Thursday, 13 October 2011

Still Rocking and Rolling since Elvis left the building

One of my favourite periods in history has to be the 1940’s. Sure World War II was raging like an extremely angry velociraptor in the background, but take that away and you are left with several appealing things to like about this particular era.

The first would be the fashion; high - waisted skirts, wide collared blouses, fitted coats and jackets, silk stockings, bespoke hats, I could go on but I’m overexcited enough as it is. All of the above were the epitome of womanhood. Add a string of pearls and some elbow length gloves and you could take tea with the queen never mind just luncheon with the WI!

Throw into the mix men in uniform and you wonder why women were swooning all the time!?

The second great thing to come out of this disastrous period would be the music.

Don’t roll your eyes.

I know you all secretly love ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ as much as the next person.

The most well known, and much loved, trio throughout the war period were The Andrews Sisters. Their classic hits such as ‘Rum and Coca Cola’ and ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’, whilst the latter being slightly creepy if the lyrics are taken completely out of context, have managed to define a whole generation.

These Minnesotan born sisters (actual sisters in this case) entertained thousands of allied forces and sold over 75 million records worldwide. Their perfect harmonies, combined with their cheeky attitude, made them a household name by 1940. They can be considered to be one of the earliest examples of rhythm and blues.

And to look at them, you wouldn't think that these three siblings did not get along...

Fast track to today and the closest you will get to this genre will be rockabilly. Dating back to the 1960’s it is currently enjoying a wonderful revival in the form of The Baseballs. Although there are many who would argue that it never really went anywhere. This German trio were founded in Berlin in 2007, and their debut album ‘Strike!’ has received critical acclaim worldwide. Covering modern hits such as ‘Love in this Club’ (which was my ringtone for a year I was that addicted to it), Rhianna’s ‘Umbrella’ and Katie Perry’s ‘Hot ‘n’ Cold’ it is no wonder that it has become a staple for rock and roll lovers everywhere. With a swinging rock and roll orchestral ensemble and harmonies that would put The Andrew’s Sister’s to shame, it would be scandalous not to have this album in your collection.

I wonder how long these three lads spend in hair and make - up?

Moving closer to home we will find The Bon Temps Sisters. Just as their name suggests, these gals are all about having a good time. A swing, jazz, big band, boogie - woogie and rockabilly ensemble performing all over Chichester for weddings, parties, and like their sisters before them, the Royal Navy. Their renditions of ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ put the original proprietors of the song to shame and their cover of Lady Gaga’s ’Bad Romance’ will make you never want to listen to the original again. Their vocal harmonies, combined with their big band accompaniment, will make you wonder why you ever listened to anything else. Oh and their outfits will make you want to kidnap their stylist.

Seriously, don't you just want their stylist?!?

If you like the sound of this good ol’ fashioned retro fun then why not check out The Puppini Sisters, Imelda May, Hot Rod Walt and the Psycho Devilles, The Rocker Covers and Ghost Highway.

Rockabilly is such an awesome genre of music; with a double bass, a drum kit, a piano, a guitar and even the possibility of a mini brass section, what more could you actually want from life? It’s all about great music, good times, and to quote the wise words of Danny and the Juniors, “rock and roll is here to stay, it will never die”.