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MUSIC : Boppin' Time : Rosie Flores will put her guitar sound on the line at the 4th Annual Rockabilly Roundup.

February 04, 1993|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

If even Hurricane Andrew or the Big Bad Wolf couldn't disturb so much as a strand of your jellyroll haircut, if your shoes are pointier than your feet, your horoscope is something akin to "wahoo," and if your watch stopped around 1959, then tomorrow's your big night out.

That is when you'll be able to head to the 4th Annual Rockabilly Roundup, which will be held Friday night at Fess Parker's Red Lion Resort in Santa Barbara as a benefit for C.A.L.M., and anti-child abuse organization. What you won't see, at least until the cat buys a vacuum cleaner, is a reverent rockabilly rendition of the Ramones, "Beat On the Brat." And at least until lawyers have friends who are not other lawyers, don't expect Parker to show up and sing any of his old Davy Crockett songs.

What you can expect is hours on end of raging rockabilly by a stellar lineup headlined by the Paladins. The group is named for that mean television cowboy immortalized by Richard Boone in the early '60s and has logged more miles on the road than a century of cowboys heading West.

Also on the bill are High Noon, from Austin, Tex., plus Santa Barbara locals, the Roadhouse Rockers, who are to blame for this benefit.

And there will be Rosie Flores. She's a female rockabilly guitarist out of Texas by way of San Diego but now in L. A. long enough to be concerned about those Dodgers. In the late '70s, she fronted an electrified country band, Rosie and the Screamers, in the early '80s, she was a member of an all-girl cowpunk outfit, the Screaming Sirens. Since then, Flores has released a pair of solo albums, including her latest, "After The Farm" on Hightone Records. She spoke recently from her home near Dodger Stadium.

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So how did "After The Farm" do?

It didn't do too bad; it shipped around 14-15,000 copies. That's not bad for an independent label. I made the album originally for a Swiss label, Red Moon Records, and basically, all I had left were the American rights. My next album should be out in spring.

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So how often do you play these days?

I play with one of my own bands, the Reverbs or the Bad Boys, once or twice a month in L. A. They're two totally different bands; only the drummer is in both bands. Then I play guitar for Ron Coleman on the weekends at the Agoura Valley Inn. Usually, it's either Albert Lee or myself, sometimes both of us. That when it gets real good. I don't have to practice for that gig--it's pretty effortless. I used to be in the Blue Bonnets with Kathy Valentine of the Go-Gos, but that was just too much. Also, the Screaming Sirens are getting back together to do a show at the Lingerie Club in Hollywood in February. Then in March, I'm going on tour with the Pleasure Barons, which is Mojo Nixon, Country Dick Montana.

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Why rockabilly for you?

I've been playing rockabilly since my first band in 1980. Around 1983 or so, I started doing solo acoustic rockabilly shows opening for Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe Ely and the Blasters. Rockabilly had so much influence in my life growing up, especially the female rockabilly singers of the '50s like Wanda Jackson. Also, rockabilly fits my voice well. It's easy to play rockabilly on the guitar, and that style was just real natural for me.

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Is roots music getting bigger, smaller or staying the same?

It's getting bigger, especially in Europe. They love our music over there. It seems like a lot of musicians that have more of an edge and are more rootsy are appreciated more in Europe. But over here, I think, the general public loves it too. That's why you see so many people at a Joe Ely show. But let's talk about the radio. Radio programmers will never pick a Joe Ely song over a Garth Brooks song. I wish there was a roots rock radio station. I'd listen to it all the time.

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So is your music too rock for country radio and too country for rock radio?

My music is perfect for country radio. It's got a bit of commerciality; it has an edge and I play lead guitar. I'm perfect for it.

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How come there's not so many female guitar players?

I just think when I was going through my young womanhood, I wasn't interested in anything but my guitar playing. Most girls from 15-20 years old are interested in guys and getting married. I started my first band when I was 16; I wanted to be like Jeff Beck. I caught on easily to the guitar, and I always thought I was good. Practice was never a drag to me, it was fun. I always wanted to be on the cover of Guitar Player magazine; so far, I've made it to the second page.

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Why do you think there's so many good guitarists from Texas?

People grow up with a lot of music in Texas. Music is important in Texas. There's just so much music and so many places to play. It seems like everyone is always going to a club to see a band or to a picnic with a band. Music was always real important in my family. People would have a beer in one hand and a microphone in the other hand, and they'd just pass the mike around. My aunt and my cousin had such great voices.

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What's the L. A. scene like these days?

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