THURSDAY, APRIL 14th
Green Bay, 2005
TEDDY RIEDEL (THEN)
TEDDY RIEDEL (NOW)
Teddy Riedel kicked off the performances on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the
Ballroom, backed by the Wildfire Willy Band. Looking very colorful in
his black suit with contrasting white piano keys and musical notes,
Teddy put on a good show.
He was born Teddy DeLano Riedel in 1937, and his early years were spent
on the family farm in Quitman, Arkansas. Teddy's elementary school
teacher, Annie Witt, taught him to play piano. Teddy focused lessons
around boogie-woogie and ragtime styles. As a teenager, Teddy had
developed his own style and began writing songs. After performing on a
radio station at the age of 15 in Searcy, Arkansas, the audience
response got Teddy a regular gig with Lloyd Sutherland's band on a
weekly radio show from the same station. By the time Teddy was 18,
Wayne Raney brought Teddy to Missouri to appear on Wayne's television
program in Jefferson City. They also went to Wheeling, West Virginia,
appearing on Saturday nights on "The World's Original Jamboree" on WWEA
radio. During the week Teddy toured with Wayne and his band in
Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
Teddy returned to Arkansas and began touring with Tommy Trent in 1956.
In 1959, while Teddy was to play backup at a recording session for Arlen
Vaden, the lead singer came down with laryngitis, and Teddy was given
the studio time to record "Knocking on The Back Side" and its flip side,
"Before It Began." It was subsequently released on Barton Records
under the stage name "Teddy Redell." He quickly became a fixture in
jukeboxes all over eastern Arkansas. Teddy then had a second release,
"Corina, Corina," b/w "Gold Dust" that was recorded at King Studios in
Cincinnati and released on the Vaden label in 1960. His third release,
"I Want to Hold You" b/w "Pipeline," soon followed. But it was his
fourth release that would become his most famous. "Judy" was recorded
in 1960 and originally released as the B-side of "Can't You See" on the
Vaden and Atco labels.
Teddy was drafted into the U.S. armed services in 1960. But even during
his army years, he continued his songwriting career with an exclusive
arrangement for Sonny James. Teddy married his wife Rose in 1964, and
they eventually settled in Rose Bud, Arkansas where he established his
own piano service business.
Teddy returned to the music scene in the 1970's, performing at local
private clubs. By 1979 Teddy was approached by record producer Cees
Klop of the Netherlands, and they released the first compilation of
Teddy's Vaden recordings on the White label along with a new LP of
Teddy's popular club standards from the 70's. In 1988, Teddy took his
first European tour and he was very popular in the Netherlands and
Sweden, and released a live album on Collector Records. Again in 1991
he toured the Netherlands, and new venues in Germany. That same year a
CD compilation of his greatest works appeared, and in 1997 Teddy
returned to tour The Netherlands and Sweden. His fourth and most recent
European tour was at the famous Hemsby Music Festival in England in
2002. A new CD, a recording spanning the 50 years of Teddy's musical
career, was released for that tour.
TEDDY RIEDEL AND THE WILDFIRE WILLY BAND
His excellent set in Green Bay included several recordings from 1960,
"Knocking On The Back Side," "Gold Dust," "Judy," l979's "Pipliner," and
other songs including "That's All Right Mama," "Hello Josephine,"
"Boogie-Woogie Bill," "Memphis," "Baby What You Want Me To Do," and
"Crawling Back To You."
TEDDY RIEDEL AND BARRY KLEIN
It was so nice to see a man like Teddy still displaying his talents
after half a century in the music business; he put on a good show, and
the crowd responded to it.
PAT CUPP AND RORY JUSTICE
RORY JUSTICE AND MENTOR ART ADAMS
ANOTHER BUSY DAY FOR THE VENDORS AND
AUTOGRAPH SEEKERS NEAR THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME AREA.
JANICE MARTIN THE EVENING BEFORE HER FANTASTIC SET ON FRIDAY
Also at 2:00 p.m. with the set going past 3:30 p.m., was the
Barnshakers' performance in the Casino Lounge. On any continent in this
world of ours, it would be difficult to find a roots/rockabilly group
that can exceed what the Barnshakers have: talent, creativity, cohesive
sound as a group and an impressively long list of recorded and in-person
performances, and although Carl Sonny Leyland individually was probably
in more sets than anyone else during the week (I believe about 10), the
Barnshakers were right alongside members of Big Sandy's band, Deke, The
Ragtime Wranglers and Wildfire Willie in a number of appearances. If
you include some of the members' participation with Marti Brom, I
counted eight times the Barnshakers took the stage during the week.
Boy did they have a crowd at that early afternoon show on Thursday!
Although I was probably there only 20 minutes, due to the Teddy Riedel
and Pat Cupp performances in the Ballroom, I knew that they would be
performing again at 11:30 p.m. in the Iroquois Room, and I dug what I
heard for the time I was there!
I remember Vesa Haaja performed a song he wrote called "Sioux Squaw."
After the song, Bobby Brom said, "How about appreciating what we just
heard: A Finnish group singing an American Indian song in an
Indian-owned casino in Wisconsin, U.S.A.!" Well, the big crowd was
really digging this show, and when anyone would gaze toward the stage,
they would see piles of beer bottles from the back of the bar right in
front of the stage. Jussi called them "rockabottles." I promise I will
delve more into the Barnshakers in a bit, including their aforementioned
set later Thursday evening, and I have also mentioned their rockin' set
with Dr. Snout & His Hogs of Rhythm on Monday, and we will still get to
their playing in the Lew Williams set, as well as the Hank Thompson set,
along with the Ranch Riot set, all on Friday.
BOB TIMMERS, PAT CUPP, BARRY
Pat Cupp and The Flying Saucers were an early rockabilly group that
started releasing records in 1956. Like Johnny Cash, Sleepy LaBeef,
Teddy Riedel, and many of the original rockin' daddies performing in
Green Bay this week, Pat was born into a musical family in 1938 in
Arkansas. His mother, Ruth, was a piano player and his father a
drummer. Two brothers and a sister were musicians also. By the time he
was 13, Pat had won a talent contest and was awarded a radio show on
KVMA Radio in Mangolia, Arkansas. After Pat and his family moved to
Texarkana, Arkansas in 1954, Pat met a new friend in high school who
introduced him to the world of country music. They played together and
performed at local high schools. Like Jack Scott and other rock and
roll musicians developing in America at the time, things changed for Pat
when he met Elvis, Scotty and Bill, and saw them perform. Once inspired
and encouraged by Elvis, Pat started performing, but without a band.
At one of the shows he did with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, Pat
started out on stage by himself, with just his guitar, and Carl walked
on stage along with Johnny Cash's bass man, Luther Perkins. A few weeks
after that, Pat formed a band and continued touring with Johnny Cash and
Carl Perkins. After a show on stage with Tommy Sands in April of 1956,
Pat was invited to be on the famous Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport,
Next month Joe Behari of Modern Records signed Pat to record for his RPM
Record label, and he recorded "Long Gone Daddy," "Do Me No Wrong," "Baby
Come Back," "I Guess It's Meant To Be That Way," "I Won't Remember To
Cry," and "That Gal of Mine." Pat was asked what he would call his
band, and he just laughed and said he wanted to call them "The Flying
Saucers." The band members thought it was a joke, but then realized
that Pat was serious, so at that time, it became Pat Cupp & The Flying
Things were going well for Pat Cupp & The Flying Saucers until Modern
Records tried to mess with his good rockabilly sound and wanted to
"mainstream" him into more of an R&B sound that was getting popular.
Pretty soon Pat was unhappy with the style of music he was playing and
also wanted to get away from his recording contract, as well as his
manager's contract. After that, Pat married his high school sweetheart,
Loretta Gaye, and began raising a family and had a daughter and two
sons. Pat's "day job" for 35 years before retiring was as a technical
and project engineer for a government contractor. Pat always continued
music as a hobby, but had to retire due to a profound hearing loss.
Still, even with progressive hearing loss, Pat was an honored guest at
the Hemsby Festival in England in 1995. Well, low and behold here we
are at 2005 and Pat, with some very strong hearing aids but only ten
percent of his original hearing, had a very good set at 3:15 in the
Ballroom, and was backed by his mates at Wild Hair Records. Speaking of
that, Pat's new CD, "Pat Cupp," is on Wild Hair Records, and contains
some new songs including "Contact With My Baby," "How Can I Tell You,"
"Get What I'm After" and "You Don't Love Me At All." Of course, he
opened his set with "Do Me No Wrong" and ended with "Long Gone Daddy,"
two of his most famous tunes from 1956. Other songs of Pat's from the
50's that he performed in Green Bay were "Baby Come Back," "I Guess It's
Meant That Way" and "That Gal Of Mine." I was very pleased at how good
Pat's voice sounded, especially after learning about his hearing loss.
Also, a word about the band on Pat Cupp's CD: Ace Brown, the band
leader of Ace Brown & His Helldivers, plays lead guitar on a few tracks,
and drums on some others. Johnny Bones is the bassist for Ace Brown &
His Helldivers, and Lance LeBeau is heard on drums on 7 of the 10 songs.
Lance, you might remember, played in the now legendary rockabilly band,
Go Cat Go. Dave Moore, with his wife Kiersten Moore, owns and operates
the New Hope Recording Studio, as well as Wild Hair Records.
Incidentally, the only reason that Dave and Kiersten were not in Green
Bay is that they had a baby just prior to the Rockin' 50's Fest.
Another great production by Dave and Kiersten!
BOB WILLS' TEXAS PLAYBOYS
WITH TOMMY ALLSUP, FORMER CRICKET, MEMBER OF BOB WILLS'
TEXAS PLAYBOYS, RECORD PRODUCER (Hank Thompson, Willie Nelson, etc.)
AND GRAMMY AWARD WINNER.
After Pat Cupp, Bob Wills' Texas Playboys took the stage at 4:30 p.m. in
the Ballroom. I know Bob Wills has been gone for a long time, but we
still had some of the "original" Playboys who played with Bob Wills. Of
course, over 600 Playboys played over the years with Bob Wills, but Leon
Raush, who was the lead singer for this group, was one of the well-known
members. Tommy Allsup, former Cricket with Buddy Holly and who has been
playing with The Texas Playboys for several years, has a long and
distinguished musical career culminating with a Grammy Award in 1999. I
have many recordings of Bob Wills' music that included Leon McAuliffe,
Tommy Duncan, Tiny Moore (who played with Merle Haggard for several
years), Johnny Gimble, Eldon Shamblin, and many others were famous
during or after during their tenures with Bob Wills.
Leon Raush was born October 2, 1927 in Missouri, and began playing
guitar with his father at local dances as child. After joining the
military, and playing on and off with local bands, he moved to Tulsa in
1955, and then received his first break with an appearance on The
Louisiana Hayride in 1956. On March 17, 1958 he was asked to join Bob
Wills and His Texas Playboys, replacing the vocalist at the time, Leon
Duncan. Raush's stint with Bob Wills lasted until the early 60's. He
had also briefly joined Johnnie Lee Wills' band performing before
forming his own group, The New Texas Playboys in Fort Worth, Texas.
In 1973, an ailing Bob Wills asked Raush to rejoin His Texas Playboys on
what would be Wills' final record, "For The Last Time." Following
Wills' death in 1975, Raush and the original Texas Playboys continued to
record and play gigs, including a high-profile appearance on The Austin
City Limits TV show.
Bob Wills' Texas Playboys were very well received and the autograph line
was one of the longest of the festival.
At 5 p.m. in the Casino Lounge, Eddie Clendening and The Blue Ribbon
Boys played for an hour and a half.
I first saw Eddie Clendening four years ago at the first Motor City
Spinout in Royal Oak, Michigan. Seeing Eddie, who is just 24 years old,
is really something, because his talent and confidence have been
developing for quite a spell now. "Ruby Ann," "Rock My Blues Away," a
little Sonny Fisher here and a little James Burton there, Eddie was
really rocking the house. When I saw Eddie called up with Rory Justice
to the Casino Lounge stage, those two "young Turks," whose combined age
is 39, were one of the many magic moments of the 6-day Rockin' 50's
BOBBY HORTON ON VOCALS, STEEL AND ELECTRIC GUITAR.
The Horton Brothers put on a great show in the Iroquois room at 6:30
BILLY HORTON ON VOCALS AND BASS.
I have been a fan of the Horton Brothers for several years, and my CD
collection includes "Roll Back the Rug It's ... The Horton Brothers," "Heave
Ho," and Bobby's appearance on "Bobby Horton vs. Derek Peterson 14 Jaw
THE HORTON BROTHERS
In the Iroquois Room they had a great band that included Shaun Young on
rhythm guitar and some vocals, Bobby Horton on vocals and lead/steel
guitar, Billy on vocals and bass, and two other musicians.
They did mention something about a new CD, but my email attempts weren't
answered, so please forgive some of the incomplete details.
I do remember that the sound for this set was terrific! Shaun sang,
"Face to the Wall," and I remember "Blackberry Bounce," "Sixty Minute
Man," and "North of Dallas, South of San Antone." Excellent set!
THE FENDERMEN (JIM SUNQUIST IN THE WHITE JACKET)
The Fendermen played at 7:00 p.m. in the Ballroom. Even though it was
not a No. 1 national hit, the Fendermen's "Mule Skinner Blues" (it did
get to No. 5 in 1960), was a unique, memorable rockabilly-like
arrangement of the original song written and recorded by the legendary
Singing Brakeman, Jimmie Rodgers. Actually, the Fendermen were two
people, Phil Humphrey and Jim Sunquist and their meeting, friendship and
subsequent success all came about serendipitously.
They were both born on the exact same day, November 26, 1937, Jim
Sunquist in Niagra, Wisconsin north of the upper Michigan border, and
Phil Humphrey in Madison, the state capitol and home of the University
of Wisconsin. Jim started playing guitar in his mid-teens and performed
with a fellow named Bobby Jenson, who also played guitar and harmonica.
Jim met Phil in 1957 at a party at a school in Wisconsin. They gave
each other their names to keep in touch, but didn't see each other for a
while. Then after Jim went back to college and was married, Phil was
driving a bread truck and came to an apartment building where Jim lived
and saw his name. Phil remembered the name, went up and talked to Jim's
wife, and left his phone number. At first Jim didn't even remember who
Phil was, but then got on the phone and called him. They got together
to see about forming a band. Jim was playing a Gretch and Phil was
playing a Fender Telecaster. When Jim heard the Fender, he just had to
have one too, so they called themselves the Fendermen.
Their built up a repertoire of songs, but it was about two years before
they started experimenting with some rock and roll, which the crowds
they played to seemed to like. While playing in a little club in
Stoughton called the Oats Bin, they decided to play "Mule Skinner Blues"
that, according to Jim, sounded much like what the recording later
sounded like. Since they brought down the house with it that night,
they kept performing that number. While playing frequently at the Idea
Bar in Madison, they were approached by William Draegger, who owned a
Music Store in Middleton, Wisconsin. Draegger had been coming in almost
every night they played for a month, and he finally asked them if they
ever considered recording "Mule Skinner Blues." Draegger sold his music
store to get the song released on the Cuca label. After the record was
released, Bill Draegger tried to get it going, but none of the DJ's
would play it, and Bill even went to Nashville to see Mercury Records,
but still no one would give it a listen. While Jim and Phil were playing
theaters in Michigan and all around that area, they came to the
attention of Lindy Shannon, a DJ in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. He put the
Fendermen on a Caravan of Stars show he was putting together and they
started off with the Huey "Piano" Smith tune, "Don't You Just Know It,"
and it brought the crowd to their feet. When they did "Mule Skinner
Blues" they really went nuts, and when Shannon came over and said they
ought to cut that song, Jim and Phil told him they had, and handed them
a box of the Cuca records. Lindy played it on his radio show, and it
was his pick hit of the week. It sold 8,000 records in two days. At
that time, the Fendermen were signed to Soma Records, and went into the
Kay Bank Studio in Minneapolis to rerecord "Mule Skinner Blues" and a
new flip side, "Torture," which was written by Jim and Phil. In May of
1960, Soma released "Mule Skinner Blues," and two weeks later they
appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on the Johnny Cash Show, which
featured Cash, Johnny Horton, Kitty Wells and others. Sunquist said
that they were booked into that show at the last minute because their
record was being played constantly by the DJ's in Minneapolis. The
Fendermen were amazed at the 10,000-20,000 people in the audience, and
they were so nervous they started to laugh and almost died laughing.
But after working through a few songs and then blasting the crowd with
"Mule Skinner Blues," they got 4 or 5 curtain calls, and Jim said it was
the biggest thrill of his life. From there it was appearances on the
Dick Clark Show, as well as other big venues, and "Mule Skinner Blues"
peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts.
After a couple of other singles and an LP, which didn't make the big
splash that "Mule Skinner Blues" did, Jim and Bill parted ways in 1961.
Humphrey kept the name of the Fendermen and went back out on the road.
Later Sunquist recorded a song called "Molly and Ten Brooks" as Jimmy
and the Radiants. It was released on the Cuca label. After 40 years of
not appearing together, Jim Sunquist got a call from Phil Humphrey, who
now lives in California, and after catching up, they decided to perform
together for the first time in 40 years at the Oneida Casino's Rockin'
50's Rockabilly Festival on April 14. Although their reunion did not
occur, due to timing and distance, they are making plans for other
events, but meanwhile Jim Sunquist and his Fendermen made their
appearance in Green Bay and are promoting a new CD, "Skinnin' Again."
The Vibro Champs from the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul backed up
Jim Sunquist and The Fendermen.
I didn't see any acts in the 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. timeslot on Thursday
night, but I have a good excuse: Slim Jim Phantom, Stray Cats drummer
and dedicated rockabilly cat, was organizing jam sessions in the Casino
Lounge in the evening and invited Bob Timmers and the Rockabilly Hall of
Fame Band, and their guests to perform for that hour. After the
Rockabilly Hall of Fame "house band" performed a few songs, Glen Glenn
did a couple of songs. Then Bob Timmers called me up to do my song and
dance routine, which we did to the old Chuck Berry song, "Around and
Around," but with more of a Rolling Stones arrangement. Then Kenny King
and others also performed to a crowd in and out of the Lounge, which was
a pretty good one considering there were acts going on simultaneously in
every other venue.
Also included in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame line up was Richie Lee, a
15-year old Buddy Holly look-alike who did several Buddy Holly songs.
Richie, incidentally, is not a "one-trick pony," because I saw him, I
believe it was Friday night, performing all kinds of rockabilly songs in
the Casino Lounge. . . . Let's see, if you add up the ages of Richie
Lee, Rory Justice and Eddie Clendening, you have a 54-year old. That's
Following Richie Lee was the good ol' Kentucky rocker, Art Adams. The
show Art Adams put on following Richie Lee would make anyone over the
age of 50 proud! After Art Adams, Marti Brom came on stage to sing
"Mean, Mean Man" and she had every male in the house wanting to beat the
c _ _ p out of whoever that mean, mean man was! Then Eddie Clendening
and Rory Justice put their 39 years together, and played and sang just
great together. I loved Eddie's rendition of "Baby Let's Play House,"
as well as Rory's great treatment of the Gene Summers' hit "School of
Rock and Roll." To top things off, Pat Cupp came up on stage to
perform. The Rockabilly Hall of Fame sure knows how to round up some
perfect pairings on a half-day's notice!
CARI LEE AND THE SADDLE-ITES
CARI LEE AND HER CD
At 7:45 p.m. in the Iroquois Room, Cari Lee & Her Saddle-Ites took the
stage. Cari Lee Merritt is an attractive singer resplendent in western
wear, who has been recording and performing with her band, The
Saddle-Ites, for several years. I know they have released two CD's on
the El Toro label, "Red Barn Baby" and "The Road Less Traveled."
GIN PALACE JESTERS
(Photo courtesy of their web site at
The Gin Palace Jesters appeared In Purcell's Lounge at 8:00 on Thursday.
This Chicago group is known for its mixture of hard-hitting hillbilly
bop, honky-tonk, country boogie and western swing. Besides possessing a vast catalogue
of the hillbilly and country hit parade, the band has three talented
songwriters, and they perform original love songs, novelty numbers,
honky-tonk weepers, drinking songs and dark ballads. Dave Sisson plays
the hot electric guitar, Casey Stockdon plays the standup bass, Buddy
Carters plays steel guitar, Rick Murawski plays drums and Ken Mottet
plays rhythm guitar. Ken is also so the perennial MC at the
Indianapolis Rockabilly Rebel Weekends, and served as one of the emcees
at the Green Bay Rockin' Fifties Fest.
(Photo courtesy of Frederic Schroers of KBOO Radio, Portland Oregon.)
Freddy Bell took the stage in the Ballroom at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.
Freddy Bell & The Bellboys was a band that "bridged" R&B with rock and
roll in the early Elvis era. In fact, it was in April of 1956 that
Elvis Presley saw them performing their post-Willie Mae "Big Mama"
Thornton arrangement of "Hound Dog" that inspired him to record his own
single just a couple of months later, almost exactly as Freddy Bell
arranged the Leiber and Stoller classic. Freddy Bell and The Bellboys
were also famous for their appearance in the movie "Rock Around the
Clock" in 1956. That same year, they toured the United Kingdom with
England's Tommy Steele, who was England's answer to Elvis Presley and
the subject of a comprehensive story in a recent issue of "Blue Suede
News" magazine. Freddy Bell and the Bellboys also released "Giddyup
Dingdong," that became a No. 4 hit in the UK. Other singles they did
included "The Hucklebuck," "Teach You To Rock," and "Rockin' Is My
Business." They toured England together again in 1964, sharing the bill
with The Animals, The Dave Clark Five and The Standells. Freddy now
performs as the Freddy Bell Show, and he is living in Las Vegas, the
town where he first played to Elvis 49 years ago. After appearing in
the film "Rock Around The Clock" in 1956, they also appeared the same
year in a teen gang exploitation movie, "Rumble on the Docks." Freddy
received the "Bear Family treatment" with a 27-track CD called "Rockin'
Is Our Business."
STILL HAS THE SAME SHOWMANSHIP ELVIS SAW 49 YEARS AGO!
JOHNNY DILKS AND BARRY
At 9:00 I wanted to see a guy I wrote about a few years ago when he
appeared at the Indianapolis Rockabilly Weekend, Johnny Dilks & His
Visitacion Valley Boys. I actually had learned about Johnny and
purchased his CD before I saw him in Indianapolis, so I was not
surprised to see a V E R Y B I G C R O W D in the Iroquois room.
Incidentally, I thought that the sound, especially on vocals, in the
Iroquois room in 2002 was often muffled, and this time out, for the most
part, the sound came across much better. This was very evident in
Johnny Dilks' set, because he is just great, and when he starts
yodeling, watch out! Johnny, who really should be releasing another CD
soon to his many fans who have been awaiting the next one, did great
songs including "This Must Be the Bottom," "Don't Come Crying," "Nitro
Express," "Sleep With The Blues," his signature song "Yodel Til I Turn
Blue," "Mister Saturday Night," "Full Time Loser," "Half a Heart and
Half a Mind" and several others. One song not on the set list that I
distinctly remember, as an ex-hippie in my college days, was a little
ditty called "LSD Made a Wreck Out of Me." Great band, great music,
great vocals, great yodeling. That's Johnny Dilks!
Buzz Wayne of Buzz & The Flyers took the Ballroom stage at 9:45 p.m.
Buzz Wayne was a Midwesterner (Ohio) who came to New York in the late
1970's, formed a band with New York area musicians, and released, as
Buzz & The Flyers, a 3-song EP in 1980 on the New York Dolls' Sing Sing
label. A subsequent LP was produced by Mickey Most and also Richard
Gottherer. The legend of Buzz & The Flyers includes very animated
in-person performances, very retro-50's, and Buzz's unique voice.
Although Buzz Wayne might not have enjoyed the same amount of success
that The Stray Cats did, many of today's rockabilly artists, including
Sean Mencher, were inspired by his performances and work, which people
tell me was just as good as The Stray Cats.
Included in Buzz Wayne's band was Sean Mencher on lead guitar, Shane
Kiel on bass, Jay Termimi on acoustic rhythm guitar, and Mark Cousins on
drums. Joining these fellows on stage for most of the set was Pep
Torres on rhythm guitar.
LONELY BLUE BOYS
At 10:15 p.m. The Lonely Blue Boys took the stage in the Iroquois Room.
The Lonely Blue Boys are actually three brothers from Hawaiian Gardens,
California, Ernie Vargas, Alex Vargas and little Ernie Vargas.
THE VIBRO CHAMPS
(Photo courtesy of Frederic Schroers of KBOO Radio, Portland Oregon.)
The Vibro Champs played Purcell's Lounge from 10 to 11 p.m. on Thursday
evening. I didn't make it, but I understand that they are a rockabilly
quartet from the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, with a
pretty good following.
The early rock and roll/R&B female group, The Bobbettes, took the stage
in the Ballroom at 11 p.m. The Bobbettes were most well known for their
mega hit in 1957, "Mr. Lee." This Harlem group began singing together
in a glee club in 1955, calling themselves The Harlem Queens. Their
manager felt that wasn't an appropriate name for a girl group in their
early teens, so he changed the name to The Bobbettes. "Mr. Lee" was
released just months after signing a recording contract with the
inimitable Atlantic Records. Actually, when the girls wrote the song
about a teacher at their school, it was not intended to be flattering,
and the A&R executives at Atlantic Records cleaned up the lyrics to make
it less controversial. Other singles for Atlantic did not fair as well,
although they did quite a bit of in-person appearances and also did
uncredited background singing for Clyde McPhatter and Ivory Joe Hunter.
At their last recording session for Atlantic in 1959, The Bobbettes
included a sequel to "Mr. Lee," "I Shot Mr. Lee," but the Atlantic
people were still not going to let the country know how they really felt
about Mr. Lee, and shelved the record and instead released "You Are My
Sweetheart," a nice but undistinguished doo-wop ballad that failed to
chart. After the Bobbettes left Atlantic and signed with XXX Records,
"I Shot Mr. Lee" shot itself to the top of the charts, which forced
Atlantic to release the original version. This incident was thought to
have fostered the "five-year clause" in a recording artist's contract,
in which an artist could not record the same song for a different label
for a minimum of 5 years.
The rest of their career involved many recordings, several label
changes, some with better success than others.
Here's a real ditty: The Bobbettes in 1964 recorded "Love That Bomb,"
which appeared in the classic Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers movie, "Dr.
The Bobbettes' last label for which they recorded was Mayhew Records
from 1971 to 1974. However, due to their longevity, talent and good
stage shows, they remained together during the Oldies Revival, touring
both the United States and abroad. I did stay for a good part of The
Bobbettes' set and the large crowd, in my opinion, was very pleased with
their good performance.
MARTI BROM WITH THE BARNSHAKERS
At 11:30 p.m. The Barnshakers, with Marti Brom joining in for a spell,
rocked the Iroquois Room. The Barnshakers include Vesa Haaja on vocals
and rhythm guitar, Jussi Huhtakangas (aka Lester Peabody) on lead
guitar, Harri Saanio on piano, Mike Salminen on drums and Mika Liikari
on upright bass. Among the songs they did were Wynn Stewart's "Come
On", "Knock Knock Rattle," "Heartbreak Train," "Hocus Pocus," "Tryin'
To Be My Baby," "Nature's Goodness," an instrumental by Jussi, "Boppin'
in Roswell" (a favorite of mine which I remember they also did in 2002),
"Twenty-One," "Wiggle Like a Worm" (Vesa always wiggles pretty good
himself on that one), "Two Gun Daddy," "Ya I'm Movin'," and "Killer
Diller." Marti Brom joined the Barnshakers on stage to perform "Maybe I
Do," and "Unproclaimed Love."
Marti Brom and The Barnshakers have a longstanding relationship,
resulting in wonderful in-person performances, as well as great
recordings. I still notice that "Snake Ranch," a 1999 CD of Marti
Brom's with The Barnshakers as her band, is still available for sale,
and is a good example of their synergy together. Plain and simply,
neither The Barnshakers nor Marti Brom were to be missed, and it's a
double delight to see them play together.
Several years ago, my friend, DJ, MC, rockabilly booster and impresario,
Del Villarreal, gave me a CD by The Dusty 45's, a five-piece Seattle
band. It had five cuts, but they were all great numbers that made me
thirst for more. I was just not going to miss them, and I really
enjoyed seeing them in Purcell's Lounge at midnight on Thursday.
There's something about a trumpet I love when I hear The Dusty 45's,
Sonny Burgess, Mars Attacks or I guess any group I've been hearing
lately that includes a trumpet player. The Dusty 45's did a Screamin'
Jay Hawkins arrangement on "I Love Paris," and they even got the polka
dancers going a few times. Great sound, fabulous music, inspired
dancing and a great time. You guys must tour the Midwest again soon!
JOHNNY BACH & THE MOONSHINE BOOZERS
PERFORMED IN THE BALLROOM AT 12:15 A.M.
I think the last time I saw Kim Lenz perform was in the summer of 1999
in Pontiac, Michigan when she was touring with Wayne Hancock (Wayne
Hancock had a cool trombone player then).
Kim Lenz is a native of California who moved to Dallas in 1994, and
formed Kim Lenz & Her Jaguars in 1996. Since then, she has toured
extensively, recorded "Kim Lenz and Her Jaguars" for Hi-Tone Records'
HMG label as well as "The One and Only." I have heard that Kim had
"stepped back" from her career for a spell due to family priorities.
That also might be why her web site has not been updated for almost a
But I can certainly tell you that she looked and sounded absolutely
top-notch on the Iroquois Room stage, at a quarter-to-one a.m. late
BOZ AND THE BOZMEN
(Photo courtesy of Frederic Schroers of KBOO Radio, Portland Oregon.)
Boz Boorer, the co-writer and performer for the British rock and roll
group Morrissey, performed in the Ballroom as the last act for
Thursday/early Friday. Incidentally, just under two weeks after Boz's
performance in Green Bay, Boz signed a worldwide exclusive songwriting
agreement with Sanctuary Music Publishing. Sanctuary, with offices in
London, New York, Berlin, Houston and Los Angeles, is the world's
largest independent owner of music intellectual property rights.
I saw Boz Boorer perform at a pre-Viva Las Vegas show in 2002. Boz is a
very familiar figure among rockabilly fans, for his work in the field
going back as the guitarist in the Pole Cats. Boz has performed on stage
with the likes of David Bowie, Adam Ant, Ronnie Dawson and many others,
including his wife Lyn who plays upright bass and is part of the
Shillelagh Sisters. Included in the Bozmen in Green Bay were Kid Dean
Rocker and Dean (Deano) Butterworth (of Morrissey).