No look at 50's rock 'n roll in Nebraska is complete without adding
Dennis Volk. Dennis was raised in a musical family, on the farm
near McLean, Nebraska. His father Louie, was an accomplished
saxophone player, and his mother, Evelyn, is still considered one of the
finest jazz pianists in the Midwest. His brother, Roger, is a drummer and
was a member of The Smoke Ring.
Evelyn Volk, One of the Midwest's finest jazz pianists, and mother of Inductees Dennis Volk and Roger Volk (Smoke Ring/Don Sohl)
As rock 'n roll dawned, Dennis found his talents suited for this
new music. His pounding piano, and heartbreak singing style
were just the ticket for rock, and most audiences found his playing
just as hot as that of Jerry Lee Lewis. Upon joining Ron Thompson
and Don Sohl, Dennis found himself with a celebrity
status that he was never quite comfortable with. As a performer he was
explosive, but his personality was still that of a shy farm boy.
Upon leaving "The Roadrunners" in the early sixties, he moved to
Omaha, where he played keys with the legendary Berry Brothers, including
a small stint with Carl Perkins. His only recordings, Dennis' Boogie
and You Are The One, are considered two of the
finest sides to come out of the midwest during the fifties. They have been
re-released in Europe and the states on several 50's rock compilation
albums. Though Denny continued to perform throughout his
life, he never regained the status and comfort he found
with 50's rock 'n roll.
After being plagued with continued bad health, he passed away in
September of 1991. As his brother and Smoke Ring
drummer, Roger Volk said, "Dennis loved the Lord,
the farm, and the simple things in life that we so
often take for granted."