The Teddy Boy March

Picketts Lock, May 15th, 1976

1-2-3-4-5, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IS STILL ALIVE!!’ This is the message that will hit you in both ears, chanted by thousands on the opening track of this album. It then goes on to prove it. This album was recorded on Saturday 15th May, 1976, in the huge ‘aircraft hanger’ venue of Picketts Lock Sports Centre, London, England, in front of 3000 jiving, bopping, and cheering Rock ‘n’ Roll fans from all over the country. It was a culmination of a day’s Rock ‘n’ Roll activity in London, which will go down in music history. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Campaign of 1976.
However, the events leading up to this epic recording began in the dark winter days of 1975, as an idea to gather Rock ‘n’ Roll fans from all over thecountry to join forces and march through the streets of London to BBC Broadcasting House, to demand more time on Radio for our kind of music: Original Rock ‘n’ Roll, seemed impossible, but after months of publicity,promotion, touring around and foot-slogging spreading the word, the great day arrived and there outside Hyde Park, London. Was the amazing sight of thousands of people (over 5000) nearly all Teddy Boys and Girls, all resplendent in their best gear, ready to march, and march they did! To the BBC where a 50.000 strong petition and a taped pilot Rock ‘n’ Roll show were handed in. After the march, the day was far from over for all those fans who had made the journey to London.
The climax of this unique day was the live Rock ‘n’ Roll show, the result of which rests inside the cover of this album. For this major event, three of the top Rock ‘n’ Roll bands in the country were to play: CRAZY CAVAN ‘N’ THE RHYTHMROCKERS, THE HELLRAISERS and FLYING SAUCERS.

With the excitement of the day the atmosphere at Picketts Lock was electric. We all knew it was to be something special and with the sheer immense size of the auditorium it had all the ingredients of a night of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the kind of which had not been seen since the 1950′s. We welcomed the fans with some of their favourite records as they were pouring in. Then it was time for the first band… FLYING SAUCERS! Five lads from Edmonton, London. Flying Saucers have established themselves as one of the most highly-rated bands on the circuit, with a sound that captures the feel and guts of the halcyon days of Rock ‘n’ Roll. They got the show underway in fine style featuring such numbers as the storming ‘Piano Nellie’ (originally recorded by Bobby Brant). Their rendition of Charlie Gracie’s ‘Fabulous’ (a million-seller for him in 1957) is one of the outstanding tracks of the album and would make a great single. Considering that they had already played for two hours (from a truck at the head of the march, Flying Saucers played an amazing set and left the stage to a huge ovation for their highly authentic Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Following a break for more records, we then introduced… THE HELLRAISERS! They have been playing under this name for three years, having been formed out of the Houseshakers. Their line-up is Graham Fenton (vocals), Terry Clemson (guitar), Dave Taylor (piano), Paul Oldnall (bass), and John Hollywood (drums). They have backed some of the greatest U.S. Rock ‘n’ Roll stars, such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry. The Hellraisers certainly live up to their name on this album and roared through standards like Bill Haley’s ‘RockThe Joint’ and Jerry Lee’s ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’. One of Dave Taylor’s compositions, ‘Dim Light Boogie’ with Graham sounding (and looking) like the late great Gene Vincent himself, really show off their versatility. At the end of their spot, the crowd were going wild. ’1-2-3-4, LISTEN TO THE TEDDY BOYS ROAR!!’ and the sound threatens to lift the roof off the lofty heights of Picketts Lock.

Some more disks and the big moment is here, the final band of the night. We lead the crowd through a yelling, spelling of their name C-R-A-Z-Y C-A-V-A-N ‘N’ THE RHYTHM ROCKERS! The roar which greeted the on-stage arrival of ‘Cavan’ will rattle your speakers. This is the outfit quoted in the music press as ‘Britain’s No. 1 Rockabilly band’. Although a well-worn cliche Crazy Cavan have become legends in their own time. They are: Cavan Grogan (vocals), Lyndon Needs (lead guitar/vocals), Terry Walley (rhythm guitar), Don Kinsella (bass). and Mike Coffey (drums). They all came from South Wales and began life in 1964 as ‘Count Dracula and the Vampires’ but over the last few years have progressed to their current status and have a following that would be the envy to many bands who regularly grace the ‘pop’ charts. With their 100% Rockabilly sound and their own solid core of self-penned songs, they have become cult figures in Britain and on the continent. They have released a single and an EP of original material on their own label (which are now very rare and command staggering prices), and also an album which sold 40,000 copies on import to Britain, having been recorded in Holland. This live recording shows Crazy Cavan at their best. The crowd reaction you can hear, was in response to their fine set, which included many of their own songs. ‘Rockabilly Star’ is as well known to their fans as many of the original Rock ‘n’ Roll classics. They also introduced some new material (Stompin’ Shoes), from their ‘Rockability’ album on Charly Records. They finished too soon, for the crowd, who brought them back for two encores.​

Then it was all over. The events of 15th May. 1976 will assume legendary status in years to come, but fortunately, this album documents the most exciting and dynamic display of home-grown Rock ‘n’ Roll ever seen in Britain. We are proud to say we were there, along with 3000 others and if you want proof of the claim of this albums title, then listen and dig the sound of three top British Rock ‘n’ Roll bands, at their rockin’ best in front of their own crowd…​

Geoff Barker & Stu Colman’Rock ‘N’ Roll is Still Alive”Timespan Disco’ June 1976 Album conceived by Lee Allen – Carousel Artistes Produced, Coordinated and Compiled by John Schroeder Concert compared by Stu Coleman and Geoff Barker Recorded Live at Picketts Lock by The Manor Recording Unit/Engineer Alan Perkins Edited and Mixed at Island Studios, Basing Street Engineers Frank Owen and Howard Kilgour A big thank you to all the staff at Picketts Lock Centre who contributed so much to making the event such a success.
Rockin’ Dave Taylor

Were you there? if so we would like to hear your story.


Last modified on February 24, 2013

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