There’s something really appealing to me about Rock and Roll as interpreted in Britain.
The often slightly more ‘showbiz’ and big band aspects to the arrangements add a campy and delirious sense of fun that is quite different to the US originators.
That said- Britain could and did rock with the best of them, despite perceived wisdom to the contrary.
Big Fat Mama: Roy Young- this has it all! Screaming vocal, big band slumming it, a pleasingly distorted production, and of course, the obligatory girly bvs. Enjoy!
Here’s a Johnny Kidd B-side from ’61 that even more epitomises the ‘arranged’ side of UK RnR without compromising the excitement for a minute.
Obviously ‘Shakin all Over’ is rightfully considered a classic, but pretty much all his singles have at least one highly worthy side, and this is my favourite.
Up next is Eden Kane’s ‘New Kind of Lovin’, proving even the often dismissed early sixties pop puppets had something to offer.
This was on the flip of his biggest hit, and is therefore a super common 50p single just about everywhere.
I love the tone of his voice. Even on the ‘pop’ A-side ‘forget me not’ he sounds not too far from the slack jawed warble of Phil May.
Dave Carey led Jazz groups from the drums in the fifties, and had a couple of novelty records on Philips before joining their A&R department and working with Kaleidoscope, amongst others. The most common of his Philips single is the truly awful ‘Bingo’, but after that came this facemelter- ‘Drum Beat’.
An actual video now. Lonnie Donegan isn’t a name that would necessarily spring to my mind as a purveyor of acoustic guitar shredding, but check this out.
Also notice the great musicianship of his band. There’s definitely more ‘schooling’ gone on here than you’d expect given the relative simplicity of the song structures, but when the band gets to solo…check out the drums!
I love the way the guitarist unleashes some super technical playing with just a ‘yep, I know’ smirk…just awesome.
One more for now- Derry Hart and the Hartbeats- come on baby
For me this is the perfect blend of showbiz and pounding.
Even though there’s a horn section, this doesn’t sound like the hipsters on a Little Richard record…there’s something strangely formal about the playing.
Similarly with Derry Harts vocal- even though he’s screaming in the best Little Richard style, theres something pleasingly…West Country(?) to his accent.
A great record, and of course, another B-side.
If you’ve enjoyed these tracks, there are a fair few comps of this stuff about, and with the inherent snobbery surrounding UK Rock and Roll, plus the relative obscurity (or overlooked plentifulness) the original records won’t often stretch to wallet hurting prices.