Curtis Country Fall 2019 Update – Ray Campi; ‘Rockabilly Rebel*Lion’
Hello all you Public Recordians. Do we have a treat for you this week! We’ve been making a bit of a stash of albums for everyone’s favorite dude – bartender Curtis. Now Curtis has spent sometime out west and has developed a taste for the outlaw music and so The Public Records has developed a collection, Welcome to Curtis Country, just for him. In it you will gems of all sorts from Nashville to Bakersfield, ballads and folk songs, pop, funk, and rock performed by all sorts of artists.
This week’s album of the week is a perfect example of one of those ‘all sorts of artists’. For the week of October 18th, 2019 The Public Records gives you ‘The King Of Rockabilly’ himself; Ray Campi, ‘Rockabilly Rebel*Lion‘ (Rollin’ Rock Records, 1979). Ray Campi was born and raised until the age of 10 in Yonkers, New York. In 1944, his family left for Austin, Texas where Campi came of age and began his career writing, singing, and playing his signature white, upright bass which he was known to ride during live performances. During the 50s’ he worked with several labels and was quite prolific and in 1959 after Buddy Holly’s death, Campi was the first to record a tribute album and he was backed by The Big Bopper’s band.
In the 1960s as the demand for the genre shrank, Ray Campi found that he needed to pick up extra jobs in order to support himself and by 1969 he was teaching junior high school fulltime Van Nuys, CA. He had had a falling out with the mainstream music industry and was disappointed with its approach to pop drug culture. However, this didn’t stop his desire to perform. Luckily for Ray Campi the Europeans wanted him to continue.
Italian born, American record producer Ronny Weiser had developed a love for the rockabilly genre as a boy in Italy watching Elvis Presley movies. He immigrated to the United States in the 1960s and began a fanzine dedicated to the genre called ‘Rollin’ Rock’ which eventually morphed into an actual record label of the same name. He began re-issuing old albums and finding the original acts to record new albums. While in Berlin in the early 1970s, Weiser was introduced to Ray Campi by some German friends who played him the single ‘Catepillar’ he wrote and performed with Mae West.
Weiser contacted Campi, signed him, and had him start touring Europe. The rest was history. Campi and Bulleit Bourbon’s Frontier Whiskey is the way to bop down here this week.