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The London Rockabillies.

Thanks to Mark Pettifer for getting me into the Ted scene in 1981.
Thanks to Iain Havlin for getting me into the Rockabilly scene in 1984.

Rockabilly Underground
London 1980s
William Jones

Rockabilly Underground - London 1980s

First Edition
Published by SK Media Group, UK. Printed by LSI UK
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright 2007 William Jones
All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or
otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers and/or author
Manufactured in the United Kingdom
Table of Contents:
Teddy Boy Boogie
In Heaven
Tom Ingram
The Wild Wax Show
Fifties Flash
Boogie Del
Chris Bey
Warehouse Parties/Weekenders
Sunday, the third of November 1985
Ray Campi Interview
Future Of Rockabilly?
Johnny Powers
Interview with Mac Curtis
Wanda Feathers
Top 10s
Celebrity Rockabilly Fans
Really Rockabilly?
The End?
What Am I?
Thank You
Essential Listening

Rockabilly is a primitive form of music which emerged from the segregated deep south of the 1950s.
Exponents of an early form of country music called Hillbilly borrowed some Rhythm and Blues from
their segregated neighbours and 'Rockabilly' was born. The driving rhythm and gutsiness from the
Rhythm and Blues mixed with the melody of Hillbilly created a high Octane music called 'Rockabilly'.
The best known exponent of this music was Elvis Presley. His sessions recorded at Sam Phillips Sun
Studios in Memphis Tennessee between 1954 and 1955 are considered classic recordings.
Other people had touched on the Rockabilly formula, but Elvis perfected it. Elvis also gave us the
clothes, the hair, the attitude and singing style. Elvis would become a 20th Century icon, a pop
superstar and a movie star. Elvis would become a bloated drug addict and die long before his time.
But to Rockabillies worldwide, he was the guy that sang 'Good Rockin Tonight'. 'Teddy Bear' Elvis
did not exist for us.
Strangely, it would be Elvis's many imitators who would become our idols in the 1980s.
The music we listened to was obscure. It would be unearthed by some industrious party and re-
released for our / their benefit. We called these records 'repros' (reproductions).
Many a star would be born as a result of these repros. Men in their forties who held down day jobs
and could barely remember making records in the fifties would soon be stars throughout Europe and
'It's a story that has to be told' Paul Roman (The Quakes)
So, here goes.
I grew up in the 1950s. I wore a pompadour hairstyle like Elvis, all greased up with 'Black and White'.
I wore peg trousers, box jackets, turned-up jeans and crossover jumpers. I listened to Rockabilly. The
REAL stuff from the deep south. Charlie Feathers, Mac Curtis, Ray Campi and Johnny Burnette were
my idols. My favourite television show was 'Only Fools and Horses' ... huh?
Ah, yes, there is a material error in my story. It wasn't the 1950s, it was the 1980s. It wasn't the deep
South, it was London, England.
But all the rest is true. During the 1980s, a few thousand of us lived in the 1950s, we had the music, the
clothes and the cars. We had our own clubs, bands, record labels and magazines.
We were Rockabillies, but not just any Rockabillies, we were LONDON Rockabillies.
Friday night and I take the short walk from my flat in Ravenscourt Park to Hammersmith Broadway. I
stroll past off-licences and pubs along Dalling Road. This part of Hammersmith is warm and kind. It's
quaint zebra crossings, belisha beacons and low buildings give it an almost toytown appearance.
I continue along Glenthorne Road past more pubs and a car park and then I turn right.
I walk into Hammersmith Broadway Tube Station and buy a ticket to Oxford Circus.
I descend the staircase onto the platform.
As always I enjoy the gazes from fellow passengers and try to read their expressions. Are they
impressed or afraid of me? My exotic appearance and regulation tattoos never fail to draw glances.
I am dressed in blue Jeans. The jeans have turn-ups. I wear a thin black belt with the buckle turned to
the right side of my waist. My shirt is half pink and half black and my Jacket is an explosion of colour
that defies description
My immaculately quiffed hair has been teased into shape with 'Black and White' pluko wax and stands
sleek and proud emulating a myriad of 1950s singers and movie stars.
The display on the platform reads 'Next Train Cockfosters'. My pilgrimage begins. The train arrives,
just as Elvis foretold in his 1955 classic 'Mystery Train'.
I step into the carriage and soak up more gazes. No-one will hold my gaze for long.
The train rattles and splutters along until it reaches Piccadilly Circus. I disembark and walk through
the now familiar maze of tunnels to another platform. The final leg of my journey begins as I board
another train and the doors close behind me.
One short stop later and the guard announces 'Oxford Circus'. I leave the train and navigate through
the tunnels and up a very long staircase. I emerge into the half-light of early evening. Oxford Circus
is bright and busy. Rows of manikins gaze out the well dressed and even better lit shop windows. I
cross the street and walk past British Home Stores.
This is it. My heart quickens as I glance the edge of The Phoenix bar poking out of Cavendish Square.
I turn left.
On entering the Square I am immediately transported into another world, the real world. I am greeted
by the sight of rows and rows of gleaming 1950s cars.
I know I am home.
I am greeted at the door by the familiar sight of a bouncer. The same bouncer I see at all the clubs. He
has his hair in 'corn rows' and wears a Tuxedo type suit. In his ears, as always, is cotton wool. He
greets me and takes my 3.
I walk down the stairs into the basement. I give my coat to the cloakroom girl and she gives me a
ticket. I am now in heaven.
One more step and I am greeted by dozens of bequiffed Rockabillies, average age 19, all delighted
that I have made the pilgrimage, yet again. My faith is strong.
As I walk in, my eyes have to adjust to the dark room. There is a small seating area on the right and
the walls are mirrored to enable the dancers to admire their own performances. On my left is the bar.
The DJ booth is straight ahead. There is a square shaped dance floor in front of the booth.
I have to negotiate my way through the crowd, exchanging greetings and hand shakes with almost
every one of them.
The Phoenix is shaking and desperately trying to expand its mass to accommodate the numbers. The
dance floor is full, the bar is full, the seats are full, even the space behind the booth is full with record
stalls and their customers.
As always, Tom Ingram is in the DJ booth spinning his usual mix of 'Boppers, Jivers and Strollers'.
The 'Boppers' inspire dozens of young men to dance their hearts out to pounding Rockabilly beats,
slick clean guitars and slapping double bass.
The 'Jivers' bring the couples together in a more competitive 'look what great dancers we are' kind of
way and The 'Strollers' allow legions of Marilyn Monroe look-a-likes to show themselves off with a
kind of sexy walk-come-dance routine that requires synchronised steps.
The music is played in 'sets'. A number of Boppers, then Jivers, then Strollers and back to the Boppers
ad infinitum.

I was born in Glasgow in 1967. All my earliest memories are of music. The first record I remember
playing over and over was a 78 (that's a 78rpm vinyl disc for you youngsters) of 'Rock Around The
Clock'. I didn't actually play 'Rock Around The Clock' for some time, I played the 'b' side 'Thirteen
Women', a kind of jazzy thing.
Eventually I turned it over and heard the perfect record! A solid slab of Rock and Roll with a crystal
clear slap bass sound, driving rhythm and the best guitar solo of all time.
I later learned that this solo was played by a session musician called Danny Cedar. How does a man
walk into a studio and play a perfect Rock and Roll solo in 1955? There weren't any Rock and Roll
records to copy. There was no ... no ... well ... no Rock and Roll!
Bill Haley had a habit of using professional session musicians on his studio recordings in addition to,
or instead of, his live band. Such was Bill's obsession with getting it right.
Bill's perfectionism didn't stop with the music, any Comet caught smoking or drinking in public was
The next musical delight I found was an LP called 'Rock Revival'. My favourites from this LP were 'I
Saw Linda Yesterday' Dickie Lee and 'Giddy Up A Ding Dong' Freddie Bell.
This was the early 70s and 50s Rock and Roll was in 'revival'. Even on TV, Rock and Roll was still
going strong.
'Happy Days' was an American Television sitcom which ran from 1974 to 1984. It was set in
'Milwaukee' and featured a cast of Pat Boone look -a -likes, complete with cardigans and short, side
parted hair.
Each week, Ritchie Cunningham, Ralph Malph and Potsie would face a moral dilemma. Enter super
cool 'greaser "The Fonz'. 'Fonzie' could advise on matters as diverse as picking up girls (his expert
subject) the perils of smoking and the importance of education.
The Fonz had the worst attempt at a quiff imaginable. It was scraped over to one side and lacquered.
Oh well, at least he could start jukebox's just by thumping them.
I loved this show, I was only 8 and it's Rock and Roll soundtrack was great, 'Sunday, Monday, Happy
Days, Tuesday, Wednesday Happy Days ...'
In the charts there was the usual throw-away stuff that is always in the charts. But there was also a lot
of music that sounded like Rock and Roll. Bands like T.Rex, Mud and Showaddywaddy were playing
Rock and Roll, of sorts.
Soon, Rock and Roll would be a dirty word and would disappear from all radio station play lists.
When was the last time you heard Rock and Roll on TV or radio?
But for now, Rock and Roll was everywhere, in some form or another.
In 1978, we moved to London. Specifically to Hammersmith. Yes, I know what you are all thinking. I
DO mean THAT Hammersmith, the home of 'Psychobilly', but that was 5 years away.
At that moment, I had some Rock and Roll albums by Bill Haley, Elvis, Everly Brothers etc and was
looking for more.
It wasn't long before I found my 'Mecca'.
The Spinning Disc was a specialist Rock and Roll record shop in Chiswick High Street, just a few
miles from my house. One day in 1978, aged 11, I found it.
For the next ten years I became a regular visitor to this Aladdin's cave. The owner Terry Jones was a
mine of information and always on hand for advice or a friendly chat.
Fate had brought me here. Rock and Roll had been a part of my life as long as I could remember and
now the roots were growing deeper.
I had tried to grease my hair on and off for as long as I can remember. I know what you are thinking,
you think I wanted to be a Ted? Well, no, I didn't know what a Ted was. Did I want to be Elvis? No, I
wanted to be ... er ... well ... Reg Varney.
Reg who? Reg Varney was an actor in a sitcom about bus drivers. He had his hair greased and swept
up into a quiff.
Each time I went to the barber I would ask for a 'Reg Varney' and he would say 'yeah, ok'. Little did I
know, my mother was shaking her head at him and I never got it.
Eventually, having put margarine and anything else into my hair to make it 'quiffed' with varying
degrees of success, my mother gave in and let me have my hair styled properly.
Aged 13 I had my hair cut, not into a Reg Varney' but into a 'Mac Curtis'. Well, I asked for a 'Mac
Curtis' what I got was a bizarre bouffant that lasted a day. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
You must be thinking, did I miss something? He just said 'Mac Curtis', uber cool 50s Rockabilly
singer extraordinaire.
Yes, I almost missed it as well.
Somewhere, somehow in the late 70s 'Rockabilly' became a new craze. There were 'Rockabillies'
everywhere. I had never heard the word 'Rockabilly' before except on an old Guy Mitchell track
called 'Rockabilly' and that was awful.
But, people with flat-top hairstyles wearing donkey jackets, jeans and boots were to be seen
A band called Matchbox hit the UK top 20 with 'Rockabilly Rebel' in late 1979, the first of 5 hits!
Matchbox were one of many British 'revival' bands who played Rock and Roll and Rockabilly in a
distinctively British way. It wasn't primitive, it was more polished. Electric bass was usually used by
these bands, although I recall Matchbox having a double bass. Either way, the stereotypical slap bass
of Rockabilly was not usually in evidence with revival bands.
The Jets, The Polecats and the mighty Stray Cats would all hit the charts soon, but Matchbox were the
first band I recall being 'in the charts.' In fact, the biggest singles artist of the 1980s (a time when
singles sale were massive in the UK.) was a Welsh Teddy Boy called Michael Barrat or 'Shakin
Alongside Matchbox, in the Charts, were the brand new '2tone' acts, The Specials and Madness and
super group Queen with their own slice of Rockabilly 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love'.
But, back to Mac Curtis.
Mac Curtis and Ray Campi had both been Rockabilly artists in the 1950s. In 1977 with the help of
Rollin records boss Ronny Weiser, Mac and Ray came to England, Europe and Scandinavia under the
banner "Ray Campi and His Rockabilly Rebels with Mac Curtis".
This craze for 'Rockabilly' hit at least one kid in my school and he gave me 'Rockabilly Rebel' single
by Ray Campi (not the same song as Matchbox) and the LP 'Rockin Mother' by Mac Curtis.
I went home with my new records. I placed 'Rockabilly rebel' on the Turntable. BANG!!!!! The sound
hit me like a tornado, slap bass, sweet guitars, slurred vocals, straight beat, ENERGY, youthfulness,
fun, JOY. I could go on, but you get the message.
I loved Rock and Roll but I instinctively knew that this was REAL Rock and Roll. It was how Rock and
Roll was supposed to sound. I put on the Mac Curtis album. More of the same, bass slapping
Rockabilly at its best.
Back to the spinning disc, I was now looking for 'Rockabilly' records NOT 'Rock and Roll'. All I
needed now was money. But still, I could listen to them in the shop.
I had grown up with mainstream 1950s Rock and Roll and culture all around me. By 11 years old,
revival Rockabilly was in the charts and I had discovered the 'real thing', in the shape of Mac Curtis
and Ray Campi.
So far, besides one other kid in my school, I was the only Rock and Roll / Rockabilly fan I knew. I
was a skinny kid, with few friends. A habitual truant and renowned for my 'silly hairstyle' and love of
'crappy music'.
This was about to change.


One day, aged 14, I was on a bus. A kid in front of me turned round and asked me 'are you a Ted or a
Rockabilly'. Well, I didn't really know. I knew what 'Teddy Boys' were.
Just in case you don't.
'Teddy Boys' were a youth cult in the early 1950s. When Rock and Roll music hit Britain in the mid
1950s, Teddy Boys followed Rock and Roll music and the two became synonymous. They were called
Teddy Boys on account of their Edwardian style dress.
In the 1970s there was a revival of Teddy Boys, who now wore colourful clothes, as opposed to the
dark Edwardian suits of the 1950s. The hair was often in an 'elephants trunk' style at the front and
much longer than a fifties hairstyle, often lacquered rather than greased.
The Teds fought the 'Punks' in the trendy Kings Road, in Chelsea, London. A modern version of Mods
Vs Rockers.
I didn't know that the Teds had clubs, bands, weekenders and a whole lifestyle. But I was about to find
Well, this kid had an 'elephants trunk', so I hedged my bets and said 'I'm a Ted'.
I now had a new mate, Mark, and his family were ALL Rock and Roll crazy. His mum, brothers, sister
and brother-in-law were all 'Teds'.
The family had HUNDREDS of records and my next big discovery was The Johnny Burnette Rock
and Roll Trio.
This trio cut some of the most frantic Rockabilly you will ever hear. Almost all of their songs are
now standards in Rock and Roll and Rockabilly circles. Like most original Rockabilly, it was obscure
at the time but reached a cult status in the 70s in Europe.
So far, I just liked music. But Mark's and his family were 'Teds'.
I was now going to learn about 'culture' and the rules of being a 'Ted'. Firstly, there were only two
types of people 'Teds' and 'Smoothies'.
Teds were the good guys and deserved respect. Smoothies were trendy types and were worthy of
Of course, it wasn't put that politely.
Next up, clothes.
A Ted must have a 'drape'. This is a length jacket that has velvet on the collar, cuffs and pocket.
A 'purist' Ted will only wear a black Edwardian style jacket. A 1970s Ted may wear coloured jackets,
black and blue for example. The worst ones would be pink and black or lime green.
Shoes would be plain black for the purist and 'brothel creepers' for the 70s Ted.
The purist would top it off with a nice tie. The 70s Ted would have a 'bootlace tie'.
Next, Music.
I found out that ONLY some music could be listened to, most was out of bounds.
To know what was acceptable, one had to know the system. The system consisted of 'Rock and Roll',
'non Rock and Roll' and 'plastics'.
Any 50s Rock and Roll was OK. Teds also like British Rock and Roll. I was amazed to discover that
we had our own Rock and Roll stars in the 1950s, in the unlikely shape of Cliff Richard and Tommy
Steele, Marty Wilde, Terry Dene, Cliff Bennett, Tony Crombie etc.
Instrumentals, like The Chanteys 'Pipeline' and Sandy Nelson's 'Let There Be Drums' are favourites of
the Teds.
So, Teds like 1950s American Rock and Roll, 1950s / early 60s British Rock and Roll and 1950s /
early 60s Instrumentals.
Simple? Well not really, but I will come back to that.
Teds don't like non-Rock and Roll.
The final category is a red rag to a bull for a Ted, the 'plastic'. A plastic is someone who thinks he's a
Ted but is actually a phoney. The plastics are hate figures for the Teds.
So who decides, what's Rock and Roll or plastic? The Teds do.
I had no money, as I was 14, so I had option 2, of jeans and a leather jacket. Well, the jacket was
plastic, but it's the thought that counts.
The first club Mark's family took me to was in the Elephant and Castle area of London. But I can't
remember much about this.
I think The Flying Saucers played and there was a DJ.
So, from South London to East London.
I went to The Pembury Tavern in 1981. The Teddy Boy glory days of the 1970s were still fresh on the
mind of the older people at The Pembury.
Teddy Boys were in such numbers in the late 70s that a film called 'Blue Suede Shoes' was made. The
film follows a group of Teds to a weekend Rock and Roll festival and shows bands like Matchbox,
Flying Saucers, Ray Campi and Crazy Cavan at the height of their powers.
The Pembury was in Hackney. The DJ was 'Little Brian'. Hearing Rock and Roll over a PA was an
immensely uplifting experience it sounded great. I had found my people.
Typical songs you would hear would be:
Little Pigeon - Chuck Sims
Mr Lee - Bobbettes
We Say Yeah - Cliff Richard
Night Of The Werewolf - Lee Kristofferson
Teddy Jive - Crazy Cavan
My Little Sister's Gotta Motorbike - Crazy Cavan
Thunder and Lightnin' - Tooter Boatman
Just for Kicks - Mike Sarne
Fings Aint What They Used To Be - Max Bygraves
Red Cadillac And a Black Moustache - Warren Smith
I don't think Max Bygraves follows the 'rules', but then neither did The Allisons. The DJs clearly
played records they liked from their youth whether they were Rock and Roll or not.
So, this was my baptism, from bedroom Rock and Roller to streetwise London Teddy Boy.
One of the best things about being a Ted was the 'gang' mentality. Everywhere I went other Teds spoke
to me. No Ted passed me in the street without a friendly nod.
This meant having a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances all willing to help with finding
records, getting booze, getting lifts etc.
Being a Ted made everything possible. My self-esteem was increased, I could talk to girls, see off
threatening smoothies and drink loads of beer.

In Heaven
Although I was a super cool streetwise Ted (in my mind) I was actually just a schoolboy. My parents
were divorced and so I would see my father at his place of work or at his flat.
One day I went to see my Dad who worked at Island records. I had to wait in a place called the 'Wax
Room'. On the wall was a giant chart and all the Island releases were circled. On each desk was a
record player.
I picked up the record in front of me. It was called 'In Heaven' by 'The Meteors'. I put it on. There was
some strange chanting and then ... ROCKABILLY !!!!!!
I had not pursued Rockabilly beyond Ray, Mac and Johnny. But here it was. The Meteors' sang 'I'm
gonna shout so loud I'll wwwwwww wake the dead' to a brilliantly rockin guitar riff.
My dad gave me the album.
I took it home and played it over and over. I couldn't decide whether it was Rockabilly or not. Tracks
like 'Into The Darkness' and 'Attack of the Zorchmen' were brilliant but I wasn't sure what sort of
music it was.
Maybe it was punk. Ah, that old argument again.
A few years earlier the Stray Cats hit the charts. Their debut 'Runaway Boys' was a smash and they are
still the most successful Rockabilly band EVER!
At school, we discussed the Stray Cats after their Top Of The Pops appearance. I said 'its Rockabilly'
my classmates said 'its punk'.
Who was right???
I knew it was Rockabilly, I mean the slap bass, the guitar, the quiffs. Ok they looked a bit odd, with the
giant quiffs and there was something different about it, but it was still Rockabilly.
When I got the album, I was sure. 'Double Talkin Baby', 'Ubangi Stomp', It doesn't get much more
Rockabilly than this.
So, I was again thinking about genres. What is this music? Somewhere, somehow I found out that the
Stray Cats were 'Neo Rockabilly' and The Meteors were 'Psychobilly'.
I played The Meteors daily.
I continued to go to Rock and Roll pubs like The Burnell Arms and The White Hart, Tottenham. But
over the years more and more people stopped going, lost the clothes and then the hair was combed
By the time I was 17, none of the people I had started going to clubs with were still going. It was
always easy to meet new people though.
By the time I was 17, it was 1984 and I was old enough to go to gigs.
I decided to go and see The Meteors at Brixton.
It was a great gig supported by the excellent Guana Batz. I picked up a flier at the gig for another
Guana Batz show at The Klub Foot.
My life changed at this gig. I saw the best modern band I have ever seen, 'Restless' and became a
lifelong fan. The Klub Foot was a weekly event for me for the next few years.
Back at The Burnell I stated chatting to a new guy called Dave. He said he was a 'Psychobilly'. He said
'my mate's in a band you should come and see them'. I said 'what are they called', Dave replied 'The
Meteors' have you heard of them?
Spider was The Meteors drummer. Dave, Spider and myself were out on the town for the next few
years at every opportunity.
One day, I was on a train to Hammersmith. A guy got on. He had a quiff and was dressed in what I saw
as '1950s' clothes. I started chatting to him and he said I should come down to a club called The
Phoenix in Oxford Street. Iain would become my best mate and that brings me to the beginning of this


Once inside The Phoenix we partied like crazy until 3am, dancing and drinking as if our lives
depended on it. Tom remembers 'The atmosphere there was unbelievable. Every week seemed to be
exciting and something to really look forward to. It was the Rockabilly scene in London.'
Club regular Jude, came down to London from the North of England in 1986, she says 'I went to the
Phoenix ... and was absolutely in awe of it!'
American singer / songwriter / musician Paul Roman came to London a year earlier:
'...It was June of 1985, I had just graduated high school and I was heading to London to try and start a
new band London at that time was the centre of Rockabilly and that's where the Stray Cats had gone to
get their start. Lucky for me I had an aunt who lived in a suburb of London.
'When I arrived I was very 'green" I didn't know where any clubs were so I took the train into the city
centre and just started walking around. I saw many people with quiffs, but it was 1985 - people who
were into Depeche Mode and The Smiths had quiffs also.
'I saw a guy working in a shoe store on Oxford street and there was no doubt that he was a Rockabilly
(tattoos-creepers-etc) so I approached him and told him my story and he was kind enough to show me
around the club scene.'
Here are ten popular club songs from the 80s, chosen by Morrissey guitarist / co-writer Boz Boorer:
Oakie Boogie - Jack Guthrie
Saturday Night Special - Sundown Playboys
Flat Feet - Sammy Masters
Everybody's Body - George Hamilton the 4th
Tom Dooley Rock and Roll - Curtis Hobeck
Wash Machine Boogie - Echo Valley Boys
How Low Can You Feel - Ray Campi
Half Hearted Love - Mac Curtis
Chicken Walk Hasil Adkins
The Cat - Rod Willis
Tom Ingram was a young DJ, only a few years older than most of us, his first DJing gig was at a
youth club in West Wickham, Kent.
'They had all of the gear. That gave me the bug.'
Tom's first club was The Swan & Sugar Loaf in South Croydon, around 1980.
Tom's reputation soon grew and he caught the attention of promoter Brian Mason. Brian knew Tom
from one of Tom's other gigs at The Sunset Club in West Kensington. Brian offered Tom the
Both club and DJ became legends.
The bouncer with the corn rows was Alan Moses.
I asked Tom about Alan and the other bouncers:
'Most of them came from the scene. Alan Moses I first met at The Squire in Catford. Jerry Barnsby
was the DJ. Then he would come to The Downham and he became a friend of mine. The security were
never 'in my employment' as such. I just felt they could do a good job at security so I got them to do
Besides dancing, drinking and chasing girls, we also wanted to hear the newly unearthed records.
Clubs tended to have record stalls so we could snap up 'repros' of songs that took our fancy.
Club regular Belfast Brian:
'In the early days when so many repro 45's were coming out every other week it was easier to buy
them in the clubs from Rockin Rex, Ray Frensham, Steve Chapman, etc. so when you heard a DJ play
a new song you could go to the record stall and maybe get it. Another good place after coming out of
Dingwalls on a Saturday was 'Rock On' records to find what we had just heard, now the only place in
Camden to get real rockin' stuff is Sounds that Swing in Inverness St.'
Another club regular Steve Lamble:
'The Phoenix was a brilliant cellar bar club that was centrally located (off Oxford Street) with a late
licence until 3a.m. I think. Although a lot of the London fraternity went there, the place also attracted a
large crowd from out of town, no doubt aided by the location and the weekly Friday night it ran on.
As you turned into its Cavendish Square locale, I remember being blown away by the amount of cool
fifties cars parked everywhere (I myself had a 1954 Vauxhall Velox). Tom Ingram span the wax while
a regular cast of record sellers such as Ray Frencham and Rockin' Rex sold us all the great stuff we
were hearing each week.'
My old friend Paul Sheahan had this interesting information about 'repros':
'I collect Rockabilly repro's from the 1970's, these records were made by 2 brothers in California ...
they pressed up repro's of extremely rare RAB 45's, and at the end of a batch they would press up a
few on multicolour wax (which are the ones I have been trying to get my hands on) literally maybe no
more than 10 were pressed like this, so they are an interesting item to collect for me.
'Reason I mention the records thing is because if it wasn't for these 2 brothers in California (the
Mariano bros) pressing up high quality RAB repro, the likes of me and you and countless others into
RAB would never have heard of some of the fab tracks at all or at least not until much much later'
Tim Polecat, singer in legendary band The Polecats recalls the input of the major labels:
'I was always into the standard Cochran, Vincent, Holly type stuff from childhood but in the 70s I
started to discover bands like Crazy Cavan and around that time big record labels such as MCA,
Mercury, RCA, Imperial etc released hidden gems from their back catalogues'
Most of the women in the clubs drank from straws, whether this was a matter of style or an attempt to
get drunk quicker I don't know, but the erotic sight of glasses and straws smudged in bright red
lipstick is forged into the memory of every male London Rockabilly.
Things were not always friendly and there were the inevitable fights and violent incidents that occur
when lots of young men get together and drink a lot. Non-Rockabillies were certainly not welcome in
The Phoenix and any that turned up were guaranteed a fight.
This was the downside of the strong sense of community I mentioned earlier. Outsiders were
inevitably seen as intruders that had no right to be in 'our' clubs.
I was pretty street-wise having attended Rock and Roll clubs since I was 14. I had seen violence on a
weekly basis between Teddy Boys and realised that violence was best avoided as some of these guys
were 'heavyweights'.
This was highlighted one night at The Phoenix when I witnessed two club regulars, a well known
model and his girlfriend running away from another club regular (a DJ). The two of them managed
to get into their car. What happened next will remain one of the most shocking things I have ever
witnessed. A group of club-goers shook that car from side to side until they managed to turn it upside
down. They then kicked the windows in and dragged the man out. The Police and an ambulance
showed up and I last saw the victim inside the ambulance with a lot of bandaging on his head. He was
awake. I was relieved to see him alive, even though I didn't really know him.
No two things seem more inextricably linked than Rockabilly and violence.
But how much truth is in this?
Roy Williams, Wild Wax Show, Nervous Records Owner:
'There's always violence. Our scene was no better or worse than any other. That's what I think,
anyway. '
I have to agree with Roy, all scenes have some violence.
However, there is no doubt that the frequent violence eventually started to ruin the scene for many
people. Guy Bolton, club regular / guitarist told me:
'When I think of the 80s rockin scene I remember constant aggro: Rock and Roll was dangerous! I
remember a car getting turned over outside the Phoenix. I remember blokes punching girls, I
remember getting in the middle of punch-ups twice a week some weeks. It was often gang war.'
Club regular Susan Statham:
One thing I don't miss about them times was the fights every week, with bottles and chairs being
thrown all over the place.'
As I walked away I was stopped by two Police officers who asked if I saw a 'fight'. I replied 'No' and
they said, 'you must all be blind'.
Anyway, this was still1985 and we were young and the violence just washed over us.
The Phoenix was attended by all the 'faces' on the London Scene. The first person that I was aware of
being special in some way, was a guy called Jess Jeffries. I didn't know that some people were 'faces'.
A 'face' was someone who was considered cooler than the rest of us and usually quite violent.
Although I had noticed that people were in awe of Jess, I was really puzzled when I saw three young
guys all dressed exactly like him, one even had Jess's distinctive neck tattoo. A. friend soon shed some
light and said 'oh, they are the Jess clones'. Jess had a fan club, who all dressed in his jeans, White-T
shirt, Vietnam Flight Jacket and Dealer boots style.
Guy Bolton remembers this and other fashions:
'People like Tim and Huggy at American Classics were full-on denim freaks. Tim had a collection of
untouched Levis from the forties and fifties, with the original card labels, that were worth thousands ...
'Then in the mid-eighties, dealer boots and original flight jackets came in. The boots had to be tan or
brown, with a brogue top, more points for a leather sole ... and you could only get them from Southall
horse market! (I think!)
'Weird how trends came and went within such a small scene: leather flight jackets with the fur collars
were the thing to wear for a while. I made a mint painting nose art on the backs of them for people
(Ashley paid the most!!)'
Club regular and DJ, Sean Law:
'From this first time, and subsequent visits, I drank in the visual aspect of the crowd. Many were
wearing original 1950's clothes. The guys often had baseball jackets with leather sleeves, or checked
timber jackets and loose fitting jeans, which were often in a state of disrepair. The more image-
conscious seemed to go in for gabardine zipper-jackets. I couldn't fathom this at first, they dress like
my grand-dad, I'd think to myself.
'The majority of them sported tattoos. Nearly all of it cheap work, applied shoddily. From the tattoo
totem on their arms you could gauge someone's history: one may have been a Psychobilly at one
point, or a Ted, or a Nazi Skinhead. Some had the autographs of 50s Rockabilly stars permanently
etched into their skin. Others had wreathes of musical notes and guitars encircling their necks. While
neck tattooing may be becoming relatively common today, this was the first time and place that I'd
seen it applied en mass.
'The girls sometimes could be seen dressed in an exaggerated version of what the guys were wearing:
huge bouffant quiffs over leather jackets and wobbly asses packed into jeans whose cuffs were rolled
up over the top of motorcycle boots. Vintage tight leopard print sweaters were also a popular item
with the girls.
'One of the most confusing forms of dress I'd ever see from these ladies was when some of them
could be seen wearing this weird sort of 'Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders' look: cowboy boots, denim
cut-offs with bare leg shown from boot to high up near the hip, bare mid-riff, gingham shirt tied in
front of the cleavage like a bikini, the head topped off with a cowboy hat. They looked like pasty
versions of Daisy Duke or the 'shooter girls' that worked the waterfront dive bars in my hometown.
Needless to say this look was less than flattering on some of the chubbier girls who attempted it. '
One memory that sticks in my mind about Jess occurred one morning when we were coming back
from staying at someone's house following a club. We came across a place that I thought was some
kind of sewage Plant. Jess noticed a deep pool of clear water about 100 square feet and said 'let's
swim', before I could talk him out of it, Jess was splashing around having the time of his life. I dread
to think what that pool was used for.
I also recall that Jess had built a 4 poster bed out of old scaffold and bricks in his flat in Fulham. Jess
was a good singer and a talented artist. He designed some of the club flyers shown later.
Another 'face' was Lee London. Lee was a muscular man that reminded me of Popeye and was always
happy to show-off his tattoo of Eddie Cochran which covered his back. Both Lee and Jess were a bit
older and seemed to have been around a while, most of us were only 18 or 19.
My best pal at this time was Iain Havlin known to everyone (except me) as 'Jock'. Jock had done the
classic 'I'm going to London Mother' routine when he decided he had had enough of Kin Loch Leven,
a village in the Scottish Highlands.
Iain turned up at Victoria station and simply started asking people were the 'rockin clubs' where.
Incredibly he found a lot of clubs and was soon a 'face' himself.
Life is never that simple, of course, and Iain quickly found himself homeless. Eventually, he was
given a place in Princess Beatrice Hostel in Earls Court. This naive Scottish lad was about to discover
that Earls Court was famous for something other than Hostels.
Poor old Iain was terrified when he heard screaming noises throughout the night in his new hostel,
believing someone to be getting murdered he reported this matter to the staff. Iain's protestant
highland upbringing didn't prepare him for the truth. The screaming was in fact, the sound of
Homosexuals having 'fun' in the showers!
Iain was renowned for his pacifist views which were very unusual amongst young men in the early
80s, especially bequiffed ones.
Iain had introduced me to The Phoenix and he seemed to know absolutely everyone. Everyone liked
Iain and he was the perfect person to show me around the scene.
Iain was also famous for being a teetotaler. He never smoked and drank pints of blackcurrant. I still
get pangs of guilt when I think of how my influence changed all that. Myself and my brother Peter
were heavy smokers and heavier drinkers. One night, Peter and I were getting plastered on beer and
vodka and Iain turned up at the door. I had known Iain for at least a year by this time and he always
refused alcohol and cigarettes. This night he accepted both alcohol and cigarettes. I have honestly
never seen anyone take up smoking and drinking so rapidly. Iain was on 20 a day almost instantly and
achieved the status of heavy drinker within weeks.
Iain and I went out as often as we could:
Tuesday, Shades, Manor House.
Thursday, Camden Workers Club, Camden.
Friday, The Phoenix, Oxford Circus.
Saturday, Dingwalls and The Warehouse, Camden.
Some clubs like Silks in Shepherds Bush were initially on a Monday, but changed to Saturday (or the
other way around) and others would be short lived, so we went to many other clubs, but the above
really impressed me.
Whilst I knew hundreds of people, Iain and myself were a clique at first. Later, Big Mick became a
good friend and I considered him the third member, so to speak. Mick was another 'face' who was
really well respected. Mick had been involved in some kind of serious violent incident and had been
quite badly injured, a fact evidenced by his limp. There were always stories about Mick and the details
varied depending on who was telling them.
But all agreed that he was one of the main faces on the scene and wasn't to be messed with. Mick was
incredibly knowledgeable about Rockabilly music and had a great record collection.
Relationships tended to be one night stands at this point, for me anyway. It was never easy to get the
nicest girls because the cooler guys always beat you to it.
This changed one night in The Phoenix. A beautiful girl in a black evening dress walked up to me in
front of everyone and asked me to dance. All eyes, including mine, had been on this girl all night. I
can still see the looks of disbelief on dozens of greasy haired blokes. This will probably remain my
proudest moment for ever.
The girl was called Susan and we had a shared love of the Rockabilly band Restless. She said she
liked my hair as it was cut like the guys in Restless, shaved in around the sides and back rather than
long and greasy.
On the way to the night bus that night we walked through a group of black youths, one of whom
shouted 'what's a girl like that doing with a guy like that', rather than feel intimidated, I felt immensely
proud and cool.
It would be great if this story ended with us happily married with 3 lovely children. Unfortunately it
doesn't. Susan was a university student from an affluent family and I was an unemployed yob. A few
months after it started it was over and I returned to a much lower rung on the Rockabilly pecking
Iain was more successful and met a girl called Eleanor (El). She too was a university student and she
joined our clique along with her brother Julian and her friend Sophie.
Julian was 25, and we considered him to be quite old and very 'posh'. Julian was well educated and
frequently disgusted by Iain and myself whom he would occasionally call 'animals' when disappointed
in our behaviour. He was however, a great friend and someone I respected. He was also the only sane
one amongst us.
Julian was instantly recognisable by a scar on his forehead. One night at The Boston Arms, Tufnell
Park, I saw Jules by the fruit machine and playfully leapt on him. The next day when sobered up Iain
and El told me that Julian had to go to hospital as I had caused him to bang his head. I felt the colour
drain out of me. I was horrified that I had caused injury to a friend. I hoped that El and Iain were
kidding me. That was until I saw Julian and he told me that the big scar on his head would never heal.
Julian never seemed bothered by this incident and once told me how he had used his scar as
identification when withdrawing money from a bank.
Sophie was a diminutive dark haired girl with the regulation pony tail and bright red lipstick. With the
exception of a drunken snog in a bus stop she seemed to have an intense dislike of me.
Thankfully, she soon stopped going to clubs. Perhaps she became a goth, that may have suited her
miserable personality better.
At some point a friend from my earlier Teddy Boy days started coming to the clubs. Frank was an
Essex born body-builder.
Frank is the only person I have ever met that ate raw bacon.
Since I had last seen Frank he had made a new pal called Graham Allen who was in the army. Frank
brought him down to The Phoenix one night and Graham became a good friend and still is to this day.
Graham was teetotal and a non-smoker. Graham spoke extremely quickly - and as you would expect
he was very fit. He could play the double bass extremely well and we soon had a busking band. We
used to make a lot of money busking and one guy even gave us the biggest bottle of vodka we had
ever seen, which was good news for me, given that Graham was teetotal.
By the end of 85, the clique was Iain, myself, Jules, El, Frank, Graham and Big Mick.
One final new friend was made that year at The Warehouse in Camden. Paul Roman was an American
with bleach blond hair and a leather jacket. We got chatting in the club and I saw him again on my way
home hanging around in the street outside Camden Town underground station. The Conversation
BJ 'What you doing'
PR 'Waiting for the train'
BJ 'There are no trains, its 2am'
PR 'That's why I'm waiting'
I sat with Paul for a while and we became friends. Later when he started coming to my flat I realised
that he had quite a musical talent. As Paul later started the first and best American Psychobilly band
'The Quakes' I feel obliged to embarrass him by pointing out that he hated psychobilly back then. I
used to try and convince him that these new fangled psychobilly bands were good. When I played The
Guana Batz debut album to him, Paul said 'that sucks except the first track'. The first track was, of
course, a Rockabilly style song.
It would be impossible to write a little piece about all the people I knew back then as it would fill
volumes. In writing this book I have came into contact with a lot of people I didn't even know back
then which has made me realise just how big the scene was.
I can only reiterate that the book is written from my perspective only and relies on the memories of
my usually intoxicated teenage self.
On Saturdays, we headed to Silks nightclub in Shepherds Bush. Shepherds Bush is probably best
known as the location for the legendary BBC comedy 'Steptoe and Son'. It is also the location for the
BBCs headquarters.
Unlike the suave and sophisticated West End location of The Phoenix, Shepherds Bush was a run
down area of London, only one mile from my flat.
Shepherd's Bush has been a popular place for Afro-Carribean and Irish immigrants to settle since the
1950s. Many Rockabillies like Paul Sheahan and Colin Lochran were second generation Irish
immigrants. Both lived in the 'Bush'.
Many of us in the Rockabilly scene were of Irish or Scots descent. I think the popularity of Rockabilly
amongst people of Irish and Scots descent is unsurprising for two reasons. The first is that Irish and
Scots settlers brought their traditional folk music to the USA around the 19th Century. This eventually
became mixed with African-American Rhythms and became 'Hillbilly' music, one of the two main
ingredients of Rockabilly.
The second is that many Irish and Scots families still embrace traditional forms of music and this
makes Rockabilly a natural bedfellow.
The walk from my place to Silks took about 20 minutes. It was a simple left down Dalling Road and
then right along Goldhawk Road.
Sometimes, a group of us would have some 'snakebite' or 'Thunderbird' at my flat before heading to
Snakebite and Thunderbird were the Rockabilly drinks of choice. Snakebite was a mind-blowing
mixture of cider and lager. Thunderbird was a cheap wine, probably liked by us because of a song
called 'Thunderbird' by Sonny Burgess.
Sometimes myself and Frank would gain free entry to Silks as we knew one of the barmen. Dave
would let us behind the bar and we could then walk through to the club.
Most of the time however, we went through the familiar routine of being searched for weapons by the
usual bouncers and then admitted.
Silks was situated within a very ugly shopping complex.
22 years ago, I enter Silks, I am greeted, as always, by my fellow Rockabillies. I turn right and join
the crowd at the bar waiting to be served. Silks is on two levels. In front of the bar is a small area with
a few tables and one level down (just a few steps) there is a large dance floor and more seats.
I buy a pint of lager and wash down my earlier snakebite and thunderbird.
'My two favourite DJs at that time were Tom Ingram and Chris Bey - Tom spun on Saturday nights at
a place called Silks - he played the usual pattern of Boppers, Jivers and Strollers but he always played
the good stuff he wasn't trying to play obscure records just for the sake of it like some later DJs
started doing.'
Paul loved clubbing but he was serious about starting a band, so I took him to the payphone in
Hammersmith's 7-11 store to call Nervous Records.
Roy was pretty negative and gave Paul a monologue on how tough the music industry was, but Paul
came away more determined, not less!
We decided to send a tape to Roy. Paul already had some great songs, but we couldn't stop laughing
and messing around when we were together and Paul came up with this.
'Rockin Roy, he's our man, he's rockin
Rockin Roy, he's our man, he's rockin
Rockin Roy, he's our man, putting out records as fast as he can
He's rockin', rockin', rockin
Rockin Roy he ain't no square, he's rockin
Rockin Roy he ain't no square, he's rockin
Rockin Roy he ain't no square, lots of brylcreem in his hair
He's rockin', rockin', rockin'
Rockin Roy, he's a Teddy Boy, he's rockin
Rockin Roy, he's a Teddy Boy, he's rockin
Rockin Roy, he's a Teddy Boy, that's why we call him rockin' Roy
He's rockin', rockin', rockin'
Paul played the guitar and sang lead, I played a snare and sang harmony.
In addition to the song we had decided to do a skit. I played the part of a musician looking for Roy
Williams and Paul played the parts of the people whose doors I was knocking on.
The tape began with me knocking on a door saying 'Is Roy Williams in' and Paul's comedy English
accent replying, 'No, go away'. The door knocking continues as do the comedy responses. Eventually,
I say, 'we'll he won't come out so I will perform outside his window'.
Listening to the tape today reminds me of the joy of youth. The laughter from both of us is so honest
and innocent. We can barely speak. Paul can be heard saying 'come on man, I'm keeping a straight
face, put a sock in your mouth or something' through fits of laughter.
I must have left the tape running, as there is also a conversation between myself, Iain, French Ollie
and Paul.
It is strange to hear our voices after all this time. We all sound so young, confident and relaxed.
I saw Roy at The Clarendon a few weeks later and he said he loved the tape, it was 'like the goons'. He
offered a gig, but Paul had gone back to the states.
Paul had a whole tape of skits he had done in the States all of which began 'excuse me mam, is this
your son?'
A regular face at Silks was Ian Smith. Ian had been around a while and seemed to know people in
show business. One night he introduced me to the Rockabilly singer Johnny Powers in Silks. A few
times he was with the actor Gary Hailes from the popular British Soap Opera 'Eastenders'. Ian told me
that Gary's car had been trashed one night and graffiti daubed over it.
The hostility towards outsiders extended to fictional TV characters. This poor actor was a Rockabilly
and just wanted a night out with his girlfriend.
TV actors were a familiar sight in the clubs, fellow Eastender David Scarboro and the notorious
'Grange Hill' school bully and all round bad boy 'Gripper Stebson' (played by Mark Savage) were
club regulars.
Eastenders must have had a soft spot for Rockabilly, because its most famous character 'Michelle'
(Susan Tully) named Dave Phillips' 'Wild Youth' as her favorite track in a celebrity magazine.
Silks was also the scene of the first porno-billy night. Silks projected pornographic movies on to a
giant screen, so whilst you bopped you could look up and see unspeakable acts and all for 3 pounds
Silks was a very successful club and kept Tom Ingram at the forefront of club DJing in London.
On Thursday nights we went to Camden Worker's club. This club was immortalised in the Morrissey
video for his song 'Sing Your Life'.
Club regulars Alain Whyte, Spencer Cobrin and Gary Day were enlisted to play the part of
Morrissey's band (the song had been made in a studio with session players).
This ficticious band, augmented with another club regular Boz Boorer, would become Morrissey's
real band!
They would go on to sell out The Hollywood Bowl and record platinum selling albums. They
continue to hit the top 20 today!
The Worker's Club was on the second floor of a very large building a short walk from Mornington
Crescent tube station. It had a large hall and a great old fashioned raised stage complete with curtains.
There was a separate room with pool tables.
The atmosphere was electric, always packed, great music and, of course, DANCING!!!!
'Other notable clubs during that period were The Russell Arms and Camden Workers Hall. The
Russell Arms was on a Sunday I think and it was free to get in. When The Quakes were squatting we
barely had enough money to get there. I think we had enough for a half a pint of beer each! We would
just sip it and try to make it last. Camden Workers Hall was a big place - hard to find at first. They had
cheap beer and a good DJ (chatterbox). You really had to be there.'
Cosmic Keith, a DJ and record shop owner says:
'Thursday nights I would come up on the train and miss the next day at school ... ha, ha. It was a fun
place to go. I saw some bad fights there, like most of the clubs in the 80s ... not good for a kid of 16.
That, sadly, sticks in my mind most of all about our scene. Stupid fighting every week, it is way better
Little Carl, a London DJ has fond memories:
'Jerry Chatterbox called me and asked if I was interested in being a guest DJ at the Camden Workers
as Tom Ingram had given up the Workers for a while, I couldn't believe it, when the night came round
I was the worst bag of nerves I had ever been for a long time but once I had got a couple of records
out of the way I settled down. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was asked to come back in the following
Once again, all good things come to an end, as Keith reminds us:
'I loved the workers club but in the later days towards the end it died a painful death and let's face it
it was a dump. I don't miss it one bit.'
Tom has the last word:
'The scene in those days was magic. I look back on it now as the best years of my life. I just think it's
sad that the scene is not there now in the same way. It was like everything was new. As records were
being reissued by the record companies, it was new music to us. There were new ways of dancing. We
could travel around the country. Go to weekenders, alldayers and much more.'
I asked Tom where he DJed:
I did the Hammersmith Palais once. It was a night organized by Charly Records and had Hank Ballard
playing. Some of my clubs were:
The Downham Tavern - every Sunday for 8years.
The Notre Dame - Saturdays.
Silks, Shepherds Bush - Saturdays
The Phoenix - Fridays
The Camden Workers Club - Kentish Town
Cheeks - Deptford
The Town & Country Club (now the Forum) - various shows.
The Astoria - various shows.
The T&C2 - various shows.
The Sunset Club, West Kensington - Fridays (before the Phomix started).
The Saxon - Downham
The Inn Place - Brighton
There were more but I cannot remember them all. '
Before Tom, there was Wild Wax and Fifties Flash:
'I like them all. They all also had an impact on the scene. Wild Wax being part of the big Ted revival
in the 70s. I think the Rockabilly scene owes a lot to 50s Flash. Without his clubs of the time (Bumbles
& Bobby Sox) the Rockabilly scene would not have been as big. Then Mouse took the music in
another direction, but still within the scene. We have all had our part in the success of the Rockabilly
Tim Polecat confirms this transition from the Teddy Boy clubs of the 70s to the 80s Rockabilly clubs:
'I have to add that at the time the Polecats were out clubbing a massive revolution was in progress in
the London clubs in as much as the young fans were breaking away from the Teddy Boys in both
dress style and choice of music ... but that's a very long story.'
Tom now lives in the USA with his American born wife. He owns 40 apartments, organizes the 'Viva
Las Vegas' Rockabilly festival and works as an Actor.

The Wild Wax Show (DJs)

'They (Wild Wax) can pack the place, they set the pace when they play rockin' records with an old slap
- Rap-abilly Boogie, The Syn-Dicate
I asked Roy Williams how Wild Wax started.
'I started with Tongue Tied Danny. Then my brother- in-law Stuart took over and Jailhouse John came
in later.'
Wild Wax were the god's of the 70s Rock and Roll revival. They held a residency at the Lyceum!
'My pal Graham Fenton (Houseshakers / Hellraisers / Matchbox) got a gig there and invited me. I
persuaded the management to employ us on a more regular basis.'
Matchbox would soon be setting the British charts alight with 'Rockabilly Rebel', 'Midnight Dynamos'
and 'Buzz, Buzz a Diddle It'.
For now, they joined a list of great Rockabilly acts that played the Lyceum with Wild Wax, including:
The Polecats, Flying Saucers, Matchbox, Jets, Restless, Ray Campi, Buzz & The Flyers, etc
This was before my time, but I did get a chance to go to 'The Royalty' just before it closed in 1982.
I asked Roy the story behind The Royalty.
'This was a private family-owned ballroom in Southgate. After the demise of the Lyceum rock'n'roll
nights, the owner searched for us (The Wild Wax Show) in order to run something similar.
'In as much as they were prepared to spend more money on acts (US acts, etc.), it was better. It was
also steeped in 'DJ culture' and had respect for us as DJs, which was nice. '
Boz Boorer:
'Royalty was best, biggest, most people. Best bands, Flash and Wild Wax were the best, different, but
both great in their own ways'
Phil from 'The Polecats' was equally enthusiastic:
'The Royalty was my fave because it was bigger, we played there a lot and there was more girls! '
The Polecats were on the verge of stardom, but for now they were happy bopping to Wild Wax.
Phil's Top Ten:
1 - Dancing Doll - Art Adams
2 - Thunder & Lighting - Tooter Boatman
3 - Lay Your Head On My Shoulder - Alvis Wayne
4 - Mobile, Alabama - Curtis Gordon
5 - Saturday Nite Special - Lisa Cormier & The Sundown Playboys
6 - Whoo! I Mean Whee! - Hardrock Gunter
7 - 16 Chicks - Joe Clay
8 - Boo Hoo - Marvin Rainwater
9 - Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor - Johhny Horton
10 - Long Gone Daddy - Pat Cupp
Wild Wax's ambition did not stop at club DJing and they secured a slot on a London's Capitol Radio.
The show was called 'American Dream Show' and ran for 3 years from 1977. Roy Williams chose
and provided the music, but Mike Allen DJed. An awkward set-up. Roy left for Radio City (a rockin
pirate radio station, run by Beeza Bill) due to 'restrictions' placed on him by Capitol.
Roy Williams has remained extremely ambitious and now owns Europe's biggest and best Rockabilly
and Psychobilly label 'Nervous Records'. Roy has signed some of the best bands in the scene,
including The Polecats, The Jets, Nekromantix, The Quakes and many, many others.
Fifties Flash (DJ)
On Tuesdays all the cool people went to 'Shades' in Wood Green.
It seems like yesterday.
I leave early and walk through the snow to Stamford Brook tube station. My journey takes me through
Ravenscourt Park. On the return journey I will have to jump the fence. I will tear the bottom of my
trousers doing so as they get caught on a railing spike.
But for now I am thinking of Tara. I met Tara at Silks. She lives in nearby Stamford Brook. She is a
beautiful girl, small and slender with clear skin.
She looks cute as hell standing outside Stamford Brook tube with snow in her hair.
We board the train. The passengers' gazes are different this time. Old ladies smile at us. This is my
first experience of the effect that being accompanied by an attractive women has on people. Suddenly,
I am not a threat but a nice pleasant young man.
Always be seen in the company of attractive women if you want to get on in life.
The tube journey passes quickly as a result of Tara's endless questions which amuse rather than
irritate me.
We disembark and take the short walk to the enormous building that houses 'Shades'.
We enter at ground level and are greeted by the sight of Jess Jeffries playing an acoustic guitar and
Jess is sitting in the booth. He is taking the money tonight. 'Big Les' is talking to Jess.
I am surprised at the quality of Jess's voice and tell him this, he seems embarrassed and says 'oh ...
well ... thanks'.
Jess's embarrassment surprises me. He seems such a tough guy but is clearly a little shy in this
Big Les tells us about his 'extra' work. He works at an agency called 'bovver boys'. They supply tough
looking guys to TV and film and Les has been working for them. Two girls seem impressed by Les's
We leave Jess and Les and go upstairs. The long staircase takes us into the dimly lit Shades Nightclub.
We get to the bar and buy some lagers. Mouse is walking around with an album sleeve in his hand
showing it to people. Eventually, Mouse comes over to us and shows us the album sleeve. It has
pictures of Mouse and the other members of his group on the sleeve, it is called 'Wait n See'.
Mouse is justifiably proud of his debut album and we congratulate him.
Big Mick comes over and we talk about records and girls. Guy joins us and moans about the fact that
Flash hasn't played his requests.
Guy: 'There were always girls who used to hang around Flash's decks, and no doubt he played
requests for them. But in all the years I went to his clubs, the only time he ever played a request of
mine was one week when there was no one in the pub he was DJing at except me and two friends.
Then he played everything we wanted!'
Steve Lamble paints a picture for us:
'Shades was a great place, right next to the Wood Green tube station, upstairs in a massive pub (White
Hart?) with loads of room to hang and chat, a decent dance floor and of course the irrepressible
Fifties Flash spinning the wax. The crowd was young, hip and there were lots of cool cats and hot
girls to meet there! I met tons of people there, a lot of the North London crowd in fact due to the
location I guess, including such scene luminaries as Kav Kavanagh (who some mistakenly thought
was my older brother), Mouse, Ashley Kingman (now in Big Sandy's Flyrite Boys in the US), Jess
Jeffries, Paul Griffiths, Chang, Chris Bey, big hairy (Hillbilly) Mark from Acton, little hairy Mark
and his mate Del from St. Neots, Big Mick, Dave and Andy (twins from Red Hot 'n' Blue), 'Greek'
Rod,, Dave and his brother Trev (worked at clothing store Flip I think) and Little Richey to name but a
few. Also girls such as Bo and her sister Zara, Finnish Bridget and Anna, Nikki, the Adams sisters, the
Dollies (Viv and her honeys), tall Robin (American girl ex of Chang), Yvette, Bibba, Camden Laura
'The BBC showed up at Shades one night while I was there and filmed for an Arena documentary for
what now stands as a seminal insight into the scene at its peak. A lot of the aforementioned, including
myself, are now immortalised on film (haha!). Definitely one of, if not THE best rockin' club of the
era for me.'
I watched the Arena documentary a few times recently and it captures the magic brilliantly. Guys like
Big Mick, Jess Jeffries, Steve Lamble, Rocky and Guy Bolton can all be seen 'Bopping and Shaking' .
Legions of sexy Betty-Page-a-likes can be seen strolling. I was camera shy and kept out of the way of
the film crews, something I regret now.
The film clearly shows a scene at the height of its powers, Fifties Flash (yes, there are girls hanging
around him) is lining up his records visually (no headphones) and smoking away whilst the dance
floor bounces up and down under the weight of the excited dancers. In between dancing people sit and
chat and look cool.
The documentary was called 'Chasing Rainbows', which means chasing an elusive dream. However,
even the commentator concedes that the dream had been found in this case.
Unlike the Country And Western scene featured in another 'Chasing Rainbows' the London Rockabilly
scene was not about dressing up as Cowboys or anything else. It was not about copying, derivation or
the past. London Rockabillies dressed like London Rockabillies and listened to London Rockabilly
music, the scene was completely fresh, passionate, relevant and very very sexy!!!
There was no scene like this in the 50s, No one had ever collated these songs, these fashions and these
young people together before.
Flash started DJing in the 1960s at 'The 6-5 Rock and Roll club, which was part of the YMCA. It was a
Rockers club. I got booked out at Railway Harrow, 6-5 Special organised it.'
Flash Continues:
'Then I bought my own gear. Rock and Roll Cellar was the first gig of my own.
It was more Rock and Roll then. The Roxborough was another club in Harrow.'
Flash ran 'Bumbles' for 5 years in the early 1980s. Flash recalls the 80s:
'It was damned hard work for a decade. 13 shows a month. Bumbles was a great audience' 'Bumbles
was my favourite'.
Flash is not alone in that opinion:
Paul Sheahan:
'I loved Shades and Bumbles'
Susan Statham:
'50's Flash ... the best DJ ever.
'He used to play a lot of Gene Vincent songs, especially 'Cruisin', 'I Flipped, ' 'Crazy Legs,' 'Red Blue
Jeans And A Pony Tail.' He always got people on the dance floor, jiving or bopping. The tracks were
always classic tracks from the 50's.
'There was this one Rockabilly every week, who asked for 'Midnight Shift' by Buddy Holly, and this
one guy would always bop to it, with beer in one hand and a fag in the other, he wouldn't dance to any
other track.'
Susan Statham continues:
'There was one time I brought my dad's original LPs for 50's Flash to play down at the Fox pub in
West Green Road, my dad wasn't happy with me ... Flash played them, and I was chuffed to bits,
remember I was only 15 at the time ...'
Flash is probably the best DJ there ever was and a thoroughly nice guy, Flash played Blues Boppers,
Hillbilly Boppers, Jive, 'anything 50s'. He even played The Meteors.
His contribution to the scene is immeasurable. Flash still DJs today.
Oh, and I think you guess how things worked out with Tara.

Mouse (DJ/Singer)
I first met Mouse in the early 1980s. Iain suggested that we travel out to somewhere in the wilderness
on the train to see his friend Mouse's band. I cannot remember where the gig was but we arrived in
plenty of time and Mouse came over and introduced himself.
Although contemporary bands were not liked by many on the scene, I think it fair to say that most
people liked Red Hot 'n' Blue.
Mouse eventually began to take DJing more seriously and started various clubs.
The idea of a club taking place in the afternoon seems bizarre, but Mouse ran a club between 12pm
and 3pm (later it ran until 6pm) at Dingwalls in Camden.
Dingwalls is perhaps the most famous club in this book. It is situated on Camden Lock and is reflected
in the waters of the canal on bright afternoons. All around is the bustle of Camden's busy markets.
Food and clothes are sold to legions of tourists who would gaze at us quizzically as we marched past
on our way to beer and Rockabilly.
Bex recalls : 'The clubs were wicked, getting hammered at Dingwalls on a Saturday afternoon was so
much fun, those bloody red poles in the way, though, were a nightmare when you were dancing. My
friend Geraldine and I used to get SO drunk that when the Strollers came on we always went the
wrong way and put everyone off, I miss her!!:( '
Dingwalls was also the scene of a surprising incident involving the scenes most famous pacifist, Guy
reminded me of this story:
'One of the funniest incidents I ever saw was at a Dingwalls all dayer where someone was jiving with
Jock's girlfriend, and started feeling her up. Jock, who was the most mild-mannered, softly spoken
bloke you could meet, quietly put his pint down by the side of the dance floor, shambled over into the
middle of the seething mass of Jivers and punched the bloke, once.
'The bloke was down and out, sparko, and Jock walked slowly back to the edge of the dance floor and
resumed sipping his pint.'
Dingwalls was an odd venue. There were red pillars obstructively situated on the dancefloor. People
would consistently bang into them when dancing, causing themselves injury. It was a long venue with
tables overlooking the canal at one extreme and the stage at the other.
The walls were decorated with the bands that had played there over the years. Practically every band
plays at Dingwalls sometime.
There is nothing quite like drinking in the afternoon and we would stagger out into the blinding
daylight towards the cafe at Camden tube station for sausage and chips.
20 odd years ago I walked in and the first person I saw was Graham. Graham is on leave from the
army. Graham excitedly tells me of his plans to leave the army and become a baker. He has had
enough of army life. I tell Graham that this sounds like a good idea. Frank arrives and Graham
introduces us to his girlfriend Linda.
Linda is a cute blond from France. By 3pm, Frank and I will have French girlfriends as well. Linda
has kindly brought two friends.
The toilets in Dingwalls stick in my mind as they always seemed to be flooding with water. They also
looked as though someone had taken a hammer to them, perhaps they had.
Mouse played the usual Boppers, Jivers and Strollers back then but he soon started to change things.
Guy: 'Like it or not, everything changed with Mouse. Flash played the more poppy stuff, Jivers and
the like, Tom Ingram played some great Hillbilly and Rockabilly, but Mouse started opening up the
format to include the Sonics, Jimmy McGriff, instrumentals etc. (At least in the clubs I went to in N.
London.) '
Sean Law:
'DJ Mouse ran the Saturday afternoon Rockabilly Hop at Camden Lock - Dingwalls. Dingwalls is still
there in name, but this was at the old Dingwalls Dance Hall, which was eventually converted into a
market space years later. If I recall properly, the Saturday Record Hop started at noon and ended at
three. Eventually it got pushed back to 4:30 and then six pm a year or two later.
'But when I first walked in there it was a barn-like atmosphere populated by a mixture of young and
old London Rockabillies congregating after hitting the market stalls early in search of vintage clothes
and before setting out to whatever Rockin' do or cruise was on that Saturday night. There were
Rockin' people from all over the UK and Europe in there too, as well as a small smattering of
Psychobillies, of which I was one.
Occasionally there were bands at the Saturday sessions at Dingwalls too. On various occasions I saw
the Playboys, the Mercurys and an ill-fated Quakes performance. As Paul Roman then remarked to
me: 'They pulled the plug on us so Mousie could play his Jivers!'
I can picture just about every person I knew at Dingwalls, which gives an idea of its popularity.
'Mouse did a New Year's Eve party in a warehouse on The Old Kent Road, it was freezing outside and
the place had no heating. By 11pm it was absolutely packed, the heat from the bodies meant there was
water literally running down the walls, the floor was filthy - it was brilliant. I remember Mouse
panicking as he realised he had left Old Lang Syne at home!
'Afterwards we staggered to a bus stop, to get back to Penge, and bumped into a girl we vaguely
knew, called Karen, who was waiting to get to Forest Hill. As she was on her own, we offered to make
sure she got home safely. Some geezer in a VW convertible pulled up, and offered to run us all home
for a tenner, and he dropped her off on the way. The following December, I asked her to dance, as her
mate was dancing with my mate. 14 years later we are still together (aahhh...)'
The French girlfriends didn't last long for any of us, but I did meet Helen at Dingwalls.
Helen was a feisty Peroxide Blond from Cornwall. She could drink more anyone on earth. Maybe she
got it from her dad. She told me that her dad owned an off-licence and he kept all the out of date beer
until it had double fermented and then he drank it!
Helen also introduced me to 'acid'. One night at the flat Helen announced that she had some acid. I
took half a 'microdot' and she took two. I was disappointed at first as nothing seemed to happen. After
a while I heard Helen shouting from the kitchen where she was making toast 'this toaster is spitting at
me' and laughing her head off.
I never had any fun on my 'trip' I just felt absolutely bloody terrified. It was a long and unpleasant
I have never understood people that take drugs regularly. Another experience of this nature occurred
with a girl called Anna. We had met at Dingwalls and decided to meet up in the week. I had to meet
someone else first and had a few beers. I eventually staggered down to Hammersmith tube station and
met Anna. She was not best pleased at my lateness. When we got my flat she suggested we have a
'smoke. ' We smoked joint after joint and my head was spinning. I lay there staring at the curtains
whilst Screaming Lord Sutch belted out 'Jack the Ripper' through my tinny hi-fi. The fact that Anna
then expected some amorous activity astonished me, I could barely speak.
I saw one or two people on the scene taking IV drugs but overall it was weed or pills.
Helen lasted longer than the others. I have fond memories of walking from my flat to nearby Acton
where Helen had a small room. It always seemed to be sunny and we lay on her bed listening to
Rockabilly albums.
Helen was kind and warm and very feminine despite her drinking abilities.
Helen's upstairs neighbour once gave us a lift to Silks. He was wearing heavy eyeliner and I asked
him why. He told me 'I've been smoking, man, and if the pigs stop me they won't know because of the
liner I put on'.
Let that be a warning to you, that's what drugs do to your brain!!! It will be no surprise to the reader
that the relationship with Helen ended. There was probably another dozen or so, one, two or three
night stands but Helen was my first serious relationship since a girl called June when I was 14. For a
change, it was me that dumped her. But I don't really know why, we were well suited.

Mouse in his own words

The scene in its wilder days, I love it!
I lived around the .Archway area in the years from 1985 - 1989 with all the 'squat-a-billies', great
We were all skint 'hobos', there were about 5 rockin squats in the area. We all looked out for each
other and lived with each other, paid no rent or bills (couldn't afford too) and squatted perfectly good
properties that the council boarded up for no reason.
I lived in Bournemouth for 18 months and came back to London in 1985 and moved into French
Eric's squat with the twins, Andy and Dave from my band 'Red Hot 'n' Blue'.
Chris Bey also had a squat in Archway, as did 'Fat Reg', 'French Oliver', Ann and Frank etc etc......
I had already started to DJ as early as 1982 at the Fox in North London, that was a great club. I also
did the early bits for Tom Ingram at the Phoenix on Fridays, and did start-ups with Tom at the Fox in
West Kensington.
While living in Bournemouth, I really started to get my head into the DJ bit, running lots of little
clubs down that way with Tony Thorpe and Gary Manser, that was the summer of 84.
On returning to London (skint!!) I carried on making a small living with 'Red Hot 'n' Blue' and doing
odd spots of DJing around the North London area.
It wasn't until I started the lunchtime club at Dingwalls in March 86 (for a 4 week period!!!) that the
penny finally dropped! Playing Rock and Roll can earn me a few bob!
It became a job that I always enjoyed and kept me out of the slammer!! ... but that's another story.
21 years later, I'm still doing Dingwalls, but not the lunchtime sessions, they lasted 12 years or more.
I then did Dingwalls 3 or 4 times a year, the last one at Xmas 2006 had our biggest audience ever!!
I went on to do numerous clubs in London, some ran for years some ran for weeks, but the most
memorable venues I had were Dingwalls, The Russell Arms 86-97, The Boston Arms (yes that was
mine!!) 1989-1995, The Monarch in Camden and lots of others.
I also shared venues with other DJs, me and Tom did the Notre Dame together for 2 years when it was
Jerry and I did the Camden Workers together quite a bit, I also had some great nights at the
Warehouse with Steve Ross.
There were lots of other great DJs who played their part in a small way in those far and distant days.
Steve Ross, Chinese George, Chris Bey, Stropps Record Hop, Gaz's Rockin Blues (still active but
deserves a mention) ... Neil from the Fox ... They sure played their part in North London giving us
some great little partys when the big boys backs were turned!!!! keep on rockin and stay true!!

Boogie Dell (Radio DJ)

The final DJ of the five is Dell Richardson. Here is my interview from 2005 with Del:
*How did you get into Rockabilly / what date?
It was in 1969, I was 21 years old. I went to a youth club in Harrow called "The 6-5 Special". It was
packed every Friday night and I can remember Teds and Rockers queuing down the road to get in.
The DJ's were Fifties Flash, Memphis Paul and Phil Holmes. I went with my mate Rockin' Jan every
week. It was watching those DJ's that gave me the idea to try it myself.
*How did you get into DJing / what date?
I must have started around 1973 at the "6-5 club" in Harrow. I didn't have any equipment then, I used
the DJ's equipment in the club. I remember taking a 45 box with about 20 worn out singles I got from
secondhand shops. I think "Little Tony" was the first record I bought on Decca.
*What was the first club you DJed at / what date?
As above, it was the "6-5 Club" in Harrow around 1973
*What clubs did you DJ at?
OK, after the ''6-5 Club" closed I went to the "Unit One" club in Uxbridge to continue the "6-5 Club". It
was a great club and even had its own recording studio in the back. Lots of groups started at my club
like the Polecats, Whirlwind, Rhythm Cats (Stargazers), the Deltas, Fantoms and more. I used to have
"live" bands, films and record nights in the late seventies. Other clubs I ran were the "Headstone" in
North Harrow, The Clay Pigeon in Eastcote, The Ship in Northwood, The Green Man in Kingsbury,
The Rayners in Rayners Lane. There were more but these were the long running ones!
*Which club was the most successful?
I would say the ''The Clay Pigeon" which ran for 10 years!!
*What's your opinion of Fifties Flash, Wild Wax and Mouse? What is their contribution?
If it wasn't for DJ's like Fifties Flash and the Wild Wax Show I wouldn't have started in the first place
so I've only got praise for them.
*How did you get the show on GRT? What is this experience like? How does Radio DJing Compare
to club DJing?
I got my break in radio broadcasting from Tom Ingram. Tom ran a weekly show on "Country Music
Radio" in central London.
When he decided to live in America he told me who to contact at the studio. I was successful and took
over from him. I was a DJ in clubs for over 20 years which had its ups and downs. DJing on the radio
is like having your biggest crowd every week. I have done it now for over 10 years and I love it.
DJing on the radio is great because you can mix the styles up on the show. In a club you've got to play
dancers or else!!
*I am of the opinion that, generally speaking, the media despises Rockabilly and takes every
opportunity to denigrate it. Music mags tend to describe Rockabilly as moronic and TV portrays
Rockabillies as bullies, thugs etc. Do you have a view on this conflict between Rockabilly and the
general media?
I think it's just ignorance on their part as they don't understand there is a Rockabilly movement which
has been around for years! It's like when the media asks me what music I like and I reply 'Rockabilly'
and they say, yes, I've got some Elvis at home! Try telling them about Billy Lee Riley and they are
lost! The media are a bunch of squares!
*Why does Rockabilly struggle for exposure, when other forms of music proliferate?
Because there are no young Rockabilly bands getting into the charts to let the general record buying
public know that there is a wild exciting sound out there. I often say to my 23 year old son that the
chart music he listens to is mid tempo but there are no wild records anymore, nothing that screams
out at you like Bip Bop Boom. I often think he has missed out on a wild and frantic music scene like
thousands of other young people.
*What is the future of Rockabilly?
Guys like me I suppose, banging out Rockabilly on the airwaves! We need some new young teenage
Rockabillies to start a new trend and get our music heard!
*Who is your favourite artist and why?
What a hard question! I like so many, well, it's got to be Johnny Burnette. When I first heard "Rock
billy Boogie" it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and I thought "Wow, this is the
music I want to hear from now on!"
*Can you tell us how your choice of tracks have changed over the years, what did you play then and
It really hasn't changed much. I've always liked the "originals" and the new bands. Back in the late
seventies I was playing Gene Vincent and Crazy Cavan and today I'm doing the same.
There are loads more new rockin' bands now which I like. I'm not 'blinkered', I like all styles!!
*Please say anything else that will help the reader form a mental picture of the scene in those days
We were young then, and when you are young it's the most exciting times. I remember going to "Jack
Geach" in Harrow to get my drape jacket measured up. I organised coach trips to the coast and even a
film was made about them called "Born Too Late". Driving round in my two tone blue and white
Vauxhall Cresta. Running clubs, booking groups, dating girls etc etc.I had great times in the seventies
and eighties. And I'm still rocking today at the ripe old age of 57.
Thank you : > Dell Richardson (Boogie Dell I was known as in the old days).

The rockin world is a small one.
I had been to Finland to visit friends. On the way back I stopped in Sweden. I had never been to
Sweden before. I walked around for a while, taking in the cafes and shops when I came across a park.
I sat down on a bench and seconds later someone else sat next to me. I turned to look at the person and
when we saw each other we were both shocked into silence. This was a guy I knew from Camden
Worker's Club! He was married to a Swedish girl and living over there.
The next incident of this nature took place in neighbouring Finland. Myself and a friend Janne went to
a cafe one day. A girl sitting opposite kept looking over. Eventually she came over and said 'I know
you'. I didn't recognize her and I said 'I don't think so'. She asked if we could wait for her and we said
that we could. She left and came back with photographs of the London Rockabilly scene. As she leafed
through them she said 'there you are, I knew I recognized you'. So, there I was, thousands of miles
away being shown my own picture by a complete stranger. This girl was rockin' and had been to the
London clubs. Travelling to London was really common for rockin' folk from all over the world, as
London was rightly seen as the epicenter of cool Rockabilly.
I met a number of people from overseas at the clubs, including Jyki Lehto. We met at a Red Hot 'n'
Blue gig at The Clarendon, Hammersmith. He told me that the scene was massive in Finland. I met
Jyrki and his friend Esa Laakso a few more times over the next few months and I decided to go to
Finland and sample the scene. Jyrki said 'everyone says they will come but they don't'.
I did and I arrived at Helsinki airport in November 1986. Unfortunately Jyrki had been drafted into the
army, but his family met me and took me to their home. Whilst I don't wish to write about my
childhood, it was not a happy one and the generosity of this family was quite overwhelming. The
kindness of Jyrki, Esa and their families touched me very deeply and still does today.
But back to the fun. The first night, Jyrki's girlfriend, Anja took me out. We went to a local bar where
we were met by Esa. This was terrific, sitting with friends, drinking beer in an exotic foreign land.
However, my habit of bumping into people thousands of miles from home soon spoiled things. I was
suddenly approached by an angry girl who said 'remember me'! I did remember her.
We had a one night stand in London. She didn't quite see it that way and reminded me that whilst she
was asleep I had 'tried it on' with her friend. I tried to reason with her and said 'Well if you are really
angry that I tried it on with your friend, you should be pleased that I never contacted you again'. This
didn't go well and Esa had to intervene.
I am one of those unfortunates that never gets away with anything.
On the way home some people stopped us and they asked Anja to sign some money, very strange!
Later I realized that Anja was a pop star in Finland. I liked Anja and she made great Italian food. She
took me to her grannies house and was always very hospitable. My attempts to impress her with my
guitar playing didn't last long when she joined me on the piano and I realized that she was a virtuoso.
I experienced tiredness in those first few days in Finland that I have never experienced before or
since. I would struggle to stay awake. Anja said that the air was so clean that it caused people from
polluted countries to feel exhausted until they adjusted to such a pure concentration of oxygen.
The second night, we went to a few places and ended up in the 'backstage' club in Helsinki. I was about
to realise the novelty value of being a foreigner in a country where there were few foreigners. Anja
introduced me to her friend Nina, a beautiful blonde that was a DJ and Model. That night we took a
cab home and I couldn't keep my hands off her. It didn't bother me that the cabbie was watching. When
we got to her place the cab driver got out and followed us. 'What does the cabbie want' I said. 'That's
my father' was Nina's straight-faced reply.
I will never forget lounging in the arms of the beautiful Nina watching 'Police Academy' it was the
funniest thing I had ever seen. Of course, it is actually complete crap. But that's how good I felt with
You have got used to my unhappy endings by now and so you won't be surprised that Nina soon
changed me for another model.
In fairness, I was chasing every girl in sight whilst I was with her. But from what I hear, Nina was
neither faithful nor monogamous to anyone in those days.
Nina's favourite record was 'Tainted Love' by Soft Cell. The first night we were together, she took that
record from one of her DJ cases and played it. I always think of her when I hear that record.
I experienced more of Finland's sexual liberalism when I got back and was shown to Jyrki's room in
the family home, where I would be sleeping. On the shelf, on full display was around a hundred
pornographic magazines. Add the fact that pornography was shown on TV at night and the current
'Miss Finland' lived across the road and all I could think was 'What a place!'
However, I soon learned that Finland is not that liberal. Drinking in the street was illegal and the
Police would not hesitate to challenge you.
They would usually take the alcohol and pour it away in front of you, but if they didn't like the look of
you, you could find yourself in a cell until a fine was paid. Any kind of rowdy behaviour was treated
in the same way by Finland's officious Police force.
In neighbouring Sweden I saw a homeless man being pushed around by the Police and eventually
kicked whilst he was on the floor. The man had not done anything, other than try and sleep in a
railway station.
I was also challenged by a train full of passengers for smoking on a train in Sweden, I didn't know
that it wasn't allowed, but I was impressed by the 'people power'.
So, my advice is don't go to Scandinavia excepting Sodom and Gomorrah, these are fairly strict
regimes in some ways.
After a few days, Jyrki was given leave from the army and he arrived home. From then on I
experienced the delights of this fantastic country.
Finland was Funland to me.
The Finns have a great dry sense of humour, they drink like fish and they travel hundreds of miles
across their country just to go to a pub gig.
I went to open air Rock and Roll festivals attended by thousands. We were constantly driving day and
night to get to gigs. Finland had a population of 5 million and a land mass three times the size of
Britain, so there was a lot of traveling to do.
Everywhere I went people were kind. Of course, I had the novelty value and that made people
interested in me, but I never saw one fight in the 12 months I was in Finland. Esa told me that he had
never seen a fight in his life in a club.
My novelty value sometimes backfired when people thought I was pretending to be English, one pub
barred me! Young Finns would sometimes speak English to annoy their elders, as older people would
often not know much English, some older people thought that was what I was doing and took
Finland changed my view of the world. Functional families, no violence, beautiful women, 1000s of
Rock and Roll fans!
Not all Finns are happy of course and they have the same problems as the rest of us, but their culture
is undeniably gentler.
Esa had a room in his family home with a gallery. The room had polished wooden floors. In the
corner there were drum kits and guitars.
The idea to start a band was an obvious one. Jyrki and Esa already had a band called 'The Rage'. It was
decided that I would be the singer. I don't expect the decision was taken on the basis of my voice, but
more likely because I was English (at least they thought I was). Esa showed me videos of The Rage
and they were a terrific group.
After some rehearsals in Jyrki's house it was decided that we would go to a studio and rehearse there.
We were given instructions not to touch anything. Unfortunately this was also the night that Jyrki
decided to introduce me to Finnish moonshine called 'Kilju". The irony that this word spells 'kill you'
is not lost on me.
We were 'off our heads' and what ensued was worthy of a 'carry on' movie.
At first we behaved, but then I broke the mic stand by leaning on it and Jyrki decided to 'fix it'. Jyrki
also decided that the 'no smoking' policy did not apply to him and managed to burn the carpet. I was
so drunk, I collapsed a few times knocking equipment over.
Eventually, we 'tidied' the place and left to stagger home.
It turned out that this studio was owned by Anja's father. I am glad that I didn't understand Finnish
because he was in an absolute rage when he discovered the mess and damage in his studio. To put it
simply, he thought we were third-rate waster's that would never work in any studio again.
He was right. We cost ourselves a rehearsal space and the goodwill of an important music industry
This shameful experience did nothing to improve us and we carried on getting drunk, chasing girls
and dancing to Rockabilly records.
I regret now that I didn't take advantage of some of the opportunities we had in Finland, but most of
all I regret behaving so badly and being such a waster.
I left Finland a different person. I had seen that there was a 'big wide world' out there.
Esa and Jyrki are still active in the Finnish music scene. Anja's pop career ended in the 80s.

Chris Bey (DJ)

Chris Bey was a one-time Fifties Flash roadie and well know scenester. Chris DJed at 'The
Warehouse' amongst other places.
The Warehouse was situated in one of the upstairs rooms at Camden's Electric Ballroom. Uniquely,
there would be more than one event taking place simultaneously. Downstairs in the large hall there
would be 100s of trendies dancing to the latest chart hits.
Once you had paid your entry fee you were free to stroll around this enormous venue and take in the
different groups of people.
Bex loved the Warehouse:
'And at the end of the evening at the Warehouse . We all used to go downstairs for the last couple of
songs, they always played 'Rockin' Robin' and the theme from Hawaii 5-0 and we'd all pretend to surf
... the best!'
Paul Roman:
'Chris Bey spun on Saturday nights at the best club of all - the The Warehouse in Camden town -
Chris would play lots of great stuff and he wasn't afraid to play Johnny Burnette once in a while!
What was great about the Warehouse was that upstairs you had the Rockabillies and downstairs you
had all the trendy dance people dancing to the hits of the day. There was a balcony where you could
watch the people downstairs (all the hot chicks went downstairs!) The club was open until 4am and
before I knew about the night bus, I had to hang out on the street until the subway opened .It was a
huge club and I have many great memories. I can't even put it into words how great it was to be
upstairs at the Electric Ballroom on a Saturday night in 1985!'
Sean Law:
'Chris Bey ran a rockin' disco upstairs at the Electric Ballroom on Saturday nights and I would often
wind up there. The crowd at this one seemed to have a lot of South London hard-cases in it.
Thankfully Ashley and Graeme would usually be present and I'd sit serene in a thick fog of ganja
smoke. '
I also remember Chris DJing at some parties. Chris was a very nice and affable guy and was famous
for his bleached jeans. Every time Chris had a hole in his jeans he repaired the hole with a patch. Over
the years the jeans had become solely made of 100s of patches.
I have not been able to locate Chris. I am aware that he is a controversial character, loved by many,
feared by many, hated by some.
One of Chris friend's, Jane, has provided what I consider a very fair and balanced account of the man.
'I knew Chris really well in the mid 80s. When I first moved to Camden for the rockin scene I stayed
with Chris in his squat in Goldie House, Hornsey. I think he was about 26 then.
'I was 16.
'He lived with lots of cats, not as in Rockabilly cats, but the pets! His kitchen floor was covered in
newspaper and cat faeces, layers of it!!
'Chris took it on his self to be like a big brother and protector of me, I think because I was best friends
with Fagin who was one of his pals. I know that Chris did a lot of bad things to many people, and I
witnessed some of them, but he was nothing but kind to me. He had a long term girlfriend called
Tanya who came from Welwyn Garden City. We were friends and all rented a house in Turnpike Lane
along with Fagin and Rose in about 1987.
'From conversations with Chris I can tell you that he was African in descent, his real name being
something like Adebeyous, which he shortened to Bey.
'He went through the care system in his teens for sure but I don't know of his early childhood as he
never spoke of this.
'He had a real soft side to him and I remember him crying at some old doowop songs and soppy
'He had been on the scene for about 10 yrs and wore those same jeans for as many too!
'Chris loved Johnny Cash and Nappy Brown, and from what I remember of this time he also liked to
make people laugh a lot and see you smiling.
'He called most people Rascal: Who can forget that raspy deep voice saying how's it going you little
Chris Bey was an important figure on the scene for his DJing and off-beat personality.

Warehouse Parties
Warehouse parties were a phenomenon in those days. People would find derelict warehouses and use
them to hold large parties. There would be clothes stalls, beer for sale, food, etc.
If the Police found out that a party was planned they would dig up the floor. I remember arriving at a
party and there was no-one there. We looked through the windows of the warehouse and the floor had
been completely dug up!
As the name suggests, weekenders were weekend Rockabilly events held in coastal resorts. Fans from
all the UK and Europe would attend and see dozens of bands, get very drunk, tattooed, buy clothes,
fall over and go home.
Most people have very fond memories of these events and they still take place today. This was not a
new idea, the Teddy Boys had weekenders, as depicted in the Movie 'Blue Suede Shoes'.
However, no book can be all-encompassing and I will not be delving into weekenders in this book.

Sunday, November The Third 1985.

Today, we were up early and off down to Euston Station. Me and Frank meet Iain and El at Euston
It was the day of the Ray Campi gig. We all piled on the train, watched by bemused passengers.
Dozens of bequiffed boys and girls dressed in retro clothing were Birmingham bound.
Today we were to see our hero Ray Campi in the flesh. But for now, we had a problem. No booze!
The train did not serve alcohol. We were obviously expected!
I thought fortune had smiled upon me when Warren appeared. This suave Australian was always
immaculately turned out. Importantly, he liked to drink as much as we did.
Before I could speak, Warren asked 'you got any booze mate, they don't sell it on here'.
So, a sober trip to Birmingham it was.
Belfast Brian remembers:
'The Bullring was a big ugly shopping centre and the Powerhouse was a big nightclub used for the
alldayers, all took place on Sundays'
Once we arrived at the extraordinary ugly Bullring area of Birmingham we quickly found 'The
Powerhouse'. Inside was an enormous dancefloor. There were bars, tattooists, food stalls, clothes
stalls and record stalls.
It was going to be a good night!
Belfast Brian told me: 'There was nothing like that feeling of going down to Birmingham on the train
for those shows'
Tom Ingram and Hep Beat Record Show DJed.
In a day of intense fun and almost unbearable excitement. The first act that caught everyone's attention
was 'Rochee and The Sarnos'.
None of us had seen this band before and they came out dressed in Tuxedo's and amongst other things
sang a Rockabilly version of the Laurel and Hardy classic 'Trail Of The Lonesome Pine'!
It was the perfect act for this perfect day.
Over twenty years later I spoke to Rob Glazebrook from Rochee to find out the story behind the band:
'Basically the band had already been formed by Gary Leaver, and were playing some mad Skiffle
music. I was a player who was a friend and an up and coming musician. They would ask if they could
do a spot on gigs I was organising, and when I saw what they were up to, asked if I could join in the
fun etc.!!
'I suppose I added some nouse and started working on songs with Gary, which were tracks like 'Sarno
Fever' etc. We wrote almost all the stuff around his house. When we started to play most thought it
was a bit of a laugh, but some knew it was also a clever way of creating something very different
which helped add variety to the scene at that time.
'The aim of the band was simply to add this variety and humour into a scene that could sometimes be
very serious and at times this spilled over in violence between different factions, the humour side
often nullified this.
'At the time we became a very successfull band crossing over to different audiences. We played
festivals, the Venue and Fridge clubs in London as well as psychobilly venues and strictly Rock 'n'
Roll gigs, so to be able to do this was quite an achievement. We also never forgot the fact that we
were absolutely nuts about Rock and Roll.
'The name of the band came from 'Rocheesarno' beach-wear, that I think was launched in California.
'The band does reform sometimes and we have played a couple of times in recent years, these are
normally at very big festivals in Germany, where the following is still unbelievably phenomenal. For
example, in a recent internet poll in Germany and Europe, the organisers of the concert said that we
polled 85% of the vote. When we played the festival some people had travelled 300 / 400 miles to see
us. The shows are always received very enthusiastically.'
After Rochee, the DJ came back on and played the title track from the album that Mouse had showed
to us at Shades. 'Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes' filled the dancefloor. Hundreds of pairs of feet
shook the enormous dance floor.
It was turning out to be quite a day and Ray Campi hadn't even played yet.
Back in the 50s, Ray Campi had recorded a few sides, including 'Caterpiller'. He led an interesting life
and met many of the legends of country and Rock and Roll. He even crashed a film set to meet Elvis!
Ray had a number of jobs over the years, including a job as a schoolteacher. He was sitting at home
one evening in the 1970s when an Italian-Jewish immigrant named Ronny Weiser knocked on his
Ronny loved Rockabilly and wanted Ray to record some tracks with him on his old 4 track cassette
Ronny's Rollin' Rock label went on to produce some of the best Rockabilly of all time, including Ray
Campi, Charlie Feathers and Mac Curtis. The Rollin' Rock tours of the 70s were absolutely massive
and sold out large venues all over Europe.
Most recently, Charlie Feather's classic 'That Certain Female' recorded by Ronny as a 'filler' was
featured in the blockbuster Quentin Tarantino Movie 'Kill Bill'.
Like many others, Ray thought his chance at success was over back in the 50s, yet 30 years later, he
was the headliner at The Powerhouse!
The excitement was building and we were desperate to see Ray Campi! The lights went down, some
rustling on stage and BANG! Ray Campi had arrived in Birmingham, England!
Ray was resplendent in his western wear complete with neckerchief. Ray, ably backed by England's
Sugar Ray Ford and the Hotshots, slapped his white bass and sang classics like 'How Low Can You
Feel', 'Tore Up' and ''Rockin At The Ritz' to an ecstatic crowd.
Ray caused confusion at one point when he handed his bass to Sugar Ray Ford and picked up a guitar.
Sugar Ray's puzzled expression suggested that he couldn't play the bass. Ray continued oblivious to
Sugar Ray's predicament. Fortunately the bass player from Sugar Ray's group was in the crowd and
had seen Sugar Ray's situation. He barged past us all and leapt up onto the stage. In a feat of
Rockabilly heroism, he was just in time to start slapping along with Ray.
All too soon and we were into the second encore. Then Ray was gone.
We walked through the ugly underpasses and streets back to the station. We were high on Rockabilly
and enjoyed our journey back to London.
It was an incredible night and one I asked Ray about 20 years and 13 days later.

Interview with Ray Campi 16th November 2005

Billy: (interference) I will try not to take up too much of your time. I want to ask you first, Ray, If you
can remember playing at the Birmingham Bullring, about 1985?
Ray: The Bullring?
Billy: In Birmingham, in England
Ray: Well I have played in Birmingham, yeah.
Billy: Do you have any specific memories of those days, the 80s, coming to this country and playing?
Ray: Oh sure, I played with Sugar Ray Ford
Billy: Ah yeah, that's right, I think that was one of the Birmingham shows.
Ray: And we cut an album and it just came out about two years ago, in Sweden.
Billy: ah, ha.
Ray: Called Tennessee and Texas
Billy: laughs
Ray: It never came out in all those years
Billy: We were all pretty amazed to see you because all of you American Rockabillies were just ... eh
in our imaginations up until then.
Ray: Yeah.
Billy: We'd just seen the records and things. Were you surprised to see people here with quiffs and 50s
clothes and things?
Ray: Well not in the 80s, because I came over the first time in 77/78, so I knew pretty much about the
Billy: And that must have been pretty amazing, you were playing at the Royalty and places like that.
Ray: Oh yeah.
Billy: With the Wild Wax show?
Ray: We did the Blue Suede Shoes movie.
Billy: Exactly.
Ray: We were in that and I got to meet a lot of guys that are still my friends, Sandy Ford, Crazy
Billy: Great Guys. In this movie you're talking about, who is this blonde haired guitarist who sings
Jump Jive and Wail with you.
Ray: Eh Jerry Sikorski.
Billy: That's a fabulous version of that song.
Ray: Yeah.
Billy: Is he still around?
Ray: I haven't seen him in twenty years so I really don't know.
Billy: Had you heard of people like Joe Clay and Johnny Powers back in the 50s Ray?
Ray: No I didn't, I learned about them, most of my knowledge, I really learned from Ronny Weiser,
Rollin Rock.
Billy: OK, so it was new to you as well, that's interesting.
Ray: I knew some people, but I didn't know all the people on Sun, I knew Rudy Grazell, I seen him
play, I played a show with Gene Vincent one time in Austin. I knew about Bob Luman, I met him.
Some of the fellas that was on the Louisiana Hayride, Sonny James and Slim Whitman, I had met all
Billy: And did you call the music Rockabilly in those days?
Ray: Yeah, we also called it Rock and Roll.
Billy: Can I ask you a question Ray, have you ever heard of Psychobilly?
Ray: Yeah, sure, I've heard of it.
Billy: And do you like that kind of music?
Ray: No
Billy: Laughs
Ray: It's too noisy for me
Billy: OK, back to these few questions I've got for you Ray. Over here, my belief is that the media
detests Rockabilly music
Ray: The media?
Billy: Yeah because all the thugs and bullies on television are portrayed as guys with quiffs, greasers
and the NME, a music magazine voted Rockabilly 'worlds worst music'.
Ray: Haven't they ever heard rap?
Billy: Exactly, what do you think their beef is, where does it stem from?
Ray: (incredulous) ever heard rap?
Billy: (laughs), yeah I've heard rap and that's for morons
(interference, inaudible)
Ray: (Inaudible) haven't they heard that crap?
Billy: (Still laughing)
Billy: Do you have any idea of the roots of this problem?
Ray: Well, yes I understand it, because the people that were raised in the 60s, the drug culture people,
eh ... you know, they were in control of all of the films, record companies and radio. They are in
control of that and they try and put down anything that was previous to their era, say 1965 or so. They
don't like Doo-Wop, they don't Rhythm and Blues, they don't like real Rock and Roll, they like their
fuzz guitars, talking songs, their philosophy you know ... it just goes on and on and on. To me it's
just completely boring.
Billy: All of the pop bands here have Beatles haircuts and Rickenbacker guitars and they play this
pseudo 60s music.
Ray: Yeah, well, let them do what they want, they don't make us do it, they don't force me to do it.
Billy: That's right enough.
Ray: So, I still make records the way I always did, back in the 50s.
Billy: You make great records too.
Ray: I got two records coming out before the end of the year and I had two out last year.
Billy: What are the two that we are going to get at the end of the year?
Ray: I'll have one called 'One More Hop' with the Bellhops, which will be on Raucous records in
Ray: It'll be with The Bellhops, who I did a record with 20 years ago, 'Rockin Around the House' in
Billy: That's right.
Ray: Then I have a record coming out in Sweden called 'Friends Along The Way, From Austin to L.A'
and has all guests. It includes 'With Friends In Texas' CD, that was done a few years ago. That, plus
some more tracks, it will be 27 tracks, all with friends, duets ... There's some Rollin' Rock records,
I'm on them, there coming out in Sweden too on Scana Records.
Billy: That sounds great, can you tell me what 'Hollywood Cats' is about Ray?
Ray: Yeah, Hollywood Cats is about the people that dance, that was done in the 70s, it's just about
people who used to go to the clubs in Hollywood that liked Rock and Roll, Rockabilly and it just tells
about that, of the fans.
Billy: OK, just a couple more things Ray, you're a great double bassist, how important is the double
bass in Rockabilly?
Ray: Well I have made very few records without it, maybe one or two tracks with a Fender bass. I did
a few records with the fender, maybe 3 or 4 tracks. It's very, very important to Rockabilly, it's one of
the main parts of the sound, of authentic Rockabilly sound.
Billy: Do you have a resurgence of Rockabilly over there just now?
Ray: Yeah, we've always had some Rockabilly here, not big, but we have clubs and quite a few young
bands. Mostly around Orange County. The Mexicans like Rockabilly, the young girls and guys.
I work with Pep Torres, whose in my band, he has his own band and does a lot of shows around the
world now, he has his own record label (inaudible), Rip Masters, Kevin Fennel whose worked with
me on two tours 77/78, he's writing a lot of instrumentals and recording them now, I'm publishing
that, he's still in my band, we have a lot going on.
Billy: That sounds great, do you ever see guys like Mac Curtis or Jimmy Lee Mason?
Ray: Yeah, I see Jim, I don't see Mac much, cos he lives in Texas, but I see Jimmy once in a while, two
times a year or so.
Billy: Well, thanks very much for your time Ray, I don't think I need to tell you that both yourself and
Mac Curtis were our main heroes over here, our main idols of the Rockabilly scene.
Ray: Well, you know were going to play Viva Las Vegas with Tom Ingram, Easter next year, I think
Mac Curtis will be on the bill.
Billy: Well, Tom's a great guy and he's also involved in the book that I am doing here.
Billy: The book ends with us going to see you in Birmingham Bullring.
Ray: Well, I'm glad you were there.
Billy: I really enjoyed it Ray and it's been wonderful speaking to you, I wish you all he success in the
world. Thank you very much for speaking to me.
Ray: Bye, bye.
Billy: Bye, bye.

December 2005 and I am heading down to the Dingwalls Christmas Party.
I arranged to meet Belfast Brian at the Elephant's Head pub first. The Elephant's Head is just a few
minutes from Dingwalls.
I drive to the railway station and leave my car in the long stay car park. I put my ipod on and take the
train to Waterloo. On my ipod, Paul Roman sings 'it's been a long time coming and that's for sure'
(New Generation - The Quakes)
Yes, it has.
Once in Waterloo, I took the underground to Camden. Being on the underground was an unusually
pleasant experience today. I could see and hear my 18 year old self clowning around on the
underground with the lads on the way to Dingwalls, all those years ago. We would drink beer and tell
stories and laugh at all the 'smoothies'.
Camden was familiar, even after 16 years. It looked and smelt the same. It was a bustling little town,
full of markets and exotic looking people.
I found the pub and went inside. Before long, Brian, Julie and Gerry entered.
I remembered Brian as one of the 'Irish' lads. He was still with the same girl, Julie, and his old pal
Gerry was over from Ireland. I hadn't seen Brian for at least 16 years.
All three looked surprisingly youthful. Brian and Gerry had remarkably thick black hair slicked up
into gravity defying quiffs.
However, I was soon to find out that most old Rockabillies are more like me, overweight and balding.
The conversation with Brian, Julie and Gerry was surprisingly natural and I felt as if I spoke to them
every week.
Brian reminisced with great enthusiasm about the 'alldayers' and we all joined in. We spoke about old
friends, DJs, Bands and clubs.
Brian did a great job introducing me to people who wanted to talk to me about this book.
Before long it was time to take the short walk to Dingwalls.
I was unable to recognise the 'new' Dingwalls. Brian explained that the building had been extensively
refurbished and restructured, so the 'old' Dingwalls is still there, somewhere.
DJ Cosmic Keith had the place rockin' and people danced with a youth and vigour that belied their
The average age was around 40. Not what I had hoped for.
Everyone I spoke to said there were few new recruits to Rockabilly land, just us old timers.
There were a few youngsters, who all stormed the front of the stage and screamed and danced to the
equally youthful 'Slim Slip and The Sliders'.
Standing watching them, I knew that they felt it was their band, their club, their night, just as we had in
1985. I felt genuine envy.
I couldn't help but notice that the Rockabilly, Teddy Boy and Psychobilly scenes appeared to have
I saw a lot of familiar faces from all three scenes. Back in the 80s these people wouldn't have been
seen dead in the same street together!
Everyone I spoke to was enthusiastic about the 'scene' and said it's just a matter of time before it gets
big again.
I was still struggling with the fact that the scenes had merged! Had anyone else noticed?
When did this happen?
Futurist becomes purist and revivalist eventually.
Punks, Mods, Psychos, Teds, Alternatives, What-Have-You's all mix these days.
Purism always doomed Rockabilly ... Non-Rockabillies were unwelcome. The music COULD NOT
So, why do I find myself mourning the purism of my youth.
Perhaps because I sense that this change is due to the small numbers of people left and not because of
some fancy new musical vision.
But perhaps mostly, because I miss the certainty!
The fantasy becomes complete only when everyone shares the same faith.
I left knowing that Rockabilly was still the best music in the world and that rockin' people were still
the best people in the world.

The Future of Rockabilly

So, what is the future of Rockabilly? To answer this we need a bit of background information.
Live music has been in decline for many years. I believe this began with Karaoke and DJ culture. Pubs
feel that it's cheaper and safer to put on Karaoke/DJs than a live act. I put this to Roy:
'Agreed. Bands tend to have more equipment and take longer to clear out at the end of a night. Also
DJ equipment improved and bands had a harder time competing. Record companies started looking
for 'producers' instead of 'musicians' since dealing with one person is easier ... It's the combination of
a lot of things. Recent legislation has exacerbated the problem ...'
The world has changed since the 80s. When I look at pictures of pubs in the 80s, they seem dark and
dingy compared to the pubs of today. Pubs are now decorated to exacting and high standards.
They look like trendy wine bars rather than pubs. They are big and bright! These changes don't come
free, someone has to pay for it.
These standards are not just cosmetic. There is a wealth of Health and Safety and Environmental
Health policy standards that landlords must meet.
There has been a ban on smoking in pubs that serve food and a total ban is being discussed by
government just now.
All of these changes put a financial strain on the pubs.
Pubs make most of their money from food sales now, NOT alcohol!
Multi-Nationals own most of the pubs, because they can afford the cost of meeting modern standards,
lots of the independently run pubs have gone out of business.
Small business in general is becoming a thing of the past. Most shops in the High Street are owned by
multi-national companies.
Faceless Britain has arrived.
The multi-nationals run their business from a central location. The individual branches are simply
'following orders'. If you go into the average high street store you will find the staff working from a
prepared script that Head Office sent them. They will ask 'Can I help you Sir' and tell you about the
latest 'deal'. Head Office will send them memos instructing them in everything from 'how to answer
the telephone' to 'how to arrange the display'. No-one at local level makes any decisions.
You will also notice that every branch looks identical, including the interior layout.
Most people realise that the modern world has a kind of 'sameness' about it. All the little shops and
businesses have gone. The days of talking to the shop owner have gone. You can only speak to the
'Can I help You Sir' clones and they can't help you unless they have a memo from Head Office with
the answer to your question on it.
This is homogenous. Homogenous is defined as:
'1 :of the same or a similar kind or nature
2 : of uniform structure or composition throughout (a culturally homogeneous neighbourhood) '
When I was young I saw Teds, Mods, Skinheads, Punks, Soul Boys, Rude Boys, Goth's and New
Romantics all the time.
When is the last time you saw any of these styles amongst the young?
Kids all look the same.
99% of people seem to have a baseball hat perched on their head most of the time. A small example of
homogeneity. A small example of moronic.
This homogeneity is evident in the music world.
Lack of Creativity
Convenience, everything is centred around convenience.
The small record shops are gone, replaced by the multi-nationals. 'Sales teams' are sent by the major
labels to the record shops to ensure that their 'products' are placed in prime positions within the
individual shops.
Did you think it was coincidence that the latest 'pop sensations' have displays in prominent areas of
every branch of every faceless High Street chain?
How do the small labels deal / compete with the majors?
Radio stations have presenters, not DJs, the playlists are chosen by management. The DJs don't make
any decisions. Radio 1 will not play any song unless it has a 'release schedule'. That means that the
record has major backing from a distributor and manufacturer. How does a local band get that?
All radio stations play the same music.
When was the last time you heard a station playing anything but top 40, unless it was 3am?
The major labels now have a frightening degree of control over every aspect of the music business.
It was the little guy that put Rock and Roll nights on. The traditional pub landlord, who didn't have to
spend all his money on fancy decor or upgrades to meet health and safety standards!
The dingy pubs of our youth have gone. Remember drinking out of thick glasses with handles on
them? Now people drink overpriced foreign lager out the bottle!
The world has changed.
I am 39 years old. When I was a kid we had 3 television channels and they all closed around midnight.
Music videos were a new idea. The only electronic band was Germany's 'Kraftwerk'.
Now kids have a choice of which 'media' to spend their pocket money on. Does a kid buy some CDs
or the latest computer game?
Advertising is all around us. Seductive adverts for everything from the latest designer clothes to cars
attacks the youth relentlessly.
We weren't faced with a sophisticated music industry that produces videos at a cost of millions to
promote the latest lifeless pop or rap song.
Modern music is all glitter and no substance. But its glitter is so bright, it's blinding.
Rob Glazebrook examines internal conflicts:
'To turn to the present. Personally there's now too much politics, there's too much of a split in crowds,
and it's all become, as far as I'm concerned, nothing like it was. There is also the belief that DJs are
more important than bands, which was never the case in the past. All most of them do is play records
without any contact with the audience. Most of them play records very much like their counterparts
etc, as far as I'm concerned this has ruined the scene and not made it any better. They don't have a clue
about what a true DJ should do.
'Fortunately there are a few DJs in the country who love to involve live music and they get their time
too, everybody's happy scenario finally strikes home. Gigs in Europe today are very much like it was
in the 80's, that's why more and more English people go to gigs in Spain, France and Germany, they
really put on a show for everybody. Anyone in a band will tell you of the hard work they put in, not
just to get tracks together, but then find gigs, that aren't controlled by self indulgent DJs. When I talk
to all the people in my age group, they all agree, so it's not just a personal view, it's shared. I don't
actually go out to clubs that much because I play regular gigs and it doubles up as going out etc.. But
to give you an idea of what I'm saying.
'I played a gig in Brighton recently, it had a fairly good turnout, but was spurned by a few people 'cos
they didn't like the organiser, who is more of a rocker etc. If that gig had been in 1979 the place would
have been absolutely packed no matter who the promoter was or the band, simply because of the way
it was.
'Although this sounds cynical, I must admit that there are a few places I wouldn't go to myself,
because of the organisers, but that's more to do with their incessant nature, and small-mindedness, I
feel that I'm quite an intelligent human being and I simply don't like to lower myself to their level.
Saying that, most promoters / organisers are sincere people who only want the best for everybody. I
do get on personally with most people.'
Rob discusses the recent popularity of Rockabilly stateside:
'The other side of today's scene is the belief in some people, that since the American involvement,
that's it's actually the 'in thing' to be into the 1950's scene. Let me tell you that I personally don't care a
toss about the American involvement, or about Las Vegas etc, the scene has always been cool in this
country. We did more in England than anywhere else to keep the music going, although Europe
played its part too. Often European bands are written off against American counterparts, this is
nonsense. In 10 years time let's see who's still around. America has always followed in what is
deemed to be cool, once it was swing, then Rockabilly, what's next surf ???? I am not saying that the
bands in the USA are bad or anything but take a look at the 'soul' etc. Robert from 'Big Sandy' will
know what I mean.
'I will always love Rock 'n' Roll music till I die, I also dig the Blues, but you need to to understand
Rock and Roll. At present I run my own bookshop / music shop business in South London, and I have
2 bands I'm involved in; The Houserockers & The Bluestars, I play all styles of 50's music. That's the
way to be I think. '
Tom Ingram wasn't sure of the future for Rockabilly:
'I wish I knew the answer to that one. Sadly we are never going to see a rockin scene like London had
in the 80's and early 90's. That was a one-off. It will probably go up and down in popularity over the
years. It would take another act to hit the charts for another big explosion.'

Interview with Mac Curtis March 2006
Rockabilly? Did you call it Rockabilly back then?
I moved to a new High School in Weatherford, Texas 1954. I met some guys that were starting a
band. My background was Hillbilly music, but I always leaned toward the upbeat, novelty and Boogie-
Woogie type of sounds.
No we didn't call it Rockabilly... that term didn't exist at the time. Usually they called us Country Cats.
*What artists did you like?
Merle Travis, Hank Thompson, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Marty Robbins (he had a record called
"That's Alright Mama") I began singing it in our act and, shortly after, heard the Elvis version.
*What sort of gigs did you do in the 50s / who with?
We first played Hillbilly at Civic Clubs, local festivals and school programs. In 1955 we met Johnny
Carroll. He was doing similar music to ours. He proposed that we team up and promote shows in
other towns throughout Texas at school auditoriums, sports arenas, theaters ... anywhere we could
bring in a crowd
*Did you know Charlie Feathers?
Yeah, it's on CD now as you probably know. No I never met Charlie. I believe that because we shared
the Rockabilly Kings album and that I recorded one of his songs many people assumed that we were
*How did the Mac Curtis revival come about? Did you know people were playing your music in clubs
over here?
Ronny Weiser informed me that there was a lot of action in UK and Europe. He introduced me to Ray
Campi. We all worked together on some recordings. Ronny released them overseas. His distributor at
the time (the late David Harris) put together a tour. That tour resulted in a big deal for all of us!
*How did you get to know Ronny Weiser?
I was working on a radio station in Los Angeles in 1972. Ronny called me, asked for an interview for
his magazine. We did it, struck up a friendship, and I wound up doing about three albums for his
Rollin Rock label.
*What date did you first come to the UK?
Mid-December 1977. It was a 2 week tour.
*Can you remember playing in Birmingham? What was it like?
As I recall it was around Easter weekend 1986 that I played 'The Powerhouse" in Birmingham.
*Can you remember who else was on the bill? Were You Nervous?
I arrived late due the driver losing his way! Don't recall anyone else who may have been there earlier.
I was not nervous. The band had apparently worked on my tunes because they gave a very good
backup job.
*Do you have any specific memories of those days, the 80s, coming to this country and playing?
(Places you played, what were the crowds like, your impression of Britain etc)
I love Great Britain and the people there. I never thought I would get to return to those shores so
many times throughout the years. My hope is that it lasts for many years to come. The crowds are so
appreciative and supportive of our music. I am impressed that many young cats discover the sound
and become lifelong fans.
*We were all pretty amazed to see you, because all of you American Rockabillies were just in our
imaginations up until then. Were you equally surprised to see us with our Pompadours and 50s
Hey it was like stepping back in time! I was thrilled and so were the other members of the shows.
*And finally, Ray Campi says you will be playing VLV, is this so?
I played VLV in the late 90and have never been asked to return. I don't know why 'cause the audience
loved the show.
My thanks to you and all your mates who have supported me and Rockabilly music all these years.
Keep on Rockin

Charlie Feathers
'On more than one occasion, I remember my Father stating that the fans and people overseas knew
more and appreciated music more so than people in the US. I realize he made this statement because
he and the recordings he made were finally getting some recognition there that he never got here in
the US.
The very first show he played was at the Rainbow Theatre in London in 1977. My Father said it was
like the 1950s all over again, he couldn't believe the huge reception he was receiving there. I
remember the night he returned from this show and remember him saying he had bodyguards around
him and fans were reaching for him and he said 'you would have thought I was Elvis' and laughed, I
know he loved every moment of it.
My Father never liked to fly but he always enjoyed so much when he played the London Rockabilly
scene, he loved the fans and felt the love in return and the appreciation they had for him and for
Rockabilly music.
Kindest regards,
- Wanda Feathers

TOP 10s from the Rockabilly Underground - London 1980s (most heard songs in clubs)
Long Black Nylons - Ray Ellington
Lucky Lips - Ruth Brown (cos you got great big tits...)
Go Way Hound Dog - Cliff Johnson
Hoy Hoy - Collins Kids
Movin' - Bill Black's Combo
Too Much Monkey Business - Chuck Berry
She's The Most- 5 Keys
Cat Talk - Lew Williams
Now Dig This - Jodimars
Crash The Party Benny Joy
Mark Lee Allen:
1) Benny Joy - Miss Bobby Sox
2) Ric Cartey - Scratchin On My Screen
3) Ray Campi - How Low Can You Feel
4) Levi Dexter - It's The Beat
5) Hasil Adkins - Chicken Walk
6) Slim Harpo - Shake Your Hips
7) The Valiants - Freida Freid
8) Johnny Carroll - Hot Rock
9) Doctor Ross - Cat Squirrel
10) Don Willis - Boppin' High School Baby
Tornado - The Jiants
She's The Most (or Cheese on toast as was popular to sing instead!!) - The 5 Keys
Salty Boogie - Little Jimmy Dickens
Robinson Crusoe Bop - Sonny Cole
Convertible Car - Wally Hughes
Cat Squirrel- Dr Ross
Wildcat Tamer - Tarheel Slim
Lovers Question - Clyde McPhatter
Please Don't Leave Me - (The Humming Version as opposed to the singing version! Johnny Burnette
& the Rock & Roll Trio)
Chicken & The Hawk - Big Joe Turner
Little Carl:
Ray Pate - The Slide
Charlie Feathers - One Hand Loose
Curtis Gordon - Draggin'
Charlie Feathers - Tongue Tied Jill
Sonny Burgess - Ain't Got a Thing
Tennessee Wig Walk by Bonnie Lou (I hated / still hate that record)
Keith Courvale - Trapped Love
Tarheel Slim - No9 Train
Mumbles- Johnny Bachelor
Buddy Holly - Changing All Those Changes
Mark Lambourne:
Miss Bobby Sox - Benny Joy
How Low Can You Feel - Ray Campi
Primitive love - Tom Reeves
Jungle Rock - Hank Mizell
Grandaddy's Rockin' - Mac Curtis
We Wanna Boogie - Sonny Burgess
Baby Please Don't Go - Billy Lee Riley
Brown Eyed Handsome Man - Buddy Holly
Long Blond Hair - Johnny Powers
That Certain Female - Charlie Feathers
Tom Ingram:
I've Got Love If You Want It - Warren Smith
Rock Billy Boogie - Johnny Burnette
Tornado - The Jiants
Can't Find The Doorknob - Jimmy & Johnny
Slow Down - Larry Williams
She's The Most - 5 Keys
Screamin' Mimi Jeannie Mickey Hawks
Go Girl Go - Jett Powers
Justine - Don & Dewey
Rock Around The Town - Dean Beard
But there's a 100 more that could be on this list.....
Billy Jones:
Born To Love One Woman - Ric Cartey
All You Gotta Do - Tracy Pendarvis
Long Blond Hair - Johnny Powers
Thunder and Lightning - Tooter Boatman
Let Me Slide - Jimmy Patton
Stutterin Papa - Buck Griffin
Boppin To Grandfather's Clock - Sidney Jo Lewis (aka Hardrock Gunter)
Tornado - The Jiants
That Certain Female - Charlie Feathers
School Of Rock and Roll - Gene Summers
Tornado - Dale Hawkins
Johnny Valentine - Andy Anderson

Celebrity Rockabilly Fans

Quentin Tarantino (Film Director / Actor)
KD Lang (Singer)
Aki Kaurismaki (Film Director)
John Peel (DJ)
Lemmy (Motorhead)
Ian Dury (Singer)
Morrissey (Singer/Songwriter)
Vince Vaughn (Actor)
Paul McCartney (ex-Beatle)
Ringo Starr (ex-Beatle)
Conan O'Brien (American Talk Show Host)
Bob Dylan (Singer/Songwriter)
Jeff Beck (Yardbirds)
Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
Carmen Plant (daughter of Robert)
Joe Strummer (Clash, Latino Rockabilly War)
Shane McGowan (The Pogues)
David Scarboro (Actor)
Gary Hailes (Actor)
Mark Savage (Actor)
Jesse Birdsall (Actor)
Mark Lamarr (Comedian, TV and Radio Presenter)
Mark Kermode (Film Critic)
Del 'ugly bloke' Calvin Klein Model)
Both Tarantino and Morrissey have re-released Charlie Feather's classics. Tarantino re-released 'That
Certain Female' in his film (and soundtrack) 'Kill Bill' and Morrissey re-released 'One Hand Loose'
on his 'Under The Influence' compilation.
Morrissey's band since 1991 has consisted of Rockabilly musicians .Alain Whyte (Born Bad/Memphis
Sinners) Spencer Cobrin (Born Bad/Memphis Sinners) Boz Boorer (Polecats) and Gary Day (Frantic
Morrissey's classic, platinum selling, 1994 album 'Vauxhall and I' featured Stingrays bassist Johnny
Bridgewood and Meteors drummer Woodie Taylor.
Before becoming a pop star KD Lang was a Bona Fide Country star and covered Rockabilly classics
like 'Bop A Lena' and 'Got The Bull By The Horns'.
Film director Aki Kaurismaki is renowned for his love of 50s Rock and Roll and it often features in
his movies.
Lemmy has been a lifelong Rockabilly fan, but for anyone in doubt he is now in a Rockabilly band
with Slim Jim called 'The Head Cat'.
Ian Dury often spoke with great affection about Gene Vincent and recorded the classic Vincent tribute
'Sweet Gene Vincent'.
Vince Vaughn often mentions swing and Rockabilly in interviews and is often seen at swing and
Rockabilly clubs and events.
Paul McCartney runs Buddy Holly parties, owns Bill Black's bass, has recorded dozens of Rockabilly
songs and cites Elvis as the 'greatest'.
Ringo Starr has also recorded Rockabilly songs like 'Matchbox' and did a special one-off TV show
with Carl Perkins, Brian Setzer and Slim Jim from the Stray Cats. All the Beatles were Rockabilly
fans and George Harrison's early guitar style was taken straight from Carl Perkins.
Conan O'Brien frequently refers to his love of Rockabilly on his show and in interviews.
Bob Dylan has given Glenn Glenn supporting slots and has sang Glenn's praises.
Jeff Beck is a legendary guitarist who recreated Cliff Gallup's guitar solos faithfully and powerfully
on his Gene Vincent tribute album 'Crazy Legs'. Jeff used Rockabilly band 'The Big Town Playboys'
as his group for the album and subsequent tour.
Robert and Carmen Plant are avid Rockabilly record collectors and were often seen in Rockabilly
clubs in the 90s. Neo Rockabilly legends 'Restless' played at Robert Plant's son's wedding in 2005.
Joe Strummer was a lifelong Rockabilly fan and recorded the classic Rock and Roll anthem 'Brand
New Cadillac' with The Clash.
David Scarboro, Gary Hailes and Mark Savage were all stars of British soap opera 'Eastenders' and
all frequented London Rockabilly clubs during the 80s. Even fellow 'Eastenders' actress Susan Tully
selected 'Wild Youth' by Dave Phillips as her 'favourite record' in an 80s interview.
Jesse Birdsall (Actor) is a serious Blues record collector and had his own record stall in the 80s
Mark Lamarr (Comedian/TV and Radio presenter). Mark was a familiar face in the London
Rockabilly clubs in the 80s.
Mark Kermode (Film Critic) fronts his own Rockabilly band and always appears on TV in perfect
greased quiff and snazzy suits.
Del is a familiar face on the Rockabilly scene.

We must lose this belief that everything '50s' is somehow innately superior to music made later.
Paul Roman:
'I was expecting to walk into a club and hear The Polecats, Restless AND Johnny Burnette / Gene
Vincent. The clubs played absolutely NO modern records and hardly any of the standard fare such as
Eddie Cochran - Vincent -Elvis - all the "surface" stuff. I think because these people got bored with
that long ago and were now digging into obscure stuff that sounded just as tough and cool as all the
I am going to shock you now.
I am a real Rockabilly, no-one is more Rockabilly than me!
Not even Charlie Feathers! (gasp)
Not even Elvis! (gasp)
I am not disrespecting these legends, I am pointing out a simple fact. We love the music. We live the
We are not fly-by-nights trying our hands at this 'Rockabilly stuff to make money or be fashionable,
unlike many 50s acts.
Here's shock number two.
A lot of 50s music is crap! (double gasp)
It goes without saying that a lot of it is brilliant! Not just brilliant but unmatched!
Are you ready for shock number three, or do you want a break and a stiff drink?
Some Rockabilly from the 70s, 80s, 90 and 00s is as good as the 50s stuff, equally valid, equally
credible (triple gasp)
We have to STOP living in the past. Rockabilly is as relevant and vibrant today as it was when it was
first born.
Do you ever hear anyone saying the plethora of mop-topped Rickenbacker strumming chart acts are
something to do with the 60s? No you don't, because the music industry constantly promotes this type
of music and presents it as relevant, cool and sexy.
I am not against ANY type of music, but neither do I think that John Lennon's 'Imagine' is the best
song ever made.
That's multi-millionaire rock star John Lennon I am talking about, you know, the one that wants a
world without possessions.
Ok, so I digress and I am being sarcastic, but read what Tom Ingram has to say on this:
'I think the media does not understand the Rockabilly scene rather than hate it. They are always
looking for a story and we are generally not willing to give one. The Teds in the 70s were different.
The scene had people who generated PR for the Teds. Whenever there was anything newsworthy
happening on the ted scene, the media was there ready to record it. Also, there is no money in the
Rockabilly scene.'
When people say we are something to do with the 50s, it isn't a compliment, it's a put-down. It's a way
of saying we are irrelevant.
Tim Polecat was blunt and to the point:
'I think they hate anything that may be considered old fashion or retro .But what do they know? After
all, most people in the media are complete wankers.'
50s clothes and hair are supercool and so is the music, we can keep all of it, but we have to add to it.
We have to pay back the loan now.
Do you think Charlie Feathers 'Stutterin Cindy' was recorded in the 50s? It was recorded in the 1968!
Is there a more rockin' song than that?
'I still did not understand why the scene was so divided and why modern records were not played. In
my head, I pictured a European scene where sharp dressed cats bopped to 'Tainted Love' by Dave
Phillips. I saw many of the same people when Restless would play so why not play their records in a
club? It made no sense to me and it was hard to find anyone to play with musically who was into
something more than 're-creating' the 50s.'
I collect records. Records are aesthetically pleasing, but I also use CDs, computers, ipods, mp3s etc.
When will we see someone DJing with mp3s at a Rockabilly club?
Do you really think that the many acts worldwide who have played Rockabilly for 20 or 30 years are
less valid than some 50s acts that played Rockabilly for just 30 months (or thirty minutes in some
No-one can replace Charlie Feathers or Elvis but we have our own scene with our own heroes.
Those bands / DJs and promoters working their socks off all year round to entertain us deserve a bit
more respect and credit than 'you ain't 50s'.
And when someone says that to me, I just reply, 'neither are you mate'.
I travelled to Birmingham on Tuesday 4th April 2006 to see the old place and jog my memory.
As I was walking back to the railway station I saw a sticker on a car boot that read
'Rock and Roll Will Never Die'
The End?

What Am I?
I was always motivated by music from the 50s, and I guess I can be called a 'Rockabilly'. Putting your
finger on what is a Rockabilly is very complex, as I love Blues, Western Bop, Country, Hillbilly, 60s
Garage and Instrumentals, Classic Rock and Roll even Jazz and Be Bop!!!
So what am I?
I guess as a kid (13 to 18) I was a Rockabilly with all the other 1000s of quiffed kids of the age and
I've always dressed in a style to this day recognised as a Rockabilly. Is a punk a person who only likes
punk? Is a Rockabilly only into Rockabilly? It's a strange one, However, today at the age of 43 with 30
years behind me of rockin and rollin, I guess I am still a 'Rock-a-Billy', I am certainly not a Ted, nor
ever have been, though the two are of the same school and are not worlds apart.
I am a lover of music . I believe there are 2 types of music, good and bad! All genres of 40s, 50s and
60s music have their fair amount of rubbish, be it Doo Wop, Rock and Roll, even awful Rockabilly,
but within all of those genres are some outstanding classic masterpieces and it's those cool songs that
grab me. I have always been a big fan of the giants, the true leaders, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Little
Richard, Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash, Bill Haley, all true leaders in their field.
Then the ones that almost made it like Larry Williams, Janis Martin, Don and Dewey, Sonny Burgess
and Billy Lee Riley to name a few.
Then you go further back, digging the roots of what them guys were listening too like Hank
Williams, Wynonie Harris, Big Joe Turner, John Lee Hooker, the Delmore Brothers, the Hillbilly's
and the Bluesmen.
Then you can go forward and see it split into other genres with the likes of Link Wray, Dick Dale,
The Sonics etc
Once you've seeped all of that into your blood and memory bank you are halfway there, the rest takes
a lifetime of understanding the time of these people, how they lived, their religious backgrounds and
poverty, how hard they struggled and what made them tick!!!
How did so many people use religion, poverty and hardship yet turn it around to make truly great
honest music for us today to love, enjoy and appreciate.
It's quite unique that one generation of people gave so much musically in such a short space of time
and in doing so changed music and styles forever!
Add all the thousands of people they too inspired to forge Rock and Roll bands all around the world
and all the DJs who continue to keep that spirit alive and well, then and only then you can begin to
understand the true meaning of being a real Rock and Roll fan, a Rock and Roll fan who has lived and
breathed that type of life, the same as the heroes, the same as the wild bastards who were just fooling
around and having fun doing what they wanted to do, wild drunken nights, hot wild partys, long sober
days, broken hearts and wild passions, write it down, sing about it, tell the stories and tell the world
how you feel.
Someone out there will hear you and understand completely from the first howl till the last guitar
solo ... now that's Rock and Roll!!!!! ... and I love it!!!

Cover design: Neil Scott

Advisors: Belfast Brian, Steve Lamble and Mark Lee Allen, Bob at www.bim-bam.com.
Mac Curtis (Singer/Musician)
Ray Campi (Singer/Musician)
Rob Glazebrook (Rochee and The Sarnos / The Playboys)
Tim Worman (The Polecats)
Phil Bloomberg (The Polecats)
Boz Boorer (The Polecats / Morrissey / Adam Ant / Sinead O'Connor)
Johnny Powers (Singer)
Paul Roman (The Quakes)
Mouse (Red Hot 'n' Blue / Space Cadets / DJ)
Wanda Feathers (Daughter of singer Charlie Feathers)
Dell Richardson (DJ / Radio Caroline Presenter)
50s Flash (DJ/Promoter)
Tom Ingram (DJ / Actor / Promoter of 'Viva Las Vegas')
Roy Williams (DJ / Nervous Records Owner)
Special thanks to : Guy Bolton and Sean Law
Paul Sheahan, Jude Williamson, Susan Statham, Cosmic Keith, Mark Lamborn, Bill Smoker, Volker,
Perry Bartlett, Clive Montellier, Kate, Kim, Dave, Bop A Lina Steve Enticknap, Jane Lawrenson, Paul,
Lyn, Claire, TJ, Mandy, Rick Bolsover, Be Bop Kaz, Little Carl and everyone at the Rockabilly
Underground group at http://groups.myspace.com /RockabillyUnderground.

Essential listening: clubber recommendations:

Don't Mean Maybe Baby - Alvis Wayne
If You Love My Woman - Jimmy Witter
How Can You Be Mean To Me - Dale Vaughan
Not being a collector like others, I found a great album with some nice tracks all the way through
was'Meteor Rockabillies'
Mystery Train - Elvis
Rock Around With Ollie Vee - Buddy Holly
Lonesome Train - Johnny Burnette Rock and Roll Trio
Do Do Do - Ronnie Dawson
Cat Talk - Lew Williams
Go 'Way Hound Dog - Cliff Johnson
Right String Baby - Carl Perkins
Too Much Monkey Business - Chuck Berry
Spin The Bottle - Benny Joy
Mama Don't You Think I Know - Jackie Lee Cochran
I think it's important to include a few names a newcomer would know of, and find accessible, even if
the purist might have other ideas about the best tracks by those artists.
Steve Enticknap:
Gone, Gone, Gone by Carl Perkins
Jungle Fever by Charlie Feathers
Race With The Devil by Gene Vincent
Lonesome Train by Johnny Burnette Rock and Roll Trio
Who Do You Love by Bo Diddley
Long Blond Hair by Johnny Powers
Eager Boy by The Lonesome Drifter
Mystery Train by Elvis Presley
Jungle Rock by Hank Mizell
All The Time by Sleepy La Beef
Bill Smoker:
Elvis on Sun
Burnette & Trio on Coral
Feathers and Curtis on King
Perkins on Sun
These are essential for RAB 101, If you don't like those, then Rockabilly is not for you.
Be Bop Kaz:
Carl Perkins Dance album, Elvis 56 Sessions (1 & 2) and Johnny Burnette & the Rock 'n' Roll trio are
great for newbies. I would also recommend any of the Sun label classics albums of which there are
numerous including artists Jerry Lee, Warren Smith, Ray Smith, Billy Lee Riley etc
This type of stuff is pure unadulterated Rockabilly at its best
Joe Clay Ducktail / Bear Family
That'll Flat Git It Vol 11 / Mercury Rockabillies
Eddie Cochran
Radio Rockabillies / Narvel Felts & Jerry Mercer / Rockstar Records
Johnny Powers
Glen Glenn
Pat Cupp
Bop A Lina:
Johnny Burnette Rock and Roll Trio 1956-57
1956 Gene Vincent tracks
Essential Sun Rockabillies CD's - Carl Perkins, Ray Smith, Warren Smith, Sonny Burgess (absolutely
essential, my first albums were Sun compilations and played them to death!)
Benny Joy - Little Red Book
Johnny Powers - Long Blond Hair
Bob Luman - Try Me
Alvis Wayne - Lay Your Head On My Shoulder
Ronnie Dawson - Rockin' Bones
Ronnie Self - Bop A Lena (of course!!)

All the photographs used in this book were used with kind permission of their respective copyright
In most cases the original photographs were not available, only poor copies or scans.
Every effort has been made to enhance photographs for reader enjoyment.
All the vinyl and CDs mentioned in this book are available from Bob at:
I am grateful to the late Terry Jones for the many hours he spent chatting with me and educating me
about great Rock and Roll records.