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BARRY KLEIN'S SHORTEST ARTICLE:
"GUIDE TO SOUTHWEST FLORIDA ROCKABILLY"

For about four months of the year in the winter season, I live in Naples, Florida. Naples has great weather, is ranked #2 in the USA for golf courses per-capita, i s resplendent with tons of beautiful natural resources, has a lovely downtown (Olde Naples) with restaurants, art galleries, a park, and one of the many Gulf of Mexico beaches.

However, it is almost devoid of anything related to "rockabilly". I like to tell my gentile friends that the smallest book ever written is "Jewish Sports Legends". Well, maybe the shortest article on this website is "Guide to Southwest Florida Rockabilly"!

There are, however, two groups in this area which helped satiate my appetite for live rockabilly music.




One group, The Lords of Cool, is a trio specializing in '50's & '60's music. Bill, Bobby and Steve are all good singers, and guitarist Steve can simulate the sounds of several instruments. Although their repertoire includes other music, they have quite a deep well of rockabilly classics, including "Red Hot", Buddy Holly's "Midnight Shift", as well as a terrific version of "Rave On", "Be Bop A Lula", "C'mon Everybody", "Honey Don't" and "Something Else".

I have seen them several times, and they never failed to give outstanding shows. They even let yours truly do "Blue Suede Shoes" one night!

The Crestliners are a group that has been around Florida for over 20 years and has backed up many of the major '50's acts when they tour Florida. The Crestliners were always heavily into rockabilly, but I couldn't find them anywhere in Southwest Florida for at least two years. Lo and behold, one of a rockabilly lover's best friends, The Internet, enabled me to find them.

Today, The Crestliners are a trio (they had a sax player the last time I saw them), and their leader, "T", formerly a guitarist, now slaps a bass with virtuosity and gusto second to none I have ever seen! The new guitarist, Barry Johnson, is so good I can see why "T" moved to bass. The drummer, Bill Rosenthal, rounds out the great rhythm section. When Bill met me, he said, "Now the shortest book will be 'Guide to Jewish Rockabilly People in Southwest Florida'!"

The Crestliners expect to release a CD soon, and some of the cuts will include "T's" own compositions.



Both The Lords of Cool and The Crestliners' appearance schedules are on the Dr. Doo-Wop web page: http://hometown.aol.com/Streetcornerbop/drdoowop.html

Dr. Doo-Wop has a very popular three-hour oldies show on WOLZ FM, 95.3 every Sunday from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. The station, based in Ft. Myers, Florida, can be heard throughout much of central and southern Florida, and "Street Corner Bop" with Dr. Doo-Wop does throw in some rockabilly with the doo-wop tunes.

"T" of The Crestliners is very committed to the "rockabilly movement", and is active in boycotting the group purporting to own the rights to the Comets name led by Al Rappa. An "officially adopted nephew" of Marshall Lytle, mid-fifties bassist of the Comets ( the group which had to re-name themselves "The Original Band" on Rollin' Rock's recent release), "T" is also close to Jim Meyers, the writer of "Rock Around the Clock" and fellow resident of Ft. Myers, which is the major city 30 miles north of Naples. Make no mistake about it - the "real" Comets from the '50's is the group consisting of Marshall Lytle on bass, Dick Richards on drums, Joey Ambrose on Sax (they used to be called "The Jodimars" - see my article on this web site on The Big Six), plus Johnny Grande on piano and Franny Beecher on guitar. You can order their new CD on Rollin' Rock Records called "Still Rockin' Around the Clock" by emailing Ronny Weiser at Rockronny@aol.com

I think it's just great that "T" and the Crestliners are doing so much to educate rock & roll fans about who the "real" Comets are, notwithstanding legal trademarks!




Editor's Note: Barry Klein writes for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and his book, "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll", was published in 1997. To contact Barry, email him at bmk@bmkre.com




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