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Camden Town Hall, London - Saturday 7th February 1998
by Rod Pyke

Over 500 people packed London's Camden Town Hall on Saturday for the second Rockabilly event to be held at this venue. After the success of the Sid & Billy King gig in 1997 the organisers were requested to run more of the same. Although the sound in the Town Hall is not brilliant because of the very high ceiling I don't think it was detrimental to anybody's enjoyment. From my vantage point at the front, this was not a problem.

The 3 DJ's, Jerry's Chatabox, Robin's Bakelite Boogie and Skinny Jim kept everyone Jumpin' and Jivin'. The Bar with its cheap beer was packed solid all night long. At 10.30pm the Rimshots came on stage to give another confident first class performance. In my opinion they are the best Rockabilly band in Europe. They always look the part with their smart country style outfits and excellent musicianship. On this occasion they had their full line up of John Lewis (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar), Rob Nedin (Lead Guitar), Tony Biggs (Upright Bass) and Mark Kemlo (Drums). The line up was completed by Paul Godden (Steel Guitar) and the youthful Bennet Walsh (Fiddle). The Rimshots had a big following tonight with many of their friends coming up to London from their home base in Wales. Their wide range of Rockabilly styles ranging from Hank Williams to self penned numbers make them popular with audiences world wide and has gained them the respect of such legends as Mac Curtis and Narvel Felts. The enthusiasm and good humour of the band always generates a nice atmosphere. John's authentic voice and the subtle guitar work of Rob Nedin's guitar, in the Scotty Moore and Merle Travis style. Add this to the Slappin' bass of Tony and energetic drummin' of Mark makes for a pulsating rhythm. With the experience playing of Paul on steel guitar and Bennet's young enthusiasm on fiddle you have the right blend for a top band. Their hour set consisted of everyone’s favourite Rimshots'numbers Cattin' Around, Sentimental Fool, Rock Cat Rock, Planet Bop, Rock all Night and One More Beer and many more.

The thirty minute record hop gave everybody the chance to re-stock with drink and prepare for the arrival of Curtis Gordon. Just after Midnight the Rimshots returned to the stage, did one number, and the moment everybody had been waiting for had arrived. Curtis Gordon came on stage greeted by a rousing welcome. He was dressed in a bright red western shirt with white tassels, black Levis with a silver belt and a black cowboy hat. Around his neck was a white neckerchief. The audience pressed forward towards the stage and were privileged to watch another Rockabilly legend give a performance to belie his age. All the old favourites were coming out Mobile Alabama, Rock Roll Jump And Jive, Play The Music Louder, Rocky Road Of Love, Rompin' And Stompin' and Sittin' On Top Of The World. The Rimshots gave excellent support to Curtis and he made a point of acknowledging the fact on several occasions and the fans responded positively. During many numbers Curtis would go side stage and collect signed cowboy hats from his wife Sue and propel them into the audience.

The thing that stood out to me was how many teenage fans were front stage and they were singing the words to all the songs, many recorded 25 years before they were born. Curtis put so much into his act that by the end he had only 3 strings remaining intact on his guitar. As per normal the crowd enticed Curtis back for an encore. He had saved his best for last and gave a brilliant performance of Draggin'.The crowd loved it, and this rounded off a wonderful evening. Curtis took the applause, shook all the hands of people front stage and distributed the remaining hats to the audience.

After a short while in the dressing room Curtis went into the foyer to sign autographs. He was accompanied by his wife Sue and Dave Travis of Stomper Time Records who had an EP and photographs for sale. It was 2am by the time Curtis had finished and was ready to return to his Hotel for five days holiday in London.

I hope we see him back again some time real soon.