Joey Dee and the Startlighters’ First TV Performance, 1956
So I was reading Elijah Wald’s sweet little book The Blues: a Very Short Introduction, which is much more thought-provoking and rich than what otherwise might look like a “beginners'” guide. On page 76 he discusses Jimi Hendrix’s bridge between rock and blues, and mentions that Hendrix (as “Jimmy James”) worked as a backup player for Little Richard and the Isley Brothers, which I’d read before, but also Joey Dee and the Starlighters.
Wait-a-minute! I’ve got Joey Dee and the Starlighters in my book! They’re one of the rare early acts that had rockin’ and rollin’ and accordion. Could that possibly mean that Hendrix jammed with a squeezebox? It seems unlikely, since the band had a long career with many personnel changes and the accordion was there at the very beginning. But we can dream.
Nevertheless, here’s Joey Dee, with Starlighter Ralph Fazio on lead accordion and vocals. Note the guitar player way in the back where he belongs – also note that I for one can’t hardly hear the accordion over the guitar, a portent of things to come.