Only a few weeks to go until my next US trip, which will take in both the East and West coasts. First stop will be Long Island for the annual doowop festival which takes place over the weekend of April 9 and 10. I've been before, two years ago, and didn't really expect to do it again, but the line up looks interesting and it should be fun. It's also the only festival these days where I can look around the audience and discover that I'm one of the youngest there, despite the fact that I will be turning 70 while I am there. Doowop, it seems, is dying out. It hasn't managed to grab the interest of young rock and roll fans who love rockabilly. I guess the fashion and life styles that go with rockabilly don't apply with doowop, but much of the music is great, even though many of the groups performing will only have one or two original members on stage.
This year's highlights include the Majors, the Tymes, the Heartbeats, the Teenagers, the Passions, the
Dubs, the Diablos, the Mystics, Eugene Pitt and the Jive Five, the Jarmels, the Fireflies, Chris Montez, Jimmy Charles, Jimmy Clanton and many more. Each of the acts gets just a few numbers each so it's a quick turnover on stage. No time to get bored, not that the acts are in any way tedious to listen to. The venue, the Hauppage High School auditorium, is in the middle of nowhere but it's an impressive place, and the seated crowd enjoy themselves, even though many of them are well into their seventies and eighties. With so many of the originals now dead and the remaining ones getting on in years this may be the last opportunity to see such a line up, so it's a case of catch them while you can. http://www.larentr.com/
After Long Island, and hopefully a day in Manhattan, I will be off to Las Vegas for some sunshine
and the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly festival (third year running in this case). This is a much more trendy festival, with many of the people not only young, but heavily tattooed and dressed to kill in fifties style clothes. There are some decent acts again this year, although no one to match last year's star Dion, I suspect. Big names include Jack Scott (who I enjoyed at Rhythm Riot in November), Brian Setzer and Dick Dale (pictured), plus a group of original rockabilly men including Billy Harlan and Sleepy LaBeef, doowop artists including Bobby Hendricks, and a range of UK and US rockabilly bands including the Polecats, Jets, Restless and Darrel Higham. There's also the excellent burlesque showcase and the Car Show, featuring some gorgeous cars, with gorgeous girls to go with them in some cases. I, along with my travelling companions John Howard, Alan Lloyd and Dave Thomas, must be one of the few people who go to Vegas and don't gamble a penny of my money. Plenty of good music to be had, however, and it's always a fun place to visit if you don't object to everything being completely OTT. I'm hoping that we will also catch some blues while we're there, at one of the places that don't appear on most must-see lists for visitors but which offer the genuine article. http://www.vivalasvegas.net/
After Vegas it's off to San Diego, which I haven't visited before, and finally Los Angeles for a return visit. Again I'm hoping to catch some blues while I'm there at the black clubs which most white locals seem unaware of.
Keep an eye on The Vinyl Word for reports of our US road trip and I'll be putting some photos on when I get back.