by John Wenz
Echoes during March is going to be a little different — I'll almost exclusively featuring female performers and female-fronted bands from Nebraska's grand history. I'll also be teaming up with X-Rated columnist Hilary Stohs-Krause to bridge the gap between our two columns — where I'll feature the music, she'll being trying to score interviews with some of the finest femmes to startle the Cornhusker state's stages, and leave a lasting mark. Plus, it's a chance for me to force everybody to listen to The Better Beatles. Over and over again.
This is all for National Women's History Month, running throughout July. And I want to hear from you! What performers need to be featured? Who is this column incomplete without? What riot grrrl needs a second go round for fresh ears? Email me at email@example.com and let me know. (Attached MP3s or YouTube links are extra helpful, especially if you have that ever-elusive Calypso Machine Gun split I've been fruitlessly searching for.)
But you're not here for all this talking! You're here for the music. And what music we have for you today — the fantastic tough girl of rockabilly, Omaha's Sparkle Moore!
Drawing her name from a "Dick Tracy" character, the leather jacket-clad Moore was in the same nascent scene that gave birth to bands such as the previously featured Ron Thompson and the Broughams. Early rockabilly was a smattering of country-tinged rough-neck rock and tender, tough-love ballads — something Sparkle excelled at, so much so that she had opening dates for Gene Vincent and a Grand Ol' Opry performance derailled by an unfortunate bout with laringytis. And all this was while she was still 17.
But come 1957, Sparkle found herself pregnant and retired from music, leaving just three singles and their b-sides behind. Despite a paltry output — and a career lasting fewer than two years — she made an indelible mark on Nebraska music, and set the stage for female performers to follow.
John Wenz is the listings editor for HearNebraska. In his free time, he enjoys pretending he has free time. He once met Jenny Toomey but was too nervous to say anything. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.