Welcome to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly (2001)
Their stage antics were sassy, bordering on aggressive. Their vocal styles featured distinctly “unladylike” growls, hiccups and moans. Their lyrics spoke of parties and hot rods, flirtations and teen angst. To say that women such as Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Janis Martin and Lorrie Collins were ahead of their time is a gross understatement. Uniquely American artists, yet loved by enclaves of dedicated fans the world over, these were the women of rockabilly music, rock and roll’s country cousin. For a few brief moments, they burst onto a predominantly male scene with an unprecedented musical message of female assertiveness. They not only bucked the staid notion of what was appropriate to sing as a country star, but they also rejected the models of post-war femininity that were being marketed in the wider culture, models of suburban wedded bliss and a return to “traditional” motherhood. Some of these women were part of a natural evolution in country music, others were the product of calculating music producers looking for a Rockabilly Queen to Elvis Presley’s King. Although their day in the sun was short-lived, many of these women perform today and speak with pride of a time when were genuine trailblazers, personifying an exuberance, sexuality and defiance that was burgeoning in the music of 1950s America. Welcome to the Club – The Women of Rockabilly is their story.