Sunday, 29 November 2009

Shaking All Over Web Group - 10th Anniversary

Both Shaun and I have been members of the Shaking All Over music forum for nearly a decade, and we have made many "virtual" and real friends there from all over the world (and England ;-)). The entertaining and informative SAO forum is celebrating its 10th birthday today November 28th, 2009, and as a tribute to its founder/guru and all round good egg , Steve Walker, we are proud to include in Rockabillyville this tribute to Steve and the SAO group written by two of its most prolific contributors, Dik de Heer and Colin Kilgour.

Good on yer Steffan and here's to the next golden decade

Flip and Shaun

By Dik de Heer and Colin Kilgour

During the early days of the Internet, mailing lists were an important medium for the international communication of rock ‘n’ roll fans around the world who, for the most part, were not previously aware of each other’s existence. Prior to that, in the early nineties, Compuserve forums were a first step in the genesis of cyberspace rockin' communities, but when the Internet started to spread globally, people migrated to free Internet mailing lists.

Nowadays there are many other forums for the exchange of information (MySpace groups, blogs, podcasts and countless websites, especially Terry Gordon’s stunning achievement “Rockin’ Country Style” Nevertheless, mailing lists (aka newsgroups or Internet forums) are still alive and well in 2009. But let’s go back to the beginning.

In the mid-nineties, the Internet was a tiny place compared to what it is now. Probably the first mailing list devoted to R&R was the Rockabilly mailing list, started in May 1995 by French student Bertrand Kohler, who used the server of his university (in Strasbourg) for this purpose. Though it was called the Rockabilly list, it was also devoted to other forms of roots music, like rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and hillbilly. By early 1996 there were about 100 list members and a year later over 200. The majority of these were located in the USA (especially California, Texas and the East Coast), but there were many active members from Australia, Canada and many European countries (the further up North, the better the English). Some were musicians (Deke Dickerson) or relatives of musicians (Bobby Brom, Marti’s husband), label owners (Rockin’ Ronny Weiser, Roy Williams), authors of books on rockabilly (Craig Morrison, Richard Jandrow) or others in the music business, but most members were simply music fans, often with huge collections.

Apart from being a mine of information (discographies, concert news, band itineraries, TV show alerts, new releases, reviews, etc.), it was also a source of much entertainment, as there were some really funny people contributing. For almost everyone, it was their first experience with intercultural communication and nobody minded that the focus was not always on music, though there were a number of subjects that were considered “off-topic” or plainly taboo. For that purpose, a mailing list has a moderator (then usually called listpop or listmom) to keep the unruly brats in line. At some point in 1996, Kohler could no longer use the server of the University of Strasbourg and his technical duties were taken over by Jose Espinosa (of the Sugar King Boys and Corwood Draggers), who used the server of the Loomisgroup, until November 1998, when the list (by then lists) was moved to, which merged with eGroups and then (2000) YahooGroups.

The 1996 rockabilly list was something special. There was a real sense of community. Many people cared deeply about the list and many friendships originated there. Apart from sending messages to the entire list group, there was also the possibility of sending private messages. The idea for the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame was developed on this list and brought to fruition by Bob Timmers. This Hall also has its own mailing list.

Unfortunately, the harmony couldn’t last. By May 1997, the group split in two. Those who were primarily interested in serious information about records had to wade through too many useless messages to find what they were looking for. A separate RockinRecords was started by Finnish member Tapio Väisänen. This list, which is still in existence on YahooGroups, (homepage concentrates on information about records.


Steve Walker from the UK decided to establish the Shakin’ All Over forum and mould it exactly how he wanted. A list where the music would be the glue holding it together but which never took itself too seriously and had a bit of a British slant. Compuserve (which back then was impersonal and expensive) had many forums and within the Oldies one, there was the 'Fifties Diner’ and here Steve met other music enthusiasts.

Assisting Steve, Rob Humphreys a fellow Brit in the Diner, looked beyond Compuserve to web/email based lists. This led eventually to the Shaking All Over Group's current home at Yahoo groups and a wide spread of contributors, which previously had been limited to Compuserve’s captive zone.

The inaugural messages at Shakin’ All Over appeared in the last week of November, 1999. The core years under review are 1956 to 62 and posts now average some 300 per month. 1950s rock and roll music and all its associated aspects - films, cars, books, personalities of the time, are discussed from a UK viewpoint although many overseas members have now broadened the subject matter.

Numerous List members have formed ‘in person’ friendships and meet ups have taken place in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, Canada, the USA and Australia ……….. hail, hail rock and roll

SAO’s Home Page enquires ………… “Were you at Buddy Holly's last UK date at the Gaumont, Hammersmith? Do you go to Chippenham every year to remember Eddie Cochran? Did you leave your bike outside the Ace Café in the 50s while Elvis played on the jukebox? Was there a better British rocker than Billy Fury? Was "Brand New Cadillac" the best British r&r record of the era? Remember Colonel Bloodnok, Journey into Space, Gus Goodwin on Radio Luxembourg?”.

There was no YouTube when SAO started but this brilliant resource is often mentioned in postings now, plus you can vote in one of the polls on a myriad of subjects or name your selections for a 'Desert Island EP. And in the Files area there are photos and lots of other goodies

The Shakin’ All Over List Owner is Stephen McDuff Walker (born 26 August, 1946) an extremely congenial host, held in very high regard by members of the Group.

Among the multitude of great early sounds, those Everly harmonies held him especially transfixed and nurtured a lifetime affection for duo and group harmony singing, across many forms.

He worked in Insurance in High Holborn, London from 1963 but soon surrendered his policy to join the Merchant Navy, Tommy Steele style as a deck-hand, steward, bottle washer etc. and sailed around the world for a couple of years before getting up and away as an airline steward with B.E.A. (later to become British Airways). Since 1977, Steve has run his own business importing furniture from Denmark for office use.

Married to Jan for over forty years, they have three children and Steve is a doting grandfather to two girls. He is the proud owner of a Seeburg Phonojet jukebox. With retirement looming (he wishes), he looks forward to devoting more time to his garden and completing the digitalising of his music collection. Seeing his beloved Wolves clinch the Prem. Footie title would be the icing on his cake (keep mixing Steve).

The man in that Old Gold shirt would be the first to admit that he couldn’t as effectively oversee SAO without the support and frequent contributions from a bunch of like-minded enthusiasts. Joining him at the outset to get the venture off the ground were his old work buddy from the early sixties Colin Kilgour, Kevin Carey and Rob Humphreys who was and is, the resident Shakin’ computer whizz.

Among SAO’s most popular features are ‘In The Can’ detailing a particular month’s classic recording sessions and This Is My Story, with a summary of the life and recording careers of a cross-section of artistes, both collated by Dik de Heer. There is the occasional gig review, regular birthday/anniversary posts with great links - and memories are jogged and threads kick started, by reminders of historic chart listings.

Contributions to This Is My Story go into a library of very readable and useful articles held at Marijn Raaijmakers’ superb BlackCat Rockabilly Europe website.

So - it’s all about 'Shivers down the Backbone....'. Be you male, female, young or old, please join in at Shakin’ All Over, in their second decade of appreciating and discussing the rockin-est era of great recorded music. Your input will be encouraged.

Send an email here and one of our members will send you a link to direct you to the SAO pages.

Or drop a line to 5 Buckingham Close, Northampton, NN4 0RR
With thanks to Kevin Carey, Rob Humphreys and Tapio Väisiänen)

ps Johnny Kidd & the Pirates
whilst most American (and Candian) rock fans would associate the song with the Guess Who from 1965, fifties rockers know of course it`s one of the Uk`s few genuine proper rock n roll`s classics (like say Move It, Bad Boy, Don't Knock Upon My Door and Brand new Cadillac) written by Freddie Heath aka Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, what a great name for a band -roll over Johnny Depp, released on the HMV label and a British number one in the summer of 1960,his earlier Please Don't Touch is almost as good (and covered later by BIlly Hancock in the US). Sadly Johnny was killed in a UK car crash in 1966 but the heavier sound of the Pirates especially Mick Green paved the way for later UK power bands cv live versions by the Who and Led Zeppelin, sadly I`ve never seen any footage of Johnny around now, but can recall a few of his exciting tv performances when I too was a "Kid"

Here's a couple of versions of the great Johnny Kidd & the Pirates classic SAO anthem, followed by the original, still the greatest.

Donna Loren - Shindig

Vince Taylor & Playboys

Johnny Kidd - original version

1 comment:

peterrocker said...

Hope all who read this & join, learn to love the Shakin' All Over group as much as us members do.

Thanks again mucho to Steve 'Walkin' To Noo Orleans