CRAZY CAVAN and the Rhythm Rockers (By Shaun Mather)
As they sing on the title track of their 1989, "How'd you like your music, rough, tough and ready". A simple line that sums up the greatest Teddy Boy band of all time, Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers. Over the last four decades they've built up an enormous following across Europe, with a non-compromising style of hard rocking rockabilly, with a couple of gentle ballads that work equally fine. They're the Status Quo of the rocking scene, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The story started in Newport, South Wales during the 60's when Cavan Grogan, Lyndon Needs, Terry Walley and Gerald Bishop formed "Screamin' Count Dracula & the Vampires", but a lack of transport stunted their progress. By 1968 Gerald had been replaced by Brian Thomas and Don Kinsella, as they became "The Sundogs". They quickly built up a strong following thanks in no small part to the dynamics of Cavan on vocals (he looks the complete Teddy Boy hero) and Needs on lead guitar and backing screams!
It was 1970 when the band became "Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers", with the legendary line-up of Cavan, Needs, Walley, Mike Coffey and Kinsella, who was eventually replaced by Graham Price (and sometimes Steve Vincent). They looked as hard as they sounded, and that's hard. Coffey was the brother of Breatless Dan Coffey, the legendary editor of Boppin' News and one of the first British guys to raid American stores and warehouses for '50's singles to export back home.
The early '70s were instrumental in the band forming their own Crazy Rhythm sound and getting their name known. In late 1973 they formed their own Crazy Rhythm label and issued their first single. Now there have been some legendary debut singles throughout time, but Teddy Boy Boogie and Bop Little Baby is up there with the best. The top side is a menacing, rumbling classic, strolling with a heavy back-beat and lyrics to gladden the heart of any ducktailer. The single sold out quickly as did an EP the following year, featuring a great quartet of soon to be classics, Teddy Boy Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly Star, Wildest Cat in Town and Little Teddy Girl.
They turned professional in 1975 and have remained one of the hardest working bands ever since - travelling the length of breadth of the continent to perform their relentless crazy rhythm. On 26th February 1976 they signed with Joop Visser's Charly Records who later that year were to go to number three in the charts courtesy of Hank Mizell's Jungle Rock.
Some brilliant singles have come out over the years, none better than "My Little Sister Got a Motorbike" which he wrote in homage to his sister who was one of the first girls in South Wales to have her own BSA.
Amazingly the group has stayed the same (in terms of music, attitude and personnel) for the last thirty years. When the rockabilly revival of the early 80's saw young rockabilly bands hitting the UK charts, unfortunately the band were overlooked. With the exception of Matchbox, the bands tended to be young and good looking. Perhaps Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers were just that bit too mean and dangerous for Top of the Pops. It was different story on the continent though, where they enjoyed chart success in the likes of Finland, Germany and France.
More info: http://www.rockabilly.nl/cavan/
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