A ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME EXCLUSIVE:

News Archive #7



Upate: November 15, 2004
Rockin' 50's Fest II
Oneida Bingo & Casino - Green Bay, WI
April 11th-16th, 2005

            Get ready for the event everyone has been waiting for now unveiled. ONEIDA BINGO & CASINO is proud to present ROCKIN' 50's FEST II! London, Australia, Russia and France are just a few of the many countries which will bring their own brand of music from the 1950's to Oneida Casino. This is your one chance to see bands from all over the world - in one location!
            ONEIDA BINGO & CASINO'S ROCKIN' 50's FEST II is sure to be the largest nostalgic music fest to date, with over 4000 attendees and 100 musical acts. From April 11th through April 16th, 2005, you'll witness musical history from legends of the 50's music era. To view photo's and information about the first Rockin' 50's Fest in 2002 click on this link: http://www.swingandcountry.com/green_bay.htm. 1-(800)-238-4263.
            Artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Link Wray, Ike Turner, Hank Thompson, and The Calvanes, just to name a few, headline this once and a lifetime event! TICKETS NOW ON SALE: Tickets are $40.00 for a 6-day pass and $10.00 for a one day pass (day passes are subject to availability). Tickets will move quickly, so order them by calling Ticket Star at 1-800-895-0071 or charge via the internet: http://www.pmiwi.com/calendar.php?date=04/01/05
            For information on lodging, go to:
http://www.oneidabingoandcasino.net/?page_id=64&parent_page_id=2
www.actionpackedevents.com or
www.packercountry.com
Book your rooms now because they're going fast ...

Monday April 11th, 2005
           High Noon
           Jerry Lee Lewis
           Jimmy Cavello
           Ruby Ann & The Boppin Boozers
           Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
           Little Boy Arnold & His Western Oakies
           Wild Wax Combo
           The Old Howards
           Star Mountian Dreamers
           Dr. Snout & The Hogs Of Rhythm
           Jerry King & The Rivertown Ramblers
           Randy Rich & The Poor Boys
           The Ragtime Wranglers
           The Dave Biller Combo
Tuesday April 12th , 2005
           Rayburn Anthony
           Terry Noland
           The Cleftones
           Art Adams
           Narvel Felts
           Wanda Jackson
           Glenn Honeycutt
           Joe Houston
           The "Original" Ranch Girls & The Ragtime Wranglers
           Bevis Griffin
           Orbi Tunes
           Two Timin' Three
           Howlin' Al & The Sharps
           Little Ester & Her Tinstars
           Biller & Wakefield
           The Tremors
           Cash O'Riley & The Downright Daddies
           Carl Sonny Leyland
           The Honey Bee's
           The Tinstars
Wednesday April 13th, 2005
           Bobby Crown
           Hardrock Gunter
           Sonny Burgess
           The Krazy Kats
           Al Urban
           Ike Turner
           The Crickets
           Barbara Lynn
           Levi Dexter w/Magic
           The Paladins
           Rory Justice
           The Rizlaz
           Darrell Higham & The Enforcers
           Mars Attacks
           The Lazy Jumpers
           The Hi Q's
           The Donettes
           Pep Torres
           The Stumbleweeds
           The Nu Niles
Thursday April 14th, 2005
           The Fendermen
           Pat Cupp
           Bob Wills Texas Playboys
           The Teenagers
           Teddy Riedel
           Ruth Brown
           Buzz Wayne of Buzz & The Flyers
           The Bobbettes
           Johnny Bach & The Moonshine Boozers
           Boz & The Bozmen
           The Horton Brothers
           Cari Lee & Her Saddle-ites
           The Stringbusters
           Neva River Rockets
           Lonley Blue Boys
           Kim Lenz
           Gin Palace Jesters
           The Vibro Champs
           The Barnshakers
           Eddie Clendening w/The Blue Ribbon Boys
Friday April 15th, 2005
           Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater w/Los Straitjackets
           Roc LaRue
           Clarence "Frogman" Henry
           Lew Williams
           Ray Sharpe
           Hank Thompson
           Janis Martin
           Dale Hawkins
           Don Cavalli & The Two Timers
           Wildfire Willie & The Ramblers
           The Lucky Stars
           Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms
           Deke Dickerson & The Ecco-Fonics
           Darren Stout
           The Ranch Riot
           Shaun Young
           Gina Lee & Her Texas Three
           The Rumblejets
           The Go-Getters
           The Twilight Ranchers
Saturday April 16th, 2005
           Glen Glenn
           The Calvanes
           Charlie Louvin
           Link Wray
           Joe Bennett & The Sparkeltones
           The Original Comets
           Young Jessie
           Ace Cannon
           The "Original" Dave & Deke Combo
           Rockin' Bones (Tribute)
           Old Line Skiffle Combo
           Arsen Roulette & The Ricochets
           Roy Kay Trio
           Los Striatjackets w/ Big Sandy
           Three Blue Teardrops
           C.C. Jerome Trio
           Marc Bristol
           The Mezcal Brothers
           Bones Maki & The Sun Dodgers
           The Sean Mencher Combo
           Marti Brom

DJ's
           Jerry Chatabox
           Boz Boorer
           Go
           Levi Dexter
           Del Villareal
           James McNally
           Satoshi
           Rob's Chop Shop Record Hop
           PJ
           Burns
           Dave Wolfe
           Vida Lee
           Virgil
           Dr. Leon Berman
MC's
           Big Sandy
           Del Villareal
           Ken Montey
           Levi Dexter
Autograph Tables
           Rockabilly Hall of Fame®
Please pass this info along to all you might find interested ...
Get ready early ... purchase your official "Rockabilly Hall of Fame" Shirts and Hats HERE!





REVIEW: ROCK 'N' ROLL TIME AGAIN
Hemsby Rock 'n' Roll Show No. 33
            30TH September to 3rd October 2004 - At the risk of boring you, a little personal background to this particular Hemsby. Eldest daughter (Superbrat) was currently residing in Australia whilst her husband gained foreign experience for his job as a hospital registrar. Mrs. Wilkinson decided that we were all going out to stay with them and then go on for a tour of New Zealand. However a check with Willie Jeffery, the promoter of Hemsby, revealed that the dates conflicted and thus made for an agonising choice. Result, I came back after the Australian leg of the holiday on the Wednesday, arriving at Hemsby on the Thursday, whilst the rest of the Wilkinson brood went on to the windy isles. Rock 'n' roll prevailed!

Thursday
            Opening (and closing) Hemsby 33 was the Spanish rockabilly outfit The Bop Pills who comprised members from the bands Nu Niles and Los Brioles. The audience-pleasing Robert Gordon followed them. Now Robert is known for the occasional cantankerous mood swings and this was unfortunately one of those happenings. After arriving late on stage, a considerable portion of his set was spent chewing out the backing Hemsby House Band and seemingly changing the set list as it progressed. That said, when he was singing, that chocolate voice of rock 'n' roll was a joy to listen to and his performance was overall well received. The choice of material ranged from the thunderous opening 'The Way I Walk', the sublime 'I Just Found Out', a marvelous reading of the ballad 'Need You (at the special request of Trevor Cajiao, the editor of 'Now Dig This') to the rockin' workouts of Drivin' Wheel' and 'Susie Q'. He also featured songs from his latest CD such as 'Sea Of Heartbreak', Sweet Nothin's', 'Dear One' and 'Little Boy Sad'. It was good to watch new material from Robert.

Friday
            The Unknown, a southern UK band were first on and performed a selection of Ricky Nelson, Presley and Johnny Burnette Trio, together with originals, type material in a rockabilly style. Their first album has just been released.
            The next act scheduled was one of my all time recording favourites, the marvelous Link Wray & The Ray Men. However word came through that very afternoon that Link had influenza and had elected not to travel over from Denmark (his current base). This is understandable when one considers that the Linkster only has one lung and has to take special care. (Do check out his marvelous CD 'They're Outta Here, Says Archie' ­ Rollercoaster RCCD 3032, a just issued 25 track compilation of previously unreleased (in the main) of recordings submitted to Archie Bleyer in 1958 for a proposed album follow up to 'Rumble'). As a substitute, we got a selection of Hemsby acts performing various songs. Of course, this had been quickly cobbled together but it was fun. The Hemsby House Band launched the proceedings with Link's 'Run Chicken Run' followed by Joe Clay on 'Shake Rattle and Roll', (a hot off the airplane) Bobby Hendricks on 'Mustang Sally' and 'Under The Boardwalk' before Robert Gordon took the stage to reprise 'Sea of Heartbreak', 'I Just Found Out and 'The Way I Walk'. This was oh so different, and great, performance to the previous night, it was coordinated and all there. This portion of the show closed out with the Hemsby House Band rockin' with a tasty version of Dick Dale's 'Miserlou' (but lacking that essential trumpet and saxophone - perhaps 'Rumble' would have been a better choice).
            Next up were Wayne Hancock and his American backing musicians (guitar and bass). I have seen Wayne previously and he came across as Hank Williams Snr. on speed, and that is a compliment. This show was no exception except that he kept virtually all his material at the same tempo; a more varied selection would have maximized his impact. However we were treated to Wayne wrapping those marvelous nasal tones around songs such as 'Louisiana Blues', 'Flatland Boogie', 'Lovesick Blues', 'Thunderstorms And Neon Signs, '87 Southbound', 'Johnny Law, 'Hoy Hoy Hoy' and 'That's What Daddy Wants'. I must single out a number titled (I believe) 'My Echo, My Shadow And Me', a superb honky tonk ballad that reeked pure emotion. This was good roots music and all credit to Hemsby for ringing the changes in styles. The final act for Friday was The Sugar Creek Trio who I had last seen as support on the recent Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry UK tour. Jet lag had nailed me by this time and so I retreated to the land of nod but I understand that they gave a more than competent rockabilly show.

Saturday
            Feeling suitably refreshed, and having spoken to Mrs. Wilkinson down under, Saturday's proceedings in the main ballroom commenced with The Briarcats from Germany. This is an experienced band with a varied programme content that they aptly call Swing-O-Billy. Next it was a welcome return to the Hemsby stage for Joe Clay.  I have seen Joe several times previously but this turned out to be one of his best ever shows. He rocked, he rolled, he thumped the heck out of the drums, he minced around the stage but at all times he was exciting. All his cult classics like 'Ducktail', 'Doggone It', 'Get On the Right Track', 'Cracker Jack', Goodbye Goodbye', 'You Look That Good To Me', 'Did You Mean Jelly Bean (What You Said Cabbage Head)', 'Slipping Out And Sneaking In' and a top notch 'Sixteen Chicks' were included. Along the way he also included his versions of 'Lucille', 'Linda Lou' and 'I Hear You Knockin'. That was rock 'n' roll.
            Lee Rocker and his American band then took the stage. Lee was and is, of course, the bass player for the Stray Cats, a band who are phenomenally popular but not one of my personal favourites. It was with some trepidation then that I watched the outfit take the stage but my apprehension was quickly dissipated. The band, consisting of two lead guitarists plus a drummer and Lee on upright bass, was oh so cohesive and Lee's vocals were spot on. I guess that he could be described as the natural successor to the latter day Ronnie Dawson, he was that good. The set consisted of a selection of original tunes such as 'Bullet Proof', 'She's Gone', 'Blue Suede Night', 'One More Shot Of Loving You' and 'A Little Piece Of My Heart' along with a few Stray Cats tunes like 'Rock This Town' and 'Stray Cat Strut'. He also slipped in a few Elvis tunes, including a marvelous interpretation of 'Trying To Get To You' and 'My Baby Left Me', along with Chuck Berry and Hank Williams Snr. ditties. One surprise was a knock out version of Johnny Kidd's 'Please Don't Touch'. Lee's bass playing was of the highest order, including, so I am advised, triple slapping ­ and did I mention that his band was on so good? A truly memorable show, especially as I was not expecting that much. Last on for this night was Gene Gambler & The Shufflers, a spin off from The Rimshots. With a pedigree such as that, you know that they are a fine rockin' outfit.

Sunday
            The final night's shows kicked of with Rudy La Croix & The All Stars, a UK Swindon based band that have previously opened for both The Comets and Scotty Moore. Next came The Go Devils, a mixture of members from Sweden's Go Getters and the UK's Blue Devils. It was quickly evident that their style consisted of bags of bash and thrash. 'Nuff said.  Bobby Hendricks who had been a member of The Drifters, as well as having solo hits followed them. The Swing Kings who had added a new guitarist and drummer for the occasion backed him up. This certainly improved their playing, it was not nearly so pedestrian as on previous occasions. Bobby's years in show business were quickly evident as he was slick and polished, very enjoyable to watch and listen to. The only real complaint is that he elected to concentrate on Drifters material like 'Ruby Baby', 'Dance With Me', 'Up On The Roof', 'Under the Boardwalk, 'Save The Last Dance For Me', 'Drip Drop', 'This Magic Moment, 'Money Honey' and 'There Goes My Baby' to the detriment of his own solo outings. Indeed, the only tune from his own songbook was a very fine 'Itchy Twitchy Feeling', sadly no 'Molly B. Goode' and 'Physco'.
            Hemsby 33 closed out with the return of The Bop Pills along with Hugo Salvage (this is Spanish for Sweden's Wild Fire Willie). Frantic crowd-pleasing rock 'n' roll ensued.
            Overall, another enjoyable festival and I am salivating for Hemsby 34 from 3rd to 9th May 2005 with the line-up that includes three first time UK visitors of Jay Chevalier, The Willows and Roc La Rue, along with the established names of Janis Martin, Jack Earls and Art Adams. This should be something else.
© Tony Wilkinson,
October 2004





 
"Legends of Rockabilly Show"
            Saturday, Nov. 20 at the historic Michigan Theater in Jackson: Starring: CHARLIE GRACIE, WANDA JACKSON, JACK SCOTT and DALE HAWKINS! Showtime: 7:30 Tickets: $25/$30. Information: Call (517) 783-0962.  Note: The HBO camera crew is still following Charlie as they continue to work on his documentary - they will be present at this show as well!





 
"The Rockin' Granny" R.I.P.
            Cordell Jackson "The Rockin' Granny" died Thursday evening, October 14, 2004. She was 81. She had been ill for 9 months. Cordell came from a hospital stay  and played at the Sun Block Party this past July.  
            When Sam Phillips didn't put her songs on Sun, she called RCA in Nashville. Chet Atkins answered and he mastered her Moon Records and got them pressed by RCA.  
            Tav Falco and punk rockers gave her new recognition in the 1980's. She did her first paying gig for $50 at age 62. It was at Memphis main punk club (the Antenna Club) for a generally young audience.   In 1991, she did a Budweiser commercial on Beale St. instructing Brian Seltzer how to play his guitar.
            For years Cordell had a music museum in her house. She could record there. Guests were welcome. She wanted to be called in advance. She still was doing that recently and still was releasing Moon recordings. Most were country or gospel the last decade.
            Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee Col. Robert Morris and Bob Holden had known and worked with Cordell for over 20 years. She was noted for playing a bright red Hagstrom guitar during her entire career. Cordell did not drink alcohol or take drugs.
http://www.cordelljackson.com





Wanda Jackson Nominated
            The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has just announced the nominees for induction in 2005 and they include such diverse groups as the Sex Pistols, U2, and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. This year, the Sex Pistols are joined by Patti Smith and the Stooges to round out the punk-era noms. In order for an artist to be eligible for enshrinement, their initial release must be 25 years old. Other 2005 nominees include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gram Parsons, Randy Newman, country legend Conway Twitty, and R&B acts the O'Jays, Percy Sledge, and Wanda Jackson. Voters received ballots in the mail last week and the inductees will be announced sometime in November. The Hall's 20th enshrinement ceremony is scheduled to take place in New York in March.

Help Wanda Get Inducted ...
Click Here for More Information





More Than 120 Interviews with Family and Close Friends
New Authorized Johnny Cash
Bio Shows The Real Man in Black

            The September 13th, 2004 Release of "The Man Called Cash" will coincide With one-year anniversary of the legend's death. Very few musical legends have captured the hearts of generations as fervently as Johnny Cash, the so-called "Man In Black." Now, a new Cash family-endorsed book documents his storied life and career through his eyes and, for the first time, those of all of his children and many of his close friends and associates. W Publishing Group will release the exclusive authorized biography, entitled The Man Called CASH: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend (WPG; 0-8499-1820-0; September 2004), written by veteran music biographer Steve Turner, in time for the first anniversary of the icon's death.
            Originally intended to be Cash's spiritual autobiography, the new 284-page tome is a comprehensive glimpse into the dramatic, yet well-accomplished life, of Johnny Cash - from his early days being raised on a settlement colony in Dyess, Arkansas, in the 1930s and '40s, through his signing up with Sam Phillips's Sun Records, his decades of performing at both major venues and honky-tonks, state fairs, and showrooms across the country, his evangelical pursuits, and his later health problems, during which he still forged ahead by performing and composing up to the very end.
            With access to previously-unpublished letters, private photographs, friends, colleagues and family in Cash's life, author and veteran rock journalist Steve Turner (U2's Rattle and Hum, Conversations with Eric Clapton) paints a portrait of Cash as a strong rebel of a man with a deep well of faith, as well as highlights of what influenced every part of his life: his music, his family, his marriage, and his many friendships. This is a unique and intimate perspective of one of America's best known and most loved figures, who first etched the lifelines of America's consciousness with quintessential tunes like "I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire," "A Boy Named Sue" and "Ballad of a Teenage Queen." It traces Cash's evolving interest from musician to actor to writer, all the while being an enthusiastic Christian. Singer/songwriter/actor Kris Kristofferson, one of Cash's best friends, has contributed the book's very evocative foreword.
            Cash's life is documented here as never before in past biographies and even his two autobiographies written in 1975 and 1997—it delves extensively into Cash's final years, covering the untold story of his wife June Carter Cash's illness and death and its effect on Cash. Almost 90 of the interviewees have never spoken on-the-record about their relationship with him before, and it's the first time all of his children have contributed to a single project, and the book goes more in-depth into all stages of his life, even devoting a full chapter to Cash's four-year tenure in the U.S. Air Force, where he wrote his first songs, including "Hey! Porter" and "Belshazzar."
            These pages delve into the musical, spiritual and traveling journeys that Cash experienced over the course of his 71 years: the Grammy Award-winning prolific musician who recorded more than 1,500 songs from 1955 on, which are found on about 500 albums worldwide; the devoted family man whose children had close relationships with their dad; the troubled artist who battled with drug addictions and other inner demons throughout his lifetime; the down-to-earth American who wrote and performed songs for the everyday American and performed in prisons all over the country, including Folsom and San Quentin; the patriot who proudly sang about our nation's history on TV series and specials, and in movies, rightfully earning the title "America's foremost singing storyteller"; and the icon who was and is well-respected by peers from Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan to U2's Bono. Readers will also learn of the man who was just as much an aficionado of gospel and spirituals as the country sound he was initially known for, his holy treks to Israel and also his humanitarian achievements.
            "My aim was to produce a book that would have something new for the Johnny Cash experts as well as for the general fan and the outsider who may only have a superficial knowledge of Cash but love reading biographies," says author Steve Turner. "I think I have succeeded in that his manager Lou Robin, who worked closely with him for 35 years, told me that I had found out things that even he didn't know."
            Among the other fascinating facets of Cash's life revealed in The Man Called Cash:
- His candid feelings about his first recordings and first major concerts.
- The untold story of June Carter Cash's illness and death and its effect on Cash.
- Details of his final months alone and his last recording.
- Three of his childhood sweethearts talking for the first time.
- The effect his drug binges had on friends and family.
- How his children felt about his divorce, and the reasons behind his divorce.
- His first time in a jail cell.
- How his 1969 TV series, "The Johnny Cash Show" impacted Nick Cave, Bono and Rick Rubin.
- The story behind the filming of his famed San Quentin concert.
- The ordination that allowed him to start his own church, preach, baptise and marry.
- The rivalry he felt towards Elvis Presley — as labelmates on Sun Records, they initially shared the same management and toured together.
- The impact of his Christian faith on those around him.
- The author's previously unpublished interview with Cash, in which he discusses meeting Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Michael Jackson, his extensive properties, public misconceptions, drugs, faith, creativity, books, America and the death of his brother.
            Look for The Man Called CASH: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend (WPG; 0-8499-1820-0) in stores this September 2004.





"Hard-Headed Woman:
A Celebration of Wanda Jackson"

            (CD to be released on Bloodshot Records in the Fall of 2004.) There's nothing like a bunch of renegades paying tribute to a renegade - and that's what you've got on Hard Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson. Like the Maverick Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, the artists who salute her on this recording have long followed their own musical vision outside mainstream country and rock.
            This album got its start when some of us were on a panel together at South by Southwest in March 2002, exploring the work of Wanda Jackson and questioning why such a groundbreaking artist in the history of rock & roll had not been given her due. On the panel sat Bloodshot Records' honcho Rob Miller (formerly a DJ with his own vintage rockabilly show), chanteuse Kristi Rose (whose torchy version of Wanda's This Should Go On Forever is here), documentary filmmaker Beth Harrington, moi, and the Rockabilly Queen herself. The audience was filled with her fans, including the Japanese all-gal, ukulele - playing trio Perry Buka, who've covered her songs for years. Some of Wanda's fondest memories are of her tours of Japan, where she is treated like a goddess and where her Fujiyama Mama remains a standard. (Check out how Trailer Bride turned Fujiyama Mama into an apocalyptic dirge befitting the lyrics!)
            That March in Austin we started making plans to record an album of songs associated with Wanda, with tracks contributed by a crew of folks who - like us - hope that people will hear the music and use it as a springboard to pick up her original albums (the first two have been reissued with added tracks by Capitol Records). On the panel that day, Rob Miller put it like this: "Wanda's music so obviously comes from the gut that it elicits a visceral reaction, and that has little to do with the confining rules of the marketplace - it's plan that Wanda and her work were not created by a bunch of suits at a marketing meeting. It is her."
            Beth Harrington, whose superb 2002 documentary "Welcome to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly" prominently features Wanda, pointed out that Wanda's rebellious attitude and "do it my way or no way" ethos was an inadvertent template for the punk movement a quarter century later. Add in some of her songs' subject matter and her gender - the fact that she could get up onstage and shimmy 'n shake in her fringed dresses during a time when Elvis was being filmed from the waist up - and her impact becomes even greater.
            Wanda, who started her career more than fifty years ago, is pretty humble about her accomplishments, but she did tell me this about the influence her career has had on other women who wanted to pursue a life in music. "Through the years, many girl artists have come to me and told me some really wonderful stories about how they got into music, and many times I did play a major role in at least giving them the courage to do the music that they felt in their soul - just the way I did." She went on, "It's always gratifying when you feel like you've influenced someone to follow their dreams. Rosie Flores said she loved to sing, but until she heard my record, she didn't know exactly what she wanted to sing - so that gave her direction." (Rosie contributed a swingin' version of Middle of a Heartache to this set.)
            Thanks to Rosie Flores, in 1996, Wanda started performing on nightclub stages in the States again after playing mostly in Europe or singing strictly gospel music in America for much of the previous decade. Rosie put together a tour with Wanda and many of us got to see the woman responsible for Right or Wrong, Hot Dog!, Funnel of Love, and Let's Have a Party live for the first time. For me and Laura Cantrell (who here does a splendid cover of Wasted, written by Wanda and her dad Tom Jackson), that opportunity came at New York's Bottom Line. "I was so excited to see Wanda perform," Laura recalls. "You just don't see many artists of her generation on the road. She came out in that white pantsuit with the fringe on it and told her story of how she would wear the fringed dresses as a teenager because the motion of the fringe could be suggestive without having to be revealing. She sang great, and I hung on every word, every note. I was amazed that this many years later, she sounded and looked so great." (You can see Wanda, circa 1959, in a white fringed frock belting out Hard-Headed Woman on the Ranch Party TV show, which always draws a crowd around the film screen where it's projected at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame.)
            Wanda really appreciates the response her music continues to elicit today: "What a thrill it was to find all these new-generation rockabilly fans and all those neat venues that I worked with Rosie," she gushes. "She really put me back on the map here in America!" And there's been no stopping Wanda ever since. In the past decade or so, she's won over tons more fans through her live appearances and recent recordings, Heart Trouble, featuring Elvis Costello, the Cramps, and Dave Alvin, and The Wanda Jackson Show: Live and Still Kickin', which was recorded at a pair of New York City clubs in 2003.
            Wanda acolyte, Kristie Rose, began listening to and studying Wanda's platters in the early '80s when she started fronting her band the Midnight Walkers - and found herself a role model. "Wanda Jackson's voice is what first drew me to her," Kristi recalls. "And the way she looked, the way she dressed - you already heard that in her voice before you even saw her. she brought such a gorgeous sense of sensuousness to the stage - a woman putting forth a woman's point of view, presenting herself in a way that had tremendous allure. She was the first woman of rock & roll, not a little sassed - up girl."
            Laura Cantrell, who spins Wanda's original sides on her popular Radio Thriftshop program on WFMU, describes Wanda's music and legacy this way: "Wanda has a very unique voice, with a real edge on it, very country, but also with some amazing energy in it. She can be a little raucous, growl and yelp and have fun in a way that some of the more staid ladies of her day would have felt was too wild. Wanda could hold her own against loud guitars and fast rhythms. She had an authentic country music voice, one that came from the traditions of country but also took the music to a new place, a younger generation at the time. The persona she developed was an advancement from the days when women in country music needed a 'sweet' image; she was country's first rebellious teenage girl and grew into one of the music's most sophisticated, worldly performers."
            The performers - gals and guys - who appear here to pay tribute to Wanda come from Chicago, Texas, Tennessee, Canada, Holland, Missouri, Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, and performed: rockabilly, country, boogie-woogie, gospel, pop, rock & roll, Western swing, honky-tonk and blues. They have in common the fact that they love Wanda's music and know the long shadow that her work casts. Her songs and her music provide a direct line to the punk movement, to riot girls, and a host of other musical developments.
            We hope that the wide range fo artists and interpretations included on this recording will testify to the vast influence Wanda Jackson has had - and how her influence still reverberates today. Long live that "Hard-Headed Woman"! Holly George-Warren, Phoenicia, New York
            Many thanks to Wanda Jackson and Wendell Goodman, Clare Butler, Todd Butler, Michael Bloom, Laura Cantrell, Kristi Rose, Rosie Flores, Katy K, Beth Harrington, Andy Flynn, Grant Alden, Peter Blackstock, Carla DeSantis, Robert and Jack Warren, the Brio Bunch, Mark Spencer, Jon Langford, Aretha Sill, Richard Weitz, Gina Simpson, Arthur Levy, Rudi Protrudi, Steve Weitzman, Cheryl Palewski, and all the musicians who made this album possible, and of course Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw at Bloodshot.





10th Annual Eddie Cochran
Festival in Chippenham, Sept. 23-26

            On 23rd September the world's top rock-n-roll performer, LIttle Richard, will arrive in Chippenham, Wiltshire to headline the 10th Anniversary Eddie Cochran Festival from Friday 24th until Sunday 26th September 2004. At the end of 2001 Little Richard announced that he was retiring from touring, but has played selected venues maninly in the USA. He was asked to consider coming over to Chippenham for this special event and accepted the offer. Little Richard was on the 1957 tour of Australia with Eddie Cochran who played on stage with Little Richard's band.
            Formed in 1995, the Eddie Cochran Appreciation Society has organised an annual rock-n-roll festival paying tribute to the music and memory or the great Eddie Cochran who, in April 1960, following a sellout tour and final concert at the Bristol Hippodrome, was sadly killed in a car accident in Chippenham, whilst en route to London. Fellow US rock-n-roll singer Gene Vincent and Eddie's girl friend Sharon Sheeley were travelling with Eddie but both survived the accident.
            To mark 10 years of this highly acclaimed international event, many more top artistes from the USA and UK will be performing over the festival weekend in a specially built concert tent in Monkton Park, Chippenham, and the festival organisation expect to attract upto 6000 daily for this unique event, with visitors from the USA, Scandinavia, the Chzec Republic, Europe and the UK.
            On Friday Bill Haley's original 1957 Comets will be on stage along with top UK rocker' Dave Edmunds' and his band, plus Mike Berry and Eddie Cochran's nephew 'Bobby Cochran'. Special guest will be Stan Perkins who is the son of the legendart 'Carl Perkins', with Stan and his all star UK band will be another musical legend - drummer 'DJ Fontana' who played drums on many of the Elvis Presley hits alond with Scotty Moore.
            Saturday will be headlined by the 'King of Rock-n-Roll' "Little Richard" with his US band, also on the show will be 'The Crickets' who not only toured and recorded with the late Buddy Holly, but also recorded many songs with Eddie Cochran including - Cherished Memories, Cut Across Shorty and Eddie's final hit record "Three Steps To Heaven".
            One of the worlds top guitarist and former Cricket, 'Albert Lee' will be playing with his band Hogans Heroes, former Shadow's bass player, the very popular 'Jet Harris' will play many of hit hit instrumentals backed by The Rapiers, Rebel Dean who plays Eddie Cochran in the the musical "Rockin on Heavens Door" and the top Gene Vincent tribute band from Paris ' Ervin Travis & The Virginians' will also be here.
            Closing the Weekend on Sunday will see Marty Wilde & The Wildcats who headlined the very first Eddie Cochran Festival back in 1995 and special guest from the USA Charlie Gracie, who was a close friend of Eddie Cochran. Many 'brits' on this show include Terry Dene, Vince Eager, Matchbox and Chas Hodges (from Chas & Dave fame)with his Rock-n-Roll Trio.
            Over the festival weekend there will be classic car cruises, memorabilia stalls, guitar workshops, jive lessons concluding with a festival service close to the Eddie Cochran Memorial at Rowden Hill Chippenham.
            Ticket prices range from £70 - £80 for a weekend ticket with day tickets also available. For more information visit: www.rockabillyhall.com/chippenham04.html or call 01249 656350/463303/07879 040 723
            The Eddie Cochran 10th Anniversary Rock-n-Roll Festival is been hailed as the biggest since trhe London Rock-n-Roll Show held at Wembley Stadium in 1972.


CLICK HERE FOR WEB PAGE VERSION






Stray Cats:
European Tour 2004


16 JULY 2004 - Manchester Apollo, Manchester, England
            RUMBLE IN BRIGHTON, DOUBLE TALKIN' BABY, SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH MY RADIO, UBANGI STOMP, STRAY CAT STRUT, GENE & EDDIE, TOO HIP GOTTA GO, SLEEPWALK, I WON'T STAND IN YOUR WAY, MY BABY LEFT ME, REV IT UP & GO, BLAST OFF, 18 MILES TO MEMPHIS, BRING IT BACK AGAIN, FISHNET STOCKINGS, RUNAWAY BOYS, ROCK THIS TOWN, THAT'S ALL RIGHT, BRAND NEW CADILLAC, SEXY & 17, 20 FLIGHT ROCK, PLEASE DON'T TOUCH

18 JULY 2004 - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, England
            RUMBLE IN BRIGHTON, DOUBLE TALKIN' BABY, SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH MY RADIO, UBANGI STOMP, STRAY CAT STRUT, GENE & EDDIE, TOO HIP GOTTA GO, SLEEPWALK, BABY BLUE EYES, MY BABY LEFT ME, REV IT UP & GO, BLAST OFF, 18 MILES TO MEMPHIS, BRING IT BACK AGAIN, FISHNET STOCKINGS, RUNAWAY BOYS, ROCK THIS TOWN, THAT'S ALL RIGHT, MYSTERY TRAIN, OH BOY, SEXY & 17, PLEASE DON'T TOUCH





            Manchester - After 24 years of waiting, I finally got to see the Stray Cats live, and the wait sure was worth it. These had to be the best rockabilly shows I've ever seen. They're playing was so tight and energetic and the selection of songs was a great mix of the hits, a couple of covers and some well chosen album tracks.
            Due to work commitments the good woman was unable to attend the Manchester gig so my best buddy Johnny "Broken Pitching Wedge" Galbraith came instead and we had a ball. The support band, the Cathouse Creepers played highly charged set which was slightly marred by an inadequate sound system. After what seemed like an eternity the interval was over and the house lights dimmed. To the strains of Johnny Burnette's Rockabilly Boogie those three cool cats from NYC strode onstage to an overwhelming reception.
            They launched into Rumble In Brighton and it was ambition delivered. For the next hour and three quarters they rocked the town at an unrelenting pace. Highlights were many, but if pushed I'd say Ubangi Stomp, Blast Off, Bring It Back Again and Gene and Eddie were the tip-top daddies. Please Don't Touch was amazing in the encores, surely this should be issued as a single. The beat that Slim Jim and Lee Rocker lay down is so hypnotic. Rocker plays more notes than just about any other bass player I've heard and after watching Slim Jim play the drums ("not one to sit down on the job" - Setzer) I think all drum stools should be gathered together and burned. As for Brian Setzer, he's dynamite. There was a great bit towards the end when he said "this is the reason I started playing guitar, Eddie Cochran" and they launched into Twenty Flight Rock - bloody marvellous. It's great when you finally get to see your heroes and they don't let you down.



            London - After spending a couple of hours (or was it days) on the A40 it was a great relief to get into the Empire, just in time to see Hillbilly Explosion. They were okayish, highlights being the gal's shite fruit juggling and the voice of the poshest double bass player I've ever heard. You could just imagine him saying, "here's one that one scribed on the penthouse veranda" - very rock and indeed roll!!
            The Stray Cats were brilliant again tonight despite some tosser chucking a pint at Setzer during the opener. Slim Jim pointed the culprit out and looked like he'd have been happy to spend ten minutes with him down an alleyway. Changes from the set list tonight saw them do Oh Boy and Your Baby Blue Eyes. The only disappointment of the night was the omission of I Won't Stand In Your Way, the one song Julie was desperately looking forward to. Nice to see the Cochran Connection editor Bill Beard at the gig, and he was more than happy with Gene and Eddie. Sat just down from us and seeming to enjoy the show as much as anyone was Robert Plant.
            It must have been such a great feeling for the band to return to London, twenty four years after they'd arrived here with two bucks and three instruments between them. They came back and conquered the capital again, although this time their lives didn't depend on it. Hopefully they'll be back next year, with a new album on the shelves. I can't wait. These guys are the rockinest cats in the galaxy, and we had Blast Off!
Shaun Mather
Shaun.mather@btinternet.com
July 2004






Colin Winski is Back!
            Following the re-release of 'Helldorado' on Fury Records, Rockabilly Hall of Fame artist, Colin Winski, is back on stage! This time around he is reuniting with Pat Moore on guitar/steel guitar, Mario Moreno on rhythm guitar, Steve Clark on drums and Lisa Clark on upright bass. Catch Colin Winski and the Helldorado Band at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, August 15th. Doors open at 8:00PM. For more information, check out Colin's website: www.colinwinski.com






Ersel Hickey - June 27, 1934 - July 9, 2004
            Ersel Hickey passed away at NYU Medical Center on Friday July 9, 2004 at 3:02pm. Ersel was admitted into hospital on Feb 27. Prior to going into hospital, he was having respiratory problems which were attended to at home. While in the hospital they discovered a cancerous tumor, having to remove his bladder as the tumor was near his kidneys.
            At the end of May, Ersel Hickey came back home and was feeling better. He was slowly gaining back some weight he lost. Ersel said "I was grateful for the well wishes forwarded to me via email. It really picked me up when I needed it. Thank you everyone".
            In June, Ersel went back in with an infection and passed away there. Many thanks go to all the staff that treated Ersel. Ersel's trying days were given a lift from a doctor that was there for Ersel. Special thanks to Rahmin A Rabenou for bring joy and warmth. Ersel is survived by his common-law partner Erica.
            Ersel will be missed. He had a sweet nature and was very kind. He was loved by more people than he'll ever know. - Johnny Vallis.
            Information on Ersel's life and music: http://www.rockabillyhall.com/ErselHickey.html.






  • Roc LaRue on stage again after a 30 year hiatus. On Friday, June 25, 2004 Roc performed at David Loehr's 12th Annual Rockabilly Rebel Weekender in Indianpolis, IN. Joining him were his two sons. Roc sang, played, danced, wiggled and yodeled his way into the hearts of hundreds of rockabilly fans that evening.







                Outside of the Stray Cats all three are still active in their solo ventures. The Brian Setzer Orchestra has a double CD, The Ultimate Collection, a double CD set recorded live in Montreal, which hits the European stores this week, followed by the States on 13th July and Japan on 22nd July. Lee Rocker has Burnin' Love: The Best of Lee Rocker coming out very soon, which contains songs from all of Lee's post-Stray Cats albums as well as 7 brand-new tracks. The package also includes three videos and a 16-page booklet . Slim Jim will be back in the UK with the highly acclaimed group, Dead Men Walking. For further details on any of these projects and other up-to-date news, visit their websites at;
    http://www.briansetzer.com
    http://www.leerocker.com
    http://www.slimjimphantom.com






    ONE MAN'S DREAM:
    To Preserve Early Rock History and Give
    Recognition to Those Who Made it Happen

                Bob Timmers, a part time musician in the late '50s and through the 60's, from Wisconsin, has pursued his dream to find the lesser known originators of rock and roll music, document their history and preserve their music . . . CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE STORY





    REVIEW: ROCK 'N' ROLL TIME AGAIN
    Hemsby Rock 'n' Roll Show No. 32
    4TH May to 9th May 2004

                Several people commented to myself before the latest Hemsby that, on paper, the bill did not look so strong this time around. Not sure that I could agree with them but, based on the actual event, this was a wonderful rock 'n' roll festival. This is one of the two times a year that Mrs. Wilkinson smiles at me (the other is the October Hemsby) as I set out northwards in the car. A few hours later, I was immersing myself in the great buzz surrounding the event that is known as Hemsby.

    Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday
                Whilst regular work commitments prevented myself getting there for the first two nights, I understand that the two opening acts acquitted themselves well. First up on Tuesday was local band Porky & His Good Luck Charms whilst Wednesday night had the South London based outfit Peter Hutton & the Beyonders.
                The first act that I was able to catch was The Donettes, a high energy group from Seattle in Washington State. The programme advised us that there were a three girl to guys outfit but on this appearance, one of the young ladies was missing. As a side note, there was a young lady wandering around the reception area after the Donettes performance playing a guitar and singing Gene Maltais's 'Ragin' Sea'. Based on the pictures on the groups' releases, she did bear a strong resemblance to the missing person. However I digress, back to the Donettes show. This was good rockin' music well played and presented with one of the two remaining young ladies, who announced that she was from Austin, Texas, competently taking the lion's share of the lead vocals whilst the lead guitar work was from one of the guys who was good. Their set comprised a selection of original tunes and covers, all of which rocked out nicely, albeit there were too many numbers at a similar fast tempo. I especially enjoyed 'Hey Little Boy Scout', 'Rocket 69', 'Hitch My Hot Rod To A Star', 'Cry, Cry, Cry', and 'Mercy'. The band received a great response from the audience and clearly should go far.
                Next up was Boston, Massachusetts based Barrance Whitfield. Backed up by the Hemsby house band, who were augmented by twin saxes, he launched into a frantic spell binding no holds barred wild rock 'n' roll show out of the Little Richard school. Opening up with 'Rockin' The Mule In Kansas', this was wonderful stuff and full of energy. From here the total assault on the senses continued with 'Big Mamou', 'Bloody Mary', 'I'm In The Madhouse', 'Juicy Fruit' an outrageous 'Caveman' and 'Bip Bop Bim'. This was pure excitement with Whitfield and the band blending well and clearly sparking off each other. On we went with the screaming rock 'n' roll of 'Wild Cherry', 'Geronimo Rock', 'Sadie Green', 'Stop Twisting My Arm' before concluding with a reprise of 'Bloody Mary'. The stage antics had been brilliant and everybody up on the stage had given 110%. There was tumultuous applause and clearly the crowd hungered for more, this was to be satisfied on Saturday night. Make no mistake, this guy is a headliner of the first order and I have not enjoyed a performance such as this in quite a little while.

    Friday
                First live performance of the night was from Rocket 88, complete with their original line-up and fronted by Leroy Bradley. They were followed by The Go-Getters, a three piece from Sweden, deputizing for a poorly Ersel Hickey who had unfortunately been hospitalized back in the USA. Hopefully Ersel will make a full recovery and this was only a postponement. The Go-Getters were popular with the younger element of the audience as they served up a selection of numbers with bags of thrash and bash. Opening up with 'Rock It On Down To My House Baby', this was followed by the likes of 'Hip Shakin' Baby', 'Let's Fall In Love', (the Jack Earls) 'Slow Down', 'The Devil Made Me Do It' before making a welcome change in pace with the slower 'I Wonder'. The main vocalist was the snare playing drummer but the guitarist did take over the lead for a few numbers. Other songs included 'Black Magic Woman', 'Tired And Sleepy', a heavy version of 'Brand New Cadillac' (performed in the style of the UK group The Pirates), 'Slow Down' (Larry Williams song), 'Mexico, 'Ice Cold Baby' and a fitting tribute to the late Ronnie Dawson with 'Jump Jivin' Doll'.
                Before the next act, UK disc jockey Wild Cat Pete was presented by Hayden Thompson with a certificate inducting him into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for forty years completed as a rock 'n' roll DJ. Nice gesture and obviously deserved.
                Go Cat Go then took the stage. This was the original line-up apart from obviously the late Darren Spears whose place on lead vocals was taken by Eddie Clendening who had been last in the UK last March with Deke Dickerson. It was a bit of a hesitant start, clearly all were somewhat nervous and probably a little rusty but as the set progressed, it came good and the outfit was a cohesive unit. This was an enjoyable set with a good balance of numbers and varied tempos. Clendening's vocals and stage movements were suited to the backing provided by Brian Freeman on bass, Lance LeBeau on drums and special mention must be made of the picking from the lead guitarist Bill Hall that was spot on. The show comprised a mixture of original songs such as the crowd pleasers 'Please Mama Please' (which had to be performed twice), 'Forever's Much Too Long', 'Little Baby Doll', 'Ten Ways To Rock' and 'Can't Tie Me Down' along with the bands interpretations of such as 'Flying Saucers Rock 'n' Roll', 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' and 'Just Because'. I especially enjoyed 'Hot Rod Man', 'Who Was That Cat' and 'I've Got My Eyes On You'. A fine group who garnered a good reception and hopefully they may now continue performing. Closing out Friday's performances were The Blue Flames with their mixture of R&B and rockin' blues.

    Saturday
                The programme advises that the first act on in the main ballroom was Boni Maki & The Sun Dodgers but unfortunately I was unable to catch their show. They were followed by a 77 year young Jimmy Cavello making his second UK appearance along with his own lead guitarist Ron Spencer. In the two years since he last made these shores, he had lost none of his impact and proceed to wow the audience with a demonstration of what showmanship was all about. His vocals were excellent and his sax playing sublime. With no messing, he went straight into 'Rock The Joint' followed by 'Bloodshot Eyes', 'Leave Married Women Alone' and 'The Big Beat'. The last mentioned had three saxophone players playing in unison. Cavello was seamless with the Hemsby house band. and this was demonstrated on 'Poor Me', 'Sick And Tired' before going into a splendid 'Rock Rock Rock'. Then it was back to the Fats Domino songbook with 'Please Don't Leave Me' which Jimmy demonstrated was the forerunner to Bill Dogett's 'Honky Tonk'. It was great to see an instrumental performed so appetisingly well. With guitarist Ron Spencer well to the fore, we were then treated to the 1946 and 1963 versions of 'Fannie Brown' before dropping into perhaps an unnecessary workout on 'What'd I Say'. However all was redeemed with the closing numbers 'Jump Jive And Wail' and a reprise of 'Rock Rock Rock'.
                It was then time for the rockabilly singer extraordinaire, Hayden Thompson. Demonstrating complete confidence, the set opened up with 'Love My Baby' with the lead guitar duties being adopted by Dave Briggs on leave from the Avengers for the night. Without seeming to pause for breath, we were then treated to 'Fairlane Rock', 'Blues Blues Blues', 'One Broken Heart' before dropping into two of those infernal medleys. The first was of Johnny Cash songs and I have to admit that 'Ring Of Fire' came off oh so well. The second was a mixture of Presley songs recorded whilst he (Elvis) was at Sun. However we were soon back on course in no uncertain manner with 'Don't You Worry', 'Cheese and Crackers', ''Kansas City' and 'Call Me Shorty'. Hayden's voice remains very powerful, one of the best in the business, and a real pleasure to listen to. The set ploughed on in no uncertain manner with 'You Win Again', 'You Are My Sunshine' and a gob smacking workout on 'Mama Mama Mama'. He closed out with 'Just Because', 'Folsom Prison Blues and a fine 'Rockabilly Gal'. Me, I could listen to that voice all night.
                However we were not over treat wise for the night as Barrance Whitfield was back with a second set of the weekend. Seemingly he had lost some money in dubious circumstances. There had been a whip round to make up the shortfall and part of this was to play a second set, something that he had wanted to do in any event. Backed up by the Hemsby House band, who did work oh so hard this festival, and Jimmy Cavello on some numbers, were again treated to pulverizing rock 'n' roll for around half an hour. Okay it was time again for 'Bloody Mary', 'Sadie Green', 'Stop Twisting My Arm and 'Caveman' but what the heck did it matter. This was flat out enjoyment. For good measure, we were also served up with a sparkling interpretation of Smiley Lewis's 'Shame Shame Shame'. This was going to be difficult to top but the closing band for the night, Spo-Dee-O-Dee from Germany gave it their best shot, sufficiently for there still to be a buzz the following day.

    Sunday
                The time this weekend had flown by and in no time at all, or so it seemed, here we were on the final night of Hemsby 32. Opening up were The Rockin' Bandits who hail from Andover and have been in existence since 1991. Four attractive ladies, Reather Dixon, Emma Pought, Pamela McMullen and Debra Thompson, who collectively are known as The Bobbettes, then followed them. Boy this was a visual and musical treat. The ladies were stunningly turned out and proceeded to rock their stockings off with 'Ain't That Good News'. The stage movements were well co-coordinated but it was obvious that the backing musicians, the Swing Kings, were going to be rather pedestrian. Unfortunately this proved to be the case throughout the act but all credit to The Bobbettes as they certainly surmounted this hurdle. They followed this song with 'I Don't Like It Like That', the answer version to Chris Kenner's 'I Like It Like That'. It was then time for some lovely doo wop singing with 'Look at The Stars and 'Eddie My Love' and the ladies excelled. Upping the proceedings, we were then treated to 'Rock And Ree-A-Zole' before going into 'Oh Mein Papa'. This is a naff song but all credit as they carried it off well as they did the next number 'Zoomy'. Next came a musical highlight with the ballad 'You Are My Sweetheart', a powerhouse reading. Then it was time for the classic 'Mr. Lee' which was segued into 'I Shot Mr. Lee'. Their relatively short set was concluded with another workout of 'You are My Sweetheart' together with 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. Sadly that was it, no 'Dance with Me Georgie', but a stimulating performance nonetheless. Hemsby 32 finished off, live act wise, with The Mean Devils, a Portuguese and French outfit who in the now traditional style were a band who delivered their songs in a no holds barred frantic tempo. Crowd pleasers for sure.
                This Hemsby, allowing for the new camp restrictions, was a near sell out. I really enjoyed myself and am looking forward to Hemsby 33 in October 2004 that has Link Wray, Joe Clay, Robert Gordon, Bobby Hendricks, Wayne Hancock and Lee Rocker as the scheduled visiting American headliners. See's you there.
                © Tony Wilkinson, May 2004.
                SHOW REVIEW
                FROM THE DESK OF TONY WILKINSON
  • See: Barry Dixon's Hemsby #32 Photos





    Ken Keene: 1941-2004
                Kenneth Wayne Keene, (Ken Keene), manager and promoter for International entertainer and recording artist Frankie Ford, passed away on Sunday, May 2, 2004 at approximately 6:30 PM, due to complications of diabetes. He was the son of the late Dorsey Keene and Leah Keene-Nunley and the brother of Roberta Nunley-Buetow. Mr. Keene was the business partner and "brother" of Frankie Ford for over thirty-five years, as well as his extended family of Eddie Mahne, Jr. and Curtis & Nancy Hebert. Ken Keene was born on April 12, 1941 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
                During his long career as manager, Mr. Keene was responsible for booking Frankie Ford at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Madison Square Garden, Hollywood Bowl, Universal Amphitheater, and the Fox theatres in Atlanta and St. Louis. High points of his dynamic career also included bookings at the Chicago Theatre following Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, and Dionne Warwick and booking Mr. Ford at Lincoln Center in New York. Ken was the producer of three of Frankie Ford's latest CDs, along with various other artists that he managed. Ken Keene received an award by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for producing the country song "The Twelfth of Never". Mr. Keene was a member of ASCAP, BMI, and NARAS and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
                "It is indeed a sad - sad day. We of the Frankie Ford Family are deeply saddened by the loss of Ken Keene - OUR Manager and Friend ... The - Musicians, Singers, off stage supporting cast, and the Many Fans and Friends and Supporters around the World - join in this loss".





    Curtis Gordon RIP
                May 3, 2004 - Sadly the death of Curtis Gordon at age 75 from cancer on 2nd May 2004 has been announced. Curtis was a genuine honky tonk singer who had his recording heyday from the early to mid fifties. However in recent times, his talent has been acknowledged as a first rate rockabilly singer with classics such as 'Rock, Roll, Jump And Jive, 'I'm Sittin' On Top (Of The World)', Mobile, Alabama' and 'Draggin'. Curtis appeared before sell-out crowds at such rock 'n' roll festivals as Hemsby in the UK and Viva Las Vegas in the USA.
                Born on 27th July 1928 near Moultrie, Georgia, his formative years were spent on a farm listening to records of country greats like Ernest Tubb, Jimmie Rodgers and western swing ace Bob Wills. Gordon formed his first band on 1st January 1949 and carried his own musicians with him until his retirement as a regular performer. 
                He was signed to RCA Records after winning a talent competition in June 1952 and stayed with the label until late 1954 when he signed with the Mercury label. Most of his recorded output was pure honky tonk but the aforementioned rockabilly titles were cut at a session in 1956.
                I had the pleasure of spending some time with Curtis at an appearance at the sadly missed shows out on a Saturday night at Camden Town Hall, London in the nineties and he was a true gentleman. An immense talent, both on record and on the stage, he will be sadly missed.
    Tony Wilkinson
    May 2004





    Ray Condo Gone at Age 53
                It is with great sadness and regret we report that Canadian rockabilly legend Ray Condo has unexpectedly died at the age of 53. Condo was born in Hull, Quebec and was raised on a musical diet of Elvis, Hank Williams and Ronnie Hawkins. Although Condo's first band (which he formed after moving to Vancouver) was a punk act called The Secret Vs, he eventually found his way back to his roots, becoming interested in rockabilly and western swing. He spent 11 years in Montreal playing with the band The Hardrock Goners before returning again to Vancouver to front Ray Condo And The Ricochets.
                The Richochets led many young Canadian indie club patrons to rockabilly, as the band toured incessantly over the years. They released a series of albums, the most recent one being 2000's High And Wild. Condo was still in prime touring shape before his death, with plans to visit Australia, Europe and the U.S.
                Naturally, the Canadian roots and rock scenes are in mourning this tragic news and a few events have been scheduled in Condo's memory. Vancouverites can celebrate Condo's life this Saturday (April 17) at the Railway Club from 4 to 7 p.m. Another tribute will be held in Montreal on Saturday at the Wheel Club. In Toronto photographer Gayle Hurmuses will celebrate what would have been Condo's 54th birthday on May 16.





    Part of the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll Celebration
    Memphis Hosts Global Moment in Time
                As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll, Memphis, the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, hosted the "Global Moment in Time" on July 5, 2004. The "Global Moment in Time" officially marked the day when Elvis Presley recorded his first single "That's All Right" at Sun Studio in Memphis in 1954. It became a pivotal moment in rock history, considered "the big bang" in the dawn of the rock 'n' roll era.
                At 12 noon ET, radio stations around the world were encouraged to simultaneously play "That's All Right" in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll. The original recording was available live via satellite from Sun Studio as Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley's guitarist, launched the celebration. Memphis served as the hub of the July 5th celebration, hosting star-studded concerts and festivities throughout the day."





    50 Years Ago on April 12, 1954: "Rock Around the Clock" was Recorded
    With One Rocking Tune,
    Bill Haley Burst into Fame

                by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic - It was the rim shot heard 'round the world. "One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock. Five, six, seven o'clock, eight o'clock rock. Nine, ten, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock rock. We're going to rock around the clock tonight."
                Fifty years ago today, on April 12, 1954, Bill Haley and the Comets stepped into New York City's Pythian Temple to record their debut single for Decca Records, "Rock Around the Clock," which became the first No. 1 rock 'n' roll record and the opening salvo in a worldwide pop revolt.
                "I never realized 'Rock Around the Clock' would last 50 years," said Marshall Lytle, who played bass on the record. "I hope it lasts another 50."
                For more than a year, Haley would reign as the first king of rock 'n' roll. His record sold more than 25 million copies, putting it behind only Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" as the all-time best-selling 45-rpm single. More than 200 other singers, as wildly disparate as Mae West and the Sex Pistols, have since recorded the song. John Lennon credited the record with starting him in music.
                Today Haley is largely a forgotten figure, swept under the carpet of history by Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and dozens of other more flamboyant '50s rockers who have come to represent the era. When he is remembered, Haley is often portrayed as a marginal, transitional artist who sanitized ribald rhythm-and-blues lyrics and spoon-fed young whites watered- down versions of the real thing.
                The stocky man with the kiss curl in the middle of his forehead was certainly an unlikely character to lead a revolution, and "Rock Around the Clock" was more fluke than the natural-born sure thing it sounds like in retrospect. But Haley was a brash, ambitious musician whose bandleader instincts served him well in scouting new musical territory.
                Although "Rock Around the Clock" would by no means qualify as the first rock 'n' roll record, Haley's 1951 cover of Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" might. Haley was a yodeling cowboy singer out of Chester, Pa., looking for a new wrinkle, working under the name of Bill Haley and the Saddlemen, recording rhythm-and-blues tunes for a Pennsylvania record label called Essex Records run by a small-time operator named Dave Miller.
                With the breathtaking success of Haley's 1952 single "Rock the Joint," he and the band threw away their cowboy hats and put on tuxedos. They changed the band's name to the Comets. Haley bought his first Cadillac. The next year, "Crazy Man Crazy" made No. 15 on the national charts.
                Philadelphia songwriter and music publisher James Myers, who first met Haley when he was playing for 5 bucks on Saturday nights in a farmers' market in Booth's Corner, Pa., wrote the song "Rock Around the Clock" (under the name Jimmy De-Knight) with a more successful professional Philly songwriter, Max Freedman, whose 1947 song "Heartbreaker," originally recorded by the Ferko String Band, had been covered by the Andrews Sisters. Myers, who shared an office with Haley's manager, wrote the song in 1952 with Haley in mind.
                Haley tried on several occasions to record the number, but Essex Records' Miller hated Myers and refused to allow Haley to cut the song. When Myers brought Haley to Decca Records artist and repertoire man Milt Gabler, he played Gabler the song (most likely the little-known original version by Sonny Dae and the Knights). Gabler, who began his career recording jazz giants such as Billie Holiday and Lester Young, was more significantly the man who supervised all the breakthrough Decca recordings of Louis Jordan, one of the few black recording artists of the era who sold records to the mainstream audience. Jordan's tightly focused small combo would provide the template for Haley's new rock 'n' roll records (Haley was still country and western enough to carry a steel guitarist with the band).
                The historic session concentrated on the song Gabler thought would be the A side, "Thirteen Women," a bizarre post-atomic fantasy about a world with 13 women and only one man, to which Gabler apparently owned some publishing rights. "Rock Around the Clock" was tossed off in two takes at the end of the three-hour session. The master was edited from both takes.
                "We rehearsed it the night before the record session in Bill's basement," said bassist Lytle, 70, who lives in Tampa, Fla. "The guitar player, Danny Cedrone, wasn't at the rehearsal, but Bill always wanted a guitar solo on his records. So I suggested he play the same solo he played on 'Rock the Joint.' "
                Released in May with the words "Fox Trot" printed on the label, the record quickly sold a healthy 75,000 copies, not enough to make the charts, but adequate to guarantee that Decca picked up the band's option. The musicians returned to Pythian Temple in June 1954 to record a cover of the Big Joe Turner rhythm and blues hit, "Shake, Rattle and Roll."
                Nowhere in the script to "Blackboard Jungle," Richard Brooks' 1955 film about juvenile delinquency, was rock 'n' roll as much as mentioned. But so rapid was the music's rise to prominence in youth culture of the day, the song was slapped behind the credits in postproduction. Director Brooks is said to have borrowed the single from Peter Ford, young son of one of the movie's stars, Glenn Ford. When the film played in England, teens tore up the cinema seats as the credits ran.
                The movie was released in March 1955. By July 5, 1955, the day before Haley's 30th birthday, the record made No. 1. His reign was short. By 1960, Haley had slipped off the charts entirely. His '50s recordings remain underrated. His version of "Rip It Up" may be a more powerful, fully realized rocker than the original by the song's author, Little Richard. He was certainly no feckless imitator of black musical styles a la Pat Boone, but a bona fide enthusiast who could produce the raucous sound with authenticity and feeling.
                He retreated to Mexico City (his 1961 record "Florida Twist" became the best-selling record in Mexican history). By the time of his death from a heart attack in 1981 at age 55, he was a paranoid recluse living in a Texas border town and reduced to showing disbelieving visitors to the local diner his driver's license to prove he was who he said he was.
                After his brief moment of fame, he may have spent the rest of his life playing countless one-nighters all around the world. But he always had "Rock Around the Clock."
                "No matter how bad a show may be going one night, I know that song will pull us through," Haley told a British newspaper in the '70s. "It's my little piece of gold."





    3rd Annual, April 27-28 at the Rock'n'Bowl Mid-City Lanes
    Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans
                Two-Day Festival Promises Cavalcade of Unsung Blues, R&B, Rockabilly, Swamp Pop and Garage Rock Legends. Unsung creators of rock'n'roll, r&b, rockabilly, blues and swamp pop - ones who made influential vintage recordings, maybe scored a hit, and have been long forgotten by today's pop mainstream ­ will be once again celebrated as Ponderosa Stomp announces the lineup for its third annual music festival.
                The two-night music festival, scheduled for April 27-28, 2004, again will take place at the Rock'N'Bowl Mid City Lanes in New Orleans. Tickets sell for $35 per night through the festival's web site, http://www.ponderosastomp.com and through Ticketweb.com, http://www.ticketweb.com. Prospective attendees are advised to purchase tickets well in advance as both nights are expected to sell out.
                Billed as "two nights of insane rock'n'roll," this year's fun begins on Tuesday, April 27th, 2004 with Toussaint McCall, Billy Boy Arnold, Homesick James, Ray Sharpe, Matt Lucas, Dennis Binder, Alvis Wayne, Jimmy Lee Fautheree, Deke Dickerson and the EccoFonics, Hi Rhthym Section with Wille Cobbs, Lady Bo, James Burton, King Lloyd Band, Henry Gray, Joe Clay, Jay Chevalier and John Ellison
                The craziness will continue on Wednesday, April 28th, 2004 with Bobby Charles, Phil Phillips, Barbara Lynn, Long John Hunter, Lazy Lester, Fillmore Slim, Ernie "Dapwalk" Vincent, Lil Buck Sinegal and his Buckaroo Allstars, Rockie Charles, Lil Bob, Guitar Gable, King Karl, Swamp Pop Extravaganza with CC Adcock and the Mau Mau Playboys, Tommy McLain, Gene Terry, Zigaboo Modeliste, Willie Tee, Warren Storm, Roy "Boogie Boy" Perkins, Classie Ballou, Carol Fran, Eddie Bo, The Bad Roads, Little Freddie King, Phil Phillips, Oliver "Who Shot the La La" Morgan, and Al "Carnival Time" Johnson.
                   Ponderosa Stomp is presented by the Mystic Knights of the Mau-Mau, a group of rock'n'roll fanatics who are obsessed with celebrating the overlooked pioneers of country, swamp pop, blues, jazz, soul and New Orleans r&b. In the past three years, the Mystic Knights have presented more than 30 shows featuring a combined roster of more than 120 musical legends which reads like an impossible dream lineup of American roots music.
                Ponderosa Stomp has won numerous citations in the media. The New York Times' Jon Pareles wrote, "The Ponderosa Stomp plunges into the obscure byways of rock'n'roll past ... regional hits and eclectic combinations ... a dream!" Added Gambit magazine, "For roots aficionados, the Stomp was nirvana; you almost had to pinch yourself to make sure it wasn't a dream." And CNN, advancing the event, proclaimed, "History will be in the making at the Stomp." In addition, the festival has been covered by MSNBC, Associated Press, Mojo, Christian Science Monitor, Offbeat, Living Blues and more.
                The Mystic Knights of the Mau-Mau (MKMM Charities, Inc) is a 501(c)(7) organization, seeking to recognize the forgotten and unsung pioneers of blues, rock'n'roll, country, jazz and soul by presenting those pioneers to today's audiences through an annual series of live, intimate house party settings in New Orleans. Their shows have helped resurrect the careers of two lost music legends ­ soul singer Howard Tate and blues guitarist Jody Williams - both of whom played their first shows in 30 years for the Mystic Knights of the Mau-Mau.





    Camber Sands Holiday Centre, Rye, England, 5th-7th March 2004. REVIEW:
    Rockabilly Rave No. 08.
                Incredibly this was the eighth annual Rockabilly Rave and in that time it has developed from a relatively small affair to a full-blown international festival attracting visitors from far and near. There was circa 2,000 people attending from Europe, the Americas and Japan etc., all there to witness what the promoter Jerry Chatabox justifiably described as classic straight ahead rock 'n' roll and rockabilly. As was witnessed, the aim of providing good quality music, keeping it pure but fun, was clearly achieved. This was a melting pot for rockin' music from all around the world. 

    Friday, 5th March 2004
                The proceedings kicked off with Mars Attacks, a combo from Switzerland and Austria. They were an okay rockabilly outfit, performing a mixture of originals such as 'Men From Mars' through a selection of covers like 'Shadow My Baby', 'That's The Way I Feel' and 'Crazy Crazy Lovin'. The band reached their zenith with their interpretations of Johnny Burnette Rock 'n' Roll Trio tunes, 'Lonesome Tears In My Eyes' being particularly outstanding. Good visuals but they did tend to take a lot of numbers at a similar tempo thus effectively merging one number into the next and therefore minimizing the impact. 
                Mars Attack returned to the stage to back up the next act, the great Sonny Burgess. I have lost count of the number of times I have now seen Sonny but he never fails to satisfy musically. He is one heck of a top notch rockin' guy with bags of stage presence, great vocals and fine guitar picking. Opening up with 'Move it On Over', it was then into a medley of 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' and 'Gone Gone Gone' followed by the crowd pleasing 'The Prisoner's Song'. Burgess was clearly in control and the backing band blended in well. His act was full of those little hop skip and jumps as be built up the proceedings with 'Whatcha' Gonna Do', 'Find My Baby', 'We Wanna Boogie', 'My Bucket's Got A Hole In It' and Fannie Brown'. By now young ladies were rushing the stage, not bad for a guy in his seventies (the lucky man, no wonder he was smiling frequently). Next came 'Let It Roll', which was actually Chuck Berry's 'Let it Rock', before Pacers drummer Bobby Crafford took the stage to take over the vocals on 'Forty Days', 'Wooly Bully' and 'Ain't Got No Home'. Then it was back to Sonny to close out with 'Red Headed Woman' that he segued into 'Tear It Up' before finishing up with 'Sadie's Back In Town'. A masterful performance.
                Closing act for this evening was Nashville based  The Planet Rockers whom I had seen previously but who had left me unmoved. However, this was to change with this show, it was brilliant. Lead by Sonny George on vocals, who has a voice not un-similar to Sonny Burgess, and the superb Eddie Angel on lead guitar, they were augmented by the bass player and drummer from the German band Smokestack Lightnin' and a second guitarist from Holland who had been a sideman for the late Ronnie Dawson. Not that one could tell as they all played together as a seamless and cohesive unit. Opening up with 'Trouble Up the Road', it was straight into a rockin' 'Big Daddy with biting but restrained guitar work from Eddie. The set was cooking and this was amplified by fine workouts on 'Yes I Do', 'Spin My Wheels' and 'Truck Drivers Rock' before Eddie took centre stage for the instrumental 'Rampage', complete with bags of showmanship such as his hands fanning the guitar strings. His guitar playing is up there with the likes of Danny Gatton and Ry Cooder. By now the crowd was jumping but there was no let up in the blistering intensity of the performance with such as 'Thunder Road Rock', Gravy Train', 'Billy Thunder', 'King Fool', Lonesome Traveller, 'Got The Bull By The Horns and 'Come On'. In some ways, this Planet Rockers show was reminiscent of a Ronnie Dawson set - such was its impact. Indeed, they closed out with 'Knock Down Drag Out' leaving me exhausted but thrilled. Boy, I went off to bed a fluffy bunny.

    Saturday, 6th March 2004.
                Downstairs in the secondary hall, in the afternoon, there had been a guitar forum from Ashley Kingsman, Darryl Higham, John Lewis and Deke Dickerson demonstrating various guitar techniques, most interesting and enjoyable. This was followed by a set by the German band Spo Dee O Dee.
                Opening act for this evening was the Italian band Dale Rocka & The Volcanoes, who I unfortunately missed. However by the time I arrived in the main hall, they had certainly created a good buzz with what was described to myself as a showy and enjoyable rock 'n' roll set. I was there in time for the UK's Charlie Thompson who facially bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Frank Andy Starr. His backing group was a band from Sweden who did not possess a drummer. This was in keeping with the first part of Charlie's set as it was pure honky tonk hillbilly music. He performed numbers in this portion such as 'Teardrop Valley', 'Railroad Daddy' and even managed to pull off Slim Whitman's 'When I'm Calling You' complete with yodels. I suppose it was inevitable that we would be treated to a Hank Williams Snr. song but it was a splendid performance by Charlie on 'Why Don't You Love Me'. Miss Mary Ann of the Ranch Girls then joined Charlie for the tasty couple of duets 'In The Jailhouse Now' and 'Come Back'. The steel player from the band then adopted the drummers stool, it was eventually taken over by the drummer from The Sure Shots, and the set moved into quality rockabilly with 'Sweet Love On My Mind', 'Looking at That Moon' and 'Hang Loose' before quieting down a little with Glen Glenn's 'Kathleen'. Charlie closed out his set with 'Turn Around (not the Carl Perkins' song), 'Itty Bitty Baby, 'Model A Ford' and 'Mule Skinner Blues'. Based on this performance, his soon to released CD should be good.
                Next up was another rockabilly original, namely the great Jack Earls who was ably supported by Holland's Ranchtime Wanglers. Like Sonny Burgess, Jack Earls is a consummate stage performer and he proceeded to rock out like there was no tomorrow. The excitement built layer by layer with 'Flip Flop And Fly', 'Take Me To That Place', 'Hey Jim', 'Sign On The Dotted Line', Let's Bop' and 'They Can't Keep Me From You'. Even the mind numbing patter from Jack between numbers could not diminish the quality of this performance as it proceeded with a well balanced selection of numbers like 'Sure Can Rock Me', 'Mary Ann', Hey My Love', 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'My Little Mama', 'Rockin' Daddy', 'Crawdad Hole', and 'Rock 'n' Roll Ruby'. By now, the joint was jumpin' and Earls could do no wrong, the master of his art. Next up was a number Jack called 'Oh Baby' (aka 'Sick And Tired') followed by 'Fool For Loving You' before we entered into the tribute part of the show. Carl Perkins was remembered by a medley of his songs as was Charlie Feathers with 'Tongued Tied Jill' and Ray Harris was recalled with a strong version of 'Come On Little Mama'. Jack did not want to leave the stage but he had well and truly over-run his slot and so he was forced into closing out with a reprise of 'Let's Bop'. All in all, 75 minutes of brilliance.
                But the night was not over as next we were treated, and it was a musical treat, to Deke Dickerson with Eddie Clendening. Eddie opened up the set and came across as an Elvis wanabee; in fact a friend remarked that appearance and stage movement wise, it was like 'Elvis '56'. To be fair, there were no Elvis numbers included. Instead, we were treated to The Phantom's 'Love Me' along with the likes of 'One and Only', Stranded On A Date Last Night' and 'Ice Cold Baby'. Clearly the guy has talent and no doubt there were a few young ladies with moist underwear after this performance but there is a way to go yet. No such reservations with the performance by Deke, this was a quality musical extravagance from beginning to end. The harmonies were spot on and the musicianship was par excel lance. A highlight of the show came when all the band members exchanged instrument, showmanship to be sure. Again, I retreated as a happy bunny to my lonely room for the night.

    Sunday, 7th March 2004.
                For openers on the final night we had Ramblin James + The Billyboppers from the USA. Earlier in the day downstairs, we had been treated to performances by The Planets from Japan and Smokestack Lightnin' from Germany. The last mentioned was very good but sadly the group now appear to have broken up, this being their final performance.
                Back to the main ballroom, we were next treated to the vocal and visual delight s of the original Ranch Girls line-up from Holland. Backed as normal by The Ranchtime Wranglers, the singing from these attractive young ladies was a joy to the ears as was their bopping around on the stage to the eyes. Opening up with 'Way Down Yonder In New Orleans' it was quickly into a mixed selection such as 'Sweet Thing', 'Pal Of My Lonely Hour', 'Real Gone', 'I'm Done, I'm Through' and 'Sure to Fall'. The two singing belles really excelled on 'Rock-a-Bye Baby' as did the band on the instrumental 'You Can't Sit Down'. Other tunes featuring the really good harmonies and first-rate stage presence were 'When Are You Coming Back', 'I'm Not Woman', 'Hey Sheriff' and 'Big Arm' (a solo by Miss Mary Ann). This most enjoyable performance closed out with fine treatments of Gene Vincent's 'Dance To the Bop' and The Collins Kids 'Hot Rod'.
                Now it was time for a guy who was there when the rock 'n' roll avalanche first took place but making his European debut, namely Jimmy Lee Fautheree. Backed up by Deke Dickerson and The Ecco-Fonics, Jimmy was clearly a trifle nervous. In addition, I knew that he had been unwell the previous night suffering a very high temperature but he was determined to make this show. Opening up with his own 'Love Me' the harmony singing with Deke was excellent and this was further evidenced with 'I'm Digging A Hole (To Bury My Heart)', 'Sweet Love On My Mind', and 'Overdue'. Something that I had not previously appreciated is that Jimmy is an excellent guitar picker and this was evidenced on 'Raunchy'. Jimmy related the interesting story behind this is in that when Jimmy was backstage one time at the Louisiana Hayride jamming with Carl Adams, he developed the guitar riff for the tune. This was seemingly was overheard by a guy from Sun Records. Before he knew it, Bill Justis had the record out and secured a monster hit. However back to the show and we were further entertained with some more fine country tinged rockabilly in 'If You Don't, Somebody Else Will', 'Sweet Singing Daddy' and 'Drink Up and Go Home', the last mentioned also being cut by Freddie Hart and Carl Perkins. Jimmy also recorded under the name of Johnny Angel for Johnny Vincent's Ace label set up and tonight we were treated to a tasty version of his 'Baby it's Love', a splendid piece of rockin'. The set proceeded on admirably with 'Til The End Of The World (Rolls 'Round), 'Box Full Of Git' and 'I'm Moving On' prior to climaxing with two workouts on 'I Can't Find The Doorknob' and 'White Lightnin'. This set was a good blend of original country music combining with new rockabilly. Jimmy was in great voice, his picking was exemplary and the backing by the band was in perfect sympathy. (Writers note: it subsequently transpires that Jimmy had pneumonia and has apparently been diagnosed has having cancer. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery are passed on to Jimmy, the world of real music needs him).
                Closing out the festival was the UK band Carlos And The Bandidos who, dressed in their Cisco Kid outfits, played a good set of tex-mex tinged rockabilly/rock 'n' roll. This had been an exhilarating time and had been filmed in part for future broadcast by BBC3 television as part of their 'Rave Music' season (they had not appreciated that this word in the meaning of all night parties had been used by Carl Perkins back in the fifties). I was assured by the promoter that the event next year, scheduled for 11th to 13th March 2005, will be bigger and better. However the 2004 festival will take some beating. 
    © Tony Wilkinson
    March 2004






    Jerry Lee Lewis European Tour 2004
                Goodness gracious great balls of fire!!!! The Killer is back. In what could turn into a banner year for the Ferriday Fireball, Jerry Lee is set to rock Europe for seven nights at the end of February. It's been too long a wait but now the waiting is over. This Friday the Killer will play the first of two shows at the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. The combination of the only 5-star hotel in Scotland, and the only 6-star performer in the world, is a match made in heaven. Tickets are expensive at £299 a night, but there're plenty other opportunities for the likes of me and thee. Thanks to Phil and Des Johnson I'm headed to Glasgow for the Tuesday night show, followed by the weekend gigs in Blackpool and Manchester.
                Two of the dates are already sold out and the Jerry Lee forum on Yahoo is going nuts with anticipation. Jerry Lee is bringing with him the usual crew, together with two female backing singers and the Memphis Horns. To top if off we have guitarist Jimmy Ripp who has been heavily involved in the forthcoming Jerry Lee album, Old Glory. With some highly respected star turns from Springsteen, Jagger, Rod Stewart, Willie Nelson and co, the album comes with high expectations. Albums that come bombarded with star-studded guests don't always turn out that great, but given that it's nearly ten years since the wonderful Young Blood (yes I did enjoy it you miserable bastards!) we should just be happy for a new product. If it can turn into Jerry's version of Cash's American Recordings series, then move over Andy Paley and tell Rick Rubin the news. The Killer's gonna getcha and I bet you gonna like it pretty baby.
                Jerry Lee seems to have had the monkey taken off his back and is now a single man again, free to concentrate on his own career, without having to supplement to the woefully inferior talents of Kerrie MacCarver. I'll be back with some reviews and photos in the near future. All I need now is for Killer to turn up!! The tour is a great chance for the Killer's loyal fan base in Europe to meet up again, so soon after the Fire-Ball Mail's 40th Anniversary Convention which was held in Holland last October. There's nothing quiet like the camaraderie of the Jerry Lee fans, as has been witnessed by the various birthday parties that were held in Memphis. Click here to read Phil Davies' great review of the 2000 Convention. (Could you link from the word "here" to Phil's review please Bob?) Original Fan Club president Kay Martin is even coming over from New York - the fans are buzzing!!
                Also on the bill for this tour is the young Scottish rocker Blondell who has appeared with Jerry Lee in Memphis. Performing as the warm-up act for the Killer ain't the easiest job in the world, but Blondell has to be applauded for spending a few weeks recently practising in Tennessee with the Memphis Beats/Killer Band.
                Fans like Graham Knight in the UK and Tex The Travelling Man in Holland have done their utmost to ensure that this tour is as high-profile as possible and have agreed to post reviews of the shows I'm missing. It promises to be a great tour, but why has my clock started going around so slow!! Stay tuned for updates.

    Legend wows city again at 68 Feb 27 2004
    By John Gibson, Newcastle Evening Chronicle
                When blood coursed through young veins and rock `n' roll had turned the world into an excitingly decadent place, Newcastle seemed like the centre of innocent wickedness.
                The great stars flocked to the city and I was there to see them - Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Bill Haley, Gene Vincent and the like. Epic shows, legendary figures.
                Yet one superstar had evaded my personal memory bank, which is why I went on a pilgrimage to the City Hall last night. I had to see The Killer.
                Maybe I was a little late. Jerry Lee Lewis is now 68 and the miracle is that he's still alive, never mind performing and kicking round piano stools.
                However after the drugs, the marriages and the tragedies, Jerry Lee is still on the road and brewing up a storm.
                It's been said that Jerry Lee on stage is akin to opening your door and having Niagara Falls gush through, and so it was as on a snowbound night he turned up the heat.
                Lewis went at breakneck speed through his full repertoire, hardly pausing to draw breath between each hit.
                His voice is still powerfully strong and the fingers so nimble the piano danced before a packed audience, including members of Lindisfarne and Chas and Dave, who had travelled up from London to see a legend.
                When Jerry Lee roared into his epic Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On and Great Balls of Fire, which sold six million records world wide back in 1957, they were literally bopping in the aisles.
                Lewis was among us because back in 62 he played what he described as his greatest gig on the very same City Hall stage and his triumphant return has been captured for posterity - the whole of the concert was recorded to form part of a Tyne Tees Television documentary on Jerry Lee's return to Newcastle to be shown in June.

    Report from the Manchester Guardian.
    JERRY LEE LEWIS SETS MANCHESTER ALIGHT
    Jerry Lee Lewis, Manchester Apollo ****

                Rock's pantheon of bad boys don't host any badder than Jerry Lee Lewis. The Killer's decades of self-destruction leave behind two dead wives, pills, booze, smashed-up pianos, one shot bassist and an accusation from Jimmy Swaggart that the singer was 'in league with Satan'. His British infamy centres around his 1958 marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown and, of course, the way he put the essence of rock'n'roll rebellion on to wax.
                Now touching 70, Lewis is showing few signs of mellowing. Walking manfully on in a dark suit like an old gangster, he looks slightly infirm but once he's at the piano the sparks fly. 'Give me geetar, boy!' he yells at a 50-ish guitarist who looks like he's just ridden in with Wyatt Earp. It's equally surreal to see bands of aged teddy-boys in full regalia arguing with bouncers, despite the old boys looking more likely to draw a pension than a pistol.
                Lewis's sense of mischief (and a few visits from the taxman) have kept him rocking, but he has as much attitude in his little finger - which dangerously assaults the high keys - as Eminem has in his whole body. 'Mah track recud speaks fah itself,' drawls the Killer. Meanwhile, his age and history brings that extra disturbing frisson to Sweet Little Sixteen. The set is well-paced between slower country numbers and fast rock'n'rollers, with Lewis's accusing vocal powering them all. As the security men lose the argument and hordes end up dancing in the seats, the artist goes in for the kill. 'I aint'fakin'' he yells in Shakin' All Over. For the climax, he whacks his boot on the piano, plays it with his venerable bottom and kicks the stool into the startled guitarist, whose pained expression suggests a new meaning to Great Balls of Fire. - Dave Simpson.

    Newcastle - 26th February 2004

                The reviews have been quiet for this show. By all accounts Jerry Lee was on top form and rocked hard. As a request from the crowd he performed Lewis Boogie. The downside was that the show only lasted 30 minutes. Not good news for the weekend, if he keeps knocking 15 minutes off, Sunday will be a quickie!!
                Set list: Roll Over Beethoven, Before The Night Is Over, You Win Again, Drinkin' Wine Spo Dee O Dee, Lewis Boogie, Trouble In Mind, Sweet Little Sixteen, Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, Great Balls Of Fire - Shaun

    Blackpool 28th February 2004
    Report by Shaun Mather - This was my second show of the tour, and me, Phil and Des were praying for a good show. The women were with us this time and they aren't as forgiving where Jerry Lee's concerned - they don't wear those rose-tinted glasses! Throughout Blondell's set (the band were great again) it was obvious that the crowd were more into it than at Glasgow. You could feel the atmosphere building - credit here for Blondell and the band. Although he's not my cup of tea, he was doing his job as a crowd warmer. Jerry Lee came on dressed casually in dark shirt and trousers and launched into a hard driving version of Roll Over Beethoven. The crowd loved it and he had us eating out of his hands. It was a mainly uptempo show with only a couple of moments to catch a breath. One of these was No Headstone On My Grave, a highlight of the whole tour. Jerry was brilliant and the band were obviously in synch with him. Great cheers greeted his "I don't want one of those little grave stones, I want a big gold monument" ending and afterwards Jimmy Ripp was ecstatic, it's as if his life was now complete.
                Lewis Boogie and Drinkin' Wine were brilliant. Shakin & Great Balls of Fire brought proceedings to an end, 40 minutes after they'd started. After the Glasgow show I said that 45 minutes was too little for a headliner. This time I didn't feel the same though. It was a breathless show and the quality far exceeded the time deficiency. The whole show had a drive and energy, and audience reaction, that was surprisingly absent from the Glasgow show, which just seemed to lack that bit of spark. We left as happy bunnies, ready for the Sunday night in Manchester.
                Song list; Roll Over Beethoven, No Headstone On My Grave, Why You Been Gone So Long, CC Rider, Drinkin' Wine, Before The Night Is Over, Sweet Little 16, Trouble In Mind, Lewis Boogie, Mean Woman Blues, Shakin', GBOF.

    Manchester 29th February 2004
    Report by Shaun Mather - Everyone wandered how Jerry Lee's condition would hold up by the time he reached Manchester. Fear not you pessimists, this was the best show of the lot. Jerry Lee Lewis is a god, plain and simple. Well far from plain and simple actually - geniuses don't come like that. Tonight he was awesome, the crowd were on their feet for most of the show, people were being asked by the bouncers to refrain from dancing in the aisles. It was brilliant - I've seen the light again, and the silhouette that I see inside is a man sitting over a piano, slightly hunched, playing the most soulful music you'll ever hear. A return to She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye and the great You Win Again were better than anything that's coming out of Nashville nowadays. Talking about country music, when the hell did Blondell get to number three in the American Country charts as he claimed??
                CC Rider was the best version I've ever heard. The guitar interplay on it was terrific with Jimmy Ripp playing a low-down boogie line whilst Kenny Lovelace played the frilly stuff. Why You Been Gone So Long has been taken at a breakneck pace throughout the tour and tonight was no exception. Equally impressive was Sweet Little Sixteen which continues to glitter from some of Jerry Lee's best playing - this man is the greatest. And if further proof were needed, he played the end of Great Balls of Fire with his cowboy boots - in friggin' tune!!!!!! JLL - I love you.
                It was nice to meet Kenny's wife Joanne, who is big friends with my new best buddy, Margie Beaver, the widow of the great Luther Perkins. Mrs Lovelace was lovely and friendly, amazed that some weirdo from another country would come up to her saying they knew Marge. It's a small world - but an even better one for seeing the Killer. Credit is due in no small part to Jim O'Neil the promoter of the tour. Thanks for bringing Jerry Lee over and thanks for treating the group so well. Can you bring 'em back again - soon? --Shaun

    INSTANT UPDATE - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Scotland
    When: February 24th, 2004

                Courtesy of Graham Knight: - The show got off to a great start as the whole audience rose to its feet to honour Jerry as he walked on stage. Jerry came on in a light blue suit and in honour of his visit to Scotland he was wearing a tartan tie! He started with "Why've You Been Gone So Long" and as the audience went wild at the end of his first song Jerry apologised for missing a few words. He said, "When you get past 30 you sometimes forget things!" He said he was feeling his throat a little and joked that sometimes the words just don't come out. He then started "Great Balls of Fire" WITH HIM MIMING THE WORDS as if he couldn't sing. This got great applause and was really funny to see.
                "Blues at Midnight" followed with extended solos from Jerry and some real "Urban Blues" licks from Jimmy Rip. During "Blues at Midnight" he did several "runs" and it is always amusing to watch as his fingers run up to the right hand side of the keyboard and he carries the "run" on past the last key, pats the side of the piano and comes back in perfect time for the "run" down. Wonderful to see Jerry enjoying himself. As if to prove his earlier statement about being forgetful, Jerry then launched into "Why've You Been Gone So Long" for the second time. He completed the number and the crowd loved it. Jerry seemed unaware that he had repeated the song.
                He did a great interpretation of "Sweet Little Sixteen" and then slowed the pace with a sorrowful "She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye" complete with a spoken ending. Then it was "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee", followed by "Trouble in Mind" then straight into "Chantilly Lace".
                At this point people in the crowd were shouting requests for a huge variety of songs, but Jerry launched in a long version of "Whole Lotta Shakin'" and ended the show with a powerful "Great Balls Of Fire". During the song he played several notes with his boot and then hit a further five chords with the boot too - all sounding perfectly musically - not just kicking the keyboard as all the impersonators do. Kicking the stool over got a great reaction and the audience gave him a standing ovation at the end that last for several minutes.
                It was a great show and the almost capacity audience loved it. It was extraordinary as his voice is in good shape and his piano playing has all the old power that we love. This is Jerry Lee Lewis - the real thing. UK Fans are going to have a great time at the next three shows.

    Report by Shaun Mather: - The venue was cracking and was a virtual sell-out except, inexplicably, for the front 5 rows!! Work that out!! The show was kicked off by BLondell who was superbly backed by Jerry's band together with the two female backing singers and the Memphis Horns. Blondell has an okay voice, nothing great but nothing to make you seek out the exit door either. His stage presence and between song banter could do with some work but he was fine and I enjoyed most of his set. The band were sizzling on numbers like Suspicious Minds (drummer Robert Hall and Jimmy Ripp were exceptional on this) and Rod's Hot Legs. Another unlikely highspot was U2's Angel Of Harlem where the band showed there was more to these Memphis boys than just laying down a shit-kicking beat for the Killer.
                After three songs from the band, including a great treatment of Lonely Weekends from Hall, the Killer strode on unannounced. I thought he looked really well, fit and happy. Throughout the show he seemed in good spirits, smiling across at BB Cunningham, and joking about the lack of voice (Great Balls of Fire mimed) and the piano solo where he runs out of keyboard. His voice was good as well. Highlights of the uptempo numbers were one of the versions of Why You Been Gone So Long and best of all, a brilliant version of She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye - fantastic. Whilst it wasn't the Killer's most exciting show, the thing that bothers me is the 45 minute show length. We expect that on those Legends tours with Chuck and Dinky, but he was the sole headliner here. When the venues dish out around £35,000 appearance money, don't they expect a bit more? If that's all he's capable of nowadays, perhaps he should now only tour as part of a package. I hope not, but £35ish for Joe Punter is a lot of dosh for 45 minutes. Like Phil suggested, perhaps he should play for 30-40 minutes, take a break while the band do a few numbers,m and then come back on for half an hour. Sounds reasonable. Thanks to Des for your hospitality, me and Phil hads a great time. On to Blackpool, all I need now is for the snow to clear!!

    Report from the "Scotsman" newspaper. Wed 25 Feb 2004 - FIONA SHEPHERD
    CLYDE AUDITORIUM, GLASGOW

                OF ALL the crazy rock'n'roll critters, Jerry Lee Lewis must have been the craziest, on stage and off. His fiery distillation of country, blues and gospel forged the rock'n'roll template, his demonic stage presence set the bar for all the rock'n'roll maniacs who followed, and his turbulent life story created many of the legends which are now passed off as cliché.
                Add to this seminal package the assertion by his band that Lewis has not played in Glasgow since 1972, and this show had the makings of a special occasion.
                His band of wizened fellow travellers kicked off with a couple of tame boogies straight from a hotel function suite. Then, without any fanfare, Lewis shuffled on to join them and the audience were instantly on their feet.
                His first run up the keyboard elicited spontaneous applause. Hell, we were all just glad Jerry was (1) alive, and (2) here.
                So it was difficult to know what to make of his mere 45 minutes on stage, much of it with his voice and playing mixed too low for optimum appreciation.
                "I can't sing those songs like I did 50 years ago," he declared impishly. No siree, and it would have been foolish to expect anything approaching the physicality of his early years. Lewis remained glued to his stool and applied his agility to his playing, building up, via a swaying Trouble In Mind, to the relative rock'n'roll velocity of Chantilly Lace and Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On .
                Contrary to his reprobate reputation, this frail old man was actually was quite a sweet presence, more of a quaint museum piece than a cantankerous old trooper.
                He ended, as he must, with Great Balls of Fire, summoning all his energy for that signature whoop in the delivery of the chorus. But not quite all his energy - from out of nowhere, his winkle-picker- clad foot was swiftly applied to keyboard for a lightning display of his patented party piece.


    INSTANT UPDATE: Saturday 21st February.
    Jerry strode on stage at 10.39pm to a great standing acclamation from the audience. He was wearing a sharp black business–like suit with a red shirt. He looked like a million dollars and acknowledged the standing ovation saying, "It is great to be back in Scotland. Everyone here has been very nice to me and you have a beautiful country."
                There was then another standing ovation. Jerry again said, "It is great pleasure to be here to play for my fans and what a beautiful hotel this is." He started out by saying he was really hoarse and that his throat was sore. Nevertheless, he sounded in good voice when he started into "Drinking Wine Spodee o' Dee" before launching into "Over The Rainbow" and during this number he said, "Kenneth, let me hear that fiddle."
                He then did a joking "false" start to "Great Balls of Fire" and sang one line in falsetto, to show how his throat was feeling.
                Like the previous night, Jerry did a five-minute version of "Hadacol Boogie" during which Jimmy Rip played some truly amazing blues riffs that had Jerry looking over at him in amazement. Jimmy is a truly talented guitarist and adds a new dimension to the band. In the middle, Jerry included a line or two from "Mean Woman Blues." At 10.58 Jerry started "CC Rider" and Kenneth again picked the fiddle and played some great fiddle – just like he used to and Jerry seemed to appreciate the sound from behind him.
                A short version of The Hawk's "In The Mood" followed a pile-driving version of "Chantilly Lace," during which Robert excelled on the drums and B.B. thrummed on the bass. Jerry coughed during this number. After he finished it, he took his first drink of the evening and announced to the amusement of the crowd that it was "Apple juice".
                As on the previous night, Jerry did a long version of "Blues at Midnight" which segued into "Blues Stay Away From Me." Again Jerry got Jimmy Rip to take some extended solos that themselves drew applause from the appreciative audience. Jerry asked Bill Strom to take a solo on this number, and he really sounded wonderful.
                The first Chuck Berry composition of the night to get the Lewis treatment was "Sweet Little Sixteen" and Jerry followed this with a great fast version of "Mexicali Rose." At this point Jerry looked fine and responded to many shouted requests from the audience for "You Win Again." This number got the full Jerry Lee treatment with extended solos and sound just as good as it has always done. He ended it by saying "I love you still – not too still." After the number finished, Jerry put his hand to his throat and appeared to be in some difficulty. Jerry looked uncomfortable and said "There will now be a short intermission." He stood up holding onto the piano lid and the stool fell over, which was not part of the show. Jerry was definitely not feeling well and he was helped offstage by Phoebe.
                The crowd gave Jerry a standing ovation as he left; they were with him all the way! After sitting in a side-room for a short time, he decided to go up to his room and to bed, rather than over-extend himself tonight.
                Jerry had been on stage for 46 minutes – more than twice the time he used to do back in the sixties. During the 13 numbers he did, Jerry sounded really good and his piano playing was quite astounding. All the old power and drive were there. Hoping that rest and medicinal throat spray will help The Killer feel more like himself by Tuesday in Glasgow. Looking forward to it.
                Throughout the show Jerry kept his jacket on and the room was exceptionally hot. Perhaps for the rest of the tour he should throw away his jacket in true Jerry Lee style after the first number. Jerry is looking happier than he has done in ages and is obviously enjoying doing this tour. It is a pity that once again, he has "Overshot The Runway," but we all know that he goes that extra mile in Europe for his loyal fans.
    -Source: Kay Martin and Graham Knight

    INSTANT UPDATE: Friday 20th February - Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland.
    Jerry went on stage at 10.40 and as soon as he appeared the whole audience stood to acclaim him. Jerry acknowledged the response from the crowd and sat down at the 7 foot long Yamaha piano and launched into a great version of "Trouble In Mind". At the end of the number he said it was good to be back in Scotland and said he had been away too long. Personalities from Scotland's leading football teams and Snooker ace Stewart Hendry were among the famous faces paying 299 pounds (540 dollars) to see the first night of the "Generations Tour 2004". Kenneth and the band were augmented by the addition of Jimmy Rip who played some devastating solos.
                Several record company executives were there and two were keen to record Jerry. He said, "If you've got the money – I've got the time". The second number was "Dinking Wine Spodee'o'dee". Then came a surprising long instrumental of "In The Mood" that had several young ladies dancing in front of Jerry. Jerry told them "You dance very sexily – I feel my socks rolling down!". Then it was "Georgia" followed by "Mean Woman Blues" in response to requests in the dressing room from Terry and me.
                The numbers that followed were "Jealous Heart", a long 9 minute version of "Blues at Midnite" that featured great swoops on the keyboard from Jerry and some sensational solo from Jimmy Rip. Jerry praised Jimmy Rip for producing the new "Old Glory" album and several times deferred to Jimmy "To make him work". During the number Jerry invited longtime fan Rob Swinnerton up on stage to shake his hand! He then played a few licks in Chet Atkins style and Jerry remarked "He was ok at what he did but he didn't have the staying power and keeled over. I am still here". This got a great cheer and the songs just kept on coming: Mexicali Rose, CC Rider with Kenneth on the fiddle!
                Then Jerry said he was "glad to be a free man again. I can do what I want. Free as the breeze do what I please." Then another surprise Jerry did "Hadicol Boogie" and even included "wrap it up and I'll take it" in the words. "Chantilly Lace" came next and Barry Gamblin shouted for Ubangi Stomp – Jerry said "That's a good one but insteade\ of doing the number he invited Blondel up on stage and they reprised the duet they did in Memphis a couple of years ago singing "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", then both continued with a duet on "Great Balls of Fire".
                Jerry spoke about John Lennon saying it was the greatest record ever made and he agreed with him! Being in Scotland, I expected Jerry to sing "My Bonnie" and he did! He then reprised another very different version of "Blues at Midnite". He then took a request from me for "What D' I Say" and he did a great version.
                The time was now midnight and Jerry had been onstage for 1 hour and 20 minutes when he went into "Down The Line" and followed it with a great performance of "I'll Sail My Ship Alone". Then it was "Before the Night is Over", "Mr Sandman". And "Me and Bobby McGee". The last being a powerful rendition complete with all the proper changes. The last number was "Whole Lotta Shakin'" and Jerry left the stage at 12.15 to another standing ovation. Quite a night altogether and a great start to the tour. -Graham Knight

                After show party. Terry, Barrie, Tex and myself were invited to Jerry's room after the show. I am pleased to report that Jerry is in excellent health, and he is very happy with life in general. He is pleased with the new album and can't wait for it to be released! He is like us! For the last two and a half hours the five of us have been talking and Jerry has been playing the piano almost non-stop. Mainly old Jolson numbers and songs from the 40's plus some great spirited renditions of gospel songs. He played numerous songs that we suggested. -Graham Knight

    INSTANT UPDATE: Wednesday 18th February
    Graham Knight reports that, "Jerry and his band, including the Memphis Horns and background singers, arrived in Scotland today, after an intermediate landing in Amsterdam." According to TEX (The Travelin' Man) and Graham, he looked fit and well. Graham added, "Jerry was in good shape when he arrived at Edinburgh Airport. He looked well and his handshake is as strong as ever. I gave him some Cuban cigars and we laughed at some old photographs of how we both looked 42 years ago! Jerry was whisked off in promoter Jim o'Neil's Rolls Royce and when he arrived at Gleneagles they had two of those real fire signs like you see at some restaurants lit in his honour. A Scottish piper in full highland dress including the kilt played a welcome tune - although it was not Great Balls of Fire - Jerry appreciated it. The band travelled in a luxury coach that is normally used by Rangers Football Club. "The hotel ballroom is already set up for the show on Friday and the sound is spectacularly good. The same sound crew will be at all dates. The Newcastle show will be televised." -Shaun Mather

    2004 European Tour Dates
                20 February - Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
                21 February - Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
                24 February - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Scotland
                26 February - City Hall, Newcastle, England
                28 February - Opera House, Blackpool, England
                29 February - Carling Apollo, Manchester, England
                1 March - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland
    Jerry Lee Lewis & the Killer Band
                Guitars - Kenneth Lovelace, Jimmy Ripp
                Bass - BB Cunningham
                Drums - Robert Hall
                Organ - Bill Strom
                Memphis Horns - Andrew Love (sax), Wayne Jackson (trumpet)
                Backup vocals - Miss Jewel Dean-Jones
                Backup vocals - Miss Phylis Duncan-Williams
    New album: OLD GLORY (OUT IN 2004) with guest stars: Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, B.B. King
    News courtesy: Shaun Mather





    Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy
    First Annual Heroes Awards

    WHAT - The Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy's first annual Heroes Awards with honor musical pioneers Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D. J. Fontana (Elvis' original band); Ike Turner; Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown; and Big Star. The Heroes Award is the highest honor bestowed by an Academy Chapter. It recognizes special individuals who have made significant contributions to America's music and popular culture. B. B. King, James Brown, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick and Tom Dowd, among others, have been previously honored by Recording Academy chapters.

    WHEN -Tuesday, April 13, 2004, 7:30 p.m.

    WHERE - Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, 255 N. Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

    WHO - Celebrity master of ceremonies, Scotty Moore, D. J. Fontana, Ike Turner, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Big Star and other well-known musicians.

    EVENT - Live performances by the honorees and special guests who were influenced by the honorees, alternating with video clips and artists paying tribute to the honorees. A vintage guitar exhibit immediately precedes the event, and a post party with live performances closes out the evening.
                TICKETS GO ON SALE MARCH 1. For more information call 901.525.1340 - E-MAIL: Memphis@grammy.com





    Blue Ridge Opry unites rockabilly music enthusiasts worldwide
    World Rockabilly Coalition Launched
                (Dallas, TX U.S.A) - January 17, 2004 - The World Rockabilly Coalition (WRC) has been launched from The Blue Ridge Opry and Eagle Entertainment. The WRC is a worldwide alliance of members dedicated to preserving the past and insuring the future of rockabilly, and bringing media attention and public  awareness to the music and the people who keep rockabilly rockin'.  
                WRC membership is open to fans, friends, and everyone associated with the production and promotion of rockabilly and related music.   Whether you are an inductee in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, or a new fan of the music, the WRC welcomes you to their membership as they set out to celebrate "The First 50 Years of Rockabilly". For membership information, go to http://www.blueridgeopry.com/wrc.html.   To contact WRC public relations, e-mail wrc@blueridgeopry.com.





    "Big Bopper's" Widow Dies
    The Beaumont Enterprise 1/8/04 - Abrea Wright
                BEAUMONT, TX - If people can die of a broken heart, Adrienne "Teetsie" Richardson Wenner did, her son Jay Richardson, said from his home in Houston Thursday, after learning of her death Wednesday.
                The woman brushed by fame when her young husband, J. P. Richardson, died in an airplane accident in 1959 shortly after being catapulted to celebrity in the music world never really stopped mourning, her son said. Her death came almost 52 years to the very day after she met Richardson, known as "The Big Bopper," while visiting in Beaumont. It was a meeting that impacted her life forever more, Richardson said.
                "Her sister was pregnant, and my mother was sent to Beaumont to help her. Mother heard him on the (local) radio. It so happened my uncle knew someone at the radio station and called him up, and then invited (the Bopper) over for dinner. That was January, 1952, and they were married in April."
                Richardson said his mother made a lot of friends in Beaumont throughout her life. "She fed the town, whenever there was a gathering place, a big event, we hosted anything that was going on," he said. And many people have tasted Wenner's Cajun cooking.
                "The anniversaries, certain times of the year, every year, were just very, very difficult for her," he said. "I don't know what the coroner is going to say, but I know she died of a broken heart, whatever else people tell me."
                Jay Richardson has a sister, Debra Joy, and half-siblings from his mother's second marriage to Andrew Wenner - Joseph, Jerry, James and Denise Henke Wenner.
                Jay Richardson would eventually wend his way into the entertainment world, at age 37, to form a "Big Bopper Jr." act, that he brought to Beaumont in November in a tribute to his father, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens, the trio killed while on their Winter Dance Party Tour in '59. Was Teetsie influential in his decision? "She was instrumental in my not doing it until I was 37 years old," Richardson said, "because mother never wanted me in the business, that she felt took dad from her. But once I did, she embraced it."




    From Wanda Jackson:
                "Just wanted to share some good news with you. Wanda's new CD "Heart Trouble" was selected #9 on The Associated Press' Best 10 CD's of 2003. This is not just R-A-Billy or Country; this is of all CDs released in 2003. Quite an honor. Thanks for all your help. HAPPY NEW YEAR!! "Wanda and Wendell - www.wandajackson.com
                AP's Top 10 CDs of 2003 list - featuring HEART TROUBLE at #9 - was of course reprinted/reposted in many media outlets, including high-traffic MS/NBC.com's year-end entertainment recap: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3784049/





    'That's All Right" - Presley Estate Celebrates
    50 Years of Elvis and Rock 'n' Roll
                    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Dec. 10, 2003 - Special Television Programming, Milestone DVD Releases, a City of Memphis Rock 'N' Roll Initiative and Other Special Projects are Slated for 2004 - the 50th Anniversary Year of the Release of Presley's First Record.
                    Fifty years since Elvis Presley's career began and more than 26 years since his death, the Elvis phenomenon has never been more powerful. Throughout 2004, the world will celebrate the 50th anniversary year of Elvis Presley's career, which began in earnest on July 5, 1954, when he recorded his first single release, "That's All Right," for the Sun Records label in Memphis. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) and its collaborators have a schedule of several major projects throughout this very special 50th Anniversary year.
                    In 2002, Elvis reached new audiences and his legacy rose to a new level with intense and particularly incisive media coverage of the 25th anniversary year of his passing, with the global smash dance remix single "A Little Less Conversation," with the inclusion of his music and references to him in the new Disney animated classic "Lilo and Stitch," and with the album "ELV1S 30 #1 HITS," which went to the top of the album charts in 26 territories of the world, including the USA, and has sold over 9 million copies. This year's follow-up album "ELVIS 2ND TO NONE" has also enjoyed strong sales and chart action worldwide.
                    EPE's year of commemoration officially kicks off with the annual Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration at the singer's beloved Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, with a four-day slate of traditional events running from his birthday anniversary on January 8 through January 11. Included will be sneak preview screenings of several DVD releases coming later in the year and launch activities for the newly published book "Elvis Fashion - From Memphis to Vegas," which documents Elvis Presley's personal style through the years and his influence on fashion. Also, gold and platinum record awards for the new "ELVIS 2ND TO NONE" album will be presented.
                    The 50th Anniversary year will crescendo with an as yet untitled, new Elvis network special, in development for airing in the fourth quarter of 2004. EPE is the owner and executive producer of this project, which will be produced by the acclaimed David Saltz. A more detailed announcement on this project will be forthcoming.
                    The city of Memphis, in cooperation with EPE, is also planning a yearlong celebration to mark the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll. World-renowned musicians with ties to the city and its music - B.B. King, Isaac Hayes and Scotty Moore - will serve as musical ambassadors.
                    On July 5, Memphis will be the focal point for a "Global Moment in Time" - a moment at which radio stations across the world will be encouraged to simultaneously play "That's All Right." This could mark the largest playing of a single song at the same moment in history. The official Web site for this Memphis initiative is www.50yearsrocknroll.com.
                    Beginning in the spring of 2004, the Elvis exhibit areas of Graceland Mansion and its related attractions will be enhanced with additional career and personal items from the massive EPE archives, many on display for the first time. Throughout the year, all Graceland tourism marketing initiatives and other promotions and special merchandising will feature EPE's own official 50th Anniversary logo and artwork. It's comprised of a mid-1950s image of Elvis, the Sun Records label, and the text "He Dared to Rock - July 5, 1954 - That's All Right."
                    On March 23rd, BMG/RCA will release "Elvis Ultimate Gospel." This single disc CD will contain the greatest hits from Elvis' extensive Gospel recordings.
                    "All Shook Up," a new musical inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, is making its way toward Broadway with its first regional production in May 2004. Commissioned by EPE, the show features more than 20 songs made popular by Elvis. Neither a revue of Elvis' music nor an Elvis biography, "All Shook Up" is an original musical comedy in which a magical jukebox and a leather-jacketed stranger transform a loveless town. Written by Joe DiPietro, who wrote the long-running musical hit "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," and directed by Christopher Ashley, who was Tony nominated for "Rocky Horror," "All Shook Up" will open on Broadway in the spring of 2005. "All Shook Up" is being produced by Jonathan Pollard, Bernie Kukoff, Clear Channel Entertainment, Miramax Films, Stanley Buchthal, Harbor Entertainment, and Harvey Weinstein.
                    In the summer, EPE will release its highly anticipated, new comprehensive DVD collections of the material from Elvis Presley's 1968 television special "Elvis" (generally known as the "'68 Comeback Special") and his 1973 television special "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite." Both DVD sets will contain all the previously released material plus previously unreleased material -- all specially presented in newly re-edited and re-mastered form. Both specials were major career milestones for Elvis and are considered classic performances. The 1968 special marked his triumphant return to live concert performing after years of focusing on his Hollywood film career, and it is considered by many to be the finest moment of his career and one of the great moments in rock history. The 1973 "Aloha" special was a ground-breaking event when it initially aired, seen live via Globecam satellite and by tape-delay in 40 countries by 1-to-1.5 billion people. To many, this event represents Elvis at the pinnacle of his superstardom.
                    Also in June, shortly before the 50th anniversary of "That's All Right," BMG/RCA will release "ELVIS AT SUN" a new, comprehensive collection of Elvis Presley's Sun Records recordings. For additional information on BMG/RCA and related projects, visit www.elvissecondtonone.com.
                    Elvis Week 2004 (August 7-16), the annual August festival which attracts tens of thousands of fans from around the world and features dozens of events at Graceland and throughout Memphis, will also take on a 50 Years of Elvis/50 Years of Rock 'n' Roll theme.
                    As all these projects and many others for 2004 evolve, details will be posted on the official Elvis web site www.elvis.com and press releases specific to each project will be issued.





    Scotty Moore's Medical Status
                    12/20/03 - Scotty is doing better, looking good, still on hospital, should be out soon. Meantime, see: http://scottymoore.net/gibson50.html.
    Hi, I'm mostly over at Scotty's and he has no computer. He's doing great!!! He's so looking forward to the trip to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland! His physical therapist, Leonard, is coming three times a week and they get along great! Leonard is the only person in history who has gotten Scotty to do exercises, but he is doing them ... he's convinced that he's better every day, and that Leonard is the reason. An old friend called tonight and talked to Scotty...afterward he said to me, "He sounds just like the old Scotty ... with shorter hair." How does short hair sound? They were on the phone! He'll be going for checkups with various doctors in the next few days, so I'll let you know what they say afterward but just looking at him, talking to him, and being with him, I'd say he's in better shape right now than before the episode. I just simply have good news tonight, not a word of caution or a single downer...he's coming back, and he's coming back fast! --Gail Pollock, USA - Wednesday, January 14, 2004.

                Posted by Jack Blanchard on December 08, 2003 - In early December, Scotty suffered a problem which started as a difficulty in his right side which we first feared might be a stroke. IT WAS NOT A STROKE!!! He had a beautiful party planned for Friday December 5th by the great people of Gibson (thanks, Henry, Robert, Nina, and especially Mickey Butler for starting it rolling!) and he did not want to miss that, so he let his problem run for more days than it should have. (He's a bad example, so don't follow his lead!)
                But on Wednesday, December 3, he asked me to take him to the hospital for examination. A CT scan showed that he had a subdural hematoma. I emphasize that he has no blood nor damage inside his brain. He had a bleed between his skull and the sac which contains the brain which was putting pressure on his brain. The result was temporary impairment to his right hand, his right leg, and slowness, but no slurring, of his speech.
                On Friday morning, December 5, he underwent surgery to remove the blood, stop the bleeding, and return his brain to its normal position without the pressure. It was entirely successful and all three doctors primarily concerned (his own Internist, the neurologist who did the surgery, and the cardiologist who is attending that big heart) agree that with some physical therapy, he can return to his previous state of being able to play his guitars! Isn't that great?
                Of course the usual rumors started at once, so we are trying to quiet them. Please pass on the information that he will try to have a daily update here on his website as to his condition, and be sure to tell anyone who says different, that he is not dead and he is not dying and he is not permanently impaired!
                AS of today, December 8th the doctors are raising his level of consciousness so that he will be able to communicate with us. We hope by the end of today to report that he is again speaking and is aware of his surroundings. That's today's report.
    -Gail
    Scotty Moore Web Site






    Tony Wilkinson Review
    Rhythm Riot #7
    Camber Sands Holiday Centre, Rye, England
    21st to 24th November 2003

                Funny how time slips away but the time had come once again to take Mrs. Wilkinson and daughter Colinda for their annual outing. Accordingly, jumping into the newly dented car, we headed off down to Camber Sands on the South coast of England for the seventh Rhythm Riot. To paraphrase Jane Morgan, these were the three days the rains came down but inside the main hall, it was the 'rockin' bizness' with an eclectic mixture of rockabilly, rock 'n' roll, hillbilly boogie, jump and jive, rhythm & blues and plain ol' dirty blues. As was to be anticipated from the line-up of artists, we were treated to some hot music and sparkling performances.

    Friday, 21st November 2003
                The proceedings kicked off with Big Boy Bloater & His Southside Stompers. This was their tenth anniversary of their founding and in that time they have developed into a tight sounding rockin' R&B band. This was especially evident on 'Sapphire', 'Boogie Woogie Country Girl' and 'King Kong'. Bloater was to be constantly on the stage during the next three days whilst he lead to house band The Rhythm Riot Kings f Rhythm. Bloater and Co. were followed by Otis Grand & The Big Blues Band. Unfortunately this rapidly became a modern blues style set with one number merging into another and thus to this listener rather boring. The performance could not even be rescued by having Jimmy Thomas, who was part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the mid sixties, handling the lion share of the vocals. An appalling version of the instrumental 'Nut Rocker' was included.
                However the next performer, Big Al Downing redeemed all. In his true imitable style, Big Al once again hammered the piano keys into submission on a straight ahead no frills enjoyable rock 'n' roll set. Great versions of 'Georgia Slop', 'Oh Babe!' and ''Down On The Farm'. The act featured many full song medleys, perhaps too many medleys, of songs by such as Elvis Presley but those concentrating on Little Richard and Huey Piano Smith worked. This was a good performance by a rock 'n' roll originator but who of course has subsequently sung many other styles of music. The final act for this night was Mike Sanchez and who was a late substitution for Knockout Greg & Blue Weather who was unable to appear due to having fallen victim to the flu outbreak in Sweden. Sanchez and his stripped down combo once again demonstrated why he is a top draw on the UK circuit with a great mixture of rock 'n' roll and R&B done Sanchez style. There were bags of visuals, piano pounding and smart vocals. The set included one of the best live interpretations of 'Breathless' heard outside of Jerry Lee. Other first class renditions included 'Blue Boy', 'Kiddio' and 'Three Months, Three weeks and Three Days'.

    Saturday, 22nd November 2003.
                Opening act for this evening was the UK band The Stargazers who performed a pleasant set that contained a Bill Haley beat colliding head on with Louis Prima/Sam Butera sound. The songs consisted of a mixture of jump jive such as 'Hey Marie', torch ballads with the likes of 'Rocket Ship To The Moon' and rock 'n' roll in the form of 'Ho Ho Ho' (otherwise known to Johnny Burnette fans as 'Please Don't Leave Me'), 'Rip It Up' and 'Shake Rattle And Roll'. They demonstrated a good stage presence. Following was Dexter Shaw & The Wolf Tones who came out with a fine authentic blues sound. The lead singer, Jeremiah, was very much in the Lowell Fulsom mould with the band basically being the musical Marques Brothers reincarnated. Good workouts in their act included 'Tiger Man' and 'It Hurts Me Too'.
                Appearing next was Lazy Lester who, after a hesitant start, developed his act into a tasty show featuring the likes of 'Sugar Coated Love', 'Bloodstains On The Wall' and 'Same Thing's Happened To You'. The last mentioned amply demonstrated the blurring of the lines between swamp blues and rock 'n' roll. The backing band included both Big Boy Bloater and Big Joe Louis on lead guitars plus a metal washboard scratcher and Lester made them work. Perhaps he lived up to his name a little too much as many numbers contained two guitar solos together with a piano and harmonica solo. For his final two numbers, Lazy abandoned his harmonica and picked up an acoustic guitar and proceeded to sing country including 'Your Cheatin' Heart'. Sadly this change of style did not really work. However country music did really suit the next two singers on stage, namely Frankie Miller and Jimmy Eaves. Jimmy came on first and performed a solid Hank Williams Snr. set with 'Setting The Woods On Fire', 'Lovesick Blues', 'Hey Good Looking' and 'Jambalaya'. The vocals were spot on and provided a fine contrast to the preceding styles of music. Frankie Miller, who sang a good selection of short sharp and snappy basically fifties style numbers, followed him on stage. Whilst Frankie cracked a number of banal jokes, it was a joy to watch and listen to a tremendous 'True Blue' along with the likes of 'Blackland Farmer' and 'Waltz Across Texas'. Another number, which was not only good, but interesting as well, was 'The Great Song' (The History Of The Wild Side Of Life)' which traced the story of 'Wild Side Of Life' from its inception with 'Tonight I'm Dreaming Of My Blue Eyes' through 'The Great Speckled Bird' to 'The Wild Side Of Life' and 'It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels'. Hopefully we shall see Frankie back in the UK.
                I have seen the next act, The Cleftones, several times previously and had never been disappointed. Tonight was to be no exception as leader Herb Cox along with Mac Todd, Nick Saunders and Kenny Whiteside danced onto the stage and proceeded to give a sparkling show. There was plenty of stage movement, great harmonies and good lead vocals on balanced and entertaining set of rockin' doo wop and ballads such as 'Heart and Soul', Roy Hamilton's 'Don't Let Go' (performed twice), a truly magnificent version of 'Blue Velvet', their classic 'Little Girl Of Mine' and 'Can't We Be Sweethearts. Kenny Whiteside got to grips with the Jackie Wilson songbook with fine workouts on 'That Is Why I Love You So' and 'I'll Be Satisfied'. There is a tasty hard rockin' edge to the voice of Herb Cox which is not present in some other vocal groups. All in all, they were a joy to witness and to listen to. Concluding Saturday night was the five-piece Australian jump jive, R&B and rock 'n' roll outfit Benny & The Fly By Niters who were a good choice to close out. They gave a solid and workmanlike performance, especially on the tunes 'Baby Baby Come Back', the instrumental 'Birmingham Bounce' 'Party Like Never Before' and 'Back To San Antone'.

    Sunday, 24th November 2002.
                For openers on the final night we had The Billy Bros Jumpin Orchestra from Italy who are a smartly attired swing and jump jive outfit. They gave an energetic show and were followed by Miss Mary Ann & Her Ragtime Wranglers. Miss Mary is an exceptionally talented lady, possessing a great voice and who is most attractive. If this was not enough, she was backed up by more than competent set of musicians on a selection of rockabilly, hillbilly and western swing tunes. Most enjoyable.
                Maybe I am biased, but by general consent, Billy Lee Riley gave out the stand out performance of the whole weekender. Billy sang superb selections of rock 'n' roll, rockin' blues and some mean down dirty blues. He was in great voice and his act was full of his little hop and skips as he worked the stage. The band and he was a cohesive unit, especially on 'Mojo', 'I Don't Know', 'Hoodoo Woman', 'Ballin' The Jack' 'Flip Flop And Fly' and 'Rock Me Mama'. He really cut loose on 'Flying Saucers Rock 'n' Roll before Lazy Lester joined him on stage. The couple then proceeded to perform 'Raining In My Heart' and 'Scratch My Back'. Riley closed his show out with scorching versions of 'Red Hot' and 'Whole Lot Of Shakin' Goin' On' to tumultuous applause. What a show! The length of the autograph queue further evidenced this afterwards as the next act on, Young Jessie, had nearly completed his performance before it closed out. Jessie has a new stage image, the goatee beard has been replaced by hat and maroon suit and he gave out with a typical and excellent set. This guy is a veteran who has been singing for around fifty year and remains in great voice along with a commanding stage presence. Thankfully, his selection now includes 'Shuffle In The Gravel' along with good workouts of the likes of 'Hit Git And Split', 'I Smell A Rat', 'Hot Dog', a great 'Don't Happen No More', 'Oochie Coochie', 'Do You Love Me' and the powerhouse ballad 'Lonesome Desert'. Boy, Mrs. Wilkinson and I were virtually drained after the last two acts. However UK vocal group The Metrotones, who include ex Rocky Sharp & The Razors/Darts bass singer Den Hegarty amongst their members, closed out the whole event with their typical and acceptable performance of rockin' doo wop and ballads.
                Overall, another great Rhythm Riot. But then there is next year's weekender to think of and salivate over. The headliners so far announced for Rhythm Riot 8, to be held at the same venue between 26th and 29th November 2004, are Hank Thompson (hope he performs 'Rockin' In The Congo' and 'Cocaine Blues'), Clarence Frogman Henry, Roddy Jackson, Joe Houston and The Southlanders. Telephone (0)20 8566 5226, fax (0)20 8566 2525 or contact the web site www.RhythmRiot.com for further information and booking details.
    © Tony Wilkinson, November 2003






    GREAT news for us Europeans! More dates are to be added in countries all over Europe. Stray Cats are reforming for a Summer 2004 EUROPEAN TOUR!
    CONFIRMED DATES SO FAR:
               TUESDAY 6 JULY 2004 - PARIS - THE ZENITH
               SATURDAY 17 JULY 2004 - LONDON - BRIXTON ACADEMY
               TUESDAY 20 JULY 2004 - HELSINKI - I





    Don Gibson Passes Away
    From Dick Shuey: "We have worked and talked with him on the road and in Nashville. he was one of the friendliest, most unassuming, and amazingly talented people we have ever known. We'll miss him."
                He Was 75 years old. Don Gibson was a member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame and the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. It is reported that he died of natural causes. Don Gibson, born: 4/3/1928, birthplace: Shelby, NC, year of Grand Ole Opry Membership: 1958. When considering great country music talents, Don Gibson's name has to be high on the list. As a songwriter/artist, Don has composed such classic standards as "Oh, Lonesome Me" and "I Can't Stop Loving You."
                More than 150 artists have recorded the later classic, including Elvis Presley three times. Don's reap from the song even includes a gold record for the Ray Charles version.
                Don knew he had something special the day he composed "I Can't Stop Loving You." He thought less of "Oh, Lonesome Me," written the same afternoon. "I thought it was nothing at all, so I sent it to Nashville and said, 'Give it to George Jones.' I had no idea I'd ever cut it, but Chet Atkins and Wesley Rose said that was the one they wanted me to record. I said, 'I don't want to do that junk. I thought you'd given it to George.' Well they insisted, so I said, 'I'll do it if you let me put 'I Can't Stop Loving You' on the back. I think it's the best song.' They didn't want to. Then they said they would but weren't going to push it , and they didn't."
                Gibson also wrote such songs as "Blue Blue Day," "Legend in my Time," "Sweet Dreams," "Too Soon To Know," "Guess Away The Blues," "Country Green," "Who Cares" and scores of others.
                As a teenager, he worked at a variety of jobs, including one in the textile mills in his native North Carolina, "hopping curbs and even delivering baby diapers," he recalled. He worked to make enough money to finance his efforts to be an entertainer and songwriter.
                He was still a youngster when he moved to Knoxville to perform on the WNOX Tennessee Barn Dance and Midday Merry-Go-Round. He soon organized his first band in the area. He then met Wesley Rose, president of Acuff-Rose Publishing in Nashville. Rose heard some of Don's songs and sought him out. And just as Rose's father, Fred, discovered Hank Williams, Wesley discovered Don Gibson.
                Don signed a songwriting contract with Rose and a recording contract with RCA. His first single was "Too Soon To Know," and the second "Oh, Lonesome Me," swept every major award in the country music field in 1958. During this period, Don joined the Grand Ole Opry as a regular. He rejoined the Opry in 1975.
                But the nicest thing that ever happen to him, in his own words, "is her," his wife, Bobbi, a beautiful, charming girl from his hometown.