Bear Family Records
Posted July, 2012

UPDATE, 2008

Laurie will apprear at Viva Las Vegas

Rare ... Laura Lee sends a letter back home.

Laura Lee Perkins:
"Here We Go!" CD


Laura Lee Perkins, the Virginia 88 keys rockin' gal, is back with her first CD and new recordings were done in February 2006. Since her only session in Hollywood, in February 1958, nothing has come except her two singles on "Imperial Records" and a single on "Detour Records". Those rare records, were she's backed by Ricky Nelson band, gave her a cult status worldwide among the rockabilly buffs. Only few gals were able to rock right in the 50's and she's among the best that include Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin. Thanks to the work of died hard fans, she's back on the spotlights and ready to rock the world again. That's a pretty hard challenge but she said "Here We Go!"
             The CD, that brings six new recordings and her 50's original sides, will show you we are never too old to rock. We knew already that assertion via The Bill Haley's Comets actual work but here is another proof if needed. Here you had Laura Lee rockin' on "Everybody Rock & Roll", rollin' on Hank Williams Sr's "Jambalaya" with swinging sax, shouting the hopes of every musician on Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" or slowing down the beat with the beautiful "A Little Tear". Her voice his better than ever and the musicians gave her a perfect support.
             But, If you are more in the vintage 50's stuff, you will have the unique opportunity to have her six "Imperial" sides with a bright sound. Included are "Gonna Rock My Baby Tonight" and "Come on Baby", unissued in the 50's, and pretty scarce to get. You will have a great reworking of a Hank Williams sr classic song "I Just Don't Like This Kind of Livin'" and Laura Lee own composition "Oh La Baby".
             The CD, packaged with two pretty nice 50's pictures in colour, worth it for all the 50's nostalgics. At a time when the powerful entertainment business was mostly dominated by all males, Laura Lee proved you can be pretty, sexy and rockin'. She played piano, guitar drums, ukulele and could gyrate with the best. You can read more about Laura Lee Perkins in her web site. We'd like to thank Bob Timmers for his valuable help.
             Don't wait up, give a spin to that high octane powered CD. Contact: Netheadjim@aol.com

Camille Daddy, Brest Rock'n'Roll Appreciation Society

Laura Lee Perkins was born in Killarney, WV. in 1939 as Alice Faye Perkins. She sang in school, church, and any place there was a piano available.

After she graduated from Stoco High School in 1957 ... only 17 years old ... left town on a Greyhound bus, with her belongings in a cardboard box. She bought a ticket to Cleveland, OH ... but when she got there, looked at all of the tall buildings and decided it was much too big for her, so she bought another ticket to just west of Cleveland, a cute small town named Elyria, OH.

After landing a job as a waitress in a restaurant just across the street from Radio Station WEOL, one night her and a couple of friends wanted to meet the D.J. Jeff Baxter. He was on the air ... so once again, Laura found a room with a piano in it, and started playing and singing. She was so happy, because she hadn't seen a piano in months and miss her music so very much.

Jeff heard the piano and came to see who was playing. He made a a tape of her and sent it to Imperial Records, in Hollywood CA ... also sent one to Sun Records in Memphis, TN. Laura got a recording contract offer from both.

In Feburary, 1958 off she flew on an airplane to California. You can imagine just how excieted she was ... this young girl from the hills of West Virginia.

After recording several songs, two of which she wrote, she returned to Ohio and continued to do record hops and shows with many of the recording artist at the time.

In 1959, she left for Detroit, Michigan where she joined in with several bands and traveled all over the United States and Canada. She was a very happy go lucky girl that loved life and put thousands of miles on her 1957 Thunderbird. She went on to fly airplanes, drive trucks across the country and enjoy life.

In 1963, she married Neal Kitts from Detroit and had 3 wonderful boys. She continued to sing and later wrote and sang jingles for radio and TV. She still lives in the Detroit area and still sings at the drop of a hat.

Laura Lee Perkins: The 88 Keys Rockabilly Gal is Back

Faye "Feathers" Kitts (The One and Only)

A rare stage photo taken in 1958.

See Laura Lee's show poster from the same year.


Posted June, 2008 - Have your heard the news, there's good rockin' tonight ... That's what I thought when heard those Laura Lee's demos recorded late 1957. Sound unbelievable but Laura Lee Perkins still owns those acetates and I have heard those never issued rockin and rollin' jewels.

In order to follow Laura Lee Perkins biographies published in "Blue Suede News" (US) and "Rock and Roll Revue" (France), here's the story of those demos sent to Sam Phillips (Sun records) and Lew Chudd (Imperial records). Those acetates were recorded at the WEOL radio station in Elyria (Ohio) by disc-jockey Jeff Baxter for Bill Randle, another very influential DJ at WERE radio who helped Elvis to cross the Mason-Dixon line. On those recordings, Laura play piano, guitar, bang the drums beat on a table and harmonize with herself. Those demos were played by phone to Bill Randle who soon later brings Laura Lee on the Audio Recording studios in Cleveland (Ohio). Instead to cut new demos, he decided to use those already done in Elyria.

Here are the songs as they were done:

Remember Me: That song was a hit for Ernest Tubb/Stuart Hamblen in 1950. Johnny Cash made his own recording of that country song, the 04 august 1957, for his first Sun LP "With his hot and blue guitar". Here , the song is done in a country pop style. In 1965, that song will be covered by Dean Martin too. Funny Ścause in the early 60's, Laura appeared with Frank Sinatra in New-York and played in Nevada with Liberace.

No One Will Ever Know: Recorded by Hank Williams, in 1949, that song was issued first in 1957 on the MGM K12535 single. That classic country song is done in a style similar to "Remember Me" in order to show than Laura should sell either in pop or Rock and Roll market. Later that song will be recorded by Dottie West, Liz Anderson and Loretta Lynn ... all famous female country acts.

Hound Dog: First recorded by Big Mama Thornton, in March 1953, for "Peacock" records that song written by Johnny Otis was quickly covered by country performer as Billy Starr on "Imperial" or Tommy Duncan. Later, in 1955, came a jumpin' version by Freddie Bell for "Teen" records and Elvis Presley will catch with the song when seing Freddie and the Bell Boys in Las Vegas. Elvis will cut his on version was done in July 2, 1956 and will reach the first place on Billboard. Here Laura Lee give a full rockin' treatment to the song pumping her piano and playin' by overdub a heavy rhythm guitar part. A jewel! She recorded her demo before Jerry Lee Lewis cut is own version on "Sun" in 1958.

My Babe: That great blues song was written by Willie Dixon and recorded first by Little Walter. Issued in 1955, as Chess 811, that song was covered by Dale Hawkins, Narvel Felts, Gene Vincent & Eddie Cochran or Ronnie Hawkins to name a few. Laura Lee's recording is almost perfect with hot vocal and rockin' beat.

Oh La Baby: That's the first recorded version of that song written by Laura Lee who will find his way on her second and last single for "Imperial" records. The issued version was recorded in the same conditions than the demo, without backing band. After the recording session, Jimmie Haskell brings some session musicians in order to overdub the song. He probably used James Burton or Joe Maphis on guitar and James Kirkland (Ricky Nelson band) on bass. Some sax was added in order to give a R'n'B feeling to the song. Unfortunately, those overdubs overshadowed the great Laura Lee Perkins piano work. Here's the raw material with the West Virginia kitty pumping the ivories.

If those demos should be cleaned and remasterised they should offer a fabulous single or Extended Play for the rock'n'roll buffs. Maybe someday they will find them way on "Norton Records" (USA) or "Rollercoaster Records" (UK) if they show interest. That should come real soon after the public interest for the new Laura Lee Perkins CD "I'm Back and Here We Go!" and her raucous welcome in Viva Las Vegas festival in April 2008.

For that show, Laura had driven all way long from Michigan to Nevada and she comes ready to rock them socks off. She was the last act to come on stage after Sonny West, George Hamilton IV, Alton Lott and Ray Campi and really burnt the house down. Wearing a red top and black pant, Laura took the mike to storm straight on "Don't Wait Up", her own 1957 composition. She set the picture right from the start ... She was here to blow pure premium female Rock and Roll! Followed his classic "Oh La Baby" and a stomping version of Hank Williams's "I Just Don't Like This Kind of Livin'" kindly dedicated to her French friends. "Kiss Me Baby" and "Gonna Rock My Baby Tonight", both from her only 1958's session for "Imperial" records, closed her set. Each rendition of those classics was even better than the original cut and she drove the crowd wild with the help of top class musicians! Hat off for those guys: Sonny Leyland (Keyboard), Bobby Trimmel (dms) and Brian "Shorty" (Bass). Laura still got a powerful voice and showcases a lovely personality. She had a ball singing for the first time since 1958 those legendary songs and the crowd knew it. She's not only a singer but veteran performer and she sure can rock us right!

Laura Lee will have a feature in "Big Beat of the 50's", the Australian Rock and Roll Appreciation Society's magazine, real soon after being in "Big Beat", a magazine from Finland, few months ago. In May 08, her CD came in the hands of George Klein, Memphis DJ and Elvis long time friend. Future looks bright!

Without the Rockabilly Hall of Fame support, Laura would never been back on records or stage. So I "Don't Wait Up" to Thanks Bob Timmers for his work and to tell you all to became lifetime member and JOIN the Original Rockabilly Hall of Fame. If you're not ready to put $10 in the bucket, you aint no friend of mine ... just a "Hound Dog who never caught a rabbit"

Dominique "Imperial" ANGLARES
Sound of the 50's

Page updated June, 2008

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