Dexter Romweber Digs Classical Radio and Early Rock 'n' Roll

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Dexter Romweber first rose to prominence in the late 1980s as the guitar-playing and singing half of North Carolina’s Flat Duo Jets. That band’s guitar-and-drums set-up and the confluence of early rock ’n’ roll, surf, blues, and garage rock that defined the Jets’ albums and singles inspired the White Stripes (as noted in the recent documentary It Might Get Loud), and Jack White returned the favor earlier this year when he produced and played on the Dex Romweber Duo’s new single “The Wind Did Move” b/w Geechie Wiley’s “Last Kind Word Blues.” The Duo—currently Dexter and his older sister, Sara Romweber, on drums—also has a recent album, Ruins of Berlin, featuring guest spots from Exene Cervenka, Cat Power, and Neko Case. Here’s what he’s been listening to lately.

Classical radio

I’m a classical guy. I listen to a lot of classical music. When I’m in the car I always tune to classical radio stations. Those guys were such masters of their craft. I’m just a lowly folk musician, a rock ’n’ roll musician, but I really admire this kind of stuff.

Johnny Burnette, Crazy Date: Rock and Roll Demos Volume One and Wampus Cat: Rock and Roll Demos Volume Two (Norton, 2004)

Norton Records released these demos. They put out a lot of stuff that other people won’t. Johnny Burnette wrote songs for Ricky Nelson, so his versions of some of those songs are on here, as well as a bunch of others.

Benny Joy, The Benny Joy Story 1957-61: Crash the Party (Norton, 2009)

I’ve been listening to him for years. Norton just dug up 40 new songs—how they got them, I don’t know. He was mostly rockabilly, but country and rock ’n’ roll too. He was another master of his craft.

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