Still More History of Slap Bass

Johnny and Dorsey Burnette were Brothers, Professional Boxers and played (practiced) in the same apartment complex with Elvis.  In fact it was said that they kicked Elvis out of the "jam sessions" in the complex because he did not know a B7 chord. Perhaps this challenged Elvis to completely surpass all the other "Rockabillies" in Memphis at the time?

The Dorsey Brothers teamed up with Paul Burlison in 1951, long before Elvis walked into Sun Studios.  They were playing in and around Memphis TN in Honky Tonk bands with a fiddle and and a steel guitar player.  Once Elvis made the limelight however, they jumped on the Rockabilly band wagon and ditched the fiddle and steel guitar.

By 1955, The Rock and Roll Trio were born and they decided to take Rockabilly to New York City where they each got jobs and applied for the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, winning 1st place.  This lead to a record contract with Coral Records and a recording date was set for May 7th 1956.  Arriving at the studio, they were met by a full Symphony to record with.  They decided to send everyone home except the drummer and recorded several song that charted.  With this success, they went back into the studio and cut several more singles in Memphis in July 1956.  This time Paul was replaced with the Great Grady Martin on guitar, but none of these singles were a "hit" however and soon promoters were calling the group Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio for some odd reason.  This lead to bad feelings on Dorsey's part and a fight ensued at a gig and Dorsey quit.  He was replaced by Johnny Black - (Bill Black's brother who was playing with Elvis) Johnny Black is the slap bass player seen in the clips in this video above.  By mid 1957 the Rock and Roll Trio broke up and each member went their separate ways.  The Rockabilly Boogie was actually recorded after the band broke up, but since then has become "the Rockabilly Anthem" for many Rockabilly bands since.

Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio were not in vain.  The Beatles, the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck and even Aerosmith were all influenced by this pioneer rockabilly group.

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