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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Sleeoy LaBeef born 20 July 1935

Sleepy LaBeef (b. Thomas Paulsley LaBeff, July 20, 1935, Smackover, Arkansas) is a first-generation American rocker whose music has never lost its edge and unbridled passion. Sleepy performs a wide variety of American Roots music, including country blues, gospel, fifties rock and roll and bluegrass.
Sleepy LaBeef became the ultimate rockabilly survivor, his live performances retaining the same raw power as he approached his eighth decade that they had in the years when he was among the music's pioneers. He was born Thomas Paulsley LaBeff in Smackover, AR. The 6'7" singer has heavily lidded eyes which make him appear half-asleep, hence his nickname. He was raised on a melon farm and grew up hearing both country and blues music. LaBeef moved to Houston at age 18, working at several odd jobs before beginning to sing gospel music on local radio shows. Soon he was working with a band of his own at local bars, and he appeared on the Houston Jamboree and Louisiana Hayride radio programs.

The new rockabilly style fit his blazing voice perfectly, and in the late '50s he recorded about a dozen sides in that style for various labels. His first single, "I'm Through," was released in 1957 on Starday. Sometimes he was billed as Tommy LaBeff or Sleepy LaBeff. LaBeef moved to Nashville in 1964 and soon was signed to Columbia. In the 1960s he recorded mostly straight country music. His sixth single for the label, "Every Day," provided LaBeef with his chart debut in 1968, and after moving to Shelby Singleton's Plantation label in 1969, he hit the Top 20 with his version of "Blackland Farmer," Frankie Miller's heartfelt ode to the soil.

The late '60s also saw the towering baritone's film debut in the bizarre Southern drive-in horror musical The Exotic Ones; LaBeef played a swamp monster.LaBeef moved to Sun Records in the mid-'70s after Singleton acquired that original institution of rockabilly, and there he reconnected with his rockabilly roots. Singles such as "Thunder Road," "There Ain't Much After Taxes," and "Boogie Woogie Country Girl" saw little chart action but helped form the beginnings of the LaBeef legend as his indefatigable touring exposed audiences to his wildman energy.
LaBeef remains more popular in Europe than in the U.S. and appeared at England's Wembley Festival twice. Among his U.S. fans was soul-music historian Peter Guralnick, who saw LaBeef perform in Massachusetts in 1977 and praised his performances in a widely read article. That plus the general revival of rockabilly around 1980 at the hands of such groups as the Stray Cats paved the way for the emergence of Sleepy LaBeef, rockabilly revivalist.
He signed to Rounder in 1981 and released It Ain't What You Eat (It's the Way How You Chew It) in the U.S. and in Europe. The live album Nothin' but the Truth gave CD buyers a taste of the booming vocals and slashing guitar that had made LaBeef a prime club attraction. LaBeef returned to regular recording in the mid-'90s, releasing several more albums on Rounder: Strange Things Happening (1994) and I'll Never Lay My Guitar Down (1996) contained a variety of country and blues tunes and revealed the depth of LaBeef's musical experiences. Four years later, he issued Tomorrow Never Comes, which featured guest vocals from Maria Muldaur.
Compilations of the numerous unissued tracks from earlier in LaBeef's career began to surface in the early 2000s, and by that time Sleepy was nothing less than a rockabilly legend.
Despite having to undergo heart surgery in 2003, LaBeef still maintains an active touring schedule into the twenty-first century. In January 2012, LaBeef traveled to Nashville to record a film a live concert and record in historic RCA Studio B, all produced by noted bassist Dave Pomeroy. A documentary/concert DVD,Sleepy LaBeef Rides Again and soundtrack CD was released on April 22, 2013 by Earwave Records.
As significant as his recording career has been, it is the live Sleepy LaBeef that is important. Today, at 81, Sleepy still performs and plays with such energy that people a third of his age are annihilated when they attempt to keep up with him. LaBeef was the twenty-fifth inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
 (info mainly All Music Guide)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Sleepy LaBeef – Early Rare and Rockin go here:

01 Baby Let's Play House
02 Don't Make Me Go
03 All Alone
04 I'm Through
05 Lonely
06 All The Time
07 All The Time - [alternate]
08 Lonely - [alternate]
09 I Ain't Gonna Take It
10 Little Bit More
11 Ballad Of A Teenage Queen
12 You're So Easy To Love
13 I Wish I Was The Moon
14 The Ways Of A Woman In Love
15 Home Of The Blues
16 Can't Get You Off Of My Mind
17 I Found Out
18 Turn Me Loose
19 Ridin' Fence
20 Ride On Josephine (Wayside version)
21 Walkin' Slowly
22 Tore Up
23 Lonely (Wayside version))
24 Ride On Josephine (Picture version)
25 Lonely (Picture version)
26 Drink Up And Go Home
27 Teardrop On A Rose
28 A Long Time To Forget
29 Goodnight Irene
30 Leave Me Alone With The Blues
31 Oh So Many Years
32 Somebody's Been Beatin' My Time
33 Just A Closer Walk With Thee
34 I Won't Have To Cross Jordan Alone

A big thank you to Jake @ the Jukebox City blog for link.