Monday, September 30, 2013

Roddy Jackson rocks in London

Roddy Jackson must be one of the wildest original rockers to hit a London stage in many a long year. Last night's Tales From The Woods show in the downstairs room of the Spice of Life pub on the edge of Soho was the first time that this 1950s Californian rock and roller - dubbed the Central Valley Fireball - has played a central London venue, despite appearing at several rockabilly festivals over the years. It was a show to remember, with some exciting, raucous vocals, combined with Roddy's Jerry Lee Lewis-styled piano playing and frantic sax work. All of this was backed up by the Tales From The Woods house band, who were on top form as ever, with drummer Howard Tibble joining regulars John Spencely (excellent on lead guitar), Rob Davis on bass, ace keyboardist Claire Hamlin and sax men Alex Bland and Sid Phillips - a stellar line-up indeed.
Roddy had a brief recording career with Specialty in LA when he was discovered by Sonny Bono and introduced to label owner Art Rupe, but never quite made it despite three top class rockabilly 45s. He stuck mainly to his own compositions last night with a couple of nods to his idol and fellow Specialty artist Little Richard in the form of Lucille and Good Golly Miss Molly. Rod is fun, as well being a genuine rocker, as his first number, his own novelty song Hiccups, showed. He followed this with another early rocker Any Old Town, Juke Box Baby and the slower No One Else Will Do. His keyboard playing was nothing short of manic on Baby Don't You Do This To Me and he moved on to one of his 'love' songs (one of many, he said, as he would fall in love several times a day in those days), Gloria, and then to Larry Williams' She Said Yeah, a song he co-wrote with Sonny Bono. Other originals flew thick and fast - I Found A New Girl, There's A Moose On The Loose (the B side of Hiccups, with some great vocal sound effects), Love At First Sight, Johnny's Last Ride, She's My One And Only and Consider, before launching into his first 45 - one that would have made him a star, he said, if a promised appearance on American Bandstand had gone ahead - I've Got My Sights On Someone New. Finally he gave the band a chance to shine individually with Come On Everybody Let's Go Rock and Roll. They did!

The TFTW house band were tremendous throughout, with Claire taking over keyboard duties when Roddy moved on to the saxophone, and Alex and Sid reciprocating on horn duties when he played keyboards. As someone said, Roddy is the 'real deal' of rock and roll. I can't argue with that.
The show opened with one of the most authentic of British rockers Cliff Edmonds, again backed superby by the house band, who set a cracking pace on a selection of rock and roll and R and B classics: Corrine Corrina, Be My Guest, Sea Cruise, Fannie Brown Got Married, Hello Josephine, Clarence Gatemouth Brown's She Walks Right In, a delicious Tears On My Pillow, Sugaree, Smiley Lewis's Nervous Fellow (Real Gone Lover), the Platters' dramatic My Prayer, Eddie Cochran's Teenage Heaven and a great version of Little Richard's I Can't Believe You Wanna Leave as an encore.
This was possibly the best Tales From The Woods show to date and promoter Keith Woods deserves credit for putting together a genuinely rocking show in central London.
Here are Claire and Howard in action.
Words and photos by Nick Cobban.


At 11:47 am , Blogger Nick said...

Tony Papard said: Thanks Nick, great review of what I agree is probably the best gig Keith has ever put on, this one featuring a wild American original. Albeit one who never quite made it due to bad luck more than anything.

At 10:57 pm , Blogger Pete Gold said...

Great review Nick for a great event and one I and Jason were privileged to be at. Can Keith improve on this? I doubt it but I'm sure he'll try.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home