By People Staff
November 16, 1981 12:00 PM

Billy Burnette

Burnette, 28, sure knows his way around the Memphis rock idiom trailblazed by his late father, Dorsey, and his uncle, Johnny Burnette. These songs flame with electric guitars, and Burnette evokes the great old rockabilly sound with just enough echo-laden Buddy Holly hiccup. But this isn’t parody or limp nostalgia. Burnette is a true-grit punkabilly, and production by Barry Beckett and Barry Seidel does for his energetic rocking what stripping down and souping up do for drag-race cars. I Don’t Know Why and Love Ain’t Easy churn like locomotives; Gettin’ Back (To You and Me) mixes a reggae-flavored guitar with a Ricky Nelson junior-high-school excitability, circa 1957. Burnette’s three ballads borrow heavily from late-’50s clichés and do slow things down, and his lyrics (he uses four co-writers) will hardly knock Jackson Browne’s poetic socks off. But no matter: This is music to feel, not to quote.