When Rosie Flores recently sold a vintage guitar to a fellow Austin TX musician, he dubbed the beat up beauty a real ‘working girl’s guitar.’ The next day he called with what would be the title track to her latest
Rosie Flores is one of those musical treasures that lurk beneath the popular “culture” radar and we ignore at our own peril lest they get discouraged and disappear, only to be “discovered” by Sweden or Italy or somewhere. (No offense, we love you Sweden! Ti amiamo Italia!) Then we are left to scratch our heads and say “Hey, why didn’t WE love her first?” It’s like when we ignored Howlin’ Wolf and then let the Brits sell a watered down version of it back to us in the guise of the Rolling Stones. It ain’t right.
Beginning in the late 70s with her rockabilly punk band the Screamin’ Sirens, Rosie Flores has been crafting a pioneering career in the roots underground. She was an integral part of the LA New Traditionalist scene that gave rise to Dwight Yoakam and Los Lobos, recorded with West Coast roots icon Ray Campi, swing masters Asleep At The Wheel, and rockabilly and riot grrl icons Janis Martin and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Wanda Jackson on the seminal (and thoroughly kick-ass) album The Rockabilly Filly. Rosie also raised funds for and produced the posthumous Janis Martin album The Blanco Sessions released in 2012.
We’ve been Rosie fan for-EVER. We’d catch her every time we possibly could over the years. She’d tear the roof off Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, or the Continental in Austin, or wherever our paths crossed. She’s also cracked the boys club full of preening DUDE guitar shredders. Her top-notch guitar playing is always revelatory. Tell her (or us) she plays good “for a girl” at your own peril—there are few out there who play with the mix of virtuosity and wild energy than she does.
And just for the record, August 31st, 2006 was declared “Rosie Flores Day” in Austin TX. Have YOU ever had a day named in your honor…?