label Ace, tracked down Fisher at his home in Crosby, TX. With vintage rockabilly all the rage in Europe, they financed Fisher's first tour of the U.K. and collected his eight Starday sides on a much-acclaimed 10" LP, Texas Rockabilly. The singer's talents proved to have diminished little if at all in the years since his retirement -- and with his jet-black pompadour and jaw-length sideburns, he also looked much as he did on-stage at the Cosy Corner 25 years earlier. With Scottish backing band Johnny & the Roccos, Fisher entered the studio in mid-1980 to record a new four-song EP, followed a year later by the Big Beat release of his first ever full-length effort, Texas Rockabilly Tear-Up. After returning home to the Lone Star State, Fisher dropped out of sight for over a decade, but in 1993 he turned up in Spain, cutting Rockabilly Fiesta with fellow Texas legend Sleepy LaBeef and the Spanish group los Solitarios. The recording was Fisher's swan song. Little is known of his activities in the decade prior to his death in Houston on October 8, 2005. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Rockin' Bones: 1950's Punk & Rockabilly

Disc 1

1. Rockin' Bones

2. Let's Go Baby

3. Baby Let's Play House

4. Little Girl

5. Cat Man

6. Lobo Jones

7. Juvenile Delinquent

8. Froggy Went A Courting

9. Rattlesnake Daddy

10. Down On The Farm

11. Rockin' In The Graveyard

12. Dancing Doll

13. Long Blond Hair, Red Rose Lips

14. Action Packed

15. Boppin' High School Baby

16. Believe What You Say

17. Sunglasses After Dark

18. Rumble

19. Down The Line

20. Pink Cadillac

21. Black Cadillac

22. Who's Been Here

23. I Need A Man

24. Please Give Me Something

25. Sinners

Disc 2

1. Rock Around With Ollie Vee

2. Lou Lou

3. Rock Crazy Baby

4. Love Bug Crawl

5. Fool I Am

6. Red Hot

7. Love Me

8. She's My Witch

9. Lordy Hoody

10. Bloodshot

11. Trouble

12. Hot Shot

13. Long Gone Daddy

14. Curfew

15. Put Your Cat Clothes On

16. Pink And Black

17. Domino

18. Jungle Rock

19. Ubangi Stomp

20. Chicken Walk

21. Chicken Rock

22. Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe

23. Shirley Lee

24. Woman Love

25. One Night Of Sin

Disc 3

1. Blue Suede Shoes

2. Duck Tail

3. Stack-A-Records

4. Daddy-O Rock

5. Move

6. Brand New Cadillac

7. Rumble Rock

8. Hep Cat

9. Cast Iron Arm

10. Switch Blade Sam

11. Ballin' Keen

12. Sweet Rockin' Baby

13. Get Rhythm

14. Rock Billy Boogie

15. Crazy Baby

16. Susie-Q

17. Worried 'bout You Baby

18. I Love My Baby

19. Come On Little Mama

20. Whistle Bait

21. Spin The Bottle

22. Bertha Lou

23. Real Gone Daddy

24. My Pink Cadillac

25. Draggin'

Disc 4

1. Action Packed

3. Who Do You Love

4. Summertime Blues

5. The Way I Walk

6. Wild Wild Women

8. Get Hot Or Go Home

9. Swamp Gal

10. Miss Pearl

11. Mercy

12. Rock Boppin' Baby

13. Rockin' Daddy

14. Rock It

16. Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll

17. Shake Um Up Rock

18. Red Hot Rockin Blues

19. Bang Bang

20. One Hand Loose

21. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

22. Fujiyama Mama

23. I Got A Rocket In My Pocket

24. Oh Love

25. School Of Rock 'n Roll

26. Rock-N-Bones

x

Track List: Sehorn's Soul Farm - 50 New Orleans Soul Classics

Disc 1

1. Star Revue

2. Why You Wanna Do It

4. Sinner Girl

5. Love Affair

6. Let's Make It

7. Get Low Down

8. Hercules

9. Struttin' On Sunday

10. Climb The Ladder

12. Oh Love This Is Sonny

13. All My Love (All My Love)

14. That's What You Need

15. Gossip Gossip

16. Hotcha Mama

17. Baby, Baby, I Love You

18. A Love Problem

19. Underdog Backstreet

20. This Is What I Call Livin'

21. Ride Your Pony

22. Mean Man

23. Cissy Strut

24. I Don't Need You Anymore

25. I Can't Believe She Gave It All To Me

Disc 2

1. Lovely Woman

2. How To Pick A Winner

3. Fair Child

4. Just Like A Woman

5. I Love You Still

8. You Got To Love Me

9. Natural Soul Brother

10. Goodbye

11. Cheatin' Woman

12. Don't Set Me Back

13. Did You Have Fun

14. All I Want Is You

15. Sadie Mae

16. You Lie So Much

17. A Mother's Love

18. An Open Letter (To My Love)

19. A Lady

20. Look Way Back

21. Get Out Of My Life, Woman

23. Chicken Strut

24. Keep You Mine

25. Let Me Love You

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