Who was/is Sonny West ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more


Joe aka Sonee aka Sonnee aka Sonny West was from Buddy Holly's hometown of Lubbock, Texas (born June 30, 1937), but he grew up homesteading in New Mexico, Texas, and California. "We've all heard stories of poor people being sharecroppers," he told Marc Bristol, "but my dad must have been a rung lower on the ladder." Along the way, Sonny acquired a guitar, learned a few chords, assembled a band, and gigged around west Texas. He drove to Memphis to audition for Sun, but Sam Phillips wouldn't even let him unpack his guitar, saying he had more artists than he could handle.

A few months later, in the summer of 1956, Sonny went to Buddy Holly's producer, Norman Petty, with Rock-Ola Ruby (a sort-of follow-up to Warren Smith's Rock 'n' Roll Ruby), and Petty issued it on Nor-Va-Jak Records. In the spring of '57, Sonny met Bill Tilghman. "I was driving through Levelland," he told Marc Bristol, "and here comes this guy walking out in the middle of the street calling me. He had some papers in his hip pocket and said he'd written some songs. He was tall and skinny, like a bean pole, with a slight limp from a car accident. Before I could answer him, he was humming some tune and doing a shuffle with his feet. He was in the zone I was in, and had a great desire to write." Tilghman and West cooperated first on Oh Boy, a song that ended up in the hands of Buddy Holly, of course.

Later, they worked up another song based on an exclamation, Rave On! Tilghman told John Goldrosen that he based it on the line "Rave on, children, I'm with you" in Carl Perkins' Dixie Fried. Sonny cut it with Trini Lopez's band, the Big Beats, in November 1957 (November 5, per John Ingman). As Sonny explained to John Stafford, "Norman Petty had contacted Jerry Wexler and told him of his idea for me and the Big Beats to record together. Wexler didn't like the idea, but owing to Norman's recent successes, he decided to try it. I didn't like the idea, either, but I felt I had to go with it." The session was done in Clovis, and Atlantic purchased the master on January 10, 1958. Wexler flew to Clovis to collect the tape, and released it in mid-February.

"I guess if my record would've sold, Buddy probably wouldn't have recorded it," Sonny told Derek Glenister,"but he and Norman liked the song and had a session lined up and needed some new material." Holly actually recorded Rave On! before Sonny's version was issued, although his record wasn't released until April 20. Holly's record wasn't even much of a hit in the USA (#37 in 'Billboard'), but Rave On! together with Oh Boy have probably funded Sonny's retirement. Wexler had an option on more Sonny West records, but didn't exercise it, and three years passed before Sonny recorded again.

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Sonny West: Relentless (LP)
Art-Nr.: LPSON292

Item in stock

(1992/Crown) 13 tracks - Rare and hard-to-find LP

$23.34 *

Sonny West: Fidgeting Midget - Let Her Go (7inch, 45rpm)
Art-Nr.: 45FTM201501

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(2016/FTM) 'Fidgeting Midget' is a great Instro Rocker and 'Let her Go' reminds a lot to Alfred E. Neuman's 'It's A Gas'. This is not the 1950s Sonny West! This cat comes from the U.K. and already had releases on Nervous Records in the early 90ies!

$14.63 *

Sonny West: The Mystery Man Returns (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDWILD69625

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(2017/Wild) 14 tracks - Since years the newest album from Sonny West. A mixture of Surf, Rock 'n' Roll and Rockabilly. Wild stuff!

$21.00 *

Sonny West: Big City Woman (CD & 7inch 45RPM)
Art-Nr.: CDSR019

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(2010/SLEAZY) 14+2 tracks (36:11) 7'Gatefold/Klappcover. New studio album, recorded in Madrid with a cast of young rockabillies plus a reproduction of his genius Nor-Va-Jak single from 1956. Great Set!

$21.00 *

Sonny West: Sweet Rockin' Rock Ola Ruby (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDROLL3050

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(2002/ROLLERCOASTER) 24 tracks 1956-2002. Gatefold ecopac with 16 page booklet. Two long-time rockabilly hop favourites kick off this, Sonny West's first album. Straight from the original Norman Petty Studios masters, Sonny's 1956 Clovis recordings have never...

$21.00 *

Sonny West: Relentless
Art-Nr.: CDNER067

Currently not available

(1991/NERVOUS) 18 tracks

$19.77 *