Rockabilly Rules!

J.D. McPherson is a delight to hear on the radio and a powerhouse when you see him live in concert. We were lucky enough to catch him at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona, last year, and a small club is one of the best places to see him shine. His fall tour dates so far don’t look like he has a stop in Arizona this time around, but we’re eager to see him perform again. In the meantime, his videos, like this one for the punchy song North Side Gal, will have to do.

Wooly Bully – Los Straitjackets featuring Deke Dickerson

Deke Dickerson joined one of our all-time favorite bands, Los Straitjackets, on stage to perform one of our all-time favorite songs, Wooly Bully. The Jackets headlined Saturday’s lineup of bands at the 2014 Viva Las Vegas show that draws vintage fans from around the world. If classic cars, surf and rockabilly music, and pinup fashion are your thing, you must put Viva Las Vegas on your calendar for April 2-5, 2015. Meantime, as Deke says in this video, he and Los Straitjackets have a new album coming out with a tour in fall 2014. We’re looking forward to both!

Of course, it’s hard to beat the cool factor of the original song performed live in 1965 by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs as seen below. Sam’s infectious smile is the perfect contrast to the mannequin-like Cleopatras on stage with him. Check it out!

Nothing Says Summer Like a Beach Party

And nothing embodies the spirit of mid-sixties California like a Muscle Beach Party! This 1964 sand-and-surf flick is the second in a seven-movie series produced by American International Pictures starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Directed by William Asher, this film also features the King of the Surf Guitar — Dick Dale — and 13-year-old Little Stevie Wonder appearing for the first time on the big screen. As with all of American International beach moves, the plots are thin but the beauties are buxom, and the music will have you tapping your toes, clapping your hands, and shaking your hips. There’s no better way to say hello to summer than with a Frankie and Annette beach movie!
Muscle Beach Party (1964)

If Little Stevie Wonder on Happy Street can’t make you clap your hands, nobody can!

Even though this song doesn’t show off Dick Dale’s guitar prowess, it’s a fun song. Fortunately he’s still touring in 2014 (we saw him live in April) and is just as good as ever.

Well, I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle!

Hmm, this one leaves us wondering why a song entitled “The Monkey’s Uncle” wasn’t part of the Beach BoysPet Sounds record! While this theme song from the 1965 Walt Disney movie of the same name starring Annette Funicello is certainly more standard Beach Boys cheery, surf-beat fare than the experimental tunes on Pet Sounds, tell us which you like better — the kooky or the critically acclaimed. The movie itself smells like a, well, you get the picture. But regardless of the cheese factor, who wouldn’t go bananas over cute and perky Annette Funicello? She was enough to make anyone one to be a monkey’s uncle. RIP Annette, April 8, 2013. You were one of a kind.

Band and dancers

Band and DancersOne in a series of original illustrations inspired by Mid-Century Modern music and entertainment, this particular scene was loosely inspired by a clip from the 1961 B-movie “Twist All Night” starring Louis Prima. A twisting Prima sings his song “Continental Twist,” which is one of several twist-related songs he recorded on the album “Doin’ the Twist.” While these songs come across as more gimmicky (and underutilize his songwriting and performing talents better showcased in his swing and jazz tunes), he was enthusiastic about the dance craze that swept the world in the early 1960s.

Here’s the scene from the movie:

Spies Vacation in Acapulco (The Ambushers)


The Ambushers is a 1967 spy comedy flick that is so bad it’s fantastic. Filmed in Acapulco and starring Dean Martin, Senta Berger and Janice Rule, it is loosely based upon the novel of the same title by Donald Hamilton. The film was the third in a series of four produced in the late 1960s starring Dino as secret agent Matt Helm. Dino both spoofs James Bond and plays up his own wisecracking playboy persona with plenty of references to two of his favorite pastimes — singing and boozing. The Matt Helm series was reportedly Mike Myers’ inspiration for “Austin Powers.”

With a flying saucer, a bevy of beauties, a fight sequence inside a giant vat of beer, and a return to Acapulco in its glory days, The Ambushers is cinematic “queso dip” at its finest. Get a little taste of it in the intro song performed by Boyce and Hart: