Rockabilly Baptists…What’s This World Coming To?

I don’t know how much you all know about the American Baptist religion, and quite honestly, I don’t know a lot about it myself. But I did know some Baptist families pretty well many years ago. And these particular Baptists belonged to a church that taught that dancing was a sin. Not all Baptists believe that, I guess, but these did. And mind you, that was in the early 1980s.

The belief was much stronger and more widespread (I suspect) in the ’50s when rockabilly was heating up. After all, the dancing, the music, the people who were making the music…it was all sinful and dangerous to plenty of adults in charge, and not just Baptist adults.

Anyway, with this (narrow-minded and probably bigoted) background in mind, I naturally tend to think–as I said, not always accurately–that Baptists hate dancing. That they view it as a sin. And don’t even get started on rock and roll music. So, imagine my confusion when I came across this headline: The Elvis Show’ coming to First Baptist Saturday night.

Wait; what? “Elvis” and “Baptist” in the same sentence without the word “sin” or “hell” also in the sentence? You mean, this church is actually hosting an Elvis impersonation act? How cool!

Well, I missed the show, but it happened up in northern Wisconsin, and that’s a long way from the American bible belt. Hudson, Wisconsin is also essentially a suburb of the twin cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) in Minnesota across the St. Croix River, so it’s quite a bit more urban than most of northern Wisconsin. And no doubt it’s a lot less conservative than the rest of the north of my state, because few places are more conservative than that area. So, I guess that might explain the open attitude.

Still, when did we cross the magic dateline where rock and roll, and of all people, Elvis!, were safe enough to be hosted by the local Baptist church? I hope that doesn’t mean we’re losing our edge, guys…

About Buster Fayte

Buster Fayte is an author and musician who enjoys sharing his love for rockabilly music with readers throughout the world.
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4 Responses to Rockabilly Baptists…What’s This World Coming To?

  1. Very interesting, Buster!
    Also interesting to note that a lot of rockers of the 50’s came from American bible belt. Right?

    • Buster Fayte says:

      That’s exactly right, Joanatan. That’s why they were steeped in gospel music which had such a big influence on their style. They grew up hearing that music in church and seeing the life and energy of those who sang it. You might say Elvis learned to move on Beale Street, but he learned to sing in church! Of course, as soon as you do say that, someone will tell you you don’t know what you’re talking about, but that’s rockabilly for you…everyone’s got an opinion!

  2. Nice, my friend!! I’m learning with you!!
    Thank you!

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