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Joe Poovey

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Rockabilly cat "Groovey" Joe Poovey was born in Dallas in May 10, 1941. Something of a child prodigy, at the age of ten he cut his debut single, "Santa's Little Helper," for the California-based Rural Rhythm imprint, and within two years was headlining the local "Big D" Jamboree (a prestigious showcase broadcast every Saturday night via radio station KRLD) with his band the Hillbilly Boys. After opening for Elvis Presley in 1955, Poovey abandoned his cowboy hat in favor of a pompadour, shifting his music from honky tonk to rockabilly. Dubbed Jumping Joe Poovey (one of myriad nicknames he acquired throughout his career), he soon teamed with producer Jim Shell to write and record 1957's "Move Around," issued on the Dixie label. His acknowledged masterpiece "Ten Little Fingers" followed in 1958. A countrified "Johnny B. Goode" cop played with remarkable intensity, the record is now a holy grail among rockabilly collectors but fell flat on its original release. Poovey later recorded for Azalea (1960's "The Secret Me") and Sims (1963's "I'm Barely Hangin' on to Me") to little commercial notice, although George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, and Wynn Stewart all covered his songs. In 1962, he mounted a broadcasting career, spinning records at McKinney, TX, station KMAE and later joining the staff of Grand Prairie's KPCN. Poovey adopted the alias Johnny Dallas for the 1966 Little Darlin' release "Heart Full of Love." Ironically, the single proved his biggest hit, but subsequent efforts went nowhere and by decade's end he officially retired from performing. In 1980, the British reissue label Sussex re-released "Ten Little Fingers," and European rockabilly aficionados finally took notice of Poovey's talent. He eventually toured the U.K. and cut a handful of new tracks overseas, including a 1980 EP for Misty Mountain and the 1984 President single "You Are My Sunshine." Upon returning home to Dallas, he worked as a transportation chief on local television productions including Dallas and Walker, Texas Ranger. Poovey recorded only sporadically in the years to follow, issuing "From the Jungle to the Zoo" in 1990 and not returning to the studio until 1997, cutting "Deep Ellum Rock" for the local Final Vinyl imprint. Poovey died in his sleep on October 6, 1998, just weeks prior to the release of his first-ever career retrospective, Greatest Grooves.

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Birth Name:

Arnold Joseph Poovey


10 May 1941 in Dallas, TX

Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s