Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Drumbeat and the Good times

On one of my record forays at the weekend I picked up the LP that was issued on Parlophone featuring the stars of Drumbeat, the BBC's answer to ABC Television's Oh Boy! Jack Good's ABC programme is generally reckoned to be the best of the British rock and roll shows of the time, but there's quite an overlap, with the John Barry Seven and Vince Eager featured on both LPs. Drumbeat also featured Adam Faith, Roy Young, the Kingpins, Bob Miller and the Miller Men, the Raindrops, Sylvia Sands and 'guest artist' Dennis Lotis, while the Oh Boy! album included the Dallas Boys, Peter Elliott, Cuddly Dudley, Cliff Richard (whatever happened to him?), Neville Taylor and the Cutters and the Vernon Girls.

What is evident from playing both LPs is just how crap British rock and roll was at the time. Talk about anaemic cover versions - these are mostly dire. Jack Good's later show Boy meets Girls, with Marty Wilde and, more importantly Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, raised the quality. But they were the best, indeed the only, TV access that we had to rock and roll at the time and were therefore essential viewing. Starting with 6.5 Special, and moving through Oh Boy! and Boy meets Girls to Wham and on to Shindig in the US ,Jack Good was a true originator. When he left ITV in 1960 the format he invented - live audience, fast moving action - died away until Ready Steady Go came to life a few years later. As I recall (and it was a long time ago now) Drumbeat could never quite match Jack Good's energy content, but for a pop-starved teenager like me anything was better than nothing. It's just a shame that the cover versions that we had to watch and listen to were so inferior to the originals.


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