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Rudy Grayzell

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  • Born: Saspamco, TX
  • Years Active: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Pioneering rockabilly musician Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell was born on June 8, 1933 in the small Texas town of Saspamco and grew up listening to all the strains of country and Tex-Mex music that were then popular in the San Antonio region. Although he originally aspired to be a baseball player, picking up a guitar at the age of 13 bounced his life in a different direction. Now all about playing music, Grayzell formed a country band called the Silver Buckles with friends while he was still in high school. The band, which morphed into the Texas Kool Kats, garnered enough of a local reputation to land a daily spot on a radio show broadcast from San Antonio’s KMAC station. A DJ there, Charlie Walker, recognized Grayzell’s talent and took him to see Fabor Robinson, who signed the musician to his Abbott Records imprint. Grayzell recorded three singles for the label, all country-styled, and ended up playing on high-profile country shows, including The Grand Ole Opry and Louisiana Hayride. But Grayzell had discovered rockabilly and couldn’t wait to try it on -- Capitol Records gave him a contract to do just that. He released three singles of vintage rockabilly for the label before moving on to Starday Records, where he tracked his most memorable and energetic sides, including his signature song, 1956’s “Duck Tail,” whose chart success allowed Grayzell to tour with Elvis Presley. Grayzell left Starday in 1957, signing with legendary Memphis label Sun Records early in 1958 for one single, “Judy” b/w “I Think of You.” Following a move to California, he next recorded for Award Records, releasing the arresting novelty “F-B-I Story.” It was to be his last rock & roll record. Pushed by his managers to tone things down and be more of a mass entertainer, Grayzell complied, but later admitted he regretted the decision. He moved to Oregon in 1960 and it remained his base of operations for the rest of his career. Grayzell never cracked the Top 40 with any of his releases, but his rockabilly sides in particular have allowed him to work regularly in Las Vegas and on the nightclub circuit.