jay@bopswingntwang.com

Bop Swing n Twang

The Home Of Old School Guitar

About

About Bop Swing and Twang

When I was in my teens back in the 80's I didn't really have any interest in music. Until one day, when I saw a band called The Stray Cats appear on a TV show called Tiswas. This awoke something inside me, I found the beat and the upright thumping bass and the echoey twangy guitar exciting and captivating! That "in your face" image and style was very colorful and expressive & it made me feel alive.

What was this music? And why had I never heard it before?

I had discovered Rockabilly!

Image Of Jay Playing His Gretsch

This was the beginning of a whole new chapter for me, and would lay down the foundations for the rest of my life and who and what I’m all about.

Then other bands came along, playing in a similar style, I'm sure they were already around. The Stray Cats just happened to be the band that first caught my eye. Such bands worthy of mention are The Blue Cats, The Polecats, The Jets, Restless, The Deltas and numerous other bands. But I'd be here forever listing each and every one of them.

This modern Rockabilly movement came to be known as Neo Rockabilly and just as this was gaining momentum another movement was starting to form, known as Psychobilly. This was a whole new beast and caused quite a lot of controversy with the authentic 50's crowds, I must admit, I struggled with it myself initially. It basically took elements of Rockabilly and fused it with Punk and other modern music elements.

I feel it deserves a mention here as it's roots still contain the basic Rockabilly formula, consisting of Guitar, Upright Bass and Drums, but they weren’t scared to crank up the volume and experiment. Taking it in new directions. My interest in Psychobilly at this time was pretty limited as I was still on my old school journey and I was enjoying discovering all the old Rock n Roll artists. And that’s where I stayed pretty much.

Although, there are a couple of Psychobilly bands that deserve a mention and will be covered here, such as The Reverend Horton Heat and Demented Are Go.

Of course this was just the start of my journey, I discovered how the music was born in the 50's, although the roots go back much further. This in turn got me interested in guitars. I learned about the likes of Scotty Moore, Cliff Gallup, Merle Travis and many others that will be covered as the site grows and expands.

As my knowledge grew I realized that what I was actually listening to was in fact a mutation of various other genres of music that came before, such as Country, Blues and Jazz. I began to learn about Jazz and Bebop artists such as Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery. Although I loved to listen to this music, it intimidated me as a guitarist, and it's only in recent years that I've started to dabble with Jazz. I have a long way to go with that journey!

Then there is Western Swing, which is a sub-genre of American Country music which I have a particular passion for. This will be covered throughout the site but it's basically a musical genre that originates from the 1920's right to the present day, and is probably where Rock n Roll originated. Many well known artists such as Bill Haley started out playing Western Swing.

There are many incredible guitarists and musicians who were pioneers of the time. Many are long forgotten and have been left to fade into obscurity, a distant memory of time. Others are remembered and celebrated, but I fear there is a risk even they will be forgotten as the new era of quick money music is thrown down our necks, due to the likes of reality TV and instant pop stars.

What Is This Site About?

Bop Swing n Twang isn't a Rockabilly site or a Blues site or even a Jazz site.  It's a site designed to celebrate all the great genres of the past that many people have long forgotten, or never even knew existed. But we're going to change all that!

This doesn't mean modern players aren't welcome here, it's how and what you play that matters. Basically, if you like to “Bop Swing n Twang”, you're most welcome.

You'll be introduced to some legendary guitarists that rarely make the lists of the great guitarists you might see on TV or hear about on the radio. Of course there are also many well known players that also deserve recognition and will be discussed here also.

It's important that the newer generations are made aware that there is a massive back catalog of "real" music out there that they are rarely afforded the opportunity to hear and enjoy.

If you share my passion for the guitar and the playing/players of the past and would like to see a particular artist/band covered here, please leave a message in the comments or drop us a line. We already have quite a comprehensive backlog of artists we'd like to cover. But as the site grows, We'll be only to happy to add more to the list.

Attention Bands And Artists

If you play in a band or are an artist and you think your music is relative to this site, please feel free to contact us. We'd be delighted to hear your music, help to promote you and help you gain some recognition in your relative genre. If we really like you we will give you your very own page, write an article or a review of your work.

Instruments And Gear

We'll also be discussing instruments and gear, feature readers and artists guitars, amps and effects etc. So if you want to show off your guitar, bring it on! I myself am a Gretsch nut, so suffice to say they will get a lot of mentions here. But that isn’t to say I'm not a lover of other guitars also. It's all good.

Education And Tuition

We'll go on a journey of learning, sharing playing tips and techniques. There's a massive resource of learning videos, software and books out there. We will have a section covering this also.

Retro Culture

As well as the music, it is a lifestyle. There are people that live and breath it and enjoy the fashions of the various eras. So don't be too surprised if the occasional image of a classic car or bike crops up, or even a vintage pin up girl.

Blonde Vargas girl on phone, stroking a small dog

So, if you like old school music, whether it is Rock n Roll, Rockabilly, Swing, Blues Country, Western Swing and any other genre you can think of, we'll try to cover it right here. So, what are you waiting for?

Are you ready to Bop Swing n Twang?

34 Comments

  1. Tina

    Hi, I love the style of your site, great work keep it up

    Reply
    1. admin

      Thanks a lot Tina, much appreciated.

      Reply
  2. Neil

    Great site Jay, and really good knowledge and info on guitar playing styles and music genres. I think it’s great what you’re doing and sites like this can only help to conserve some of the magic of older styles of music. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. admin

      Thanks a lot for stopping by Neil. It’s amazing to me how many people like this music once they get to hear it, they are now even aware it exists most of the time.

      Reply
  3. AYugen

    Great site, I would like to know more about this music and how guitar beginners can sound good too, looking forward….
    Avera

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      I intend adding lessons on the site eventually, I’m just building the site for now, thanks for your comment 🙂

      Reply
  4. Ron Bauer

    Awesome site Jay!
    I’m really looking forward to seeing this site develop.
    Cool pics too, I love that era.
    Tons of success with this site!
    Ron.

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Thanks a lot Ron, that’s really kind of you. I have a lot of ideas for this site, but it all takes time to implement. 🙂

      Reply
  5. The Fat Guy

    Hello Jay,
    I love the Stray Cats, listened to them back in the day, I also liked the Fabulous Thunderbirds, I believe they are of the same genre.
    Rock has it roots in so many different places from Sinatra to Hank Snow. Did you know Eddie Van Halen studied with Hank Snow? You can hear Hanks twang in Eddies screaming solo’s, at least I can lol.
    My favorite music is what is known as classic rock, but I do not understand why they put so much under the label.
    Favorite Artists of the 70’s and 80’s would include, Judas Priest, Ronnie J. Dio, The Cars, Van Halan, Sammy Hagar, Rush, Boston, Kiss, okay I should stop too many to list here.
    The Fat Guy

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate it. Talking of Eddie Van Halen, there’s a great video knocking around on Youtube with The Stray Cats performing Blue Suede Shoes. About half way through Brian Setzer calls out Eddie Van Halen on stage, then Dave Gilmour, BB King and a whole bunch of others. But the cherry on the cake is watching Brian Setzer finish the song off jamming with Les Paul.

      There are so many on the stage by this time, they can hardly fit, it’s amazing to see though, I’ll try and dig it out and put it up on here,. seems the ideal place 🙂

      Reply
  6. Javier

    This is a really lovely page. Nothing more transparent than a hobby that turns into passion.

    It is true that the media explosions do not always go hand in hand with justice and quality, but fortunately there are places like this, who are responsible for returning the opportunity to those personalities who, for some slippage, had been somewhat out of the story.

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Hello Javier, thanks for stopping by it’s much appreciated. Making a business out of a passion is a dream come true 🙂

      Reply
  7. Jerry

    Hi Jay, I think you have come up with a very original idea. Your page tells it all, although I did not find your name there, nor a full picture, which would make your site more personal and trustworthy. I am not familiar with this kind of music, but how do famous guitarists as Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton fit in? Cheers, Jerry

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Hi Jerry, thanks for taking the time to comment. I intend to add a picture.

      As to your question, Eric Clapton started out playing blues, but the blues this site focuses on will be from the 30’s through to the 50’s. Clapton came along around the mid 60’s I’d think, although he would have been inspired by the older school players.

      Mark Knopfler, as good a guitarist as he is, became popular with the Dire Straits who were formed in 1977. So even though 1977 is not far off 40 years ago, my tastes go way before even that.

      If you’d like an idea of what I like, I have an article on Jimmy Bryant up which has some tracks for you to hear

      http://bopswingntwang.com/jimmy-bryant-the-fastest-guitarist-in-town

      Jay

      Reply
  8. JohnCWS

    Dropped back in to say awesome work over all with the site. I enjoyed reading the bio page. Really gave me an inside look to the person behind the keyboard. I can’t wait to read more of your articles down the road. Keep up the great work mate! P.S. Love the picture of the pin up girl at the bottom!!

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Thanks for calling back John, you’re always welcome here. And yes, the pinup is cute isn’t she 🙂

      Reply
  9. Rachael

    Hi Jimmy
    Your site is the reason why I love the internet. I’ve learned about a whole new genre of music I didn’t know existed and this is what the web is all about. Learning and information!! You have got some truly awesome imagery on your site, I really love the pictures you’ve got on your homepage, they are fantastic. The whole layout of the site really reflects the period of the time you are reviving with your content, it’s like you’ve brought the 50’s back to life. Keep going with your content, I’d love to read more. Good luck with the site. Cheers, Rachael

    Reply
  10. Jay (Post author)

    Thanks a lot for the kind words Rachael, it’s much appreciated. It’s nice to know that people like yourself enjoy finding about about this music.

    Reply
  11. Sarah

    So of all the different types of guitar music you’ve listed, which is your favorite? And does it matter what style of guitar is being played? For me, it can be just any style, as long as the melody is good and the artist is personable and talented, not just out to make a buck. Do you teach guitar too?

    Reply
  12. Jay (Post author)

    I like fingerstyle and jazz guitar personally, I find them both challenging. Hence the subject of this site is old school guitar. I’m not into all styles of music.

    Although not qualified, I have taught in the past, I’m hoping to eventually do lessons on this site.

    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    Jay

    Reply
  13. Shannon

    Absolutely Love the site, very well organized, user friendly and love the content. give me a shout @ WA if you ever put Guitar lessons on the site. Best of Luck.

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Hi Shannon, I intend reviewing all kinds of stuff, including tuition sites/software etc. I will start doing my own lessons eventually, but that may take some time.

      I appreciate you stopping by 🙂

      Jay

      Reply
  14. Todd

    Cool website. I love all kinds of music. Some more than others of course, but good guitar playing is good, no matter what genre they are playing. I look forward to reading more about artists I wasn’t aware of. That is the best way to discover new music. Do you have a favourite?

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Hi Todd, my favourite at the moment is Jimmy Bryant, there are 2 articles abut him here. But I tend to go through phases, depending on what I’m studying guitar-wise, at the time.

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your input.

      Jay

      Reply
  15. Melanie Townsend

    Hello! This is my first time visiting your website. It is a very informative and thorough about page. I have to say I have not heard of any of the artists that you mentioned. Are you going to include sound clips so that we can hear the artists? Anyway glad to have visited your website!

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Hello Melanie, thanks for stopping by. Yes there will be articles and examples regarding the various artists 🙂

      Reply
  16. john

    Great site, nice and clean with excellent images.

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Thanks a lot John, appreciate you stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  17. Chris

    No way this is a blast from the past – Tiswas! I take it you’re British like me then? I remember they used to have custard pie fights and the like – used to love it as a kid! I also remember the Stray Cats as a kid – really popular at the time! You’ve got a great site here – bookmarked and will be returning soon!

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Hi Chris, well spotted, I am from the UK. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the kind words 🙂

      Reply
  18. Jessica

    I think it is very interesting that many people I have talked to about their music all say they didn’t “wake up” to music until their teens. Up until then, it was just whatever your parents happen to listen to. So of course the money making music machine figured this out and produces the “boy bands” and all those other trendy teen musicians hoping to catch everyone waking up to music.

    I too love exploring where music has come from. It is funny how things like folk, country, jazz, rock and rap are all intertwined with each other. And yet people get so passionate about their music and argue that their “genre” is the best. But their genre wouldn’t be here with out some of the other genres they supposedly hate. Its all a tapestry.

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      This is an interesting reply, I’ve had many people that are into Rockabilly but hate Country, yet Rockabilly comes from Country. I’m sure there are many similar examples.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Reply
  19. Krissy

    WOW!!! Great website my friend!!

    Reply
    1. Jay (Post author)

      Thanks a lot 🙂

      Reply

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