Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rockabilly music of Ersel Hickey

Uploaded by yeaaassh 

John1948FourC2 wrote:
"Best remembered for the rockabilly
classic "Bluebirds Over the Mountain," singer Ersel Hickey was born June
27, 1934, in Brighton, NY. After the 1938 death of his father, his
mother suffered a nervous breakdown and, according to the website, Hickey spent his formative years in a
series of foster homes, ultimately hitting the road with his sister, an
exotic dancer who performed under the name Chicky Evans. He also
traveled the U.S. as a carny before settling in Columbus, OH, landing in
a juvenile home and singing in a local gospel group. Inspired by
Johnnie Ray, in 1951 Hickey entered a Columbus talent contest and took
home top honors, winning $500 and committing himself to a career as a
pop singer. After discovering Elvis Presley's landmark Sun recordings,
Hickey switched his allegiance to rock & roll and in 1955 cut his
debut single, the Fine label effort "Then I'll Be Happy."

While performing in Rochester, NY, Hickey stumbled upon Phil Everly and asked
for his advice on launching a career. Told "Well, you got to have a
song," he wrote "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" literally overnight and
traveled to Buffalo the following morning, where he hired photographer
Gene LaVerne to shoot a publicity still. The resulting photograph is
arguably the zenith of Hickey's career. Rock scribe Peter Guralnick once
wrote: "Take a look at the improbably sculpted helmet of hair, the
tommy-gun guitar stance, the pleated pants, cocked leg, patent leather
casual footwear and turned-up collar...guitar pick poised, background
airbrushed out, every fold of clothing carefully arranged...what volumes
it speaks of aspiration and style, fate and fantasy, revelation in
artifice. It is in effect a self-portrait of rock & roll." LaVerne
also put Hickey in touch with songwriter and manager Mike Corda, who
immediately booked session time at New York's National Studio;
"Bluebirds Over the Mountain" quickly caught the attention of Epic
Records, who insisted on releasing the demo in its original mix, fearing
re-recording might strip the material of its essence.

Epic issued "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" in January of 1958. Despite the
label's enthusiasm, the record reached only number 75 on the Billboard
pop charts, and would prove Hickey's biggest commercial hit. A series of
Epic releases followed, among them 1958's "Lover's Land" and 1959's
"You Threw a Dart" and "I Can't Love Another," before the label
terminated his contract in the wake of 1960's "Stardust Brought Me You."
Hickey then landed with Kapp, issuing "Teardrops at Dawn" and "Lips of
Rose" in 1961 before landing with Apollo to release "The Millionaire"
(later covered by Jackie Wilson) the following year. After Apollo went
bankrupt, Hickey signed with Laurie long enough to release "Some
Enchanted Evening," which would prove his last new recording for four

Making ends meet as a songwriter, in 1964 he did pen the
Serendipity Singers' hit "Don't Let the Rain Come Down." The Toot label
issued his 1967 comeback single, "Blue Skies," with "(Play On) Strings
of Gitarro" appearing a year later. He recorded intermittently in the
decades to follow, cutting "Oh Lord, Look What They've Done to Your
Garden" for Black Circle in 1971, "Waitin' for Baby" for Rameses III in
1975, and "Let Me Be Your Radio" for Parkway in 1982. Later the subject
of Bluebirds Over the Mountain, a typically excellent and comprehensive
Bear Family retrospective, Hickey died following bladder removal surgery
on July 12, 2004. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide"

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