Keep On Rockin´ - Subcultury & Music - Rebooted & New Beginnings
Story of The Rockers - The Boys - Side A
Introduction – the highs and lows of Roots Rock & Roll and Rockabilly music
Until today Rock & Roll and all it´s niches with it´s connected subcultures have a long history of highs and lows. Years of high popularity, were followed by an existence in underground.
Rockabilly music has it´s home in the States of the US, south of the Mason Dixon Line. The subculture of Rockabillys shaped it-self in Great Britain, like the Teds, Ton Up Boys or Rockers be-fore. All this subcultures tied to original Rock & Roll and Rocka-billy music, yet varying from each other. After an immense high for the subculture of the Teddy Boys and Teddy Girls, during the 1950s, a low followed. A few die-hards stayed with the style and the original form of Rock & Roll.
The 1970s Rockabilly and Rock & Roll Revival owes a great debt to ever loyal Jerry Lee Lewis Fan and record collector “Breath-less” Dan Coffey. He travelled to the United Sates from the Unit-ed Kingdom on many adventurous trips, to bring home dozens of original Vinyls. Also by Rockabilly veterans such as Charlie Feathers, Warren Smith, Jack Scott and Buddy Knox. Many Rockabilly artists, who only enjoyed regional fame in the US, were rediscovered through the Mailorder Dan Coffey operated. In 1976 the afore mentioned artists also appeared at the Rainbow Theatre in London, the night was opened by Crazy Cavan & The Rhythm rockers, the concert, can be seen as an historic first ever Rockabilly-only show on British shores. (Drummer Mike Coffey is the younger brother of Dan Coffey). The 1950s as an era, and in so, also it´s various music styles, back then all labeled as Rock & Roll were rediscovered by filmmakers: 1973 saw the release of the British drama “That´ll Be The Day”, in the same period falls the George Lucas movie “American Graffitti”. A nostalgic look back to the pre-Vietnam war years, to Rock & Roll´s more innocent era, which roughly lasted from 1954 – 1963. 1950s nostalgia was en vogue again, even television sitcoms such as “Happy Days” served the appetite for the “good old days”: Starring Henry Winkler as The Fonz: Bill Haley & The Comets even re-recorded “Rock Around The Clock” for the opening theme of the serial. Again the National Anthem of Rock & Roll (Dick Clark) made the charts … Even Glam Rock referred to the original Rock & Roll.
Whereas in the UK you could still purchase Teddy Boy gear from Orpheus Fashion in Portsmouth. Long Drape jackets, drainpipe trousers and jeans, crepe-soled shoes, bootlace ties were seen on a second generation of Teddy Boys. In 1976 several thousand Rock & Roll fans, including a strong contingent of Teddy Boys, mani-fested themselves to walk from Hyd Park Corner, to the BBC Studios in London, to protest the lack of original Rock & Roll on the airwaves. This resulted in Stuart Coleman and Geoff Barker (who handed in a demo show to the BBC representatives) getting their Radio show “It´s Only Rock & Roll” onto the BBC.
1975 saw some interesting re-releases. Chiswick Records re-released the British Rock & Roll classic “Brand New Cadillac” by Vince Taylor & The Playboys. The affiliated Ace Records released “Tennessee Rock & Roll” by Hoyt Scoggins & The Saturday Nite Jamboree Boys (from 1956) or the until then un-released “Jitterbop Baby” by Hal Harris. The songs became Undergound classics of the Rockabilly movement. In 1977, according to news-papers such as The Sun or the music trade magazine “Melody Maker” - Teds and Punks fought battles, like Rockers and Mods a decade earlier. But some undecided of the younger generation bought the new releases of The Clash as well as of Rockabilly Veterans like Sonny Burgess. In 1979 the Revival Rock & Roll era and the New Edwardian Teds gave way to a new breed of Rockabilly and Rock & Roll Fans – The Rockabilly Rebels.
Rock & Roll and Rockabilly and it´s subcultures did not die out, especially in London, which was known for decades as Rockabilly capital of the world. Original US import vintage fashion was bought by Hepcats in London shops such as Flip in Covent Gar-den, and selected market stalls in Camden Town. Denim Jeans, worn by Greasers in the US in the 1950s, Gabardine Jackets, Donkey Jackets, Two-Tone shoes, outlandish shirts, were in de-mand by a young Rockabilly enthusiastic record and fashion buy-ing public. Three New York boys, who would become legendary in the rockin´ scene as Brian Setzer (vocals & lead guitar), Slim Jim Phantom (drums) and Lee Rocker (bass) moved to London to dive into a nourishing Rockabilly club scene of the late 1970s. They used the inspiration and connections they made in London, such as with Dave Edmunds, for an international career. Other young Rockabilly bands such as The Polecats or The Jets followed their path, and into the British charts. In the meantime Rockin´ Ronny Weiser had rediscovered old Rockaabilly artists Mac Curtis, Jackie Lee Cochran, Johnny Carroll and Ray Campi – he would send them out to very successful British and Continental Europe tours. The first wave of the Rockabilly Revival, lost mo-mentum, especially after the Stray Cats disbanded, part for this decision was bad reviews and cirtisiscm from the music journalism side … In the early 2000s the project “Dick Brave & The Backbeats” converted a newer generation into Rockabilly, in the vein of such bands as Restless, Stray Cats or Polecats. Boppin´ B´ toured with Dick Brave & The Backbeats, and released an album with covers of the man behind Dick Brave – popsinger Sasha. Also mentionable are The Baseballs, for some - a casted project, for others not Rockabilly nor Rock & Roll at all. Neverthless they record recently an album at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennesse, where it alle began over sixty years ago. Rockabilly may be less visible to the mainstram, but it is very much alive …
Playlist / Zusatzinfo:
01. Story Of The Rockers-Shakin´ Stevens & The Sunsets
02. Rock Around The Clock-Bill Haley & His Comets
03. That´s Allright-Elvis Presley & The Blue Moon Boys
04. Blue Suede Shoes-Carl Perkins
05. Maybellene-Chuck Berry
06. The Girl Can´t Help It-Little Richard
07. You Can´t Judge A Book By Lookin´ At It´s Cover-Bo Diddley
08. End Of The Road-Jerry Lee Lewis
09. Get Rhythm-Johnny Cash
10. You´re My Baby-Roy Orbison
11. I´m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday-Fats Domino
12. Kansas City-Wilbert Harrison
13. Such A Night-The Drifters