It's the mid-'50s in the regional outpost of Snyder, TX. By night, there are men stalking the streets, planning how to manufacture and print records of a new kind of rhythm music that's becoming known as rockabilly. The implications of the name were obvious, as in rock & roll meeting hillbilly. Somehow this doesn't quite explain the existence of people such as Wink Lewis, a citizen of Snyder. Like better-known rockabilly stars such as Charlie Feathers and Sleepy LaBeef, Lewis had a perverse sense of humor that was granted honcho status over musical content whenever that suited the performer's fancies. In summary, that meant Lewis made it a priority to come across on record as more rocks-in-the-head than rocking, which is certainly not something one could ever say about Elvis Presley, despite his lifestyle. The entire Lewis discography is just plain strange, passing one of the basic tests of so-called "goon tune": the names of artists and song titles must be so weird all in themselves that it should not even be necessary to listen to the music to experience its strangeness.
Lewis ran his own Queen label out of Snyder, a town located on highway 84 between Lubbock and Abilene. The geographical reference summons up visions of big, dusty streets and tall men wearing cowboy hats. It does not make one think of a song entitled "Zzztt, Zzztt, Zzztt," but it ought to. Because that was one of the songs Lewis recorded in Snyder, releasing it on a single with a lesson in hillbilly accounting entitled "More Times Than One" on the flipside. The official artist credits were Wink Lewis with Buz Busby & Band, but Busby, sometimes granted the additional "z" needed to become Buzz Busby, was a skilled bluegrass mandolinist as well as a zany rockabilly man. This single, definitely one of the greatest insect rockabilly numbers of all time, should not lead students of rockabilly to lump Busby and Lewis together as the same type of artists. Busby also had his bluegrass and session career, and wasn't about to be made or broken on the regional success of a record entitled "Zzztt, Zzztt, Zzztt." Lewis, on the other hand, seems like he might have blown out all his tire treads on this production, his later appearances more the nature of collaborations and a track cut under a pseudonym. It is this last bit of information which leads to the dismal conclusion that there is no such real person as Jay-Bob Howdy, one of the men behind the west Texas rockabilly classic "Real Rockin Daddy." Say Howdy to Lewis, who hid his real identity on the 1955 Queen single released under the hard-to-handle handle of Jay-Bob Howdy with Hoyle Nix & His West Texas Cowboys. Try fitting that on a honky tonk marquee. "What's a Matter Baby" was another regional release from around the same time, recorded as a duo by Lewis and Drew Miller. There might not be that many titles to Wink at in this artist's discography, but the tracks that do exist tend to show up on quite a few rockabilly compilations. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi