Larry Collins, the prodigious baby guitarist who labored along with his sister Lorrie because the exuberant Nineteen Fifties rockabilly duo the Collins Children, died on Friday in Santa Clarita, Calif. He was 79.
His demise, in a hospital, was introduced by his daughter Larissa Collins, who didn’t cite a trigger.
Though they did not promote hundreds of thousands of information or take pleasure in widespread radio play, Mr. Collins and his sister have been ideally suited to the then emergent medium of tv and have become bona fide stars of the early years of reside nation music TV. As members of the solid of “City Corridor Celebration” — a well-liked TV barn dance hosted by the cowboy singer Tex Ritter in Los Angeles — they introduced an untamed, proto-punk sensibility to the West Coast nation and rockabilly scenes of their day.
Larry was simply 9 years previous and his sister 11 when the siblings, clad in matching Western put on, turned regulars on “City Corridor Celebration” in early 1954. “Two little bundles of bouncing T-double-N-T!” was how Mr. Ritter launched them once they took the stage.
Lorrie stole the hearts of most of the adolescent boys within the viewers. However it was usually Larry, as video clips from the period attest, who stole the present — hopping, bopping and duckwalking across the stage whereas his sister sang unabashedly of grownup conditions and feelings.
“They mentioned I got here out of my mama with one leg shaking,” Mr. Collins mentioned in a 2018 interview for the web site pleasekillme.com, the companion web site for a guide of the identical identify about punk music. “I had a lot power they didn’t know what to do with me.”
His hyperkinetic antics and excessive vocal harmonies animated the duo’s performances — two-minute bursts of swagger and angle that gave expression to the suggestive likes of “Hoy Hoy” and “Scorching Rod,” each from 1958.
“I’m solely 14, however I’m goin’ on 15/However I wanna be 16, so I can get me a scorching rod,” Ms. Collins declared, all swagger and angle, as her brother laid down a collection of headlong guitar riffs behind her.
Mr. Collins performed the whole lot from jagged single-note sequences to reverb-drenched bass-string runs on his double-neck Mosrite guitar, a present from his mentor, the West Coast guitar virtuoso Joe Maphis. Mr. Collins additionally appeared on “Fireplace on the Strings,” an album of instrumentals recorded by Mr. Maphis (who additionally performed a double-neck Mosrite) for Columbia Data in 1957.
Dick Dale, the person heralded because the “king of the surf guitar,” cited Mr. Collins’s staccato fingerpicking as a significant affect on his taking part in, and on the evolution of surf music.
However Mr. Collins’s improvements as a guitarist prolonged past surf music and rockabilly. Noting similarities between his taking part in and that heard on touchstone punk recordings by the Intercourse Pistols and the Ramones, the guitarist Deke Dickerson argued that the Collinses’ 1958 single “Whistle Bait” anticipated punk rock by some twenty years.
“‘Whistle Bait’ was the primary rock ’n’ roll report to divorce itself from rhythm and blues, or nation, or jazz, or something; it was like nothing that got here earlier than it,” Mr. Dickerson wrote in a 2018 profile of Mr. Collins on pleasekillme.com.
“Name it pure id, name it free-association rockabilly,” he went on, “but it surely was only a actually bizarre report. It was the primary punk-rock report.”
“Rock ’n’ roll was what we have been doing,” Mr. Collins defined within the notes to “The Rockin’est,” a 1997 assortment of the siblings’ recordings from the Nineteen Fifties. “All the fabric was excessive power. Our method was at all times ‘Let’s make this slightly quicker.’”
Lawrence Albert Collins was born on Oct. 4, 1944, in Tulsa, Okla., the one son of Lawrence and Hazel Juanita (Robinson) Collins. His father was a dairy farmer and, later, a crane operator. His mom was an newbie singer and mandolinist who nurtured her kids’s expertise.
Larry and Lorrie’s first break got here when she gained a expertise contest hosted by the metal guitarist Leon McAuliffe on the Tulsa Ballroom in 1950. Mr. McAuliffe additionally urged the siblings’ dad and mom to maneuver from Oklahoma to California to advertise their kids’s musical careers.
In February 1954, having relocated to Lengthy Seashore, Larry and Lorrie auditioned for “City Corridor Celebration” and made their first look on the present the subsequent night time.
Two years later they carried out as company on the primary televised broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry. Additionally they started releasing incendiary rockabilly recordings for Columbia, like “Hop, Skip and Bounce” and “Beetle-Bug-Bop” — however, whether or not they have been too nation for rock ’n’ rollers or too rocking for followers of nation music, none of them reached the Billboard Scorching 100.
In 1959 they joined Johnny Money’s touring revue. Lorrie met and eloped with Money’s manger, Stu Carnall; gave delivery to 2 kids; and have become primarily a stay-at-home mom. (The wedding resulted in divorce.)
The Collins Children formally known as it quits in 1965, following an look on the pop-music TV collection “Shindig!” Mr. Collins pursued a profession as a songwriter, discovering success because the co-writer of “Delta Daybreak” — a recording by Helen Reddy turned a No. 1 pop hit in 1973 — and “Tulsa Turnaround” (1979), a track popularized by Kenny Rogers.
In 1993 Mr. Collins and his sister reunited for an look at a rockabilly pageant in England. They carried out collectively intermittently after that till Ms. Collins’s demise in 2018.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Collins is survived by his sister Nickie Collins and two grandsons. One other sister, Sherry Madden, died in 2020.
As a baby entertainer, Mr. Collins hardly had an unusual life, particularly when it got here to high school, which he didn’t attend commonly, and to growing relationships along with his friends.
“I practiced quite a bit, perhaps eight hours a day,” he advised the music historian Colin Escott in an interview for the notes to “The Rockin’est.”
“However it was a present,” he went on. “It was what I used to be alleged to be doing. I simply can’t consider I ever had that a lot power. I take a look at these previous movies, and I say, ‘The child’s gone loopy.’”