|Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics, Number One!|
Deke Dickerson grew up on a farm in Missouri, where he soaked up the area's rich heritage of bluegrass and country music. At the same time, his father was turning him on to rhythm and blues and early rock and roll. "The first two concerts I ever saw were Bill Monroe and Willie Dixon," remembers Deke, "and that just about says it all. Formative experiences? You bet!"
Since he was 13 years old, Deke began leading bands. His first professional group was the Untamed Youth, a surf-garage band that released several albums and toured constantly in the late '80s and early '90s, breaking up right before the "Pulp Fiction" surf revival happened. His next big project was the Dave & Deke Combo, a rockabilly-hillbilly band he formed with partner Dave Stuckey that became huge among the legions of roots music fans in the U.S. and Europe. The Dave & Deke Combo released several highly-acclaimed singles and records before finally breaking up to allow both Dave and Deke to pursue their own musical visions.
That vision for Deke has concretized with his new group, Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics, formed in 1998 and signed to HighTone soon thereafter. Although Deke has often been tagged "rockabilly" or "hillbilly," his musical focus runs the gamut from both of these styles to R&B, jump blues, honky-tonk country, hard-edged '50s rock and roll, surf, garage rock and all points in between. His first album for HighTone, Number One Hit Record, was a highly-successful release, endearing the group to rockabillies, punk rockers, folkies and guitar geeks worldwide.
Deke and the Ecco-Fonics have been doing non-stop cross-country touring since that album's release in October, 1998. This past summer, the group spent three months as the opening act for Mike Ness (of Social Distortion). This sojourn exposed them to thousands of new fans who embraced the boys like lost family members (and bought CDs like they were going out of style!).
Upon returning home from the Mike Ness tour, Deke and the boys hopped right into the studio to record their newest effort, More Million Sellers. Yes, the title is tongue-in-cheek, but the hitmaking potential of the group is not. Anybody who doubted the chart possibilities of acts like Chris Isaak, the Squirrel Nut Zippers or the Cherry Poppin' Daddies would do well to lend a serious ear to the music of Deke Dickerson.
With an even more schizophrenic balance of musical genres, More Million Sellers finds Deke singing rockabilly numbers ("I'm a Wreck," "Red-Headed Woman"), jump blues ("The Hatchet Man," "Mean Son of a Gun"), flat-out rockers ("Nightmare of a Woman," "Let the Good Times Roll"), country and honky-tonk ("Broken Down and Broken Hearted," "So Long I'm Gone"), a ballad that would make Roy Orbison cry ("I Gave My Heart Before"), crazy guitar instrumentals ("The Rockin' Gypsy" -- a staple of their live set -- and "Tropical Island Boogie Serenade") and even a beatnik poetry rap set to a Link Wray-meets Bo Diddley backing ("My Name is Deke!").
As was the case with the first album, Deke has brought several of his idols into the studio to round out his artistic vision. Introducing the album is "the world's most famous little person," Billy Barty, whose immediately recognizable voice comes from seeing him in countless movie and television roles from The Wizard of Oz to The Dukes of Hazzard. Rockabilly guitar legend Billy Zoom (of X fame) contributes flashy leads on "Nightmare of a Woman." 82-year-old Hadda Brooks, "the queen of boogie," joins Deke on a vocal duet entitled "You're My Cadillac." Hadda's 60-year career includes playing boogie-woogie piano and acting alongside Humphrey Bogart. The closing theme of the album is sung by none other than Jerry Scoggins, the voice of the original Beverly Hillbillies theme song.
Returning from the last record are three musicians for whom Deke holds ultimate respect: sax maestro Joey D'Ambrosia from Bill Haley's Comets (the man who played the solo on "Rock Around the Clock"), Carl Sonny Leyland (boogie-woogie piano player extraordinaire, who also sings a duet with Deke on "I Think You Gotta Pay For That") and steel guitar wizard Jeremy Wakefield (moonlighting from Wayne Hancock's band).
The Ecco-Fonics are:
Bookings and info:
Courtesy of Hightone Records:
Deke Dickerson's official website: