Mid-20th century Los Angeles country music performers were such a wildly colorful community that they made their competitors in Nashville seem more like undertakers than entertainers.
One of the most dazzling acts were the Collins Kids, who will make their first Los Angeles-area appearance in 19 years on Dec. 3 at Joe's Great American Bar & Grill in Burbank.
The duo, consisting of siblings Larry and Lorrie Collins, broke into local prominence on the popular KTTV television show “Town Hall Party” at ages 10 and 12, respectively, trading in some of the hottest, flat-out explosive rockabilly and boogie of the era. Within a few short years, they were a nationally known force, traveling to New York for guest shots on NBC's “The Steve Allen Show” and playing at Madison Square Garden.
Clad in the elaborately embroidered and rhinestone-spangled uniforms of rodeo tailor Nudie and specializing in a hot, aggressively amplified brand of hillbilly music, the Collinses' energetic, fly-heel presentation — showcasing Larry's dazzling fretwork and Lorrie's clear-toned, declarative vocals — was nothing short of astonishing. And while Larry was mentored, on “Town Hall Party,” by the prominent Los Angeles-based banjo-guitar virtuoso Joe Maphis, the self-taught prodigy was already a self-made phenomenon.