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Larry Collins, Rockabilly Guitar Prodigy, Is Dead at 79

Larry Collins, the prodigious child guitarist who worked with his sister Lorrie as the exuberant 1950s rockabilly duo the Collins Kids, died on Friday in Santa Clarita, Calif. He was 79.

His death, in a hospital, was announced by his daughter Larissa Collins, who did not cite a cause.

Although they didn’t sell millions of records or enjoy widespread radio play, Mr. Collins and his sister were ideally suited to the then emergent medium of television and became bona fide stars of the early years of live country music TV. As members of the cast of “Town Hall Party” — a popular TV barn dance hosted by the cowboy singer Tex Ritter in Los Angeles — they brought an untamed, proto-punk sensibility to the West Coast country and rockabilly scenes of their day.

Larry was just 9 years old and his sister 11 when the siblings, clad in matching Western wear, became regulars on “Town Hall Party” in early 1954. “Two little bundles of bouncing T-double-N-T!” was how Mr. Ritter introduced them when they took the stage.

Lorrie stole the hearts of many of the adolescent boys in the audience. But it was often Larry, as video clips from the era attest, who stole the show — hopping, bopping and duckwalking around the stage while his sister sang unabashedly of adult situations and emotions.

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