Norfolk gigs

Turkey In The Straw

BLUEGRASS, ROCKABILLY, R&B BLUES

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In 1954 Kiwi was given his first guitar as a present and wassoon strumming a few chords. In 1956, with the overnight advent of 'skiffle' music thanks to the likes of Lonnie Donegan and others, Kiwi formed, aged fifteen, his first skiffle band Two guitars,one tea chest base and a snare drum was all that was required to enable this small group of teenagers to frequent the railway arches and doorways of London's west end. This was followed by gigs in pubs and clubs and theatres culminating in 1957 with a booking on BBC TV's 'All your own' hosted by the late Hugh Weldon. Donned in black shirts and denim jeans Pete' Kiwi' performed two songs,skip to malo and Worried man blues.Because there was only one TV channel in 1957, the south London group caused a local sensation and the group called then 'The Spartans' enjoyed considerable success until the group split up in In recent years Pete 'Kiwi' a Norfolk art dealer, has revived his interest in 'skiffle' music and has often included 'skiffle' numbers while joining with members of the well known Norwich folk club. A few years ago Pete formed a new band and has enjoyed considerable success performing at local venues including the Railway tavern in Wymondham, The Branford armes,Norwich & playing regularly at the Nelson public house. In 2001 Pete 'Kiwi' was booked to play with Dickie Bishop
Lonnie Donegan's group) also with Chas McDevitt at the Maddermarket. Unfortunately The concert had to be cancelled due to contractual difficulties.Pete 'Kiwi' Keegan is one of the only first generation musicians to perform 'skiffle' music in Nowich since he was performing this music when it first was played in London clubs and bars. His many memories and anecdotes form a regular part of his 'skiffle' nights. He has helped to encourage many, including younger music lovers to appreciate this style of music. Recently the film 'Oh brother where art thou?' which included several blue grass and mountain tunes, often a part of 'Kiwi's' programme,has helped to popularise 'skiffle' music which is having somewhat of a comeback due to the simple rhythms, and happy, often optomistic lyrics. A Term coined by the Jazz trumpeter KEN COLLIER who brought back to London in the early 1950's from New Orleans, a form of Jazz music based on French/ African cajan based influences. Combined with American folk music, blue grass and country mountainsongs, this music was soon picked up by members of Colliers Trad Jazz band and performed during the intervals of trad concerts. Tony'Lonnie' ( after Lonnie Jonson) who played banjo in the band, switched to guitar, Chis Barber the band's trombonist picked up slap double bass and Beryl Brydon, who sang with the band, played washboard. It became an instant success. In 1956 Lonnie Donegan had a number one hit with Rock island line and for the nest 18 months skiffle was king, until Elvis! Skiffle groups sprung up all over Britain.In a post war slump, the only expense in forming a skiffle group was a guitar ( then purchased for as little as 3 ), Bass was supplied with a simple teas chest,string and broom handle. All you then needed was mum's washboard and off you went! Hank Marvin,Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and many other influencial musicians, started out in skiffle bands.Review ......Friday was skiffle night at the Nelson with Mr. Pete "Kiwi" Keegan who maintains he was on TV in the 50's but the only Kiwi I can remember was on top of Annette Mills's piano and did not wear a stetson, anyway a rollicking good night as usual, this is an extremely democratic outfit, which means members of the audience variously get up to sing and join in on percussion, gob-iron etc.-I refrained, but have promised to take Jimmur the jig doll next month. And there was a proper double bass - woooh! not that you would find it in the LSO in that black and white livery. The best thing is the age range in the audience, for a five-minute craze it hasn't lasted badly, possibly even unto the third generation now. Woody Guthrie, Presley, Leadbelly, all still alive and well in our hearts. Where's me Pye Golden Guinea Lonnie Donegan compilation, I'm sure I could manage "Putting on the Style".


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Pete Kiwi KEEGAN

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