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Johnny Burnette & The Rock 'n' Roll Trio


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The Rock and Roll Trio were an American rockabilly group formed in Memphis, Tennessee, during the 1950s. They were also known as “Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio” and the “Johnny Burnette Trio”. The members of the Trio were Dorsey Burnette, his younger brother Johnny, and a friend Paul Burlison. Dorsey and Johnny Burnette were both natives of Memphis, having been born there in 1932 and 1934 respectively. Paul Burlison was born in Brownsville, Tennessee in 1929, but moved to Memphis with his family in 1937.

The Burnette brothers were keen amateur boxers and became Golden Gloves champions. In 1949, Dorsey met Paul Burlison, also a Golden Gloves champion, at an amateur boxing tournament in Memphis. The two became firm friends, and through this friendship Burlison would also meet Johnny Burnette. All three had an interest in music, and in 1951 they began playing together at the hillbilly nightspots on the outskirts of Memphis, both as a trio and as a part of other groups. In these early days, they played a mixture of country and bluegrass, not untainted with cottonpatch blues. In the honkytonks in and around Memphis the Trio would often play an upbeat country and blues so that the patrons had music to do the 1940-1950s bop and jitterbug, popular at the time. And the sound later called rockabilly, which they perfected in their 1956 Coral Records album.

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