Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ Archives
        Welcome to our Internet hall of fame web site. A place where you will find educational and historical information about the performers who gave us the true beginning of American rockin' music ... sounds that sprang from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Read about Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley ("Rock Around the Clock"), Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Ricky Nelson and their peers. Dream about the days of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, vintage clothing, hot rods, retro hair styles, poodle skirts, hula hoops and Leave it to Beaver. We also feature modern authentic rockers like the Stray Cats. You'll quickly discover that The Beatles and Rolling Stones did not create rock n roll.   Our office is located in Burns, Tennessee. E-mail: info@rockabillyhall.com. Opening page: www.rockabillyhall.com.






SONNY BURGESS - TENNESSEE CLUB, LONDON
FRIDAY 6th MARCH 1998
by Rod Pyke

It was a foul day in London, non stop rain and strong winds, but it was sunshine all the way at the Tennessee Club. Once again we must thank Ritchie Gee for putting on one of the best nights witnessed at the North London rock 'n' roll club. The weather did not deter the crowds from turning out in force to see the Sun recording artist, the legendary Sonny Burgess. Sonny, no stranger to these shores, gave what must have been one of the best performances of any previous tour.


Blue Star Boys
The night started off with the BLUE STAR BOYS. This was the first time I have caught their act, and after this performance, it will not be my last. A rockabilly trio of upright bass, lead guitar and Charlie Thompson (as depicted on his guitar) on rhythm guitar and vocals. They played my kind of rockabilly everything from Ronnie Self, Bob Luman and Lattie Moore. They even threw in a couple of country ballads. These are three talented musicians who would enhance any rockabilly venue world wide. Circumstances caused me to miss speaking to them after their act. If anybody out there has contact please get them to e-mail me. The inter act music was again provided by the ever popular Wild Cat Pete and the Flattop Brothers.


The Infernos
This evenings master of ceremonies the unmistakable Big Daddy. 11pm saw the Introduction of the INFERNOS a four piece band of upright bass, drums, lead guitar and rhythm guitar/vocals. Again a solid performance all round, proving the UK is not short of excellent bands. A mixture of rockabilly and rock 'n' roll to suit all tastes, from Dale Hawkins to Johnny Cash and Louis Jordan to Ronnie Dawson. Numbers played included Caledonia, Suzie Q, I'm So Lonesome, Let's Bop, Rock Roll Jump Jive and Pretty Bad Blues to name but a few. Speaking to the group afterwards they are keen to get their own Web page set up and are going to contact me to this effect. If the night had finished now I do not think anybody would have been disappointed, these two supporting acts had found themselves a lot of new fans.



But the night was not finished and the best was yet to come. After 20 minutes of jiving and strolling it was time for Big Daddy to introduce the star of the show, Sonny Burgess. Sonny dressed in grey denim jeans and white western shirt with blue trimmings. A new addition to his attire, he now sports a white beard. He acknowledged the rousing reception from the crowd, who by this time had surged forward in front of the stage. Sonny went straight into Move It On Over and the party was under way. This was followed by Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Just Fall In Love Again. The fans were becoming warmed to the legend now and Sonny was also picking up the pace. Four more numbers came in quick succession Auto Woman, Rock 'n' Roll Ruby, If I Could I Would and Tiger Rose. Then a medley of Elvis tunes, I Forgot To Remember To Forget Her, That's Alright and Blue Moon of Kentucky.


Ritchie and Frank with Sonny

We should mention the excellent backing given him by the Tennessee All Star Rock 'n' Roll Band, which comprised of the young drummer from the Infernos and also their vocalist/guitarist who took the role on upright bass. Two excellent session musicians were brought in to complete the line up, on electric piano and trumpet. Sonny took lead guitar himself. Fly like A Bird was the next one on Sonny's list and then the audience were asked to join in the next one, Ain't Got A Thing, which they duly obliged. Everyone was loving this number and two pretty young girls at the front impromptually jumped on stage and provided backing vocals, completely unrehearsed and a fine job they made of it too. This number almost brought the house down and the applause went on for several minutes. The show was far from over, Sonny seemed to find more energy and went straight into the Bucket's Got A Hole which gave a chance for individual band members to show what they could do. T for Texas and a medley of Tear It Up, Shake, Rattle & Roll, Jenny, Jenny, Your Love Lifts Me Higher and Dizzy Miss Lizzy were next. The set was by now running overtime but nobody wanted it to end, least of all Sonny. From somewhere Sonny mustered more energy which encouraged those on stage with him to pull out that bit extra. The young drummer looked as though he had come straight out of the shower he was dripping sweat. Red Hot, again had the band doing solo spots. Red Headed Woman once again had the crowd jumping and singing. With the piano thumping, the bassist climbing all over the bass and the drummer pulling out all the stops, bouncing in his seat as he played, Sonny found new reserves. The loudest cheer of the night went up at its conclusion and Big Daddy came on stage to encourage the Tennessee crowd to call for more. They did not need any prompting, nobody wanted to go home yet. Although by now Sonny must have been physically drained he was not going to let his followers down and the night was brought to a conclusion with We Wanna Boogie. I felt tired watching these guys so you can imagine how they felt. I do not think anybody left the Tennessee Club tonight disappointed. As I went to where Sonny was signing autographs, to say my goodbyes, you could see how drained and dehydrated he looked. Somehow he has to revitalise himself to do it all over again tomorrow. Who would want to be a Rockabilly star?




Rod Pyke with Sonny Burgess