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Teddy Boyo Boogie
As they sing on the title track of their 1989 album, "How'd you like your music, rough, tough and ready". A simple line that sums up the greatest Teddy Boy band of all time, Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers. Over he last four decades they've built up an enormous following across Europe, with a non-compromising style of hard rocking rockabilly, with a couple of gentle ballads that work equally fine. They're the Status Quo of the rocking scene, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.



The story started in Newport, South Wales during the 60's when Cavan Grogan, Lyndon Needs, Terry Walley and Gerald Bishop formed "Screamin' Count Dracula & the Vampires", but a lack of transport stunted their progress. By 1968 Gerald had been replaced by Brian Thomas and Don Kinsella, as they became "The Sundogs". They quickly built up a strong following thanks in no small part to the dynamics of Cavan on vocals (he looks the complete Teddy Boy hero) and Needs on lead guitar and backing screams!

It was 1970 when the band became "Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers", with the legendary line-up of Cavan, Needs, Walley, Mike Coffey and Kinsella, who was eventually replaced by Graham Price and then Steve Vincent. They looked as hard as they sounded, and that's hard. Coffey was the brother of Breatless Dan Coffey, the legendary editor of Boppin' News and one of the first British guys to raid American stores and warehouses for '50's singles to export back home.

The early '70s were instrumental in the band forming their own Crazy Rhythm sound and getting their name known. In late 1973 they formed their own Crazy Rhythm label and issued their first single. Now there have been some legendary debut singles throughout time, but Teddy Boy Boogie and Bop Little Baby is up there with the best. The top side is a menacing, rumbling classic, strolling with a heavy back-beat and lyrics to gladden the heart of any ducktailer. The single sold out quickly as did an EP the following year, featuring a great quartet of soon to be classics, Teddy Boy Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly Star, Wildest Cat in Town and Little Teddy Girl.



They turned professional in 1975 and have remained one of the hardest working bands ever since - travelling the length of breadth of the continent to perform their relentless crazy rhythm. On 26th February 1976 they signed with Joop Visser's Charly Records who later that year were to have a top three hit courtesy of Hank Mizzell's Jungle Rock. Some brilliant singles came out over the years, none better than "My Little Sister Got a Motorbike" which he wrote in homage to his sister who was one of the first girls in South Wales to have her own BSA. Their live show sees them stand and deliver, Cavan the wonderfully commanding leader, who continues the battle while his second in command jumps headlong into the crowd, all the while playing his manic leads - a truly cult band and beacons of the rocking scene.



Amazingly the group has stayed the same (in terms of music, attitude and personnel) for the last thirty years. When the rockabilly revival of the early 80's saw young rockabilly bands hitting the UK charts, Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers were lost in the shuffle, although My Little Sister sneaked into the top 50. With the exception of Matchbox, the bands tended to be young and good looking. Perhaps Cavan and the boys were just that bit too mean and dangerous for Top of the Pops. It was different story on the continent though, where they enjoyed chart success in the likes of Finland, Germany and France. It was during this period that I first heard the band. I bought the Teddy Jive 10" album in Hereford and played it to death. I didn't realist it at the time, but it's a sort of best of compilation of the early albums and it's a stunner. Tracks like Knock Knock and Stompin' Shoes just blow yer socks off.



The last time I saw them live was a couple of years ago at Hemsby where they were absolutely superb. The Reverend Boogie Brown joined them for a couple of numbers which only seemed to encourage the band even more. It was a dynamic show and was one of the best I'd seen there. One of the few groups whose exciting live sound is actually captured on disc, they are true ambassadors of rockabilly/rock'n'roll and should be a national treasure. As it is, hardly anybody here in their homeland Wales knows who they are. Thankfully, it's a different story in other parts of Europe, where they still reign supreme, to teddys boys and rockabillies alike.







Selected Discography
Albums
1975 Charly CR30156 - Crazy Rhythm
1976 Charly CRL5001 - Rockability
1977 Rockhouse 7510 - Our Own Way of Rockin'
1978 Rockhouse - Live At The Rainbow
1978 Charly CR30174 - Red Hot 'n' Rockabilly
1979 Charly CR30203 - Still Crazy
1981 Charly CFM101 - Teddy Jive (10" LP)
1981 Polarvox LJLP 1005 - Cool and Crazy Rockabilly
1982 Charly CFM40014 - Hey! Teenager
1983 Charly - Live At Picket's Lock I (10", France)
1989 Crazy Rhythm CRCD02 - It's Wild, It's Weird, It's Crazy
1989 Crazy Rhythm CRLP02 - Rough, Tough 'n' Ready
1996 Big Beat BBR00040 - Rockabilly In Paris
2000 Crazy Rhythm CRCD05 - Rollin' Through The Night
2003 Raucous RAUCD125 - Wildest Cats In Town


Singles
1973 Crazy Rhythm CR01 - Teddy Boy Boogie/Bop little baby
1974 Crazy Rhythm CR02 (EP) - Teddy Boy Rock 'n' Roll/Rockabilly
        Star/Wildest Cat in Town/Little Teddy Girl
1976 Charly CS1010 - Knock Knock/Get Yourself a Band
1976 Charly CS1021 - Sweet Little Pretty Thing/Stompin' Shoes
1977 Charly CS1026 - My Little Sister Gotta Motorbike/Teddy Jive
1977 Charly CEP118 (EP) - Boppin 'n' Shakin/Stompin
        Shoes/Knock Knock/My Little Sister Gotta
1981 Charly CYS1076 - Rockabilly Rules OK!/Trouble Trouble
1996 Crazy Rhythm CR03-Rock To The Rhythm/Wake Me Up
1996 Pollytone PEP102-Put a Light in the Window/Crazy Little Teddy Girl

Solo Alums
1982 Magnum Force MFLP018 - Cool Schooldays (Lyndon Needs)
1991 Welcome WRLP9107 - Saddle Tramps (Crazy Cavan and friends)
1998 Crazy Rhythm CRCD02 - Guitar Crazy (Lyndon Needs)





A few of my favourites from the back catalogue

Rockabillity
(1976)
CAVAN GROGAN vocals; LYNDON NEEDS lead guitar; TERRY WALLEY rhythm guitar: DON KINSELLA bass; MIKE COFFEY drums
         Get Yourself a Band; Stompin' Shoes: Sweet Baby Jean; Knock Knock; Waitin' For My Baby; Feelin' Blue; That's What Made Me Cry; Hey Pretty Baby; Sweet Little Pretty Thing; Dolores; Nobody Else Like You; Gonna Leave This Town; Get Yourself a Band [Reprise].
         On the back of the sleeve, Cavan told NME's Tony Stewart, "I thought it was going to be good because we had a good producer and a good studio. But I think the album's turned out better than I expected." Recorded at the Olympic Studios in London during April 1976, the album is at hot as that's year's summer, with scorchers coming thick and fast. Stompin' Shoes and Knock Knock are as frantic as they come and there's a lovely country feel to Get Yourself A Band. The foot comes off the accelerator for Sweet Baby Jean, Sweet Little Perty Thang and the wonderful Dolores - I'm a sucker for their ballads.



Our Own Way Of Rockin'
(1977)
CAVAN GROGAN vocals; LYNDON NEEDS lead guitar; TERRY WALLEY rhythm guitar; GRAHAM PRICE bass; MIKE COFFEY drums
         Boppin' 'n' Shakin'; Whatcha Gonna Do; Old Black Joe; My Own Way of Rockin'; Drinkin' Wine; That's My House; My Little Sister Gotta Motorbike; Why Don't Somebody; Tennessee Border; Teddy Jive; Gotta Be My Baby; Monkey and the Baboon; Gonna Rock, Gonna Roll, Gonna Boogie; Saturday Night
         By the time the King had left us, Cavan and the Rockers had truly arrived. Boppin' 'n' Shakin', My Little Sister and Teddy Jive make the hits of the day by yer Bowie's and Poxy Music's seem tame, man, tame. Tennessee Border is hypnotic, as all good rockabilly should be and Gonna Rock, Gonna Roll, Gonna Boogie is a stroller full of menace. Their adaptation of Old Black Joe has to be heard to be believed and is now a staple of their live shows.


Cool and Crazy Rockabilly
(1981)
CAVAN GROGAN vocals; LYNDON NEEDS lead guitar; TERRY WALLEY rhythm guitar; DON KINSELLA bass; MIKE COFFEY drums; GERAINT WATKINS piano
         Big Black Cadillac; Lonesome Baby Blues; Standing in Your Window; Are You Still Crazy; I'll Be There; Hey Good Looking; She's a Crazy Child; Train of Love; I Forgot to Tell My Baby; The Crazy Stomp; Johnny's Gone Walking; Teenage Heart; Betty Lou's Got a New Pair of Shoes; Boogie Woogie Country Girl
         1981 was one hell of a year for modern day rockabilly with chart hits coming thick and fast. I can't really understand how something like Lonesome Baby Blues wasn't released as a single, it's real dance floor fodder. There's a couple of pounders in Are You Still Crazy and The Crazy Stomp that are just unrelenting. There's some lovely gentler moments with Hoyt Johnson's Standing In Your Window and one I always loved, Johnny's Gone Walking. It's not all fast or slow though, there's some mid-tempo tracks as well that help make this one of their most rounded albums. In this category we have two beauties in Train Of Love and the opener, Big Black Cadillac.

Wildest Cats in Town
(2003)
CAVAN GROGAN vocals, harmonica; LYNDON NEEDS lead guitar; TERRY WALLEY rhythm guitar; DON KINSELLA bass; STEVE 'VANCE' VINCENT bass; MIKE COFFEY drums
         Stompin' Shoes / Wildest Cat in Town / Boppin' and Shakin' / Rockabilly Rules OK / Teddy Boy Boogie / Teddy Jive / Gonna Rock Gonna Roll Gonna Boogie / Old Black Joe / Saturday Night / Trouble Trouble / Alabama Shake / Knock Knock / Bonnie / Sweet Little Pretty Baby / Sweet Baby Jean / Hey Pretty Baby / Delores / Sadie / Waitin' For My Baby / Rock Around With Ollie Vee / Bop Pretty Baby / My Little Sister's Got a Motor Bike / She's The One to Blame / Okie Boogie / Get Yourself a Band / Rockabilly Star / Gonna Leave This Town / Real Gone Lover
         This "Best of" compilation is a stunning release that manages to capture the very essence of the band and their image. Originals like Wildest Cat in Town, Teddy Boy Boogie, Get Yourself A Band and the hiccupy Rockabilly Star feature the sound and lyrics that have given the band such legendary status - as they say themselves, rough 'n' tough. You can pull your heart-strings to Sadie or pull your hamstrings to Stompin' Shows - just listen to the great melodic solo from Needs. Cavan's vocals shouldn't be overlooked, he's just so cool - take a listen to Trouble Trouble to hear him at his best.
         Although their best known numbers are originals, they've also done some great covers. Alabama Shake is more manic than Gene Summers and no-one does Old Black Joe quite like them. Their version of Saturday Night makes the great Roy Brown sound like Frankie Avalon - Lyndon Needs sounded madder than ever with his cat calls. The r'n'b Real Gone Lover and the hillbilly Oakie Boogie are further examples of how the classics can sound once they've been given the Crazy Rhythm treatment.


Shaun Mather
Shaun.mather@btinternet.com
March 2004






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