Monday, August 10, 2009

Rockabilly Legend Billy Lee Riley Dies

ROCKABILLY MUSICIAN AND BLUESMAN BILLY LEE RILEY PASSED AWAY LAST WEEK, August 2. Billy Lee recorded at Sun Studios between 1956 and 1959, and he has many fans who believe he was one of the best to ever record there. Rolling Stone journalist Robert Palmer called BLR, “the unsung hero of Sun rock & roll.”

Born 1933 in Pocahontas, Arkansas, Riley spent his early years living on plantations near Osceola and Forrest City — small rural towns in the Arkansas Delta region near the Mississippi River. Riley’s father, a house painter by trade, would work in the cotton fields to feed the family during lean times.

Young Billy Lee began playing harmonica at age six, and learned blues guitar in his early teens. “Blues is the music I grew up hearing on the plantation. There were black families and white families all living together, far from town. We were poor, and playing music was our main form of entertainment.”

Enjoy this rocking recording by Billy Lee Riley (1933 -2009). RIP.

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