Vest-pocket profiles of rock-’n’-roll pioneers who first planted their roots along Arkansas’ Highway 67.
Pasmore introduces, in two-page vignettes, 20 white musicians who cut their teeth in the industry by playing the small joints along Highway 67. A good handful of the names have household familiarity—Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis—while a few were one-hit wonders or made an impact by working in the background as session players, such as Billy Lee Riley and the Little Green Men. Pasmore is most concerned with the fun and excitement the music generated, along with tidbits of lore—the origin of “Blue Suede Shoes,” for instance—and though she gives credit to the profound influence of rhythm and blues, boogie woogie, jazz, swing, and gospel (along with country), it’s hard to miss the elephant in the room: no African-American musicians, no Ike or Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Little Richard, or Robert Johnson. That these artists have no association with Highway 67 was certainly worth a mention, and though it would have thrown a damper over the good times, it would have given this introduction a greater sense of the moment.
Still, Pasmore gives recognition to other influential and deserving figures whose names have dropped off the music radar. (sources) (Collective biography. 9-12)