Carl Perkins - guitar, vocals; Lee McAlpine - piano; David Sea - rhythm guitar, saxophone, harmonica; Stan Perkins - drums; Gregg Perkins - bass, vocals
This show begins with a Silver Eagle radio announcer calling Carl Perkins the "godfather of rockabilly." Highlighting that particular facet of Perkins' career is indicative of the revival Perkins was experiencing at the time of this recording. While Perkins was well-known as a country and R&B performer, rockabilly had just gotten a huge boost thanks to Brian Setzer's Stray Cats, and Perkins found himself called back into the limelight as an elder statesman. In fact, Perkins collaborated in 1986 with Stray Cats Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker, among a star-studded cast, on the TV special, Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session. Interestingly, his line-up here includes a rhythm section that is comprised of his sons Stan Perkins on drums and "little" Gregg Perkins on bass. Perkins kids with the two, especially during the band introductions.
Perkins begins the show with a brief instrumental overture that makes tracks through famous American folk songs like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Dixie." He concludes the show similarly, saying, "I wanna take it back to the '50s and do some of my favorite rockabilly songs now," before launching into a nine-minute, nine-song medley that covers "Roll Over Beethoven," "Tutti Frutti," and "Hound Dog," among others.
Perkins was one of the early rockers that The Beatles most admired. And two of Perkins' most famous songs, "Matchbox" and "Honey Don't," he personally gave them permission to cover (Perkins popularized, but did not write, those songs). In addition to those two songs, Perkins plays "Get It," which he had recorded with Paul McCartney two years prior for the monster McCartney LP Tug Of War.
Surprisingly, Perkins doesn't play "Blue Suede Shoes" (although they are alluded to in his cover of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven"). Arguably his biggest song, Perkins wrote "Blue Suede Shoes" and turned it into a smash hit before being put out of commission by a car accident just as it topped the charts. Elvis Presley subsequently used the song to create a name for himself, and his version ultimately became more famous. It has been said by some, including Sun Records founder Sam Philips, that, had Perkins not been involved in the crash he would have been bigger than Elvis. Nevertheless, Perkins remained a devotee of the King himself, giving a heartfelt dedication to his former Sun Records cohort before playing "That's Alright."