Jerry Naylor – Tribute to The Rockabilly Legends: Rocks, Rags & Riches
On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself thrust among strangers and courteously introduced as, “Jerry Naylor, who fifty years ago began his entertainment career with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Gene Vincent, Buddy Knox and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others.” With these regal names swirling in the air, the introduction continues, “Jerry also became the lead singer of The Crickets after the ill-fated death of Buddy Holly.” Immediately I’m overwhelmed with emotion and inundated by a surge of fond memories of these legends. I then try to corral my thoughts to describe what it was really like to have lived such a blessing —the Rocks, the Rags and the Riches.
The Rocks, Rags and Riches – Soundtrack CD – features some of the rarest gold nuggets from Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, The Johnny Burnette Trio, The Crickets and Buddy Knox, plus unique original material written by Jerry Naylor and Stan Perkins.
The rocks most often seemed insurmountable. They closed one road after another. However, I was exploding with an infectious new mix of music that we were cursed and shunned for creating and performing. Literally, we fought our way through. The end result created Rockabilly, and eventually Rock and Roll. The jagged rocks closed passages, but our steps were divinely guided over the stones, delivering historical changes which influenced all music that followed.
The rags rather speak for themselves! Few of us were properly compensated financially for our creative contributions during this time. We managed on something less than those who took our foundation and built lavish monuments upon it for themselves. Rags, however, were familiar and quite comfortable for a group of young men whose beginnings included sharecropper families, hand-me-down clothes, and a character-building understanding that broke is a situation, and poor a state of mind. We were never poor, as God provided us with a rich heritage within our close-knit rural Southern families, plus the knowledge that through determination, God’s grace and a strong resolve for hard work, everything is possible.
The Riches, well, they’ve come in various forms. Of course the greatest of these riches is the priceless legacy left by the Pioneer Rockabilly Legends. I thank God to have been there, and also to be here to tell this story and properly pay my respects.