Hasil Adkins

Barely Appreciated

Hasil Adkins  (April 29, 1937 – April 26, 2005) was an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.  His genres include rock and roll, country, blues and more commonly rockabilly.  He generally performed as a one-man band, playing guitar and drums at the same time.  Adkins grew up in poverty in the midst of the Depression, and his spirited lifestyle is reflected in his music.  His songs explored an affinity for chicken, sexual intercourse and decapitation, and were isolated in obscurity until being unearthed in the 1980’s.  The newfound success secured him a cult following, spawned the Norton Records label, and helped usher in the genre known as psychobilly.   (More from Wikipedia)



If nothing else had sprung from there, northern Louisiana would still be renowned as the home of the Louisiana Hayride radio show, the direct antecedent of the even more legendary show from WSM Radio in NashvilleThe Grand Ole Opry.   However, this fertile musical landscape was also the home of artists as varied as the avant-garde (and anonymous) band the Residents, musical entrepreneur Dale Hawkins (whose song “Susie Q” was one of the first in the genre called “swamp rock” and was also the first hit song by Creedence Clearwater Revival), and a wealth of country stars like Trace Adkins (no relation to Hasil Adkins as far as I know), Tim McGraw and Hank Williams, Jr.(father Hank Sr. was from Alabama). 
(May 2011)
*       *       *

Of course, these are all people who are more or less well known.  Other singer-songwriters live in obscurity but still produce their music year after year.  One example is Hasil Adkins, the rockabilly one-man band from rural West Virginia that I have discussed previously.  Once Miriam Linna and Billy Miller of Kicks magazine brought him to a wider audience, launching one of the best reissue record labels in the process (Norton Records), Adkins had some celebrity in the final years of his life.  Wikipedia and Allmusic list 10 studio albums and 6 compilation albums by Hasil Adkins; I’m up to I think 5 albums myself thus far.  If not for NortonHasil Adkins would have been almost completely unknown, and that would be a tragedy in my mind. 


(March 2015)


*       *       *
But I likely will keep putting out what I call the “Story of the Month” (I have my web pages broken down into short “Items” and longer “Stories” on whomever or whatever I am talking about) that I uncover as I load up the web site. These Stories are on well known (well, better known anyway) songs and albums and rock bands and other topics that are not of the Under Appreciated variety. I started those last year and meant to list the ones in my year-end post last time but forgot, so here is that list from the past two years:
December 2013The Standells 
January 2014 – (skipped)
February 2014Hasil Adkins 
March 2014Bobby Darin 
April 2014Nuggets 
May 2014The Nerves 
June 2014The Outsiders (American band)
September 2014The Piltdown Man and Brontosaurus 
October 2014Walter/Wendy Carlos 
November 2014The Trashmen 
December 2014John Birch Society Blues 
January 2015John Mellencamp 
February 2015Child Is Father to the Man 
March 2015Dion DiMucci 
April 2015Scotch and Soda 
May 2015Stiv Bators/Greg Shaw 
June 2015Walk on the Wild Side 
July 2015Lola
August 2015Bob Dylan the Protest Singer
(Year 6 Review)
* * *
Just this month I learned of the untimely death of writer and musician Billy Miller, and also the co-founder (with wife Miriam Linna, a former drummer with the alt-rockabilly band the Cramps) of the excellent reissue label Norton Records, who was responsible for introducing Hasil Adkins to a wider audience through such albums as Out to Hunch, Poultry in Motion and The Wild Man. I learned of a past UARA named the Lonesome Drifter through their albums.
(Year 7 Review)
Last edited: April 8, 2021