THIS EVENT, the Regal Rock
and Blues Reunion (no less!), was
masterminded by one Richard Nader. With
greying hair and a glittery T shirt which
read 'Rock'n'Roll', he opened the show
with a eulogy about seeing
history. This created an
unfortunate although not unexpected air
of glutinous grovelling.
Frankie Ford, bottom of the bill and
consigned, it seems, to remain merely a
minor legend among major ones. He waved
dutifully and a wristful of jewellery
slid out from beneath the cuff of his
piercing blue suit. His 15 minutes were
enjoyable if workmanlike. "Here it
comes," whispered a person behind
me, excitedly. And it came. Frankie 'Sea
Cruise' Ford played 'Sea Cruise'.
Everyone was happy.
original and two new Marvelettes were
dazzling in their dresses of sequins and
plunging necklines. They were a perfect
(physical) exercise in style without
(much) content, quite brazenly,
magnificently, sexily so. During the
second song, the elder Marvelette
lumbered (in that dress she had no
choice) into the crowd to gather a punter
and drag him to the stage.
unfortunate fellow was the inimitable ageing
Ted. Also a Duane Doberman (from Bilko)
lookalike. A Marvelette divested him of
his jacket while the other two fingered
his shirt buttons. He didn't know whether
to laugh or dribble. Instead he danced,
the Earth moved, and he drew a great roar
of approval. I think I began to levitate.
Vee started singing in the wings and had
shaken the hands of Row One (I was in Row
Three so I can still wash) before
reaching the stage. He had hairy arms and
wore an inane grin. He maintained this
expression throughout and thanked us
profusely for his
25 years in showbiz. I dozed unashamedly.
contrast, Del Shannon had a gloriously
gaunt face and still carries the aura of
oddness and mystery indicative of the
bonafide 'rocker'. He sang like a demon
and, despite being a little unsteady on
his pegs, seldom pandered to an audience
by now seriously crazed on nostalgia.
Diddley did nothing save to
occasionally burst into songs which
possessed the velocity and might to
vaporise buildings. Mostly he just waved
his guitar and winked at his band. An old
man, he wisely conserves his strength,
dishing out just enough to titillate the
Nelson was the only member of tonight's
entourage whose music and outlook is any
way 'current'. His half-hour of old and
new songs was low key but zestful.
Country rockers blessed with simplicity
and unhysterical passion. In this setting
his modesty was a delight and a
relief. Nelson is 45, alive and spitting
with the vitality of a young vole. He
saved the night.