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Rock & Roll Books

By Graham Reynolds, Fri., June 1, 2007

Rock & Roll Books

The Rockabilly Legends: They Called It Rockabilly Long Before They Called It Rock and Roll

by Jerry Naylor and Steve Halliday

Hal Leonard, 278 pp., $45

The first flip through this coffeetable volume is a primary experience. The pictures are many, the font sizes range from very large to gigantic, and the arc of the content is understood with a quick perusal. The fancy graphics are nice at times and distracting at others, and many of the pictures would do better straight up, without color filters or quotes draped across them. Co-author Jerry Naylor is a rockabilly veteran in his own right, part of the scene in Texas from the very beginning and lead singer of the Crickets after Buddy Holly's death. His tale is a personal one: Performing as a country act, he opened for Elvis, and his world changed forever. The stories of rock & roll's pioneers are classics and often-documented, but here, insider details make them come to life. Naylor's personal take is the chief thing separating The Rockabilly Legends from a thousand other books about early rock & roll, and it's obviously for the person who loves the Fifties. It won't be the pride of their collection, but they'll like it all the same.

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