Column #21 - published May 5, 1999
!! THEY ARE NOT FORGOTTEN !!
In this column we are going to the beginnings of recent Rock'n'Roll / Rockabilly History,....the 1950s, the 1940s???
What I mean, we are going to the beginning of the resurgence ( I don't much like the word "revival") of Real Rock'n'Roll music, and to those people who were there at the beginning, and whose names deserve to be mentioned. I am talking about the 1970s!!
Adri Sturm's ROCKVILLE INTERNATIONAL magazine was very influential on behalf of the Big Beat. Here is an early issue with RAY CAMPI on the cover.
I do apologize to those of you who I have left out, indeed some I may have forgotten, and some I may never had contact with.
Let's start with Hollywood:
When I first handed out my flyer for the Hollywood Rock'n'Roll Fan Club in 1968, half a dozen answered, amongst which was Mike Saito who turned me on to many rare killer rockabilly records, and even traded me, or sold me a few, at way-below market prices.
Another one who joined the Fan Club was Rodney Bingenheimer, the "Mayor of Hollywood", who with Bob Hansen, Billy Zoom, Bill Fergusson, Kittra Moore, Todd Everett and Mark Deaver were among the very few to support Gene Vincent and rockabilly music at the very beginning (circa 1970-1971).
Other participants in that early scene were rockabilly artist Dennis Penna, record collectors Jeff and Darryl Stolper, Bill Leibowitz who organized some Rock'n'Roll Revival shows, and writers, Art Fein, Gene Sculatti, Bob Taylor, and Greg Shaw -- of "Who Put The Bomp!"-- who wrote positive and enthusiastic stories about Rollin' Rock Records.
During the same period (1972-1973) disc jockey Jim Pewter was running Rock'n'Roll Record Hops in Hollywood, and playing Ray Campi's Rollin' Rock Records "Tore Up" and "Eager Boy" on his Armed Forces Network radio program. This program reached countries all over Europe and Asia.
In San Jose KFAT radio and Uncle Sherman loved and played all ROLLIN' ROCK RECORDS, including Ray Campi, Johnny Legend and The Blasters.
In Santa Barbara, KCSB featured every Sunday "The Crazy Rock'n'Rhythm Show", a three hour extravaganza where yours truly went demented howling and growling, stompin' and rompin' to the sounds of Savage Rock! (Around 1969-1970?)
According to Jim Pewter Ray Campi's records were getting as many requests as the million selling hits by Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Quite an amazing feat for Rollin' Rock!! Thanx, Jim Pewter, for playing my discs !!!
The Rock'n'Roll Society of Scandinavia, with Rune Halland, who also published R-O-C-K magazine, was at the frontlines from the beginning! Here's my membership certificate, at NUMERO UNO, no less!!
Brian Bukantis published a superb record collectors' magazine called "Goldmine". And, at a time when you could count rockabilly fans in America on two hands, Brian was generous enough to allow me a regular feature column where I could rave about Rollin' Rock, or about whatever other rockin' items I wanted to. Thanx Brian!!!
Outside of Ray Campi & His Rockabilly Rebels, Levi Dexter came along in the mid-late seventies to deliver authentic and exciting Rockabilly music, even performing on the Louisiana Hayride!! Levi is currently putting a new band together and will be ready to rock this summer!! It's about time!
So, back then, here in America, in the mid-Seventies, when many of the 1950s artists were prancing around in ridiculous polyester jumpsuits sporting sissy Beatle haircuts, and singing washed out "oldies" backed by boring Hippie bands, the "real thing" could be had with the Rollin' Rock artists such as Ray Campi & His Rockabilly Rebels, Mac Curtis, Johnny Legend, Jackie Lee Cochran, plus cats like Levi & The Rockats in California.
And on the East Coast:
Back East, in the Maryland area, around the late Seventies Jim Kirkhuff and Jon Strong formed Ripsaw Records and produced the most authentic and exciting Rockabilly sound this side of Charlie Feathers, with cats like Tex Rubinowitz, Billy Hancock and Evans John. Simply phenomenal stuff!!
Tex Rubimowitz of Ripsaw Records giving Rollin' Rock some healthy competition with his killer sound!!
Joe Sasfy wrote strong pro-rockabilly columns and reviews.
And what can we say about Billy Poore? Billy was organizing rockabilly concerts on the East Coast, recording the Real Rock, and pumping away, when few cared. Billy has a new book out, which is a lot of fun!
In Europe Real Rock'n'Roll always remained popular, and many loyal fans kept it alive:
France had the Chuck Berry Fan Club and the Wild Rockin' Cats Fan Club of Patrice Barbat.
Jacky Dumery played the true sound on the radio.
"Endless" magazine published comprehensive stories on many rockabilly and Rhythm & Blues artists, and on Rollin' Rock.
Holland was an especially rockin' country with Cees Klop and his Collector Records and Adri Sturm publishing the great magazine Rockville International, where much space was given to Rollin' Rock artists. Thank you, Adri!!!
In the meantime Rockhouse scheduled yearly Rock'n'Roll Festivals which predated Hemsby by many years. Great work, Frances!
And in Belgium my buddy Mac Bouvrie formed Mac Records, with Rollin' Rock, the earliest label devoted to record new real Rock'n'Roll.
In Norway it was Rune Halland at the helm of the Rock'n'Roll Society Of Scandinavia, also publishing R-O-C-K magazine. Thanx, Rune, for all your support of Rollin' Rock Records!
In Sweden Bo Berglund and Leif G. Hellin stood up for the Rock.
In Berlin, Germany, we had the Ray Campi Fan Club with the cats & chicks wearing T-shirts with a huge ROLLIN' ROCK logo! Viele Danke meine Freunde!! Ich bin ein Berliner !!! :-) :-)
In Italy, Augusto Morini was a one man crusade for the Big Beat with his essays and columns.
Most of us already know that England had the biggest contingent of Rock'n'Roll fans, thanks to the Teddy Boys and the Rockers first, who were joined later, after the Rollin' Rock tour of 1977, by younger kids calling themselves Rockabilly Rebels and Hep Cats.
The show program for the famous Rollin' Rock tour of 1977 organized by DAVID HARRIS.
Keeping the flame burning was The Gene Vincent Fan Club, The Eddie Cochran Memorial Society, Penniman News and Hugh Mc Callum's Bill Haley Fan Club. Their tireless dedication was responsible for having dozens of records released, and many concerts set up for our Rock'n'Roll Legends!!
Excellent magazines like "New Rockpile", " New Kommotion" and "Now Dig This" did an outstanding job in popularizing the "Great Unknowns".
All the while disc jockeys like Waxie Maxie, Roy Williams (of Nervous Records), and many more, were spinning real rock and rockabilly records in hundreds of record hops throughout Great Britain.
At the Record Hops of the Edingburgh Rock'n'Roll Society at one point ROLLIN' ROCK had SEVEN hit 45s in their Top 20 survey!! Thanx, fellas, for spinning my waxies!
Graham Fenton of Matchbox made sure that Gene Vincent would always be appreciated through his exciting stage act.
David Harris must be praised immensely for importing large numbers of Rollin' Rock Records, and, must be thanked especially for organizing the famous Rollin' Rock tour of 1977 with Ray Campi & His Rockabilly Rebels and Mac Curtis, which, according to the British press, spawned the whole Rockabilly Rebels and Hep Cats movement. Thank you D.J. Harris!
And speaking of the British press, we owe a great deal to Bill Millar of Melody Maker, and to Roy Carr of the New Musical Express, for their dedicated scribings on behalf of our music.
The Top 20 of the Edinburgh Rock'n'Roll Society published in SOUNDS magazine. Notice that Rollin' Rock places 7 songs in their Top 20, including number 1, 3 and 4!!
is a special case which will deserve at least one full column sometime at a future date!
To all of you who I have mentioned, and to those of you who I have forgotten, or never had the chance to meet, for all your tireless and enthusiastic efforts on behalf of Rock'n'Roll Music in general, and of Rollin' Rock Records in particular, I want to thank you with all my heart, because, without you, we would not be entering the year 2000 with rockabilly music at the peak of its popularity. It has been your 30 years of hard work and devotion which have made this possible!!
!!!!!! THANK YOU !!!!!
(Please note: this column is about the 1970s, and I do much appreciate those of you who in the 1980s and 1990s joined in to carry on the good struggle!)
Addendum Jan.13, 2001:
"In Luebeck/Germany, Burkhard "Borks" Bogenschneider and the MFC-International (Memory Hits Fanclub) meets a Fanclub Magazin/Rock Revue Magazin of the Radioshow "Memory Hits" on DLF by 1969-1986 with "Memomeister" Gerd Alzen! www.memoryhits.de "
Always Rollin' The Rock,
Rockin' Ronny Weiser,
The Rockabilly Rebel Westerner from Las Vegas, The Wildest West Possible
ROCKIN' RONNY WEISER - See his on-site Rockabilly HOF web page