Like a Kangaroo

‘Blue Jean Bop’ was written by Gene Vincent and Hal Levy in 1956 for Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps debut studio album Bluejean Bop!.  Gene Vincent never became a star, but he was critically acclaimed and he was called the original “bad boy” of rock and roll.  Gene was always wearing a leather jacket, his greasy hair fell into his face, he often used profanity and he was drunk most of the time.  Gene played guitar, and sang vocals on this song.  The Blue Caps were a band who just want to rock and each member was given a nickname to make them intriguing.  They consisted of “Galloping” Cliff Gallup on lead guitar, “Wee” Willie Williams on rhythm guitar, “Jumpin’” Jack Neal playing upright bass and “Be-Bop” Dickie Harrell on drums.  Cliff Gallup and drummer Dickie Harrell played with the western swing and cowboy act known as the Phelps Brothers before becoming part of the Blue Caps.

In the mid-50’s a dance called “The Bop” was catching on across high school dances, at soda shops and record hops.  The Bop was a popular form of Swing dancing during the 1950’s as well as done as a solo dance, especially when the melody divorced itself from traditional dance rhythms.  It was derived from the jitterbug, or swing, Lindy, East Coast Swing, the rock’n’roll, boogie-woogie or Bop.  The word Bop was new then, so almost everything was called the Bop, but it was a later variant of a family of low swiveling Charleston-like steps danced in place, including partners moving around each other, but it was usually done with almost no touching and much, much faster and sometimes without a partner.  The term, Bop, was also used as slang for a type of careless movement, such as “Bop on over.”  This type of carefree fast dancing included jumps, hops, stomping, and even flying feet, all done at considerable speed.  The Bop has remained popular in certain dance circles over the years due to its nostalgic charm.

Eugene Vincent Craddock was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1935.  At the age of 17, he joined the Navy.  Gene Vincent had a reputation as a troublemaker that dated from his stint in the Navy.  In 1955, he suffered a motorcycle accident that destroyed his left leg, leaving him with a severely damaged left leg and a lifetime of constant pain.  The stiff leg never hindered him, as it actually gave Vincent a unique stage presence, where he pivoted on the leg as he seduced the audience into a frenzy.  He could overhaul old standards with hoots, hollers, hiccups, and moans.  There was a raw sexuality to his singing, he reeked of sex and violence to the point of utter chaos, and his shows always were filled with sexual innuendo and utter longing as the band added grit and gusto to the performances.  The key player in the Blue Caps was Cliff Gallup.  There was virtually no tradition to the electric guitar then, and players like Scotty Moore and Gallup kept inventing as they went along, borrowing from Les Paul, Chet Atkins and Chicago blues, and adding noise and swagger to the mix.  Gallup made this look simple, but to this day there a few performers with the dexterity to recreate his descending and ascending notes.  He never suspected he was laying the groundwork for future players.  Cliff Gallup played a 1953 Fender Telecaster, and is considered one of the best guitarists of all time.  He was a member of the influential rock band, The Ventures.  Vincent died at the age of 36 in 1971 from complications of a bleeding ulcer.  In 1997, Vincent was the first person inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame and he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Bluejean baby, with your big blue eyes
Don’t want you looking at other guys
Got to make you give me, one more chance
I can’t keep still, so baby let’s dance

Well the bluejean bop is the bop for me
It’s the bop that’s done in a dungaree
You flip your hip, free your knee
Squeal on your heel baby, one to three
Well the bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, baby won’t you bop with Gene (bop Blue Caps, bop)

Well bluejean baby when I bop with you
Well my heart starts hoppin’ like a kangaroo
My feet do things they never done before
Well bluejean baby, give me more more more
Well the bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, baby won’t you bop with Gene (rock again Blue Caps, go)

Well the bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, baby won’t you bop with Gene (Blue Caps, bop with Gene now, let’s go)

Well it’s, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Bluejean, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean, bluejean bop
Bluejean, bluejean bop
Bluejean, oh baby, won’t you bop with Gene

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is Rockabilly music.

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