Tonight as I write this I find it no more fitting and urgent to write about Miss Wanda Jackson and her announcement to release BRAND NEW music in 2019. She has been called the First Lady of Rock And Roll, and the Queen Of Rockabilly in her sixty year career span, and here recently she has returned to Nashville to begin the record.
After decades of recording covers she actually hit the writing room for original music with some heavy hitting co writers the likes of Pistol Annies member Miss Angaleena Presley and Miss Elle King. If you’ll recall correctly she contributed to Miss Angleena’s album Wrangled on the song “Good Girl Down”.
This album will also be co-produced by four time Grammy award winner Vance Powell, who helped Mr. Jack White record her 2011 collaboration album called The Party Ain’t Over Yet. It also comes at a perfect time as it precedes her new autobiography called Every Night Is Saturday Night A Country Girl’s Journey To The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, where she discusses the challenges of her integrated band The Party Timers.
She talks about her relationship with Elvis, being discovered by Hank Thompson, and addresses why she never returned to the Opry for more than fifty years. She last appeared on the Opry in 2011 appearing with Mr. Jack White and others. On June 17th she made a triumphant return to the institution and received a standing ovation.
She has also secured booking management to support this upcoming album, which is great to see. My friend Jon Hensley used to manage her and Shooter both, and through brands like Muddy Roots Miss Wanda has maintained relevance within the music scene.
I write this with great urgency today because last night we lost Miss Lorrie Collins leaving Wanda Jackson one of the last true female Rockabilly Legends left. I shall report more on this subject as I discover the facts.
Just a few years ago my dear friend Mr. Jason Galaz, utilized his Muddy Roots brand to share with us one of the Legends of Country and Rockabilly Music Mr. Larry Collins. To simply say that he and his siblings made no contributions to any genre would be simply mute. He took the stage by storm and shred with us JUST WHY they call him “Flying Fingers”, and sang for us “Delta Dawn” and so many other classic songs he wrote.
But before all of that at the same time as Hank Williams was in his short lived prime of fame during the early 1950’s, Miss Lorrie and her brother Larry performed as the Collins Kids. And they were also prominently in the spotlight across stages in America.
She was the steady girlfriend of TV heart throb Mr. Ricky Nelson, also on television she appeared as his girlfriend on the TV show The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet, and made her debut in 1958. She played dual roles on the show as twins, and in the first episode they duet ted on the original Collins song “Just Because”. She covered up the name Collins on her guitar with her left hand.
In 1959, she married Mr. Stu Carnall whom manged Johnny Cash in his heydays, and was twice her age of seventeen at the time. She began performing and touring with her younger brother Larry as the Collins Kids through the 1960’s until she began having children. She retired from performing in 1970 to become a full time mother, however in 1992 she reunited with brother Larry and played many festivals like the Guitar Creek Festival hosted by Mr. Deke Dickerson.
Larry was a guitar wizard at an early age playing a trademark double neck Morsite guitar like his mentor Mr. joe Maphis, and Miss Lorrie was known for her high note proficiency as a singer. Their hits in the 1950’s were targeted for children with songs like “Beetle Bug Bop” and “Hop Skip And Jump”. After Miss Lorrie stopped performing Mr. Larry went on to write some of Country music’s most beloved classics like “Your’e The Reason God made Oklahoma”.
Both the Collins Kids are the 43rd and 44rth inductees into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. She is regarded among the many females to have pioneered the way for the many wonderful female fronted Rockabilly acts we have today. To be honest, I enjoy female fronted bands more than males in some instances, and I don’t consider it a special genre.
She passed away last night August 4rth, and at this time service arrangements have not been released to us. Last night Mr. Deke Dickerson himself posted this:
Dammit, Dammit, Dammit–this one hits like a ton of bricks. I knew Lorrie Collins had been sick but had no idea that she might leave us. Lorrie Collins passed away today, according to brother Larry Collins, and the two of them made up one of the greatest rockabilly acts of the 1950’s–The Collins Kids! They made superb records back then (us rockabilly types all know ’em, but if you don’t, go to youtube and look up “Mercy” or “Rock Boppin’ Baby”), appeared on the Town Hall Party show (now flooding the youtube with great videos from their ’54-’59 heyday), and came back strong for a bunch of reunion shows from 1993 until just a few years ago, many of which I was honored to be standing behind them playing doubleneck Mosrite guitar.
Lorrie, on her own, in my opinion is one of this country’s greatest underrated female singers. In her prime, I honestly would stack her up right next to the greatest–Patsy Cline, Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Connie Smith, Janis Martin–but as show business goes, she never had the right timing or the right opportunity to make her own solo voice a household name. She dated Ricky Nelson, she married Johnny Cash’s manager, and she was so beautiful and charming that every dumb hillbilly boy like myself just fell in love with her.
My heart goes out to her family and especially brother Larry. A closer brother and sister I’ve never seen. Rest in Peace, Lorrie. I hope we get to do “Hot Rod” again if we meet again up yonder.