Columns #30 & #31 - published February 5, 2000 for February & March, 2000
VIVA LAS VEGASSo finally we are getting close to what we've been waiting for all year: VIVA LAS VEGAS 2000, The Greatest Rock'n'Roll Show In The World!
This is the third episode of this festival organized by Tom Ingram and Barney Koumis, and it promises to be the best yet!
In the afternoon bands will be showcased in the East Lounge of the Gold Coast Casino, while at nite there will be three location with live music!!
The main showroom of course, then the West Lounge, and finally Bob Timmers' Rockabilly Hall Of Fame will feature a series of nightly shows, Saturday open jam and autograph signing with a host of 1950s Legends.
This Column will be a "living, breathing, column", which means it may be changed, modified, and augmented on a daily or weekly basis!!
Why?? Because I dont have a few hundred hours of free time to cover accurately everything possible to this mammoth Festival, so I will solicit input from you cats on the Internet through the various Rockabilly Mailing lists.
So if I ignore you or describe you inaccurately on the first issue of this Column, dont mope and whine, just straighten me out!!
As always we will cover the 1950s artists first, in order of appearance:
RONNIE DAWSON delivers one the most exciting shows of all the original 1950s acts. His show is tight, aggressive, harddriving, and absolutely smoking. A must see show. Phenomenal. The Texan sets the standard!
Here's Lew Williams on the cover of "Now Dig This" Magazine
LEW WILLIAMS is best known for his classic Imperial waxies of Cat Music, such as "Cat Talk", "Centipede", "Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop", and "Something I Said". I couldn't describe his sound better than Bill Millar in the liner notes of "That'll Flat Git It - Volume 12 Imperial": "Lew Williams was the Cab Calloway of rockabilly, a hepcat with a command of '40s / '50s jive vernacular and lyrics which provide an early commentary on the cultural references of the day". An outstanding story on Lew can be found in the October 1999 issue of "Now Dig This".
Andy Starr's Rollin' Rock EP which I released in the mid 1970s.
ANDY STARR's MGM rockabilly sides are amongst the most appreciated of the genre by us hardcore rebels. I myself released three sides by Andy Starr on Rollin' Rock Records EP-45-041, which I had licensed from the Lin Label: "Rockin' and Reelin' Country Style", "Dig Those Squeaky Shoes" and "Do It Right". I'm excited to see Andy Starr live!!
photo thanx to Jeremiah
Vernon Green and the Medallions in front of Dooto Records
VERNON GREEN and THE MEDALLIONS One of the great things about this "rockabilly" weekender is that we get to see a variety of great Rock'n'Roll acts, anywhere from Western Bop to Doo Wop. Last time I saw Vernon was with the Johnny Otis Show in the early 1970s and his smooth Doo Wop sound was captivating. Now we are almost 30 years later and I cannot wait to see Vernon Green again sing his great hits "The Letter", "Buick 59" and "Coupe De Ville Baby"!
We will be lucky enough this year to once again enjoy four legendary 1950s acts --- Now onto the new bands:
RAY CONDO from Canada is an extremely versatile and talented dude mixing rockabilly, swing, jump blues and even ragtime and vaudeville. Excellent!
THREE BAD JACKS: my pal Elvis Suissa writes some unique songs like "I Believe" and " Forever" where he switches from a deep sexy Elvis voice to a soft high Gene Vincent voice without missing a beat. Hit songs all over the place with this band!
EDDIE AND THE FLATHEADS are from Sweden. I saw them first at the Denver Rockabilly Weekender, and to say that I was impressed, is an understatement!! The fact that they are big Rollin' Rock fans doesn't hurt them either in my eyes!! A very wild act!! Don't miss them!
RONNIE HAYWARD: rockabilly band from Canada.
NO 9: Rockin' blues & rockabilly fronted by Paul Ansell formerly of Blue Rhythm Boys.
THE HAYSTACK HITONES: ... from Holland. Hillbillly & Western Swing fronted by two girls.
HIGH NOON: Incredible talent is what makes this re-union of HIGH NOON such an event! The Creme de la creme! These guys are the best, what more can one say???
RIP CARSON & THE TWILIGHT TRIO have just finished their second CD for Rollin' Rock Records. Their first one is now sold-out, except for 10 copies which I am saving for the International Rockabilly Rebels Meet & Greet. RIP is known for his very wild and exciting stage show which has few rivals. He now has two songs climbing up the charts of the Italian Jamboree Magazine Hit Parade. If savage rock is what you want, Rip Carson will tear the house down!!
photo thanx to Sadie
BOVINE from New Mexico mixes swing with rockabilly with humour, and everybody ends up happy! Isn't that what show business should be about?
THE BARNSHAKERS record for GOOFIN' RECORDS, and are Finland's top Hillbilly Bop band, backing such celebrities as Marti Brom, Ray Campi, etc. Need I say more?
JIMMY SUTTONS LUCKY CHARMS: are the new band put together by Jimmy Sutton previously of The Moondogs and The Mighty Blue Kings.
TEXAS SHAKEDOWN: Please advise.
photo thanx to Sadie
DEKE DICKERSON: after BIG SANDY, Deke is the best selling American rockabilly artist. Why??? Because he DESERVES it, that's why!!! I aint gonna add anything more, 'coz by now y'all know that Deke is De Man!!
photo thanx to Sadie
BIG BOY BLOATER was the great surprise of Viva Las Vegas 1998. After seeing him, I was extremely happy, but also sad. Happy to have seen such a wild Jumpin' Rhythm & Blues act with screamin' honkin' saxophone by his towering wife Lisa. But sad also, not knowing how long I would have to wait before I could see these cats again. Well, my wait is over!
DARREL HIGHAM: One of UK's hottest acts. Great Eddie Cochran sounds. A big hit at Chippenham last October!
THE STARLINERS not to be confused with the Starliters from Italy, are one of Australia's top rockabilly bands. Welcome to Vegas Aussies!!
THE RAGING TEENS are a tight hard boppin' East Coast band without pretensions, only with lotsa good rockin' sounds!
THE PLANET ROCKERS: After I saw Bill Haley's ORIGINAL COMETS at the Denver Rockabilly Weekender, where the Comets received 4 encores and standing ovations, I did not think it was possible for any band to go up there on stage, and have anybody pay attention. Well there was a band, who had balls of steel, to follow the COMETS-- the hottest rock'n'roll band alive today, and actually got a very good reception, well, you guessed it, The Planet Rockers, the band with the balls of steel...
NEXT, and you guys gotta help me out here, remember a growing, breathing column ...EAST LOUNGE:
WILD WAX COMBO - playing East Lounge, Friday 2 PM.
Danish rockabilly combo. Has been around for some 3-4 years now. Recently released their debut album on Danish label E.S.P. Recording/Kick Music.
From Roy Williams: "Well, we all know the hits of the Fifties by Perkins, Berry, Lewis, Orbison and the rest of the lot....they were all pretty catchy and easy to like - only all the good stuff was found on the flip-sides! And this is what Wild Wax Combo loves!"
photo thanx to Tamar
THE DUSTY 45s: from Seattle, (have not seen them yet) but very positive reviews.
THE CASEY SISTERS: tremendous excitement-- so much so that Tail Records flew them over to Sweden for recording!
Tentative performers for the West Lounge, organized by Rockabilly Hall of Fame honcho Bob Timmers:
LESLEE "BIRD" ANDERSONWOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!! Bob Timmers is really going all out on this one!!!!!
EDDIE BOND and the Legendary Barnstormers
DAVE CRIMMEN & Band
DAVE & THE BAD CATS
MARCO DiMAGGIO from Florence, Italy
HACK & '57s
BRIGETTE HANDLEY from Australia
BARRY KLEIN, Author / Performer
JOSIE KREUZER & Band
JERRY LEE MERRITT
THE MEZCAL BROTHERS
RED HOT from Finland
ROCK A BOOGIE BOYS
BOBBY JOE SWILLEY
(Schedule to be announced soon. Subject to change, but most artists are confirmed. More may be added.)
Other acts appearing (where??):
Dragstrip 77 (now recording their second ROLLIN' ROCK cd), Skinny Mcgee & Mayhem Makers, Blue Ribbon Boys, Chester Everett & The Ranch Rhythmaires, King Memphis, Del Bombers, Wild Wax Combo and more to be announced.
KATS LIKE US will have a pre-party at Legend's Lounge (Washington & Lamb) on Wednesday (April 19) after my International Rockabilly Rebels Meet & Greet:
MACK STEVENS (Be sure to buy his third Rollin' Rock CD: "TEXAS HEAT")
ROCKET J: great female rocker from New York, soulful voice!
THE BLUE MOON BOYS: exciting, fun and hard rockin' act.
and there will also be a post-party on Monday (April 24) at Legend's:
THE LUCKY STARS: top Western Swing outfit
HILLBILLY CAFE: crazy rockin' Texans!
... and more TBA
Always Rollin' The Rock,
Rockin' Ronny Weiser
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