Rockabilly artist and Arkansas-born, Billy Lee Riley was a musician, singer-songwriter and record producer best known for his recordings with Sun Records.
Playing as part of “The Little Green Men” (Sun’s ‘house band’), Riley’s first encounters with the guitar came from black farm workers, from whom he learnt to play.
His first recordings took place in Memphis, Tennessee in 1955 and it was at this stage that he began recording for Sun Studios after Sam Philips persuaded him to play for the label. Five years later he left Sun Records to set up Rita Records, a label he established with fellow rockabilly guitarist and record producer, Roland Janes. Also responsible for the Nita and Mojo label, Riley moved to LA in 1962 where he played as a session musician, working with artists such as Dean Martin, the Beach Boys, Herb Alpert and Sammy Davis Jr.
Unfortunately Billy Lee Riley’s career in music came to an end in the early 70’s after he set up his own construction business and it wasn’t until 1992 when Bob Dylan rediscovered his music that his songs re-emerged….though why it took Dylan so long to share his sound I’ll never quite know, he had apparently been a fan since 1956!!!
Parchment Farm is the opening track from Riley’s 1966 album, In Action!!! It’s a lively and explosive blend of country blues, howling harmonica and snarling vocals…check it out above.