Rockabilly Legend Dies At 66

Alien to the masses, Charlie Feathers looms as large as Elvis in hardcore rockabilly circles . The Mississippi-born rockabilly pioneer died Saturday in Memphis after suffering a stroke last week. He was 66. Indulging in hiccups, screams and growls, Feathers was a superb stylist who made a handful of brilliant records in the ’50s on, among other independent labels, Sun Records and Sam Phillips’ Sun subsidiary, Flip. Phillips, as quoted in Colin Escott’s Good Rockin’ Tonight, maintains “Charlie’s talent was in country music–the blues feeling he put into a hillbilly song. Charlie should have been a superb top country artist–the George Jones of his day.” Former labelmate Johnny Cash is a Feathers fanatic, too. “Charlie Feathers is the main reason there is and was Sun Records,” Cash once said, “His songs were recorded by all of us there, and he has never been given the credit or recognition he deserves. I will always be a Charlie Feathers fan.” For further testament to Feathers’ eccentric genius, consult Peter Guralnick’s essay “Charlie Feathers: Last of the Rockabillies” in his landmark Lost Highway collection. His death comes on the heels of a recent two-disc reissue on Nashville-based Revenant Records titled Get With It: Essential Recordings (1954-69). The collection features such rockabilly essentialities as “Tongue Tied Jill” and “”One Hand Loose.”