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Posted July 17, 2009
Subject: Art Adams
Howdy Country gang,
In October 2006, Art Adams played in France with Bobby Crown and I had the ultimate pleasure to meet those rockin' legends. The previous year the show was headlined by Janis Martin who make that Drugstore Rock'n'Roll and next year it was Glen Glenn who made Everybody's Movin'. But let's get back in the late 70's when we just got two Art's tracks on two German LP's and 45 rpm's bootlegs of Art's singles on "Cherry". Rock'n'Roll buffs were then looking for him in Kentucky and can't find him. He had made the move for Indiana since long and we had to wait some years more to learn about that great rockin' cat. Today, with the wonder of internet and Bob Timmers Rockabilly Hall of Fame, you will know as much as me ... but your will not have to wait 25 years. So let's get back to the start!
Arthur Adams was born in Kentucky on 12th February 1935 in a musical family. Few years later his family moved way up North in Indiana, and after a short come back in Kentucky, he settled in Indianapolis. He obtained a fake driving licence for $10 and started to work for a factory. Here he would meet his wife to be and they were wed in 1951. Next year he bought a D28 Martin guitar. The cost was a big amount of money way back then and maybe it explains why he still own it. He started to play bars with two friends until Uncle Sam called him for a 18 months stay in Korea.
Back in USA in November 1954, the Kentucky Drifters were reunited and back in clubs and bars. In 1956, the band took the name of "The Rhythm Knights" and were on a radio show sponsored by a car dealer. Art soon find his way on a radio station for a "demo" session. There he recorded two songs, "She's from Tennessee" and "Down in Tennessee" and hit the road for Memphis. Art brought those two primitive Hillbilly Bop songs to Jack Clement at Sun. Jack told him to find his own style and to stop to sounding like Johnny Cash.
After seeing Little Jimmy Dickens on stage with two guitarists, Art made the decision to play in a more Rockabilly style. He made some home recordings of such songs as "Good Rockin' Tonight", "Matchbox", "Mystery Train" or "Woman Love". He was deep into Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb or Gene Vincent's music. Thanks to a friend he had a record contract with the tiny "Cherry" recording company. Two recording sessions were in Nashville and would give birth to two fabulous singles. Few titles stayed in the can 'cause the deal was set for three singles. Among them an instrumental titled "The Orange Blossom Special". Those two records failed and are now high collectable items. Art and his band will made a TV appearences and worked on a steady basis on clubs. They worked also as backing band for Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty and Gene Simmons when they were in town.
In 1968, Art tired by that musician life with ups and downs, hung up his guitar until fans came rattle his cage in the early 80's. So, in 2002, Art was back on stage. In 2003, he played "Viva Las Vegas" festival and flew to England for the highly popular Hemsby rockabilly festival. Then Collector Records from Holland issued on CD all his 50's home recordings.
In 2005, he was back in England and Collector records issued his second CD, but that time, with new recordings. Starting with The Burnette's classic "Tear It Up", that record really cook. No Hillbilly there ... only straight rock'n'roll by a real wild rocker. Even classics as "Walking the Dog" or "The Wreck of Old 97" recieved high powered treatment and move fast. On that record, Art got the support of his old pal Bill Stewart on guitar. They've played together since 1961 and they know how to blow your socks off.
Bill Stewart also played on the last Art Adams CD issued in USA on Flying Saucer Record CD titled "Dancing Doll". On that record, Art give a new birth to Lattie Moore's' "Juke Joint Johnny", Jimmie Davis "Columbus Stockade Blues" and Eddie Noack's classic "To Hot To Handle". Pure frantic rockin' sound with the support of a first class combo. That record really rocks and will made your old legs shaking. Art plays Rock and Roll and that's ... all! So tell "Indian Joe" to grab his "Dancing Doll" and to shout this "Rock Crazy Baby" until "She don't live here no more".
A great 45's album with a wild cover sleeve is just fresh out from the pressing plant on "Norton" record, the great label from NYC. That vinyl records offers the four originals "Cherry" sides and gotta be one of the highlight for 2009. Once again, Norton record make a tasty work and bring us fine rockers like they had already done with Dale Hawkins or Charlie Feathers. More great recordings are coming on that label by Benny Joy ... Don't miss them products!