As expected this was a great Weekender, with the bonus of some nice sunshine. Only thing was the hot weather made it very uncomfortable wearing Teddy-boy suits, and some had three-piece outfits with waistcoats. Despite fans and air-conditioning, the main ballroom got rather hot. I chickened out and stuck to jeans and t-shirts, not wearing the one drape jacket I’d brought with me (I usually bring three).
Some great acts over the weekend like American rockabilly Sonny Burgess with his 1950s piano player Kern Kennedy and a drummer who also goes way back. British pop singer from the late 1950s/early 1960s Marty Wilde made his first appearance at the Weekender, and was very well received doing a mixture of his pop hits and some rock’n’roll standards. He was visibly bowled over by the reaction, and by the vintage cars he saw at the camp, including one the same model (but different color) to one he had way back in the 1950s/early 1960s. Strangely Marty got the name of the Weekender wrong, calling it ‘Wildest Rockers’. Since he’d just introduced his current band as the ‘Wild Cats’, a name he’s used since the 1950s, you’d have thought it would be easy to remember ‘The Wildest Cats’ as the short version of the Weekender’s name. Perhaps he didn’t like the suggestion we were wilder than his backing group!
Ervin Travis and The Virginians from France did a great set as usual, with Ervin perfectly performing in Gene Vincent style, complete with head-to-toe leather outfit (Ervin, you must have been sweating in the heat!) He does some unusual Vincent numbers I certainly never heard Gene do live.
Perennial favorites Crazy Cavan and The Rhythm Rockers (from Wales), The Lennerockers (from Germany) and young Teddy-boy band Furious (from England) were also well received with their wild, wild performances. I was up on stage with Cavan for two or three numbers as usual, as were a load of other cats including Frank Walker with whom I shared a chalet.
Sunday afternoon Sandy Ford’s ‘Flyin’ Saucers’ played in the Princes’ Bar as usual, and they are always brilliant. Sandy managing to look just the same as he did nearlyÂ 30-40 years ago, and his wife Yvonne on bass looking as glamorous as ever.
Charles Dale, Brian Jessup, MaryJean Lewis (Jerry Lee’s niece), her Scots husband Gary, Mick and Peggy from Guildford and Peter from Brentford were among the others I knew, and of course Ritchie Gee who organizes the Weekender and who presented a little Teddy boy (from France I believe) aged about 6 or 7 with a trophy – the little lad could bop and was wearing a full Teddy boy outfit. There were several very young Teds in little outfits, so rock’n’roll is safe for another generation.
The beach party with the Two Hound Dogs DJing went well, and I was able to swim in the sea several times and get some sunbathing in. Also met up with my friends Derek and Peter on Sunday.
I don’t at all regret missing the Gay Pride celebrations, and there were other gays at the Weekender who felt the same as me. When Pride in London caters for other fashions and musical tastes and doesn’t clash with the Wildest Cats In Town (and gets rid of all the exhibitionism and shouting of obscenities) perhaps I’ll consider attending.
Meanwhile I look forward to the Wildest Cats In Town Xmas Party with Jerry Lee’s sister Linda Gail Lewis and my favorite bands in December.