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Sources of Information


I regret that I have not been more systematic over the years in keeping track of the wide variety of sources I have used in compiling Rockin' Country Style. Broadly speaking, the information was gleaned from the following types of research materials (in descending order of importance):

  1. records, both original and reissue;
  2. music industry trade papers, catalogs, and directories;
  3. collector-oriented books and periodicals;
  4. auction and sale lists;
  5. personal contributions;
  6. copyright catalogs;
  7. contemporary fan literature.

Here are some notes on the most valuable individual sources.

Billboard, the leading U.S. record industry newspaper, provided more information than any other single source. It reviewed a surprisingly large percentage of American releases during the period under study. In addition, its advertisements, news items, features, and directories were invaluable.

Whenever possible, I took discographic details directly from the original records themselves. This was possible for about 52% of the discs, thanks principally to the Country Music Foundation Library and to the generosity of private collectors such as Bill Davis.

The flood of collector-oriented reissue albums from Europe, Australia, and America provided the opportunity to audition hundreds of additional recordings. In many cases, these LP's and CD's also featured helpful liner notes.

Rock 'n Roll Obscurities, Don Kirsch's compilation of collectible records, was useful (especially in the early stages of research) in providing a handy checklist of potential entries to look for in Billboard and other research tools. It also contributed many otherwise elusive discographic details. Peter Salamone's Go Cat Go and Eddie Large's Rockabilly Rarities, both of which appeared in 1995, have filled a similar role. Tom Lincoln and Dick Blackburn's Guide to Rare Rockabilly and Rock n' Roll 45 RPMs from 1998 has proven to be the most discographically reliable price guide.

Tom Tourville's midwest rock discographies, while they emphasize the 1960s, have been a valuable source both of discographic data and biographical information on artists. The same must be said of Gary Myers' books Do You Hear That Beat and On That Wisconsin Beat (see Gary's website) covering Wisconsin, Jeffrey Lemlich's Savage Lost covering Florida, and Deke Dickerson's periodical Show-Me Blowout covering Missouri.

Dan Declark's Small Labels of the Ohio River Valley (loaned to me by Marc Coulavin) was very helpful in filling in much data about this musically bountiful region.

New Kommotion, the British collector magazine published in the 1970s and 1980s, was an essential source of data. Its articles and discographies set the standards in the field of rock & roll scholarship.

Roll Street Journal and its successor The Hillbilly Researcher, while much broader in coverage than just country rock & roll, proved especially worthwhile for their coverage of little-known labels and discs.

Jim Raper's monumental "Great Unknowns" series, which ran for ten years in Now Dig This is a veritable encyclopedia of obscure rock & roll, covering almost 2000 artists.

Other worthwhile periodicals deserving mention are Goldmine, Kommotion, Big Beat, Big Beat of the 50's, Cat Talk, Record Exchanger, Red Hot, Rock & Roll International, and The Golden Age.

Bob Garbutt's booklet Rockabilly Queens has provided substantial discographic information on Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin, and Brenda Lee.

The published catalogs of Broadcast Music, Inc., (especially Performindexes number 5 and 6) were a treasure trove of information about recordings of its licensed songs. Moreover, the appended publisher directories provided much geographical data for locating record companies.

Access to BMI's on-line data base while I worked at the CMF allowed me to determine clearance dates for very many items which would otherwise have gone undated. It also made me aware of some pseudonyms which I might not have recognized. Subsequently, I was able to rely upon BMI's Repertoire database on the World Wide Web for basic information on songs and composers and their Research Department for clearance dates.

When all other dating sources failed, I used the fascinating U.S. Catalog of Copyright Entries to ascertain copyright dates. Its use of legal names also occasionally helped me to distinguish between several artists recording under the same name.

For information on reissue compilations, I have relied primarily on secondary sources, the most useful of which have been the catalogs of Bear Family Records. In addition, several collectors have sent me the tirelessly transcribed track listings of comps in their collections, most notably Tapio Vaisanen, Marc Coulavin, Derek Hamilton, Michel Coste, Peter Staehli, and Bill Smoker.


Compilation & presentation © 2010, Terry E. Gordon This page revised on 02/25/2007

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