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Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef passes away

Thursday, December 26, 2019 – Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef died today at the age of 84.

LaBeef, an Arkansas native, was on labels including StarDay, Columbia and Rounder.

LaBeef was born in Smackover, Ark, LaBeef was called "Sleepy" due to having a lazy eye. At 18, he moved to Houston where he sang gospel. LaBeef also had a bar band plaing radio programs including the Louisiana Hayride.

LaBeef never had any big hits, but his live performance was his calling card.

His family announced his death this morning. "It is with deep, agonizing sadness that we inform you of the news that this morning, Sleepy LaBeef, born Thomas Paulsley LaBeff, passed on from this life to be with the Lord," wrote his wife, Linda LaBeef. "He died at home, in his own bed, surrounded by his family who loved him, and whom he dearly loved. He lived a full and vibrant life, filled with the excitement of much travel and experience, the contentment that came from being able to spend his life doing what he loved best, and the fulfilling love of his wife, children, and grandchildren around him."

LaBeef, who stood about 6-5, began recoding rockabilly singles in the 1950s. His first, "I'm Through,: was issued on Starday Records in 1957. In 1964, he moved to Nashville and moved to a more staightahead country style, recording singles for Columbia Records. In 1968, he hit 73 with "Every Day."

LaBeef switched to Plantation Records in 1969 and gained play in1971 with "Blackland Farmer", which charted at 67 . He eventually switched to Sun Records in the 1970s and continued releasing albums and touring, LaBeef later switched to Rounder where he released several album.

CD reviews for Sleepy LaBeef

Tomorrow Never Comes
In a world in which nothing stands still or stays the same for long, there are few constants you can count on anymore, though a new Sleepy LaBeef album comes close. So having said that, it+s a safe bet that if you liked LaBeef+s last album (has it really been four years?), you+ll probably like the new one, too; a mixture of American roots music as ageless now as it was 40 years ago. As usual, LaBeef tackles a set of 14 covers that will be mostly familiar to anyone who+s seen him perform over the »»»
I'll Never Lay My Guitar Down
High energy, roots rock and roll and hillbilly blues have been Sleepy LaBeef's calling card for five decades. Sleepy has a voice as big as all outdoors and is truly deserving of a wider recognition than he currently possesses. Though he doesn't break a lot of new ground here, his latest will not disappoint his fans. Rather it captures the essence of his live performances. Backed by a cracker-jack band including guitar-wiz, Duke Levine, Sleepy burns through uptempo numbers "Treat Me Like a Dog," »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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