News Archive #6


Rest in Peace: Ray & Speedy
Ray Harris
Ray Harris died Thursday, Nov. 13, 2003 at his home.  
            In the history of Sun Records, Ray Harris is but a minor footnote. He only saw two singles released on the little yellow label, but his inclusion in any rock history book is based on the fact that both of those records just happen to some of the greatest and rawest rockabilly ever recorded at Sun or anywhere else in the 1950s. Born in Mississippi, Harris started out as a straight ahead country singer before hearing Elvis Presley and surmising that he could be doing the same thing and reaping every bit of the same share of the rewards. He moved up to Memphis and armed with little more than a burning desire to make it in the record business, put together a small combo with an eye on recording for Sam Phillips and being on Sun Records. The two singles he recorded, "Come On Little Mama" and "Greenback Dollar Watch & Chain" both did brisk local sales but were both too ultimately raw to be heard on radio stations North of the Mason-Dixon line. After playing lead guitar on a few stray sessions at the Sun studio (he can be heard on Jimmy Wages' sessions), Harris defected to the other side of the glass, becoming a successful producer for Hi Records in the late 1950s and early '60s.

Babe Ruth Amar Caballero (1973) Horn
Ruth Babe First Base/Amar Caballero (1998) Trumpet
David Benoit Can You Imagine (1980) Executive Producer
David Benoit Christmas Time (1983) Executive Producer
David Benoit Digits (1983) Executive Producer
David Benoit Lost and Found (1994) Art Direction
Bill Black Combo Solid and Raunchy/Movin' (1988) Producer
Bill Black Combo Bill Black's Greatest Hits/Plays ... (1988) Producer
Bill Black Wonderful World (1997) Producer
Bill Black's Combo Best of Bill Black's Combo: The Hi (2001) Original Session Producer
Bill Black's Combo Bill Black's Combo Goes Big Band ... (2001) Engineer
Bill Black's Combo Bill Black's Combo Plays the Blues ... (2001) Engineer
Ace Cannon Tuff Sax/Moanin' Sax (1995) Engineer
Ace Cannon Best of Ace Cannon: The Hi Records (2001) Original Session Producer
The Chocolate Watchband Inner Mystique/One Step Beyond (2002) Producer, A&R
Brian Cutler Wax Moons & Satin Roses (1999) Organ, Accordion
David Lee Daniels Black Jack Davy (1973) Producer
Narvel Felts Did You Tell Me (1997) Producer
Rodger Fox/Bill ... Something Juicy (1999) Liner Notes
Jerry Jaye My Girl Josephine [UK Bonus ... (2000) Engineer
Doc Kirby & Co. Doc Kirby & Co. (1973) Producer
Cleo Laine Solitude (1994) Trombone (Bass)
Willie Mitchell It's What's Happenin'/The Hit ... (2001) Engineer
Willie Mitchell Soul Serenade/Willie Mitchell Live (2001) Engineer
Willie Mitchell Sunrise Serenade/Hold It (2001) Engineer
Charlie Rich Charlie Rich Sings Country and ... (1967) Engineer
Charlie Rich Sings the Songs of Hank Williams (1975) Engineer
Archie Shepp Attica Big Band (1979) Trombone
Archie Shepp Attica Blues Big Band (1996) Trombone
The Standells Dirty Water/Why Pick on Me (1992) Producer, A&R
The Standells Hot Ones!/Try It (1993) Producer, A&R
Tim Tutor Boppin' Through the Milky Way Arranger, Producer
Various Artists Rivertown Blues Plus! (1988) Producer
Various Artists Memphis Rocks: Rockabilly in ... (1992) Guitar, Vocals, Performer
Various Artists Sun Rockabilly: The Classic ... (1992) Guitar, Vocals, Performer
Various Artists Sun Records Story (1994) Performer

See RHOF Ray's web page for information on his career.

Speedy West
"Sad to report the passing of steel guitar great 'Speedy West' today at 10:00 am central time, Novemeber 15, 2003. Speedy lived in Oklahoma and had been quite ill for a long time. Speedy was a great influence in early country music and beyond. He and Jimmy Bryant recorded some awesome instrumental albums over the years together. He also recorded with many great pop and country artists. He was a member of the band and featured on Cliffie Stone's "Hometown Jamboree" television show, that lasted many years, in California.   His gifted talent and his wonderful smile and personality will be missed, but his music will One of Speedy's great instramentals is entitled "Speedin' Home," and I'm sure he'll find peace there." -Jackie Burns           

Danny Cedrone Gets Gold Record
I've been a Red Robinson fan since 1956 when I'd come home from school in Everett, Washington and turn on CJOR and listen to Red do his magic. I was so impressed that as I grew older, I followed in his footsteps and became a disk jockey in Seattle for many years. We also share in a desire to constantly learn more about Rock & Roll. One of our favorite discussions is the unsung heroes of R&R.
           Recently, Red and I were talking about landmark songs and Rock Around The Clock came up in discussion. Now, any kid that ever picked up a guitar had to learn Rock Around The Clock and its difficult guitar solos, but hardly anybody knows the name of that guitar player. His name is Danny Cedrone, and he was born in New York and raised in Philly. He played locally in Philadelphia with his group the Esquire Boys and they released a song written for them by Bill Haley called Rock A Beatin' Boogie in 1954. Bill Haley was a good friend of Danny Cedrone, and every time that Bill recorded he insisted that Danny be on hand to play lead guitar. Danny played on most of Haley's recordings from 1949-1954. In April of 1954, Danny was called to the studio to help Haley and the Comets record their first Decca record 13 Women and Rock Around The Clock. Amazingly, Decca released 13 Women as the "A" side, and the record sunk without a chance to be heard. A year later, Rock Around The Clock was used over the credits of a movie called "Blackboard Jungle". The song took off immediately and established itself as the first multi-media Rock & Roll hit. Rock &Roll songs had been recorded as early as 1951, but Rock Around The Clock was the first song to achieve unanimous popularity.
           Danny Cedrone never lived to see his work accepted; he died six weeks after the song was recorded. He slipped, fell down a flight of stairs, broke his neck in three places, and died instantly. He was 33 years old. Danny and his wife Millie had 4 daughters at the time of his death. The girls were aged 5 through 12. The only fee they received for Rock Around The Clock was $42.00 for his session fee. With Danny gone, Millie had to go to work to support her family. Her youngest daughter, Janet, says that 1955 and 1956 were tough years for Millie because she would hear Danny's song on the air constantly. Decca records only made one gold record and gave it to Bill Haley. Millie was left with nothing to show for her husband's work.
           Red and I, along with two of our other friends, Stan Foreman (retired EMI promo executive) and Doug Leftwich, (Milestone Awards) decided to band together and have a gold record made for Mrs. Cedrone. She is 88 years old and lives with Janet in Philadelphia.
           It only took us 49 years, but we've finally arranged for Millie to have her gold record. The photo of Danny Cedrone was the last promotional photo he had taken before he died. Now you know about Danny Cedrone, the other guitar that changed the world. Millie, this one's for you darlin'. Danny Holiday, Tucker Ranch - Danny@DannyHoliday.com

Roc LaRue Returns & Records
"Roc LaRue is not better than the original, he is the original ..."
           Every time a rockabilly collector or fan thinks that they have seen just about all of the historic performers or have heard all there is to hear of the rockabilly genre, out jumps something new to surprise them. Roc LaRue is a prime example of that phenomenon. Roger "Roc" LaRue is best known, not for his name, but for the 3 minutes, 1 second of rockabilly music known as "Baby Take Me Back". With frantic vocals, a piercing lead guitar, and backed by a solid rockin' rhythm, Roc delivered a seminal piece of music history in 1957.
           Little did Roc know that while he was busy raising his family, after leaving the music business behind in 1968, his song "Baby Take Me Back" caught on like wild fire and for the last 20 years or more has been a mainstay of disc jockeys around the world. While Roc toiled on as a devoted family man, his song (like other 1950's recordings) became a part of Rock n Roll history. Just a few short years ago, Roc was summoned by one of his sons, who had recently discovered his father's music on the internet. Subsequently astounded and humbled, Roc has finally come to grip with his long standing popularity. Most recently Roc has been very active in promoting his new CD "One More Time" and has been interviewed and printed in nearly every Rockabilly fan-zine on the planet.
           As for his pedigree, in the mid 1950's, Roc began playing country music, but quickly let his music evolve and put rhythm to his hillbilly music and brought forth his own brand of Rockabilly. No one can conclude that Roc LaRue was a cover artist or someone who was copying another artist. Just listen to his 1950's recordings and you will find him to be a unique talent.
           Just as Roc was in 1957, Roc stands today. You will find him a complex musician, who writes, sings and plays his own material. He holds dear the time honored traditions of his music and puts every ounce of soul into his craft.
           Today, Roc is enjoying a comeback that promises to far eclipse his 1950's career. Numerous promoters, both in the US and Europe are actively pursuing booking agreements with Roc. One of the catalysts of this comeback is a fine set of recordings recently made in the New Hope Recording Studio and released on Wild Hare Records, in Berkeley Springs, WV. The recordings are on a 45ep record entitled lets "Get a Little Closer" and features Roc as a writer, vocalist, and original rocker. This new EP was born from an invitation extended by Dave Moore (Wild Hare Records) after meeting Roc at the Indianapolis Rockabilly Rebel Weekender.
           Upon arriving at the New Hope Recording Studio, Roc met his backing musicians: Thommy Burns (doghouse bass), Lance LeBeau (drums) and Dave Moore (lead guitar). The legendary Maynard Shepard would be the engineer for this session. Much time was used in preparation as these backing musicians arranged their pieces and worked on getting the sound just right. Once the band was ready to go, Roc lead them on his rhythm guitar through a series of jumpin' and pumpin' original rockabilly tunes. All of the recordings were cut live onto tape with no overdubs or punch ins. That's the way the crew wanted it, and it shows in the live performance, authentic drive and original tone of each song.
           The end result is a 45ep record containing 4 songs, each different, each full of roots, spirit and authenticity. The 45ep is cleanly encased in a black and white jacket with both vintage and current photos of Roc and his backing musicians. The 45ep includes a signed letter to his fans and the package is protected by a sealed plastic sleeve.
Here is what some people are saying about the 45ep:
           "This 45ep from Wild Hare Records is truly a keeper. Anybody who says they like real roots rockabilly will fall off of the chair when he or she puts this platter on. It is really surprising to hear one of the legends performing with 100% authentic sound."-- Fireball Records- Sweden
           "I think the EP sounds INCREDIBLE! This is the way this music should sound." --Thommy Burns
           "Nothing sounds as good as pure, vintage rockabilly - except for the new Roc LaRue ep that is. This 45ep sounds just like is was recorded at Sun Studios."--Kiersten Pruett
Why buy a copycat, when you can have the original? Roc LaRue rocks on! If you are interested in purchasing a 45ep, you may contact in the US WildHareRecords@aol.com or www.roclarue@bizhosting.com. In Europe the 45's are being distributed by Fireball Records at nicnilsson1@hotmail.com.

Memphis to Lead National Celebration
Of the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll

           On July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley recorded his first record, "That's All Right," at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis ... and rock 'n' roll took off. To commemorate that event and its global impact, Memphis will mark the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll in 2004 with a yearlong celebration of rock music and the many streams of music that converged in Memphis to create a truly American sound known throughout the world.
           To lead this major initiative, Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton has appointed world-renowned musicians Justin Timberlake, B.B. King, Isaac Hayes, and Scotty Moore to serve as Musical Ambassadors for Memphis.
           B.B. King, a legendary figure in American music and one of the greatest guitarists ever, is also synonymous with Beale Street, where he has been a leading presence for decades. "The blues and rock 'n' roll have always been closely connected, feeding off one another," said King. "It's that mixing of styles that has made Memphis such a fertile ground for musicians."
           Isaac Hayes, renowned as the Academy Award-winning composer of the musical score to the movie "Shaft," began his career writing and performing hit songs, including "Soul Man" for Sam and Dave, at Stax Records in Memphis. "I'm delighted to be a part of this national celebration," said Hayes. "Rock 'n' roll began in Memphis, and the city continues to be a focal point of enormous musical creativity today."
           Scotty Moore, recently named one of the 50 greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, played lead guitar for Elvis Presley on all of his Sun Records recordings as well as such subsequent #1 hits as "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog." Said Moore: "Having played lead guitar for Elvis' 1954 recording of "That's All Right," it's a thrill for me to be a part of this historic celebration."
           For the anniversary, Memphis will host a series of major events throughout the year. One of the highlights of the 50th Anniversary celebration will occur on July 5 - 50 years to the day when Elvis' "That's All Right" was recorded. On July 5, 2004, Memphis will be the focal point for a "Global Moment in Time" - a moment at which radio stations across the world will be encouraged to simultaneously play "That's All Right." This will hopefully mark the largest playing of a single song at the same moment in history.
           Additional events planned for 2004 are outlined below; other events and opportunities will evolve in the coming months:
  • "Countdown on Beale" on New Year's Eve will focus on the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll and serve as the kick-off event for the celebration throughout 2004.
  • Elvis' birthday is January 8, and there will be a number of events surrounding this day next year.
  • Other major events and activities in Memphis on July 5th will draw attention to Sun Studio on that historic day.
  • Elvis Week occurs August 7-16, 2004, and it will be themed around the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll.
  • FedExForum, Memphis' new arena and home to the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA, opens its doors in September 2004. FedExForum will be a state-of-the-art, 18,000+ seat, sports and entertainment venue, which will feature a uniquely Memphis music theme.
               Memphis is known worldwide as the "Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll" - with close to 20 percent of the earliest inductees in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame having come from within a 100-mile radius of Memphis. In addition to Sun Studio, Memphis is home to many other musical landmarks that add to its powerful history -- the Stax Recording Studio, where Otis Redding recorded his famous "Dock of the Bay" and now home to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music; Graceland, the Home of Elvis Presley; the famous Orpheum Theatre; Beale Street, the musical entertainment district and home of the famous B.B. King's Blues Club; the popular Gibson Guitar Factory, and the Smithsonian Rock 'n' Soul Museum, which showcases the chronology of the rebellious talent that helped shape the sounds of Memphis.
               "Memphis Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll" is a campaign conceived by Kevin Kane, longtime Memphis businessman and current President of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. Kane will serve as the Chairman of "Memphis Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll." For more information, please visit: www.50yearsrocknroll.com.

    RHOF Seeking Songs for
    Compilation CD Volume #6

                The Rockabilly Hall of Fame® has made plans to release it's sixth compilation volume shortly after the first of the year. We are looking for tracks from veteran and newer artists . These songs must be donated and the artists are responsible for all publishing. This is a great chance to for international exposure and an excellent way to advertise your past, current or upcoming project ... while making a sample of your work available to rockabilly fans everywhere. Song selection will be done by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame staff. Send your material, on a CD, to us as soon as possible. First come, first considered. NEW Deadline: December 31, 2003.
    Rockabilly Hall of Fame
    Volume #6
    P.O. Box 639
    Burns, TN 37029

    Hemsby Rock 'n' Roll Show No. 31
    2nd to 5th October 2003

                Once again it was time to head northwards to attend the gathering of like minded rock 'n' roll music fans at the Hemsby Holiday Centre. So bidding goodbye to the Wilkinson family (why was Mrs. Wilkinson still smiling?), I drove the chariot through a seemingly never-ending series of road works and arrived at Hemsby. Soon the rigors of the journey were forgotten as the rock 'n' roll buzz was in the air and it was meet 'n' greet time with old friends and new acquaintances

                Whilst other business commitments prevented myself getting there for the Thursday night, I understand that the two opening acts acquitted themselves well. First up was Mark Lee Allen's Drivers Bros., a Rockabilly band from Portsmouth in the UK. Next was Little Neal & the Blue Flames, who hail from Germany. The last mentioned were originally a session band but got the urge to go on the road. They have consequently built up a strong reputation as a good rockin' band throughout Europe. 

                This review will primarily concentrate on the acts that appeared in the main ballroom but mention should be made here and now of all the alternative sessions by disc jockeys and live acts going on at other venues in the holiday centre. One was spoilt from choice at times. The DJs pumped out a never ending selection of good rockin' music (albeit sometimes at a discordant level that prevented conversation) and acts such as Hot Chicken, Mystery Gang Trio and The Cordwood Draggers gave of their best.
                The evening in the main ballroom commenced with the aforementioned Mystery Gang Trio who came from Hungary and who clearly demonstrated the international and European appeal of good o' rock 'n' roll. The programme aptly described them as hot. Next up was the UK Jive Aces. This jump jive band goes from strength to strength, both in musical competence and stage visuals. They are all so together and are a delight to watch and listen to. Their version of 'Caledonia' was absolutely knockout. If they appear at a venue near you, make the effort to go along. For sure, you will not be disappointed. 
                It was now time for the first of the visiting American acts and for myself, a first time see although he has been to Europe previously. Who am I prattling on about? - well none other than the man in the red suit, Johnny Olenn. Due to a double hip replacement, Johnny performed his set sitting on a stool playing a guitar but that did not prevent him from getting well and truly into the feel of the music and motivating himself around on the top of the stool. He was backed up by The Jive Aces who did an exemplary job, especially their sax player who blew away in a true and marvellous rock 'n' roll style. After opening up the set with a rather overlong basic blues instrumental workout, it was into his two numbers performed in the movie 'The Girl Can't Help It', namely 'I Ain't Gonna Cry No More' and 'My Idea Of Love'. The music started to cook, especially with the jump jive tune 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah' which was followed by a marvellously emotive reading of the Chuck Willis song 'Oh! What A Dream'. For yours truly, this was one of the highlights of Johnny's performance. As one will have probably worked out by now, the set was basically a selection of the tracks from the Olenn LP 'Just Rollin', no complaints there. But the next number, 'Born Reckless' was a welcome surprise. A tour de force of rock 'n' roll, this is the title song of a somewhat obscure B movie starring Mamie Van Doren. A hopped up version of 'Candy Kisses' then followed before Johnny took up a lap steel guitar for 'Steeling The Blues'. It is not a well-known fact but Johnny was the steel guitar player in Rudy Grayzell's band back in the early fifties and this performance showed that he had not lost the touch. After a workout on a Joe Turner styled 'Shake Rattle And Roll' it was back to the aforementioned album for good interpretations of 'Twenty Four Hours' and 'Sally Let Your Bangs Hang Down'. The final three numbers were 'Rocket 69' a new number from a CD due out next year, 'Pipeliner Blues' and an inspired treatment of 'Annie Had A Baby'. This guy is the business and received full support from The Jive Aces.  
                But the evening was not over yet for we next had Paul Ansell's No 9' who are awe inspiring. They take country rock to a new level. To demonstrate what I am trying to say, when was the last time that one heard 'Lonesome Cowboy' (one of the songs that Presley featured in the film 'Loving You') coming from a singer on the stage and sung bloody well. For many, Ansell was the hit of Hemsby. 

                This evening's session kicked off with a performance by Southend's (my home town) own Terry & The Wild Ones. This was frantic no holds barred straight ahead rock 'n' roll performed in Jerry Lee Lewis style. Full of arrogance, 18 year old Terry must have watched every Jerry Lee video going and based his high-energy performance on that. This was a set chock full of stage visuals, piano pounding and raucous rockin' music. He opened up with 'Real Wild Child' (a most apt song) and then it was into the likes of 'Great Balls Of Fire', 'Blue Suede Shoes', 'Mind Your Own Business', 'What'd I Say', 'Tutti Frutti' and a rather weird version of 'Sea Cruise' (which sadly did not really work). The wild rockin' continued with 'C C Rider', 'Kansas City', 'Chantilly Lace', 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' (in which he smashed the piano stool to pieces - now where have I seen that before?) before concluding with '40 Days'. Maybe a little ragged in places and featuring too many well-known songs, this performance nevertheless inspired tumultuous applause. I know that I had a smile on my face throughout. 
                They were followed by Lil' Luis Y Los Wild Teens - a Mexican band based in Los Angeles. Out on the west coast, they have established a reputation as a must see band. For sure, they are a visual act. Alternating between tunes sung in Spanish or English and complete with a real raucous singer, this was an enjoyable set. 'Arkansas Twist' and 'Just Because' were sung in Spanish and worked. Other good numbers included 'Teenage Riot', 'Crazy Beat' and 'Rip It Up' (an original, not the Bill Haley/Little Richard song).
                It was then time for another fifties originator, Art Adams backed up by The Infernos and his own guitarist Bill Stewart who had previously played for Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and The Coasters. I did not know what to expect from Art but with this good band and guitar picker behind him, he gave an exhilarating rockabilly performance. His left leg did not stop quiverin' and shakin' throughout the set and the vocals were spot on. Complete with his original fifties guitar with his name inscribed thereon, there was plenty of movement as he rocked his way through 'Rock Crazy Baby' (sung three times), 'Indian Joe' (sung twice) and 'Dancin' Doll' (also performed twice). Other tunes included 'Is A Bluebird Blue' (great workout), 'Boppin' The Blues', 'Matchbox', 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'Mean Woman Blues' and 'Good Rockin' Tonight'. I look forward to seeing Art again on stage.
                We next witnessed a true professional at work. Eddy 'The Chief' Clearwater came on and rocked the Hemsby stage. Backed up by the House band who included Dave Briggs on guitar, Wayne Hopkins on upright bass, Paul Atkinson on drums and Clive Osborne on sax, the whole unit worked as one. Clearly all were enjoying themselves as a wonderfully garishly dressed Clearwater went into 'Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller' and I could not help thinking that if only Chuck Berry would give this high level of performance. This was rock 'n' roll at its best! Okay, Eddy basically earns his living as a blues man with his own club in Chicago and therefore had the tendency to elongate the tunes but his showmanship was such that he easily overcome this hurdle. Following the last mentioned were 'I Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down' in which Clearwater and Briggs joyously traded guitar riffs, 'Susie Q', a tune I believe was called 'Cool Blues Walk', 'Nashville Road', 'Boppin' At The Top Of The Rock' before returning to the Chuck Berry songbook with 'Reelin' And Rockin'. Clearwater then served up 'Let The Four Winds Blow' before closing out the set with '2 X 9' which segued into 'Hillbilly Blues'. This performance had Eddy playing his guitar over the back of his head in true T Bone Walker style. All in all, a gob smacking show.
                The close out act for Saturday was Germany's Hot Boogie Chillun who judging by the way their albums had been selling on the record stalls, are immensely popular. The programme described them as a band with their own desperate style of rock 'n' roll, this about sums it all up. They had to play several encores and there was still a buzz over their performance the next day. 

                Appearing in their own right, The Infernos, were the opening act this night and gave a tight rockabilly set. The Otis Williams Show featuring The Metrotones and The Swing Kings then followed them. The Metrotones, complete with a maniacal Den Hegerty, sung around eleven songs such as 'Baby Come Home To Me', 'Crazy Over You', 'Who's That Knocking', 'Forever Loving You', 'It's A Groove', 'The Glory Of Love' and 'Let's Fall In Love'. An enjoyable set of mainly boppin' songs. They then stayed on stage to act as The Charms for the night as Otis Williams joined them. As back up vocalists the guys were fine but from a watching and listening point of view, The Swing Tones were not in complete syncopation with Otis. This marred what could have been an exhilarating set. Having said that, Otis provided a good balance between up-tempo and slow numbers as he launched into 'Gumdrop', 'Ling Ting Tong', 'Two Hearts', 'I'd Like To Thank You Mr. D.J., 'Hearts Of Stone' (which did come across brilliantly) and 'Pardon Me'. The voice of Otis Williams was all the way there. He also performed a few tributes such as 'You Send Me' and 'Stand By Me' which both worked reasonably well but regrettably not so 'La Bamba'. I am still puzzled by the selection of this number from a guy who has had around sixty plus singles released under his own name. After the last mentioned, the set came to a somewhat abrupt end. I guess that I sum up this portion of Hemsby by saying good, in the main enjoyable but could have been better.
                The close out act for both this evening and Hemsby 31 was The Cordwood Draggers, a west coast rockabilly trio who are now based in Europe. Plenty of thrash 'n' bash in evidence and they proved to be popular. Certainly they enhanced their reputation with this performance.
                Attendance for this Hemsby was down a bit over the similar Hemsby at the same time last year but those who were unable to make it really did miss out on a musical rock 'n' roll feast. I really enjoyed myself and am looking forward to Hemsby 32 in May 2004 that has Hayden Thompson, Jimmy Cavello, The Bobettes, Ersel Hickey, Go Cat Go and Barrence Whitfield as the scheduled visiting American headliners. See's you there ...
                © Tony Wilkinson
                October 2003.

    Click to see Barry Dixon's Photos of Hemsby #31

    D.J. Fontana: R&R HoF
    Here is a petition to help get D.J. Fontana inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland. Spread the word and SIGN YOUR NAME NOW!!

    Glen Glenn's Bear Family CD
               Saturday, October 11, 2003 was the official release date of Glen's Bear Family "Definitive" CD. Bear Family has moved up the date to coincide with Glen's appearance in Memphis, Tennesee at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and The Shell. The insert booklet is 68 pages!! Check your local record outlets now. If you can't find it - ask for it!!

    Charlie Feathers Song in
    Quentin Tarantino Film "Kill Bill"

    CHARLIE FEATHERS' song "That Certain Female", recorded on Ronny Weiser's Rollin' Rock Records label, is being used in the soundtrack of the new Quentin Tarantino picture: "Kill Bill." Click for the official movie site, and see: Exclusive First-Look Pre-Release Review of the "Big Kill" Soundtrack. Ronny says, " Quentin Tarantino is a big aficionado of Rockabilly in general, and of Charlie Feathers and Rollin' Rock Records in particular." When you see the movie, stick around 'till the end of the lengthy credits in "Kill Bill", you can see the credits for the Chalie Feathers song that appeared early in the movie. Charlie's song came from a 70's Rollin' Rock release, and the credit said "Courtesy of Rollin'Rock Records and Rockin' Ronny Weiser".
    1. "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" - Nancy Sinatra
    2. "That Certain Female" - Charlie Feathers
    3. "The Grand Duel - (Parte Prima)" - Luis Bacalov
    4. "Twisted Nerve" - Bernard Herrmann
    5. Queen Of the Crime Council - dialogue excerpt from film featuring Lucy Lui & Julie Dreyfus
    6. "Ode To Oren Ishii" - The RZA
    7. "Run Fay Run" - Isaac Hayes
    8. "Green Hornet" - Al Hirt
    9. "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" - Tomoyasu Hotei
    10. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" - Santa Esmeralda
    11. "Woo Hoo" - The's
    12. "Crane"/"White Lightning" - The RZA/Charles Bernstein
    13. "The Flower of Carnage" - Meiko Kaji
    14. "The Lonely Shepherd" - Zamfir
    15. You're My Wicked Life - dialogue excerpt w/ David Carradine, Julie Dreyfus & Uma Thurman
    16. "Ironside" excerpt - Quincy Jones
    17. "Super 16" excerpt - Neu!

    Paul Burlison R.I.P.
               Saturday, September 27, 2003 - Kim Curtis, informed us today that Paul Burlison died in the home around 8 o'clock this morning. Paul was fighting a long battle with cancer. He is the last member of the Rock N Rio Trio to leave us. Paul always had time for the fans and loved being on stage performing. God bless a great guitarist, rock pioneer and fine gentlemen. He will indeed be missed by his peers, family, fans and friends.
  • More Info: Visit Paul Burlison's Tribute Page
  • Bill Ellis' Go-Memphis News Article
    Harlingen, Texas Bill Haley Day
    Honor City's Most Famous Resident

    Mayor Connie de la Garza has proclaimed Saturday, October 11, 2003, Bill Haley Day in Harlingen, Texas, in honor of the late "Grandfather of Rock 'n' Roll," who lived in Harlingen and died here on February 9, 1981. Bill Haley Day festivities include live music and dedication of a spectacular 20" x 12" mural honoring Haley at the corner of Jackson and A Streets in downtown Harlingen, at 12:00 noon. Haley's son, Pedro, will be on hand for the mural dedication. The public is encouraged to attend the free event, dress in Fifties "Sock Hop" attire, and enjoy the Classic Oldies of the period 1954 to 1969.
               Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and his Comets in July 1955 became the first rock 'n' roll record to achieve Number One status on the bestseller lists and become the first international rock 'n' roll hit. Bill Haley was one of the first to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 1987. Haley's music has transcended the generation gap, with hits such as Rock Around the Clock, Shake Rattle and Roll, See You Later Alligator, and Razzle Dazzle reaching new listeners and remaining as popular today as they were nearly 50 years ago.
               Artist John Aretak's created the mural under the auspices of the Harlingen Mural Project, a new program to create public artworks to beautify downtown Harlingen, interpret aspects of the cityís history and heritage, and attract visitors. For more information on Bill Haley Day, or on the Harlingen Mural Project, call the Harlingen Chamber Convention & Visitors Bureau, (956) 423-5440.

    Photo courtesy: Steve Bonner. This was signed by Gene when he was living in Dallas in 1957-58.

    Gene Vincent's Music
    in "The Singing Detective"

               Paramount Classics presents THE SINGING DETECTIVE motion picture starring Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson, Katie Holmes, Adrien Brody and Robin Wright-Penn. Crime novelist Dan Dark (Downey) occupies his time while hospitalized mapping out a screenplay in his head about a private investigator, who doubles as a singer in a dance band, investigating the murder of a prostitute in 1950's Los Angeles. Reality and fiction blur in Dark's heavily medicated mind, as he weaves the plot together with painful childhood memories. He is soon living in a fevered film-noir hell, where everyone is his enemy and no one can be trusted. Only Dr. Gibbon (Gibson) dares to take on Dark's tortured mind.
               THE SINGING DETECTIVE, featuring music from Gene Vincent, received critical praise at the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival. It comes out in limited release on October 17 and opens nationwide over the following weeks. More details to come soon.
    Visit the official movie website

    THE SINGING DETECTIVE tells the story of crime novelist Dan Dark (Robert Downey Jr.) who, languishing in his hospital bed, occupies his time by mapping out a screenplay in his head about a cynical private investigator who doubles as a singer in a dance band. His lead character is slowly drawn into a web of intrigue during the murder investigation of a prostitute in 1950s Los Angeles. Heavily medicated, the border between reality and fiction starts to blur in Dark's mind. The plot is woven together with his own painful childhood memories, and soon he is living in a fevered film-noir hell constructed by his own twisted psyche, where everyone is his enemy and no one can be trusted. Mel Gibson co-stars as the enigmatic Dr. Gibbon, the hospital psychiatrist who dares to take on Dark's tortured mind. -- © Paramount Classics

    Soundtrack for The Singing Detective
            "At the Hop"
                    Written by John Madara, David White and Artie Singer - Performed by Danny & The Juniors
            "Flip Flop and Fly"
                    Written by Charles Calhoun and Lou Willie Turner - Performed by Big Joe Turner
            "Harlem Nocturne"
                    Written by Earle Hagen - Performed by The Viscounts
            "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window
                    Written by Bob Merrill - Performed by Patti Page
            "Important Words"
                    Written by Gene Vincent and "Tex" Davis - Performed by Gene Vincent
            "In My Dreams"
                    Written by Bernice Bedwell - Performed by Gene Vincent
            "It's All In The Game"
                    Written by Chester G. Dawes and Carl Sigman - Performed by Tommy Edwards
            "It's Only Make Believe"
                    Written by Conway Twitty and Jack Nance - Performed by Conway Twitty
            "Just Walking In The Rain"
                    Written by Johnny Bragg and Robert Riley - Performed by Johnny Ray
            "Mr. Sandman"
                    Written by Pat Ballard - Performed by The Chordettes
            "My Special Angel"
                    Written by Jimmy Duncan - Performed by Bobby Helms
            "Poison Ivy"
                    Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller - Performed by The Coasters
            "Three Steps To Heaven"
                    Written by Bob Cochran and Eddie Cochran - Performed by Eddie Cochran
                    Written by Paul Evans and Jack Reardon - Performed by The Kalin Twins
            "Woman Love"
                    Written by Jack Rhodes - Performed by Gene Vincent

    Gene Vincent Added to
    Virginia Walk of Fame

    NORFOLK, VA - Sept., 2003 - The Legends of Music Walk of Fame, honoring musical greats from Hampton Roads, is about to get a little longer. GENE VINCENT, The Golden Gate Quartet, Keely Smith, Frank Guida and Bill Deal and the Original Rhondels will join the names of eight others adorning the sidewalk in the 300 block of Granby Street. Mayor Paul D. Fraim announced the five inductees at a news conference.
               Gene Vincent: This rock 'n' roll pioneer was born Vincent Eugene Craddock in Norfolk in 1935. His biggest hit, "Be-Bop-A-Lula," set a sales record for Capitol Records. He was a major influence for many future rock 'n' rollers, including the Beatles and Bob Dylan. In 1997 he was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
               These musicians join the inaugural inductees, who were honored last year - Ruth Brown, Dorothy Maynor, Gary U.S. Bonds, Bruce Hornsby, Charlie Byrd, Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey and Tommy Newsom. Courtesy: The Viriginian-Pilot

    Frank "Andy" Starr R.I.P.
    "It's a devistating day as another member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame has left us. Mr. Frank "Andy" Starr passed away on Friday September 12th, 2003 at 7:00am. God Bless, Frank, you will be sadly missed!" - Jinxy Starr - jinxystarr@elvis.com

              Frank "Andy" Starr, 70, died at the Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville. He was born Oct. 21, 1932, in Combs to Grover and Tennie Elizabeth Faubus Gulledge. He was a veteran of the Army serving during the Korean War.
              Survivors include his wife, Virginia Starr of the home; one son, Billy Gulledge of Helena, Mont.; five daughters, Sharon Miller of West Jordon, Utah, Linda Hone of Rathburn, Idaho, Deborah Brown of Killene, Texas, Trena Gulledge of Smelterville, Idaho, and Elizabeth Gulledge of Spokane, Wash.; one stepson, Lloyd Smith of Fayetteville; one stepdaughter, Patricia Hixson of Durham; one brother, Bob Gulledge of Combs; two sisters, Ernestine Shepherd of Mountainburg, and Margie Larkin of Sherman, Texas; 27 grandchildren and six great- grandchildren. Burial: Walnut Grove Cemetery in Crosses.
    Andy's RHOF web page.

    Johnny Cash Dies, Age 71
    September 12, 2003 - Johnny Cash, a towering figure in American music spanning country, rock and folk and known worldwide as "The Man in Black," has died, according to hospital officials in Nashville, Tenn. He was 71. "Johnny died due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure," said Cash's manager, Lou Robin, in a press release issued by Baptist Hospital in Nashville.
              The release said Cash died at the hospital at 1 a.m. EDT. He was released from Baptist on Wednesday where he had spent two weeks being treated for an unspecified stomach ailment.
              Cash had battled a disease of the nervous system, autonomic neuropathy, and pneumonia in recent years and was once diagnosed with a disease called Shy-Drager's syndrome, a diagnosis that was later deemed to be erroneous.
              Dozens of hit records like "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line," and "Sunday Morning Coming Down" defined Cash's persona: a haunted, dignified, resilient spokesman for the working man and downtrodden.
              Cash's deeply lined face fit well with his unsteady voice, which was limited in range but used to great effect to sing about prisoners, heartaches, and tales of everyday life. He wrote much of his own material, and was among the first to record the songs of Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson.
              Cash said in his 1997 autobiography "Cash" that he tried to speak for "voices that were ignored or even suppressed in the entertainment media, not to mention the political and educational establishments."
              Cash's career spanned generations, with each finding something of value in his simple records, many of which used his trademark "boom-chicka-boom" rhythm.
              Cash was a peer of Elvis Presley when rock 'n' roll was born in Memphis in the 1950s, and he scored hits like "Cry! Cry! Cry!" during that era. He had a longtime friendship and recorded with Dylan, who has cited Cash as a major influence.
              He won 11 Grammys — most recently in 2003, when "Give My Love To Rose" earned him honors as best male country vocal performance — and numerous Country Music Association awards. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
              His second wife, June Carter Cash, and daughter Roseanne Cash also were successful singers. June Carter Cash, who co-wrote Cash's hit "Ring of Fire" and partnered with her husband in hits such as "Jackson," died in May 2003.
              The late 1960s and '70s were Cash's peak commercial years, and he was host of his own ABC variety show from 1969-71. In later years, he was part of the Highwayman supergroup with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kristofferson.
              In the 1990s, he found a new artistic life recording with rap and hard rock producer Rick Rubin on the label American Recordings. And he was back on the charts in with the 2002 album "American IV: the Man Comes Around."
              He also wrote books including two autobiographies, and acted in films and television shows. In his 1971 hit "Man in Black," Cash said his black clothing symbolized the downtrodden people in the world. Cash had been "The Man in Black" since he joined the Grand Ole Opry at age 25.
              John R. Cash was born Feb. 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Ark., one of seven children. When he was 12, his 14-year-old brother and hero, Jack, died after an accident while sawing oak trees into fence posts. The tragedy had a lasting impact on Cash, and he later pointed to it as a possible reason his music was frequently melancholy.
              He worked as a custodian and enlisted in the Air Force, learning guitar while stationed in Germany, before launching his music career after his 1954 discharge.
              Cash launched his career in Memphis, performing on radio station KWEM. He auditioned with Sun Records, ultimately recording the single "Hey Porter," which became a hit. "Folsom Prison Blues," went to No. 4 on the country charts in 1956, and featured Cash's most famous couplet: "I shot a man in Reno/ just to watch him die."
              Cash recorded theme albums celebrating the railroads and the Old West, and decrying the mistreatment of American Indians. Two of his most popular albums were recorded live at prisons. Along the way he notched 14 No. 1 country music hits.
              Because of Cash's frequent performances in prisons and his rowdy lifestyle early in his career, many people wrongly thought he had served prison time. He never did, though he battled addictions to pills on and off throughout his life. He blamed fame for his vulnerability to drug addiction.
              He credited June Carter Cash, whom he married in 1968, with helping him stay off drugs, though he had several relapses over the years and was treated at the Betty Ford Center in California in 1984.
              June Carter Cash was the daughter of country music great Mother Maybelle Carter, and the mother of singer Carlene Carter. Together, the couple had one child, John Carter Cash. He is a musician and producer.
              Singer Rosanne Cash is Johnny Cash's daughter from his first marriage, to Vivian Liberto. Their other three children were Kathleen, Cindy and Tara. They divorced in 1966.
              In March 1998, Cash made headlines when his California-based record company, American Recordings, took out an advertisement in the music trade magazine Billboard. The full-page ad celebrated Cash's 1998 Grammy award for best country album for "Unchained." The ad showed an enraged-looking Cash in his younger years making an obscene gesture to sarcastically illustrate his thanks to country radio stations and "the country music establishment in Nashville," which he felt had unfairly cast him aside.
              Cash once credited his mother, Carrie Rivers Cash, with encouraging him to pursue a singing career. Cash lived in Hendersonville, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. He also had a home in Jamaica.

    "This is an early photo from 1957 with me, Johnny, Marshall, and Luther.
    This is a sad sad day. We lost our American hero. We will never forget him.
    And there will never be another like him. The man in black." - Glen Glenn

    Visit Johnny's Tribute Page

    The following statement was issued today (Sept. 12, 2003) by manager of Johnny Cash, Lou Robin:
              "In honor of the Cash families privacy during these times, the decision has been made to hold private - both the visitation and the funeral services. They wish to thank everyone for their prayers at this difficult time."

    The following statement was issued today by the family of Johnny Cash:
              "The family of Johnny Cash, in this sad hour, is greatly comforted by the outpouring of love and respect for his remarkable life. We also take solace in the knowledge that he is again reunited with his dearest companion, June. Our lives, and indeed the entire planet, will forever feel the emptiness of his loss, but his music and the greatness of his spirit will endure."

    Donations may be sent to:
    SOS Children Villages USA
    1317 F Street NW #550
    Washington, DC 20004

    Mac Curtis on the Radio
    FT. WORTH, TX - September 10, 2003 - Legendary rockabilly performer Mac Curtis is currently co-hosting a country radio program for Fort Worth's radio station, KFWR "95.9 FM, The Ranch. The program is aired Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 7:00 in the afternoon. You may listen on line by going to the station's web site. The format is Texas based old and selected new country music.
              Starting Sunday, October 5th, Mac will have his own weekly "rockabilly" show from 5:00 pm to 7.00 pm. on 95.9 FM. The format of that program will also be Texas based, but Mac will occasionally spin tracks from other rockabilly artists outside the Lone Star state. Interviews are planned as well. We are not sure, but this may be a first ... having a rockabilly veteran doing his own rockabilly radio show, "The Rockabilly Connection".
              If you would like to submit material for Mac to consider, please contact him at the station: Mac Curtis, KFWR 99.5 FM, P.O. Box 1081, Fort Worth, TX 76101.
              For those wanting to catch Mac "live" in the Fort Worth area, visit the Panther City Stomp web site. He's doing a show Sunday, November 16, 2003 with, Billy & Sid King, The Horton Brothers and Lost Country.

    Eddie Cochran Weekender
    UK - The 9th Annual EDDIE COCHRAN ROCK 'n' ROLL WEEKEND will take place at Chippenham, UK at the Olympiad Leisure Centre, Monkton Park, Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK. From Friday 26th September - Sunday 28th September 2003.

    Friday 26th September 2003
    A Gene Vincent Tribute with Special Guests GRAHAM FENTON with MARCO DI MAGGIO

    Saturday 27th September 2003
    From 12 noon until Midnight - 12 Hours of Rockin' non stop music
    From the USA - Uk Exclusive for 2003 - The first lady of Rockabilly WANDA JACKSON with the Bobby Cochran Band
    From the USA - Special Guest Appearance with the MARCO DI MAGGIO and his band ROBERT GORDON
    From Florence Italy - The Incredible MARCO DI MAGGIO AND HIS BAND

    Sunday 28th September 2003
    From 10.30 am EDDIE COCHRAN remembered
    From 12 - 5pm THE HEARTBREAKERS
    Supported by PEAVEY
    Classic Car Cruises Saturday and Sunday
    Memorabilia, Record and Clothing Stalls
    BBC Radio Wiltshire "Live" from the Olympiad

    FRIDAY = £12
    SATURDAY = £24
    SUNDAY £6
    Available from 41 Ashe Crescent, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 1RN
    Cheques and PO's payable to ECAS (Please enclose a Large SAE)
    Credit Card Bookings and Hotel/B & B info call: 01249 706333
    For all Festival info call: 01249 656350 or 07879 040723

    STOP PRESS: MIKE BERRY & THE OUTLAWS have been added to the list of Performers
    IN ADDITION on Thursday 25th September 2003, 8.30 - Late MARCO DI MAGGIO BAND will be appearing at the Four Season Pub in Chippenham.
    Friday from 3pm - 5pm in the Fizz Cafe Bar - HALLE-BOP
    Be sure to book your tickets early for this great Annual event.

    New Rockabilly Compilation
    Soon to be available - the various artist album: "Rockabilly Riot." Blender magazine gave the album five stars and called it "The Greatest Rockabilly Compilation Ever". The Rockabilly Hall of Fame believes this would be great compilation disc for new "rockabilly" fans and one that could be used to expose friends and family to a nice variety of "our music." Below is the track list.
    Baby Let's Play House - Elvis Presley
    Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins
    Race with the Devil - Gene Vincent
    Oh Boy! - The Crickets
    Ooby Dooby - Roy Orbison
    Come On Let's Go - Ritchie Valens
    Breathless - Jerry Lee Lewis
    Claudette - The Everly Brothers
    The Train Kept A Rollin' - The Johnny Burnette Trio
    Ubangi Stomp - Warren Smith
    Rockin' Bones - Ronnie Dawson
    My Boy Elvis - Janis Martin
    Flying Saucers Rock n' Roll - Billy Lee Riley
    I Got A Rocket In My Pocket - Jimmy Lloyd
    Right Behind You Baby - Ray Smith
    Sixteen Chicks - Joe Clay
    Ooh! My Head - Ritchie Valens
    Red Hot - Robert Gordon
    Go! Go! Go! - Roy Orbison
    Honey Don't - Carl Perkins
    Real Wild Child (Wild One) - Jerry Lee Lewis
    Rock Pretty Mama - Billy Adams

    Sam Phillips Dead at Age 80
                By Michael Lollar - lollar@gomemphis.com - July 30, 2003 - Sam Phillips, the man who turned Memphis into the birthplace of rock and roll as architect of Elvis Presley's earliest recordings, died Wednesday evening (July 30th) after an illness of several months.
                Knox Phillips said his father fell ill Wednesday while watching a Chicago Cubs baseball game and was taken to St. Francis Hospital. Phillips was 80, but even in his later years he remained a youthful presence whose company was sought by major musical acts visiting the city.
                His later years also saw critical plaudits and honors for an unorthodox and controversial style that defined not only the rock and roll sound but rock and roll as a business. Ironically, the rhythm and blues recordings that were the bedrock of Phillips's recording business influenced Presley and the entertainers that followed him to the corner of Union and Marshall.
                When he recorded Elvis's version of That's All Right in 1954, Phillips started a chain reaction that turned Elvis into the world's most enduring superstar. An outrage to the '50s fans of Frank Sinatra and Doris Day, the raunchy music helped create the generation gap and went platinum all over again with the release of Elvis's 30 No. 1 Hits last year.
                Becky Phillips said her husband ran the studio by a simple but revolutionary rule at a time when racial segregation was not just custom, but the law. The doors were "open unconditionally - period. A person could be black, white, down on his luck, big or little," she said. "A person's color was determined by what was in his heart and soul . . . He wasn't afraid of telling the truth about talent. If you didn't have it, he never hesitated to tell you."
                Before Elvis ever walked into Sun Studio, Phillips had recorded Howlin' Wolf, Rufus Thomas and Little Junior Parker among others. After selling Elvis's contract to RCA for about $40,000 in 1954, Phillips went on to make stars of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Charlie Rich.
                Originally of Florence, Ala., Phillips moved to Memphis in 1945 after working as a recording engineer in Nashville. He worked for WREC Radio, helping engineer broadcasts of big bands live from The Peabody . On the side, he opened Memphis Recording Service, recording black artists and selling the cuts to record companies for distribution. Phillips started Sun in 1952.
                Sun's role in blues music and introducing black bluesmen to the world would have put Sun on the map even without Elvis, says Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. But with Elvis and the rest of Sun's rockabilly cast, Phillips "is a massive part of the history of music. He got it before anybody," says Soden.

    Wanda Jackson Records
    Star-Studded CD: "Heart Trouble

    Pioneering female rocker Jackson's supporting cast includes Elvis Costello, Rosie Flores, Lee Rocker, Dave Alvin & The Cramps
                CMH Records of Los Angeles announces the signing of the "Queen of Rockabilly," the legendary Wanda Jackson. The label plans to release an all-new CD by Jackson -- her first in over a decade -- on October 14, 2003. Top-shelf roots music producer John Wooler was brought in to helm the project, titled Heart Trouble.
                "CMH is very excited about working with Wanda Jackson, who's not only a pioneering woman in rock and a country music legend, but who is also still rockin,' attracting new fans all the time with her amazing live performances" says label A&R exec Aretha Sills.
                The songs for Heart Trouble include a few newly-invigorated Wanda Jackson classics ("Mean Mean Man," "Funnel of Love," "Let's Have a Party"), a hip selection of country and rockabilly standards ("Cash on the Barrelhead," "Crying Time," and "Riot in Cellblock #9, etc.) as well as several new tunes written by Rosie Flores, James Intveld, Paul Kennerly, Kelly Willis, and Jaime Hanna (of The Mavericks).
                Did we mention guest stars? How about roots-rocker Dave Alvin; and Elvis... Elvis Costello, that is! Plus rockabilly star Rosie Flores, Mavericks frontman Raul Malo, bassman/bandleader & former Stray Cat Lee Rocker; post-Punk/psychobilly pioneers The Cramps (Poison Ivy and Lux Interior themselves!), and The Cadillac Angels.
                The duet between Costello and Jackson, "Crying Time," was recorded 'live' in the studio (Elvis insisted on this), using Costello's hand-picked musicians, including pedal steel guitarist John McFee and drummer Pete Thomas.
                With such a great cast and crew it's not surprising that Ms. Jackson has had a blast recording this CD. "CMH records pursued me to record for them after some deliberation we decided that would be the thing to do," she said. " I am so glad that I did. I've never had a more delightful experience in recording an album and I have one of the really great producers in John Wooler."
                Wooler has produced songs and CDs featuring Willie Nelson, Counting Crows, Buena Vista Social Club star Eliades Ochoa, Siedah Garrett, Young Dubliners, Joe Ely, Pops Staples, et al.
                The top-shelf rhythm section is super-solid and roots-deep: guitarist Smokey Hormel (Beck, Johnny Cash, Smokey & Miho); bassist Larry Taylor (Canned Heat, Tom Waits), and drummer Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits, The Fabulous Thunderbirds).
                Reviewing a recent New York city performance by Wanda Jackson (on the same bill as Narvel Felts), The New York Times' Jon Pareles enthused: "Ms. Jackson and Mr. Felts sang their old songs as taunts, crows of triumph, moans of heartbreak and cackles of lust, barely less immediate than they were when they were recorded. For them, rockabilly was not just a fond memory but a continuing insurrection ... Ms. Jackson also switched between rockabilly and country, going back to songs by Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, who entangled blues and country before rockabilly, to let loose her yodel. Her rockabilly songs had a sharp, raspy edge as she sang about mean men and the sacrifices she'd make for them, and she whooped and growled her rockabilly anthem, 'Let's Have a Party.'"
                This past January, L.A. Weekly's Jonny Whiteside declared, "Wanda Jackson, the sassy, growling Okie rockabilly chick who favored uptown formal wear over Western-themed gear and has the audacity to lead a mixed-race band during the rockabilly heyday, easily ranks as one of the all-time most radical country-music anomalies. With a set list of volcanic numbers ('Let's Have a Party,' 'Fujiyama Mama') and a stinging guitar style all her own, Jackson never followed the prescribed route yet managed to carve out a highly successful career ... Jackson's mastery of frantic ravers, country weepers and gospel soul-stirring has scarcely diminished; she still conjures them all with high-toned skill and an unusual brand of down-home elegance you'll find nowhere else."
                For more information, contact: Michael Bloom Media Relations, 323-258-6342, or musicpr@earthlink.net - www.cmhrecords.com

    Ollie Lee "Rocks The Earth"
    On Wednesday, June 18th, Ollie Lee Rock, formerly of Paris, France, now living in Phoenix, recorded an album at Burns Station Sound in Burns, TN. The recording studio also houses the office of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Musicians on the session included: Mark Winchester (formerly with the Brian Setzer Orch.) on slap bass; Larry Merritt (son of rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Merritt) on piano and harmonica and Bob Timmers (RHOF curator) on lead and rhythm guitar. Ollie played the drums, sang the vocals and wrote all the songs. This high engery CD is on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame label (RABHOF CD116). For more information on this exciting "ROCK THE EARTH" disc, please e-mail: Ollie Lee Rock

    June Carter Cash R.I.P.
    JUNE CARTER CASH passed away a little after 5 P.M. CDT Thursday, May 15, 2003 due to Heart Surgery complications. June was at Nashville's Baptist Hospital recovering from replacement of a Heart Valve May 7th. She was 73. June had Johnny and family members at her bedside, manager Lou Robin said.
             A singer, songwriter, musician, actress and author, Cash and her husband performed on record and on stage, doing songs like "Jackson" and "If I Were a Carpenter," which both won Grammy awards in 1967 and 1970, respectively. They recorded duets including "It Ain't Me Babe" in 1964 and "If I Had a Hammer" in 1972.
             In 1961, she turned down an offer to work on a variety show that had Woody Allen as one of the writers, agreeing instead to tour with Johnny Cash for $500 a week. They married in 1968 after he proposed to her on stage on London, Ontario.
             In his 1997 autobiography, Johnny Cash described how his wife stuck with him through his years of amphetamine abuse. "June said she knew me — knew the kernel of me, deep inside, beneath the drugs and deceit and despair and anger and selfishness, and knew my loneliness," he wrote. "She said she could help me. ... If she found my pills, she flushed them down the toilet. And find them she did; she searched for them, relentlessly."
             She was co-writer, with Merle Kilgore, of Cash's 1963 hit "Ring of Fire," which was about falling in love with Cash. She said the song symbolized her feeling of being engulfed by Cash. "John was notorious," she said in 1999. "He roared when he wanted to." In a 1987 Associated Press interview, she described her husband as "probably the most unusual, fine, unselfish person I've known. He's different. I think the word is 'power.' There's a lot of power to him. I've seen him on shows with people with a No. 1 record or a lot of No. 1 records, but when John walks on that stage, the rest of 'em might as well leave."
             June Carter was born June 23, 1929, in Maces Spring, Va. Her mother, Maybelle Carter, was in the Carter Family music act with her cousin Sara Carter and Sara's husband, A.P. Carter. In 1927, they made what are among the first country music recordings.
             The family act broke up, but mother and daughters June, Helen and Anita continued on as Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters, with little June playing autoharp.
             Starting in 1939, the sisters starred in a radio show on XERA in Del Rio, Texas, that could be heard as far away as Saskatchewan, Canada. The Carters went on to become staples of the Grand Ole Opry country music show in Nashville. The Carters' harmony singing still inspires artists today and Maybelle's "Carter lick" on the guitar has become one of the most influential techniques in country music.
             She did occasional acting roles, including the part of Robert Duvall's mother in the 1997 film "The Apostle." With her husband, she periodically performed at Billy Graham crusades.

    Hemsby Rock 'n' Roll Weekender No. 30
    6th May to 11th May 2003
             The time had come around for the biannual recharge of the rock 'n' roll batteries and so bidding (a gratefully happy) Mrs. Wilkinson goodbye, I left my home town and headed up the highway to the Pontins Holiday Centre at Hemsby. This time around, it promised to be an exceptional gathering and I was looking forward some great rockin' music plus meeting 'n' greeting with a whole heap of good buddies, old and new. As will be seen, this proved what has to probably be the ultimate Hemsby so far with quality performances from the visiting North American and European acts.

    Tuesday and Wednesday
             The festival commenced early this year but due to the need to earn to put some food on the table, I was unable to get there for these two nights. From the buzz going when I did arrive, there had been fine warm up performances from various UK acts such as rockabilly group Memphis, swing plus R&B outfit Maria Vincent & The Millionaires, the rockin' Dani West & The Southernaires plus femme singer Cat Cane.

             The opening acts for the commencement of the festival proper were a French band plus the king of swamp pop. Firstly came Ervin Travis & The Virginians whom I knew from their 'From Tidewater To Dallas' CD (Big Beat BBR 00077) to be a Gene Vincent inspired group. I normally have a problem with impersonators unless they are either exceptional or breath new life into their act. This band clearly fell into the former camp with Erwin having an oh so close vocal styling to that of Gene whilst the Virginians were bloody brilliant exciting musicians capturing beautifully the Johnny Meeks Blue Caps sound. This was a high energy, no holds barred visual rock 'n' roll. Erwin gave out with bags of Vincent's stage mannerisms on numbers such as 'Lotta Lovin', 'Yes I Love You Baby', 'Flea Brain', 'I Got A Baby and 'Dance In The Street' whilst The Virginians captured the Blue Caps licks to near perfection. Special mention must be made of the beautiful renditions of 'Over The Rainbow and 'Lavender Blue' followed by the show stopping pounding rendition of 'Baby Blue'. A great must see act.
             Johnnie Allan from Louisiana was making his first UK appearance in virtually ten years followed, backed by the UK Swing Kings. This guy is a master of the performing arts and has a singing voice to die for. Demonstrating both of these facets in no uncertain manner, it was straight into 'Let's Do It', 'Alligator Walk' and the swamp pop classic 'Sea Of Love. Served up next were 'What You Do', 'I'm A Hog For You Baby, the south Louisiana anthem 'Matilda' and Johnnie's own take on 'North To Alaska' with his 'South To Louisiana. The show had settled into a tasty mixture of up tempo numbers like 'All By Myself', the excellent 'If It Don't Hurt, It Don't Work', the boppin' 'Rubber Dolly' and bluesy rockin' of 'Sugar Bee' coupled with classy swamp pop ballads in the form of 'Lonely Days, Lonely Nights', 'But I Do' and 'I'm A Fool To Care'. The Swing Kings were ragged and pedestrian at times in the backing but such is the professionalism of Johnnie, he successfully overcame this hurdle. His set closed out with solid Cajun influenced rock 'n' roll of 'I Cried' and 'Promised Land'. Johnnie justifiably has a gold disc for the last mentioned, for sure he has made this Chuck Berry tune his very own. It is to be hoped that we do not have to wait so long for the next visit by Johnnie.

             Sweden's own Boppin' Steve & The Playtones were the opening act this night. Possessing both a pounding piano and vocal style based on Jerry Lee Lewis, but also a chunk of his own individuality, this was a plain good ol' rock 'n' roll set that was both enjoyable and stimulating. Steve is also featured on the soon to be released new recordings by Huelyn Duvall.
             Lynette Morgan & The Blackwater Valley Boys were next on. They are an authentic sounding hillbilly outfit and do not possess a drummer but still knock out a toe tapping rhythm. Apart from being most attractive, Lynette possesses a great voice. An enjoyable set. It was then time for this evening's headliner, Marvin Rainwater, will be 78 years young next July but this was not visible from an overall high-energy performance. It was a bit of a tentative opening with 'Love Me Baby' and 'I Dig You Baby' but by the time he reached the rockin' 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'Whole Lotta Woman', it had developed into a fast paced crowd-pleasing performance. An excellent interpretation of 'Mr. Blues', complete with hicupppy vocals, was followed 'Rovin' Gambler', 'Dance Me Daddy' and its alternative version of 'Rocking Down The Wall'. By now the joint was heaving as Marvin launched into his classic 'My Brand Of Blues' and 'Gonna Find Me A Bluebird. The last mentioned was fine until it was marred with by both a weak Fats Domino impression and an up tempo treatment, effectively destroying what is in reality a beautiful song. However it was then back to top notch rockin' with 'Boo Hoo', 'Hot And Cold', 'The Rockabilly King' and 'Old Time Rock 'n' Roll'. This was a good performance from a real veteran. 
             The penultimate act this night was Rob Glazebrook's R&B Revue, basically the Houserockers augmented with twin saxophones, performing a good mixture of R&B and rock 'n' roll with the likes of 'Rockin' In The Coconut Top', 'I Smell A Rat'. You've Got To Look' and 'Let's Take A Ride Tonight.. Whilst a little rough around the edges at times, the set captured the appropriate spirit. This evening closed out with Canada's The Howlin' Hound Dogs. Based in Montreal, the band has recently played with none other than Billy Lee Riley who is vociferous in singing their praises. 

             First up was The Texabilly Rockers from Portugal who were followed by the second Swedish act for this Hemsby, namely Eva Eastwood & The Major Keys. Generally an event such as this throws up a new to me act who bowls me over with their talent and this group earn that plaudit this time around. Eva is a beautiful lady, who possess a great voice and has good stage presence. No only that, she has surrounded herself with a set of first-rate musicians, especially the guitarist who had the sound and the licks off just perfect. Their set consisted mainly of original numbers such as the country-tinged rockers of 'Wendy's Wedding', 'Any Way The Wind Blows', 'I Do' and 'Don't Make That Mistake'. However the set really ignited with 'Go Young Man', 'Down The Hall' and 'Everybody's Gone & Done It', all of which rocked like crazy. There were a couple of covers included for good measure, namely 'Lovey Dovey' and 'Ain't Got A Thing'. I guess the nearest comparison to Eva would be Marti Brom, but she has her own unique brand of talent. 
             We were then treated to the delights of South Carolina's own Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones. Consisting of the original road band of Joe Bennett on lead guitar/vocals, Howard Sparky Childress on twin lead guitar/vocals, Paul Arthur on slap bass/vocals and Jimmy Denton on drums, the group rocked their way through their own tunes such as 'Penny Loafers And Bobby Socks', 'Boppin' Rock Boogie', 'Maybe Baby' 'Rocket', a top notch 'Bayou Rock' and 'Cotton Picker Rocker'. Generally Joe and either Howard or Paul duetted on the lead vocals whilst both Joe and Howard shared the guitar solos. Dressed in sparkle jackets and tops plus black trousers (naturally), the quality of musicianship on the stage was both aurally and visually a delight. Mixed in with the rockers were delightful teen ballads like 'Boys Do Cry', 'Beautiful One', and 'Softly' the last mentioned being recorded in the fifties but which was unreleased at that time. They were the perfect portraits of four guys having a great time and reliving happy memories. Apparently only Joe and one of the other Sparkletones were on the actual recordings but this was in no way apparent as the fellows rocked their way through 'Late Again', 'We've Had It', 'Do The Stop', 'I Dig You Baby' and of course the classic 'Black Slacks'. Another act we have to have back over here in the future.
             If the foregoing had not been enough, it was then the turn of Jack Scott & The Top Ranks to take the stage. I make no secret of the fact that I am a huge Scott fan and I cannot recall having seen him turn in a duff performance. Tonight, this was no exception - on the contrary, this is probably the finest show I have seen Jack give. Backed up by his own band, he was on the stage for ninety minutes. In that time, he gave us no less than 32 numbers, all played to perfection. His vocals were spot on and that band, lead by Steve Nardella on guitar, was oh so tight. All the regular pleasers like 'The Way I Walk', 'Midgie', 'Two Timin' Woman', 'My True Love', both 'Greaseball' and 'Leroy', 'Go Wild Little Sadie and ''Geraldine' were included. Also in the set were not so oft performed numbers such as 'Roll Jordan Roll', 'Down By The Riverside', 'With Your Love', 'Patsy' and 'Cry Cry Cry'. We were even treated to Jack's tribute to Warren Smith with a fine reading of 'Ubangi Stomp'. By now, hopefully you have appreciated that this was a performance par extraordinaire and for myself, it was capped by finally getting to see Jack perform 'Grizzly Bear' on stage, one of my personal favourites from the Scott repertoire. Baby, that was rock 'n' roll, true rock 'n' roll.
             The close out act for the night was the Smokey Mountain Boys, a UK hillbilly outfit who are regulars at various country music festivals.

             First up was Mischief from Holland. These guys were a rockabilly trio, with the guitar player handling the lion share of the vocals and he has a good r 'n' r voice. Plenty of energy and good stage presence with numerous Carl Perkins wiggles thrown in. The act was a mixture of originals and covers.
             Then it was time for the vocal group spot of the festival and for this occasion, it was the return of the Jacks/Cadets from Southern California. Comprising Willie Davis, Pete Fox, Thomas Turner and Edward Carter, the last mentioned was previously in the UK with The Medallions and is the replacement bass singer for the late Randy Jones. Backed up by UK's The Swing Kings, they opened up again with their interpretation of the Willows "Church Bells May Ring", the harmonies were good to the ear and the stage visuals were sharp. From hereon out, it was a mixture of up tempo numbers such as 'Do You Wanna Rock', 'Smack Dab In The Middle', 'Let' Rock 'n' Roll', 'Fine Lookin' Baby (aka 'Oo Wee Baby' or 'Fine Lookin' Woman'), 'Let's Make Up' and well performed ballads like 'Why Don't You Write Me', 'This Empty Heart' and 'Why Did I Fall In Love'. The latter often featured the haunting voice of Willie Davis. They of course included their real biggie 'Stranded In The Jungle',and naturally had to repeat the song as an encore' Justifiably this received tumultuous applause on both occasions. They also sung 'Why Don't You Write Me' a second time, but acapella this time around. A very good, very enjoyable show but perhaps it lacked the cutting edge of their October 2000 Hemsby performance. 
             The final act for Hemsby 30 was The Hicksville Bombers, a UK band who proved very popular with their brand of rockabilly thrash.
             The quality of the headlining and support acts was probably the best yet seen at Hemsby, generally it was a joy to watch and listen. But wait, let us consider 2nd to 6th October 2003 at Hemsby when we shall be treated to the delights of Otis Williams, Johnny Olenn, Art Adams and Eddy 'The Chief' Clearwater, looks like more top rockin'.
            © Tony Wilkinson
            May 2003

      In Review:
    Rhythm Riot No. 6

    By Tony Wilkinson
    Camber Sands Holiday Centre, Rye, England
    22nd to 25th November 2002

             Scooping up Mrs. Wilkinson and daughter Colinda into the chariot for their annual outing, it was that time when we again headed down to Camber Sands on the south coast of England for the sixth Rhythm Riot. The promoters use the expression "Rockin' Is Our Bizness" to describe this festival and that was a most apt description of the mixture of rockabilly, rock 'n' roll, hillbilly boogie, jump and jive, rhythm & blues and plain ol' dirty blues that erupted over the next three days. As will be evidenced in this write up, we were treated to some hot music and sparking performances.

             Friday, 22nd November 2002
             Dr. Snout & His Hogs Of Rhythm, a six piece jump jive outfit from Finland commenced the proceedings and gave a creditable warm up performance with numbers such as 'Going Down To The Bottom', 'Wild Dirty Women' and Bop It Up And Go'. Possibly a few too many numbers at a similar tempo but the scene was set. The Accelerators followed them, a rockabilly quartette from Scotland and what a tight sounding little band they were. The lead vocals from Steve Smith were spot on and the lead guitar picking from Dave Junior Smith was oh so tight and controlled. With Alan Big Al McCubbin on upright bass and Frank Stix Kosiba on drums, the band delivered one of the best rockabilly sets from a UK band that I have heard in quite a while.
             It was a balanced mixture of originals, mainly from their Raucous label CD 'Pedal To The Metal', such this title track through a careful selection of covers such as 'Lover's Rock', 'Blackberry Boogie', 'Right Behind You Baby' and 'All By Myself'. Certainly a band worth catching if you can.
             The scene was set for the first of the American visitors, Jimmy Cavello. He is of course known as a result of his appearance in the movie 'Rock, Rock, Rock' but had not previously appeared in Europe (he is currently based in Florida). As such, he was an 'unknown' quantity but any doubts that this guy was a rocker with a commanding stage presence were dispelled from the outset. Toting a sax and backed up by the house band for the weekend, The Rhythm Riot Kings Of Rhythm, and his own guitarist (Ron Spencer), it was straight into 'Loving Machine' followed by an excellent 'Fannie Brown'. Looking like a cross between a youthful Tony Bennett meeting Burt Bacharach, it was hard to believe from the excitement being emitted from the stage that Jimmy was 75 years young. He was singing away and honking on that sax like there was no tomorrow. I guess the nearest comparison would be Freddy Bell but believe me Cavello is his own man. The next number was Fats Domino's 'Sick And Tired' and Jimmy explained that he had played the Brooklyn Paramount with Domino back in the fifties. This was followed by 'You Better Leave Married Women Alone'' which is the same song as 'Soda Shop Rock' the aforementioned film but the lyrics had to be 'toned' down. Cavello was using the stage to its full advantage and the more he gave, the more the audience responded. It remained this way throughout the set, no let up, pure fifties rock 'n' roll. There were two more visits to the Domino songbook in 'Poor Me' and 'Please Don't Leave Me' plus a high energy 'Bloodshot Eyes', Good Rocking Tonight' and 'Jump Jive And Wail' in which Jimmy really let rip honking his saxophone. The best received number, really tremendous applause, was 'Rock, Rock, Rock' and his show closed out with 'Rock This Joint'. A great musician and showman, we need him back over here as soon as possible.
             The final act for the night was The Extraordinaires who have to be there in the forefront off UK vocal groups. Plenty of visuals and good harmonies. These guys are getting closer to the American vocal group sound all the time.

             Saturday, 23rd November 2002.
             This night kicked off with the rockabilly trio, The Jets, who have been around for many a year now but for one reason or another, I had not previously seen. Based on this performance, clearly that has been my mistake. Looking and sounding good, the guys came across as a well-coordinated threesome. Seeing as it was only 6.30 pm in the evening, there was a fair size crowd watching and dancing. A good selection of numbers including their versions of 'Yes Tonight Josephine' and 'Jezebel' plus 'Rockabilly Boogie', Georgia Slop' and Hokus Pokus'. Their act closed off with a good acapella 'Please Be My Girlfriend' and a hard rockin' 'The Train Kept A Rollin'. Next up were The Go-Getters from Sweden. Probably too much psycho in content for my taste, but they did appeal to others.
             It was then time for another unknown quantity as far as I was concerned with R&B come blues shouter Tommy Brown. Again, like with Jimmy Cavello, I was not to be disappointed. Backed up by the hard working house band, it was straight into 'Atlanta Boogie' followed by the likes of 'Double Faced Deacon', Fat Hardy's Tardy' and 'Goodbye Baby'. Tommy has a good voice, knew how to work the stage and mixed in the odd moments of comedy. I guess that he is one of those performers who epitomize the melting pot of blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll. There were elements of all styles in the act. Powerfully served up numbers were 'How Much Can I Stand', 'Old Rockin' Chair and 'Southern Women and clearly the set piece number of the performance was 'Weeping And Crying'. On 'Tra La La La La', Tommy was joined on stage by Jimmy Cavello and the two rocked away like crazy. For myself, the highlight of the act was a vocal version workout on Bill Dogett's 'Honky Tonk'. All in all, a fine fine performance.
             American legends The Crickets were the next act on. For this occasion they were back to a threesome in Sonny Curtis, Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin. I have seen them many times and they are oh so professional and make it all look so easy. This time it was no different but they did lack a bit of the fire that they gave out with at the Green Bay festival earlier this year. In honesty, they came across as being a bit 'jet lagged'. However their music is timeless and even with the aforementioned caveat, I enjoyed their performance. From a song perspective, it was all there with their classics included. It was also nice to see 'Real Wild Child', with Jerry taking the lead vocals, 'When You Ask About Love' and 'I Fought The Law' included. There was also a selection from the first Holly Decca recording sessions with 'Blue Days, Black Night', Rock Around With Ollie Vee' and 'Midnight Shift.
             The American vocal group for this Rhythm Riot was The Teenagers. Crikey, up there on the stage was a veritable history of New York vocal group sounds. Featuring Frankie Lymon's younger brother Lewis along with original Teenagers Jimmy Merchant and Herman Santiago, they were joined by Bobby Jay, previously with The Laddins, and Timothy Wilson who had a hit in the golden days of doo wop back in 1958 with 'Wedding Bells' as Tiny Tim & The Hits. Lewis and Timothy shared the lead vocals in what was a classic group show chock full of great harmonising vocals and stage visuals. It was a brilliantly choreographed performance and I was exhausted, but thrilled, just watching them. Opening up with 'Goody Goody', this was followed by fine tunes like 'Promise To Remember', 'ABCs Of Love', Lewis's own 'I'm So Happy', 'Honey Honey' and the beautiful ballad 'Please Tell The Angels'. All the time, the stage was a scene of synchronized and/or whirling movement and the harmonies were spot on. As this was a Teenagers show, we were of course treated to 'Baby Baby', 'I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent', 'Out In the Cold Again', Why Do Fools Fall In Love' and 'Paper Castles'. Clearly they were one of the hits of the festival.
             Closing out for this evening was Austin based Marti Brom who was backed up in a superlative way by The Hogs Of Rhythm. I have commented before that this lady has talent in abundance. Not only can she sing like a bird but she is so attractive as well, veritably the material wet dreams are made of. It was a tasty balanced country come honky tonk and rockabilly set with songs such as 'Maybe I Do', 'Why Are You Saving Your Kisses', 'Boo Hoo Boogie', 'Blue Tattoo', 'Jeopardy' and 'Unproclaimed Love' (a personal favourite). Up to now, it had been a carefully measured set with Marti demonstrating good stage presence (it was around 2.00 am in the morning when she started) but it really ignited at the conclusion with blistering versions of Joyce Green's 'Black Cadillac' and LaVerne Baker's 'Voodoo Voodoo'. Boy, she strutted her stuff and sang her heart out, I went to bed a happy man.

             Sunday, 24th November 2002. 
    The final night's shows had Maria Vincent & The Millionaires as the opener and they were followed by two short but tasty tribute shows. The first was to Boyd Bennett, who had been booked to appear but unfortunately died, and which was fronted by Charlie Thompson. The second was to the late Arthur Lee Maye was provided with a fine testimonial by hard working Extraordinaires. 
                Then came a real originator, namely Hardrock Gunter and I defy anybody not to enjoy his performance, even despite the fact that he had to perform sitting down as he had recently suffered a fall and had crushed some disc in his spine. His vocals were excellent, especially on 'Birmingham Bounce', 'Boppin' To Grandfather's Clock', 'Rock-A-Bop Baby' and 'Whoo I Mean Whee'. Hardrock performed a tribute to his late friend Hank Penney with his/Hank's version of 'Bloodshot Eyes' and he also gave out with his answer version with 'My Bucket's Been Fixed'. We were treated to 'Bonaparte's Retreat', 'The Right Key But The Wrong Keyhole' and 'Mountain Dew' before the set closed out with 'Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby' and 'Sixty Minute Man'. On the last mentioned, he was joined by Miss Mary Ann of the Ranchtime Wranglers and together the couple made beautiful music. 
             It was then time for the final American visitor, the New Orleans dynamo Frankie Ford. Backed up by the house band but with the brass section augmented to five strong, it was no messing and straight into Crescent City rock 'n' roll with 'Roberta' and Alimony'. Altogether Frankie sang his heart out on six Fats Domino tunes, namely 'Blueberry Hill', Ain't That A Shame', 'I'm Walking', 'Valley Of Tears', 'Walking To New Orleans' and 'Whiskey Heaven' plus 'One Night' in the Fats/Smiley Lewis style. These were no throwaway interpretations but full-bloodied workouts of each song. Huey Piano Smith even got a look in with Frankie giving 'Rockin' Pneumonia And Boogie Woogie Flu' a faithful rendition. Come 'You Talk Too Much' Frankie had discarded the piano chair and was pounding the 88 keys like there was no tomorrow. Frankie's performance finished with the inevitable 'Sea Cruise'. Frankie is a seasoned professional and a real extrovert,, this all showed through in no uncertain entertaining manner and long may it continue.
             The close out performer for this Rhythm Riot was Mike Sanchez and he rocked out in his unique style like there was no tomorrow. This guy is a real showman and he too has his own style. The set contained a mixture of originals, a couple of numbers from his Big Town Playboys days such as 'Big Fat Mama' and Girls All Over The World' and sparkling cover treatments of the likes of 'Down The Road A Piece', Shirley', 'It'll Be Me, 'Kiddio' and 'Shame Shame Shame'. 
             A great end to a great festival. But, to quote ol' Hardrock, whoo Rhythm Riot 7 is to be held at the same venue between 21st and 24th November 2003. Headliners so far announced are The Cleftones, Billy Lee Riley and Big Al Downing and I understand that negotiations for several other top acts are well advanced and should be announced soon. Telephone (0)20 8566 5226, fax (0)20 8566 2525 or contact the web site www.RhythmRiot.com for information and booking details.
    © Tony Wilkinson
    December 2002