Monday, August 30, 2010

Buddy Knox and The Rhythm Orchids - Party Doll - Roulette, 1957

Today's record is a classic bit of Rockabilly from Texas legend Buddy Knox. From his website: "Buddy Wayne Knox, born July 20, 1933 in Happy Texas; was the first artist of the rock era to write and perform his own number one hit song, "Party Doll". The song earned Knox a gold record in 1957 as well as a BMI million performance award. Knox was the very first Texas rockabilly artist to be awarded a gold record and he was one of the innovators of the southwestern style of rockabilly that became known as "Tex-Mex" music."

Buddy got the Rhythm Orchids together in college with a couple of fellow students, and they got noticed early on by Roy Orbison.  Interesting tidbit on the recording of "Party Doll": the recording studio was in a high traffic area and lacked good sound-proofing, so all the recording was done after midnight to avoid the sounds of traffic. "Party Doll" was a big hit and launched the carreer of the Rythym Orchids. After signing to Roulette, they released a few more hits like "Hula Girl" and "Rock Your Little Baby To Sleep", but after 1957 it proved to difficult to continue this string of successes.

On February 14th, 1999, Rockabilly Hall of Fame member and Rock ‘n Roll legend Buddy Knox, 65, died in Bremerton, Washington, after a battle with cancer.
Check out, a great site maintained by Buddy's family to honor his memory.  They have a more in-depth biography and audio samples of all of his big hits.

Roulette Records was founded in late 1956 by George Goldner, Joe Kolsky, Morris Levy and Phil Khals, and was based in New York City. Here's a juicy label story gleaned from Wikipedia: "Goldner subsequently bowed out of his partnership interest in Roulette, and sold his labels Tico, Rama, End, Gone and Gee record labels to Morris Levy to cover his gambling debts." Lots of great music on these other labels which were rolled into Roulette. In 1986, Morris was exposed and convicted for extorting money from an FBI informant. Levy was tried and convicted on charges of extortion but died in Ghent, New York before serving any time in prison. Sounds like the "Roulette" name was appropriate, these dudes were gamblin' gansters! In 1989, Roulette Records was sold to a consortium of EMI and Rhino Records, which later were acquired by The WEA Group (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic).

And here's the clip! If ya like it, grab it off Amazon for a whopping $.99. 45s of this aren't that hard to come but either, I've got one for sale at the moment but it is in pretty rough shape.

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