Friday, October 10, 2014


In case you don't know what a Brownie is (besides a dessert and a sneaky way to get stoned), it was a cheap plastic camera in the fifties. One of the first affordable mass produced cameras. Everybody had one, my Grandmother had one. They were super popular, like an Instamatic, Oh, wait, you don't know what an Instamatic is, do you? Okay, fuck, Brownie Cameras were like your damn phone, okay? Except they were cheap and they didn't have all that other shit on them.

Carol Coleman (née Mangham) had a Brownie camera. Back when she was in her mid-teens, she went to the Louisiana Hayride regularly with friends, the parents taking turns driving. She took photos with it, and has kept them for over a half century. I know what you're thinking, "Louisiana Hayride, so it was a bunch of photos of country and hillbilly acts." Though there are some (Webb Pierce, June Carter, Hank Snow, George Jones, etc), one thing you need to know is that this teenager with a cheap camera initially went to the Hayride to see a young Elvis Presley, She was into rock 'n' roll. Think of it, a stash of photos taken by a budding teenage rocker, at the Louisiana Hayride, in the mid-late fifties. Yeah. And despite the lack of any formal composition, or actual photographic quality, these are some of the coolest photos of some of these artists I've ever seen. Why? Because they're not staged, they're not professional at all. Because they were taken by a teenager just discovering rock 'n' roll. Oh hell yeah, I'm all in.

Listen to the handful of songs down there, and consider this was music teenage girls listened to, albeit only those with rocker tendencies. But still, what do kids that age listen to now? I don't care, but it's not this and is therefore, in all likelihood, inferior, I'd say that's a safe bet.

The photos:
Portraits of the Fifties: Carol Coleman at Let's Keep the Fifties Spirit Alive NOTE: Many are high resolution. Click 'em.
Little Richard - Keep A Knockin' mp3 at The New LoFi
Jerry Lee Lewis - High School Confidential mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Larry Williams - Slow Down mp3 at Mercury Paradise
Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps - Cat Man mp3 at LYWL
Bo Diddley - Who Do You Love? mp3 at Rocky 52
Ray Charles - I've Got A Woman mp3 at Rocky 52
Big Joe Turner - Honey Hush mp3 at Rockndog

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