Here’s the first installment in what I hope will be a regular feature here on AM, Then FM.
Sleepy LaBeef is an American treasure. I hope you’ll dig him as much as I do.
I don’t remember how I came to know Sleepy LaBeef’s music roughly 20 years ago, but he instantly became one of my faves.
Born in Smackover, Arkansas, he stands a solid 6-foot-6 and belts out rockabilly, roots, blues, country and gospel tunes in a deep, smoky baritone while raking away on his guitar. He’s 71, and still touring.
The first cut for a Sleepy Sunday will be the first cut from the first Sleepy LaBeef album I ever heard. It’s from a live album recorded at Harper’s Ferry in Allston, Massachusetts, on Oct. 20, 1985. I know nothing about this club, but it rocked that night.
(And judging from the club’s web site, it’s still rocking. As I write, its embedded player has these cuts: “Lochlossa,” by JJ Grey and Mofro, and “That’s What You Said” by Virginia Coalition, playing a double bill tonight. I’ve never heard of either band, but they sound good.)
Live is really the only way to hear Sleepy LaBeef, thus today’s selection. I’ve seen him live three times, and he’s playing in May at Rockin’ 50’s Fest III, a huge, five-day roots and rockabilly festival at the Oneida Casino in Green Bay, Wisconsin — about 10 minutes from my house. I am there.
Hope you enjoy your Sleepy Sundays.
“Tore Up Over You,” from “Nothin’ But The Truth,” Sleepy LaBeef, 1987.