Rockabilly Hall of Fame® Archives
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On Saturday June 27th the walls of New York City's finest honky tonk, The Rodeo Bar, vibrated with the sounds of rockin' music as Joanne Van Vranken AKA ROCKET J made her return to the performing stage! It has been my pleasure to know the red-headed hellkitten for several years and during that time have seen her hop on stage to do a tune or two with the Belmont Playboys or The Racketeers but this was the first time I had the chance to see her do a full set which she hadn't done in a few years. Looking resplendent in an off the shoulder black dress that hugged every curve and showed off her alabaster complexion, Rocket J, accompanied by her band, The Roulettes, got the joint jumping right off the bat with Jimmy Lloyd's classic, "Rocket In My Pocket," and went from there into the swamp blues classic, "Sugar Coated Love," which sounded real fine. The immortal Wanda Jackson's "Funnel of Love" followed. This was the first gig for the band and they did an admirable job. On Guitar was Jimmy Nations, formerly of the Burnley Brothers out of Wilmington, NC. On Doghouse Bass -- John Willoughby, who plays in the newest incarnation of The Rockats and with Robert Gordon. On Drums - George Andrews, whose current credentials are the same as John's. The set went fast and furious and the crowd gave her applause a-plenty! Other songs in the set included "Ricochet Romance," "Try Me," "Love On My Mind," "Let's Flat Get It," "He Left Me Cold," "Crazy Fever" and Lover’s Lie." Rocket J concluded the set with a rockin' rollin' rendition of Janis Martin's "Bang Bang," and received a standing ovation -- Really!!! That was supposed to be all she wrote but the crowd would have none of that and the band took the stage once more for "Hoy Hoy." An excellent performance by the East Coast's number one rockin' lady!

The Raging Teens, L-R: Bass - Matt Murphy, Vocals/Rhythm - Kerin Patey, Drums - Keith Shubert, Lead/Backing Vocals - Miss Amy Griffin. Photo by Josh Lewis (
After a brief break, New Hampshire's finest rockin' ensemble, THE RAGING TEENS, came on to rock the joint! These cats and a kitten get better every time I see them! At the rate they're improving, by next year, they'll be ready to play every weekender in the world!!! Rocket J said this was a night of Chick-a-billy as the Raging Teens had a girl guitar player, Miss Amy Griffith, and she's one hot picker! Miss Amy looks like she’s having fun up there twanging them strings and providing harmonies when needed. One cool kitty to be sure! The band opened with the original "Hotrod Shotgun Boogie," and proceeded to do several more boogies ending with "Salty Boogie," Like the other kings of New England rockabilly, The Racketeers, The Raging Teens don't have a single slow tune in their repertoire. Lead singer/Rhythm Guitarist - Kerin Patey never slowed down from start to finish. Sssssmokin' to say the least! The other two members - Standup bassist Matt Murphy and Drummer Keith Shubert completed the quartet and provided a solid backbeat. Other highlights included an exceptional rendition of Cliff Richard's "High Class Baby," the wild "Move Move Move" written by Mary Lou Lord, and several pounding Gene Maltais tunes including "Raging Sea" and "Gang War." The bop just would not stop! Other tunes performed included "Drinkin' Wine Spo-De-O-De," Flying Saucers R&R," an exceptional instrumental version of "Dixie Land," a tribute to Carl Perkins with "Boppin' The Blues," and the wonderful "Let's Go Rock & Roll" with wonderful backing vocals from Miss Amy. I wish it could gone on even longer but all good things must come to an end. If these tip top rockin' rollin' performers make their way to your neck of the woods, do not miss them! You'll regret it big time!!!!

Miss Amy Griffin bends the strings. Photo by Josh Lewis -
© 1998 Larry Shell, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any media without permission is verboten.