Weekly Wire
Memphis Flyer Rockabilly Filly

By Mark Jordan

AUGUST 10, 1998:  Of the three headliners at Saturday’s Roots Rock n’ Rhythm festival one, Ronnie Dawson, represents the first wave of rockabilly which hit in the ’50s. Another, Dale Watson, is one of the best of the new generation of roots rockers.

And Rosie Flores. Well, without Flores it’s possible that neither one of the others would be there to take the stage. Back in the early ’80s, Flores and her band the Screamers were part of a Southern California scene that included Lone Justice, Los Lobos, and Green On Red. Faced with the scourge of synthesizer music, these artists kept country, rockabilly, and roots music alive in the ’80s.

“I feel like I’m almost back there again sometimes,” says Flores, who started a solo career in 1987. “It’s been a very long road, and I still haven’t made a big mark in the music industry yet. But you know some of the country artists, people like Clint Black, Travis Tritt, even Garth Brooks have come up to me and said, ‘Hey, I know who you are. I’ve been a fan of yours for years.’ And Travis Tritt came up to me and said, ‘I know you probably don’t think it because you’ve never hit the top 10, but your music really influenced me in the early days.’ It’s nice to know that having a record out there did count for something. It’s a nice feeling knowing that I was one of the leaders in bringing traditional country music back to people’s attention.”

Though she first came to prominence in California, today Flores is more closely associated with the Texas music scene. It’s where she got her start nearly 50 years ago when she was born in San Antonio. The Flores family moved to San Diego when Rosie was 12 and at the age of 14 she started her first band. In the late ’70s Flores moved to L.A. and formed the Screamers, which became one of the most popular groups on the L.A. roots scene. During this period, Flores, who was developing into a strong songwriter as well as a talented singer, worked with a variety of artists, including the Texas Tornadoes, Marshall Crenshaw, and Joe Ely.

In 1987, Flores released her first solo record, Rosie Flores, which was re-released in 1996 with six bonus tracks as Honky Tonk Reprise.

“I still have more unreleased stuff, maybe another eight to 10 songs,” Flores says. “I’m not really concentrating on that right now. But, you know what, it all comes out. It’s like Ray Campi [the rockabilly legend with whom Flores recorded the duet album A Little Bit Of Heartache in 1997] was telling me. He says, ‘Just keep recording because one day it’ll all come out.’”

And Flores is doing just that. She is touring regularly, establishing her own management company, and preparing for the January release of her new album, Dance Hall Dreams, the second in her three-record deal with Rounder.

“Things are going great,” she says. “I’m really excited about the new album. And I’m looking forward to playing some new places. I’m just really thankful to be playing and to be playing this music.”

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