CARL'S CD order here.


Carl Dobkins Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on 1/13/41. His parents were among the many people that had moved from Appalachia looking for jobs in the city.

His mother, father and several other family members all sang and played guitar. When he was nine years old, his parents bought Carl a ukulele. It had an plastic Arthur Godfrey attachment that played chords by pushing buttons.

But it wasn't long before he took off the attachment and with the help of his mom started banging out the chords on his own. He later applied those chords to his Mom's guitar, singing and playing early 50's country songs and the old "Hillbilly Songs" that he learned from his family.

While in high school at the age of 16, he made a demo record of two of his own compositions. He was introduced to a popular local DJ Gil Sheppard, by some nieghborhood friends. Gil was impressed with the recording and became his manager. Gil and his wife Kay started promoting the young performer, dubbing him "The Teenage Rage". He started singing at local dance parties and record hops and in a short time landed a contract with Cincinnati based Fraternity Records. "Take Hold of My Hand" and "That's Why I'm Asking" was his first and only release on the label. Carl wrote and recorded two more of his songs at King studios in Cincinnati. His manager arranged for the sale of the master to Decca Records ("Love Is Everything" and "If You Don't want my Lov'in"). "If You Don't want my Lov'in" became a regional hit (#1 for six 6 weeks in Charleston, West Virginia. Later it was released again, this time hitting the national charts). This regional exposure lead to recording sessions for Decca at Owen Bradley's studios in Nashville. It was there that "My Heart is an Open Book" was recorded, with a Martin Flat Top guitar, drums, bass and two female back up voices from the Anita Kerr Singers.

"Open Book" was by no means an instant success. In fact, it had been released for 6 months before it hit the charts. Decca had to re-send promotional copies to radio stations that previously had tossed the record out. Carl made the first of 14 appearances on Dick Clark's Band Stand show the day after graduating from high school. From there he hit the road, touring the USA, Canada and Hawaii. During this time, he had to devote 6 months to serve Uncle Sam in the U.S Army as part of his military reserve obligation. No, he didn't get assigned a singing job; he was in the infantry!

Over the years Carl has had 18 singles on various recording labels, 1 EP, 1 album and most recently a CD that includes all of his recordings for Decca. Carl has toured and played with many artists over the years including, Barbara Lewis, Bobby Freeman, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Vee, Brenda Lee, Bryan Hyland, Buddy Knox, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Frankie Ford, Freddie Cannon, Hollywood Argyles, Jan & Dean, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Clanton, Joey Dee & the Starlighters, Johnny & the Hurricanes, Johnny Tillotson, Lemon Pipers, Lonnie Mack, Peter Noone, Pure Prairie League, Ray Campi, Ray Peterson, Ronnie Dove, Rusty York, The Bell Hops, The Casinos, The Chiffons, The Crests, The Crickets, The Del Vikings, The Drifters, The Fleetwoods, The Skyliners, The Vogues and many other great performers. Carl also appeared in June of 1959 with the first R & R show to play the Surf Ballroom after the plane crash that took Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. More recently Carl played in Vienna Austria at the largest outdoor festival in Europe, along with Ray Campi, Buddy Knox and Frankie Ford.

Carl resides in Cincinnati and is still married to his high school sweet heart, Jan. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. Carl still keeps his suitcase packed for shows and appreciates his many fans. He's available recording and for personal appearances - e-mail Carl at We're sure he'd like to hear from you.

Carl's Recordings Listed in the Billboard Top 100

       Title                Position        Debut Date     Weeks Charted

"My Heart Is An Open Book"     #3             4/13/59           24
    (Gold Record) 
Listed in the top 1000 records in Joel Whitburn's book "Top Pop"(1955-1985) book 
based on Billboard's statistics.

"Lucky Devil"                         #25            12/7/59           17

"Exclusively Yours"                 #62            5/16/60            8

"If You Don't Want My Lovin'"    #67           10/12/59            3

Contact Carl at:

Carl would like to thank Bob Timmers and all of the staff at the Internet
Rockabilly Hall of Fame, for recognizing his contribution to Rockabilly music.

© Rockabilly Hall of Fame®