Review Rockabilly Rave #24 - 2022

The fuel tank was full; therefore, the bank was empty.  For the first time since the 2019 Rhythm Riot, we were on our way down to Camber Sands, for the Rockabilly Rave.  The heat was pretty intense in England on the way down, to Camber Sands.  Tarmac melted in the sun and birds fell ready-roasted from the sky.  This was the rearranged 24th Rockabilly Rave, the long awaited 24th Rockabilly Rave, theeeee Rockabilly Rave.  Last Rave, there were complaints when the water went off, for a couple of hours.  If only we’d known that was the lesser of a considerable choice of evils eh readers?

There was wonder and anticipation on our journey down, what would the camp site and chalets look like, who’s coming and so on.  For those who don’t know, Jerry Chatabox, hires out the entire Pontins camp site.  Aging, dour and uninspiring, Jerry Chatabox also runs the Rockabilly Rave😆.  Our chalet was almost like stepping back in time, it hadn’t changed a bit, apart from frivolous missing fixtures, like chairs.  A knee buckling, hernia inducing, to-and-fro to get our life for four days from the car, to the domicile later and we are in.  So good to reunite with the a*se-nipping toilet seat and the jaunty angled sofa that randomly gave way, the most appropriate phrase to shout and sum it up would be ‘Mister Grimsdale’.

Darkness, in the bedroom, in the middle of summer with twenty-hours of daylight, is difficult to achieve, and no matter what you put up at the windows, somehow a gnat’s knacker of a gap means there’s always a rhombus shape of sunlight that gets in and illuminates the room.  Tell you what readers, I thought that those fearsome gulls of years gone by, would’ve been the size of wrens after two years of no scraps being thrown out to them, or anyone’s food to pinch.  But they were back, giving everyone the evil eye, and bought some equally scavenging and more cunning, jackdaws with them.

It's always good to plan our weekender by utilising the menu notes, which is part of the Rockabilly Rave’s program, featuring Jerry Chatabox’s laugh-out-loud missives.  The Thursday event starts in the evening in the main hall although there’s music going on in the pub before then.  During that time, a steady rumble of revellers, from near and far started to arrive, the grassed areas in front of the chalets populated by classic cars, trucks and bikes, record players and speakers boomed out rockin’ sounds.

Before we start, try as we might, we couldn’t get to see and photograph every band.  Also, we
know that opinions on bands, DJs etc will vary.  Indeed, on occasions, they are polarised within the Bettajive Review office.  And, in some cases, not liking a group is almost heresy itself. So, taking that into consideration, here we go into the main ballroom.

Marc-time.  If you want to start with a band that encapsulates the very raison d’etre of the Rockabilly Rave, then Germany’s Marc and the Wild Ones would be a good place to start.  With towering front man Marc Valentine (originally from Michigan) on vocals and rhythm guitar, rocking straight into ‘Oh Well’ and the title track of their 2014 album ‘She Put a Spell on Me’.  Top guitar work from Rene Rottman also drives the set along through ‘I Wanna Scream’ and (I guess) the answer record ‘I Wanna Hear You Scream’.

A lot of the material in this set is written by Marc, who by song three was pretty much melting in his Hollywood suit, given the heat in the hall.  The quality of the compositions is evident in the likes of the blues bop sound of ‘Please Don’t Go’ (not that one Facebook vultures!), and the kicking ‘Rock With Me’.  Interspersed with the originals, a few well-placed classics like Carl Perkins ‘Where the Rio De Rosa Flows’, and Benny Ingram’s belter ‘Jello Sal’.  From their popular Bopflix video, filmed at their 2013 Rave debut, ‘Boppin’ Mary Lou’ ended a memorable and breathless set, rowdily cheered by the crowd that had increased in numbers as the set went on.  Naturally they came back for an encore (‘Real Rockin’ Baby’ I’d hoped for) with a cover of Hot Boogie Chillun’s ‘Desperado Love’.

Make no bones about it readers, this stuff is the real deal from a band on top form.  Great start to the weekender.

High time.  Making his Rave debut next, the towering presence* of Mitch Polzak, who looked like he could be moonlighting from being a point guard in the NBA.  He’s one of those guitarists that not only makes a six stringed instrument sing, but leaves the onlooker wondering if there’s a second guitarist playing along too.  With accompaniment from the dream team of Bobby Trimble on drums and Deke Dickerson on bass, Mitch wandered through the audience twanging Duane Eddy’s ‘Rockabilly Holiday’ to open the show. 

Immediately I’m going to flag up the take on Alvin Youngblood Hart’s ‘Big Momma’s Door’, a growling guitar blues sound, and from later in the set, the foot stomping sing-along ‘Two Dollar Bill / Long Journey Home’ in a bluegrass country style.  ‘Betty and Dupree’ got a Chuck Berry styled makeover, as did Jimmie Rodgers 1936 picker ‘T For Texas’.  Add into the mix, ‘True True Love’, the original Rockabilly delight ‘Heck of a Catch’ and the country sound of the lament ‘Too Loaded to get Lucky’.  Cool beans from a guitarist on ace form

A fine nine.  Rounding off Thursday night, Paul Ansell’s Number 9, with Tony Diavolo on lead guitar, drummer Ricky McCann, Guy Trigg on bass and Paul Ansell himself taking lead vocals and rhythm guitar.  This band have a considerable pedigree from years of experience, and there were certain ‘must hears’ that the audience all but demand nowadays.  Take ‘Passenger’, the Iggy Pop & Ricky Gardiner song from 1977, a well-established tune in the No.9 set.  Two tracks from the opposite ends of Elvis’ career were showcased with ‘I Forgot to Remember to Forget’ from ’55 and ‘In the Early Morning Rain’ from 1972, featured.

Popular reworkings of ‘Big Ten Inch’, ‘Lonesome Train’ and ‘Hey Joe’ also appeared as many expected, along with some anomalies like a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Find Me a Place in the Sun’ and ‘You Don’t Care’ originally by Arthur Alexander in ’65.  Hurtling to a conclusion was ‘Red Light (Spells Danger)’ and a much-heralded encore of ‘Sea of Heartbreak’.  All of which left Skinny Jim to fill the floor with some hot tracks for an equally hot rockin’ night.

Suns shine.  Friday and the mercury was still at the top end of the Fahrenheit scale as loads of other Rave-ites piled into the Camber camp.  It’s the first day that the downstairs hall is used.  There’s a different vibe downstairs.  You’re closer to the bands, it’s more intimate and at times, noisy.  Three bands were gracing the stage, all making their Rockabilly Rave debuts, starting with the Sundown Boys.

This trio, Dan Morley strumming the rhythm guitar and vocalising, the ubiquitous Danny Brown on bass and lead guitarist Scott Brown have been making waves for some time, with their brand of stripped-down Rockabilly, with a tinge of Hillbilly and Honky Tonk.  Even with no drums, the sound is full and gutsy, demonstrated in ‘How About Me?’ which brought them on to the stage.  Al Ferrier’s ‘My Baby Done Gone Away’ was a triumph as was ‘I’ll Do It Every Time’.  The Johnny Horton track was reproduced perfectly, down to the (country) Johnny Mathis harmony in the chorus, by the lads.  A real oddity appeared mid-way through the set with Wally Willette’s ‘Pink Elephants’ 1959 ‘B’ side.  Can’t recall that being played live before.

Jeff Daniels’ ‘Daddy-O Rock’ did just that, and the rendition of Lloyd McCullough’s ‘Gonna Love My Baby Now’ was sublime.  The guitar breaks by Scott Brown, were so authentic sounding, and complemented Dan’s voice to a ‘T’.  Heading to the end of the set we had a brace of beauties in the shape of John Worthan’s ‘The Cats Were Jumping’ and ‘Grandaddy’s Rockin’.  Just and excellent start to Friday, by the trio, who have taken this particular style, and made themselves head of the pack

Big deal.  Sometimes readers, you are present at something that you have a feeling is going to take off into something special, and that was the case when we first saw the Sundown Boys, and indeed the next one on stage.  Toto and the Raw Deals are Joe Newbon on lead guitar, Sam French slapping the bass and the venerable drummer Tony Hillebrandt, with Salvatore ‘Toto’ Marziano as the vocalist and rhythm guitarist.  Some in the room had already had a taste of their style at a Hemsby jam session, here they were now on the Rave stage.  A quick instro blast and we were into the show with a cover of Marty Stuart & Travis Tritt’s ‘Honky Tonkin’ Is What I Do Best’, which is a rattling new country song given an injection of Rockabilly joi-de-vivre by the lads.

‘One More Line’ a Marziano original punchy rocker that I doubt needs much explanation lyrically.  The set list was crafted in such a way that the crowd got a couple of covers and an original song, for example Freddie Hart’s ‘Snatch It and Grab It’ and Charlie Feathers’ ‘Stutterin’ Cindy’, set up ‘This Here Rocker’s Gone Country’, a tale of a rocker, preferring the country side of music and cramming as many big music names in to the song in under two minutes.

‘Wish I Was From Memphis’, actually has a British sounding under tone to the guitar work, really effective. In among all the frenzy the sounds were whipping up, the front of stage became a bop-fest that Salv joined in by jumping into the middle of. ‘You Can Do No Wrong’ and ‘You Can Have The Crown’ worked well together before a Joe Newbon original ‘Haunting Me’, which has an up-tempo Country/Mexicali vibe.  Building to a crescendo, and the guys took on ‘Wham Bam Jam’, a powerhouse version of Janis Martin’s 2012 kicker, which set up the roundly appreciated ‘Moonshine Blues’.  And a mention for the encore of Ronnie Dawson’s ‘Up Jumped the Devil.  If you didn’t dig this, you were dead.

Sunny spells.  Third band on, third debut of the day, with the Spellcasters, made up of Jon-Jack Boxall on rhythm guitar and vocals, JD England on lead guitar, bassist Dave Kopke and drummer Pete ‘Blip’ Mulvihill.  Anyone reading this and thinking ‘It’s the Slingshots with a new singer’ or ‘It’s Jack and the Real Deals and a couple of other geezers’ *raises voice an octave* Wrong!

In the heat of the afternoon, this four-piece presented a set of tunes, with a refreshing theme and outlook.  Take the opener, Jackie Lee Cochran’s ‘It’s Alright’, something you wouldn’t hear every day, and from the Mac Curtis back catalogue came ‘Turn Away From Me’ (which I think was from 1978), and Bill Carter’s 1961 MGM cut ‘Shot Four Times and Dying’.  Plenty of light and shade I think you’ll agree. 

Again, covering a well-known artist and choosing material that doesn’t always spring to mind, the Spellcasters took on two Carl Perkins beauties.  ‘Lonely Heart’ from 1964, can you believe such a strong track was a ‘B’ side, and from 1961 ‘Any Way The Wind Blows’, written by Wayne Walker.  Particularly ‘Lonely Heart’ was a standout in the set, possibly due to it being a personal favourite.  Similarly, the stroll beat of Young Jessie’s ‘My Country Cousin’ was a welcome groove in blues.   Check out ‘Too Late’ as well, which I’m pretty certain is an original tune.

Jack Southern’s dance floor filler, ‘Darlene’ was extremely well presented and received, which ended the set, until the encore, which naturally was ‘Casting My Spell’.  In the melting heat of the downstairs hall, this was a tip top ending to the first afternoon. 

Our gain from Spain.  Straight upstairs for the Friday evening starting with the Radions from Andalucía, Spain.  Now here’s the type of Rockabilly that could leave you breathless just watching, with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Juan Carlos Montoro, supercharged with energy and looking fine in his red and white suit.  The rest of the band are, Vicente Antón on lead guitar, Javi G. Salcedo, upright bass and drummer, José Manuel Aguilar Yélamo.

This show took no prisoners from the get-go with the contemporary sounding ‘Corona Bop’ to open and ‘Stroke of Luck’ following rapidly behind.  ‘El Santo’ kept the pace up with it’s striding lead guitar riffs, while there was some familiarity in their versions of Charlie Feathers’ ‘One Hand Loose’ and ‘Stutterin’ Cindy’, and the Burnette trio’s ‘Tear It Up’.  Audience howling accompanied ‘Who Combs the Werewolf’, a real highlight among highlights.  If this was an introduction to the Radions, it was a good one!

100%.  Some Californian trio styled Rockabilly next, a change of pace and style with the Centuries, from Los Angeles with Bert Avalos on lead guitar, Deke Dickerson on drums and the energetic and animated Zander Griffith on the dawghouse bass.  Together they produce a tight and accomplished sound, and once again I’ll flag up a cover of a particular favourite of mine, Dale Hawkins’ Baby Baby’.  Their take on the 1957 bop classic was just exquisite.

They set the stall out with a super slab of Rockabilly, in the shape of ‘She Saw Me Rockin’, with ‘Wild Wild Lover’ and ‘Know That Woman’ setting up the afore mentioned Dale Hawkins corker. Bill Johnson’s ‘You Better Dig It’ from ’59 and Joe South’s ‘I’m Snowed’ also got the Centuries workout, and how about this one ‘Froggie Went a Courtin’.  And ‘Tick Tock’, a bright and zippy rocker that has the slight repetitive lyrical familiarity of ‘Splish Splash’, cracking tune.  They were booked for the 2020 event that didn’t happen, my goodness we’re grateful they could make it this time.

Swingin time.  If you like your Western Swing in its purest and finest form, look no further than the next act on, Lynette Morgan and the Blackwater Valley Boys.  Lynette in her trademark white fringed blue suit, fronted a classy set of tunes aided by Pat Reyford on guitar, Willy Briggs sliding the steel, Chris Lane on fiddle and bassist Gary Boller, and more than a passing mention for Dave Madgwick guesting on maracas. Lynette’s vocal style combines the smoothness of Patsy Cline mixed with the vocal spark of Janis Martin and Rose Maddox.  ‘Roadside Diner’ had her duetting with Willy Briggs in this joyous romp.  That combination also sounded superb during Rusty and Doug’s ‘Hey Sherriff’.

Pat Reyford took lead vocals for Bobby Lord’s ‘Everybody’s Rockin but Me’ and Willy’s version of Little Jimmy Dickens’ ‘Salty Boogie’ were class.  Lynette’s performances of Patsy Cline’s ‘Let the Teardrops Fall’ from 1958 and the Maddox Brothers and Rose’s ‘I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again’ from 1964, were exquisite.  Add to that the likes of ‘Feelin’ Low’, Louisiana Swing and the rousing ‘All the Band’s a-Rocking’ which rounded off the set, and you will get a feeling for just how top drawer this show was.

At this point, as that set couldn’t be topped, we left the main hall to scale the north face of one of Shakey’s burgers.

Ravin’ dot….dot.  Best tracks at the Rave ever ever to blow you a breeze for this year were ‘Waiting for my Baby (Rock Rock) by Hawkshaw Hawkins, ‘Boss’ by the Rumblers and Deke Dickerson’s ‘My Baby Don’t Love Me Anymore’……….The references to ‘Upstairs and Downstairs’ pertains to the location of the two ball rooms, and bears no reference to the seventies master-and-servant TV program in the 70’s……… Shakey’s Diner chicken burger, do you eat it or climb it?  Top scran, could’ve done with staying open a bit longer (sic)………..*Ok you smart ar*es, we know, most people do look ‘towering presences’ to us……..At one point, for a few fleeting moments, neither Danny Brown, Sam French or Deke Dickerson were on a stage at the Rave.  Can the scheduler ensure this doesn’t happen again please 😊 …….For those who wondered where the Blackwater Valley is, it’s in the ‘tonks of Berkshire and Hampshire, the birthplace of Western Swing (honest 😊)……….Just some of the Cactus Club assembled for a group appreciation photo.  My goodness there were a lot of people there from the club that was formed online during Covid lockdowns.  At a similar Bettajive Review appreciation gathering, the group photo consisted of June and I in a selfie……At some stage, wordsmiths like Joey Simeone, or Big Sandy, or Scotty Baker, will recount the story in song of the Pontins ants and Boppo the Barber’s lemon drizzle cake………With the heat especially on Thursday and Friday, you can’t help but admire musicians and how they dealt with slippery hands and equally slippery strings, during their shows……..I’m old.  You can tell, because as soon as a hot rod revved up, all I could think was ‘oh that’s another five quids worth of petrol gone’…….

Hot stuff.  Saturday, was a full-on day picking up where Friday left off.  We chose to see two of the three bands on in the afternoon.  Red Hot Riot, I had an idea what they’d sound like, and indeed I wasn’t far out as they played a set of pounding Neo-Rockabilly, nudging the boundaries of Psychobilly, with an injection of young person’s exuberance.   They are from Gloucestershire and currently record with Western Star Records, and after the Rave show, they would be /have played at Glastonbury.  Lockdowns were not a hinderance to the band as they produced some seriously good original material

Lead singer and guitarist Ricky Delaney, takes no prisoners jumping a leaping around the stage, whipping up the audience, and whipped up they were.  With the volume cranked up, the four lads rattled through a fine set of mainly their own material, which was rowdily cheered throughout.  The Rave, then Glastonbury a few days later, it’s all happening for Red Hot Riot.

Powerpack.  The highlight of the afternoon’s bands for me was the Rave debut of La Perra Blanco.  We first saw pocket rocket Alba Blanco Sanchez at Hemsby, just before the world went nuts, slinging a large orange Ibanez guitar and blowing up a storm.  This time, it was a Fender Telecaster that got the workout as the trio launched into an exceptional and energetic rockin’ set, firing out the powerful instrumental ‘Doggy Rag’, which set the tone straight away.  ‘Big River’ was given a Blanco bounce visually and vocally, and apparently ‘It’s Fun But It’s Wrong’ is the narrative of Alba’s life (she said).  Another frantic instro, this time Joe Maphis’ ‘Rockin’ Gypsy’ rocked out as did Merle Travis’ finger pickin’ ‘Cannonball Rag’ later in the set.

Bassist Guillermo Gonzales, adds to the visual experience, with an equally animated, and dare I suggest, somewhat maniacal looking performance, slapping the dawghouse.  Keeping it real on the cans at the back, we mustn’t forget Jesus Lopez.  ‘Sweet Daddy Lips’, ‘You Can Touch My Back’ and ‘Bop and Shake’ are all original tracks, and had Alba and Guillermo in amongst the audience, getting even closer and more personal with the crowd who were in raptures by this point.

‘Down the Line’ and ‘Drinkin’ Wine’ rattled toward the end of a sublime set, in a sweltering downstairs hall.  It’s only the second time we’ve been able to catch La Perra Blanco live.  I thought the 2019 show was a blast, but this one blew it out the water.  Outstanding.

More Craw.  With respect to everyone else that played the Rave, in my opinion, this evening’s entertainment, was the best line up of the event.  It started with the reformed-for-the-Rave Crawdads with Dean Anthony Kennedy over from Australia, on lead guitar & vocals and teaming up with Mark Ellington (Ellie) on upright bass, drummer Paul O’Donnell and lead guitarist Paul Murphy (you may be thinking Tex Speed Combo at this point).  Some of the set was Crawdad originals, some new Crawdad songs and a few covers, one of which, Dale Vaughn’s ‘How Could You Be Mean To Me’, opened up the set

Loved the steady Rockabilly timbre of ‘Girl is Late’ with it’ shout-back chorus, and the sinister sound of ‘Narcotic’.  Eddie Fontaine/David Houston’s ‘One and Only’, ‘Mel Dorsey’s ‘Little Lil’ and Allen Page’s ‘Dateless Night’ represented the covers, slotted in among the Crawdad compositions, like the haunting ‘Gypsy Woman’, ‘Strange Boulevard’, the gritty ‘Evil Thinking Woman’ and the ace finger picker, ‘Honey Could You Lend Me Some Dough’.  A most memorable set was topped off brilliantly with the nippy ‘Bad Motor Running’ and a cover of Billy Lee Riley’s ‘Red Hot’.  A kicking way to start off Saturday night.

Tsssss’ Hot stuff.  From the North East on England, came the Scorchers, and if I can avoid all types of incendiary-based puns from here on in, it will be a miracle.  This four-piece feature brothers Gary and Ian Agar on drums and lead guitar & vocals respectively, Trev Magson on bass and rhythm guitarist and vocalist Tim Richardson.  Anyone considering that this is the Infernos take-two, it’s not, you only have to check out the set list of 1950’s diamonds to realise that.  Immediately springing to mind are their versions of George Jones’ gems ‘Revenoor Man’, ‘White Lightning’ and ‘Maybe Little Baby’ teetering between country music and Rockabilly, that were reproduced with perfection.

Glenn Barber’s ‘Go Home Letter’ is a bouncing little number that rocked along, Jimmy Lloyd’s suggestively titled ‘I Got a Rocket in my Pocket’ and Carl Perkins’ celebratory nod ‘Tennessee’ were a joy to listen to.  The Scorchers aren’t a manic jump around band, they are a measured and talented four-piece that have a well-rehearsed and tight sound, perfect for the Rave’s main stage.  As the set rolled on down to a conclusion, Ian and Tim took on a couple of harmony vocal tunes. Alton and Jimmy’s ‘No More Crying the Blues’ and the Cochran Brothers’ ‘Rockin’ and Flyin’, with ‘Gonna Love You’ making the encore, a brilliant ending to a set three years in the making.  Love it.

Deke speaks.  The towering presence of Deke Dickerson took to the stage next, looking very dapper in his red and white suit, the decision to wear it I think, judging by what he said on stage, was a little ill advised. For so many shows we have expected the Ecco-Fonics as his backing band, but this time, it was the Whippersnappers, simply put a flip to the Centuries show with Bert Avalos and Zander Griffiths accompanying on rhythm guitar and bass.  Right from the finger-pickin’ two-minute wonder ‘Here Kitty Kitty’, the crowd were spellbound.

Marvin Rainwater’s 1956 cut ‘Get Off The Stool’, a song about a seat without arms incidentally, (keep it real peeps) bounded by as did ‘You Better Not Go’ (Skeets McDonald) and Johnny Horton’s ‘Sugar Coated Baby’.  From 1940, came ‘Besame Mucho’, so often sung in Spanish, and (apparently) the most recorded Mexican song ever.  This Country/Rockabilly version worked extremely well with a drumless trio.  For us, it wouldn’t be a Deke Dickerson show without ‘Wearing Out The Soles Of My Shoes’, a song that is probably over twenty years old (I await the value of any correction…..), and still sounds vibrant.  Tip your hat to the person who got Deke a Danelectro guitar, so they could perform Johnny Horton’s ‘Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor’ with such reality. 

The encore, was again a crowd-pleasing favourite, from Jimmie Rogers’ 1930 recording, ‘Mule Skinner Blues’.  A grade ‘A’ show.

Just Plain Awesome.  The numbers in the hall steadily swelled for the true-blue chip act of the Saturday night and possibly the Rave #24, The Bellfuries.  Through the lockdowns lead singer Joey Simeone, had been putting on one man shows, adding a little sanity to the madness of Covid 19.  It’s been over twenty years since ‘Just Plain Lonesome’ exploded onto the circuit, and caught the imagination of the Rock n Roll crowd.  And what do you know, on stage, the line up from that album, Joey Simeone on rhythm guitar and vocals, Bobby Horton on lead guitar and steel guitar, bassist Josh Williams and drafted in behind the cans, the venerable Bobby Trimble.

I wonder of the band could have played the tunes and the audience would have filled in the vocal gaps, like the opening tracks ‘Bad Seed Sown’ and ‘Love Found Me’.  The track list was a catalogue of one modern day classic after another, with ‘Up To Your Old Tricks Again’, ‘You Must Be a Loser’, ‘Under the Light of the Moon’ and ‘Just Plain Lonesome’ switching between definitive albums.  Usually sung as a solo whenever we’ve seen the band, Joey took on Sam Cooke’s ‘Cupid’, before the audience assisted with ‘Oooos’ in ‘Loving Arms’.

With ‘Your Love is All That I’m Missing’ still ringing in the ears, they launched into the finale of ‘Beaumont Blues’.  Yeah, the crowd were going to let it end there weren’t they.  Joey, is a modern-day lyrical poet, and for the first encore, he introduced us to a touching and heartfelt ballad titled ‘I’ll Meet you in the REM’, before the band retook the stage for ‘Hey Mister Locomotive’ which just about unglued the whole place.  Massively well received set that will stick in many memories for some time.

Howlin’ It's a tough follow, but the Nite Howlers from France have the pedigree of performer that can get the job done.  Olivier Laporte, front man of many-a band, is the main man with the moves and the rhythm guitar, backed by Thibaut Chopin on bass, drummer Jesus Lopez and lead guitarist Jules Moonshiner.  This band’s style is Rockabilly in it’s purest form, which was easily demonstrated in the opener of Carl Perkins’ ‘Because You’re Mine’.  The belters kept coming, like Benny Joy’s ‘Cold Cold Woman’ and the searing instrumental that is ‘Scratchin’.

‘Corona Bop’ was delivered in the Perkins style too, I wonder what influenced this title (rhetorical question).  Clyde Arnold’s ‘Black Smoke and Blue Tears’, a super railroad sounding rocker on it’s own, but in the hands of a band like the Nite Howlers, a joy to witness.  Benny Joy’s almost primitive sounding rocker ‘Lucky Little Ol’ Me’ hit the spot as did Lefty Frizzel’s ‘You’re Humbuggin’ Me’ and Charlie Feathers’ ‘Today and Tomorrow’.  A fitting end to an outstanding evening’s entertainment

Ravin’ dot….dot part deux.  Best tracks from the Rave ever ever to Billy your Boogie were ‘Gonna Take My Guitar’ by Bobby Hodge, Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘In The Mood’ and ‘Travelin’ Man’ by Dick Curless……..For anyone who like us wondered what a Spuny was as in Spunyboys, we thought we’d research it.  After eliminating the autocorrect of spiny, spunky, puny, spun and sponge, it apparently means, three French blokes playing Rockabilly (or it might mean ‘to be confused’)………Security peeps at the Rave are inconspicuous and discreet, although I was anxious for Eddie having to clear the mainly female boppers from the stage on Sunday.  Ever seen lionesses tear up a zebra on the Serengeti?..........How come a group of people hear the funniest joke ever and dissolve into gales of laughter right outside our chalet bedroom window, at 4am?.........How many times did you hear ‘Jitterbop Baby’?  Answer, not enough………I wonder if ‘Pascal’ from previous Rave reviews, ever did find his chalet, or if he is still walking through the labyrinth of nigh identical blocks trying to locate it……..Great to see the Flat Top Brothers together in action in the pub, and Thee Vanessa Holmes in attendance, although she was almost melting in the heat.  Yes folks, it was running down her back-back-back (eh, see what I did there?).  If you were anywhere online during the pandemic, you’ll know…….Rory Alderson and his sound team, top drawer all the way through the weekender.  Ruby Ann on/behind the main stage, multi-lingual and super organised making backstage work like a well-oiled machine.  DJ Del Villarrael, wonderfully articulate annunciating on the main stage.  Downstairs, hat tipping to Nikki Price behind the scenes and Frankie Riedel on the mic (awful jokes notwithstanding…..) ……. Whoever the DJ was playing the ambient music at the Sunday flea market (and I’m sure someone will let us know) get them a slot in the ballroom……

Spin it.  Keeping it real on the decks, a multinational line-up of DJs.  We didn’t see everyone, however here’s some dispatch mentions for some we did.  Little Carl’s opening set on Thursday, Skinny Jim who closed Thursday.  Spain’s Adam Classic, had many a Shazam and Soundhound employed), and Danny.  Germany’s Blip Blop, outstanding throughout, as were his fellow country-peeps Double Trouble (Tanja Di and Monique Fe).  Dave Mumbles and Steve Silver from England, Katwoman from France, Lil Di on Saturday.   Tough to fill a dancefloor in the heat at times, a couple of DJs went ‘off-piste’ which raised a few eyebrows, and furrowed a few brows, but on the whole, we heard some corking tunes.

 The Flat Top Brothers boss set in the pub.  Yep, they were back, Dave and Mark, outside of the small internet screen, but in the flesh.  We tend to take a back seat in the pub, especially when some unstable drunken behemoth, decides he wants to hug everyone, so we caught some of the delights inconspicuously from the shadows.  Word is that they have a full set in the hall(s) to boss next year.  Quite right too, especially as I’ve nicked Mark’s trademark ‘boss’ adjective, for this article.

No one Hoodood the Hoodoo Tones.  Sunday afternoon, the last of the weekend began with the Hoodoo Tones from Northern France.  They consist of Kev Bll on lead guitar and vocals, Ben D Driver on upright bass and Michael Flq on drums.  They announced themselves in superior style with commanding and authorative tunes like ‘Everybody’ and ‘Miss Lizzy’.  Much of the band’s output was original material, and Kev’s exceptional guitar riffs and playing style, enhances the solos.  Taking ‘Miss Lizzy’ as an example, it has a blues undertone to the rhythm and vocal style, with a classic Rockabilly riff guitar sound

Occasionally they slot in some cover songs, and Chuck Berry’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Music’ which was sandwiched in between ‘The Fool’ (from their fourth album) and ‘The One’, presenting a tidal wave trio of hot sounds.  ‘Train Yard Boogie’ the superbly titled ‘Broken Heart Alleyway’ and ‘Do It For The Road’ also stood out among the inspiring tunes.  The crowd loved it, so did we, and two encores also brough their take on ‘Roll Over Beethoven’.  Cool sounds readers

Feed the ducks! For the final evening it was back upstairs to be ready for Matt and the Peabody Ducks, officially from Barcelona, to take the stage.  Matt Olivera is the main vocalist and rhythm guitarist with Lega Juan on backing vocals and lead guitar and Daniel Nunes on upright bass.  No drums for the Ducks, relying just on the bass rhythm and the twangy guitar sound to present their set of Country meets Rockabilly sounds.  Two of the Ducks had kept audiences enthralled by acoustic and semi-acoustic sets throughout lockdowns, as did a few artists, adding that little bit of sanity from time to time.  It was so good to see them back on stage though.

The authentic sounds of ‘Waste of Talent’ which introduced them to the crowd ‘The One I Want’ and ‘There’s a Party Going On’ are perfect examples of the band simple instrument combination sounding so effective.  Juan’s guitar breaks were zingy, bright and breezy, and the finest resonance.  A lot of the set was original material, although we must flag up some of the covers, like Link Wray’s ‘Teenage Cutie’, which isn’t the Eddie Cochran song of the same name incidentally.  ‘Hey Honey’ and ‘Hey Mae’ were showcased expertly, as was ‘Cry Cry Cry’, ‘Don’t Be Gone Long’ and a perfect rendition of Patt Cupp’s ‘I Guess It’s Meant That Way’.  Loads of songs in a packed set, with calls to ‘feed the ducks’.  Love it, certainly fitted the bill (sorry couldn’t resist).

Iechyd Da.  For a real party time treat on a Sunday night, where would you go?  Well, the Rimshots would be a great bunch to keep the festivities going.  The esteemed John Lewis leads the band on rhythm guitar and vocals, with David Doel standing in on lead guitar, Tony Biggs on bass and Mark Kemlo’s deftness on drums and making occasional appearances on steel guitar Paul Godden.  It’s always a treat to see ‘Curly’ and his lads firing out their brand of Western Swing and Rockabilly.  His vocals are commanding and delivered in a slightly frantic and wide-eyed, agitated fashion, as he strums the bejesus out of his guitar.

There’s probably no better indicator of that than ‘Volcano’ which they recorded in 1994, a sinister sounding stroll beat tune, that appeared mid-way through the set.  ‘Rock All Night’ , the haunting rock-out ‘Cold Sweat’, and the slightly embittered ‘Dirty Deal’.  In fact all the Rimshot faves were there, ‘Sentimental Fool’, the build-up-to-a-crescendo styled version of Hank Williams’ ‘Ramblin’ Man’ and Curtis Gordon’s steely delight ‘So Tired of Crying’.  It’s not a Rimshot show if you don’t get ‘One More Beer’, and the encore ‘Pick a Bale of Cotton’, which the audience were reminded doesn’t have ‘hay’ in it!  Mwyaf rhagorol

Son-shine. Resplendent in red, that’s Sonny West, slinging an orange Gretsch, backed by John Blackwell on bass and Jay Tubsman on drums.  I’m not sure if it’s set in stone now, but the Sonny shows we have seen have started with Elvis’ ‘C’mon Everybody’ from the 1964 film Viva Las Vegas.  And indeed, so did this one, which set the tone for a set of tunes mainly composed by Sonny himself, and the occasional cover, Gene’s ‘Well I Knocked Bim Bam’ immediately springs to mind.

There are some familiar sounding titles to original songs in a Sonny set, like ‘I’m on Fire’, ‘Darlene’ and ‘Fanny Mae’.  Good to hear ‘Relentless’, the title track to his first album, thirty years ago, and the most up to date material from ‘Feel the Heat’, ‘Anna Lee’ and ‘Gin-Soaked Floor’.  The guitar solos whipped up the crowd at the front of the stage, while the rhythm was kept real by the bass and drums.  A fiery set enjoyed massively by the crowd.
The Boys spun good.  Well, what do you know, it’s the last act of the weekender, already!  So, let’s go out with a bang, and bring on the Spunyboys from northern France.  Remi, quite literally on upright bass, his drummer brother Guillaume team up with guitarist Eddie make up, probably the most visual and energetic trio at the Rave this time.  You have to experience the band live on (and sometimes off) stage to appreciate the energy.  It doesn’t stop with playing instruments in various postures, stances and positions though, there is proper musical talent there.

I don’t know even if they have a set list or it’s just ad-libbed from the start, and whether the songs like ‘None of My Business’ are even that duration.  Whichever, the sight of a double bass almost suspended in mid-air and a tune still coming out of it, is quite something.  ‘Rockin’ Bones’, well they certainly have those, and ‘Rockabilly Legacy’ is a must.  ‘Please Don’t Tease’ for some reason, was played with Remi in a dressing gown, and the anthemic ‘How Low Do You Feel’ brought the standard foot stomping from the crowd.  ‘King of the Road’ and ‘Ring the Bell’ filled the stage with boppers to conclude a brilliant set.

Nooooo.  Monday morning already, don’t let them make us leave, we want more of this.  Find a way to demand more.  Have a dirty protest, oh, some of you already have we notice, liking your work guys.  If you’ve never done a weekender like this, I wonder if you can ‘get’ the euphoric feeling while you’re there and ‘that’ feeling when it’s over.  The Thursday before, it seems like it will stretch on forever, by Sunday morning, you’re trying to put the brakes on Father Time.  No, it’s time to re-join the sad bunch who spent the weekend with two cans and a takeaway, watching TV that certainly puts the ‘turd’ in Saturday.

The joy on people’s faces as they met again for in some cases, the first time in three years, was just heart-warming. People need people, musicians need people, and friends need to see friends, in their full weekender glory, not buffering in a dodgy internet area.  For four days, we were in Rockabilly utopia, within the confines of the camp, little else mattered.  Sleep, who cares, and many could apologise to their livers on the way home.  We discussed on the way down to the Rave, just how long, were time and money no object, we could keep that pace up before wanting a break.  The results were inconclusive, shall we say

As we said at the start, there are bands we prefer to others, however, we’d have to say, the level of professionalism, musical talent and performance among every act, was sensational.  Kudos by the barrowload to Jerry Chatabox for putting on yet another exceptional Rockabilly Rave.  The initial line up for 2023 looks equally as ace as this year.  Better git to gittun  Check out our online magazine, free to read monthly.