product review Rockabilly

Rebel Beat: The Story of L.A. Rockabilly

3:40 PMDollie DeVille

Yesterday I arrived home to find a new Netflix DVD in my mailbox. What could it be this time? It was Rebel Beat: The Story of L.A. Rockabilly. This DVD was made in 2006, and sadly I never got around to seeing it until Zack found that Netflix had these sort of Rockabilly documentaries. Lately we have been spending a lot more time watching old movies because we can’t go out and spend money until after we close escrow. I was looking forward to scratching the rockabilly itch with this DVD so we watched it last night.

Right off the bat I was slightly disappointed because the opening introduction song was not a rockabilly song at all, but a sort of vaquero song. The DVD started out talking to various people (Big Sandy, Glen Glenn, Ronnie Weiser), asking how they got into the scene. They filmed at a ton of local events (most of which I was at that year), including Viva Las Vegas ’06, The Hollywood Rockabilly Showdown, and Blessing of the Cars. They also went to local hangouts like Rudolpho’s, Spike’s, The Palamino, and All-Star Lanes. It was fun seeing all of these places! Then it went into the story of Ronnie Weiser, and how he came to America and went on to start Rolling Rock Records and record some of the greats like Gene Vincent, Ray Campi, The Blasters, etc. In my opinion, this was the best part of the DVD. It was fun to see them film him and his family in their home showing off clothing and rockabilly memorabilia because I could say, “I have been there!” Not only is Ronnie wildly entertaining and the most American “foreigner” I know, but a pioneer in modern rockabilly as we know it. I also learned a few things in this section that I was surprised about. I never knew that The Blasters recorded their first record on Rolling Rock Records including their hit song, Marie Marie. Wow! Like I said, Ronnie has an ear for rockabilly and was more influential in modern rockabilly music then just about anyone else I have had the pleasure of meeting in my short life. The rest of the DVD followed DJ Chuy throughout East LA. That part dragged on a bit, maybe focusing a little too much on the Latino experience in L.A. The DVD capped off with some great dancing scenes from Viva Las Vegas, Spikes, and Bowl-a-Rama, therefore redeeming itself. This DVD was about what I expected, maybe a little bit better. It didn’t quench my rockabilly thirst (what does?) but instead just added to it!

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