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Pioneers of r’n’r provided promoter Ritchie Gee with packed houses at the 19th Wildest Cats In Town weekender

Not just one, but two stars from the 50s Memphis Sun studio were present for this 19th Wildest Cats In Town weekender at Pakefield in Suffolk. Namely, veteran vocalist Hayden Thompson, and the man behind the beat on hits from the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and Warren Smith, drummer Jimmy Van Eaton.

The third headliner from the United States was Rip Masters, who played on Gene Vincent’s final recording when he was a session man on Ronnie Weiser’s Rollin’ Rock label, also backing Ray Campi, Mac Curtis and the rest of the crew who re-introduced America to its own rockabilly heritage.

There were visitors from Australia, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany and Spain… and that was just the musicians. Fans came from countries more diverse than that, keen to see not only the US headliners, but also some exclusive reunions of much-respected outfits like Bob And The Bearcats and The Avengers. You won’t be seeing them in Sydney or Saarbrücken any time soon.

A highlight of the weekend – Remi fronts The Spunyboys
Emma Grant

The icing on the cake was supplied by Crazy Cavan And The Rhythm Rockers, who always work this event.

While “soul” festivals just up the coast offer two live bands a night, Wildest Cats has up to 10 bands a day playing on three stages, and the weekender has now stretched to four nights.

Add to that, jive lessons, contests, classic cars from the 50s, dozens of vendors, burlesque dancers and specialist disc jockies, plus a great atmosphere, it’s small wonder the event sells out every time.


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About Vintage Rock

In this issue of Vintage Rock we enter the riotous world of Wanda Jackson. She's finally just hung up her touring boots this year aged 81, so we decided it was time to honour the Queen Of Rockabilly's tenure at the top from her incredible rise to glory as both a country and rockabilly star to her greatest ever performances – "It's been a wild ride!" Little Miss Dynamite goes out with a bang! We got the exclusive on Brenda Jackson's retirement too! In our candid interview Brenda remembers her spectacular career, from rubbing shoulders with Elvis to surviving the British Invasion intact. It's been 60 years since the storming debut album that positioned Cliff Richard as the UK's own Elvis – with The Drifters in support – we remember a raw classic. It's also been 60 years since rock'n'roll was hit with it's first major scandal. Inside we get to the bottom of the infamous 'Payola Scandal', the real rock'n'roll swindle in which the scene's major players had to face the music. From villains to heroes, we talk to Memphis Mafia man Jerry Schilling about his days with Elvis and the upcoming 'Elvis In Concert' tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, plus we speak to instrumental hero Johnny Farina, one half of duo Santo & Johnny, about their timeless hit 'Sleepwalk'. Bringing things up to date, we chat with Darrel Higham about his new album Bop Machine, we met Nick Lowe, who tells about his new project with masked marauders Los Straitjackets, and we review Stray Cats long-awaited return to the London stage – and what a night it was! Plenty more besides from fresh talent and rockin' weekenders to news, reviews and more!