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HAIL! HAIL! ROCKNROLL! THE MUSIC, THE IC, THE STORIES, THE LIFESTYLE
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FRANKIE LYMON
THE ORIGINAL
TEEN SENSATION
NEW MAGAZINE!
RE-LIVE THE GOLDEN ERA
RITCHIE VALENS
WHITE HOT
CHICANO ROCK
The Genius Of
9 772054 357003
1 1
VINTAGE
ROCK
I
ssue 11
VINTAGE ROCK MAGAZINE ISSUE 11 MAY/JUNE 2014 5.99
DISCOVER THE SOUND OF FURY
OUT TO ROCK!
MUSIC & DANCE IN
THE MIDLANDS
STARRING
ALAN FREED
SONNY BURGESS
NEIL SEDAKA
VERNONS GIRLS
& MORE...
40
GREATEST
R&B
RECORDS
RAY CHARLES
BI LLY FURY
ROCKABILLY
QUEEN!
Album
REVI EWS
BUY OR DENY?
WANDA
JACKSON
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Welcome.
.
.
Welcome.
.
.
WELCOME
Anthem Publishing, Station House,
Station Approach, off North Street,
Carshalton, SM5 2HW
Tel 020 8773 3865
Email vintagerock@anthem-publishing.com
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01273 840388
richard.ynn@anthem-publishing.com
ART EDITOR Rob Bewick
rob.bewick@anthem-publishing.com
OPERATIONS EDITOR Jon Palmer
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CONTRIBUTORS Steve Aynsley, David Burke,
Julie Burns, Alan Clayson, Sean Egan, Vince
Eager, Randy Fox, Michael Heatley,
John Howard, Jeremy Isaac, Paul Rigby
PHOTOGRAPHY Paul Harris
AD SALES REPRESENTATION Leah Fitz-Henry
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purchase. No part of this publication may be
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Vintage Rock magazine recognises all copyrights
contained within the issue. Where possible we
acknowledge the copyright holder.
We felt, here at Vintage Rock Towers, that it really was high
time we toasted the great ladies of rocknroll on the cover of the
magazine and who better to grace that heralded spot than the
inimitable Queen of Rockabilly herself, Wanda Jackon. We were
lucky enough to wangle an exclusive interview with rocks rst
lady, in which Wanda opens up about her memories of the 50s
scene, her unending love of rocknroll, her relationship with
Elvis and whats on the horizon Boy! Shes one hell of a woman!
This really is an unmissable treat for any devoted rocknrollers.
Elsewhere, we pay tribute to La Bamba star Ritchie Valens,
R&B genius Ray Charles, rocknroll lothario Alan Freed, Brit
starlets the Vernons Girls and honour doo-wop superstar Frankie
Lymon. And the rock by no means stops there. We were lucky
enough to score further exclusive interviews with Sun icon
Sonny Burgess, R&B star Gary US Bonds and Brill Building
songsmith Neil Sedaka - fascinating stuff! We also continue our
rocknroll labels series, offer up our Top 40 Greatest R&B sides
and explore Billy Furys classic album The Sound Of Fury with
insider knowledge via a great chin-wag with ace guitarist Joe
Brown. Add to that a prole of the current Midlands rockin
scene, Readers Jukebox, our Rockin Race review and the usual
news and reviews, and its a bumper issue!
Feel free to visit our Facebook page and Twitter feed for all the
latest news, rockin music, competitions and to get involved in
the many discussions. And lastly, be sure to check out our new
subscriptions offer, to save some of your hard-earned cash and to
guarantee your copy of Vintage Rock. Enjoy the issue!
ISSUE 6 VINTAGE ROCK 3
DONT MI SS OUR
GREAT SUBS OFFER
PAGE 106-107
ON THE COVER
98
74
92
84
4 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
20
64
42
IN THE ISSUE
ON THE COVER
36
74
Contents
Contents
THE STARS
WANDA JACKSON 20
With 60 years of rockin under her belt, the undisputed Queen of RocknRoll shows no sign of letting
up just yet. Vintage Rock scored an exclusive interview with the wildest woman in rock.
RITCHIE VALENS 30
He was at the forefront of the Chicano movement and made his indelible mark in a very short space
of time before he met the same tragic end as Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. We pay tribute.
RAY CHARLES 36
Rhythm and blues icon Ray Charles took gospel music out of the church aisles and into the
mainstream, and led the way for the rocknroll revolution that followed.
ALAN FREED 42
Mover and shaker, superstar deejay, concert promoter and all-round lothario, the Moondog made
the rise of rocknroll possible with star quality and unappable condence. Prole by Randy Fox.
FRANKIE LYMON 64
Doo-wop icon Frankie Lymon was the very rst teen star the world had seen. With the purest of
voices he headed up the rise of close harmony groups in the US. Paul Rigby investigates.
SONNY BURGESS 74
Part of the original Sun Records recording roster, Burgess was at the centre of rocknroll, and now
performs as part of the Sun Rockabilly Show. David Burke sits down with a rockabilly legend.
THE VERNONS GIRLS 80
The Vernons Pool girls started life as an eleven-piece singing group before they became a trio and
performed alongside the likes of Billy Fury and Cliff Richard. Julie Burns tells their story.
THE FEATURES
ALL MAMAS CHILDREN 6
The London Burlesque Festival, summer rocknroll weekenders, tattoo shows and custom guitars
TOP 40 GREATEST R&B TRACKS 48
This issue we visit the world of R&B and uncover 40 of the greatest tracks to grace the airwaves.
TEXAS TO TENNESSEE 58
In the third instalment of our independent label series, we cover Duke-Peacock, Excello and Starday.
POSTERS 70
Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley and Johnny Kidd.
READERS JUKEBOX 86
You delivered your favourite songs for romance.
CLASSIC ALBUM 92
With songwriting skills that surpassed the competition, Brit rocker Billy Fury was more than just a
rocknroll star. Alan Clayson delves into his electric debut album The Sound Of Fury.
OUT TO ROCK 98
Julie Burns explores the rockin scene in Birmingham and the Midlands.
ALBUM REVIEWS 102
Rare rockabilly compilations, R&B powerhouses, psychobilly and an unmissable Wanda collection.
ROCKIN RACE JAMBOREE LIVE REVIEW 108
John Howard headed out for a dose of rockabilly in the Spanish sun.
VINCE EAGER: A LIFE IN ROCKNROLL 110
Car trouble leads to an impromptu late night performance from Billy Fury
FREE CD BUNDLE
when you subscribe!
PAGE 106
6 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11

IMELDA STEPS UP
Ahead of the release of her highly anticipated new album Tribal in June, Irish TV
channel RT has given Imelda May her own TV programme, The Imelda May Show.
The channel commissioned the show as a showcase for Irish musicians, similar in
style to the BBCs Later With Jools Holland. The pilot episode was aired on
Sunday March 16 and featured top Irish talents including performances from
Finbar Furey, The Original Rudeboys, Nathan Carter, Sharon Shannon, and Imelda
with her band. I have absolutely no longing or ambitions to be a TV presenter
but when I heard about this music show I was very interested, May told the RT
Guide. There are so many great bands in Ireland that need a platform to get out
there. And of course, Jools Holland gave me my break on his TV show.
Mays new album hits stores just in time for summer, shortly before her 40th
birthday. Its my favourite album so far, said May. Im rocking out on it. I was
hoping it would be out earlier but these things dont always work out the way
you plan. Fans can pre-order the album now via www.imeldamay.co.uk where a
video of upfront single Its Good To Be Alive is available to stream.
Mamas
ALL
Mamas
CHI LDREN

Mamas
ALL
Mamas
CHI LDREN
8 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
F
ans of body art unite! The Bay
Leisure Resort in Weston Super
Mare plays host to the third annual
Inkfest on June 13-16 - an extravaganza
of tattoo art and alternative music.
After the unprecedented success of
the last two events, this alternative
festival is back with a vengeance.
Expect over 50 tattooists from the UK,
Europe and America showing off their
inking skills along with a truly killer
line-up of bands that includes neo-
rockabilly pioneers The Sharks and
legendary rockers The Damned as well
as Epileptic Hillbillys, The Wolftones,
King Hammond, Long Tall Texans,
Vice Squad, Kings Of Outer Space,
The Communicators, The Last Resort
and The Rocker Covers - all primed to
soundtrack the weekend. There will
also be plentiful clothing and music
stalls (including Western Star Records)
to peruse in the venue.
Visit www.inkfest.co.uk to take
advantage of their excellent
accommodation deals (camping from
30) and to purchase weekend tickets
(50 in advance/60 on the door) and day
passes (from 25).
T
he worlds largest burlesque festival
arrives in London on 15 May for
twelve days of sizzling artful
action across a variety of the capitals
glitziest venues. The 8th annual London
Burlesque Festival
kicks off with The
Red Carpet Rollout
at Conway Hall
in the West End,
a glammed-up
5-star preview of
whats to come
hosted by burlesque
starlet Natalia
Kalashnikov and
starring some of the
most exciting performers in the festival
line-up. Other steamy highlights include
The Schmoozer, an exclusive invite-only
event at the Playboy Club in Mayfair,
on the 16th, The Crown Jewels - Best
Of British (17th) that celebrates the
nations best variety and burlesque acts,
Twisted Cabaret at Madame Jojos (18th)
for the cream of the neo-burlesque and
alternative cabaret scene and golden era
raunchy fun at Varie-Tease (19th), also
at Madame Jojos.
For an upmarket
evening that pays
tribute to the silver
screen theres
the Hollywood
Revue on the 20th,
the Sexy Circus
Sideshow (22nd)
promises a thrilling
boozy freak show
and the Best Of
The Fest closes the event in style with
all of the nest acts that have performed
at this years bash. Head over to www.
londonburlesquefest.com for tickets and
info. Plus, check out the next issue of
Vintage Rock for a festival report!

The worlds
largest burlesque
festival arrives
with twelve days
of sizzling action

INKFEST #3
NI GHTS OF FANCY
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 9
We adore classic cars here at Vintage
Rock Towers and we also have a mad
passion for guitars, so imagine our
glee when we rst cast our eyes over
Dave Garlands Ali Kat range of simply
stunning instruments that combine the
best of both worlds.
Ex-sheet metal worker and avid
rocknroll fan Garland began Ali
Kat with his mirror-polished, hand-
shaped Phat Kat aluminium double
bass in 2010 and has since gone from
strength to strength crafting guitars
and basses that take their inspiration
from classic cars, 50s guitars and 50s
iconography - all built using carefully-
sourced original car parts from the
golden era. Standout beauties in the
custom-built Ali Kat collection include
the airbrushed KATillac with working
taillights and an original 1959 Caddy
Dash Script Emblem, the Cool 23 Hot
Rod Flame Guitar, Pitbull Deluxe
Chevy, 57 Chevrolet Belair and bass,
59 Cadillac Coupe Deville and 60
Old Holden. Garland also makes some
equally gorgeous guitars based on
motorbikes as well as manufacturing
regular custom-built models. Ali Kat
guitars are custom made to order via
their website. Share in the eye-candy
at www. alikat.com.au
INKFEST #3
HOT ROD ROCKERS
TRACK RECORD
Objects of desire
50S BAR STOOL
With its simple, authentic design and double ringed tubular
chrome legs, Cola Reds classic Liberty Retro Stool is perfect
to beautify your living space. Theres a huge choice of
colours to peruse and it comes with or without the swivel!
From 239; www.cola-red.com for more info
W
eve all heard the famous hit
versions of our favourite tracks
over the years, but many of us
are in the dark when it comes to which
artists were the very first to lay down
these perennial, much-loved tunes.
Well here to settle the score once
and for all comes music historian,
record collector and writer-producer
of US music
trivia show
Solid Gold
Scrapbook
Bob
Leszczak
with Who
Did It First?
- Great
Rhythm
And Blues
Cover Songs
And Their
Original
Artists, the first publication in the
fascinating Who Did It First? series -
perfect reading for the avid music fan.
Here, Leszczak guides us back through
the annals of R&B history to shed light on
the original versions of the cuts that have
shaped the genre through the years. This
superbly written hardback takes the form
of an alphabetical list of over 200 songs -
from tunes made famous by Elvis like
Hound Dog, Mystery Train and Baby, Lets
Play House through to doo-wop classics
such as Life Is But A Dream and many
more - offering song histories, info on the
original artists and the cover artists,
record labels, numbers, chart places
even record speeds. Add to that quotes,
behind-the-scenes facts and some neat
photographs and here is a tome thats
seriously hard to put down! Who Did It
First? - Great Rhythm And Blues Cover
Songs And Their Original Artists is out
now published by Scarecrow Press.
10 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
HOW RANDOM!
Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, the Angel of Darkness, Mephistopheles Whether hes
drag racing, possessing innocent people or simply being invoked instrumentally, one
things for sure, the Devil has come up from the shadowy depths of Hell to make
an appearance in many a ne rocknroll song and lets face it, its one bewitching
combination For this issue of Vintage Rock we throw caution to the wind and
summon him via ve of our favourite cuts that harbour the darkness. Get out your
Bibles, grab the Holy Water the Evil Ones back in town
1
SATANS THEME
THE RONDELS
Were Lucifer to have a theme, hed surely want a twanging instrumental drive such as this Amy Records
side from 1960. As if to even out the forces of good and evil, this was the ipside to My Prayer
2
DEVIL DOLL
ROY ORBISON
The Big O compares his cheating ex to the devil on this sumptuous ballad for Sun Records from 1957,
backed up by Texan group, The Roses. It was b-side to the far-less-frightening Sweet And Easy Love.
3
SATANS WIFE
JESSE FLOYD
On this rare Dixie Records hillbilly ditty, Jesse Floyd sings his cautionary tale about married life!
Hangover Blues appears on the other side it seems old Floyd must have turned to the drink
4
RACE WITH THE DEVIL
GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS
A classic from Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps, Race With The Devil was recorded at the bands rst
Capitol Records session and showcases lead guitarist Cliff Gallups simply astonishing guitar playing.
5
LITTLE DEMON
RALPH NIELSEN & THE CHANCELLORS
Backed up by the blood-curdling cries of breakneck rocker Scream, this surfy rocknroll cut is a
grooved-up love song like no other. Simple, infectious and downright stupendous.
Mamas
ALL
Mamas
CHI LDREN

Objects of desire
WANDA JACKSON - ROCKABILLY QUEEN
Easy Action deliver a rockin new release with Wanda Jackson: Rockabilly Queen - a varied and
thrilling collection of Jacksons nest moments, including favourites Hard Headed Woman,
Fujiyama Mama and Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad. Not only is it beautifully packaged, but it
includes both a luxurious remastered pink coloured vinyl to keep the audiophiles and collectors
brimming as well as a CD containing all the remastered tracks too! Soon to be released!
www.easyaction.co.uk 15.99
JAGGER TAKES ON ELVIS
Fresh off the grapevine comes news that Rolling Stones
frontman Mick Jagger is to co-produce a new Elvis biopic that
focusses on the Kings early years, based on Peter Guralnicks
1995 biography Last Train to Memphis. Last King Of Scotland
director Kevin Macdonald is rumoured to be invoved in the
project and Jaggers partner in Jagged Films, Victoria
Pearman, is to share production duties. Young Guns
screenwriter John Fusco has also reportedly been chosen to
work on the script that covers Elvis family life and his days in
high school before he shot to fame. 20th Century Fox have
opened up casting for actors aged between 18 and 22, so any
Vintage Rock readers who fancy themselves as budding actors
should head on over to www.youngelviscasting.com you
could be the next Elvis!
The award-winning Wildest Cats In
Town summer weekender returns to
Pontins Seaside Village in Lowestoft
this July for yet another explosive
rocknroll holiday. This years
line-up will be tough to topple,
with acts from the USA, Europe
and the UK. One major highlight
thats sure to shake things up is Bill
Haleys Original Comets final UK
show a celebration of 60 years
since Rock Around The Clock took
over the airwaves. Also confirmed
to headline are Detroits Sun
Records rocker Johnny Powers, as
well as one of the true greats of the
rockabilly scene, Art Adams. Add
to that performances from Crazy
Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers,
Jet Black, The Capitols, Lou Cifer
and the Helions, Si Cranstoun,
Chris Castello,
Lennerockers,
Kingcats and
many more and
its sure to be
one hell of a
ride. Petrolheads
will be lining up for the classic
car and bike cruise on Sunday and
there are market stalls showcasing
everything from rare vinyl to
wardrobe-replenishing treats. Other
attractions include an on-site tailor,
beach party, 50s jumble sale, the
Famous Teds Walk and a talent
show for new acts to make their
mark. The weekender takes place
from 4-7 July, but those who cant
wait to rock can head down on
Thursday 3rd for the launch party.
www.tennesseeclub.net and a
CATS GO WI LD
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 11
By US Bonds: Thats My Story
GARY U.S. BONDS
(WHEATLEY PRESS)
Gary US Bonds has enjoyed a remarkable and turbulent career
that has spanned half a century. Since the 1960 release of hit
single New Orleans, he was destined for greatness, and the
following year Quarter To Three further vindicated his talents
when it hit the summit of the Billboard charts a tune also
named by the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame as one of the Songs
That Shaped RocknRoll. Now, together with Stephen Cooper,
he recounts his tale in superb new autobiography By US Bonds:
Thats My Story. From humble roots fronting the Turks and early
solo fame, on to 2012, when he shared a stage with Bruce
Springsteen, Bonds shares his experiences and insights of a
stormy life in the hands of rocknroll. Whether hes taking
advice from Sam Cooke, travelling with BB King, performing on
the Dick Clark Show, hanging with Muhammad Ali or helping to
forge the Norfolk Sound, this is a fascinating memoir by a man
who truly adores his chosen art form. The book includes a
foreword by E-Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt.
HOT HOT HEMSBY!
Objects of desire
ADMIRAL POMADE
Slick coloured glass jar packaging aside, this is one ne
strong hold pomade for those in need of a reliable product
that will keep your pomp solid into the night. Coconut
scented too! www.admiralsupply.com
H
emsby RocknRoll Weekender is a
must for the summer calendar and
this years event is shaping up nicely
with an all-star line up that includes ve
superb US acts and a tribe of rocknroll
talent from the UK and Europe. From
across the Atlantic comes Americas Lost
Rocker Al Hendrix, rockabilly marvel Art
Adams, doo-wop outt The Passions lead
singer Jimmy Gallagher, Lee Dresser and
the Krazy Kats and Elvis doppelganger
Travis LeDoyt headliners dont come
much better! The rest of the bill features
Welsh heavyweights Crazy Cavan and
the Rhythm Rockers, Jake Calypso and
the Red Hots,
Jack and the Real
Deals, Pete Hutton
and the Roomates
and many more.
Further attractions include the vintage
and retro market for shopping bliss,
the Outer Limitz Pinup contest and
Kav Kavanaghs Jive School to brush
up on the moves. The Six-Five Special
rocknroll trainride returns, as does the
classic car and bike motorcade that rolls
out into the sun once more. Hemsby
52 takes place on 9-12 May at Seacroft
Holiday Site, Hemsby, Norfolk. Wanna
start early? The Pre-Party
res up on Thursday 8
with Dave Phillips and the
Hot Rod Gang. Visit www.
hemsbyrocknroll.co.uk for
full line up info and tickets.
Mamas
ALL
Mamas
CHI LDREN
12 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
FRANNY BEECHER
( 1 921 -201 4)

We were truly saddened to hear that Bill Haley and His
Comets guitarist Franny Beecher, one of rocknrolls true
innovators, has died aged 92.
Beecher honed his innovative fretboard skills a
pioneering blend of country, jazz and blues during an
apprenticeship with King of Swing Buddy Greco and the
Benny Goodman Orchestra in the late 40s. His initial work
with Haley was as a session guitarist, but when Rock Around
The Clock (recorded with another session whizz, Danny
Cedrone, playing lead) exploded in 1955 thanks to a boost
from rebel ick Blackboard Jungle Beecher was installed
as a full-time member of Haleys group.
At the time when Rock Around The Clock reached the
summit of the hit parade in the UK, Bill Haley and His
Comets also became the very rst rocknroll outt to tour
England. Needless to say, the kids went wild
Frannys inuence spread rapidly among the new
generation of guitarists that witnessed the onset of
rocknroll thanks to his incredible solo prowess on crucial
cuts such as See You Later Alligator, Burn That Candle, Dont
Knock The Rock, Rock-A-Beatin Boogie, Rudys Rock, Rip It
Up and Skinny Minnie. Beecher nally parted ways with the
group in 1962.
Six years after Haleys death, in 1981, the surviving
members of the original Comets reformed and Beecher
remained in the line up until his retirement in 2006, at 85
years of age. He also joined the band in July 2005 for the
50th Anniversary of Rock Around The Clock hitting the top
of the Billboard charts. Beecher was nally inducted into
the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame with the Comets in 2012. I
have always admired great lead guitar players and Franny
Beecher was one of the best, said Ritchie Gee, Wildest Cats
Organiser and UK manager of the Comets.
Franny was denitely a bit of a joker. I once took him
into a caf in London and when I returned to the table
Franny had in his mouth his Dracula teeth but carried on
talking as normal and said to me that he was just Goon
Around (Bill Haley & His Comets 1956 track).
From the fabulous ve Comets we have lost Johnny
Grande (piano) Marshall Lytle (double bass) and now
Franny Beecher, but we still have Dick Richards (drums)
and Joey DAmbrosio (saxophone), who will be playing at
this years Julys Wildest Cats In Town Weekend at Pontins
Lowestoft UK, 4-7 July 2014.
R.I.P. Franny Beecher bona de legend of rocknroll
Vintage Rock salutes you!
"Vintage TV it's the only channel worth watching"
Barry Gibb
Are YOU watching?
www.vintage.tv
The Vintage TV tower of power...
C
M
Y
CM
MY
CY
CMY
K
Vintage TV Advert.pdf 1 14/03/2014 10:43
Mamas
ALL
Mamas
CHI LDREN

14 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Hemsby 52
9-12 MAY
Featuring Al Hendrix, Art Adams, Jimmy Gallagher, Lee
Dresser and the Krazy Kats, Travis LeDoyt, Jake Calypso & the
Red Hots, Jack & the Real Deals, The Surn Gorillas, Crazy
Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers, The Infernos, The Rhythm Slicks,
Carl & the Rhythm All Stars, The Mercurys and much more.
Venue Seacroft Holiday Village, Hemsby, Norfolk
Admission See website for availability
Booking www.
hemsbyrocknroll.co.uk
Ink-N-Iron
6-8 JUNE
Featuring Merle Haggard,
Wanda Jackson, Junior Brown, Ray
Campi, Jack Rabbit SLim, Si
Caranstoun, Buzzcocks, The
Damned, Howlin Wolfmen, Sick Of
It All, Frenzy, Detroit Cobras,
tattoo artists, Motorama car show,
burlesque, vintage fashion,
cabaret and more!
Venue Queen Mary, Long Beach,
California
Admission $40/65 (day
tickets); $80/130 (3-day tickets)
Booking www. ink-n-iron.com
Rockabilly Rave
12-16 JUNE
Featuring The DavenDeke Show, Scotty Baker, Ramblin
James, Don Cavalli, The Rimshots, Jittery Jack, Charlie
Thompson, Hanks Jallopy Demons, Lil Mo & the Unholy Four,
Charlie Hightone and more
Venue Pontins, Camber Sands
Admission Apartments from 110 - 220
Booking www.rockabillyrave.co.uk
Wildest Cats In Town
4-7 JULY
Featuring Bill Haleys Original Comets last UK show,
Johnny Powers, Art Adams, Crazy Cavan, Jet Black, The
Capitols, Si Cranstoun, Chris Castello, Lennerockers and much
much more.
Venue Pontins Pakeeld
Admission From 159
Booking www.tennesseeclub.net
Hotrod Hayride
25-27 JULY
Featuring Live music from Big
Sandy & the Flyrite Boys, The
Sureshots, The Drugstore Cowboys,
The Slingshots, The Bullits, The
Blackcat Boppers, Jamie Bubba J
Faulkener plus DJs Little Carl, Lucky
Phil, Marco Juarez, Billy The Hick and
Hillbilly King, oval dirt-track racing,
Soapbox Derby, Hayride Roller Derby
Cup, US artist Dennis Roth and sizzling
burlesque show from Anna Fur Laxis.
Venue Bisley National Shooting
Centre
Admission From 65
Booking 01435 812508;
www.hotrodhayride.com
Rock Ridge Rumble #2
1-3 AUGUST
Featuring Cherry Casino & the Gamblers, Miss Mary Ann &
the Ragtime Ramblers, Charlie Thompson, Ike & the Capers,
The Doel Brothers, The Sureshots, The Slingshots, The
Wolftones, The Doggone Daddys, The Troubleshooters and
Cow Cow Boogie, plus Rockin DJS!
Venue Burdon Plain, Durham
Admission 60 (inc. camping)
Booking www.rockridgeevents.co.uk
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Kings Treasure
R
CA Records and Legacy Recordings
celebrate the 40th anniversary
of Elvis Recorded Live On Stage
In Memphis with the release of their
brand new expanded and remastered
2CD Legacy Edition. This luxurious
re-release should get fans of the King
salivating at the prospect of extra tracks
left off the original album as well as
more previously unreleased material
to boot. And the bonuses continue
The second disc also houses a recently
uncovered recording of the full rehearsal
show in Richmond, cut two days before
the infamous concert what a nd! Buy
it at www.shopelvis.com
The Ink-N-Iron Kustom Kulture Festival comes to Queen Mary
in Long Beach, California, on June 6-8 for a celebration of
alternative culture that includes body art, vintage fashion,
classic cars, pin-ups, cabaret and a thrilling bill of live music.
This gathering of tattoo masters features artists from all over
the globe and theres a tattoo contest where the cream of
artists compete to bag a beautiful hand-made Sacred Heart
award. Legendary guitar picker Merle Haggard headlines the
rst night of music with Junior Brown, Wanda Jackson and
Ray Campi all joning him on the opening bill. The onslaught of
music continues with sets from Buzzcocks, The Damned,
Detroit Cobras, Howlin Wolfmen, Si Cranstoun, Sick Of It All,
Frenzy, Jack Rabbit Slim and many, many more across the
weekend. Motorheads can indulge in the Motorama Car Show,
with its shiny assortment of pre-69 hot rods, kustoms and
motorcycles and theres plenty of sartorial delights at the
daily Vintage Fashion Bazaar on the promenade deck of the
Queen Mary. Further attractions include steamy burlesque at
the Pleasure Portal Cabaret, a variety feast at the Boiler Room
Big Top, alternative drawing from Dr. Sketchys, pole dancing
showcase and championship, pin-up pageant, art show and
Movies On The Green. Day tickets cost $40/65 (VIP); three-day
tickets cost $80/$130 (VIP). Log in to www.ink-n-iron.com for
all the ner details!
Ink-N-Iron Fest
Gary U.S. Bonds
Legends Of Rock
Had you heard of Bruce Springsteen
when he turned up in 1979 to see you
in New Jersey?
No. I didnt have a clue who he was
when he asked to sing with me that night.
The crowd went wild. Everyone surged
towards the stage, and Im thinking,
Who is this guy? Next thing I know, Im
doing the same act in big arenas and I
was back in the charts with This Little
Girl, a Springsteen song. Bruce was such
a nice fellow, a laid-back kind of guy who
actually took the time to listen to me
rather than talk about himself. Hed loved
my music since he was at high school.
The quality of your voice remains
impressive. How do you maintain it?
I do absolutely nothing. I learned early
on how to use both the throat and the
diaphragm. If one isnt working one
night, Ill switch to the other.
A lot of your triumphs as a songwriter
have been in C&W. Freddie North and
Johnny Paycheck both climbed the US
country chart in 1972 with Shes All I
Got (which went to No. 1 with Tracy
Byrd in the 1990s) and your revival of
Jole Blon bubbled under the British
Top 50 almost ten years later
When I was growing up in Norfolk,
Virginia, the pop radio station just played
Perry Como, Dinah Shore. Stuff like
that too mellow for me. Id listen to the
C&W station, and the R&B one, especially
a DJ called Daddy Jack Holmes, who
became a great friend. Those were the
stations that made the most sense to me.
Joe Royster, who co-wrote New
Orleans, was a C&W guy (who,
incidentally, had never been to New
Orleans, and neither had I) but I changed
it around because I didnt think Id be
accepted as another Charlie Pride. I did
it more like Cab Calloway, a jump-blues
gentleman my mother loved. Wed sing
that hi-di-hi call-and-response bit in
Minnie the Moocher around the house.
Thats the basis of my arrangement, and
On a recent London visit to publicise his autobiography, By US Bonds:
Thats My Story, this former church chorister, and erstwhile
collaborator with Bruce Springsteen, spoke to Alan Clayson
the fact that Frank Guida had got to
like, and perform, Trinidadian music
when doing his national service.
In your book you say you dont
have a high opinion of Franks
production on your early records
Being in the music business seemed
like fun and attracted girls. I didnt know
much else about it, but I assumed Frank
did. After all, hed had a hit as producer
of High School USA by Tommy Facenda.
But actually he wasnt much more than
the owner of the local record store and
he didnt really understand how things
worked in New York, Los Angeles or
Chicago or that fact that there are so
many crooks out there.
Nevertheless, on his way to and from
the shop, he used to stop and listen to our
vocal group, The Turks, harmonising for
our own amusement on a street corner.
He was interested in recording us, but by
the time he got round to it, the group had
broken up. I was the only one left.
Franks studio was just a big open
room, a two-track setup with some
soundproong on the wall, and, as the
engineer on New Orleans and Quarter To
Three, all Joe Royster had to do was turn
on the tape recorder. For New Orleans,
Frank invited a bunch of guys and girls
over, and we just kind of screamed and
yelled until we got it. There was nothing
to lose. Jack Holmes was the rst to
spin it and let everybody know I was
local but if it hadnt been for Dick Clark
plugging it on American Bandstand, Id
probably be driving a truck.
It was pretty much the same sort of
production for Quarter To Three, which
was my lyrics (it took about 20 minutes to
write) to an instrumental, A Night With
Daddy G, by Gene Barge, whose band
was on a session for which I had nothing
prepared. In the rst instance, I thought
Quarter To Three was the worst record Id
ever heard, but it began getting national
airplay the week it was released, in April
1961, and spent a fortnight at No. 1. Its a
fun party song. To this day, people say to
me, Thats the record we put on when we
want to have a good time.
Both New Orleans and Quarter to
Three have been revived by other
artists, among them Bern Elliott and
the Fenmen, Harley Quinne, Gillan,
Dr John, Bruce Springsteen and Bill
Wyman, who issued it as the spin-off
single to his Stone Alone album
Bill enlisted me as guest vocalist in his
Rhythm Kings in 2002, and Dr John sang
a verse when I did it in the Blues Brothers
2000 movie, but Ive never heard his own
version, or that by Bern Elliott.
Much of the same party atmosphere of
your early smashes pervaded when you
were capitalising on the Twist craze,
most conspicuously with Dear Lady
Twist and Twist Twist Senorita
Everyone was doing the Twist the
President, Jackie Kennedy, Princess
Margaret even Frank Sinatra. It made
sense for me to get on the bandwagon too,
to the degree of doing an entire album,
Twist Up Calypso, in 1962.
I had rst refusal on If You Wanna Be
Happy, which became a US chart-topper
for Jimmy Soul in 1963, but I wanted to
change from that gimmicky stuff to doing
something meaningful. It was time to
change the formula, but Frank and the
others didnt realise that. I was ready to
grow and they werent. They wanted me
to carry on doing novelty tunes.
When I stopped having hits, the
venues werent as big, but the people
were still there. We were still having fun,
rocking and rolling, and thats all that
mattered. Not once did I think of giving
up. I knew my time would come again.

16 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11


10
Neil Sedaka
Legends Of Rock
How did you get into music?
I started playing the piano at age eight. I
was a child prodigy and I was accepted at
the Julliard School of Music at nine. I had
every intention of becoming a concert
pianist. I was introduced to a 16-year-old
poet who lived in my building in New
York. His name was Howard Greeneld.
His mother heard me practising Chopin
and Bach and he rang my bell. He was
16 and I was 13, and he convinced me to
write pop songs.
When Howard and, later, Phil Cody
wrote lyrics for you, did the words
come rst?
I wrote the melody rst in those days. I
wrote actually two or three melodies and
played them all in their entirety and they
would choose one, for whatever mood
they were in that day.
What was the difference between
working with Howard and Phil?
Howie and I mastered the art of the
2-minute record. He was perfect
and polished and everything was very
understandable, and it was tied with a
ribbon. Phil was more metaphors, more
introspective, more poetic.
Would you ever reject a lyric?
Many times. Howie and I had ghts.
He would say, Well if it doesnt suit you,
you change the melody and I would say,
Change the lyrics, change the phrase,
change the word. But thats inevitable.
All collaborators do ght.
What about your own lyrics?
Ive been writing lyrics for 40 years.
Phil and Howie were both marvelous
teachers. It was wonderful when I sang
their lyrics but they were putting words
in my mouth, whereas now the lyrics
come from myself.
Are the lyrics as easy as the melodies?
Theyre more difcult, but fascinating.
Theyre like puzzle pieces. Theres really
Neil Sedaka will tour Britain in October, a country with which he has an
afnity because it nurtured him through what he calls his Hungry
Years. Sean Egan spoke to him on behalf of Vintage Rock
only one or two exact marriages of
words and music and sometimes it
takes hours to get that marriage.
You worked in the Brill Building.
Was it really a factory?
It was a factory. We went in 10 in the
morning till 5 in the afternoon, ve days
a week. It was an unusual thing: these
cubicles with a piano and a desk. It was
a marvelous training ground. Also, it was
very quick. We wrote a song and played
it for Aldon Music, the publishers, and
within days they would place it with an
artist, and within weeks you heard it on
the radio. It was immediate. I dont think
that exists any more. The competition
is too keen now. There are too many
people who sing and write and the record
business is in the toilet with the internet.
Is it true that your tribute to Carole
King, Oh! Carol, saved you from being
dropped by your label?
Thats very true. After The Diary I had
two ops. One was I Go Ape, which was
a hit in your country, and they were
dropping me. Then I wrote Oh! Carol,
which did about three million copies and
I had ten Top 10s in a row. I was a friend
of Carole King. I brought Carole up to the
Brill Building and they signed her. We
dated for about two minutes.
Most of your songs in the 60s had a
happy vibe. Was that deliberate?
Well, Im a very up, positive person.
They were all very danceable, very
singable. As I matured, I wrote more
serious pieces: Going Nowhere, Solitaire.
Ive had over 50 albums, so I did write
more sensitive work.
When your career took a downturn,
you came over to this country
Early 70s, I lived [there] for three years.
The Americans get tired of you, whereas
the English public put you on a pedestal
and theyre very loyal. I went and did the
working mens clubs, which was difficult.
Everyone was eating their fish and chips
and drinking their pint and talking and
not listening attentively to the singer."
When Laughter in the Rain was a US
No. 1 in 1975, did you feel that the
hungry years were over?
Yes. It took a long time. You cant write
Laughter in the Rain in one night. It took
many, many years of writing, but that was
a remarkable record. People would say,
What happened to Neil Sedaka? and I
appealed to people who had never heard
of me before.
Many people probably dont know you
wrote Love Will Keep Us Together and
(Is This The Way To) Amarillo
Thats right. Unfortunately the radio
only mentions the singer.
Does that upset you?
Not at all. I collect the money. The
publishing rights come back to the writer,
so Im in an enviable position to sell my
publishing rights for a lot of money.
Whats your proudest moment?
I think its coming. Im going to start
a Broadway show about my life in New
York City. Someone will play me and itll
be an interesting story.
Youre touring the UK in October
I might come with a new CD. Thats
an interesting idea. I took my original
demos from the Brill Building. I have
some wonderful demos that Im going to
put together as a CD. A couple of them
were indeed recorded but some of them
I call the lost gems. Theyre completely
unknown but theyre very charming.
They still hold up.
18 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11


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ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 21


T
he First Lady of Rock and Roll. The Tennessee
Trailblazer. The Hurricane in Heels. She roared,
she rocked, she rolled. Truly the female Elvis, in
substance and in style on an early tour together, it
was he who encouraged her country singing into his
own genre-blending blueprint of rockabilly.
The self-proclaimed sweet lady with a nasty
voice; singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist famed for her
recracker vocals, Wanda Lavonne Jackson went on to create
some of the most inuential rocknroll music of all time.
The sassy, Grammy-nominated songbird continues to rock
and how into the 21st century, and has gained a new legion
of fans. Championed by such as Bono, Bob Dylan and Bruce
Springsteen, in 2009 she was nally inducted into The Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame. At 76, shes onwards rocking. Here the living
legend shoots straight from the lip. Long Live the Queen of Rock
and Roll!
ITS SIXTY YEARS SINCE THE QUEEN
OF ROCKABILLY WANDA JACKSON
CUT HER FIRST SINGLE, AND SHES
STILL GOING STRONG JULIE BURNS
FINDS OUT WHY THE WILD WOMAN
OF ROCK HAS NO PLANS TO RETIRE
Scene
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First, congratulations on 60 years of
music success. How were your recent
gigs at the SXSW Festival?
Is it 60 years? Well I guess so, as I cut my
rst single in 54, and Ive never stopped
since. Time ies! As for my most recent
gig, the South by Southwest Festival, or
SXSW, it takes place every year at Austin,
Texas, and Ive been there several times
over the years. I did two concerts this
past week, with a full house each time!
Rocknroll is very popular in Austin!
As a 50s female trailblazer, you wrote
your own song material because
enough didnt exist; adopted rockabilly,
covering male hits of the day; insisted
on a stronger sound like Gene Vincents,
your label-mate; worked with black
musicians at a time when inter-racial
connection was a real no-no; and later
chose not to give up your career for a
husband. Was it a battle to stand up to
the established order as a female artist,
and in pre-liberated times?
I was the rst girl to record rocknroll,
and the rst for a while. The male gured
material was the only material I had to
choose from. No one but no one was
writing rocknroll material for girls
in that vein. So by the by I started
writing my own. I covered Hard
Headed Woman, plus songs by
Little Richard, Chuck Berry and
Jerry Lee. Eventually, I got great
session players (like rocknroll
pianist Merill Moore, and
Vincents Blue Caps on several
records), and writers on board
who came up with classics like
Riot in Cell Block No. 9. I had
written country songs ever since
recording, so I naturally tried my
hand with rocknroll. I found it
real easy. I recorded every one
that I ever wrote, which is around ten. My
favourite self-penned song is Mean Mean
Man the rst one I attempted, and very
popular. It was a whole new topic for a
woman to sing about a girl putting down
a guy. It turned the tables! In similar style,
I also recorded Hot Dog! That Made Him
Mad the women liked that! (laughs).
On asking to sign with Capitol, you
were told Girls dont sell records
and turned down, signing with Decca
instead, before Capitol later did a U
turn and contracted you. You must have
felt that the powers that be didnt quite
know what to do with you and your
pioneering sound?
I was signed as a country singer both
times. Id been with Decca since 54,
(having a national hit with the Brazos
Valley Boys You Cant Have My Love)
then by 56 I didnt want to stay for some
reason, so I went with Capitol - again
signed as female country artist. Yet the
very rst session there, I recorded Hot
Dog, which wasnt country, but a whole
new idea from a woman. The idea that
I wanted to try rocknroll left producer
Ken Nelson in a state of shock! Girls
were not doing this new wild music. He
didnt know much about rocknroll, but
knew it was a big force, and changing
the face of music totally. God bless
him, he was willing to let me try it, and
experiment. Gosh, I recorded a lot of
rocknroll without even having hits
he continued to let me make them, he
was brave - one of the few who would.
Did you revert to recording country
when rocknroll didnt initially
ignite your career?
In 1959, after recording a lot
of rocknroll for three years, I
actually had no recognition with
it in America, so I decided to go
back to country. When you see my
discography, youll see country
on one side, rocknroll on the
other for which I was accused
of straddling the fence. I said to
the critical music press no, I can
sing both ways country and
WANDA
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22 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
The idea that I wanted to try
rocknroll left producer Ken
Nelson in a state of shock!
ISSUE 3 VINTAGE ROCK 23


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rocknroll so whats the deal here?
Elvis was the one who taught me to
stretch myself. Elvis said, I think you
can sing this stuff Im singing. Back in
the day, it (rocknroll) didnt even have
a real name. Do you know we all called
it Elviss music. When he rst recorded
he was called The Hillbilly Cat that
really said rockabilly. The word hillbilly
I always hated but we were all just
called hillbilly singers. Thats all of us
who played guitars me, Elvis, Chuck
Berry, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly. Jerry
Lee Lewis however, wasnt, as he played
piano. The billy bit came from playing
guitars. So the term hillbilly actually
came to mean rock music that came
from a country artist who played guitar
Then the name hillbilly was dropped to
country & western, then plain country.
Just as rock was once rockabilly, cut to
rocknroll, now its just rock.
Can you rewind to your rst years of
touring with then upcoming sensation,
Elvis? How formative an inuence was
he for you?
I started aged 17, with Elvis on the road.
Although I didnt strictly work with him
consecutively, we did a few ten-day and
two-week tours together. We became
great friends and we dated. In 57 he left
the tour circuit, and signed to do movies.
He soon moved to Hollywood, pursuing
his movie career, and we lost touch. By
then, I was up and coming, had my own
band, and work was coming in. He had
done so much for me, encouraging me
and giving me the condence to sing
rocknroll. Once I did, I felt at home. In
this way, he was gracious and generous.
If he hadnt given me the push, Im not
sure I would have gone in that direction.
Although I already liked rockabilly
especially Little Richard, Chuck Berry,
Fats Domino I dont know if I would
have considered that style. Elvis was very
valuable to me. When I was inducted into
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I was able
to pay credit to him.
Uniquely enjoying both a professional
and personal connection with Elvis at
such a crucial time in both your careers,
how would you sum him up?
Oh, shy, charming, charisma, and more.
And a fantastic entertainer in a very
different way. Through 55, 56, I had the
privilege of watching him on stage every
night; he had fun, irted with the girls,
horsed around. It actually changed my
performance style. I began to feel like Id
24 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Wanda in a trademark
fringed cocktail dress


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ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 25
WANDA
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ELVIS AND WANDA
KING AND QUEEN (AND
FIRST SEX SYMBOLS) OF
ROCK AND ROLL
Not only was Wanda, for an important time, an item
with Elvis; not only was she uniquely guided by him
into pursuing her own rocknroll style and inuenced
by his performance technique; not only did she also
mix with black musicians using R&B pianist Al
Downing in an era of segregation Wanda, like Elvis,
was known as a mould-breaking, sharp dresser and
trendsetter, as she explains
My rst manager, Jim Halsey, wanted me to dress
in regular daytime or evening attire, and we had some
heated discussions over that issue. I wouldnt hear to
it and by the way, I won! Put it like this: a few years
ago, Country Music Television did some documentaries
of the top 40 men and women of country music. I
came number 35. Next thing, they dubbed me country
musics rst sex symbol! (laughs).
This was because Id never liked the girls on TV
shows and the Grand Ole Opry in their cowboy
clothes, pinafores or rufes. I tried wearing them but
being tiny and holding a guitar at the same time, I
thought, these clothes are covering all my assets! My
mother was a professional seamstress and made all of
my clothes. She ran me up some straight skirts, off the
shoulder tops, things with sparkles and my signature
fringed frocks ten years before go-go girls! It
really changed my image.
Suddenly all the girls in music were wearing sexier
clothes, like form-tting cocktail dresses. I wasnt
afraid to shake things up any. I brought sex and
glamour to country music!
been acting all the time kind of uptight.
I began to be less serious, too; loosened
up, went with the ow. The one thing I
didnt repeat doing were his gyrations!
(laughs). I think if I had, I would have
been scandalised! First and foremost, I
conducted myself as a lady. I never came
across as tough or competitive with the
guys, I was like their little sister. I had
a very good reputation; I wasnt out to
sleep around and my father chaperoned
me on tour. In this way, I was able to do
what I wanted, dress the way I wanted;
hit a fun yet ladylike, balance. Unlike
Elvis, I was never put down, never
received bad press. I was upset for Elvis
when he did (get bad press). He said to
me, I dont know what they think Im
doing, Im just dancing. But he never
toned it down. He knew what he was
doing and nobody pushed him around
in that area at least.
It seems a missed opportunity not to
have recorded together either then
in the 50s, or in his or your, later Vegas
concert years?
We were on different record labels so
we couldnt, plus he didnt need me, or
anyone else. We had a brief meeting in
1964 at the Sahara Hotel in Vegas. He
came to say Hi to me and meet my
husband, Wendell.
Yet following his early glory years,
unlike the majority of your career,
he seems not always to have been in
control of his own
The one thing I thought was bad was
that his manager Colonel Tom Parker,
would make him do B movies. Elvis
and I, we were both big movie buffs.
He desperately wanted to be an actor,
but was never given a real chance.
When the Colonel took him off the tour
circuit, thats when I think there was
opportunity for the Beatles and they
swept the country with Elvis away
or stuck in the sound studio, live-wise,
there was a hole for a hero.
In the 50s the golden age of
musicals, and key rocknroll lms
such as Alan Freeds jamborees did
you never consider pursuing acting
or musicals?
Acting wise, I thought it strange I
was never offered any parts myself!
My manager at the time who now
manages many big names was sadly
satised to book me on continual
dance tours, playing dancehalls in the
Mid-West, working the same place year
after year. I had maybe one meeting with
some director over a couple of deals that
didnt amount. It was only in my later
years that the cameo work happened.
Do you consider there to be cultural
differences between the US and Europe
in how rocknroll is viewed?
In the UK and Western Europe, you still
appreciate original artists. If I had a fan
in country music there, they would also
appreciate me doing rocknroll. To be
honest, for 20 years of a certain part of
my career, my UK and Scandinavian dates
kept me aoat! Finally in 1995, America
experienced a revival in rockabilly, and I
was introduced to a new audience.
The term hillbilly came to
mean rock music from a country
artist who played guitar


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26 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11


I recorded a couple of songs with Rosie
Flores, and the popularity of that album
meant we wound up on a ve-week
tour across the US and Canada. She
introduced me to a new group of kids and
festivals. My career then livened up back
home once again! Yet I still go most years
to France and Germany to tour. Spain has
now also opened up for me. I feel very
much at home anywhere in the world,
if the audience loves country and 50s
rocknroll.
In your brilliant and versatile career,
whats been your best achievement?
The fact that in the last 20 years, a new
generation of rockers, lovers of rockabilly
and roots music, realised what I did for
rocknroll and for girls. Cyndi Lauper
and I were on an exhibitions show
with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. On
meeting me, she bowed, kissed my hand
and looking up at me with tears in her
eyes said, What you did for women of
rocknroll, no-one can repay you! I was
very taken aback but it is true! (laughs). I
was the rst woman to record rocknroll.
As one journalist said, Wanda was there
at the creation of rocknroll; for girls
with guitars, she was the creation of
rocknroll. I also changed the way of
dressing for country artists.
Did your induction into the Rock &
Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 seem long
overdue, and were you surprised not to
have been rocknroll classied, rather
than as an Early Inuence?
This category is most appropriate for
me to be in. I have not had the long
string of massive hits like some, but even
without them, I managed to be a very big
inuence on so many big artists of today
and some superstars. The National
Endowment for the Arts bestowed on me
in 2005 a Presidential Award; the highest
honour the American Government can
give an artist. Also, I have been inducted
into many Halls of Fame through the
years, so I have had the cake but the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the icing
on the cake!
In all of your output, whats been the
most creatively challenging?
I appreciate always being able to learn
- though I still have to be talked into
things that are unfamiliar like the Jack
White (of The White Stripes) album, The
Party Aint Over in 2011. Jack wanted
Clean-cut rocknroll heroine


G
e
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t
y

I
m
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s
WANDA
WOULD LIKE TO
THANK
Though a true musical pioneer herself, Wanda
credits certain musical mentors along her
unprecedented path to rocknroll greatness
Her parents Theyd take me to watch artists
Rose Maddox and the Maddox Brothers, Bob
Wills, Spade Cooley and Tex Williams. Her
musician father Tom bought her rst guitar and
encouraged her to play.
Hank Thompson After hearing me as a teen
on a local radio show, he invited me to record
with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys. My dear
friend and mentor helped me with my rst two
recording contracts.
Ken Nelson With my producer at Capitol, I
could stretch myself musically.
Elvis Presley Rocknroll was my generations
music, but I found it faster sooner with Elviss
persuasion. He told me it wasnt just a phase.
For more on Wanda, see www.wandajackson.com
28 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Wanda with guitar


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me to sing the Amy Winehouse song,
You Know Im No Good. I was concerned
it was a little too explicitly sexy and
wasnt age appropriate, being 73 at the
time! He convinced me otherwise, and
now its a favourite to sing, and it blows
the audience away. Jack also asked Bob
Dylan - whos apparently a fan of mine
- which song of his he would like me to
do. He said Thunder on the Mountain
which I thought great in its simplicity,
but couldnt see it sitting on this album,
(which garnered her the accolade of
oldest chart-making female vocalist,
knocking Mae West off the spot).
Has the thought of retiring ever crossed
your mind?
Never. Its what I chose to do. I gured if
I married and had a family I wouldnt be
able to work as such. My husband (former
IBM programmer, Wendell Goodman)
had great prospects, but said my career
looked a lot more exciting than his
computer work! I was fortunate in that he
went along with me. Many men would be
intimidated that I made way more money
or had the celebrity. Not Wendell.
Are there any projects in the pipeline of
interest to your fans?
A company is interested in making a
movie of my life. Actually I dont know
why anyone would nd it interesting!
Ive lived a regular life. They said thats
the unique part you lived a decent life
and made it work. I was never tempted
to become a druggie, or alcoholic, or
have a bad reputation. I just wanted to
be me. We never even moved from our
hometown in Oklahoma. I could never
have asked for more, its been a Cinderella
life. I just have to live longer to get all of it
done! My mum lived to 97, so theres time
yet! My voice is still strong and my health
is good. I still love music and am going to
do it as long as I want to.
Why do you think Rock and Roll will
never die?
Rock and roll will never die because of
the wonderful simplicity of it. Everyone
has been young and can relate to what we
sing about going to dances, riding round
in convertibles, falling in love. Its about
life and mostly in three chords!

Still going strong


WANDA
60 YEARS OF MUSICAL
MILESTONES
From 1954
Wanda cuts her rst single, You Cant Have My Love, a
duet with Billy Gray, scoring No. 8 in the country chart.
Though mainly regional hits, seminal singles include: Hot
Dog, That Made Him Mad, Mean, Mean Man (her rst
rocknroll self-penned recording) Tongue Tied, Riot in
Cell Block No. 9, I Gotta Know (peaking at No. 15, 1956),
Fujiyama Mama (No. 1 in Japan) and Honey Bop. In 63,
the Grammy nominated Two Sides of Wanda combined
rocknroll and country, including a cover of Jerry Lees
Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On.
Mid 60s on
Headlining concerts with her own band, The Party
Timers, Wandas country music earns hits, with Right or
Wrong and In the Middle of a Heartache. Between 1965
and 1979 her string of Top 40 country hits continue. She
records in German, becomes a Vegas star attraction, and
has her own syndicated TV show, Music Village. By 72,
she records gospel albums for Capitol and independents.
1980-2000
Wanda enjoys a rocking renaissance in Europe, touring
Scandinavia, England and Germany. In 1984, she releases
the album Rockabilly Fever. In 1995, she proves a wild
success on duets with Rosie Flores on the latters album,
Rockabilly Filly, kick-starting rst tours since the 70s.
21st Century Sensation
Her 2003 studio album for CMH, Heart Trouble features
Elvis Costello and The Cramps. Gigs include Londons Rock
and Roll Festival in 2008 with Jerry Lee. In 2009, she
records The Party Aint Over with Jack White. She also
records a tribute album to Elvis, I Remember Elvis
(Goldenlane Records) including Wandas top three from
when we were together: Heartbreak Hotel, Baby Lets
Play House, and I Forgot to Remember to Forget. (There
also apparently exists a limited 7-inch release on white
vinyl, with Wandas version of Good Rocking one side,
the Elvis original on the ip). Wandas 31st return-to-
roots studio album was Unnished Business in 2012.
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VRM_ad_84x263_Mar2014.qxp_Layout 1 27/03/2014 13:31 Page 1
12
COLLECTED - The Alan Wilder/Depeche Mode
Collecton. A historic equipment, vinyl &
memorabilia aucton. One of sale for Alan Wilder.
Total sales value 300,000
SPECIALIST ROCK & POP AUCTIONEERS
PORL THOMPSON (THE CURE)
Aucton of instruments, equipment, stage clothing,
artwork & memorabilia.
Total sales value 75,000
QUARTERLY AUCTIONS OF
RARE & COLLECTABLE VINYL AND MUSIC MEMORABILIA
PLUS ONE OFF SPECIALIST SALES
NEXT SALE 30TH & 31ST MAY 2014
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO SELL A SINGLE ITEM
OR ENTIRE COLLECTION OUR NO. 1 PRIORITY IS
TO ENSURE YOU GET THE BEST POSSIBLE PRICE
GENRES INCLUDE ROCK, PROG, PSYCH, INDIE, PUNK,
ROCK N ROLL, JAZZ, FOLK, BLUES, NORTERN SOUL, SOUL,
DISCO, MOTOWN, FUNK & MORE
WE SELL QUALITY ITEMS FROM 20 UPWARDS


0161 865 0838 | OFFICE@OMEGAAUCTIONS.CO.UK | WWW.OMEGAAUCTIONS.CO.UK
UNIT 3.5 MEADOW MILL | WATER ST | STOCKPORT | CHESHIRE | SK1 2BX
PREVIOUS SALE HIGHLIGHTS

SOLD 59,000 SOLD 29,900
ALAN MCGEE (CREATION RECORDS)
Collecton of artwork and memorabilia from
McGees tme in the music business
Total sales value 30,000
THE IAN CHAPEL COLLECTION
A lifes work. One of sale of one collectors entre
collecton of over 5,000 records.
Total sales value 80,000

SOLD 8,600

SOLD 9,200

SOLD 1,955

SOLD 61,100
SOLD 1,900 SOLD 4,100
SOLD 1,300
Prices listed are inclusive of buyers premium
30 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Fast
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 31
W
hen rocknroll exploded
in the 50s, the age of
popular entertainers
plummeted. Elvis Presley
opened the oodgates,
and the youthful likes of
Ricky Nelson were quick
to follow in his footsteps
especially when he joined the US Army in
1958 and temporarily left the limelight.
Teenagers wanted stars they could
relate to, and one of the young talents to
ll that gap was Ritchie Valens. Sadly his
life and promise was to be cut short, as he
was on board the plane that crashed and
claimed Buddy Hollys life in February
1959. Yet Valens, though just 17 at the
time of his death, made a big impact in his
brief, bright career.
We look back now from a 21st century
in which Hispanic music has its own
Latin Grammy awards. Back then,
however, Valens was a trailblazer, even
if he didnt fully realise it at the time.
Whats also interesting and comparatively
little known is that he spoke exclusively
English; his Mexican-Indian parents
separated and his father, with whom he
initially lived, didnt speak Spanish. After
his dads death in 1951, the boy went to
live with his mother Connie, to whom he
spoke English.
Born Richard Stephen Valenzuela on 13
May 1941 in Los Angeles San Fernando
Valley. Valens played Chicano music, a
term used to describe rocknroll fused
with rhythms from south of the border.
Mexican-Americans were among the
lower social strata of US society, and the
single-parent Valenzuela family, with two
sons by different fathers, were living on
the breadline.
Ritchie saw his music as a way of
escaping the mundanity and squalor of
everyday life. He showed early promise
on the guitar and was so keen he learned
right-handed, despite being a natural
southpaw. Joining local group the
Silhouettes at the age of 16 as guitarist, he
added lead vocal duties after the singers
departure. His high-energy performances
earned him the nickname The Little
Richard of the Valley.
He was then spotted by Bob Keane, a
Los Angeles record-label owner who had
previously discovered soul star Sam
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THOUGH RICHIE VALENS LIFE WAS CUT
SHORT BY THE PLANE CRASH THAT ALSO
CLAIMED BUDDY HOLLY AND THE BIG
BOPPER, HIS IMPACT WAS MOMENTOUS.
MICHAEL HEATLEY TELLS HIS TALE
Fast
This 1987 bio-pic was produced by Taylor Hackford,
known these days as Helen Mirrens husband, who
had come off a successful project in Against All Odds.
The title song was re-recorded by Los Lobos, who
made the music for movie star Lou Diamond Phillips
to mime to, and, released as a single, reached the
top of the UK and US charts in 1987 a full 29 years
after it had rst been heard. It made an unusual
sight, slotting in between Whitney Houston and
Michael Jackson at the Stateside summit.
Additional music for the soundtrack, which was a
US chart-topper in its own right, was supplied by
Carlos Santana, while Marshall Crenshaw played
Buddy Holly and Stray Cat frontman Brian Setzer
played Eddie Cochran. The single and album hit US
No. 1 simultaneously, the rst such double since
1983s Flashdance.
Los Lobos singer David Hidalgo was the star of the
movie who rarely made it on screen. His vocals were
recorded on a separate track and tailored by music
editor Curt Sobel to t in with youthful-looking 24
year-old Lou Diamond Phillips mouth movements as
he mimed to Los Lobos pre-recorded backing tracks.
I had to almost act the songs out, I had to overdo it
in a way, Hidalgo commented.
The Valens family approved of the project and had
input into the production, while mother Connie made
a cameo appearance. Mama made it clear that the
story of her son would be told truthfully and with
dignity. Taylor Hackford made that happen. Yes, all
the family was happy with the movie.
The plot majors on the volatile relationship
between Ritchie and half-brother Bob (Esai Morales),
who constantly battle for their mothers attention.
Music is Ritchies obsession, but the volatile family
life of a family living on the breadline is the hub
around which everything else revolves.
Valens relationship with high-school sweetheart
Donna that inspired the biggest hit of his lifetime
was complicated by her fathers apparent dislike of
Hispanic people. Danielle von Zerneck, the actress
who played Donna, now works behind the camera as
a movie producer, but retained a music connection
by marrying James Fearnley of the Pogues in 1989.
Listen
U
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32 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11

Cooke. He saw potential in the boy, and


started recording him in mid 1958. First
to go was the youngsters name, which
was shortened to Valens; combined with
Ritchie with a t, it disguised his origins
from radio DJs. Once stylus hit vinyl,
though, few could resist the musics
innocent, infectious charm.
Keane, Colonel Parker to Ritchies
Elvis, realised that not only did his charge
have star quality but also that his ethnic
background could help tap into a new
record-buying market. The rst fruits
of the partnership came in the shape of
Come On, Lets Go, a single that peaked
just two places outside the Billboard Top
40 in September 1958. Tommy Steele
covered the uptempo, danceable track for
UK consumption, reaching No. 10.
It would take just two more months
for Ritchie Valens name to be projected
worldwide. The ballad Donna was
written for his high-school girlfriend
Donna Ludwig and soared to No. 2 in the
US chart. In Britain, Elvis imitator Marty
Wilde covered the song and made a No. 3
UK success of it.
But early in 1959 Stateside DJs were
ipping the platter to play the B-side. La
Bamba, a rocked-up version of a Mexican
folk song, reached No. 22 in its own right,
and nearly three decades later would
entitle a bio-pic of Valens life. He had
to busk the Spanish vocal, for reasons
already explained.
The movie shows LA group Los Lobos
playing La Bamba in a Tijuana brothel
where Valens half-brother Bob takes
http://mikeyp.dphoto.com/
Donna was written for his high-
school girlfriend Donna Ludwig
and soared to No. 2 in the US
La Bamba -The Movie
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ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 33
WES MONTGOMERY
http://mikeyp.dphoto.com/
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him to lose his virginity. The sweetly
innocent Ritchie is more interested in
the music, however, and naturally picks
up a guitar to join in with the song. (This
scene was strictly ction; in real life, hed
heard it performed at family gatherings
when a child.)
Bob Keane was pushing his protg
hard, and an appearance in the rocknroll
exploitation lm Go Johnny Go in
which Valens sang Ooh My Head spread
Valens name much further aeld. His
co-star in the movie, Eddie Cochran, had
befriended him and Valens was using a
Gretsch guitar borrowed from his pal
in his one and only movie appearance.
(Interestingly, it is also the only live
footage of Ritchie that now exists.)
On the small-screen front, American
Bandstand was a major showcase for
any would-be pop sensation. Television
was now making its way into American
homes, and Valens was fortunate enough
to make two appearances for host Dick
Clark, in October singing Come On, Lets
Go and in December with Donna. During
his performance he broke a guitar string,
Clark later commenting that Ritchie still
sounded great.
He then accompanied Eddie Cochran,
Bo Diddley and the Everly Brothers
in a ten-day residency at New Yorks
Loew State Theater for DJ Alan Freeds
Christmas show. Meanwhile La Bamba
was preparing to follow Donna up the
Billboard chart.
Having recorded his rst album at Gold
Star Studios, the new year of 1959 saw
Ritchie Valens signed up to star alongside
Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Dion and
Frankie Sardo in the Winter Dance Party
tour of the Midwest. La Bamba peaked on
2 February, the day before Valens boarded
a plane at one in the morning to y to the
next gig.
The single-engined Beechcraft plane
that was carrying Valens, Holly and the
Big Bopper went down near Clear Lake,
Iowa, giving Don McLean the inspiration
to write American Pie about the day the
music died. While the movie La Bamba
has Ritchie suffering premonitions of
disaster and a profound fear of ying, his
family have since said this was theatrical
licence and that: It was not an obsession.
In the 50s ying was not as common as it
is today. Everyone was a little nervous in
a plane.
As for Valens own thoughts, these will
forever be a mystery as he wasnt around
long enough (or perhaps didnt have the
time) to give any in-depth interviews.
WES MONTGOMERY
Ritchie Valens
His rst album was released in
March 1959. Though just over 25
minutes in length, it contained a
dozen tracks that sizzled with verve and energy.
Bluebirds Over The Mountain was penned by
rockabilly Ersel Hickey, who took it to the Top 75 in
1957. Its since been covered by the Beach Boys, but
Valens brought it to wider attention.
The song Ooh My Head inspired a lawsuit after Led
Zeppelins 1975 album Physical Grafti contained a
track, Boogie With Stu, that was remarkably similar. A
lawsuit was led by Bob Keane and half of the award
went to Valens mother.
Ritchie
Recordings unreleased at the time
of Ritchies death included both
home demos and material recorded
at Gold Star Studios, and Keane mixed both on an
album released in October 1959. The tracks are not mere
cash-ins. Hurry Up was penned by Sharon Sheeley and
given to Valens by her anc, Eddie Cochran, while Cry
Cry Cry is an impressive self-penned rocker unrelated to
the Johnny Cash song of the same name.
Three bluesy instrumentals, Big Baby Blues, Fast
Freight and Ritchies Blues, teamed Valens with older,
seasoned New Orleans session musicians like drummer
Earl Palmer, guitarist Rene Hall and bassist Bill Pittman,
and he more than held his own in such company.
In Concert At
Pacoima Jr High
This fan-recorded live album
emphasised the enthusiastic
reception Valens received in person. It was recorded
on 10 December 1958 and featured the duo of Ritchie
on guitar and vocals and drummer Don Phillips. Bob
Keane released this in 1961 to meet demand from
fan-club members.
He obtained the tape of four songs from the show,
including Donna, La Bamba and a cover of Eddie
Cochrans Summertime Blues, and put them on one
side of the vinyl album. It was bulked out by an early
demo of Come On, Lets Go with audience noise
added. As Valens entire Gold Star Studios output had
now been released, the second side was lled with
unnished demos recorded at Keanes home studio.
34 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Listen up
As for Valens own thoughts, these
will forever be a mystery as he
wasnt around long enough
This was also an era when sections of
the media gave rocknroll short shrift,
believing it to be a passing fad.
But rocknroll was here to stay, and
Valens death was far from the end of the
story. His rst album, Ritchie Valens, was
released on the Del-Fi label in March
1959, one month after his death, and
peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard chart.
The rst of two posthumous hit 45s
was opening track Thats My Little Suzie
(listed as I Got A Gal Named Sue on the
LP and changed later). This No. 55 single
was a Come On, Lets Go soundalike
inspired by the daughter of a friend of his
mother who was born with a club foot.
Hence: When she walked, she rocked to
the left and rocked to the right.
The previously unheard Little Girl was
then released as a single and grazed the
US Hot 100 at No. 92 in July 1959. Further
music was concocted by Bob Keane
from demos and live performances; see
discography for details.
The Chicano music scene would
continue to ourish despite the loss of
its leading light. Chan Romero, Freddy
Fender and Chris Montez were among
those who continued Valens work; the
sound was so catchy it was taken up by
white acts like the Champs (of Tequila
fame) and the Sir Douglas Quartet, while
70s punks the Ramones covered Come
On, Lets Go in their own inimitable style.
But the biggest hit was still to come.
The success of the movie it titled took La
Bamba to the top of the charts in 1987 and
returned Ritchie Valens name to public
consciousness.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 2001 and has a star on
the Hollywood Walk of Fame not bad
for a kid from the Valley whose recording
career lasted a brief eight months.

ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 35


RITCHIE VALENS
WHAT THEY SAID
He was passionate, he was innocent, he was optimistic
and incredibly intense about everything he did
Lou Diamond Phillips (Ritchie Valens in the movie)
Its a real rags-to-riches
story, a real American
story of a kid that made
it, bought his mother a
house and had a blue
Thunderbird. Luis
Valdez (La Bamba
director/writer)
It never went to his
head that he was
getting popularhe
always was Ritchie,
always sweet and
always kind.
Donna Ludwig Coots
(Real-life girlfriend)
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36 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 37

I

ts a sound, its a feeling,
declared soul and R&B genius
Ray Charles of his revolutionary
fusion of blues and gospel that
saw the integration of black and
white music in the pre-Presley 1950s. Its
a different type of feeling that comes from
people who have been singing in church.
It sounds innocuous enough, yet
Charles bold formula of mixing
religious music with secular lyrics drew
condemnation from church leaders,
congregations and the establishment.
When we did I Got A Woman, people
said Oh, thats a religious song, you just
changed the words, he later recalled.
So we were being sacrilegious, we were
being this and that My answer was, At
this point Ive given up trying to sound
like Nat Cole, Im gonna be what I am
and I dont give a damn whether you like
it or you dont!
It was this transition, from covering
older jazz and blues-based material
recorded by lifelong idols Nat King Cole,
Louis Armstrong and Charles Brown, to
cutting gospel-driven R&B that enabled
Charles to break through. In doing so,
he played a major part in the racial
integration of music in the 1950s that
found expression in rocknroll.
Scoring a string of hits through the
decade, by 1960 he had crossed over to
pop, and also laid the foundation for the
soul leviathan, before experimenting with
country, pop and other musical genres.
By the time his star began to wane in the
mid-1960s he had become a legend.
Ray Charles Robinson was born on
23 September 1930 in Albany, Georgia,
the son of a railroad repair man and a
sharecropper, and grew up in a poor black
community with a strong Baptist church
background. As a child he was fascinated
by all things mechanical, but by age seven
he was completely blind, probably due to
glaucoma, and was sent to a school for the
deaf and blind in St Augustine, Florida.
It was here that he developed his love of
music, learning to play the piano, sitting
in with student bands and playing with
local music acts in Tallahassee clubs,
including jazz musician brothers Nat and
Cannonball Adderley.
After his mother died, in 1946, when
he was 15, the young pianist played in
various bands in theatres around Tampa
and Orlando, and it was then that he
began wearing his trademark sunglasses,
designed by Billy Stickles.
Up until then Charles had played in
existing bands, but he yearned to get out
on his own. Tampa and Orlando were
too limiting, while the jazz and blues
capitals of New York and Chicago could
swallow him up. Charles moved to Seattle
in 1947 and signed to the independent
Los Angeles-based Down Beat label as
part of the McSon Trio. Incredibly for
an unknown act, the bands debut single,
Confession Blues, reached No. 2 on the
R&B charts in 1949.
By then Down Beat had changed its
name to Swing Time Records, and was
home to R&B artist Lowell Fulson, with
whom Charles toured as musical director.
It was then that he changed his name to
Ray Charles, to avoid being confused with
boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Following
two more R&B hits for Swing Time, the
Cole-styled Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand
(an R&B No. 5 in 1951) and Kissa Me
Baby (1952), he was spotted by producer
Jerry Wexler and contracted to Atlantic
Records the following year.
So far so good. Born to a poor black
family in the Depression, blind from
childhood and growing up in a racially
segregated society in which competition
for a musical career was erce to say the
least, Charles enjoyed regular live gigs,
scored a number of R&B hits and was now
signed to a major label. Why not stick
with what he knew?
For a while he did, recording a clutch
of middling hits at Atlantic through 1952
and 1953 including The Midnight Hour,
It Should Have Been Me, Dont You Know
and the foot-tappin Mess Around. These
were largely cover versions on which
Charles mixed blues, boogie-woogie and
ballads that still owed a debt to Brown
and Cole. He had also arranged Guitar
Slims R&B No. 1 hit The Things I Used To
Do. But things were about to change.
Atlantic bosses Wexler and Ahmet
Ertegun adopted a hands-off approach to
producing their new signing. We didnt
know shit about making records, Wexler
later admitted, but we were having fun.
I realised the best thing I could do with
Ray was leave him alone.
While Mess Around (penned by
Ertegun) had featured some of the
THREE DRUG BUSTS AND 12 CHILDREN BY 10 WOMEN ARE AMONG THE MORE
COLOURFUL DETAILS OF RAY CHARLES CAREER, BUT THE PIANO GENIUSS REAL
CONTROVERSY LAY IN A GROUND-BREAKING MIX OF GOSPEL AND BLUES THAT
CHANGED THE MUSIC SCENE FOREVER, SAYS JEREMY ISAAC
RAY CHARLES
WHATD
I SAY
musical and vocal ticks that would
become Charles trademark, it would be
one of his own compositions that would
hit big, making him an R&B sensation
and inuencing the rocknroll music that
would dominate the scene from now on.
While touring during the summer of
1954, Charles heard a gospel group called
the Southern Tones performing a song on
the radio called It Must Be Jesus. He and
band member Renald Richard promptly
threw together an upbeat jazz and blues-
inspired number which featured the
sensibilities of church-based music, while
replacing traditional gospel devotional
lyrics with more earthy concerns. They
called it I Got A Woman.
Recorded in Atlanta in late 1954, I Got
A Woman was Charles rst major smash,
taking the top spot on the R&B chart by
January 1955, and gaining immortality
when Elvis broke it to mainstream
white audiences two years later. Based
on gospel standards My Jesus Is All The
World To Me and I Got A Saviour (Way
Across Jordan), I Got A Womans winning
formula became the pattern for a string of
hits through the rest of the decade. Talkin
Bout Jesus became Talkin Bout You,
Clara Wards This Little Light Of Mine
became This Little Girl Of Mine, and How
Jesus Died came out as Lonely Avenue.
Charles continued to mess around with
his sound. Having already added electric
piano, in 1956 he recruited girl group The
Cookies to bolster his churchy-sounding
choruses, renaming them the Raelettes.
Further hits included Drown In My Own
Tears, A Fool For You, Hallelujah I Love
Her So and The Night Time (Is The Right
Time). The latter was a particularly
steamy number, sung by Charles and
Raelettes lead singer Margie Hendricks,
with whom he was having an affair.
Veteran bluesman Big Bill Broonzy
spoke for many outraged churchgoers
when he complained, Hes mixing the
blues with spirituals thats wrong.
But Charles didnt care. His R&B career
soared, live and TV dates abounded and
he became a household name, joining the
rocknroll tidal wave that would sweep
the world.
While his 1957 debut album Hallelujah
I Love Her So featured several of his
R&B hits, a second set, The Great Ray
Charles, released the same year, saw him
return to his jazz roots, performing eight
instrumental tracks with former Duke
Ellington and Count Basie sidemen, one
penned by his old pal Quincy Jones.
He also worked with jazz vibraphonist
Milt Jackson on the Soul Brothers and
Soul Meeting albums in 1958, while his
jazz preoccupation was reected in an
appearance at the 1958 Newport Jazz
Festival, which he released as a live
album. And he continued to consolidate
his R&B career by headlining such earthy
black venues as the Apollo and Uptown
theatres in Harlem and Chicago.
Despite chart success, endless touring
and heavy TV exposure, Charless music
was still anchored in jazz and R&B. But
HE CONTINUED TO CONSOLIDATE HIS R&B
CAREER BY HEADLINING BLACK VENUES LIKE
THE APOLLO AND UPTOWN THEATRES
38 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11

Listen
up
Listen
up
Kissa Me Baby
[SWING TIME, 1952]
Charless early career at Down Beat/Swing
Time Records is often perceived as an
uninteresting procession of Nat King Cole-styled blues
offerings. This may be true of his early R&B hits Confession
Blues and Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand (R&B Nos. 2 and 5
respectively), but the unbridled beat and horn arrangements
and rampant vocals of Kissa Me Baby truly pointed the way to
the future.
Mess Around
[ATLANTIC, 1953]
Delivering a rumbling barrelhouse intro
reminiscent of Charles 1920s blues
mentors, this breakneck gospel thumper is rather like a
stripped-down rehearsal for Whatd I Say, going large on
boogie-woogie piano before the sledgehammer drumbeat
introduces what would become a trademark saxophone solo.
Charles uncompromising vocals were now in place the only
thing lacking was some gutsy female backing. It wouldnt be
long before that came along.
I Got A Woman
[ATLANTIC, 1954]
Charless breakthrough record dropped the
tempo, moderated the wild vocals and
employed some understated saxophone to deliver a catchy
R&B dance number that emphasised the secular lyrics he had
started applying to his gospel sound over the raucous sound of
his previous record. The songs crossover potential was huge,
so it was no surprise that Elvis took the song to glory two
years later.
Night Time Is
The Right Time
[ATLANTIC, 1958]
The blues was more in evidence when
Charles got together with his newly recruited backing group
the Raelettes for one of his most controversial recordings.
Slowed even further to a lumbering saxophone drone, the
songs lyric was considered suggestive in the extreme,
amplied by the fact that Charles was having an affair with
Raelettes singer Margie Hendricks, with whom he shared the
raunchily charged lead vocals.
What Id Say
[ATLANTIC, 1959]
Charles dening cut ran to an incredible
seven and a half minutes, unheard of at a
time when radio play allowed only two and a half, so engineer
Tom Dowd split it in two and put the second part on the ip.
His hoarse references to girls with red dresses and New Yorks
legendary Birdland jazz club are accompanied by a battery of
brass and the low, sexy drone of the Raelettes.
Hit The Road Jack
[ABC, 1961]
There were no slow introductions with this
brassy, uptempo, in-your-face
showstopper, which boasted cacophonous, multilayered horn
fusillades, a shouted chorus and a manic argument that
repeated the Charles-Hendricks formula. This was more than a
simple call-and-response more like a scrap between two
alley cats! Typically, Charles also works some contemporary
electric organ sounds into his winning mix of gospel and R&B.
The essential vinyl singles
RAY CHARLES
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 39


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Ray Charles: controversial
and extremely in uential
HIS CONTRIBUTION HAD BEEN MADE IN HIS
1950S CROSSOVER, INTEGRATING FORMERLY
SEGREGATED MUSICAL FORMS
in 1959 he would reach new heights
when he and his band checked into the
Atlantic Records studio to cut Whatd I
Say. Nothing would be the same again.
The song began as an improvised
workout late one night in 1958, when
Charles nished early after a frenetic
concert appearance in Brownsville,
Pennsylvania. The band had 12 minutes
to ll, and the singer turned to the
Raelettes and said, Listen, Im gonna
fool around. Yall just follow me.
He then launched into a series of
electric keyboard riffs before switching
to acoustic piano for four drum-driven
choruses, as he bawled the immortal
emotive, improvised vocal lines: Hey
mama, dont you treat me wrong, Come
and love your daddy all night long
The song then detonated into a
conagration of gospel and 12-bar
boogie-woogie piano, before breaking
down into a call-and-answer between
Charles, the Raelettes and the horn
section, headed by baritone sax player
Hank Crawford. After the show, Charles
was mobbed by fans demanding to
know where they could buy the record.
He called Wexler to say he had a new
song to record: I dont believe in giving
myself advances, but I gured this song
merited it. He wasnt wrong.
Whatd I Say was released in June
1959. The music press was dismissive,
and Atlantic was inundated with calls
from radio stations complaining about
the lyrics and refusing to play it. The
label issued a cleaned-up version
and Whatd I Say began to climb the
pop charts. Billboard magazine now
described the song as the strongest pop
record that the artist has done to date,
and by the time it reached No. 6 it had
become Atlantics biggest-selling song,
and Charles rst gold record.
Nevertheless, both white and black
radio stations banned the record for
its suggestive content, with one critic
noting, The dialogue between Charles
and his backing singers starts in church
and ends in the bedroom. Charles
later agreed that it was not the driving
rhythm but the sex that made the song a
hit. See the girl with the diamond ring,
she knows how to shake that thing
The inuence of Whatd I Say cannot
be exaggerated. At a time when rocknroll
was retreating after the drafting of
Presley, the jailing and disgrace of Chuck
Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis and the death
of Buddy Holly, Charles anthem not
only gave the music the kick it needed,
it actually sparked the new sub-genre
of soul that other R&B artists had only
hinted at. The song would be covered by
dozens of artists, and Charles would close
his shows with it for the rest of his career.
Having crossed into the pop charts,
Charles now embarked on a further
integration of his music, scoring a minor
hit with Hank Snows Im Movin On, the
rst of several country records he would
cut. He recorded three more albums
for Atlantic, the jazz and blues sets The
Genius After Hours and The Genius Sings
The Blues, followed by a pop/big band
collection The Genius Of Ray Charles, his
rst Top 40 chart entry.
These were big-selling albums and,
with his Atlantic contract about to
expire, he was courted by other labels.
His surprise November 1959 signing to
ABC-Paramount Records, who offered
artistic control, production royalties
and ownership of his own master tapes,
signalled another musical departure.
Having made his name at Atlantic
with self-penned material, Charles now
reinvented himself as an interpreter of
the work of others. His rst single for
ABC in 1960 was Georgia On My Mind,
which won national acclaim and a
Grammy Award.
40 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 8
Listen
up
Listen
up
The Complete Swing Time
and Down Beat Recordings
1949-52
[NIGHT TRAIN INTERNATIONAL, 2004]
This 45-track double set is really only for acionados as, Kissa
Me Baby aside, nothing here comes close to the geniuss
pioneering work at Atlantic and ABC. Its still something of a
mammoth project, as the sides he recorded for Down Beat
Records (as the McSon Trio) and the rechristened Swing Time
label (as the Ray Charles Trio) were all singles and ipsides.
There are also some unreleased tracks and alternative takes
here, but the sound could be better.
Pure Genius: The Complete
Atlantic Recordings
(1952-1959)
[WARNER CLASSICS, 2012]
This seven-disc, 155-track (but mid-priced) monster contains
everything Charles recorded at Atlantic, all the hits and
B-sides, studio and live albums, unreleased items and
outtakes, plus some rehearsal banter with Ahmet Ertegun,
who also provides the introduction to an 80-page booklet that
includes a career prole and the sleeve notes to every Charles
album. Its actually a stripped-down reissue of a set that came
in a Dansette-shaped box and included an eighth DVD disc.
Ray Charles: The Complete
ABC Years (1959-61)
[LE CHANT DU MONDE, 2012]
A three-CD set spotlighting only four of Charles ABC albums:
Genius Hits The Road, Dedicated To You, Genius+Soul=Jazz and
Ray Charles And Betty Carter, plus a few singles. Notable
entries include Georgia On My Mind, Hit The Road Jack and
Unchain My Heart, while glaring omissions include the hit
singles I Cant Stop Loving You and You Dont Know Me, and
the ground-breaking Modern Sounds in Country And Western
Music albums. Note: the genuinely comprehensive Singular
Genius: The Complete ABC Singles box on Concord is now rare
and very expensive.
Modern Sounds in Country
And Western Music
Volumes 1 & 2
[CONCORDE/UNIVERSAL, 2011]
These legendary 1962 albums represented the rst time that a
black R&B and soul artist had messed around with the white,
working class country & western genre. Blending musical
simplicity with luxuriant strings, strident brass and an
uncompromising soulful voice, they reached a new audience,
spawning a raft of hit singles: I Cant Stop Loving You, Your
Cheatin Heart, You Are My Sunshine, You Dont Know Me and
Take These Chains from My Heart.
The crucial compilation CDs
RAY CHARLES
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 41


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This was followed by another Grammy
winner, Hit The Road Jack, featuring
some strident banter between Charles
and Hendricks, and he also worked
with Quincy Jones again on the 1961 set
Genius + Soul = Jazz, which contained
the surprise hit One Mint Julep. His twin
1962 albums, Modern Sounds In Country
And Western Music Volumes 1 and 2, saw
another bold leap, giving him a No. 1 hit
on both sides of the Atlantic with Don
Gibsons I Cant Stop Loving You.
The following year Charles started his
own Tangerine Records and scored hits
with Busted and Take These Chains From
My Heart, but despite these successes,
and huge concert attendances, his record
sales peaked in 1964, and he began to
lose ground to younger soul and Motown
artists such as James Brown, Smokey
Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding.
This was compounded in 1964 when
he was arrested a third time for heroin
abuse. Entering rehab rather than going
to jail, Charles beat his 20-year habit in
a Los Angeles clinic and re-emerged in
1966 for a modest run of chart hits by
nascent songwriting team Ashford &
Simpson, including a further Grammy
win for Crying Time.
But his time as an innovator was over.
Sidelined by the new sounds of soul,
psychedelia and the British Invasion, by
the end of the decade he was rarely heard
on radio. But his contribution had been
made in his 1950s crossover, breaking
musical and racial barriers by integrating
formerly segregated musical forms and,
indeed, helping to birth rocknroll itself.
Ray Charles died on June 10, 2004,
at the age of 73. Two months later his
nal album, Genius Loves Company,
consisting of duets with contemporaries
and admirers including BB King, Willie
Nelson (his former chess partner),
Natalie Cole, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John,
Diana Krall and Norah Jones, became an
eight-time Grammy-winner.
Appropriately, one of the albums
many awards was that of Best Gospel
Performance for Heaven Help Us All,
which Charles sang with Gladys Knight.
It was an apt tribute to the artist whose
mixture of church music with blues and
jazz had revolutionised popular music
more than half a century before. It is
this that makes so tting his frequent
inclusion of the otherwise overused
expression genius in the titles of so many
of his essential albums.

Jackie with Elvis


O
n the evening of
11 July 1951, Alan
Freed, a deejay
in Cleveland,
Ohio, signed
off from his
weekly serving
of Beethoven and Wagner. After the
last notes faded away, Freed dropped
the needle on a very different type of
symphony the lonesome howl of a
wild dog, backed by tribal beats, titled
Moondogs Symphony. As the strange
music lled the airwaves of Cleveland,
Freed launched into a full hour of jumpin
rhythm & blues tunes, introducing each
song with frenetic chatter and
manic energy. Leaving his mic
on as he spun hot platters, Freed
pounded out the beat of the music
on a telephone book with his st,
grabbed a nearby cowbell and
shook it violently for emphasis and
shouted, Go! Go!! GO!!!
Cleveland had never heard
anything like it. The phones at radio
station WJW rang off the hook. Love
him or hate him, no one could ignore
this strange creature on the radio that
soon began referring to himself as the
Moondog. Just 29 years old, Freed
had spent most of his life looking for
a ticket to the big time. By the end of
that July evening, Freed knew he was
on to something, and in the months
ahead he would ride the wave he
dubbed rocknroll to spectacular
heights. Like the music he played, his
rise to glory was fast and wild, and his
fall, when it eventually came, was tragic
and complete.
Aldon James Freed was born
15 December 1921 in Johnstown,
Pennsylvania. Obsessed with music from
an early age, Freed formed his own swing
band in high school, but his destiny lay
in radio broadcasting a eld that was
a perfect t for Freeds big, outgoing
personality and his fast-talking, self-
promoting charms. With a relentless
drive to succeed, Freed worked his way
up through various radio station jobs in
the late 1940s.
By January 1950, he was hosting the
top-rated Request Revue programme
of pop and jazz favorites on Akron,
Ohio, radio station WAKR. With his
ego outpacing his business sense, Freed
defected to a competing station in Akron,
but his new job didnt last long. Based
on a clause in Freeds contract, WAKR
secured a legal injunction that stopped
him from working for any radio station in
their broadcast area for one year.
With radio off limits, Freed leaped into
the new medium of television with a live
deejay program on TV station WXEL in
nearby Cleveland, Ohio. Although Freed
still had his charming patter, static
shots of records playing hardly made
for riveting television, and his show
quickly opped. By early 1951, Freed
was eking out a living as the host of
WXELs afternoon movie program.
In a year, hed gone from being one
of the top deejays in the Cleveland-
Akron area to a has-been. Turning
to booze to soothe his battered ego,
Freed frequented a local bar where
he met a fellow hard-drinking
music lover.
Leo Mintz was the owner of
Record Rendezvous, a successful
record store near Clevelands
largest black neighborhood. A
longtime advertiser on Cleveland
radio station WJW, Mintz was
able to pull some strings. Freed
joined WJW as a classical music
deejay when his ban from radio
expired in February 1951.
BEFORE HIS CAREER WAS DESTROYED BY THE PAYOLA SCANDAL,
ALAN FREED WAS THE MOONDOG, A DEEJAY AT THE FOREFRONT
OF THE NEW ROCKNROLL. RANDY FOX TELLS ALL
42 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11

The Howl of the


MOONDOG
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 43
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His career seemed to be back on track,
but he had no idea it was about to shift
into overdrive.
As Freed later told the tale, a few
months after going on the air at WJW,
Mintz invited him to his store to witness
an odd phenomenon dozens of white
teenagers shopping for the latest rhythm
& blues records. The sight inspired Freed
to launch his rocknroll radio show and
the rest was history.
Quite a bit of embellishing was involved
with Freeds version of events. In early
1951, the R&B record business was
booming, but very few of the sales were
going to white teenagers. Throughout the
late 1940s and into the early 1950s, several
radio stations added black-targeted
music shows to their schedules. Many
were inspired by the tremendous success
of Nashville, Tennessee, radio station
WLACs nightly R&B broadcasts, heard
over half the US. The same month that
Mintz got Freed his job at WJW, Billboard
magazine ran a story about Randys
Record Shop in Gallatin, Tennessee
and the outstanding sales success that
resulted from their sponsorship of
WLACs R&B shows.
Whatever the motivation and timing,
Freeds Moondog Show was a smash hit
with Clevelands black listeners. Although
Freed knew little of R&B when he began
the show, he transformed himself into the
ultimate ofay hipster a white man who
trumpeted the glories of black music. In
fact, many of Freeds listeners assumed he
was black. Advertisers couldnt ignore his
popularity. Local beer brand Erin Brew
signed on as a sponsor of the Moondog
Show and within weeks it became
the top-selling beer across Clevelands
black community.
In a few months, Freed changed
the name of his show to the Moondog
House RocknRoll Party. While the
term rocknroll had long been a
blues euphemism for sex, it gained
popularity as a name for hot music and
partying in general after the enormous
success of Wynonie Harris 1948 hit
Good Rockin Tonight. Freed began
to use the term interchangeably with
rhythm & blues.
In March 1952, Freed, Mintz and
event promoter Lew Platt organized a
live revue of R&B music. Considered
by many to be the rst rocknroll
concert, the event set the template for
many more shows promoted by Freed,
but it also became rocknrolls rst
brush with some exaggerated claims
of unlawfulness.
Held at the 10,000 seat Cleveland
Arena, the event drew an estimated
crowd of 17,000 (some estimates were
higher) with many hoping to nd a way
into the show despite their lack of tickets.
Mid-way into the show, several thousand
gatecrashers forced their way into the
arena, and Cleveland police stopped the
show. There was one reported stabbing
and a few arrests for public drunkenness,
but the majority of the crowd left
without incident. Newspapers, however,
described the evenings event as a riot
brought about by an overwhelmingly
black crowd. Charges against Freed and
his partners were bandied about but
eventually dropped.
Freeds success on the radio continued,
and he promoted more concerts in the
Cleveland area. With each new show,
Freeds popularity among white teenagers
increased. Freed became one of the rst
to recognize that the growing popularity
of rhythm & blues wasnt just a repeat of
the jazz and swing crazes of the 1920s
and 1930s. The sound of R&B wasnt
just being assimilated into pop music. It
was the birth of a dramatically new style
based in R&B that also drew from country
and pop. Ironically, the fantasy scene that
Freed claimed was the inspiration for his
show became true, as thousands of white
teens discovered rocknroll through the
howl of the Moondog.
In September 1954, Freed moved his
show to WINS in New York with a salary
of $75,000 a year, making him one of
the highest paid deejays in America. His
mix of jive talk and hot tunes took the
Big Beat Heat: Alan
Freed and the Early
Years of Rock & Roll
(published by Schirmer Books)
BY JOHN A JACKSON
The Pied Pipers of
RocknRoll: Radio
Deejays of the 50s
and 60s
(published by Longstreet Press)
BY WES SMITH
Recommended
Reading
44 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Big Apple by storm, and his shows were
recorded and syndicated to radio stations
across the US.
It was said that Freed could introduce
a new record on his show and the next
day it would sell over 10,000 copies in
New York City alone. With that kind of
inuence, every record label that released
R&B wanted Freed on their side. At the
time, most labels engaged in a practice
called payola paying radio deejays
with cash or gifts in exchange for on-air
play. While the practice might sound
shady, there were no laws prohibiting
payola, payments were seldom made on a
quid pro quo basis and it was a vital tool
used by smaller labels to gain access to
valuable on-air time.
One of the most notorious examples
of gifts Freed received was his co-
writer credit on Chuck Berrys rst hit
Maybellene an attribution that greatly
surprised Berry, the songs sole, actual
writer. Freed promoted Maybellene
incessantly and made a sizable amount
of money from his share of the royalties.
Freed also promoted Berrys follow-up
hits with the same fervor and remained
loyal to Berry, frequently booking him for
live shows.
Freed regarded payola as part of the
give and take of the music business. He
was always happy to accept what was
offered and was generous to a fault with
his friends and business associates, often
giving extravagant gifts purely on a whim.
As for airplay, Freed insisted that quality
always trumped cash when it came to
choosing the music he played. Reportedly,
Ahmet Ertegun, head of Atlantic
Records, once complained that Freed
wasnt playing enough Atlantic releases
after the label paid for the swimming
pool at Freeds New York home. Freed
responded that when Atlantic released
records that were good he played them,
and Ertegun could ll in the pool if he
didnt like it.
Freed continued promoting his massive
rocknroll revues in New York and other
cities in the northeastern U.S. In 1955, the
ratio of white attendees to black passed
Freed insisted that quality
trumped cash when it came to
choosing the music he played

ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 45


ALAN FREED
the 50 percent mark and continued to
grow. To keep pace with his audience,
Freed gradually shifted his persona from
white hipster to adult teenager
becoming a hero to millions of teens the
cool uncle that understood their music
and minds. With the rise of white
rocknroll, Freed began adding white
artists to his radio playlist and live revues,
but he also remained devoted to many
black artists.
Freed also launched the Alan Freed
RocknRoll Band. Essentially a swing
orchestra with a pumped up
A deejay, and a celebrity
in his own right


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rhythm section, the band was headed
by Freed in name only. Veteran tenor
saxophone player and musical director,
Sam Taylor initially headed the group
for live appearances. After signing a
recording contract with Coral Records,
Freed hired swing and R&B session man
and arranger Leroy Kirkland to form a
studio version of the band for a series of
albums that featured Freed introducing
each tune in the same manner as he did
on his radio show.
46 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
In 1956, Freed starred in his rst
feature lm, Rock Around the Clock.
Produced by B-movie king, Sam Katzman,
the lm was a cheaply-made quickie
designed to capitalize on the enormous
success of Bill Haley and the Comets
title song. With the thinnest of plots tied
together by music, it set the template for
future lms, starring Freed and others.
Rock Around the Clock was also an
enormous hit in the UK and Europe. As a
direct result, the English-language service
of Radio Luxembourg began airing
Freeds syndicated show on Saturday
nights. With their powerful transmitter,
Freeds gospel of rocknroll rolled into
the UK, Western Europe and behind the
Iron Curtain.
Although Freed was ush with success,
trouble was brewing on many fronts.
From the beginning of his run on radio,
there were opponents to rocknroll.
Many adults saw it as a confusing and
possibly dangerous phenomenon that
encouraged racial mixing, violence,
immorality, delinquency and a host of
other evils. Some established musicians
and composers saw it as a direct threat
to their livelihood and were eager to
join the opposition with real or feigned
moral indignation. Then of course, there
were those who were eager to engage
in demagoguery and saw rocknroll as a
convenient scapegoat for societys ills.
By making himself the number one
spokesman for rocknroll, Freed also
became the number one target when
the backlash began. With his trusting
personality, reckless business habits, large
ego and belief that he could talk his way
out of trouble, Freed was planting the
seeds of his own destruction.
In 1957, Freed launched a nationwide
television show, The Big Beat. As the
ALAN FREED
Freed with Little Richard and Bill Haley


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ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 47
Friends who visited were shocked
by his appearance and the toll that
stress and alcohol had exacted
Enjoying the press reports
credits were rolling on the second
episode, singer Frankie Lymon of the
black vocal group Frankie Lymon and the
Teenagers was seen briey dancing with
a white girl from the studio audience.
Protests poured in, and the show was
cancelled after four episodes.
As anti-rock forces became more vocal,
Freed appeared on several TV shows to
defend the music and the kids that loved
it. Although his defence was sincere and
passionate, Freeds tendency for off-
the-cuff remarks and hyperbole often
resulted in more headaches. His fourth
feature lm, Dont Knock the Rock,
released in 1957, was a rather bumbling
attempt to defend rocknroll. His
enemies never saw it, and his fans just
wanted more music.
In May 1958, Freed brought his
rocknroll revue tour to Boston,
Massachusetts. When audience
members left their seats to dance in
the aisles, police threatened to stop the
show and tempers ared. From the stage,
Freed made an angry comment about the
police not wanting kids to have fun. At
almost the same time, violence broke out
between two rival gangs in the audience
and there was a panic as the crowd rushed
for the doors.
As with previous incidents, newspapers
exaggerated the scale of the ruckus.
Freed was charged with inciting a riot
and the remaining shows of the tour were
cancelled. When he returned to New
York, WNIS red him. Freed still had a
loyal following, but he had become too
controversial for the station. The charges
against Freed were eventually dropped,
and he secured a new position at radio
station WABC in New York, but his legal
problems were just beginning.
In November 1958, the US Congress
began investigating payola in radio
broadcasting. Although there were no
federal laws prohibiting the practice,
the idea of cynical and greedy deejays
foisting degenerate rocknroll on
Americas youth made for great political
theatre. Freed was targeted as one of the
primary offenders. The investigation and
controversy led to Freeds dismissal from
WABC. After a close study of state laws,
the attorney general of New York found
a way to charge Freed and a handful of
other deejays for commercial bribery in
1960. After two years of legal wrangling,
Freed pled guilty to a lesser charge.
Broke, depressed, and with few friends
left in the business, Freed tried to revive
his career with new radio shows in Santa
Monica, California, and later in Miami,
Florida. He proved he could still attract
an audience, but both stations red him
due to his increasing dependency on
alcohol and conicts of interest over his
concert promotions. Freed became an
outcast from an industry he helped build.
He was indicted for income tax evasion
in 1964, and the government demanded
money from him that was long gone.
Freed spent his nal days living in
his house in Palm Springs, California,
phoning old friends, often in vain, to ask
for money. In December 1964, he was
hospitalized for uremic poisoning due to
kidney failure. Friends who visited him
were shocked by his appearance and the
toll that stress and alcohol had exacted
from him. Despite his condition, in his
lucid moments he was upbeat for visitors,
struggling to reinvent himself one last
time. Freed passed away on 20 January
1965, at the age of 43.
The traits that enabled Freed to thrive
in the early days of rocknroll his trust
in others, his disregard for convention
and his passion for the value of music
over practical business concerns became
detriments once rocknroll began to
be harnessed by the music business
establishment. Since Freeds death,
rocknroll has had its up and downs.
Whether whipped by pretensions of
artistic achievement, dulled by disco or
pounded by pop uffery, the sound of the
big beat has refused to die. Freed once
said, Lets face it rock n roll is bigger
than all of us. The music heralded by the
howl of the Moondog continues on, long
after the broken heart of its rst prophet
ceased beating.
1


G
e
t
t
y

I
m
a
g
e
s
,
40
T
he music known as R&B is usually
traced to a late-1940s fusion of Afro-
American rhythms that were the latest
manifestation of a musical phenomenon
stretching back into the 19th century and
earlier. However, the name rhythm and blues
was a marketing term coined in 1948 by record
producer Jerry Wexler to replace the offensive
race music.
Late 1940s R&B covered anything from jazz,
boogie-woogie and electric blues to gospel,
doo-wop and other genres, but over the following
decades these would interact to spawn a host of
hybrids including rocknroll, soul, disco, funk, and
even psychedelia and garage rock.
By the late 1950s, jazz and blues inuences had
largely been absorbed by rocknroll, or had
retreated to their parent genres, while gospel
formed the dominant combination of church-based
sounds and secular lyrics that took the music into
the early 1960s.
As R&B changed, so did the name. Just as the
1960s saw the derisive social labels colored and
negro replaced by a more dignied black identity,
so rhythm & blues began to be called soul. By the
1970s, soul had parented a host of new sub-genres
including disco, funk, rap and many others, that
are today bracketed as contemporary R&B.
Our R&B Top 40 follows the sound from its
emergence in the late 1940s as a jazz and
blues-driven music that gave birth to
rocknroll, to its late 1950s and early 1960s
evolution into the soul music that reigned
supreme by the end of the decade. Whatever
can be said about R&B, theres no doubt it is the
broadest of churches. Take a pew.

48 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11


OF THE GREATEST
Rhythm & Blues
TRACKS EVER
JEREMY ISAAC


G
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I
m
a
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,
LARRY WILLIAMS
BONY MORONIE
Record Label Specialty
Released 1957
New Orleans pianist Larry Williams
worked with California R&B group
The Lemon Drops before returning
to the Crescent City to indulge
his obsession with nonsensical
tongue-twisters (Short Fat Fannie,
Dizzie Miss Lizzie, etc), of which
Bony Moronie was the second. Due
to its location, New Orleans has long
come under the regions Francophone
inuences, including those of the Cajun
community. It was no surprise then, that
Williams, under pressure to deliver an answer song
to Fannie, drew inspiration from Clarence Garlows Bon Ton Roulet, spicing things up
with a repeating double sax riff and co-arranger Rene Halls Gretsch guitar licks, and
topping things off with his own outrageous, over-the-top vocals.
LOUIS JORDAN AND HIS TYMPANY FIVE
SATURDAY NIGHT FISH FRY
Record Label Decca
Released 1949
Louis Jordan was the rst one I
heard play rocknroll, Chuck Berry
recalled, and this wild jazz/R&B
fusion is a ne example. First
recorded by Eddie Williams And His
Brown Buddies, Fish Fry is best-
known by Jordan and his Tympany
Five, whose sexed-up version hit
the shops early after an acetate of
Williams recording was leaked to
Jordans management. Jordan reworked
the song, adding a vocal hook that endowed
it with an R&B sensibility, and replaced the
originals less punchy rhythm with a speeded-up, belting boogie-woogie arrangement.
This raucous record ruled the R&B charts for 12 weeks, also reaching No. 21 on the national
chart unheard of for what would have been considered a race record at the time.
BIG MAMA THORNTON
HOUND DOG
Record Label Peacock
Released 1953
The story of how songsmiths Jerry Leiber
and Mike Stoller discovered Willie Mae
Big Mama Thornton at R&B bandleader
Johnny Otiss House in 1952 is now a
part of rocknroll legend. Signed to Don
Robeys Houston-based Peacock Records
in 1951, Thornton had released only two
op singles. Big Mama knocked us cold,
Leiber later recalled. She looked like the
biggest, baddest, saltiest chick youd ever
see. I wanted to write a song for her that said
Go fuck yourself. Penned in a mere 15 minutes,
Thorntons earthy R&B classic nds her alternately moaning,
whooping and barking, and exorting her listeners to do the Mess Around two
months before the Ray Charles song appeared. The absence of horns and Otiss
economic drum style give the record its sparse trademark sound.
RUFUS THOMAS
BEAR CAT
Record Label Sun
Released 1953
Follow Big Mama Thorntons Hound
Dog? Impossible! But thats just
what DJ Rufus Thomas did when
Sun released this on the heels of
the ground-breaking original.
Opening with Thomass best alley
cat impression, the song was a good
deal wilder, featuring Houston
Stokes jolting drums, Tuff Greens
rumbling upright bass and a crazed
guitar solo from Joe Hill Louis that
made the original sound pedestrian.
The lyrics were suggestive and misogynistic, at one point
claiming Miss Kitty was looking for an old soup bone. Peacock boss Don Robey, who
owned the tune, sued for plagiarism and won, but the song stayed on the airwaves, and
the next two years saw numerous covers before Elvis nally took it to legendary status.
FATS DOMINO
AINT THAT A SHAME
Record Label Imperial
Released 1955
What you call rocknroll now is rhythm &
blues, asserted Fats Domino in the 1950s.
Ive been playing it for 15 years in New
Orleans. Domino had recorded 25 singles
for Imperial Records since 1949, one of
which had reached No. 1 on the R&B chart,
but his partnership with producer and
co-writer Dave Bartholomew nally hit
paydirt in 1955 with Aint That A Shame,
which, despite competition from Pat Boones
squeaky-clean cover version, would eventually
sell a million copies. A heavy drum beat accentuates
Fats' walking left-hand stride rhythm, while strong brass
support segues into a strong sax solo, as the Big Daddy of piano delivers a whimsical
condemnation of his departed sweetheart. Fats stayed with Imperial until 1963,
scoring 35 US Top 40 hits.
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 49
WHAT YOU CALL
ROCKNROLL NOW
IS RHYTHM & BLUES,
ASSERTED FATS DOMINO
WHEN INTERVIEWED IN
THE 1950S. IVE BEEN
PLAYING IT FOR 15 YEARS
IN NEW ORLEANS.
9
40 GREATEST R&B TRACKS EVER
50 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
ANN COLE
GOT MY MOJO WORKING
Record Label Baton
Released 1956
Blues and R&B fans will be more than familiar
with this song, popularised by Muddy
Waters after he heard New Jersey-born
gospel singer Ann Cole perform it on
tour in 1956. Recorded and released
simultaneously, amazingly, neither
version was a hit. Waters take (the
subject of copyright litigation after he
altered some of songwriter Preston Fosters
original lyrics and then claimed authorship)
was subsequently discovered by UK blues
enthusiasts and brought to mainstream prominence,
leading to a profusion of covers including British harmonica legend Cyril Davies spunky
take with Blues Incorporated in 1962. Coles original version is a feisty, high-powered slide
guitar and sax-laced departure from the churchy ballads she usually recorded, but her
gospel roots show both in the doo-wop style backing an her own unique, testifyin vocals.
SAM COOKE
CHAIN GANG
Record Label RCA Victor
Released 1960
The second of Sam Cookes 1960 hits
(the other was Wonderful World),
Chain Gang seemed a facile R&B
ditty, but underlying this was its
theme of the iniquitous penal work
system inicted on the Southern
black community for generations,
which only now was beginning
to be addressed. The backing is
superb, a tight, danceable drum
rhythm accentuated by the sound
of hammers on railroad spikes and
some wonderfully lazy, fumbled guitar lines. Cookes
lamenting lyrical delivery, which only begins halfway through the record, is mournful
and direct, defying listeners not to tear up: Hear them moanin their lives away, then
you hear somebody say, Thats the sound of the men workin on the chain gang.
ALVIN ROBINSON
DOWN HOME GIRL
Record Label Red Bird
Released 1965
A bit late for this list, as R&B was by now
reeling under the impact of Motown, Stax
and the British Invasion, but its so good
it had to go in. An established session
musician by 1960 who had also recorded
solo for Imperial and Tiger, New
Orleans-born Alvin Shine Robinson
was signed by songwriters Leiber and
Stoller to their Brill Building-based Red
Bird label. Written by Leiber and pianist/
arranger Artie Butler, Down Home Girl presents
a sarcastic, truly downhome narrative of a sexy
youngster from the countryside who drives the singer
wild with desire: Every time you move like that Ive got to go to Sunday mass.
Robinsons tortured vocal is underpinned by a loping bass rhythm and some
fabulous horn work by saxophone virtuoso King Curtis.
BOBBY BLUE BLAND
FARTHER UP THE ROAD
Record Label Duke
Released 1957
More widely known as Further On Up The
Road, and even more widely covered
by a galaxy of artists including Lonnie
Mack, Mike Bloomeld, Robin Trower
and Eric Clapton (several times),
this crucial R&B track was released
on both 78 and 45 formats. While
the song is credited to Houston writer
Joe Medwick and Duke Records owner
Don Robey, it was also claimed by blues
singer Johnny Copeland, although Bland
later explained it was all Medwicks work.
Whatever the case, Farther Up the Road is a corker of a cut, its seminal blues origins
being prominently showcased by a dynamic interaction of saxophone and downhome
electric guitar licks, delivered over a belting traditional drum rhythm, as Bland gives the
resentful lyric his most soulful reading. This songs inuence cannot be overstated.
BOOKER T & THE MGS
GREEN ONIONS
Record Label Stax
Released 1962
Covered by everybody from Harry James
and Henry Mancini to Tom Petty
and Johnny Thunders, this great
instrumental meld of R&B and soul
had an inauspicious start, having
been originally released as the
ip-side to Behave Yourself on Staxs
subsidiary Volt label in May 1962.
Reissued on Stax four months later, the
tune reached No. 3 on the pop rundown
and also hit the top spot on the burgeoning
soul chart. A basic 12-bar blues boasting a robotic
interplay between Booker T Joness cool electric organ riff and Steve Croppers
grating Fender Telecaster licks, the title is variously claimed to refer to marijuana,
a cat belonging to cartoon character Green Badger or green onions, because, as
Jones later said, It was the nastiest thing I could think of.
CHAIN GANG SEEMED A
FACILE R&B DITTY, BUT
UNDERLYING THIS WAS ITS
THEME OF THE INIQUITOUS
PENAL WORK SYSTEM
INFLICTED ON THE SOUTHERN
BLACK COMMUNITY FOR
GENERATIONS
9
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 51
MARVIN GAYE
HITCH HIKE
Record Label Tamla
Released 1962
Hitch Hike is another title in the
songbook of R&B hits covered on
the Rolling Stones early albums
and, despite being recorded by a
Motown artist, is a ne example of
1960s R&B. Written by Marvin Gaye
with Clarence Paul and William
Mickey Stevenson, it also features
backing vocals by Martha and the
Vandellas, and spawned a short-lived
teenage dance craze. Gaye had arguably
the most soulful voice in the Motown stable,
and hes on form here, at times capturing the vocal
feel of James Brown over the Funk Brothers chugging rhythm track and some gutsy
horns. The only weak element is the lightweight ute sound in the instrumental break,
overused on Motowns pop production line, and out of place in the R&B milieu.
THE PRISONAIRES
JUST WALKIN IN THE RAIN
Record Label Sun
Released 1953
The Prisonaires were an Afro-American vocal
quintet formed while languishing in the
Tennessee State Penitentiary for murder,
rape and manslaughter. Illiterate lead
singer Johnny Bragg wrote the song after
crossing the prison yard in a rainshower,
while fellow inmate Robert Riley copped
a co-credit for writing down his lyrics.
When Sam Phillips heard about them,
the ve were escorted to Suns Memphis
studio under armed guard to record. Really a
doo-wop song rather than a genuine R&B article, the
Prisonaires original is slow and dreamy, accompanied only
by acoustic guitar, as Bragg and his fellow cons pour out one of
the smoothest, most mournfully beautiful, close harmony ballads ever. Johnny Ray hit
UK No. 1 with it in 1956, but the boys from the Big House have the edge.
ARETHA FRANKLIN
TODAY I SING THE BLUES
Record Label Columbia
Released 1960
The future Lady Soul started life as the
daughter of gospel singer the Rev CL
Franklin, singing frequently in his
Detroit Baptist church as a child
and accompanying him on gospel
caravan tours around the country.
After releasing two gospel singles
in the late 1950s on the small JVB
label, Franklin landed a deal with
Columbia in 1960 and recorded the
single Today I Sing The Blues, which later
reached the R&B Top 10. A classic mixture
of slow traditional blues and re-and-brimstone
vocal style, the song also features a sure piano foundation and some beautifully
understated guitar lls as Franklins unique, powerful voice pours out a chronicle of
present-day heartache. Atlantic Records success and 1960s soul superstardom lay ahead.
DOC POMUS
SEND FOR THE DOCTOR
Record Label Chess
Released 1950
Youngblood, A Teenager In Love, Save
The Last Dance For Me, Suspicion,
A Mess Of Blues You could ll a
phone directory with classic hit
songs penned by Doc Pomus and
writing partner Mort Shuman.
But Brooklyn-born Pomus came
to songwriting fame late, after a
teenage obsession with the blues
and R&B of Joe Turner led to 10 years
of club dates and indie recordings for
labels such as Derby, Dawn, Apollo and
Baronet between 1945 and 1955. Recorded for
Chess as the ip side to the more traditional No Home Blues, Send For The Doctor opens
on discordant horns before a persistent piano boogie rhythm uplifts the Docs sparse,
emotive vocals to assure us My kinda cure gonna drive you insane. This is pure gold.
ETTA JAMES
I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU
Record Label Chess
Released 1961
Written by the legendary Willie Dixon
in 1954, this traditional Chicago blues
number was a major hit for the equally
legendary Muddy Waters the same year,
while the frantically scrubbed guitars
and amended lyrics of the Rolling
Stones took it to a wider audience
when they included it on their 1964
debut album. Although it featured
on her 1961 Chess Records debut
LP At Last!, poor Etta James had to
wait till 1996 for her stormy take to gain popular recognition
albeit through a Diet Coke ad but what a take it is! Despite a
sweetening string arrangement that gives it a cocktail lounge aura, Jamess unbridled
reading boasts a thundering drum pattern supporting honking baritone sax blasts and
an uncompromising vocal that carries all before it.
THE PRISONAIRES WERE
AN AFRO-AMERICAN
VOCAL QUINTET FORMED
WHILE LANGUISHING IN
THE TENNESSEE STATE
PENITENTIARY FOR
MURDER, RAPE AND
MANSLAUGHTER
40 GREATEST R&B TRACKS EVER
52 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
MARTHA AND THE VANDELLAS
DANCING IN THE STREET
Record Label Gordy
Released 1964
The profusion of early 1960s releases
on various labels owned by Berry
Gordy Jr are never properly considered
either R&B or soul, but many Tamla/
Motown artists and writers had their
roots in doo-wop, gospel and R&B,
and brought these inuences to their
early singles. Released just as R&B
was becoming soul, Martha and the
Vandellas Dancing in the Street has
been interpreted variously as a party
song or a call to riot. But, from the kick-start drum
intro and the brassy horn accompaniment to the shufing tambourine beat and the lead
singers earthy vocal, one things for sure: its a stone R&B waxing. Its been covered
many times, famously by Van Halen (1982) and Mick Jagger and David Bowie (1985, for
Live Aid), but this is the real deal.
RAY SHARPE
LINDA LU
Record Label Jamie
Released 1959
A surprise entry on the 1973 Thatll Be The
Day lm soundtrack album, the Fort
Worth-born guitarist and songwriters
most successful hit was originally
the ip side to the more pedestrian
Red Sails In The Sunset. Recorded in
Phoenix, Arizona, and produced by
Lee Hazlewood, Linda Lu eschews the
standard R&B combination of lazy rhythm
and horn punctuation in favour of a sparse,
robotic rhythm and Sharpes tongue-twisting,
suggestive lyrics. Theres also a nifty, understated
guitar passage towards the close. It would have been nice to hear more of this, but 1950s
singles seldom allowed that luxury. Linda Lu was later covered by the Rolling Stones,
Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Tom Jones and the Flying Burrito Brothers, while Sharpe
went on to work with King Curtis and Jimi Hendrix.
BLUES INCORPORATED
I GOT MY MOJO WORKING
Record Label Ace Of Clubs
Released 1962
Harmonica player Cyril Davies started
out playing with Chris Barber in the
British skife movement before
hooking up with guitarist Alexis
Korner to open the London Blues and
Barrelhouse Club in 1955. The pair
parted over musical differences,
but reunited in 1961 to form Blues
Incorporated. Recordings were
sporadic but their studio album,
R&B From The Marquee, became a
milestone of British R&B. Their vital
reworking of Ann Coles astonishing 1956 original take on Preston Fosters Got My
Mojo Working (see previous page) is splendid, as Davies roaring harp and bog-
standard vocals compete with frenetic backing from Long John Baldry, saxophonist
Dick Heckstall-Smith and some uncredited guitar from Big Jim Sullivan.
CHUCK BERRY
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
Record Label Chess
Released 1959
Some say Chuck Berry isnt a rocknroll
musician at all, let alone a purveyor of
R&B. This is because he often played
country music tunes in an R&B style,
or adapted blues tunes by the likes of
Muddy Waters to the style of crooners
such as Nat King Cole, to target white
audiences. Indeed, already known
as the black hillbilly, when Berry
approached Chess Records in 1955, label
boss Leonard Chess discarded his blues demos
in favour of country covers, believing the R&B
market was already shrinking. Nevertheless, eschewing
the much-imitated slashing guitar intro and fast pace of many of Berrys hits, Memphis is the
real deal. Despite a facile lyric and simplistic instrumental break, the songs R&B credentials
are a resonant, stumbling, mid-tempo rhythm interspersed with fussy, repeated guitar licks.
JOHNNY ACE WITH THE BEALE STREETERS
MY SONG
Record Label Duke
Released 1952
Born the son of a preacher man in
Memphis, Tennessee in 1929, Johnny Ace
worked with BB King and Bobby Blue
Bland before signing to Duke Records
in 1952. After eight hits and two years
of touring with R&B heavyweight Big
Mama Thornton, he accidentally shot
himself in the head while drunk on
Christmas Day, 1954. In contrast to his fast
life and abrupt, violent end, Ace specialised
in slow love ballads Cross My Heart, Saving
My Love For You, Please Forgive Me, Never Let Me
Go, Pledging My Love heavy on gospel and doo-wop,
accompanied by off-key piano or electric organ, and smoochy sweet vocals. My Song,
the rst and best of these, adds obligatory R&B saxophone and sounds like a primitive
take on the Penguins 1954 hit Earth Angel.
DAVIES AND KORNER
PARTED OVER MUSICAL
DIFFERENCES, BUT REUNITED
IN 1961 TO FORM BLUES
INCORPORATED. THEIR
STUDIO ALBUM, R&B FROM
THE MARQUEE, BECAME A
MILESTONE OF BRITISH R&B
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 53
BIG JOE TURNER
SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL
Record Label Atlantic
Released 1954
Big Joe Turner had performed as a blues
shouter for 20 years when he recorded
R&Bs dening anthem, which would
be popularised by Bill Haley later the
same year. When Atlantic Records boss
Ahmet Ertegun coerced writer Jesse
Stone to write a song for Turner under
the assumed name Charles E Calhoun,
something extraordinary was born.
A basic 12-bar blues with an irresistible
rim-shot drum rhythm, teasing ivories and a
devastating sax solo from Sam The Man Taylor,
who had previously worked with Cab Calloway, its the perfect
canvas for Turners shambling vocals at one point he expels a line
consisting of several words as one long sound. The shouted chorus comes courtesy of
Stone, Ertegun and label exec Jerry Wexler, the man who had coined the term R&B.
LLOYD PRICE
STAGGER LEE
Record Label ABC
Released 1959
After his 1952 R&B No. 1 Lawdy Miss
Clawdy, Lloyd Price was Specialty
Records biggest artist until military
service saw his crown taken by Little
Richard and Larry Williams. He
found success again in 1959 with the
Personality, but the most essential of
his R&B hits was the one that had its
roots in oldtime blues. Based on the
story of 19th century St Louis pimp
Lee Shelton, Stagger Lee had been
covered by many jazz and blues artists,
including Mississippi John Hurt in 1928. Prices version
starts on a gospel-tinged doo-wop style intro before crashing into a show number
with strident saxophone accompaniment and backing vocals, as the singer barks
out his traditional tale over the relentless rhythm.
LITTLE JUNIORS BLUE FLAMES
MYSTERY TRAIN
Record Label Sun
Released 1953
Elvis Presleys take was faster and more
dynamic but, tempo aside, it showed more
country inuences, particularly Scotty
Moores guitar. Parkers original took a
slower, mournful approach, mimicking
the sound of a lumbering locomotive
with a heavy upright slap-bass rhythm
and a series of monotonous guitar licks
calling up previous train blues records
from the 1920s and earlier. Juniors moody,
lamenting vocals alternate with Raymond Hills
low, droning saxophone, while William Johnsons
plodding piano keeps background support.
Paradoxically, while sounding much blacker than Presleys cover, the song echoes the
Carter Familys 1930 traditional country hit Worried Man Blues, which was based on an
ancient Celtic ballad.
JACKIE WILSON
REET PETITE (THE SWEETEST GIRL IN TOWN)
Record Label Brunswick
Released 1957
Like many seminal artists, Jackie Wilson
was discovered by bandleader Johnny
Otis and rst found fame with Billy
Ward and his Dominoes, before scoring
in his own right with Reet Petite in
1957, and taking a crucial role in the
transformation of rhythm and blues
into soul. Originally subtitled The Finest
Girl You Ever Want To Meet, the song was
penned by a pre-Motown Berry Gordy Jr
and Wilsons cousin, Roquel Billy Davis, and
drew its inspiration from Louis Jordans Reet Petite
And Gone. Despite its infectious boogie-woogie rhythm, honking horn passages and Mr
Excitements eccentric vocals, including some impossible tongue-rolling, its amazing to
think it was only a modest hit when it was rst released. By the time it became a No. 1
smash in 1986, Wilson was a late soul legend.
JACKIE BRENSTON AND HIS DELTA CATS
ROCKET 88
Record Label Chess
Released 1951
Actually recorded by Brenston with Ike
Turners Kings of Rhythm, this horn-laden
boogie recorded at Sun Studios three
years before Presleys visit has been
claimed as the rst rocknroll record.
It wasnt, but it comes close, and Ikes
rootsy piano intro would later be pinched
by Little Richard for Good Golly Miss Molly.
17-year-old Raymond Hill delivers the
sax, while Brenston takes the vocal lead on a
shufing 12-bar jump blues borrowed from Jimmy
Liggins 1947 song Cadillac Boogie and Pete Johnsons
Rocket 88 Boogie (1949). The raw early fuzz guitar sound is due to rain damage
sustained by guitarist Willie Kizarts amplier repair attempts failed, but Sun
boss Sam Phillips liked the sound so much he kept it, before sending the tapes
to Chess in Chicago.
ITS AMAZING TO THINK
THAT REET PETITE WAS
ONLY A MODEST HIT
WHEN IT WAS FIRST
RELEASED. BY THE TIME
IT BECAME A NO. 1 SMASH
IN 1986, WILSON WAS A
LATE SOUL LEGEND
,
40 GREATEST R&B TRACKS EVER
54 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
BIG MAYBELLE
WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN GOIN ON
Record Label Okeh
Released 1955
Jerry Lee Lewiss 1957 hit was originally a
lumbering, horn-inected jazz number
laid down in gravelly style two years
earlier by black R&B singer Big Maybelle
Smith on Okeh Records and produced
by the young Quincy Jones. Maybelle
started singing gospel, blues and R&B
in 1936 at the age of 12, before going
solo in 1947. After more hits on the Savoy
label, she also made a lmed appearance
at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. She died in
1972. Lewis and engineer Jack Cowboy Clement
revamped the tune, cranking up the tempo and dropping the horn
arrangement in favour of a supercharged barrelhouse piano underpinned by JM Van
Eatons tight skin work. Both versions are great, but make no mistake, Maybelles got
the bull by the horns.
,
IN A MARKED DEPARTURE
FROM THE STYLE OF AHMET
ERTEGUN AND JERRY
WEXLER THERE GOES
MY BABY INTRODUCED
THE TRADEMARK LEIBER
& STOLLER STRING
ARRANGEMENT
RUTH BROWN
TEARDROPS FROM MY EYES
Record Label Atlantic
Released 1950
Teardrops was the rst of ve
No. 1 R&B hits for Ruth Brown from
Portsmouth, Virginia, also known
as the Queen of R&B or Little
Miss Rhythm. Written by longtime
Atlantic Records doo-wop composer
and arranger Rudy Coombs, the
labels rst release on the new
45 rpm format stayed on the R&B
chart for 11 weeks. It features a full
jazz band supported by a honkin
baritone saxophone, going heavy
on the brass licks with an extended, blaring sax solo in the middle, as the Queen pours
out her gutsy love plea. Having started off performing in segregated venues, Teardrops
popularity resulted in Brown making numerous appearances on the new medium of
television, taking a once near-underground music form to a wider audience.
STAND BY ME
BEN E KING
Record Label Atco
Released 1961
Having found fame with the Drifters in 1958,
Ben E King went solo in 1960 and hit the
following year with Stand By Me, based
on the spiritual Lord Stand By Me and
some lines from Psalms, and co-written
by King and songwriting duo Jerry
Leiber and Mike Stoller. The singer had
written it for the Drifters, who declined
to record it, and had no intention of
cutting it himself until Leiber and Stoller
asked him to play it. They were so impressed
they got their regular musicians back after hours
to record the track. While still featuring the sweeping L&S
trademark string parts, the arrangement for Stand was far less fussy than
that of Spanish Harlem, and Kings inimitable vocals ensured a modern-day
R&B No. 1 for the new decade.
CYRIL DAVIES ALL-STARS
COUNTRY LINE SPECIAL
Record Label Pye
Released 1963
After his short-lived collaboration with
Alexis Korner in Blues Incorporated,
Cyril Davies split from Korner a second
time over the bands performances of
material by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley,
which the purist considered lightweight.
He formed the equally short-lived Cyril
Davies All-Stars, whose sometime lineup
would include members of Screaming
Lord Sutchs Savages Nicky Hopkins and
Carlo Little. The All-Stars released only
two singles, the second of which was a traditional reading of Robert
Johnsons Preachin Blues. But their debut, Country Line Special, was a Davies original,
an instrumental that opens on spooky harp blasts which fence with grating electric guitar
licks over Littles rollicking drum beat. A live favourite, the song required 13 takes before
satisfying the ailing Davies, who would die in January, 1964.
THE DRIFTERS
THERE GOES MY BABY
Record Label Atlantic
Released 1959
After ring the original Drifters, manager
George Treadwell recruited The Five
Crowns to take their place in 1958, with
Ben E King as the lead singer. Penned
by King, fellow Crown Lover Patterson
and Leiber & Stoller, who also produced
it, the song was the new groups rst
single. In a marked departure from the
style of their previous producers, Ahmet
Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, it introduced
the trademark Leiber & Stoller string
arrangement that would be developed
on Kings solo cuts Spanish Harlem and Stand
By Me. This sophisticated approach amplied the songs black emotional impact
and pushed it in the future direction of soul just as doo-wop and, indeed, R&B were
beginning to wane. This milestone record hit pop No. 2 and R&B No. 2.
try-
ing to
replace
this label
,
,
IRMA THOMAS
TIME IS ON MY SIDE
Record Label Imperial
Released 1964
Another R&B cut purloined by the Stones,
Time was written by Jerry Ragovoy
under the pseudonym Norman
Meade, and had already been cut
by jazz trombonist Kai Wilding in
1963. Louisiana-born Irma Thomas
grew up singing gospel in her
Baptist church, auditioned for Little
Richards Specialty label at age 13,
and had been working the R&B circuit for
several years before squeaking her version
out a couple of months before the Stones, as
the B-side of her single Anyone Who Knows What I
Love (Will Understand). This is pure, undiluted R&B, featuring a slow drum rhythm, a
contemporary rippling organ sound and a heavenly gospel choir sound for the chorus to
support Thomas in her strident, passionate message of lurv.
JAMES BROWN AND THE FAMOUS FLAMES
TRY ME (I NEED YOU)
Record Label Federal
Released 1958
Soul was still some years away when its
future Godfather cut this classic which,
for social reasons, was still labelled
rhythm and blues. A mixture of R&B,
doo-wop and gospel, Try Me was
Browns rst single to hit the Billboard
Hot 100 pop chart. By this time most of
the original Flames had left over royalty
disputes, the group now consisting of
Little Richards former backing outt, The
Dominions. Brown and guitarist Bobby Roach
threw the song together before recording it with
producer Andy Gibson and a team of workmanlike veteran session musos. Its a real
gut-wrencher, the lovelorn Brown pouring his heart out in a series of impassioned vocal
appeals over a battery of honeysweet horns. Typically, Brown took the sole writer credit
for this ne team effort.
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 55
40 GREATEST R&B TRACKS EVER
A REAL GUT-WRENCHER,
BROWN POURING HIS
HEART OUT IN A SERIES
OF IMPASSIONED VOCAL
APPEALS OVER A BATTERY
OF HONEYSWEET HORNS.
TYPICALLY, BROWN TOOK
THE SOLE WRITER CREDIT
BO DIDDLEY
WHO DO YOU LOVE?
Record Label Checker
Released 1957
Bo Diddleys sixth single puts his
trademark guitar rhythm to one
side to concentrate on a scrubbed,
uptempo monotone, as Chicago
bluesman Jody Williams delivers
cascades of guitar licks behind
Diddleys vocal references to African
American hoodoo. Its not known
whether the driving chicken-scratch
drum rhythm is down to Frank Kirkland
or Clifton James, but the customary
crazed maraca sound is provided by Diddleys
longtime percussionist Jerome Green. Although it doesnt
seem to have charted anywhere, the song is hugely inuential, spawning covers by
Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, Quicksilver Messenger Service, George Thorogood and
the Destroyers and also The Doors, who used it as a show-opener.
LITTLE RICHARD
TUTTI FRUTTI
Record Label Specialty
Released 1955
When Little Richard Penniman sent a
demo tape to Specialty Records in 1955
his future was assured. Recording
at New Orleans J&M Studio with
Fats Dominos backing band and
producer Robert Bumps Blackwell,
his initial sessions failed to capture
the wild sound of his live act. To
inject some gusto into the proceedings,
Richard began hammering on his piano
keys and screamed out an old song he
had written while working as a dishwasher at
a Macon, Georgia, bus station. After local songwriter
Dorothy LaBostrie cleaned up the lyrics the song was good to go. Hitting No. 2 on the
R&B charts and No. 17 on the pop charts, its now a rocknroll template. The nonsensical
shouted intro was Richards vocal mimic of a drum rhythm he fancied.
RAY CHARLES
MESS AROUND
Record Label Atlantic
Released 1953
Ray Charles had already scored a string
of R&B hits on smaller labels such as
Down Beat and Swing Time before
Ahmet Ertegun signed him to
Atlantic in 1952. Having mainly
performed slower blues ballads
in the mould of Charles Brown
and Nat King Cole, Charles began
to experiment with jump blues and
boogie-woogie. An unashamed dance
number hammered out over a rapid
rhythm, Mess sees the pianist trading heavy
keyboard strikes with his powerhouse bands classic
saxophone lines, as the rhythm section drives the pace ever higher and Charles exhorts
his audience to join the party. The song was a huge hit, putting Charles on the map and
paving the way for crossover success with the even bigger smash Whatd I Say in 1959. ,
JULIA LEE
YOU AINT GOT IT NO MORE
Record Label Capitol
Released 1949
Born in Boonville, Missouri, in 1902, jazz
pianist Julia Lee was raised in Kansas
City, began her musical career there
in 1920, and nally went solo in 1935.
While adept at jazz standards such
as Nobody Knows You When Youre
Down And Out, she scored on the
race chart at Capitol Records with
a series of upbeat, sexually obsessed
tunes including Snatch And Grab It, King
Size Papa, My Man Stands Out, Do You Want
It? and, ahem, Dont Come Too Soon. Ostracised
by prudish radio stations, her brief but popular reign came to an end in 1949 with You
Aint Got It No More, a playful, mid-paced, foot-tapping shufer in which the ever
outrageous Ms L mercilessly ridicules an unfortunate lover who doesnt come up to
scratch. She died in 1958.
40 GREATEST R&B TRACKS EVER
56 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
THE COASTERS
YOUNGBLOOD
Record Label Atco
Released 1957
Former Los Angeles doo-wop quartet the
Coasters must have thought theyd died
and gone to heaven when they met
songwriter/producers Jerry Leiber and
Mike Stoller, having rst worked with the
pair as The Robins at Atlantic Records.
Written by Leiber, Stoller and Doc Pomus,
and spotlighting Carl Gardners fabulous
grating lead vocal, Youngblood was the
Coasters rst hit, a traditional blues number
comprising three chords and a bridge that retells
the familiar tale of a young couple who incur the
wrath of the girls father. The bands success continued with
a run of hits through the late 1950s, including Searchin, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown and
Poison Ivy, but this is the record that crossed them into the mainstream, and it will
always be their nest hour. Look-a-there! Look-a-there!
HANK BALLARD & THE MIDNIGHTERS
WORK WITH ME ANNIE
Record Label Federal
Released 1954
Penned by frontman Hank Ballard, who
would also write Chubby Checkers 1960
hit The Twist, Annie didnt stop at being
suggestive on the contrary, it was
perhaps the most explicit record of
its era. A solid rocknroll record well
ahead of its time, it was really a bawdy
12-bar blues featuring Ballards yelping
baritone vocals and a raucous, squealing
chorus delivered over a boogie-woogie piano,
sizzling electric guitar and a rumbling bass
rhythm. Banned by radio, the Cincinnati waxing stole the
No. 1 slot on the R&B charts and spawned a raft of equally salacious
follow-ups, including Annie Had A Baby, Annies Aunt Fannie and Henrys Got
Flat Feet (Cant Dance No More). Etta James took up the story with her equally
controversial answer song Roll With Me Henry (see below).
ETTA JAMES AND THE PEACHES
THE WALLFLOWER
Record Label Modern
Released 1955
Best known by its original title Roll With
Me Henry, The Wallower was an answer
to Hank Ballards rude R&B hit of the
previous year. Ballards original lyrics
were reworked by Etta James and her
muse, R&B bandleader Johnny Otis,
who had introduced songwriters Leiber
and Stoller to Big Mama Thornton. The
result was sensational: another shufing
12-bar study in innuendo set on the dance
oor, featuring booming answering vocals from
LA doo-wop singer Richard Berry, who later wrote
Louie Louie. Modern Records changed the title at the last
minute, but neither this nor a radio ban stopped Henry from topping the R&B chart for
four straight weeks. Georgia Gibbs anaemic version, Dance With Me Henry, was a hit
later in the year.
LEE DORSEY
YA YA
Record Label Fury
Released 1961
New Orleans-born Irving Lee Dorsey had
been a childhood friend of Fats Domino and
boxed under the name of Kid Chocolate
before pursuing a middling pop and R&B
career. Produced by Allen Toussaint, Ya Ya
was the rst of Dorseys two best-known
hits the other was the highly derivative
Working In The Coal Mine, which was
released in 1966. Ya Ya went to No. 7 on the
pop rundown and took the No. 1 slot on the
R&B charts. Starting with the traditional
Oh, well, the singer injects a perverse hiccup before launching into the mid-tempo,
piano-led tale of a guy waiting impatiently for his overdue girlfriend, whom he believes
may not actually be coming after all. The song is contemporaneous with Jacques Brels
Madeleine, with which it shares theme, but is very different. Dorseys genial vocals, the
foot-tapping rhythm and a funky horn arrangement give the song its R&B authenticity.
HER BRIEF BUT POPULAR
REIGN CAME TO AN END
WITH YOU AINT GOT
IT NO MORE, IN WHICH
THE OUTRAGEOUS MS L
MERCILESSLY RIDICULES A
LOVER WHO DOESNT COME
UP TO SCRATCH
Competition
WIN TICKETS TO ELVIS 60TH
ANNIVERSARY SUMMER BALL!
On 5 July 1954 music history was changed for ever when
Elvis Presley walked into the legendary Sun Studio in
Memphis and recorded Thats All Right. Strictly Elvis will be
celebrating the 60th anniversary of this iconic track in style
at an event in the appropriately named Kings Hall at the
Mercure Leicester Grand Hotel.
This will be an evening to dress up to the nines and will
include a fabulous dinner, complimentary gift bag, charity
auction and rafe. Expect to rock the night away with music
by the sensational Mark Keeleys Good Rockin Tonight, plus
an all-Elvis disco. To win two tickets for this special event
just answer the following question:
Which four Sun Records artists made up the
Million Dollar Quartet?
To be in with a chance of winning visit www.vintagerockmag.com/competitions,
click on the question and ll in your answer and email. Please indicate if youd
prefer not to be contacted by Anthem Publishing and selected third parties with
marketing and related offers. Closing date: 20 June 2014. Editors decision is nal.
Are you in a band or singing solo? Would you like the
opportunity to record at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis
and capture some of that same elusive magic that Elvis and
so many others did in the golden era of rocknroll? Well, now
you can! While it is one of Memphis most popular tourist
attractions by day, the actual recording studio is still fully
functioning and can be booked for evening sessions, or even
right through the night!
For full details of price and availability contact: Sun
Studio Bookings, Unit D, Bristol Court, Martlesham Heath
Business Park, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK and quote Vintage Rock
Magazine to get a special discounted rate. Happy rockin!
58 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 9 58 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11


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Don Robey and Johnny Otis
TexastoTennessee
ISSUE 9 VINTAGE ROCK 37
IN THE THIRD PART OF OUR LABEL SERIES, RANDY FOX
EXPLORES THE IMPACT OF DUKE-PEACOCK, EXCELLO AND
STARDAY RECORDS ALL PIONEERS IN THE FIELD
T
he explosion of independent
record labels that occurred in
the late 1940s and early 1950s
brought an abundance of
rockin R&B and hot hillbilly
sounds to the airwaves
and jukeboxes of America.
Although mighty blues shouters and
stompin honky tonk heroes provided the
raw material for the big beat, many of
these artists never made the jump to pop
success and the rocknroll big time.
Some of the best and most enduring
indie record labels were ones that
chronicled the music of rocknrolls
progenitors. Duke-Peacock, Excello and
Starday were all on the front lines when
the walls between pop, R&B and country
music came crashing down and anything
seemed possible. Once the initial wave
of rocknroll mania had passed, all three
labels continued with the music they had
been built on R&B, gospel and country
absorbed the changes that the rocknroll
revolution had brought and continued to
nd success.

DUKE-PEACOCK RECORDS
Don Robey, the founder and owner of
Peacock Records, had a passion for music
and an even greater love for money and
power. Born in Houston, Texas, in 1903,
to a white mother and black father, Robey
was a tall, burly man who might have
passed for white, but chose to proudly
aunt his black heritage. His varied
resum brought him into contact with the
world of organized crime, and the lessons
he learned from underworld capitalism
stuck with him.
By 1947, he was the owner and manager
of the Bronze Peacock, the classiest black
nightclub in Houston. That same year, he
discovered local blues guitarist Clarence
Gatemouth Brown, and built him into a
superstar in the Texas-Louisiana circuit
of nightclubs and jukejoints for which
Robey controlled the booking. Robey also
secured a recording contract for Brown
with Aladdin records in Los Angeles.
Aladdin released two singles by Brown
that sank without a splash. Robey decided
he could do better and launched Peacock
Ten-Inch
Records
Records in 1949. With business manager
Evelyn Johnson handling the day-to-
day details, Robey began establishing
partnerships with other booking agencies
and record distributors. Gatemouth
Brown only achieved two national hits for
Peacock, both in 1949, but he became a
reliable seller. Robey soon recruited other
talent, building a stable of regional artists
like boogie-woogie pianist Elmore Nixon
and female vocal powerhouse Willie Mae
Big Mama Thornton.
Robey signed the Five Blind Boys of
Mississippi in 1950, who quickly scored
a Top 10 R&B hit with Our Father. Chart
hits for gospel groups were rare, but there
was a demand for black gospel recordings
that was not met by other labels. Peacock
became a major producer, with stars
including the Dixie Hummingbirds, the
Sensational Nightingales and the Mighty
Clouds of Joy.
In 1952, Robey partnered with the
Memphis-based Duke Records. Founded
by white businessman and radio station
manager David Mattis, Duke Records
scored right out of the gate with
Memphis-based talent like Roscoe

TexastoTennessee
INDEPENDENT LABELS
60 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 9
Gordon and Johnny Ace. Robey
approached Mattis with the idea of
merging the companies, and the deal
appealed to Mattis on business and
moral principles. A progressive thinker,
Mattis saw his record label as a voice
for racial harmony, and what could be
better than a partnership with the most
successful black-owned record label?
Robey took over management of the
Duke stable and built Johnny Ace into
a major star with eight Top 10 R&B hits
between 1953 and 1955. Less than a year
after the merger, Mattis showed up at
the Bronze Peacock unannounced with
plans to take a more active role in the
partnership. Mattis soon learned of
Robeys favourite negotiating tool: a
.45 caliber pistol. No shots were red,
but Mattis headed back to Memphis
with a $10,000 payoff and minus one
record company.
Robeys gangster-style reputation
was frequently mentioned after Johnny
Ace accidentally shot and killed himself
on Christmas Eve, 1954. There is no
evidence that Robey had anything to do
with Aces death, but he certainly did
exploit the publicity to sell records.
Duke-Peacock had tremendous
successes on the R&B charts, but once
rocknroll broke, the label had few
crossover hits. In 1957, Robey launched
the subsidiary Back Beat Records to
focus on rocknroll. Back Beat released
several classic doo-wop and rockabilly
recordings, including Action Packed by
Dallas rockabilly Ronnie Dawson, but
none made a dent on the national charts.
In the 1960s, Duke-Peacock and
their associated labels continued to
concentrate on R&B, soul and gospel,
producing many classic recordings by
Bobby Blue Bland, O.V. Wright, Roy
Head and others. In 1973, Robey sold
Duke-Peacock to ABC Dunhill and
accepted a position as a consultant. He
passed away two years later.
Despite Robeys often shady business
practices and bad reputation, or perhaps
because of it, he built one of the rst
successful black-owned record companies
in America, amassing an impressive
catalogue of R&B and gospel classics. In a
very tough business, he was the toughest
man of all. As he once said, I had two
strikes against me before I started, I was
black, and I was in the record business.
EXCELLO/NASHBORO RECORDS
Ernie Young was hardly the person you
would expect to be responsible for one of
the greatest R&B labels. White, Southern
and nearly 60 when he founded Nashboro
Records, Youngs favourite style of music
was orchestral easy listening. Although
his personal tastes may have run more
to Mantovani than Muddy Waters,
circumstances placed him at ground zero
of the R&B explosion and he was savvy
enough to seize the opportunity. With a
unique marketing plan and respect for
his artists, Young built one of the most
notable catalogues of R&B, gospel and
early rocknroll.
Young didnt begin with the desire to
be a record man. His life followed a
path that led from sales to the restaurant
business, on to jukebox operations and,
in 1946, his own record store Ernies
Record Mart, located in downtown
Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1947 he began sponsoring a nightly
programme, Ernies Record Parade, on
radio station WLAC. Located just up
the street from Ernies Record Mart,
WLAC was one of the rst stations
to regularly schedule R&B. With its
50,000 watt clear-channel signal, The
Nightime Station of the Nation could be
heard over most of the eastern half of the
United States, and parts of Canada.
In between playing the hottest R&B
records, popular DJ, John Richbourgh,
known as John R to his loyal listeners,
60 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 10
Duke-Peacock had tremendous R&B
successes, but once rocknroll broke,
the label had few crossover hits'
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ISSUE 9 VINTAGE ROCK 37
had a lively and dynamic R&B scene. It
was a major stop on the Chitlin Circuit,
the informal network of black theatres,
nightclubs and jukejoints dotted across
the South. Because the package deals
advertised on WLAC consisted of both
hit records and non-hits chosen by the
retailer, Nashboro/Excello had a steady
outlet for every record they released.
This gave Young the freedom to record
any artist that showed promise, even
if they didnt take off in sales through
conventional outlets.
Freed from the standard hit-making
formula, Nashboro/Excello produced
an astonishing catalogue of gospel,
country blues, jump blues and doo-wop.
Although hits werent the primary goal,
Excello managed to achieve them with
records like Baby Lets Play House by
Arthur Gunter, Rollin Stone by the
Marigolds and Its Love Baby
(24 Hours a Day) by Louis
Brooks & His Hi-Toppers.
The last was written and
produced by Nashville
based R&B impresario,
Ted Jarrett, who
produced many more
records for Excello.
hawked a special deal mail order
package from Ernies Record Mart:
six records for a dollar. Ernies Record
Parade focused on R&B Monday through
Saturday with Sunday night shows
devoted to gospel, and the gospel package
deals proved to be very big sellers.
Demand quickly outpaced the supply.
To meet the demand, Young launched
Nashboro Records in 1951. Nashboro
initially included some R&B and hillbilly
releases, but its primary focus was black
gospel music tapping into local talent as
well as travelling acts that passed through
Nashville. Payments to Nashboro artists
were low, but Young built a reputation of
being scrupulously honest in his dealings.
He built a small recording studio above
the store, and later gospel programmes on
WLAC and Nashvilles rst all-black radio
station, WSOK, were broadcast
from the stores front
window.
In 1952, Young added
the Excello label
for R&B releases.
Although Nashville
became the country
music capital of the
world, in the 1950s it
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 61
Bobby Bland with female fans
The Flamingos


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62 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 9 36 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 10
In 1955, Young met J.D. Miller, a Cajun
musician, songwriter and producer who
rst came to fame in 1952 for writing
the smash country hit, It Wasn't God
Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, for
Kitty Wells. Miller operated a small
studio in Crowley, Louisiana, where
he recorded Cajun, country, blues and
more releasing songs on several small
record labels that he owned. Young and
Miller struck a deal, and Miller brought a
swamp blues sound to Excello through
artists like Lightnin Slim, Lazy Lester
and the great Slim Harpo.
In addition to the classic records that
Excello released, the record deals hawked
by John R on WLAC were tremendous
sellers. From the late-1940s until the mid-
60s, Ernies shipped thousands of R&B
records all over the US, into Canada, and
as far south as the Bahamas and Jamaica.
In an era where R&B records were often
difcult to nd outside major American
cities, Ernies spread the music to fans
and budding musicians.
Although Excello was primarily an R&B
label, the rise of rocknroll did prompt a
few Louisiana-style rockabilly releases
from J.D. Millers studio, including classic
rockers by Johnny Jano and Al Ferrier.
In 1957, Young launched the Nasco label
to focus on rocknroll. Nasco managed
one big hit, the smooth teen pop of Oh
Julie from the white vocal group the
Crescendos, before being shut down by
Young in 1960.
Excello and Nashboro continued
their success into the 1960s. Ironically,
Excellos biggest hit is what prompted
Young to leave the record business. Slim
Harpos Baby, Scratch My Back, produced
by J.D. Miller, became a No. 1 R&B smash
hit in January 1966. The sales of the
record overwhelmed Excellos staff, who
were not used to shipping a large volume
of one record to other distributors. Young,
just a few months away from his 74th
birthday and exhausted from the extra
work of managing a major hit, decided
to retire on a high note and sold his
entire operation. Nashboro and Excello
continued to operate for several years
with MCA eventually purchasing them.
Ernie Young never had a vision for
his labels or a particular passion for
the music, like Sam Phillips at Sun or
Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic. With his
guaranteed sales through mail order it
would have been simple for Young to grab
at quick prots by releasing junk, but that
was never the case. Young respected his
artists, producers and, most importantly,
his customers, and that respect was
evident on every record.
STARDAY RECORDS
Starday Records didnt start out as a great
rocknroll label. In fact, its two founders,
Jack Starns and Harold Pappy Daily
didnt have a clue what rocknroll was
when they combined their surnames
to launch Starday in June 1953. Starns
was a country music artist manager
and operated Nevas Caf, a successful
Beaumont, Texas, honky tonk. Daily
owned one of the Lone Star States most
Don and Dewey with band leader
Johnny Otis
TEN GREAT ONES
Favourites from Peacock/Duke/Back Beat, Excello/
Nashboro and Starday/Dixie some of them hits,
some lesser-known classics.
Peacock/Duke/Back Beat
Mary is Fine Clarence Gatemouth Brown 1945
A Hepcats Advice Elmore Nixon 1951
Hound Dog Willie Mae Big Mama Thornton 1953
Little Richards Boogie Little Richard 1953
How Can You Be So Mean Johnny Ace 1954
Next Time You See Me Little Junior Parker 1957
Farther Up the Road Bobby Blue Bland 1957
Tummer Tee Roscoe Gordon 1957
Action Packed Ronnie Dee
(aka Ronnie Dawson) 1958
Shake-Kum-Down Dave Atkins & His Offbeats
1958
Excello/Nashboro
Baby Lets Play House Arthur Gunter 1954
Its Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)
Louis Brooks & His Hi Toppers 1955
Rollin Stone The Marigolds 1955
My Mumblin Baby Rudy Green 1955
Little Darlin The Gladiolas 1956
Havin A Whole Lot of Fun Johnny Jano 1957
My Next Door Neighbor Jerry McCain 1957
Hey! Baby Al Ferrier 1957
I Hear You Knockin Lazy Lester 1959
Baby Scratch My Back Slim Harpo 1966
Starday/Dixie
Rockin Daddy Sonny Fisher 1955
Rock It Thumper Jones (aka George Jones) 1956
Grasshopper Rock Link Davis 1956
Shadow My Baby Glenn Barber 1956
Lets Get Wild Rudy Tutti Grayzell 1957
Chicken Bop Truitt Forse 1957
All the Time Sleepy LaBeef 1957
Sweet Love Orangie Ray Hubbard 1957
Spin the Bottle Benny Joy 1958
Careful Baby Joe Poovey & the Royal Dukes 1958


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Slim Harpo
ISSUE 9 VINTAGE ROCK 37
successful jukebox and coin-operated
machine companies, and although he
distributed all types of records, his
personal tastes ran strictly towards
hillbilly music.
With an abundance of hillbilly singers
in Texas, Daily had been serving as
a talent scout and producer for the
California-based 4-Star Records. He
discovered artists, recorded them and
sold the masters to 4-Star for a at fee.
Daily decided to cut out the middle man.
With Starns managing artists and Daily
overseeing recordings, it didnt take long
for Starday to pay off. The labels fourth
release, You All Come, written and sung
by a Warren, Texas basketball coach,
Arlie Duff, became a surprise country
hit. It was then that Starns and Daily
recognised their limitations. Starns could
book a popular artist for live appearances,
and Daily had the connections to get a
hit single on jukeboxes, but neither of
them had experience with manufacturing
enough copies to meet demand, getting
copies in the hands of radio station
deejays or handling the most lucrative
portion of a hit record, publishing rights.
Enter Don Pierce, an old friend of
Daily and former vice-president at 4-Star
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 63
Records. Pierce had the knowledge and
business savvy to capitalise on a hit. The
men reorganized the company as a three-
way partnership, splitting the $1,000 cost
of incorporation. Pierce went to work and
You All Come became a massive country
and pop hit with versions by Bing Crosby,
Little Jimmy Dickens, Grandpa Jones
and more. The money was owing in, but
it soon became apparent that Pierce and
Starns couldnt work together and Starns
sold out his portion of the partnership.
With Pierce handling the business and
Daily the talent, Starday seemed poised
to become a major player in the country
music eld, but forces were at work that
hardly any hillbilly anticipated. The
Texas honky tonk scene had always been
about dancing and good times, and the
developing rocknroll beat began to
show up in the tonks and dancehalls. In
1954 and 1955, Starday released several
proto-rockabilly releases from artists
like the Western Melody Makers and
Glenn Barber. With the success of Elvis
Presleys rst records on Sun, the trickle
soon became a deluge in 1956 and 1957.
Some young singers like Sonny Fisher,
Rudy Grayzell and Sleepy LaBeef came
to the rockabilly sound by their own
means, while Daily encouraged other,
more hillbilly-centric artists like Sonny
Burns, Link Davis and up-and-coming
superstar George Jones to blast out the
rockabilly beat. With Daily lacking any
feeling or understanding for rocknroll
other than the general impression that it
was all crazy, Starday produced some of
the wildest and most extreme rockabilly
ever recorded.
If Stardays ofcial releases were the
Wild West of rockabilly then Stardays
custom releases were pandemonium.
Starday Records produced some
of the wildest and most extreme
rockabilly ever recorded'
For a set fee, any artist could send Starday
a master recording and have a small
number of records pressed. The artist
could supply their label name and design,
or have it pressed as a Starday release.
This led to scores of would-be Elviss
having records pressed by the company,
in very small numbers. The best of these
custom pressings, like Truitt Forses
Chicken Bop or Orangie Ray Hubbards
Sweet Love, became rare classics.
In January 1957, Daily and Pierce struck
a deal with Mercury Records to produce
country and rockabilly recordings for the
label as Mercury-Starday. The deal lasted
slightly over 18 months, with neither side
happy with the results. One side product
was the short-lived Starday subsidiary,
Dixie RocknRoll Series. The goal was to
nurture artists who would make the jump
to Mercury if their record took off. Of the
26 singles released, none succeeded, but
the experiment produced several classics
like Benny Joys Spin the Bottle and Doug
Braggs Pretty Little Thing.
Shortly after the agreement with
Mercury ended, Daily and Pierce also
ended their partnership in Starday. Daily
left with Stardays biggest artist, George
Jones, along with a new discovery, former
deejay J.P. Richardson, soon to be known
as the Big Bopper. Daily continued to
produce records for Mercury and founded
his own D records for the development
of new talent.
As country music became slicker
and more pop-oriented in the wake of
the rocknroll explosion, Pierce saw a
market for traditional country music.
Focusing on older Opry stars and niche
genres like bluegrass and instrumentals,
Pierce built the new Starday into the
largest independent country label in
the world. When he sold it in 1968, his
1953 investment of $333.33 brought him
a return of over $2 million. Stardays
irtation with rocknroll only lasted a
brief time, yet the label produced some of
the most hardcore and classic examples of
pure rockabilly, making it second only to
Sun Records for fans of hillbilly bop.

64 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11


TEEN STARS


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ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 65
THEY ILLUMINATED THE MUSIC FIRMAMENT BUT,
AS PAUL RIGBY DESCRIBES, FRANKIE LYMON &
THE TEENAGERS THEN QUICKLY CRASHED AND
BURNED, WITH TRAGIC RESULTS
TEEN STARS
F
rankie Lymon & The Teenagers
story begins when Richard Barrett,
lead singer of doo-wop outt The
Valentines, part-time talent scout
and mentor for younger groups,
moved to Harlem.
The Valentines were working the
Apollo quite often, said Bartlett. I
used to arrive home dead beat, like I
mean tired. This bunch of kids, rufans,
they used to come and sing outside my
window. It was attering but it was
annoying too, because I was tired.
Those rufans were known
collectively as the Ermines: Herman
Santiago (lead), Joe Negroni (baritone,
second lead), Jimmy Merchant (rst
tenor) and Sherman Garnes (bass). This
was 1955 and the future Teenagers were
looking for a break. Barretts window
seemed as good a place as any to nd it.
We learned that Richard Barrett
had moved into the neighbourhood,
remembered Jimmy Merchant. This was
our opportunity to do our best to get into
Richards path.
Little Frankie Lymon, meanwhile,
was being a bit of a pest, Frankie was
following [us] around, remembered
Merchant, Sticking his nose into our
business. He would throw his voice in, he
66 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
FRANKIE LYMON
Why Do Fools Fall In Love? was the
groups first release. The credits say
Lymon and Goldner wrote it

would try to harmonise. We didnt care to


have him in the group but he made it his
business to be around us anyway.
Then came an annual talent show at
their school, Edward W. Stitt Junior High
School, on 165th Street and Edgecomb
Avenue. Hoping that Barrett would be in
the audience, the Ermines joined the fray.
Lymon also appeared with a mambo-
type combo, the Esquires, featuring his
brother, Howie. As Teenagers expert
Bill Dahl explained, Lymon was used to
having music within his life, Frankies
parents sang in a gospel group called
The Harlemaires while Frankies
brothers, Louie and Howie, sang with the
Harlemaire Juniors.
Yet Barrett, who saw both The Esquires
and The Ermines that day, decided to take
a chance, Partly because The Ermines
contained two Latin boys. Barrett thought
that his label boss, George Goldner,
would be interested for his Latin-
oriented label, Tico, said Dahl.
Lymon persisted in his attempts to join
The Ermines, whereupon the rest of the
group relented and changed their name to
The Premiers. The audition took place in
Goldners ofce at 220 West 42nd Street
in September 1955.
After Goldner had heard Herman
sing he said, Anybody else sing lead in
the group? What about you, young fella?
pointing to Frankie, said Merchant,
Frankie was in the background singing.
You couldnt miss him with the high
tenor. He was short. He was bold. He
was fast. He was mature for his age.
And he was alert. So Frankie said, Yeah.
I can sing whatever youd like me to
sing, Mr. Goldner. He gave a little bit of
an interpretation of Why Do Fools Fall
In Love? and Please Be Mine. And he
[Goldner] told Richard Barrett, This is
the one I want to sing lead from now on.
It was at this point that Barrett
suggested that the group change their
name to The Teenagers, In December
1955, just two months later, they were
undertaking a session for the Gee label,
also owned by Goldner, explained Dahl.
The rumours say that the ultimate
recording of Why Do Fools Fall In Love?
took a lot of work to get onto tape. One
report is that it took 26 takes. Im not sure
about that but the group were nervous,
and not as tight as they could be.
Why Do Fools Fall In Love? was the
groups rst release, The credits say
Lymon and Goldner wrote it. Goldner
put himself down for half of the royalties
even though he had no part in the
writing of the song, while also dumping
the rest of the group, who actually did
have a part to play in the song writing.
Its also noticeable how the record
label promoted the groups rst single
as: The Teenagers featuring Frankie
Lymon, Frankie was already gaining
more exposure than his fellow band
members, said Dahl.
I think he had something special a
little teeny kid like that with a great
big voice. It was unheard of. There was
nothing to judge it against. Also, in
the back of the minds of the record
label executives, they were already
On tour in the UK, just
before the break-up


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thinking solo act at some point.
Why Do Fools Fall In Love? was cut in
early December. By early January, the
band was promoting it, a fast turnaround,
It charted in February and went to No. 1
in the R&B charts on 17 March 1956 and
No. 6 in the pop charts, said Dahl.
The group began to sport a number of
uniforms, the white sweaters with the
large red T on the front was a notable
one, That was a good idea from George
Goldner, remembered Merchant. I
think he might have gotten the idea from
the Colts. The Colts had a button down
with the letter C on it. Its strictly a high
school/college look. That white sweater
with the red T was just an idea to help us
look scholastic.
The groups lives were transformed.
They were quickly into a touring routine
and onward came the hits, I Want You
To Be My Girl went to No. 3 in the
R&B charts and No. 13 in the pop
charts that spring. Then Goldner
heard of a forthcoming release
from a group called the Juniors on
the Mercury subsidiary, Wing, that
resembled the Teenagers. Promptly,
the Teenagers were rushed into
the studio on May 15 to cover the
recording, entitled I Promise To
Remember. The Juniors were actually
fronted by a friend of the Teenagers, a
guy called Jimmy Castor, said Dahl.
When the Teenagers released the
song, it stopped the Juniors single
dead.
In March of that year, the group came
to England for their rst big, yet fateful,
tour overseas, Barrett had now stopped
being their road manager, which
couldnt have helped, but he was a busy
guy, said Dahl. The record company
then took a momentous step and recorded
a solo LP for Lymon called Frankie Lymon
At The London Palladium. It was at this
point that the rest of the group woke up to
the fact that they really didnt know what
was going on. During the chaos, the group
broke up in England, during June 1957.
So why do it? Why create such trouble
for the group with a solo Lymon release?
Possibly the label thought that it was
easier to control one artist than ve. The
label also considered the rest of the group
as throw-aways. Lymon was the star.
A new song was released in the summer
of 1957. The aptly named Out In the Cold
Again charted at No. 10 in the R&B charts
but never troubled the pop charts. That
was groups last hit. The Teenagers nal
song, Goody Goody, was sung by Lymon
on the Ed Sullivan show. Unfortunately, it
didnt even feature the Teenagers (despite
what it stated on the record). Instead,
it featured The Ray Charles Singers (no
connection with the famous Ray Charles).
These were middle class white guys with
crew cuts, said Dahl. They masqueraded
as the Teenagers, which must have hurt
the Teenagers themselves because the
group were still ofcially together.
After Lymon left, The Teenagers
experimented with different lead singers,
At one point they even had a white kid
up front, Billy Lobrano he wasnt very
good though.
Lymon embarked on a solo career,
recording for Roulette, now owned by
Morris Levy Nice records that never
sold very well, said Dahl. For example,
he recorded, as a cover, Little Bitty
Pretty in 1960. It reached No. 58 in the
pop charts. He also recorded some nice
rocknroll songs, mostly covers on an
album called RocknRoll.
For two excellent Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
collections, head over to www.bear-family.com
for fully comprehensive sleeve notes and some
superb images
Frankie Lymon & the
Teenagers Rocks!
For a great overview of the group try
this compilation 33 classic tunes,
including a clutch of rare cuts.
Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
Complete Recordings 5-CD Box
A stunning box set with ve discs that contain a whopping 142
full Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers tracks, including all
recordings for the Gee-Roulette labels between 55 and 77,
and all the hits.
Listenup
68 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 69


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The Lymon voice had also matured
and deepened with maturity. He was
no longer the little cute kid, which hurt
Lymons career and his private life.
And what can you say about Lymons
private life? Pluck a 12-year-old child off
the street, apply untold pressure, and see
what you get. At 15 Lymon reported that
he was introduced to heroin by a woman
twice his age, possibly at the time the
group was splitting. He was then caught
up in a scandal relating to the Alan Freed
TV show, The Big Beat, in July 1957, when
Lymon was a solo act. He also made the
mistake of dancing with a white girl,
on camera, and the racist southern TV
channel stations complained. Alan Freeds
show was promptly dropped.
In 1961, Lymon went into rehab, said
Dahl. What that meant in 1961, goodness
only knows. It wouldnt have been as
warm and fuzzy as today, put it that way.
After that, he was on a couple of other
labels, 20th Century Fox and Columbia.
The lack of achievement couldnt have
been good for him either. Here was
a young man who had tasted intense
success, but couldnt get it back again.
Sounds like the story of a typical
junkies day doesnt it? Anecdotes abound
about the tear-away Lymon. Take the
story of Ronnie Spector, ex-lead singer
of the girl group, the Ronettes, who
innocently saw Lymon as her hero,
invited him over to her house, giddy with
excitement, only to be shocked to see him
appear at her door step drunk. Spectors
shock turned to horror as Lymon then
made an improper approach towards her.
She responded by hiding in the closet. To
say that she was disappointed in Lymon
was an understatement.
Lymons life was then complicated by
three marriages. Each would later claim
to be Frankie Lymons widow. This,
despite Elizabeth Waters (married in
1964) not being divorced from her rst
husband, Lymon marrying Elmira Eagle
in 1967, although he was still supposedly
married to Waters and, nally, Zola
Taylor, original member of the Platters,
being unable to produce proof of any
marriage, which she says was performed
in Mexico in 1965. After much legal
action, Elmira Eagle is currently the legal
representative of Lymons estate. During
1965, Lymon was drafted into the Army
but reportedly ran AWOL, looking out for
gigs, and was dishonourably discharged.
In 1968, he moved back to New York
to try to make another comeback, With
a scheduled session for Roulette booked,
Lymon was staying in Harlem, where
he grew up, in his grandmothers house.
He took heroin and died of an overdose,
said Dahl. No-one knows the true
circumstances of Lymons death. Or at
least, no-one spoke up.
Frankie Lymon was the rst teenage
rocknroll star. No child had made music
like that before. He started a tradition of
similarly styled vocal groups, including
the Jackson 5, while proving that little
kids could also make great records, He
was also incredibly talented, said Dahl.
He wrote great songs, he sang well and
danced well. He was the total package
at the time. He had it all and squandered
it all. You can blame the music business
in those days for a lot of that. It was the
ultimate exploitation. They just chewed
them up and spat them out. Happened to
grown men and women but little Frankie
didnt even have the life experience.

Pluck a 12-year-old child off the


street, apply untold pressure, and
see what you get
Rocknrolls rst child star
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RI CKY NE LSON
This fetching colour image of Nelson, snapped in 1957, shows just how
photogenic one man can be. '57 was the year Nelson found huge success
with a run of hit singles, A Teenager's Romance, You're My One And Only
Love, Be Bop Baby and Stood Up. One seriously cool customer.
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J E RRY LE E LEWI S
Dapper, charismatic and handsome, Lee Lewis was hard to topple in the
style stakes. Here Harry Hammond captured him in ne form in 1962, the
year he blew Britain away as the headline act on tour with Johnny Kidd
& the Pirates, The Viscounts, Vince Eager and Buddy Britten.
BI LL HALEY
A jovial Haley relaxes while on tour in Britain in February 1957 and he
had reason to smile rock'n'roll lm Rock Around The Clock had taken
the UK by storm, causing riots both inside and outside the cinemas.
When Bill nally arrived in London with his Comets, the furore contined.
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J OHNNY KI DD
Kidd leans nonchalantly against a lampost in 1962. As well as performing
on Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls Of Fire tour that year, Johnny Kidd & the
Pirates also played in Hamburg and took Shakin' All Over to the top of
the German charts, two years after it was No. 1 in the UK.


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FROM PLAYING BOOGIE WOOGIE IN EARLY 50S DANCE
HALLS TO DREAMS OF ONE LAST TOUR OF THE UK
SONNY BURGESS HAS RACKED UP A FULL SIX DECADES
IN MUSIC. DAVID BURKE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM

Y
ou folks kept
us alive, thank
goodness. If it
wasnt for you all
over there, a lot of
us wouldnt still be playing, says Sonny
Burgess down the phone from his beloved
Newport County, Arkansas.
Over there is, of course, the UK,
whose discerning rocknroll fans along
with those elsewhere on the continent
persuaded Burgess that hed made the
right decision to quit the day job and
reform The Legendary Pacers some three
decades ago, since then theyve been
playing more than a hundred gigs each
and every year.
Burgess and his original band, The
Pacers, may not have enjoyed the same
level of commercial success as Sun
Records label mates Carl Perkins, Jerry
Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, but the likes
of We Wanna Boogie and Red Headed
Woman were described as being among
the most raucous, energy-lled recordings
released during the rst owering of
rocknroll by no less an authority than
the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2002.
Things began altogether more sedately
for the young Albert Austin Burgess. It
was all about country music.
I had two uncles one played ddle,
the other played guitar and harmonica.
We lived out here in the country, out here
in Newport, and they dragged me round
to the country dances with them on
Saturday nights. I played rhythm guitar. I
was about 15 or 16. I wasnt very good, but
they didnt care!
While he was serving his
apprenticeship as a working musician,
Burgess would search out inuences on
an old battery radio.
Wed get the Grand Ole Opry and
another station out of Memphis. So I
heard rhythm and blues, and country. I
loved that boogie sound Jimmy Reed
and Big Joe Turner. I just always thought
if you couldnt dance to that, you couldnt
dance. That always attracted me. A guy
like Jerry Lee came along on the piano,
and a lot of guys played boogie woogie on
the piano, but not quite like he did. In the
country eld we had a guy named Arthur
Guitar Boogie Smith. I thought it was the
greatest thing in the world.
In the early 1950s, Burgess along with
Kern Kennedy, Johnny Ray Hubbard
and Gerald Jackson formed The Rocky
Road Ramblers, strictly a boogie woogie
outt. Then Uncle Sam came calling
and he served two years in the US Army
before returning home to reform the
group, renamed The Moonlighters after
Newports Silver Moon Club, where they
were a regular xture. It was there that
Burgess rst saw the boy who would
be king, Elvis Presley, anked by Scotty
Moore on guitar and Bill Black on bass.
He was different, Ill say that for him!
But he was a quiet guy. He didnt have
a lot to say. He wasnt wild, like all the
parents tried to make him out, shaking
the pelvis and all of that. He was just
feeling the music, just dancing to the
music. I dont think anybody really saw
the potential much.
Apart, that is, from Sam Phillips, who
ran Sun Records. After seeing Elvis,
Burgess and the boys decided they
wanted a piece of the action, so they lit
out for Memphis.
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 75

Everybody in the world wanted to be


on little Sun Records at that time. At that
point, in 1955, when Elvis came along,
there were about eight of us. If Sam had
stayed there hed already lost interest by
57 and was off doing something else I
think he would have had a bigger label
than he had.
That time we were working with a
four-piece. We hadnt added Jack (Nance)
and Joe (Lewis). Wed go in and play for
Sam. It was just him and Sally (Wilbourn,
Sams wife and personal assistant) in the
studio. Anyway, were playing like we
were playing for an audience wed never
been in a studio before in our lives. Wed
just go in there and un-crank and start
playing. Sam listened to us and we talked
a while. He said, Well, go back home and
work a little more, add a couple of pieces
or something and see what you come back
with. So we added Joe and Jack.
In the meantime, Elvis came along
and he got to hear us. We were The
Moonlighters then. We went back
to Memphis and Sam recorded us.
Everybody who had heard the tapes said
they thought we were drunk! We were
scared to death. We didnt know anybody
at all. We were just playing a show for
Sam Phillips.
The nervousness on display at Sun
was nowhere to be seen when Burgess
and The Pacers played live. Their shows
were legendary for their full-throttle
dynamism, every bit the equal of
While he was serving
his apprenticeship as
a working musician,
Burgess would search
out influences on an old
battery radio
76 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Sonny Burgess and the Moonlighters
the spectacular performances put on by
Jerry Lee and Little Richard. They would
form human pyramids and leap into the
audience. Burgess even dyed his hair a
aming shade of red to match his guitar.
We had one of the greatest stage
shows there was. It was like a three-
ring circus people couldnt watch
just one of us. We had horn, piano,
drums, guitar and bass. Wed
sometimes play one song at full
blast for a full hour near the end of
the night.
We were pretty wild back then.
When we added Jack and Joe,
that put us on another dimension.
I would put the original Pacers
up against anybody. We did a show
one time in Little Rock with Ray Price
and Marty Robbins this was 56. We
opened the show for them at the Robson
auditorium on a Saturday. We jumped off
the stage, the whole band. It was pretty
exciting. We didnt realise there was an
orchestra pit, and so we fell an extra ve
foot! But it went over so well, the next day
when we went to Memphis they made us
go on last.
The crowd too became part of the act.
We had a thing called a bug dance, which
we got off Roy Orbison and The Teen
Kings. They played out here at the Silver
Moon. Jack, the bass player, and another
one, the little short guy, did the bug dance
while the rest of the band kept playing.
We thought it would be a good thing for
us and that we could get the audience to
participate. We jumped into the audience
and theyd pass it around. Then theyd
jump on stage with us.



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SONNY BURGESS
We had one of the
greatest stage shows
there was. It was like a
three ring circus

One time we were in Memphis for a


high school graduation party, and a bunch
of young kids got on stage and wanted to
play Johnny Rays double bass. This boy
got a hold of it and it went off that stage
and broke its neck. So we played the rest
of the night with a three-piece band.
Sam Phillips once declared that Burgess
could have been one of the greats, but he
never got the right break. Phillips, along
with his Stars Incorporated partner, disc
jockey Bob Neal, certainly did his very
best for him.
They booked us a lot, recalls Burgess.
We played a lot of Grand Ole Opry
shows. The Grand Ole Opry hated us!
Sun Records was drawing everything out
of Nashville. All the country guys were
wanting to go rockabilly or rocknroll.
Many times in my life I wished Id had
enough money to own a camera. I could
have took some pictures, man, of some
of the greats in the business. We went
out touring with Johnny Cash. We did a
lot of shows with him up until he went
to California. He didnt have much to


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78 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 1
say. I know he got on the pills and that
stuff later on, but I never seen him drink.
I didnt see Luther (Perkins) or Marshall
(Grant), either one of them, drink either.
We played California with Cash and he
was hot. He was great in the 50s. He was
breaking records everywhere he went.
Remember that song of his, Teenage
Queen? Everywhere we went theyd have
a teenage queen contest. He drew the
people like ies.
Then, in 1956, when Orbison got
paid for Ooby Dooby, we went and cut a
session with him on Find My Baby For
Me. Then we went off on tour for a couple
of weeks and Orbison wanted to go with
us, because his band had quit and gone to
Texas. They were going to be stars. They
thought they were the stars.
And unlike Phillips protg Elvis,
Burgess wrote his own material
I wrote a lot of stuff back then. A lot
of them came out as outtakes and a lot
of them got erased, we do know that for
a fact. Nowadays I dont write anything
at all. The last song I wrote was a gospel
song about four or ve years ago.
Burgess broke The Pacers up in 1959.
His drummer, Russ Smith, hooked with
Jerry Lee Lewis, while Jack Nance (and
Burgess himself for a spell in the 1960s)
joined Conway Twittys outt. Nance
and Twitty wrote Its Only Make Believe
together and made a small fortune.
WE WANNA BOOGIE
Sonny Burgess and The Pacers debut
single for Sun Records was, according to
its writer, inspired by what we did in
Newport, Arkansas, on a Saturday
night. Yep, they boogied and so did the crowds that
ocked to see them. The ip-side of the original single
wasnt bad either Red Headed Woman, anyone?
MY BUCKETS
GOT A HOLE IN IT
According to Burgess, Ricky Nelson stole
his thunder by releasing a version of the
Clarence Williams song that was made
famous by Hank Williams soon after his own recording. I
liked Ricky, but he changed beer to milk, is the way I saw
it, said Burgess. He told a journalist that he had copied
our version.
SONNY BURGESS (ALBUM)
As part of his renaissance in the 1980s,
Burgess recorded this eponymously-
titled album for Rounder Records.
Produced by Garry Tallent, bass player
with Bruce Springsteens E Street Band, it includes songs
penned by Steve Forbert, Radney Foster and The Boss
himself (Tiger Rose), and features guest appearances by
Scotty Moore and The Jordanaires on Bigger Than Elvis.
Listen
up
Listen
up
Burgess shows no signs of stopping


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SONNY BURGESS
The Sun Rhythm Section, former players in
the Sun Records house band, in 1987
jerry lee sat down at
that piano, and man, we
never heard nothing like
that before
I always thought I could pick good
musicians. Jerry Lee, he wasnt the best
piano player at Sun Records, or anywhere
else for that matter, but he was the most
unique piano player. Charlie Rich was
probably the best piano player ever at Sun
Records, and Kern Kennedy was next. But
Jerry Lee was a stylist way ahead of all
of them. We saw him play one time and
he only had a rhythm guitar player with
him. Jerry Lee sat down at that piano, and
man, we never heard nothing like that
before. I sent old Russ Smith out there to
play drums with him. When The Pacers
came to an end, thats when Russ started
working with Jerry Lee. He played drums
with him up to the end of the 60s.
Burgess traded rocknroll for a job as a
salesman throughout the 1970s, until, in
1986, he received an invitation to appear
at a concert in Washington DC. It was as
though hed never been away.
Nowadays, Burgess and The Legendary
Pacers continue to pack them in at
venues across the southern states and
in Europe. They may have slowed
down a little, but they still know how
to please the punters.
At dances we do three hours. Most
of the shows we do, we do an hour,
an hour and a half. I cant do what I
used to, or even get close to it but
were still trying! Were not even a pale
imitation of what we used to be.
This year were going to Sweden
again for a cruise. Theres a guy who
does those cruises where they do three
or four days of music. Weve done it
once before. Kind of interesting. Were
doing a show in Nashville with Ben Jones,
who played Cooter Jones in The Dukes of
Hazzard. We did his show in Virginia two
years ago, and all the original Dukes were
there. I never seen so many people up on
the hills. Old Cooter, hes like me, he aint
singing too good, he dont move around
too good. But hes got a hell of a band.
Hes got some of the best pickers Ive ever
heard. We cant touch them guys.
I know Im going to have to quit one
of these days Im 85 now, so Ive not got
much longer. Id like to play in England,
maybe run across to France, do one-night
stands for about three or four weeks. I
love England.

80 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 2


THEY WERE BRITAINS EARLY GIRL GROUP WITH A DIFFERENCE.
FROM VERNONS POOLS COMPANY CHOIR TO PRIMETIME
FAVOURITES ON TV AND ULTIMATELY, AS A TRIO WORKING WITH
BILLY FURY, THE BEATLES, AND MORE. JULIE BURNS CHEERS THE
WINNING STREAK OF THE VERNONS GIRLS
Next Door
The Glamour Girls


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ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 81
N
amed after the famous pools
company where they all
worked in 1950s Liverpool,
the Vernons Girls began life
as a choir and ended up as
a popular trio in the crucial
transition between rock and
roll and pop garnering
16 singles between 1958 and 64 in the
process. With their homegrown charm
and an authentic, catchy sound, they
would pre-empt the bold and bright
Brit-pop girl power to come, stretching
in timeline from near-peer Helen Shapiro
to Sandie and Cilla, onwards. While in
their latter incarnation as a trio, they also
symbolised the radical cultural shift from
South to North, complete with regional
accents and chirpy attitudes.
First, we have to rewind to the
Vernons Pools scenario, circa 1953, to get
the couldnt-make-it-up backstory. Long
before the advent of gambling advertising,
the canny company got around the law by
the idea of forming a 70-strong choir to
perform and so publicise the brand in
venues chiey around the North West.
Thanks to the rise of rocknroll,
the conservative nature of the
coupon collectors choir didnt
exactly hit the jackpot. The rst
shake-up of numbers preceded
a change of fortune, with a new
16-girl formation, plus two in
reserve. In addition, outsiders
with singing experience were
invited to apply to join the
ranks. Taken through their paces by a
musical director, London choreographer
and Vernons head of publicity, they
transformed into a glossy posse ready to
shine on stage, or TV.
By 1958, the small screen duly
beckoned in the shape of Jack Goods Six-
Five Special and, on his BBC defection,
the more unbridled Oh Boy! for ITV. The
Girls especially impacted on the latter
a leg-ashing, lively song and dance
collective more often than not in shorts
and sweaters. They were the perfect
performing foil for American rocknroll
stars and home-grown talent, spanning
Marti Wilde, Billy Fury and Cliff, to now
forgotten acts Dean Webb and Neville
Taylor and the Cutters. Soon signed to
Parlophone Records, as well as their 1958
LP, they had a three-year run of fairly
successful singles, debuting with White
Bucks and Saddle Shoes/Lost and Found.
As their exuberant Oh Boy! footage
shows, they were a feisty female force
with the stand-out considered to be
one Maggie Stredder. Her horn-rimmed
secretary spectacles became as much
of a talking point and style signature as
Buddy Hollys. TV reviews of the time
marvel at how much she disproved the
theory that men dont make passes at girls
who wear glasses! (Her colleague Ann
OBrien intrigued further, by wearing an
unexplained eye patch).
Reversioning of the Girls was soon
on the cards again. Faced with the move
from live production at East Londons
Hackney Empire to a smaller Manchester
studio, plus the powers-that-bes decision
that there was an excess of rocknroll on
TV, producer Jack Good chose to close
down Oh Boy!. Though the Vernons Girls
appeared at two well-received Royal
Variety Performances through 59 and
1960, behind the scenes they were losing
the will. The nal Oh Boy! show took
place on 30 May 1959, with a by now
ve-piece Vernons Girls nale paired
with The Dallas Boys. Popular girls Joyce
Baker and Vicky Haseman cleared off to
marry respective rockers Marti Wilde and
Joe Brown. Other members regrouped in
assorted often ongoing and musically
successful combinations.
With the Parlophone contract coming
to an end in 1961, Vernons
Pools were persuaded to
keep the core act in some
form, and advertised in the
Liverpool Echo for new talent.
Liverpudlian lass Jean Owen
at 18, already a singer with
the local Locarno Ballroom
won the place, alongside
originals Frances Lea, 22, and
Maureen Kennedy, 21, on lead
vocals. Upping sticks from
their native North West to a at
share together in London, they
swiftly switched labels to Decca
Records.
In 1962, Lover Please was
the quick rst single pick for
the new label and line-up. The
Billy Swan-written composition
was rst recorded in 1960 by The
Rhythm Steppers, then
ROCK


ROLL
Dennis Turner, followed by US girl group
The Marvelettes, and then the Vernon
Girls actually ahead of ex-Drifter Clyde
McPhatters hit version. With Jack
Good producing and Charles Blackwell
directing on this, and many of their future
hits, their hallmark of tightly harmonising
tones took off. Lover Please was a chart
hit, but their longer-running surprise hit
was its B-side, You Know What I Mean.
Renowned as the rst Scouse soundtrack
on record apparently cut, ciggie in
mouth and Cherry B in hand, by Maureen
on lead, it was posited at a time when the
country was still encouraged to enunciate
the Queens English. It was credit to
the forward-thinking (and London
gent speaking) Jack Good that hed told
Maureen to sing it in Liverpudlian.
This all chimed with the soon to be
much-hyped Northern uprising. To have
a real regional accent and especially
a Northern twang was where it was
at. TV and lm were quick to reect this
cultural sea-change with the edgling
Salford-set Coronation Street (from
1960 on), to gritty kitchen-sink dramas
18-year-old Shelagh Delaneys 1958
play into 61 lm, A Taste of Honey; the
1958 novel into 1960 lm, Saturday Night
and Sunday Morning; Stan Barstows
1960 novel into 1962 Brit drama, A Kind
of Loving, to name three. Against this
backdrop, Vernons Girls were regional
queens of the scene, and used their
roots to their advantage, returning to
characterful Scouse with relish on output
such as Funny All Over. They also took on
the burgeoning US girl group sound.
Yet they were never mere rip-offs of
such as The Ronettes, The Chiffons, The
Poni-Tails, or The Shirelles. Although
capable of some sweet and tight
harmonising, their hip to the beat humour
and knowing tone suggested somewhere
between The Angels, of My Boyfriends
Back fame, and slightly sardonic The
Shangri-Las (whose 64 hit Leader of the
Pack was banned by the BBC as possibly
incendiary to rockers and mods).
In their own inimitable way, the
Vernons Girls reiterated Little Evas
Loco-Motion to the Vonnair Sisters
See For Yourself; Dee Dee Sharps Do
The Bird, to The Ronettes Be My Baby.
Rather than sell out their collective
English accent and try to emulate the
popular North American or transatlantic
sound, they were authentic girls next
door with attitude at a time when girl
groups in Britain were relatively scarce.
Ranking as perhaps their most
inspired re-interpretation was 1962s
Dats Love an off-beat ode to love based
on the Habanera section of Bizets opera
Carmen, no less. Alongside their own hits,
TRANSITIONAL TRACKS
A timeline of highlights charting the different
formations of the Vernons Girls, from
Parlophone 58-61, to Decca, 62-64
Bad Motorcycle (1958)
Catchy, excitable ditty by the Oh Boy! original ensemble
of some 16 songbirds.
Boy Meets Girl/We Like Boys (1960)
Fun and youthful high school feel with sax on top.
Lets Get Together (1961)
A transitional release as a new trio, and last outing on
Parlophone. Well-known from the Disney lm The Parent
Trap and Hayley Mills child-star version.
Lover Please/You Know What I Mean
(1962)
The trios debut punchy and surprising both sides. On
the ip, Charles Blackwell was also musical director on
Mike Sarnes hit Come Outside, which preceded this. Lyric
writer (now actor) Trevor Peacock was scriptwriter for
Six-Five Special, Oh Boy! and Adam Faiths songwriter,
from Beat Girl on.
Dats Love (1962)
Quirky and perky, saucy and subversive, EP track with
Chinese Chopsticks accents, based on a rhythmic riff
from Bizets opera Carmen.
Funny All Over/See For Yourself (1962)
Scouse novelty of the You Know What I Mean variety,
ipped with upbeat, spurned woman song to gone
boyfriend with sha-la-las and organ.
Do the Bird (1963)
By now the Vernons Girls were attracting musicians the
calibre of Jimmy Page on guitar, Bobby Graham on
drums, as heard on some tight backing here.
We Love the Beatles (1964)
The girls had turned all yeah, yeah, yeah in their Twist
rhythm homage to the boys. Ironically on Decca the
label that famously turned down the Fab Four.
Only You Can Do It (1964)
As with her lead on Be My Baby and Tomorrow is Another
Day, Jeans lead on this great Spector-style track
pre-empted her breaking up the trio the year after. As
soloist Samantha Jones, she is unique as the only Brit
girl mastering the wall-of-sound in I Deserve It, 1965.
82 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 83
THE VERNONS GIRLS
Three sassy Scouse songbirds

the trio proved versatile session singing


on many seminal 60s singles Billy
Furys Maybe Tomorrow is but one. They
also guested in Furys lms, Play It Cool
and Just For Fun, before hosting their
own showcase edition of Here Come the
Girls, ITVs homage to female musical
talent. They were also kept busy deployed
on popular package tours, alongside
Helen Shapiro, Eden Kane, Cliff and the
Shadows, the Everly Brothers, Frank
Ield and Ketty Lester.
Though Maureen was the designated
lead, a democratic slice of limelight also
fell on the other two. While Frances led
softly on Stay at Home, Jean was put to
good use on the Spector style sounds of
Be My Baby, Tomorrow is Another Day,
and later, Only You Can Do It and tried
her hand at songwriting. Noted by her
champion Jack Good for her LaVern
Baker leanings, she also got the lead
in Goods Around the Beatles special.
Pre-Beatlemania, the Fab Four and the
trio with brio had already met at a house
party given by Shadows guitarist Bruce
Welch. Notoriously, Maureen is said to
have turned down a song for the girls
that John Lennon directly offered to her.
Nevertheless, they became a female staple
of the burgeoning Mersey Beat sound, and
for a time, were naturally aligned with the
Beatles in 63 on a Merseyside edition
of TVs Thank Your Lucky Stars, before
joining the boys on a winter tour.
Spring 64 was the crucial musical
turning point of the decade. With
Beatlemania rife, Jean wrote We Love
the Beatles which ironically, played
chart second ddle to a strangely similar
tribute We Love You Beatles from
former Vernons Girls Lyn Cornell and
Betty Prescott, as The Carefrees. The
latter went on to score worldwide
success, while The Vernons Girls offering
was quickly retitled Beatlemania for its
Stateside release.
In April 64s Around the Beatles
special, the band of the decade, of course,
featured, as well as guest stars


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To have a real regional accent
and especially a Northern twang
was where it was at
Millie, and pops female future (and
Beatles Cavern club coat-check girl
discovery) Cilla Black. The Vernons Girls
held their own, backing PJ Proby and
Long John Baldry. Jean was a revelation
vocally sparring with Baldry in the
latters Forty Days/Money (Thats What
I Want)/Hit the Road Jack medley. The
trios latest single, Only You Can Do It
captured them at their best, with a new,
cool and contemporary dimension later
covered by the revered French chanteuse
Franoise Hardy.
Despite this, and ensuing critically
acclaimed output, as the pop era set
in commercial success ran out. Jean,
probably the units strongest vocalist,
left not long after. Signing with United
Artists, she reinvented herself as soloist
Samantha Jones, crafting a series
of classic 60s platters with Charles
Blackwell. Though Maureen and Frances
soldiered on, with Jane Sutton in
replacement on lead, their swansong, Its
a Sin to Tell a Lie was not fated to cut it.
By early 65, they ofcially split.
Musical tastes had certainly changed
but the bold and mould-breaking impact
of the Vernons Girls would remain.
Taking the groups career arc as a whole
from high cast numbers to streamlined
three-piece they pushed the envelope
for further female artistes and groups to
follow. In the lottery world of music, the
former pools girls had come up trumps,
after all.

ROCKIN WOMEN
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE
EARLY VERNONS GIRLS?
Out of the formative 16, some of the girls
continued their rock and roll adventures
Joyce Baker
Married Brit rocker Marty Wilde, went on to have
daughter/singer Kim Wilde, after forming for a while,
the Wilde Three, a trio with Justin Hayward.
Vicky Haseman
Married Brit rocker Joe Brown, went on to have
daughter/singer Sam Brown Vicky also formed The
Breakaways. The group had a cameo in the Billy Fury
lm, Just For Fun.
Lyn Cornell
Married notable session drummer Andy White, who
famously replaced Ringo on an early take of Love Me Do.
Lyn enjoyed success as a solo artist, charting with the
title song to the 1960 lm classic Never On Sunday. She
later became one of The Pearls.
Jean Owen
Went on to have solo success under the name of
Samantha Jones.
Sybil Richardson
Recently reported as still singing and performing.
In combination
Different members turned into duets and trios: Mary
Redmond and Ann O Brien became The Redmond Twins;
Lynn Cornell teamed with Ann O Brien (now Simmons)
as The Pearls; specs-clad Maggie Stredder formed The
Two Tones with Jean Ryder before a name change to the
DeLaine Sisters (known for their modest hit rendition
of It Might As Well Rain Until September.) When Jean got
married, Maggie launched long-running session singing
set The Ladybirds, with Marian Davies and Gloria George.
Notable as backing vocalists on the Jimi Hendrix
Experiences seminal rst single Hey Joe to 60s and
70s TV session singing Top of the Pops, The Two
Ronnies, even The Benny Hill Show. Vicky Haseman, then
Brown, Margo Quantrell and Betty Prescott became The
Breakaways, before Jean Ryder, now Hawker, returned
to replace Betty. This trio became a catsuit-clad
Avengers-style backing beat-girl trio at Pye.
After the demise of The Vernons Girls trio, lead singer
Maureen Kennedy went full circle, re-connecting with
original Vernons Girls Vicki Brown, Jean Hawker, Margo
Quantrell, Ann Simmons and Joyce Wilde, for a one-off
1966 TV special celebrating a decade of ABC TV. Sadly,
she died in a car accident in the early 1970s.
P.S. The similarly sounding The Vernons
confusingly, another girl trio around the light
entertainment TV scene of the 70s were in no way
connected to The Vernons Girls.
84 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Shorts and sweaters was a daring
look at the time
Musical tastes had changed but
the mould-breaking impact of the
Vernons Girls would remain


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he '50s weren't all about up-tempo,
high octane rock'n'roll this was also
very much the era of drive-ins, slow
dances and starry-eyed romance. For
this instalment of Reader's Jukebox, we
asked you to submit your all-time favourite
love songs the swooning sides that are
perfect for those cheek-to-cheek moments
at the end of the night. In among the myriad
suggestions came a handful of priceless
doo-wop classics, enduring love ballads from
teen idols, a healthy portion of Elvis and, of
course, the odd timeless croon or two. After
a lively (and lengthy) debate we managed to
choose a varied representation of the tunes
that get you weak at the knees.
From the effortless sway of The
Moonglows' close harmonies to Brenda Lee's
gorgeous balladeering to rock'n'rollers like
Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran showing off
their softer sides, this playlist is perfect for
tender moments shared with our signicant
others. It's time to dim the lights, relax and
get comfortable for your choice of the
greatest songs for romance
Next time on Reader's Jukebox we focus on the
best records for the danceoor
Any suggestions? We're all ears!
Email us at vintagerock@anthem-publishing.
com or write to the usual address with your
favourites. Alternatively, head to facebook.
com/vintagerockmag and join the debate!
86 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Songs For
Romance
JUKEBOX
VINTAGE ROCK , ,
THE HARPTONES
A SUNDAY KIND OF LOVE
Record Label Bruce
Released 1953
Originally formed in Harlem, The Harptones honed their skills on street corners, in hallways and in the subway of their tough New York
neighbourhood. They benetted from having pianist and arranger Raoul Cita within their ranks and their take on Louis Prima's 1946 cut A
Sunday Kind Of Love is clear evidence of his skills, particularly in the addition of his beautiful two-line intro. Gentle meandering guitar plays
off silky harmonies that support lead vocalist Willie Wineld's top line to perfection. The group won rst prize at the Apollo Theater talent
contest in November 1956 with this, one of the rst songs recorded by the group. Suggested by P Martyn Dormer via Facebook
BUDDY HOLLY
THAT'S MY DESIRE
Record Label Coral
Released 1966
When Holly sings 'To spend one night with you in our old rendezvous/And reminisce with you, that's my desire,' it's enough to make the
world swoon in unison. Helmy Kresa and Carroll Loveday's classic sereneade That's My Desire has been recorded by everyone from Eddie
Cochran and The Channels through to Frankie Laine and Patsy Cline, but it's Holly's simplistic approach that tugged at our heartstrings and
stood out as the ideal side to kick off this issue's playlist. The track was rst recorded at Bell Studios in New York in 1958 but didn't get
aired until 1966 when it was chosen as the B-side to a posthumous UK re-release of Maybe Baby. Suggested by Ozaries Em via Facebook
ROY ORBISON
RUNNING SCARED
Record Label Monument
Released 1961
One of the Big 'O's later singles, Running Scared was written by Orbison together with Monument songsmith Joe Melson, who encouraged
Roy to take full advantage of the operatic power of his voice in tracks like Only The Lonely, Blue Angel, Up Town, I'm Hurtin' and this
climatic, heavily orchestrated masterpiece. Orbison's newfound tremble closes the mighty Crying album in grand style, backed by the
infamous Nashville 'A-Team' session musicians including the likes of Bob Moore, Grady Martin and Hank Garland. Canadian rockabilly
maestro Jack Scott also had a hit with a ne version of the tune one year later. Suggested by Jenny Johns via email
GENE VINCENT
IMPORTANT WORDS
Record Label Capitol
Released 1957
Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps may be best known for their thrilling rockabilly anthems and the rebel persona that went along with them,
but Important Words reveals that even bad boys have a softer side. Recorded in 1956, this lilting ballad took up position as ipside to
rock'n'roll bopper Crazy Legs in 1957 and showcases Vincent's tender touch with a neat slap-back echo that adds an extra soulful veneer
it's great to hear Cliff Gallup's guitar work shown in calmer surroundings too. Gene said in 1960 that Important Words was his favourite of
the songs he had written and it stands out as one of the most compelling sides in our list. Suggested by Steve Wilde via Facebook
JOHNNY ACE
PLEDGING MY LOVE
Record Label Duke
Released 1955
Tennessee-born R&B singer Johnny Ace began his career as part of BB King's backing band and went on to burn brightly as a solo artist
with an immediate R&B chart No. 1 in debut My Song. A run of hit singles followed including Cross My Heart, Please Forgive Me and Never
Let Me Go all superb. This mournful single was produced by Johnny Otis, whose band also provided backing for the track and was
released posthumously. Pledging My Love spent ten weeks at No. 1 in the R&B charts in 1955 and was later covered by Elvis in his last studio
session in 1976. Ace met a tragic end when he shot himself by accident while drunk backstage. Suggested by Matze Veit via Facebook.
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 87
VINCENT MAY BE BEST KNOWN FOR HIS THRILLING ROCKABILLY
ANTHEMS AND HIS REBEL PERSONA, BUT IMPORTANT WORDS
REVEALS THAT EVEN BAD BOYS HAVE A SOFTER SIDE
READERS' JUKEBOX
Songs For
Romance
JUKEBOX ,
READERS' JUKEBOX
88 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
MY LOVE TO REMEMBER CLEARLY OWES A DEBT TO ELVIS BUT
ALSO SHOWS COCHRAN TO BE A FINE BALLADEER IN HIS OWN
RIGHT IT'S ENOUGH TO MELT A THOUSAND TEENAGE HEARTS
,
THE EVERLY BROTHERS
ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM
Record Label Cadence
Released 1958
This Everly Brothers classic was another incredibly popular choice and no romantic rundown would be complete without it. Written by Felice
and Boudleaux Bryant the husband/wife duo who also penned Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie and Bird Dog for the brothers All I Have
To Is Dream was laid down in only two takes together with Chet Atkins, who added a subtle tremolo guitar backing that allowed the siblings'
harmonies to soar. Phil Everly described the song as one of the duo's most important tracks and it was a huge success: No. 1 across all of the
Billboard charts at once a rare achievement indeed. Various subsequent covers have gone to the top too. Suggested by James Dillon via email
BRENDA LEE
I WONDER
Record Label Decca
Released 1963
She may have only measured four feet and nine inches in height, but 'Little Miss Dynamite' was one of the most successful artists of the '60s and
for good reason. Her immeasurable talent is evidenced on I Wonder, a heartbreaking lament made with the help of US Nashville producing giant
Owen Bradley. My Whole World is Falling Down appears on the ipside, an upbeat pop number that made the A-side in some territories both
tracks were Top 40 hits in their own right and both feature on Lee's By Request album. Brenda was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in
2002 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in 2009. Suggested by Alf Gubbins via Facebook
BILLY FURY
WONDROUS PLACE
Record Label Decca
Released 1960
Despite never reaching the No. 1 spot, Fury was a prolic songwriter (unlike the majority of his peers at the time). He had six hit albums, two
big-selling EPs and 29 hit 45s without doubt a rock'n'roll force to be reckoned with but he could charm with ballads too and his stunning
take on Jeff Lewis and Bill Giant's Wondrous Place is a ne example of his talent for slower tempos. Perhaps it was the way in which he could
effortlessly turn on a rare intensity in his vocals that took this single into the UK Top 30 with little trouble - his delivery is sexy, haunting and
totally infectious. The track has since been covered by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner's side project The Last Shadow Puppets and was also
(somewhat tragically) used in a Toyota commercial. Suggested by Mike Parker via Facebook
EDDIE COCHRAN
MY LOVE TO REMEMBER
Record Label Liberty
Released Unreleased
Recorded during the Cochran Brothers era at around the same time Elvis was hitmaking at RCA this smooth ballad clearly owes a lot to
Presley, but also shows Cochran to be a ne balladeer in his own right. My Love To Remember was co-written by his manager Jerry Capehart,
who also helped pen his hits C'mon Everybody and Summertime Blues, and was cut at Hollywood's Goldstar Studios with the help of Hank
Cochran on rhythm guitar and Conrad 'Guybo' Smith on bass. 'Oh you gone on your way/I will nd you someday/Oh you are my love to
remember,' sings Cochran enough to melt the hearts of a thousand teenage girls! Suggested by Andy Ford via email
THE PLATTERS
TWILIGHT TIME
Record Label Mercury
Released 1958
Of the many versions of Twilight Time recorded over the years, The Platters' No. 1 doo-wop single is by far the best known. American
instrumental group The Three Suns wrote the dreamy score while Buck Ram added some rich, poetic lyrics 'Heavenly shades of night are
falling/It's twilight time/Out of the mist your voice is calling/'Tis twilight time'. The song was showcased on the Ed Sullivan Show in June 1958
and quickly became a favourite thanks to Tony Williams' heavenly vocal prowess. The group laid down an equally enticing rumba-ecked Spanish
language version in 1963 entitled La Hora del Crepsculo. Suggested by Jimmy Taylor via email , ,
ETTA JAMES SUPPOSEDLY VISITED THE SONG'S DOWNTRODDEN
AUTHOR ELLINGTON 'FUJI' JORDAN IN PRISON, WHO EXPLAINED
TO HER THE IDEA FOR THE SONG
ETTA JAMES
I'D RATHER GO BLIND
Record Label Cadet/Chess
Released 1968
Of all the female contenders for Reader's Jukebox, Etta James is surely queen. I'd Rather Go Blind is a faultless R&B tearjerker that nds James in
stunning form. James supposedly visited the song's downtrodden author Ellington 'Fuji' Jordan in prison, who explained the idea for the song.
She later crowned the tune with lyrics that reected her forlorn love life and her crushing heroin addiction. Despite her troubles, the track was
eventually laid down at the legendary Fame studios in Muscle Shoals along with its ipside, the rousing top ten R&B hit Tell Mama.
I'd Rather Go Blind is well deserving of its place as a true classic of the blues and soul genre. Suggested by Paul Birkin via email
ELVIS PRESLEY
ONE NIGHT
Record Label RCA
Released 1958
Originally enititled One Night (Of Sin) a hit for R&B singer Smiley Lewis in 1956 this impassioned, lustful side was as risqu as it was
infectious. Despite both his label and manager's trepidations about the salacious nature of the theme, Presley stuck with the track and (albeit
with a lyric change) added an even racier feel with a potent vocal utterly bursting with fervour. The record was released as a double A-side with
the slinky rocker I Got Stung that, unlike One Night, featured the Jordinaires. One Night reached UK No. 1 in 1959 and was re-released in 2005 to
commemorate Elvis' 70th birthday, when it went to the top again becoming the UK's 1,000th No. 1. Suggested by John Phillips via email
CONNIE FRANCIS
WHO'S SORRY NOW
Record Label MGM
Released 1958
Francis was a child star and was an accomplished accordion player by the tender age of four. She signed to MGM at 16 and had her rst big hit with
Who's Sorry Now at only 19 a favourite of her father George and recorded at his suggestion. With the help of Joe Lippmann's orchestra, the
track was cut at a session in October 1957 and it was soon picked up by Dick Clark, who gave it a spin on New Years day 1958 on his ABC TV show
Dick Clark's Bandstand commenting that she was 'headed straight for the No. 1 slot'. And she was. The song beat both Elvis and Tommy Steele to
the UK top spot and remained there for an impressive six week stand. Suggested by Rob Latton via email
RITCHIE VALENS
DONNA
Record Label Del-Fi
Released 1958
A gentle, yet triumphant piece of balladeering, Ritchie Valens' mournful cut Donna is a classic of the Drive-in generation and a Vintage Rock
favourite. The track was eventually laid down at Hollywood's renowned Gold Star studios with a cast of top L.A. session hands and was released
as a double-A with La Bamba. But for two beautiful and intimate versions of the track (and La Bamba) check out Ritchie Valens: The Lost Tapes
a collection of early demos recorded at Del-Fi label owner Bob Keane's basement studio. Donna Ludwig was Valens' real-life high school
sweetheart and all we can say is she must have been one hell of a gal! Suggested by Bill Knowles via email
THE DANLEERS
ONE SUMMER NIGHT
Record Label Mercury/Amp-3
Released 1958
Formed by high school friends Jimmy Weston and Johnny Lee, Brooklyn-based doo-wop group The Danleers could stir up emotion in the coldest
of hearts. This side was supposedly penned by their manager Danny Webb who also named the group based on his name but lead tenor
Weston later claimed to have written the song and asserted that Webb simply took the credit. With demand at a high, Mercury bought out the
Danleers' contract and re-released the record. One Summer Night was their biggest hit and one of the biggest hits of the year reaching No. 7
in 1958. They may have been a one hit wonder, but it's hard to fault such a beautiful delivery. Suggested by Judy Symmons via email
READERS' JUKEBOX
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 89 ,
READERS' JUKEBOX
90 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
WILDE WAS SOON IN FULL SWING WITH SEA OF LOVE THIS
DELICATE OFFERING IS INTRODUCED BY A FLUTTERING HARP AND
BACKED WITH THE DREAMIEST OF HARMONIES
THE SKYLINERS
SINCE I DON'T HAVE YOU
Record Label Calico
Released 1958
Pittsburgh close harmony ve-piece The Skyliners counted Janet Vogel amongst their ranks, who added the eet soprano that helped them to
stand out amongst a mainly male-led genre. The words to this timeless love song were penned by the band's manager, Joe Rock, having just split
with his girlfriend, and lead singer Jimmy Beaumont translates them to song perfectly here. Since I Don't Have You was perhaps their brightest
moment, but the group went on to have a number of doo-wop hits including This I Swear, Pennies From Heaven, It Happened Today, Close Your
Eyes and Comes Love. A simply gorgeous tune, just made for lovers. Suggested by Paul Mann via email
THE PENGUINS
EARTH ANGEL (WILL YOU BE MINE)
Record Label Dootone
Released 1954
The Penguin's Earth Angel was a popular suggestion for this playlist and justly so. This Dootone side was the one and only hit for the Los
Angeles four-piece, but what a tune! The group was formed by high school buddies Cleveland Duncan and ex-Hollywood Flames baritone
Curtis Williams, who took the group's name from 'Willie The Penguin', cartoon mascot in an advert for Kool cigarettes. A demo of Earth Angel
received early airplay from several radio stations and once pressed the single gradually began to climb the charts. Dootone would almost go
bankrupt to keep up with the increasing demand and Mercury immediately took over the contract. Suggested by John Watson via Facebook
THE MOONGLOWS
SINCERELY
Record Label Chess
Released 1954
Classy tenor Bobby Lester was one of the vocal greats of the genre and led The Moonglows in ne style on this, their rst major hit. A clutch of
hits followed on Chess and demonstrated their percussive 'blow' harmony technique as well as a air for intricate arrangements. Up there with
the very best doo-wop outts, The Moonglows got their unusual break via an audition with Alan Freed over the telephone and he soon signed
them to Chance Records. After the demise of Chance, Chess jumped in. At Chess they enjoyed a run of hits with everything from up-tempo R&B
to upbeat rock'n'roll numbers. Sincerely clocked up impressive sales in excess of 300,000 and featured in the Freed movie Rock, Rock, Rock.
Over a year after the hits dried up The Ten Commandments Of Love rekindled the ame once more. Suggested by Marky Rebel via Facebook
MARTY WILDE
SEA OF LOVE
Record Label Phillips
Released 1959
It was the desire to buy a sports car that led Reginald Smith to the bright lights of rock'n'roll. Indeed, when lothario Larry Parnes missed out on
meeting the singer back stage after a particularly good Soho performance, he was directed to a car showroom near Smith's house in order to track
the young wannabe down. With the help of Parnes, Reg was re-invented as South London's wildman of rockabilly Marty Wilde and would nd
chart success with a valiant version of Ritchie Valens' Donna (also in this list). Wilde was soon in full swing with Sea Of Love this delicate offering
is introduced by a uttering harp and backed with the dreamiest of harmonies. Suggested by via Lorna Wright email
THE FIVE KEYS
OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND
Record Label Capitol
Released 1956
One of the most inuential doo-wop outts, The Five Keys delivered big time with this orchestrated swaying side from 1956. It was rst recorded
shortly after the group came off Irvin Feld's 'Super Attractions' Tour featuring a slew of other talent including The Turbans, The Drifters, LaVern
Baker, Bill Haley & the Comets, Shirley & Lee, Joe Turner, Bo Diddley and Roy Hamilton but would be re-cut for the single in June of 1956. The
new version was released a few months later and reached a respectable No. 12 in the R&B charts, and fared well in the pop charts too at No. 23
but regardless of chart positions, the track soon became an enduring favourite in the Big Apple. Suggested by Jenny M via email
13
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H
e racked
up heftier
commercial
achievements
after the
1960s, but to
connoisseurs
Billy Furys reputation will always rest on
self-written The Sound Of Fury. Yet it was
not a greatly appreciated disc when rst
released on Decca in June 1960. It didnt
make much of a dent in the album list,
and its single, Thats Love, only just made
the Top 20, a placing regarded by Billys
investors as a setback.
So it was that Billy was to recall shortly
before his death in 1983: Decca got
really heavy with me, and persuaded
me I was going in the wrong direction,
and slowly swayed me towards ballads.
This new approach meant no more
Fury compositions were to be risked as
A-sides, but he was to remain a hit parade
contender until he bid farewell to the
Top 40 forever in 1966. By then, Fury
had reinvented himself as more of an all
round entertainer.
OVERNIGHT SENSATION
Ronald Wycherley entered the world
of work as a riveter. Yet hed already
conceived a fancy that hed like to make
his way as a songwriter, and, from
listening hard to Hank Williams, Johnnie
Ray and early Elvis, was forever tinkering
on his acoustic six-string and jotting
fragments of verse on scrap paper.
As I dont write music, he was to
elucidate, I pick out chords on guitar
and then transfer the basic tune onto
a tape. Shards of inspiration cut him
when mooching to the corner shop.
Others jerked him from slumber. Dawn
would seem a year away as the ghost
of an opening verse, maybe a sketchy
chorus too, would smoulder into form
and engross him until daylight found him
dozing over his instrument, surrounded
by cigarette butts, smeared coffee cups
and pages of scribbled lyrics and musical
symbols peculiar to himself. On days
when little would come, he might position
himself in front of the wardrobe mirror,
and perform to thousands of ecstatic fans
that only he could see.
Such a ritual of thwarted eroticism
wasnt entirely without justication, for
Wycherleys lop-sided grin, common
good looks, lavishly-whorled quiff and
tight-trousered cat clothes were already
the spring of much discussion among
the vicinitys girls. Moreover, when
The Girl Cant Help It was screened at
Liverpools Scala cinema in 1957, Ronald,
lost in wonder afterwards, had been
tickled when someone remarked on his
resemblance to Eddie Cochran, one of the
US rocknrollers whod delivered a cameo
performance in the movie.
Taking constructive action, Ronald
recorded a guitar-and-voice acetate of
one of his compositions, Loves A-Callin,
plus four Presley items. This, plus a
photograph of himself, landed on the desk
of Larry Parnes, the countrys leading
NOT ONLY WAS HE, ARGUABLY, BRITISH POPS FIRST MAJOR
SINGER-SONGWRITER, B UT B ILLY F URY WAS A LSO T HE CRE ATIVE F ORCE BEHIND
THE SOUND OF FURY. ALAN CLAYSON CHRONICLES ITS JOURNEY
92 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
BILLY FURY
The Sound Of Fury
Classic Album

ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 93


Classic
Album


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pop svengali. The principal stud in his
stable was Marty Wilde, then on terms of
uctuating equality with Cliff Richard as
the kingdoms answer to Elvis.
Parnes suggested that Wycherley
present himself when the current round-
Britain package tour, headlined by Marty,
reached Birkenhead. That October 1958
evening in Wildes dressing room, Ronald,
like a travelling salesman with a foot in
the door, made a pitch with his wares.
Clearing his throat, he started chugging
chords; a deep breath and into the rst
line of Margo, a lovelorn plea to a lass at
work. As this and two further songs died,
he blinked at his feet before glancing up
with enquiring eyebrow.
Enthralled as much by Ronalds
crouched force, Larry gave him an
immediate new name, Billy Fury, and
squeezed him and his lone guitar into
the show. The proverbial overnight
sensation, Billy-Ronald was next dressed
in gold lam, and his metamorphosis from
nobody to idol was set in motion. He took
to it like a duck to water to the degree
that a prudish adult Britain obliged him to
moderate his sub-Elvis gyrations, though
beneath it all, he was perceived by female
fans as a little-boy-lost type.
The rst A-sides, Maybe Tomorrow
and Margo, were realised during
regulated Musicians Union hours in
Deccas complex in Broadhurst Gardens,
West Hampstead. There, hed be subject
to that sight-reading condescension that
was the norm within that self-contained
caste of middle-aged, middle-of-the-
road musicians who were omnipresent
in London studios throughout the 1950s.
After theyd listened to his demos, Fury,
aware of the pound sign over every
quaver, would run through the essentials
of each before vanishing into the vocal
isolation booth.
The two singles penetrated the Top
30 before 1959 was out, and Billy was to
make regular appearances on Boy Meets
Girls and Wham!, televised pop from
the stencil of Oh Boy!, the more exciting
ITV series, during which so swiftly did
its atmospheric parade of Cliff, Marty
and other domestic icons pass before
the cameras that the screaming studio
audience, urged on by producer Jack
Good, scarcely had pause to draw breath.
As the decade turned, the inspired
Jack was branching out into record
production, and it was he, rather than
Larry Parnes, who persuaded Decca to
permit Billy to record his own creations
as opposed to the customary play-it-
safe US covers and ditties by jobbing
tunesmiths. He had that schoolmaster
effect over you, confessed Dave of his
producer Norrie Paramor. So many of
us were not allowed to do what we really
wanted to do.
Well into the 1960s, a critical
prejudice of most record label artist-
and-repertoire managers including
Paramor and Deccas Dick Rowe was
that the last thing anyone, from a teenager
in a ballroom to the head of the BBC
Light Programme, wanted to hear was a
home-made song. Even exceptions like
Cliff Richards Move It and Shakin All
Over from Johnny Kidd began as ip-
sides. It was usually presumed that, when
an artiste boasted of recording his own
94 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
LISTEN UP!
Billy Fury - The Sound Of Fury
(1960)
The composition of six of the ten selections was
attributed to Wilberforce, a nom de plume invented
by the modest Fury because, I thought it would look
boring with my name under every song.
Decca ceased pressing this original album in 1964.
However, by the mid-1970s, demand was such that
what amounted to an overseas bootleg prompted an
ofcial re-release in 1977 as part of The Billy Fury Story
compilation. Three years later, a replica vinyl The
Sound Of Fury was in the shops and it was to make
its rst appearance on CD as The Sound Of Fury + 10.
More recently, Decca/Universal issued a two-CD
retrospective with The Sound Of Fury on one and
alternate takes, stereo mixes and contemporaneous
bonus tracks on the other. In parenthesis, the Thats
Love single was attributed to Billy Fury with The Four
Jays, and Alright, Goodbye was to B-side its
Wondrous Place follow-up.
Side 1
Thats Love
My Advice
Phone Call
You Dont Know
Turn My Back On You
Side 2
Dont Say Its Over
Since Youve Been Gone
Its You I Need
Dont Leave Me This Way
Billy with Eddie Cochran and Joe Brown
Classic
Album


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material, his handlers had hired
some professional songwriter to
come up with numbers.
TRIAL AND ERROR
With Billy Furys chart
breakthrough not yet
consolidated, it was, therefore,
extremely unorthodox, even
verging on lunacy, for Decca
and Parnes to agree to an album
consisting entirely of originals,
albeit a monophonic ten-inch 33
rpm long-player somewhere
between the increasingly more
common twelve-incher and the
EP (extended play). Into the
bargain, Jack Good decided that
Billy was to be troubled as little
as possible by that dictate that
British pop couldnt be done
in any other way or with any
others than those bound by the
rigidity of union ofcials.
Furthermore, if approaching
his 30s, Jack wasnt self-
deprecating about his knowledge and
love of pop when Billy arrived at his at,
armed with demos and nebulous ideas.
I loved rockabilly, outlined Billy in one
of his nal interviews, and all the songs
I was writing then were basically around
that kind of musical theme. Shortly
afterwards, Good, Fury and a backing
ensemble spent 8 January 1960 in Studio
Three at West Hampstead focusing
on Turn My Back On You, notable for
the utter echo on the lead vocal, a
combination of console manipulation
and Billys own emulation of what hed
heard on discs in the rockabilly genre,
which hed now impregnated with an
inbred originality, most insidiously via
an approach that was more subtle than
the typical hep-cat exultations about
lust, violence, clothes and doin the Ooby
Dooby with all o your might. Instead,
Billy addressed the joys and desperations
of boy-girl love. I get an idea when
Im depressed, hed explain, usually
because one of my girls has let me down.
Undoubtedly, Billys heartbreak was
reected in downbeat Since Youve Been
Gone, Phone Call, You Dont Know and
remorseful Alright, Goodbye, all tailored
to suit his wounded baritone.
With the less submissive Turn My
Back On You in the can, the late Hal
Carter, attendant to Furys day-to-day
requirements, would remember that,
Jack was taken by the rockabilly thing
too. Well, no-one did it over here like
that, and he couldnt wait to do more.
Thus a second studio date was booked
for the afternoon of Thursday 14 April
1960 at Studio 3 with xed personnel,
most conspicuously electric guitarist Joe
Brown who, like Billy, was involved then
in the lengthy twice-nightly Fast-Moving
Anglo-American Beat Show, starring
Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, which
had begun in January.
Joe had backed Billy on Boy Meets
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 95
Girls, with renderings of Turn My Back
On You and Presleys Baby Lets Play
House on the same edition the most
reliable signposts to what was to be
released two months after Brown served
as Scotty Moore to Furys Elvis at the
second Studio Three session where each
clangorous solo might take off amid yells
of encouragement from others present.
Apart from Good, chief among these was
30-year-old pianist Reg Guest, whod
also been to the fore during a trial-and-
error rehearsal in a nearby hall, notating
what few dots were required as Billy
dah-dah-dah-ed.
Better known now for his orchestral
scorings for The Walker Brothers, Reg
had been musical director for Goods
Six-Five Special, Oh Boy!s more pious
predecessor. As well as issuing records of
his own markedly, 1962s Winklepicker
Stomp as Earl Guest Reg had worked
too with both Eddie Cochran and Little


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Some members of the British establishment
werent so keen on the Elvis-like gyrations
Richard. Crucially, if his heart was in
jazz, he had a feel for the slip note style
the resolving of deliberate dischords
of Floyd Mr Piano Kramer, a virtuoso
exponent of the Nashville Sound, whod
been on all manner of Presley recordings
since Heartbreak Hotel, employing
delicacy or force, as required.
If Reg was its Kramer, Joe its Moore
and drummer Andy White its DJ Fontana
The Sound Of Furys Jordanaires were
The Four Jays, whose precise identity
is blurred. Hal Carter, a fellow Scouser
who, prior to entering the Larry Parnes
orbit, had promoted regional dances and
fronted a city skife combo said, I cant
remember who The Four Jays were.
But whoever they were, the quartet
layered a smooth and cleanly executed
chorale onto the grippingly slipshod
passion of an instrumental thrust that
players earning their tea break with
infallibly polished nonchalance couldnt
96 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
have accomplished. For all their casually-
strewn errors, the team on what became
The Sound Of Fury kept pace as Billy
shifted gear with the composure of a
Formula One racer (as exemplied most
obviously by the tempo change in Since
Youve Been Gone).
It amounted to the phonographic
equivalent of bottling lightning: youthful
adrenalin pumped onto a spool of tape
with thrilling margin of error and the
exhilaration of the impromptu being
prized innitely more than mere
technical accuracy.
When it came down to it, concluded
Good, We had to accept stuff that
sometimes youd have liked to have
improved on, but it did have spontaneity
and simplicity. Billys voice, we made sure
was always there, not smudged over loud
backing. The soul of Billy Fury is in that
record, and Im very proud of that and I
think Billy was too.


It amounted to the
phonographic equivalent
of bottling lightning
BILLYS FIFTH BEATLE
Formerly under the baton of swing bandleader Vic
Lewis, Glaswegian sticksman Andy White had a
walk-on part in The Beatles saga through his
participation in the session that resulted in Love Me
Do, the groups debut single. He would be heard too
on hits by Hermans Hermits and Tom Jones. Other
artists with whom he was associated include Bert
Weedon, Anthony Newley, Johnnie Ray, Rod Stewart,
Burt Bacharach - and Marlene Dietrich.
Two years prior to The Sound Of Fury, Andy led a
jazz combo who worked in North America. I got the
chance to hear rocknroll in the esh, he recollected,
It helped me in the studio game because the jazz
guys didnt dig it.
A Thames Ditton resident in 1960, he was married to
Lyn Cordell, a mainstay of The Vernons Girls, who
irritated the UK Top 30 in 1960 with a vocal version of
the much-covered Greek-avoured lm title theme to
Never On Sunday. In 1983, White uprooted to New
Jersey where he instructs members of Scottish-style
pipe-and-drums ensembles. One presented him with a
personalised car number plate: 5THBEATLE.
Classic
Album


G
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I
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Xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
The cool catalyst
Joe Brown
You started your career playing in
The Spacemen Skife Group. Do you
remember when rocknroll struck?
The skife thing was crazy for about two
years, and then rocknroll came and just
smashed it off the pedestal, quite literally
overnight.
After that, TV producer Jack Good
came into the picture. What was that
experience like for you?
After he discovered me, Jack Good put
me in the all-purpose orchestra he had
for (TV show) Boy Meets Girls. Most of
the other guys were from Ted Heaths
big band from the 1940s, and here was
an 18-year-old rocknroller who couldnt
read music though I could cope with
a chord chart. There were two other
guitarists who were then relegated to
playing rhythm behind my lead. One of
them, incidentally, was Bryan Daly, who
was to write the theme tune to Postman
Pat. Yet there wasnt any animosity,
even though I got fed up with the older
musicians being ruled by the Musicians
Union.
How did Boy Meets Girls differ from
what you were used to?
Boy Meets Girls was Jacks follow-up
to Oh Boy! The difference was that it
featured US artists as well as British ones.
This meant I got to play with people like
Johnny Cash, Brenda Lee, Gene Vincent
and Eddie Cochran.
We heard that Johnny Cash sent you
a $200 pair of cowboy boots to show
his appreciation! It must have been
incredible playing with all those guys.
Did you pick up any tricks of the trade
that you made use of later on?
(Eddie) was a great guitarist, and I loved
working with him. He showed me how
he used an unwound ultra-light third
string, the secret of how he could bend a
lower middle-register note. You can hear
me doing it on The Sound Of Fury like in
the solo on Its You I Need Seeing Eddie
play and learning those tricks was a great
education for myself.
We know a fair few guitarists who
would sell a sister to play with Eddie
Cochran. What did it mean to you and
your career?
I played on everything Eddie did over
here the tour and on his radio and
TV slots. As a result, I developed a
variation of that American sound that was
completely my own, and that got me a lot
of session work at six quid at time in all
the London studios, including Joe Meeks.
It was the same for Tony Sheridan. Either
he was on the record or I was.
How did all of those experiences lead
to playing on The Sound Of Fury?
I was, I suppose, a natural choice for The
Sound Of Fury because not only
did Billy have the same manager
as me, but he and I were great
friends. He lived at my house for a
while. My Mum looked after both
him and me. Yet I didnt know
why girls used to scream at Billy
until once I turned up late at a
theatre and hed taken my spot.
Until then, Id never experienced
him from the point of view of an
audience, but that night I felt the
tremendous power he generated
on stage. He was a very talented
performer.
You used some interesting
techniques in the studio while
recording The Sound Of Fury.
What was the sound that Billy
was going for?
He wanted to do some sort of
Elvis-type rockabilly stuff and
my brief was to try to sound
like Scotty Moore. Jack (Good)
also hired two bass players,
Alan Weighell from Tommy
Steeles Steelmen, and Bill
Stark Alan picking notes on
an electric model while Bill
One of the most talented rocknroll guitarists in the then-small world of British pop, hed just scored a maiden
Top 40 strike in his own right with Darktown Strutters Ball when he added a key ingredient to The Sound Of Fury
brew. We sat down with a British instituition to discuss his early career and his part on Furys classic album
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 97
just slapped a double bass to get close
to what Bill Black did at Sun. Because it
was all in mono, Jack had to mix them
together on the spot. This was a very
clever idea, and it worked.
How long did the whole recording
process take?
The album was nished in, more or less,
a few minutes longer than it took us to
play it each number down in just one
take, two at most. We entered the studio
at two and were out by three: the whole
thing done in an hour - and it turned out
very well.
What do you think of the album now?
The Sound Of Fury was a real one-off in
every sense. Billy never did anything like
it again.


J
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T
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98 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
OUTTO ROCK!

ITS HEYDAY MAY HAVE BEEN 1956-63, BUT THE SPIRIT OF


ROCKNROLL IS ALIVE AND KICKING THANKS TO AUTHENTIC
CLUBS AND GIGS NATIONWIDE CELEBRATING THE SCENES
MUSIC AND DANCE. JULIE BURNS REPORTS ON THE MOST
ROCKING VENUES AND HOTTEST BANDS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN
BIRMINGHAM AND THE MIDLANDS

ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 99


THE CLUB
Colin Silcocks Rockin 50s Club, now
in its fourth decade, and held at least
monthly at the Ladywood Social Club
in Birmingham.
THE CONTENT
The record hops and gig nights cover all
styles of rocknroll. Plus an impressive
variety of class acts from true legends to
the best upcoming rocking bands on the
block. Recent acts include Crazy Cavan
and the Rhythm Rockers, The Keytones,
and Jesse James and the Outlaws. Over
at sister venue The Irish Centre, in
Digbeth, bigger shows take place, such
as the Rhythm & Booze Jamboree, which
recently featured The Polecats and Bill
Fadden and the Rhythm Busters. In
September, the second Jump n Jive
Jamborees planned, with King Pleasure
and the Biscuit Boys, Si Cranstoun and his
Band and The Hot Tin Roofs. From April,
a joint venture, the Moon Dawg Rock n
Roll Club, will premiere in and around
Kidderminster, featuring local bands.
ROCKING ROOTS
Starting out as DJ Moondog around 1972,
thereafter Jive Sounds and the Hep Beat
Record Show, Colin Silcocks soon moved
into gig promotion
By 1984, I was DJing at a lot of major
gigs around the country and organised my
rst All-Dayer in 1983 at Digbeth Civic
Hall, moving the following year to The
Powerhouse, where we put on three All-
Dayers featuring British acts. In 1985, I
teamed up with Bob Brookes from Bristol
to bring over our rst American act,
Sonny Burgess.
Not long before the gig, Bob was
tragically killed in a house re, so I
carried on solo. I also booked a then up-
and-coming London DJ, Tom Ingram,
to try to broaden the appeal. Later co-
founding the Hemsby weekender, Tom
went on to establish the Viva Las Vegas
weekender! Back in the mid-80s, there
were hardly any rocking weekenders
like there are now. Added to DJing and
organising local gigs, and compering at
major gigs round the country, I ran three
All-Dayers a year at The Powerhouse
and later, The Hummingbird. I also ran a
club in Derby, The Moon, in the mid-80s
to early 90s, which again showcased
some of the top UK and American acts.
Following a break in the late 90s, I
returned to DJing in 2006, and later to
promoting. I restarted the Rockin 50s
Club initially formed in the 80s to get
round the licensing restrictions!
GIG GREATS
Organising the rst ever UK gigs from
Johnny Powers, Ronny Dawson, Dale
Hawkins, Larry Donn, Joe Clay, Jimmy
and Ben Wages, as well as many others
including Ray Campi, Mac Curtis, Nappy
Brown, Bobby Day, Big Jay McNealy,
Charlie Gracie, Marvin Rainwater, Sid
and Billy King, Barbara Pittman, Eddie
Fontaine, Ben Hewitt and Jack Lee
Cochran as well as all the top UK acts of
the time.
TOP DANCEFLOOR FILLERS
Jivers: Real Rock Drive (Bill Haley and
his Comets); She Got Me Hypnotised
(Mario Bradley); Roof Is Coming Down
(Johnny Latore). Strollers: One More
Chance (Rock-a-Tones); Ambush (Marie
Dallas); Lucille (Little Richard). Boppers:
Stuttering Cindy (Charlie Feathers); Dont
Start Crying Now (Slim Harpo); Senior
Class (Mickey Lee Lane).
FAVOURITE LOCAL BANDS
As well as The Fireballs UK, The DelRay
Rockets, The Hayriders and The Inteli-
Gents, other great bands to look out for
right now include Straight Aces, Bravo
Boys, Ten Bob Millionaires, and Pip Pip
and the Swags.
CONTACT
For more information on upcoming
events, visit www.rfclub.co.uk, head
to the Rockin 50s Club group page on
Facebook, or contact Colin Silcocks
directly at colin@silcocks.freeserve.co.uk.

100 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11


THE FIREBALLS UK
THE LINE-UP Martin Smith (double
bass and lead vocals) played with
drummer Darren Brown in The Bluetones
from 1988-92. Guitarists Anthony and
Russell Smith are Martins sons. Martin
re-united with Darren in 2005 to form
The Fireballs UK. (To avoid confusion
with the still rocking American Fireballs).
INSPIRATIONS Johnny Kidd, Billy
Fury, early Cliff Richard, Vince Taylor,
Dickie Pride. Plus The Shadows, The
Cougars, The Dakotas, The Nu-Notes,
The Fentones, The Outlaws
ROCKING ROOTS We decided to
be different and go down the route of
British rocknroll, mainly from 1959-62.
We feature numbers from Johnny Kidd,
Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Dickie Pride,
Shane Fenton, Vince Taylor, etc, and
instrumentals from The Shadows, The
Cougars, The Dakotas, The Nu-Notes
THE SOUND True British rocknroll.
We play originals from the late 50s/early
60s with a punch, including a slapped
double bass normally more associated
with rockabilly, but giving us our own
slant on the British sound. Its been
said that some of our covers have more
power than the original recordings,
because we play them our way. British
rocknroll is very popular with the
Teddy Boys and Girls, and the band wear
late 50s style tailor-made drape suits.
DANCEFLOOR FILLERS Brand New
Cadillac (Vince Taylor); Its Gonna Take
Magic (Shane Fenton); Please Dont
Touch (Johnny Kidd); Gonna Type A
Letter (Billy Fury); Saturday Night At The
Duckpond (The Cougars).
GIG GREATS The Rockers Reunion,
Reading, Jan 2013; Wildest Cats
weekender, Pakeeld, for ve years
running; and some of the best rocknroll
clubs such as Birmingham, Crondall,
Roman Way Luton, Chestereld,
Rossington and Preston.
UPCOMING GIGS/INFO Summer
weekenders including Skegness
Stomp Weekender, July; Wildest
Cats Weekender, Pakeeld, July; Ted
Weekender, Blackpool, September.
CD Wild Streak a tribute to British
rocknroll (23 UK originals from 1958-
64, plus one self-penned number) and
instrumental 45 Cherokee War Dance,
both on Fury records.
SEQUEL CD Soon to follow, again
comprising all British rocknroll tracks
from circa 1959-62.
CONTACT Email Martin direct at
Martyvon66@aol.com
THE BESTBANDS ROUNDTOWN
Watch out for the best movers and shakers on the Midlands rocking scene, according to
DJ/promoter Colin Silcocks They may even be appearing at a venue near you soon.
THE INTELI-GENTS
THE LINE-UP The trio started out playing in different
rocking bands on the scene: vocalist/guitarist Zac Zdravkovic
was previously guitarist for British RocknRoll/swing type
outt The Jive Romeros, Alan O Donnell was lead singer/
double bassist in rockabilly/rocknrolls The Spitres, and
Mick Colley drummed for the rocknroll/doo-wop-type trio
the Debonaires. As well as playing in their own bands, the guys
enjoyed session gigs with other bands and met when all three
were backing on the same gig.
INSPIRATIONS Inuenced mostly by groups like The Five
Keys, The Crew Cuts, Four Aces, and even earlier hit vocal
groups such as The Mills Brothers.
ROCKING ROOTS With all our previous bands, we
performed a variety of 50s rockabilly/rocknroll though
our deep passion was for vocal harmony/doo-wop. We all got
together for a jam session just for fun, and decided to record
a few songs. We put to tape Oop
Shoop by the Crew Cuts, and that
same afternoon promoter Robert
Austin phoned regarding booking
a band that Zac used to play with.
We played the rough Inteli-gents
recording down the phone, and
that was the start of everything.
The gigs began snowballing, so
we had to learn enough songs
quickly! Initially, from a variety
of 50s doo-wop tunes, we
found our style of vocals better suited the
1940s/50s harmony bands, eg, The Crew
cuts, The Four Aces.
THE SOUND An inspired mix of
rocknroll and doo-wop, with some swing
and vocal harmony.
DANCEFLOOR FILLERS Their highly individual signature
tune is a jived up version of the old Stingray TV theme Aqua
Marina. Plus equally quirky and catchy dance versions of
Killin Jive, Gangbusters, and Cappuccina.
GIG GREATS We have played some great venues around
the UK and Europe, most especially Italys Summer Jamboree
in Senigallia, and the Moondogs festival. Also, some great
international gigs, which include Dortmond and Berlin. We
like to get about!
UPCOMING GIGS/INFO The band has so far released
two CDS on the Foottapping Records label. They are
currently working on a new album, which will contain many
self-penned songs. They are due to perform at Colin Silcocks
Rockin 50s Club, at Birminghams Ladywood Social Club
venue on July 26, as well as at the Hep Cats Holiday weekend
in July. You can also catch them if you happen to be over in
Denmark this June! The band has also featured as (tuxedo-
clad) guests with the Sticky Wickett Orchestra. Giving a big
band dimension to many of their song arrangements, further
gig collaborations are planned. Go to their Facebook page
for more: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Inteli-
Gents/181865651868613
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 101
THE DELRAY ROCKETS
THE LINE-UP The band was conceived following a
quirky conversation vocalist Gaz Le Bass had when playing
upright bass for another band. During a break in the show
an audience member was telling me how much he wanted to
play in a band again after giving it up when he damaged his
hand in an accident. I said how great rocknroll and rockabilly
would be if it had a new musical burst of energy, much like
what the Stray Cats did in the 80s, but with a tougher, harder,
more rocking edge to it. Oz and I ran through some songs, and
after several line-up changes (involving more drummers than
Spinal Tap) we arrived at what we have today. Thats Gaz Le
Bass, lead vocals and slap bass; Oz Osborne, backing vocal and
guitar; Duke Delite, backing vocals, drums and percussion.
INSPIRATIONS Lots, but denitely the roots of rockabilly,
rocknroll and blues fuel-injected and rocked up.
ROCKING ROOTS As a result of all their combined rocking
band experience, The Delray Rockets music has a strong 50s
inuence, but with a very modern style that reveals the basic
roots of the original sound.
THE SOUND Variously described as: Nitrous Oxide added to
a petrol engine; kick-ass, high-voltage music with a serious
attitude, and combining the strut of the Stray Cats, the
attitude of the Clash and twang of Duane Eddy. Expect killer
revamps, amid the Rockets self-penned originals.
DANCEFLOOR FILLERS A mix of all of that has inspired
us musically, from Vince Taylors Brand New Cadillac, Jackie
Brenstons Rocket 88, Junior Parkers Mystery Train to our
own songs: Rockabilly Fool, Deuces Wild, Some of What You
See and, getting lots of BBC airplay, Beer OClock Boogie.
Perhaps our biggest audience request is for our revamped take
on the Undertones punk anthem, Teenage Kicks.
GIG GREATS Weve played alongside The Polecats, Vincent
Flatts, The Red Lemons, Steve Gibbons, Bruce Foxtons The
Jam, The Beat, Dizzy Lizzy, and Barrence Whiteld and the
Savages. We also did the pre-tour party with Def Leppard, and
most recently did a couple of gigs with Robert Plant.
UPCOMING GIGS/INFO A packed schedule spanning mini
tours and festivals to larger venues, dancehalls, and even the
pub circuit. We feel the need to stick with pub gigs as much
as wanting to go on European tours, as this is the grass roots
of every band. We feel its important to keep our feet rmly
on the ground! You can nd more information on their
Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Del-Ray-
Rockets/107575532595610 or by going to their website at
www.thedelrayrockets.com
THE HAYRIDERS
THE LINE-UP Formed in 1981, they
were Neil Wright on lead vocals and
acoustic guitar, Rob Millichip on lead
guitar, Neil Freeman on drums, and, from
1987, Mark Davies on bass.
INSPIRATIONS Johhny Burnette, early
Elvis, Gene Vincent, Warren Smith, Joe
Clay, Bill Haley, The Jodimars, and Janis
Martin.
ROCKING ROOTS We honed our skills
by playing clubs, pubs, schools From
1987, with Mark, we changed our style
and name to The Hayriders. Our break
came when Colin Silcocks gave us a local
pub gig; then our rst big all-dayer at the
Powerhouse in Birmingham. In the 80s
we felt like the busiest band on the planet.
Then, in mid-ow, families happened and
we just stopped, for 21 years!
In 2011, I read a post on social media
that asked, What ever happened to The
Hayriders? That was the spur to reform,
and for a year or so we played a series of
warm-up gigs. When Rob left in 2013, it
was Colin Silcocks to the rescue again,
suggesting Darren Lince, and so we
acquired one of the best guitarists in the
country.
THE SOUND Snap, crackle and rock.
Experienced, energetic renditions
spanning rocknroll to western swing and
even hillbilly. Darren displays a number of
picking styles and some mean steel guitar,
bringing a fresh breath of zest.
DANCEFLOOR FILLERS Uptempo
covers and original material. Classics
from Gene Vincent and Johnny Burnette
to Rocking In The Graveyard by Jackie
Morningstar, revved to psychobilly
energy. Ultimate fan favourite: So Good
a self-penned bopper originally released
on ID records in the early 80s on The
James Dean of the Dole Queue album.
GIG GREATS Sharing the stage with
Mac Curtis, Eddie Bond, Janis Martin,
and Jackie Lee Cochran, in France and
the UK. We played in Europe as rockabilly
became massive.
UPCOMING GIGS/INFO A summer
CD is scheduled, ahead of festivals
from Americana to Hemsby in October
2014 and a special gig on September
7 in Morecambe at designer Wayne
Hemmingways vintage weekend. See
www.vintagefestival.co.uk/tickets/
the-vintage-festival for that. Also
see www.facebook.com/pages/The-
Hayriders/146380382095923
102 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
That'll Flat Git It! Vol. 25:
Rockabilly From The
Vaults Of Columbia
Records
VARIOUS
Bear Family
For the last few months we've
had Vol. 24 on repeat, now we
diligently replace it with its
equally addictive successor.
With delicious sides from The
Collins Kids (I'm In My
Teens), Sid King & the Five
Strings (Gonna Shake This
Shack Tonight), Marty Robbins
(Pretty Mama) as well as
Freddie Hart, Ronnie Self,
Lefty Frizell, two blinders
from a post-Sun Carl Perkins
and more, the Columbia stable
was brimming with talent.
Voodoo Voodoo
Feisty Fifties Females
VARIOUS
Fantastic Voyage
Fantastic Voyage's latest trio of
discs 90 tunes from 65 artists
curated by R&B and rock'n'roll
guru Dave Penny offers up a
tapestry of female R&B talent
from the '40s and '50s.
Highpoints include LaVern
Baker's feisty Pig Latin Blues,
Ruth Brown's foxy Sweet Baby
Of Mine and Smooth Operator,
and the agrant jazz stabs of
Kay Starr's Night Train. On to
Ella Johnson, Big Maybelle,
Peggy Lee, Lillian Briggs, Big
Mama Thornton and further
doses of blazing R&B from the
powerhouses that shook the
planet. Can't get enough!
The Very Best Of Billy Fury
BILLY FURY
One Day
Liverpool rocker Billy Fury
stands alone among his Brit
contemporaries thanks to
creative skills that few could
muster and that's without the
scream-inducing moves that
softened the knees of the
nation's nubiles. Here, One Day
handpick from a fertile crop:
Fury's own include wistful
debut Maybe Tomorrow,
rock'n'roll brilliance in Don't
Knock Upon My Door, gentle
rockabilly in It's You I Need and
harmonious balladry via Colette.
Debut LP The Sound Of Fury is
here in its entirety, as are
favourites Wondrous Place,
Don't Worry, Halfway To
Paradise and Jealousy.
Rhythm Sophie
BORN TO LIVE THE BLUES
Rockin' All Night Long
Hungarian R&B songstress
Rhythm Sophie harbours the
kind of irresistible sass that
can effortlessly re-invent
popular classics without a hint
of dog-eared repetition. I'm
Gonna Tell My Daddy is
smokey goodness that would
make Varetta Dillard proud,
Jim Dandy is given a crafty
and raucous remake, and
5-10-15 Hours has that rare
authenticity that winks
cheekily at the original
version. And don't let's forget
a six-strong band capable of
crafting the blustering
character needed to bring
home the goods.
Rhythm 'n' Blues By The
Bayou Rompin' &
Stompin'
VARIOUS
Ace
A second R&B package in the
By The Bayou series with 28
cuts 19 previously unissued
uncovered by Louisiana's
nest talent spotters. There
are too many favourites to
choose from, but if pushed
we'd hold up Tabby Thomas'
locomotive opener Teenagers
for its drive, Katie Wester &
Ashton Conroy's Baby Baby for
arrant fun, the blues rockin'
Flat Foot Sam from TV Slim,
Wonder Boy Travis' frenetic
She Went Thataway and Carol
Fran's docile yet mournful
ballad Tomorrow.
ROCKABILLY GALS, HOLY ROLLERS, STOMPIN'
R&B, SURF STRINGBENDERS, PSYCHOBILLY
VOODOO, BILLY FURY, CHUCK BERRY, VINCE
EAGER WE GIVE YOU THE LATEST MUSICAL
MISSIVES LIGHTING UP VINTAGE ROCK TOWERS

REVI EWS
Album
REVI EWS
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 103
Screaming Gospel
Holy Rollers Hop,
Skip And Jump
VARIOUS
Vee Tone
Two heavenly volumes in and
Vee Tone's Screaming Gospel
Holy Rollers run remains
wilder than ever for Mark
Lamarr's third effort. From
the opening strum of I Wanna
Be Ready, the hymnsheet is
joyful majesty, all in praise of
our maker. Ditch the stuffy
pews and yawn-inducing
sermons, this is one wholly
different place of worship
I Know The Lord, Hop Skip
And Jump, Make It In, I'll
Shout When I Get Home, Guide
Me. Pure, distilled emotion.
Lord have mercy!
Clash Of The Primitives:
The Grave Brothers vs.
Adios Pantalones
THE GRAVE BROTHERS/
ADIOS PANTALONES
Drunkabilly
Belgian bands The Grave
Brothers and Adios Pantalones
square up on this split record,
for a head-on sonic duel that
bristles with vim. In the blue
corner, members of various
top-drawer bands conjoin to
stir the Grave Bros' complex
stew, serving up instrumental
pump, a pinch of punk,
moonshine chants and voodoo
bluegrass. Opposite, trio Adios
Pantalones deliver breakneck
psychobilly, gruff-voiced and
intense. We'll leave it to you to
decide who comes out on top.
Chicago Bound Chess
Blues, R&B And
Rock'n'Roll
VARIOUS
Fantastic Voyage
R&B acionado Lois Wilson
elects the set for Fantastic
Voyage's Chess tribute and
these three CDs take in all
corners of the iconic label's
output. There's material from
afliates Checker, Argo and
Aristocrat here too. From
Willie Mabon, Bobby Saxton
and the superb Betty James
(Henry Lee is spellbinding)
through to the much-visited
showstoppers, Elmore James,
Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf,
Etta James, Bo Diddley, Chuck
Berry et al. Rosco Gordon's
slurry Booted is remarkable.
The Very Best Of Dion
DION
One Day
Dion DiMucci, the Bronx-bred
vocalist who fronted the
Belmonts, had air and a vocal
tone that matched the best of
his doo-wop comrades. This
40-strong, two CD collection
is vindication of his (and his
group's) talents. Most will be
well aware of the big-hitters
A Teenager In Love, The
Wanderer and Runaround Sue
but it's the blend of early
material, including I Wonder
Why and the less played songs
that esh out this set, that
we truly get to know Dion.
Silky, reverent stuff and well
worth further investigation if
you're new to the Belmonts.
This is Vinces second
release on Western Star
records, the rst being 788
Years of Rock'n'Roll. This
new CD utilises, in the main,
a band put together by label boss Alan Wilson, featuring
himself on lead guitar, Steve Whitehouse on slap bass and
Ben Turner on drums. Some of Vinces early recordings
featured covers of rockabilly originals from Carl Perkins and
Gene Vincent, so this is a welcome return to those halcyon
days of the '50s when Vince was a regular on The Six-Five
Special, Oh Boy! and Drumbeat.
The title track, written by Vince and Alan Wilson, harks
back to the days when he appeared at the 2Is coffee bar,
though the story has been changed to include prehistoric
characters Dont Tell Me Your Troubles is a Don Gibson song
covered in the UK by Emile Ford. Vinces version stays close
to the original with Alan following the guitar patterns of
Chet Atkins and Ray Edenton. Tommy Sands Blue Ribbon
Baby was featured by Vince on Oh Boy! and on the LP of the
same name. This leads into a new cover of Tommys The
Worrying Kind you cant help wondering, had he covered it
at the time, he might have had the hit he so deserved. The
same could be said for his version of Charlie Richs Im
Coming Home, which Carl Mann cut in Memphis for Phillips
International. My Adobe Hacienda is a great version of Billy
Williams and The Pecos River Rogues RCA Victor US chart
hit. Conway Twitty recorded it in 1959 and Hank Snow
recorded it in 1962 with Anita Carter. So, it's tting that
Vince follows this with Hanks Im Movin On. Vince revisits
Carl Perkins' Lend Me Your Comb with more of a rockabilly
feel than on his original Decca recording. Written by Buck
Peddy and Mel Tillis, Lonely Island Pearl was an original 1958
RCA cut for Johnny & Jack, covered in the UK in 1962 by
Vinces Larry Parnes stable-mate Joe Brown.
Vince became friends with Eddie Cochran during the
ill-fated 1960 tour with Gene Vincent. Eddie played Vince
Three Steps to Heaven on a car journey but did not live to see
it climb the charts. Vince has performed it as a tribute to
Eddie on many occasions but here we have his version of an
earlier cut by the
Cochran Brothers.
Peanuts Wilsons Cast
Iron Arm rocks along
just like the original and
is another which could
have been popular had it
been made available to
Vince at the time. The
CD nishes with Vince
winding his larynx
around Huelyn Duvalls
Modern Romance
written by Danny Wolfe.
An imaginative closer.
Steve Aynsley
Rockabilly
Dinosaur
VINCE EAGER
Western Star
104 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Robert Gordon
With Link Wray
ROBERT GORDON/LINK WRAY
Bear Family
One handsome cat, one
magnicent wardrobe and a
talent that drew axe-demon
Link Wray towards him like
he was some kind of
neo-rockabilly electro-
magnet, Robert Gordon
presented, with his debut
LP, a newfangled rockabilly
that sneered at nostalgia.
Bear Family reignite that
Private Stock LP. Opener
Billy 'The Kid' Emerson's
Red Hot (later cut by Billy
Lee Riley and Billy Luman)
kicked off Gordon's career
in primal style. Uptempo
thrills continue with a hefty
takeover of Ray Scott's
Flyin' Saucers Rock & Roll
(also cut by Riley), a
fresh-faced remake of
Boppin' the Blues and
Summertime Blues taken to
new and gripping territory.
Throughout, Wray offers
stuttered solos, squealing
licks and a vibe that's hard
to pinpoint, other than to
say, it's his
Gordon's oaked baritone
takes on tender hues for I
Sure Miss You, with Link's
shimmering backing and the
rolling Sweet Surrender that
deals out a good time feel
while simultaneously
drawing a tear. Three Wray
numbers are readdressed to
close the LP perfectly and
bonus track, a take on Jody
Reynold's hit Endless Sleep,
is a treat.
ALBUM REVIEWS
Real Raw Rockabilly
VARIOUS
Not Now
One for those who need a
doorway into the world of
rockabilly, or who want a
clutch of great tunes in one
place. (Well, two places) Disc
one features tunes from the
masters, including Vince
Taylor, Johnny Burnette, Carl
Perkins, Warren Smith, Elvis,
Charlie Feathers, Gene
Vincent and, our fave, Joyce
Green's one pure gold hit
Black Cadillac. On to the
second for more perennial
tunesmithery including Mac
Curtis, Don Woody, Billy Lee
Riley, Art Adams, and Peanuts
Wilson amongst many others.
No ller here, just top drawer
material that all should hear.
The Search For Surf
VARIOUS
Cherry Red
Now we're cooking. Break up
the daily grind with these 26
tube-ridin' surf gems from
master-of-the-art Dick Dale
(and the Del-Tones) through
to The Tornadoes' irresistible
clamour. Smouldering
melodies from an array of
axesmiths make up a large
part of this coast-to-coast
instrumental tribute to the
mighty wave. Dale's Shake-n-
Stomp is a crashing cut,
Misirlou needs no
introduction. The Bel Airs add
a Spanish air in Mr. Moto, we
love The Teenbeat's Califf
Boogie, and Rhet Stoller's
towering one-time surf cut,
Chariot, is nicely formed too.
Burned!
THE RAL DONNER ANTHOLOGY
GVC
Tarred with the Elvis-
soundalike brush as he was,
Donner carved out a lucrative
path nonetheless. While those
comparisons are inevitable on
swoony debut Girl Of My Best
Friend and follow ups You
Don't Know What You Got and
Please Don't Go, voice aside,
Donner's singles all here on
disc one had a delicate air
all their own and one need
only look to the title track for
proof. The partner disc
explores album tracks, stereo
cuts and collector's rarities, all
worthy bedfellows that cover a
satisfyingly wide plain, and in
many ways outshine the hits.
Johnny Rocks
JOHNNY BURNETTE
Bear Family
It's Johnny Burnette's turn to
get Bear Family's 'Rocks' series
treatment a choice jukebox
of tunes from right across his
innings, complete with its
usual quality of booklet that
lays out biography and
discography, accompanied
with images that most will not
have seen. The real magic here
is in the 11 early super-rare
demos recorded with older
brother Dorsey. And it's
illuminating to see the slow
evolution from there, through
the original rockin' 'Trio sides
up to the commercial, poppier
solo outings later on. Another
gem in the BF catalogue.
Last One Before
Snufn' Out???
THE SWAMPY'S
Drunkabilly
Announcing themselves as
'Belgian Oldschool
Psychobilly', The Swampy's
arrived in the late '80s with a
crawling, intense noise that
possesses your feet and busts
your ear drums open it's a
little unsettling to the mind
too They split just as quickly,
but in 2009 were back. This,
their second LP, is inhabited
by gruesome cuts like Born In
'65, Valley Of The Dead and
Anthony Starck. Frantic,
addictive rhythms meet
thumping bass and a low-end
vocal sneer that slyly wraps
itself around your being.
One Dozen Berrys
CHUCK BERRY
Easy Action
Easy Action revive Berry's
priceless sophomore delivery,
One Dozen Berrys in grand
style here remastered and
with handsome new
packaging. When this landed
in 1958 Chuck was on re
Johnny. B. Goode was on the
up and Sweet Little Sixteen had
just dropped and this
enabled further skyward
motion. Singles and EP tracks
mingle with new material, all
recorded during four studio
sessions with a top team of
iconic Chess session stars. Oh
Baby Doll, Reelin' & Rockin',
Rock & Roll Music all seminal
stuff. Essential listening.
ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 105
Rockabilly Queen
WANDA JACKSON
Easy Action
A perfect tribute to this
issue's cover star can be
found with Easy Action's
immense new collection,
Wanda Jackson Rockabilly
Queen. Faultless rockabilly
mainstays like Hard Headed
Woman, Fujiyama Mama
and Hot Dog! That Made
Him Mad came when her
then-boyfriend Elvis
Presley fanned the ames
for an exit from the country
world she had previously
inhabited. And thankfully
so They all leap from the
speakers with unappable
condence and an oh-so-
slick- delivery.
Here, those uptempo
favourites brush shoulders
with Wanda's offbeat
moments nicely. Take 1961's
Funnel Of Love a
backdrop of exotic
splendour lifts Wanda's
tone to serene heights:
wholly irreplaceable. Then
there's the ceaseless tempo-
shifts of I Gotta Know as
daring as they are enticing.
That gravel-voiced roar
displayed in raucous romps
like Riot in Cell Block
Number 9, Baby Loves Him,
Honey Bop and the
twanging class of Tongue
Tied or simplistic straight
up fun in Let's Have A
Party. Then deeper still into
the muted orchestrations of
Did You Miss Me sublime.
18 tracks could never do
justice to Wanda, but this
comes close.
One
TALL BOYS
Drunkabilly
Two original members of cult
psychobilly outt The Meteors
double bassist Nigel Lewis
and tub-thumper Mark
Robertson reconvened as
Tall Boys in the '80s with
Nigel taking on vocal duties.
Though shortlived, the band
regrouped for One, 14 eerie
cuts that take in raw-edged
punk, psychobilly avours and
darker rock'n'roll. Fan
favourite This Bird Will Fly
circles around a devilish guitar
hook, I Feel drags us in via
Lewis' sneered murmurs,
River Of Fire has a tremolo-
fronted veneer and I Come
From Another Planet Baby stirs
up all kinds of excitation.
Super Rare Rockabilly
VARIOUS
One Day
A whopping 75 tracks here,
and much of it will be a
revelation if you haven't yet
heard the likes of Derrell Felts,
Frank Triolo, Glen Glenn, Joe
Poovey, and the cast of
lesser-known cats that star on
this stonking three-disc set.
Solid throughout with so
many gems to enjoy Jay
Gallagher's Crazy Legs, Walt
Benton's Do It Again, Jimmie
Dale's Baby Doll, Moon
Mullins' Bip Bop Boom, Jimmy
Stayton's Hot Hot Mama and
Art Adams' Dancing Doll are
all a ne place to start. We
advise a long afternoon
undisturbed to fully indulge in
the magic.
After School Session
CHUCK BERRY
Easy Action
Chuck Berry was already
adored when Chess dropped
his debut album in 1957,
thanks to the singles culture of
the day (and a helping hand
from Alan Freed), but put
together, Berry's 45s and
more make an unstoppable
playlist. Both originally
B-sides, Wee Wee Hours and
Together (We Will Always Be)
oat our boat and the
timeworn classics still make
our hair stand on end Roll
Over Beethoven, Too Much
Monkey Business, Brown Eyed
Handsome Man and School
Days. This is a vital album to
have in your collection if you
don't already.
Jump Blues Jamaica Way
VARIOUS
Fantastic Voyage
This trio of CDs houses 84 US
jump and shufe blues tracks,
sides that kept Jamaica on its
feet for some time. Fantastic
Voyage called upon Phil Etgart
to do the choosing all
Jamaican sound system
favourites from the '40s and
'50s. Divided chronologically,
these sets were as inuential
as they were startling Joe
Liggins, Louis Jordan, Ruth
Brown, The Drifters, Clarence
'Gatemouth' Brown, Fats
Domino, Johnny Ace, The
Penguins, Rosco Gordon,
Louis Prima Too many for
favourites sufce it to say, we
could spend a week down
Jamaica way.
Lipstick, Powder & Paint
VARIOUS
Fantastic Voyage
Here come the girls, with 90
pop nuggets that cover the girl
groups and soloists who
squared up to the boys for hit
parade glory plus a welcome
handful of R&B and country.
From the novelty fun that
kicks off disc one Bonnie
Lou's Tennessee Wig Walk and
Ruby Wright's Bimbo there's
plenty for the sweet tooth
from The Fontaine Sisters,
Alma Cogan and Connie
Francis through to The
Bobettes, but with snippets of
jazzy schmooze, R&B clout
and a splash of rock'n'roll. A
rounded listen that takes in all
the big names.
Wild Moon
JD WILKES & THE DIRT DAUBERS
Plowboy
Although perhaps an odd t
for Vintage Rock, Wild Moon is
a strangely beguiling (and
really rather good) record. It's
a departure from the acoustic
stylings of previous outings
too. Mouth organs squeal out
vibesome lines alongside neat
piano licks and an all-round
great drum feel, all happily
spilling over a rootsy, bluesy
rock'n'roll created by loose-
hung yet measured riffery
from guitarist Rod Hadallah.
Vocal duties are shared
between J.D. and his wife
Jessica, both providing a ne
focus amidst the ruckus. Well
worth further investigation.

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Buddy Britten
Eva provided some sizzling
burlesque
The Rapiers do their thing
108 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Sleepy LaBeef
Mambo Jambo
Mike Sanchez rst of the
big hitters
B
ritain was ooded, the USA
was learning about the Polar
Vortex, and in Japan there was
the worst snow seen in 50 years.
Meanwhile, in southern Spain, the
sun screens were out as Malaga
readied itself for the 20th annual
Rockin Race Jamboree rocknroll festival,
the rst fest in the summer calendar, if the
weather was anything to go by.
The big temperature numbers were
matched by big names, as headliners Young
Jessie, Kim Lenz, Sleepy LaBeef, Barrence
Whiteld, Eddie Angel and Los Straitjackets
jetted in from America; Mike Sanchez, The
Rapiers, and Rollin Records Southern
Sound came in from the UK, and almost
every European country, including Russia,
sent bands that proved the Big Beat has
penetrated every corner of the planet.
After a Wednesday night warm-up, the
rst major act on Thursday was Mike
Sanchez, looking good in a white jacket and
black shirt at the piano, with a full sound
propelled by twin saxes. Mikes versatility
means he can seduce with Amos Milburn
tones or outscream Little Richard when he
needs to, and he opened with Red Hot
Mama, which somehow turned into Papa
Oom Mow Mow before moving into Johnny
Guitar Watsons Highway 60, long a
standard of his act.
By now mopping his glistening brow with
a towel, it was time for Fats Dominos Im
Ready with a piano solo Fats would not
recognise, staying in New Orleans for John
Freds Shirley, boasting both a spoken intro
and a falsetto riff. Response from the
audience had Mike smiling as he worked his
way through more roots rockers from Will
Bradleys Down The Road A Piece to Have
Mercy, Miss Percy.
He nished his ofcial set with Blue Boy, a
Jim Reeves country song turned into a
lightly rolling blues, then it was back for two
encores, including Chuck Berrys Almost
Grown from his recently reissued CD with
Imelda May. Some said the vast, circular
Palacio had less atmosphere than the moon
but Mike transformed it into a bona de
rocknroll club.
The rst of Fridays headliners, Southern
Sound, were minus lead singer Keith
Turner, but coped nonetheless with a hard
rocking set that included crowd pleasers like
Tiger Man and Bo Diddleys Bring It To
Jerome. It was left to the next act, Spains
own Los Mambo Jambo to set the place are
with an all-instrumental set that suggested
inuences from Big Jay McNeely and Joe
Houston to Johnny and the Hurricanes and
The Champs. Fronted by saxman Dani
Nel-lo, they didnt stop moving on stage, and
that included Ivan Kovacevic, who was
swinging his black and white double bass
around like it was a ukelele. Visual,
inventive, they stormed the place.
Britains The Rapiers, perfectly
professional with Shadows-style high kicks,
looked positively staid compared to their
predecessors as they worked through
beat-group versions of UK originals and
THE SUMMER SEASON STARTS EARLY IN MALAGA. JOHN HOWARD
HEADED DOWN TO ANDALUSIA FOR THE FIRST BIG EVENT OF 2014
ROCKIN RACE
108 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
Chris Andrews
Masked Crusaders
Los Straitjackets take
to the stage

Young Jessie
Barrence Whit eld
covers, clearly as keen on Johnny Kidd and
the Pirates and Screaming Lord Sutch as
they are on The Shads. Please Dont Touch,
Dr Feelgood, Im A Hog For You and Move It
Baby were well received, and the autograph
table turned into a real scrum as fans tried
to reach them after their set.
The whole event is organised and
sponsored by Sleazy Records so its
surprising more offerings from the label are
not spun by the many DJs who appear.
However, the Malaga based company took
the opportunity to showcase some of their
up and coming acts in a fast moving
45-minute slot which may have featured
some future stars. Who knows?
Los Straitjackets, wearing their trademark
Mexican wrestlers masks, obviously felt
their mainly instrumental set might not be
enough (they are wrong, incidentally), so
leavened the mixture with vocals by Kaiser
George, a considerable twister in the
dancing sense, and a breathtaking, well
rehearsed and totally compelling burlesque
set by a dancer introduced only as Eva.
Saturday seemed on paper the strongest
night, with four American headliners. First
up was Kim Lenz, the Texas-born guitar
strumming redhead who always teams a
wide skirt with cowboy boots. She wrestled
a little with the sound system but, backed by
the Spanish Jaguars, aka Mambo Jambo,
won out with a balanced set which featured
new tracks from her latest Rhino label CD
like Jump And Fall and Follow Me with more
established standards like Ray Smiths You
Made a Hit. She was followed by man-
mountain Sleepy LaBeef, known as the
Human Jukebox because of his vast
repertoire and habit of turning his act into
one long medley. On this occasion many of
the songs were stand-alone, and from the
opening Boogie Woogie Country Girl into
Whole Lotta Shaking Goin On it was obvious
the man from Smackover, Arkansas, was
here to rock. Brief numbers and swift
change-overs mean you get a lot more
material in a set from Sleepy, and most was
familiar. Blanket On The Ground was a bit of
a surprise, but led well into Me And Bobby
McGee, and his big baritone voice did justice
to Will The Circle Be Unbroken. A nicely
chosen encore was the wordy but wise
Dorsey Burnette song Tall Oak Tree.
Looking cool in a blue jacket and hat,
Young Jessie hit the mark with opener 24
Hours A Day, continuing with Big Mama
Thorntons I Smell A Rat and his own It
Dont Happen No More. A veteran of The
Flairs, The Coasters and other groups, with
solo records on a wealth of labels over a
50-year period, its great to catch another of
his infrequent appearances in Europe.
His successor in every sense is Barrence
Whiteld, looking slim, t and lively, this
Boston native was ready to rock and did so
in a manic set that reached 100mph and
continued accelerating. He went back to his
earliest recordings for Bip Bop Bip, Bloody
Mary, Big Mamou, Mad House and King
Kong, turning, spinning and bouncing about
the stage like a young un. Hard to believe he
is looking at turning 60.
The highlight on Sunday was an
appearance by Straitjackets guitarist Eddie
Angel with Germanys Smokestack
Lightning, who have proved their mastery of
edgy rocking blues on a series of CDs. The
two acts have combined for a recently
completed CD cut in Nashville. Amazingly,
Eddie retains his wrestlers mask for solo
appearances, wearing a jacket emblazened
with his name. He started off gently but
gradually unleashed what is one of the best
guitar sounds in the rocking world and
when he gave us Rampage from his days
with the Planet Rockers, the crowd erupted.
There were dozens more rocking bands
both in and around the festival playing with
varying degrees of skill but none lacking in
enthusiasm. The Intruders got the nod from
those who caught their late night set, and
TT Syndicate, certainly the late, late show
on their evening, went down well. Russias
The Hi-Tones managed to mix the
instrumental of Brand New Cadillac with the
lyrics of Whole Lotta Shaking to imaginative
effect in their fest-opening set at the
alternative venue for shows, the Buensol
Hotel. And at the same venue, Drugstore
Cowboys were well received.
The highlight for those remaining on the
Monday was Mike Sanchez 50th birthday
party, his performance watched intently by
his two-year-old son Louis Ray. It was billed
as a solo performance, but he was soon
joined by saxman Dani Nel-lo and bassist
Ivan Kovacevik from Mambo Jambo, and
singer Barrence Whiteld, who had caught
most of the performances in each of the
venues and was having a whale of a time.
As, indeed, were all of us. A great series of
shows all round, with great weather to enjoy
it all in.

ISSUE 11 VINTAGE ROCK 109


Kim Lenz
Sleepy LaBeef

T
he threat my manager
Larry Parnes had made
a few weeks earlier
regarding my being
nished in the business
appeared to have faded into insignicance
as I found myself back doing concerts,
recording and television. I would also
accompany Billy Fury to photoshoots and
meetings and when we werent doing
that we would hang out in coffee bars and
clubs in Londons West End. When we
couldnt afford a taxi or a tube, we would
borrow Larrys pink and grey Vauxhall
Cresta plus a couple of quid from his
money clip, neither of which he was
aware of!
Murrays Cabaret Club off Great
Marlborough Street W1 was a haunt of
Larrys business partner John Kennedy.
John was a handsome, hot-blooded
heterosexual Fleet Street journalist, and
access to his address book would have
kept any rampant rocknrollers desires
fullled for the rest of their natural lives!
John would take me out occasionally, and
it was usually Murrays. Full of charm,
his entrance would be greeted by a
welcoming smile from the concierge and
a twinkle in the eye from the ladies sat
at the bar, many of whom Im sure had
experienced the pleasure of his company
and what he had to offer at his luxury
Curzon Street home in Mayfair.
Unfortunately Billys budget and mine
wouldnt cover the concierge tip, let alone
ply ladies with their favourite tipple.
There was however a much cheaper
alternative, The Freight Train Coffee
Bar. Owned by hit-making skifer Chas
McDevitt, it was only a stones throw
from Murrays and was where the ladies
who werent otherwise engaged in extra
nocturnal activities with their customers,
would drop in for a caffeine nightcap. The
girls were very generous to us, always
plying us with coffee or Coca Cola if we
were skint, which was more often than
not. It was also perfect for us to swell the
contacts in our address books and when
we werent performing Sunday concerts
Billy and I would often invite girls round
to the penthouse.
Both Billy and I hated the Larrys
Boys tag and did everything we could
to show that we were healthy, active
heterosexuals. Hence our Sunday
parties! In fairness, it must have been
the only time Larrys bedroom got to see
heterosexual action.
As Larry, nor Billy nor I drank, there
was very little booze in the penthouse,
but a few of the girls would bring a
bottle along with pills known as poppers,
plus inhalants they had obtained from
American businessmen who visited the
Murrays. With Viagra not yet having
been invented, some of their clients
would arrive from the States with
bottles or poppers that they would sniff
before trying it on. It was some form of
aphrodisiac and it did work. Although
we didnt need it the girls insisted we try
it, and it certainly gave us an edge in the
longevity department.
Two of the girls who graced us
with their presence at the penthouse
on separate occasions, and who both
later went on to achieve international
notoriety, were Christine Keeler and
Mandy Rice Davies. We hadnt seen
them at Murrays or the Freight Train,
but we soon discovered Christine was
a stripper of sorts when she gave us
an impromptu performance. Mandy
came to the apartment at a later date
with a drummer friend but wasnt as
entertaining as Christine had been. It
was a few years later during the Profumo
scandal that one of Larrys former road
managers reminded me of their visits to
the apartment.
If we didnt strike lucky at the Freight
Train Coffee Bar, we would head for
Southend, where we knew we would
strike lucky at the American ten-pin
bowling alley on the pier. Bowling alleys
were opening up and proving popular all
over the country. Being one of the biggest,
Southends was open 24 hours a day and
had a breakfast special. If you booked a
certain number of games you got a free
110 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
A Life in
RocknRoll
IN HIS OWN WORDS: VINCE EAGER
P
i
c
t
u
r
e

:

G
r
a
h
a
m

F
o
w
e
l
l
breakfast. It was perfect. Have a bowl and
breakfast and head back to Knightsbridge,
where we would sleep until late
afternoon. We became such regulars
that when word got out we were there,
people would drop by on their way to
work and ask us for our autographs. The
manager was very appreciative of this and
thanked us by making all our bowling and
breakfasts complimentary.
Having heard Billy sing Maybe
Tomorrow in Martys and my dressing
room at the Birkenhead Essoldo a few
weeks earlier, it came as no surprise
when we heard the recorded version.
Larrys PA, and my surrogate mother,
Muriel, played it in the ofce and it had
hit written all over it. It was brilliant. So I
couldnt believe what happened next and
left me absolutely gobsmacked.
Certain members of Larrys staff were
given lists of record shops and money,
and told to visit the locations on the lists,
and buy copies of Halfway To Paradise.
These were the listed shops of the Record
Retailer, which determined hit parade
standings. If a sufcient number of
records were purchased, but not too many
to raise concerns, it would ensure that
the record would at least gain chart entry
and subsequently make life easier for the
record pluggers whose aim it was to get
their records on to the A-list for air plays.
The success of Halfway to Paradise
saw Billy settle down in his personal life
and concentrate more on the job in hand
of television, concerts, promoting and
writing songs. We both calmed down
somewhat with our partying and took
on steady girlfriends, but it was a long
distance relationship of Billys that had its
ups and downs in more ways than one.
Hilary had made her way into Billys
life by listening into our phone calls via
the Peterborough telephone exchange
when she eavesdropped on us arranging a
Sunday party and decided to invite herself
and her friend Margaret. It was a case
A Life in
RocknRoll
IN OUR NEXT EXTRACT FROM HIS BOOK CHRONICLING
HIS ROCKNROLL YEARS, VINCE EAGER TALKS ABOUT
EVENINGS SPENT AT SOHOS INFAMOUS MURRAYS
CABARET CLUB AND OTHER NIGHTS TRAWLING THE
TRANSPORT CAFFS ALONG BRITAINS HIGHWAYS
The success
of Halfway to
Paradise saw
Billy settle
down in his
personal
life and
concentrate
more on the
job in hand
VINCE EAGER
of pretty much any lady who rang the
doorbell being allowed in so getting into
the party wasnt difcult, and as Hilary
soon discovered, getting into Billys
affections wasnt so difcult either.
Hilary would then meet Billy at shows,
or come down to London for a weekend,
and it was on one such occasion when
Hilary missed her last train back to
Peterborough that Billy faced a dilemma.
Billy had met, and got on very well
with Hilarys mother, but he knew she
wouldnt be too happy if Hilary didnt
make it to work on Monday morning, so a
drastic situation demanded drastic action.
Billy and I had used Larrys car on
many occasions to go to the West End
without his knowledge, so why not now?
Larry was away in Switzerland for a few
days and his pink Vauxhall Cresta car
was parked in its usual place in Queens
Gate. The car keys were on Larrys
dressing table so Billy, who had now
learned how to drive, but still only had
a provisional licence, grabbed the
keys, grabbed Hilary, and headed
for Peterborough.
What happened next, according
to Billy, was that he had a puncture
on the A1 and discovered that
he had no spare tyre. As it was
3am and they were miles from
anywhere, they decided to walk.
After a short while they came
across a small garage, which,
of course, was closed. But
there was a cottage on the land
adjoining the lling station, so
Billy decided to try and wake the
occupants by throwing pebbles
at the window.
Apparently it didnt take long
before the window opened and
a gruff male voice shouted out,
What the f**k do you want?
Billy, in the most polite and
calming tone he could muster,
explained what had happened
Billy Fury and Vince Eager cooking
up some breakfast

Christine Keeler
at Murrays
would have to put in a new inner tube as
soon as possible.
A week later Billy and I were
confronted by a steaming Larry, who was
furious at having had a at tyre whilst
cruising in Leicester Square at midnight
and then nding out that it had only
recently been xed. On occasions Larry
would loan the car to friends he had
met while he was out cruising around the
West End, so maybe even he thought it
was ironic that it should happen whilst
looking for new friends. Billy and I never
said a word.
Billys new found fame with Maybe
Tomorrow, which led to many things,
including one Patience, a new companion.
Whereas Hilary had been a very bubbly,
outgoing, anything goes type of girl,
Patience lived up to her name. She
was homely, quiet, never in a rush, and
possessed a very similar temperament
to Billy. She also hated going to shows
outside London.
Greasy spoon style all night transport
cafs were the lifeblood of late night
travellers. There were no fancy names or
giveaways to encourage custom. Just the
and asked the gentleman if he knew
where they could get help.
Hilary then chipped in and shouted
up to the grumpy man, Hes Billy Fury,
the singer!
Youre Billy Fury? What you doin out
ere at this time o night?
Were driving to Peterborough and
weve got a puncture, replied Billy.
How do I know youre Billy Fury? Sing
me a song! He demanded.
Billy sang, Rise in the morning, youre
not around etc, singing the rst few lines
of his hit Maybe Tomorrow neither
Billy, Hilary, nor the man at the window
appeared to realise how appropriate the
lyrics were.
The man then interrupted Billys
serenading, telling him he sounded
like Billy Fury and that he would come
down. Once he was standing next to Billy,
and realised it was him, his demeanour
changed and he was joined by his wife,
who offered Hilary a cup of tea while
Billy and his newfound fan set off to x
the puncture. After glueing a patch on the
inner tube, the man told Billy that it was
only a temporary measure and that he
112 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
IN HIS OWN WORDS: VINCE EAGER
unhealthiest food money could buy. It
was a cholesterol kicking combination of
fried eggs, fried bacon and fried bread, all
dripping in fat and swilled down by a mug
of heavily sugared tea. Yes, this was the
basic diet of those who found themselves
on the Queens highways and byways
between the hours of midnight and 7am.
For a transport caf to achieve ve-star
status, an essential item of furniture was
a jukebox. The chances were that some
of us who were travelling to and from
shows would have a record out and more
than likely featured on the cafs jukebox.
If it was, we would get a big kick out of
hearing it played, especially if chosen by
a burly grease-laden lorry driver addicted
to transport caf fry-ups, and not a weak-
kneed teeny bopper. Tonys Caf on the
A1, south of my hometown of Grantham,
was certainly worthy of ve stars, and it
was one of the most popular, and it was
one my roadie Noel and I would frequent
when visiting my parents.
During one early morning return
journey to London from the north, Billy
Fury, Tommy Bruce, The Viscounts, yours
truly, roadie Noel and our musicians
made our mandatory visit to Tonys Caf.
It was 1am and as busy as usual as heads
turned to greet us. We were well known
to most transport drivers, and even on
Christian name terms with some, so we
always felt at ease.
As we stood in line, Tommy Bruce
became impatient and mumbled in his
inimitable gravely voice, Cmon darlin
Tom Toms gonna waste away. It was at
this point that Billy, who was just ahead
of Tommy in the queue, turned, and
giggling said, Just remember Tommy,
Patience is a virgin, and continued
giggling. Tommys retort was, You mean
patience is a virtue, Bill. No, she really
is a virgin Tom, replied Billy, who was
by now laughing his head off. Very few
people knew that Billy was dating a girl
named Patience.
Coaches, theatre dressing rooms and
hotels became second homes to all of
us who were on Larrys books, but Billy
and I made hay while the sun shone as
we turned Larrys penthouse from a
knocking shop into a toyshop!
Vinces book Vince Eagers RocknRoll
Files is available at www.vinceeager.
co.uk and all leading bookshops
Illustration by Graham Fowell.
www.caricaturesandcartoons.co.uk
Murrays Cabaret
Club was situated
on Beak Street
For a transport caf to achieve
ve-star status, an essential item
of furniture was a jukebox
VINCE EAGER
WANDA JACKSON AND CHUCK BERRY
VINYL TEST PRESSINGS UP FOR GRABS!
Competition
First up, six extremely lucky readers
can bag one of six exclusive white label
vinyl test pressings of the upcoming Easy
Action Wanda Jackson Rockabilly Queen
album, which features the very best of her
output, all expertly remastered for your
listening pleasure. Heres the question
What is Wanda Jacksons middle
name?
Next up, a chance to win one of six
exclusive vinyl test pressings of Easy
Actions reissue of Chuck Berrys
seismic 1957 debut After School Sessions,
remastered, and complete with the
original artwork. Simply answer the
following question
On what label did Berry release his
rst album?
Lastly, we are also offering the chance to
win one of six exclusive white label vinyl
test pressings of Easy Actions reissue of
Chuck Berrys second record One Dozen
Berrys, rst released in 1958, now lovingly
repackaged and remastered. Answer this
question to be in with a chance
In which year was One Dozen Berrys
rst released?
The rockin team over at Easy Action Records have offered up some ne swag for us to give away in this issue of
Vintage Rock. To be in with a chance of winning, visit www.vintagerockmag.com/competitions, click on the relevant
question and ll in your answer and email. Please indicate if youd prefer not to be contacted by Anthem Publishing and
selected third parties with marketing and related offers. Closing date: 19 June 2014. Editors decision is nal. Good luck!


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114 VINTAGE ROCK ISSUE 11
CHUCK BERRY VISITS LEONARD CHESS
The year is 1958 and here Berry pays a visit to the home of label boss Leonard
Chess of Chess Records. Three years earlier Berry had rush recorded a demo for
Chess, Ida Red became Maybellene named after the cosmetics company and
a rocknroll legend was born. Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B. Goode, Sweet
Little Sixteen, Rock And Roll Music, Memphis, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, School
Days Berrys tenure at Chess was a fertile one.
Coda
Coda