Indiana isn’t the first American state you’d associate with primitive Rockabilly, but it was there, hidden among the steelworks and the industrial areas. Indianapolis was seething with young, spotty hopefulls,, all wanting to be Elvis and looking more like the greek next door. Eddie Smalling, Tommy Lam, Van Brothers,, Tex Neighbors, Dennis Puckett.. .all true Indiana boppers.

The Blankenship Brothers certainly weren’t the next « Teenage Sensation ». Hell, this small but tightly band didn’t even pretend to cut Rockailly. Led by Floyd & Dennis Blankenshipthis small outfit cut some of the best primitive Rock North of Tennessee, but to them it was more like Country and Bluegrass music, blended with a little rough Johnny Cash edge. They played at the local tonks and jukejoints, entertaining the masses of factory workers who were looking to entertainment after a hard week of being frazzied by the burning steel mills. Hell, maybe these guys worked there too !

« Don’t Tell Me Your Sorry » {sic} and « Easy To Love – Hard To Forget » (Syline 105) is certainly closer to Bluegrass than Rockabilly, especially with the typical mountain harmonies from Floyd and Dennis, and the use of a mandolin and a fiddle.

ssue # 106 (« That’s Why I’m Blue »/ « I Just Got One Heart ») sits on the fence between the two styles. « That’s Why I’m Blue » is a fabulous, primitive stomper with Luther Perkins type picking and jangly acoustics filling out the sound. Hidden almost inaudible is a fiddle player, which you can only hear with earphones and only in the breaks. Flip is back to the bluegrass beat and the fiddle player is right up against the mike to make up for lost time.

Issue # 106 (« That’s Why I’m Blue »/ « I Just Got One Heart ») sits on the fence between the two styles. « That’s Why I’m Blue » is a fabulous, primitive stomper with Luther Perkins type picking and jangly acoustics filling out the sound. Hidden almost inaudible is a fiddle player, which you can only hear with earphones and only in the breaks. Flip is back to the bluegrass beat and the fiddle player is right up against the mike to make up for lost time.

# 107 (« Hard Time Blues »/ »Waiting For A Train » are both full-blooded boppers that any back-in-the-hills cat would be proud of. ((The fiddle player obviously is gone for a cigarette break or something) . The bass player, (although mostly off-mike) is riding the hell out of the fretboard on this 45.

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On to Brothers’ own custom label, « Bluegrass », « Tears I Cried For You »/ « Mary »( Blue-Grass # 773) with a Indianapolis address in the Summer of 1959. Backed by the Sundown Playboys (that once featured Russell Spears who cut « Beggin’ Time » on Yolk Records # 128; also on Nabor# 135 and 138). Blue-Grass 773 finds the band back in blue-grass mode, but te guitarist is romping a fine line bordering on Rockablly. Flip has a banjo filling out the spaces. Although the band cook, the vocals aren’t as self assured here (unlike the Skyline tracks).

On to Brothers’ own custom label, « Bluegrass », « Tears I Cried For You »/ « Mary »( Blue-Grass # 773) with a Indianapolis address in the Summer of 1959. Backed by the undown Playboys (that once featured Russell Spears who cut « Beggin’ Time » on Yolk Records). Blue-Grass 773 finds the band back in blue-grass mode, but te guitarist is romping a fine line bordering on Rockablly. Flip has abanjo filling out the spaces. Although the band cook, the vocals aren’t as self assured here (unlike the Skyline tracks).

« Lonesome Old Jail » was issued as # 816 (released approx. March 1960) and we’re back into Johnny Cash bopper/prison song mode. « Too Late » is a standard Blue-Grass B-side.

« Lonesome Old Jail » was issued as # 816 (released approx. March 1960) and we’re back into Johnny Cash bopper/prison song mode. « Too Late » is a standard Blue-Grass B-side.

The final 45 release « You Went & Broke My Heart »/ « The Story »(issue # 870)(end of 1960/61), the Brothers regress back into the comfy womb of blue-grass music, without a hint of rebellious Rockabilly.

The Story (The World Will Never Know)

by The Blankenship Brothers

The final 45 release « You Went & Broke My Heart »/ « The Story »(issue # 870)(end of 1960/61), the Brothers regress back into the comfy womb of blue-grass music, without a hint of rebellious Rockabilly.

You Went And Broke My Heart

by The Blankenship Brothers

From anonymous notes to « Bluegrass and Rockabilly Kings of Indiana » (Blue Sky LP 100, issued 1999).Additional music (Russell Spears) ws drawn from YouTube. All labels (Skyline and BlueGrass) from Rockin’ Country Style.