Monday, 9 March 2009
Battle of the Song No.1 - Rockin’ Daddy
Sonny Fisher - Rockin’ Daddy – Starday 179
Eddie Bond - Rockin’ Daddy – Mercury 70826
So who cut the definitive version of Rockin’ Daddy, Sonny Fisher or Eddie Bond?
The song epitomizes everything that makes rockabilly great. It’s full of bravado and images of dressing up in your best cat clothes for a good night of unrelenting rock ‘n’ roll to cure your blues. Both versions are sublime, and although they’re both rockabilly in it’s truest form, they’re both very different.
When Sonny Fisher entered the Goldstar Studios in January 1955, rock ‘n’ roll was still in its infancy. Perry Como was still the rage and outside of the south, Elvis Presley was unknown. The results that day are startling, with Fisher’s Rockin’ Daddy being as raw as music can get. Joey Long’s guitar cuts through the air like a switchblade knife and Leonard Curry and Darrell Newsome lay down a stark beat that holds nearly as much menace as the guitar. In the early days of ’55, a lot of rockabilly numbers were by country singers who were trying anything to get some coin. No such nonsense here though, with these vocals, Sonny Fisher couldn’t be anything but a hard-assed young buck with rockin’ on his mind.
Eddie Bond didn’t cut his version for another twelve months but the wait was well worth it. His version has a fuller sound with a crack band that included future Nashville legends Reggie Young and John Hughey. Young is blistering throughout and don’t be fooled by Hughey being in the mix with his steel guitar, this is rockabilly music – cowboy hats ain’t in sight.
So while Eddie Bond made more great records than Sonny Fisher, and he can justifiably claim to be “a rockin’ daddy from Ding Dong Ten-O-See”, I have to say that if I had to play one version of Rockin’ Daddy to show Martians what rockabilly is all about, I’d have to go with Sonny Fisher’s.