By the time Lawrence (b. 1944) and Lawrencine Collins (b. 1942) were 11 and 13, respectively, they were already tearing it up on country package shows, recording for Columbia Records, and performing on national TV almost weekly as The Collins Kids. Older sister Lorrie held up the cowgirl fringe-rustling-against-nylons teenage sensuality department; kid brother Larry was a bundle of hyperkinetic energy, bopping all over the place while laying down exciting, twangy guitar breaks learned firsthand from the King of the Double-necked Mosrite, Joe Maphis. As time went on, the Collins’ recordings veered from mawkish brother/sister country-style duets to white-hot rockabilly, and they were just reaching their peak when Lorrie eloped with Johnny Cash’s manager (who was twice her age), effectively breaking up the act.
The duo started as a country music act, complete with fancy Western costumes and a definite twang to the music, but it didn’t take long for the boppin’ and rockin’ to take over. Larry was a bouncing, duck-walking wiz on the double-neck guitar and Lorrie was a pint-sized Wanda Jackson-style belter. Audiences loved them, and as their popularity rose they evenattracted the attention of Ricky Nelson, who ended up making Lorrie his first steady girlfriend and singing with her on his family’s hit TV show. Lorrie & Ricky Nelson >>>
When the Oklahoma-born siblings first joined radio’s Town Hall Party in 1954 hosted by Cowboy Great Tex Ritter, Larry (Lawrence) was just ten and Lorrie (Lawrencine) a couple of years older, but they wowed fans with their lively performances. When the show moved to TV they began a march to pop music stardom .
Revered by rockabilly collectors the world over, their filmed television appearances and recordings are testimony to the fact that the Collins Kids weren’t just “good for their age,” they were just plain good, period.
The Collins Kids sold a ton of records with songs like “Hoy Hoy,” “Hop, Skip and Jump,” “Whistle Bait, ” and “Beetle Bug Bop.”
The siblings did reunite and perform again in the 1960s, but the act eventually wound down. In subsequent years, Larry found some success as a guitarist and songwriter, with songs like “Delta Dawn” and “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” earning him lots of royalties. He and Lorrie again began working together in the 1990s and continue to appear from time to time even now.