|Rocky Burnette at the 6th International Weekend Hop
(UK, November 1981)
Those were the days... Young and reckless, we just got married 6 months before. No mortgage, no kids, money to spend. We went to just about every rock and roll concert in Europe in those days and one of these gigs I remember very well. We were gonna see the greatest rockabilly band there ever was.. The Johnny Burnette trio, now with Rocky Burnette doing the vocals.
We took a ferry across the Channel en hopped off the train in London to meet with our friends, The Black Cat. Black Cat was a local rock and roll band from the London area and we had been friends with them for some years. We hitched a ride in their van, towards Caister on the east-coast.
That weekend, Caister was the place to be: The 6th anual Rock 'n' Roll Weekend Hop with the best bands ever. To name but a few; Crazy Cavan, The Flying Saucers, Johnny & the Roccos, Stargazers, The Shades, Black Cat, Fantoms, Frankie Ford and, top of the bill, Rocky Burnette and the Rock 'n' Roll Trio.
When we arrived it looked as if every cat, kitten and ted from all over Europe had come to this small town in England to rock their socks off for three long days. There were two big halls and you could hear rock and roll music pounding from both locations. Wildcat Pete was already spinning 45s when we finally got in that friday evening. We enjoyed each and every gig, but our main goal was the performance of Rocky Burnette on Saturdaynight at Neptune's Palace.
Almost everybody was at Neptune's palace that Saturday night. Too bad for The Fantoms, who were playing at the same time in Mermaids Hall. The palace was absolutely packed! And the crowd went berserk when the band got on stage at about 10:30 pm. Rocky Burnette, Paul Burlison, Johnny Black, Tony Austin, Jim Busby.. And in the hall were all guys and chicks that were spinning Johnny Burnette's 45s on a daily basis! Imagin the noise at that moment..
Awesome but thrilling! And Rocky singing all our favorite songs his dad had sang so many times before him. After more than 16 years I still think this was one of the best gigs we ever heard. They were supposed to play for about an hour and a half, but the crowd just wouldn't let 'em go. We kept screaming "we want more" forever! They returned on stage twice to do an encore. You could easily see that the band enjoyed playing with an audience like this.
We, me and my wife, were very lucky to be such good friends with Black Cat, who also did a gig at this weekender, so we were among the few that could get backstage after the show. This was of course the first time I ever met Rocky in person. We had a short chat and the band autographed our program. Though his music is wild and rocking, Rocky himself seemed to be a quiet, friendly kinda guy and we really enjoyed his company.
You know what, I'll just end this story and spin Johnny's 45s one more time on my jukebox. After more than 40 years, these are still the best rockabilly vinyls ever made!
Written by "The Blackcat", Holland - Januari 22, 1998
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