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March 15, 2022

15 March. Remembering “Hardrock” Gunter, (27 February 1925 – 15 March 2013). He is nowadays largely unremembered but one of his tracks has a good claim to being the world’s first Rock ‘n Roll record! A talented singer, guitarist and songwriter, in 1950 he issued the high energy boogie song ‘Birmingham Bounce’ whose lyrics include ‘everybody starts rockin and shufflin’ their feet/ when the drums start a layin’ that solid beat’. Shortly after , Gunter issued “Gonna dance all night” which includes the lines “Gonna Rock & Roll, Gonna Dance All Night”. Both songs predated by a year, Ike Turner’s band’s “Rocket 88″ later popularized by Bill Haley. However despite his forays into early Rockabilly/Rock, Gunter’s musical roots were in country music having been especially influenced in the 30s and ’40s by “Texas Drifter” Goebel Reeves and pioneering “Western Swing” musician Hank Penny. BACM have released a CD of Gunter’s work, across mix of styles. ps: on many of Gunter’s recordings, fiddle was by Buddy Durham, whose anniversary was cited here yesterday (March 14th).

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