The immortal rockabilly outsider Ronnie Dawson. If you’re not up to speed on “The Blond Bomber,” that’s why I’m here trying to help. I’ll let rock critic Richie Unterberger do the talking, as there’s nothing I could improve upon his prose:
Even those that only saw and heard Dawson once … were unlikely to forget him. There was that unearthly appearance — the shocking-white brush cut, the ghostly pale complexion. And an equally unearthly, high-pitched voice that made it difficult for radio listeners to tell if he was a man or a woman. The actual singles he managed to release were a mixed lot, but “Action Packed” — with its ceaseless exhortations to “HEAR ME?” — has to be one of the 10 best obscure rockabilly treasures of all time. As Chris Dickinson observes in his liner notes to the “Rockin’ Bones” reissue, “It’s hard to argue with Ronnie’s assertion that a car just ain’t fast enough to get him where he’s going.”
Dawson was 19 when “Action Packed” was issued in 1958, but his appearance and voice led some to suspect that he was a good five years younger. … Ronnie was usually a big hit … at the Big D, a kind of Dallas counterpart of the Grand Olde Opry. Big D emcee Johnny Hicks even told the Dallas Morning News in 1996, “He’s the only one that nobody wanted to follow … including Elvis,” adding that Elvis had told Hicks, “Don’t put me too close to that kid.”
OK, then. Give me the downbeat, maestro!