Hasil Adkins / April 29, 1937 - April 26, 2005

On this day of birth for many great musicians, I have to give a nod to a personal favorite of mine, the outsider rockabilly/country wildman Hasil Adkins. A one-redneck band who could play percussion and guitar at the same time, this guy whooped it up like a punk rocker before such thing existed, with some of the most bizarre stories ever set to song. His songs talked about sex, chicken, hot dogs, aliens, his car (which he named "the Hunchin' Wagon), dealings with the law, decapitating heads, eating peanut butter on the moon and other crucial issues of his world, with his extremely unique and amateurish delivery.

His (usually self-produced) crude records were distributed meagerly in the '50s & '60s around West Virginia (where he grew up in extreme poverty) and barely beyond. He was a one-man band because, he later explained, he assumed that the name of the artist on the records he had as a kid was the person who played all the instruments.

He was a world-class(less?) eccentric who sent his records to every President. Dick Nixon wrote back: "I am very pleased by your thoughtfulness in bringing these particular selections to my attention." If one were to take some of his lyrics seriously you would most definitely find a psychopath. (This was a man who claimed to regularly send an extension cord out to his fishing hole so he could watch "Wheel of Fortune" while he fished).

A proto-punk icon and the godfather of psychobilly, The Cramps and Norton Records did much to bring him into vogue in the '80s and he developed a cult following. In later years he recorded for Fat Possum and took some minor acting roles. He died from injuries sustained after being run over by an ATV.

Here's an example of what the President may have heard if he played the man's records:

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