ROC LARUEBorn Roger Adrian LaRue, 20 May 1939, Fall River, Massachusetts
Died 19 November 2019, Jacksonville, Florida
Roger began his musical career in Fall River, MA, while attending BMC Durfee High School in the mid 50's. He appeared 3 nights a week on radio station WALE, while also appearing 6 nights a week on WNET-TV in RI. He caught the "rockabilly" bug after seeing the movie "Rock Around the Clock" with Bill Haley and His Comets, but his greatest influence was undoubtedly Elvis Presley. His energetic style of singing country music caught the attention of a popular Fall River musician and performer, Johnny Cardell and the Pals. Needing a new singer and guitarist, Johnny recruited Roger into the group, and in 1956 head to the Catskills. His wild, energetic, shaking style of singing drew the crowds to the famous Catskill Mountain Resorts where he performed. While in Troy, NY, they caught the attention of Don Davis of the Associated Booking Corporation in New York City. Don brought the 3 Pals to New York City and became Roger's personal manager. He was signed by RAMA Records, a subsidiary of Roulette Records, changing his name to Roc LaRue. His first release of "Baby Take Me Back" hit many regional charts on the East Coast and in Canada. This led him to promotional tours appearing with Carl Perkins and Eddie Cochran, to name a few. He followed with several more releases, "Teenage Blues", "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" (Holland Records), "I'm Not Ashamed" and "If I Were in Your Shoes." "To clear up a so-called mystery." said Roc recently, "Collectors over the years thought that I has recorded 'Rockabilly Yodeler', and that I was also Johnny Cardell. That is not true. Johnny Cardell was the leader of the original 3 Pals and he made that recording on RAMA, backed with 'Deceived' at the same time that I made my cuts. There is also a "J. LaRue' at the top of my recording sheet schedule from the 1957 RAMA session. I believe that was a mistake made by the technician. I don't think he knew who was Johnny and who was Roc. While in New York, his main club appearance, or "home base" as he called it, was the Wagon Wheel Lounge on W. 45th Street. His close friend, Joey Dee of "Peppermint Twist" fame, also managed by Don Davis, played a few doors down from him at a club called "The Peppermint Lounge." Roc's show appearances in the New York area included Palisades Park, Far Rockaway, Coney Island Ballroom and others. Roc: "For whatever reason, and to this day, I will never understand how my career in New York ended so abruptly. We had the Sullivan show lined up, Martha Raye had me scheduled to appear on her Tv special, Dick Clark appearances were scheduled and a west coast tour was scheduled along with a screen test with Universal International Studio in Hollywood. But for some reason none of it took place. I was only eighteen and to this day I don't know what happened, nor did anyone tell me the why's or what-fors. Oh well - that's showbiz." After a couple of years in the US Army, Roc returned to the USA in 1964, and also returned to his first love, country music. He played throughout New England, made a few more recordings which got some regional attention, but that was it. He eventually hung up his guitar in 1968. His early recordings have become collectors items in the Rockabilly world. It has been suggested to Roger to release a compilation of his early recordings on CD to make them available. "I am missing just one, 'Teenage Blues'", says Roger. "I hope it shows up again ... somewhere. Without that song I don't think I would want to produce the CD - it just wouldn't be complete. However, if I do go back into the studio, I would want my two sons Roger (drums) and Chris (piano/keyboard) to back me up as well as my daughter-in-law Christie to do back up vocal. That would be great having my family on CD with me."
Baby Take Me Back/Teenage Blues, RAMA Records, 1957 Baby Take Me Back/I'm Not Ashamed, RAMA Records, 1957 I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine/If I Were In Your Shoes, HOLLAND Records, 1958 Hello Mister, Just A Dream, Little Boy Sad, Cute Little Yodeler, I've Heard About Guys Like You Before - CONTRAST/WYNCOTE Records, 1967 Don't Turn Around - SUBTOWN Records, 1970 This is an abbreviated version of the RABHAF page at http://www.rockabillyhall.com/RogerLaRue.html
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