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The Big Huerta Meets Sweet Gene Vincent


“Sweet Gene Vincent” by Edward Huerta

The Big Huerta digs rockabilly. These are my rock and roll roots. I was not around (Big Huerta is old but not ancient!) during the peak of rockabilly, when Gene, Elvis, Buddy, Eddie, the Burnette’s, Carl Perkins, Wanda Jackson, Carl Mann, J. Cash etc., ruled the airwaves. I do remember discovering Elvis’s Sun Sessions back in high school, and just played that LP to death, digging the cavemonic sounds oozing from those songs. Like Springsteen once said, I quote him loosely, “it’s like aliens dropped these wild guys off in a recording studio and let them at it”. He was referencing “Jungle Rock” by Hank Mizell. Rockabilly is so dang pure and goes to the heart of rock and roll, stripped of any pretentiousness, and brings out the beast in you. It makes you want to bang on a table to the beat and get out there and move. There is no purer form of rock and roll. Punk rock comes in at a very close second. Whenever I need a music fix or picker upper or if I am listening to too much longhair ( don’t mean Professor, no such thang as too much Roy Byrd!) style music, I throw on some Rock and Roll Trio or something to coax the rock and roll primate back out to the forefront. There have been major studies at universities and it’s been proven by research, most doctors do believe that rockabilly can enrich one’s life, no foolin’ Berniece!, Good God, TBH don’t joke nor mess around.


So dig, restless soul Gene Vincent, painted with acrylics (2008). “Sweet Gene Vincent” (title borrowed from Ian Dury and the Blockheads) is the title and if you need to know, Google the dude, you will see that he went through a lot of pain and struggles during his career. He was in that dreaded taxi with Eddie Cochran on that rain-slicked highway when the driver decorated it around a tree. This accident damaged a weakened leg even further not to mention the heartache of the loss of his friend and musical rival. Gene had to play with a cumbersome leg brace for the rest of his tortured life. Tax troubles, alcohol, trying to look good in black leather and bleeding stomach ulcers all haunted Gene throughout his career. He passed away in 1971 and is buried in Newhall, California. This is the background of this painting. This work sort of painted itself. Sometimes The Big Huerta has help from unseen forces and is guided throughout the painting process including putting ideas onto canvas. I just knew I wanted to paint something about Gene Vincent. I usually have an idea in my head then sketch it out on canvas. I did not do that with this one. I have no idea where it came from. Never question or confront the muse. But it appears that a saintly Gene is onstage, possibly in hell, rising up into the spotlight, in a purple egg-shaped hole (royalty rebirth?), blind to all of his troubles and memories, to deliver a set for the ages. The burning blue curtains in back, possibly representing the burning sounds of the Blue Caps, his backing band. Again, I have no idea where this came from, seriously. It is one of my favorite paintings and do not know if I will ever part with it. There is a haunting but soothing quality about this and I thank the muses or guardians for delivering this to me. Go ahead, look into his empty eyes for awhile…RIP Sweet Gene.. The Big Huerta says, until we rock again, peace out to y’all!

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