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Hasil Adkins and His Happy Guitars - Look At The Caveman Go (1962)


Hasil Adkins (pronounced "Hassle," not "Haysil") (April 29, 1937 – April 26, 2005) was an Appalachian country, rock and roll, and blues musician, though he was frequently considered rockabilly and sometimes primitive jazz. He generally performed as a one-man band, playing guitar and drums at the same time.

With his 45 recordings of "Chicken Walk" appearing on Air Records in 1962 and "She Said" on Jody Records in 1966, Hasil's original, frenetic sound meshed with demented lyrics ushered in the genre known as psychobilly. He is also responsible for the birth of Norton Records and a suggestive dance called the "The Hunch."

Adkins was born in Boone County, West Virginia, where he lived his entire life. Although many sources list 1939 as his year of birth, his official website states that the year of his birth is actually unknown, citing "a missing family Bible" that lists his birth as "April 29, 193?." He was the youngest of 10 children of a coal miner, raised in a tarpaper shack on property rented from a local coal company.Nicknamed "The Haze," Adkins claimed a large repertoire of songs, including many original compositions (though it has been said he has been known to have grossly exaggerated these figures), recorded scores of small, micro-label 45s, and is responsible for the birth of Norton Records, Psychobilly, and a dance called "The Hunch".

He was well known for shrieking certain catchphrases, such as "hot dogs," "I want your head," "Gimme that commodity meat", and "AaaaaaaaaaaaaHeeeeeeeeeeee-Wooo!!!!" Recurring themes in Adkins' work include love, heartbreak, police, death, decapitation, hot dogs, aliens, and chicken. Adkins often noted in interviews that his primary heroes and influences were Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Little Richard, and Col. Harlan Sanders, the inventor of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Adkins attributed his desire to perform as a one-man band to these artists, stating that when he was a child, he assumed the only credited musician in the band must have played all the instruments in the recordings. He used foot pedals to play the drums, or simply stomped his feet on the floor to his often detuned guitar.


Some of his best-known songs are "She Said," "No More Hot Dogs," "My Blue Star," "The Hunch," "Beautiful Hills," "We Got A Date," "Chicken Walk", and "Sally Wally Woody Waddy Weedy Wally." For the most part, Adkins recorded his own songs, though Peanut Butter Rock and Roll includes covers of "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)".

In the early 1980s saw a resurgence in Adkins' fan base when the American punk rock band The Cramps did a remake of Adkins' "She Said." In 1985, he was approached by former Cramps drummer Miriam Linna and her husband Billy Miller about releasing some of Adkins' work. Together they created the independent record label Norton Records, which released Adkins' 1986 compilation album Out To Hunch, along with numerous other collections in the years that followed.

In 2000 Norton released a compilation of new and previous recordings about Adkins' devotion to chicken, entitled Poultry in Motion that included such songs as "Chicken Run," "Chicken Hop," "Chicken Flop," "Chicken Wobble," and "Chicken On The Bone." In addition to making many albums and CDs, Adkins also appeared in several movies and television shows. Adkins was also the subject of the Julien Nitzberg documentary The Wild World Of Hasil Adkins, distributed by Appalshop.

After the mid-1990s, Adkins began performing less often, though he retained his popularity with music critics and other celebrants of outsider music, such as Joe Coleman and John Zorn. Hasil Adkins had a strong influence on the band The Cramps, as well as the Flat Duo Jets, who have recorded him. All acts bands have played various shows together in different combinations. Adkins' cult status is kept alive to the present day by the growing appreciation of, and demand for, outsider music and primitive rock and roll.

Hasil Adkins made an appearance in the cult film Die You Zombie Bastards! as himself.

On April 15, 2005, Adkins was deliberately run over in his front yard by a teenager on an ATV. The perpetrator was apprehended by police (after running over another person a short distance down the road from Adkins' house), and Adkins identified him in a picture the police showed him. Ten days later, on April 25, Adkins was found dead in his home. (wikipedia)

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