Rockabilly festival bringing in outside talent

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Gill Goode (left) of The Shakedown Combo performs a duet with Rockabilly artist Rayburn Anthony. Anthony is set to visit from the States and perform at the Rockabilly festival this weekend in Victoria Square. 

By Jocelyn Turner

Amherst Daily News

AMHERST – Groovers and shakers will be gracing Victoria Square in Amherst for the Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown festival. Lovers of the 50s style music will enjoy performances by two big names in Rockabilly culture: Joe Clay and Rayburn Anthony. Anthony used to record under Sun Records, the same label who produced artists like Elvis and Johnny Cash.

“We didn’t really become close or anything but I did get to know them,” said Anthony in a phone interview. “The guitar player (for Elvis) was a friend of mine and we worked together a lot and (he used to tell me) Elvis would get so nervous his left leg would start to shake. He said one night, he was so nervous he couldn’t stop his leg from shaking but the ladies really liked that and they thought it was part of the act. Elvis just enhanced it and started really moving.”

With Sun Records, he recorded 22 songs and released three records.

Anthony said he loves how the fans get excited and into the music. A lot of his work right now is done over seas in Germany and Spain, where the crowds, he said, always comes dressed up for the event.

“They come from everywhere, all over the world to those festivals. You can see them in Japan with Elvis hairdos! It’s great to get to go,” he said. “I’m actually 75 years-old and I can still travel and still sing so I’m going to do it until I can’t.”

Davey Goode, one of the organizers of the festival and guitarist with The Shakedown Combo, one of the Rockabilly bands that will be playing at the festival, is excited for both Anthony and Clay to be playing at his festival. Clay’s music, Goode said, still resonates with him today.

“It’s a treat,” he said. “Clay is a really, really important personality with the whole Rockabilly genre and the whole history of it. To have the opportunity to bring Clay here and to work with him is just awesome. For me, to talk to him on the phone is great, but to actually have him in Amherst performing on stage, I mean that is just out of this world awesome.”

The festival will take place in Victoria Square from Sept. 7 to 9. In addition to the bands, there will also be vendors, bar and food, burlesque night, tattoos and prizes.



-Rayburn started singing when he was 13 and started playing in clubs when he was 15

-He learned to play guitar from his older brother

-Earned an ASCAP award for his work on Billy Walker’s song ‘Sing Me a Love Song To Baby’

-Other acts to have recorded his songs include: John Conley (She loves my troubles away), Charlie Louvin and Melba Montgomery, Vern Gosdin, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Faron Young (No painless way), The Jordanaires (100 yards of real estate), Charley Pride and Jerry Lee Lewis.


-Appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956 at 17 years old and won a contract with RCA Records.

-Clay began playing in a country band at 12 years old, which lead to a gig with WWEZ radio.

-Recorded famous hits such as Sixteen Chicks, Goodbye Goodbye and You look that good to me

-He also played back up on some of Elvis’s records. 

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