“… I was busy running around taking pictures and visiting all of my friends I have made over the years. Most of these performers are good friends of mine.”
On Thursday afternoon, February 3rd, many performers including my band the Classics, appeared at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at the Clear Lake Middle School. We have performed at this function for many years for the kids. It is known as “Buddy’s Buddies.” Also appearing was local sensation, Richie Lee, whom has developed a large following in the area.
Thursday evening at the Surf Ballroom, February 3rd started off with performances by the Collins Kids. They went over great with the huge crowd that gathered around the big stage. I have known them for quite some time and really enjoyed their part of the show.
Next came the Clovers with original member Harold Winley. They performed many of their hits including “Devil Or Angel” and “Love Potion Number Nine.” They were a polished group and sounded good and looked great in their matching purple coats. The crowd really loved them.
Next came Gary Lewis with his new Playboys. He also acted as emcee for the next two nights. His back-up group was excellent and Gary gave a great show doing all of his hits including “This Diamond Ring,” “Everybody Loves A Clown” and many others. Gary Lewis went over very well with the audience.
Friday the 4th began with my group, Alan Clark and the Classics, performing in the Surf Lounge with my tribute to Eddie Cochran. My group consisted of myself on lead guitar, Graham Pugh, also on lead guitar, John Reagan on bass and his brother Will on drums. We also included songs by Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, the Big Bopper, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. The lounge was jammed packed with standing room only. This was my fifth straight year performing in the lounge. Many people came up after and show and said that this was the best performance yet. Everybody went up to the people in charge and asked them when we were going to play the big stage. I really enjoy the people who come to the Surf Ballroom. They are really friendly people and they come every year to enjoy the shows and have a real good time.
That evening was the Winter Dance Party Sock Hop and featured Flash Cadillac and special guests Tommy Allsup and Sonny West. The crowd enjoyed this part of the show. Tommy Allsup, as you may know, was on that last tour with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper as part of the back-up group. Tommy is a great guitar player and performed many of Holly’s classic tunes.Sonny West came on and did his part of the show which included two songs which he had written that went on to become Holly classics, “Oh Boy” and “Rave On.”
Saturday, the 5th was the big night. It began with Kevin Montgomery and another guitar player as a two piece. They were well received. Kevin is the son of Bob Montgomery, who had recorded with Buddy Holly in the early days before Holly found success with the Crickets.
Next came the Fleetwoods. This three piece vocal group had the crowd in the palm of their hands with many of their classic songs. The group consisted of original lead singer Gary Troxel and two lovely ladies who have performed with him for many, many years. Songs included “The Great Imposter,” “Tragedy.” “Outside My Window,” and their two monster hits. “Mr. Blue” and “Come Softly To Me.” They went over very well with the crowd. I thought they were one of the best acts.
Next up was the wild man himself, Roy Head. I have known Roy for many years and as always he put on a fantastic show. He really had the crowd rockin’. When he went into his signature song, “Treat Her Right,” he tore the place down. To me, this was one of the highlights of the whole three nights.
Following Roy was lovely Little Peggy March. I had not seen her in a while. She looked fabulous and sounded even better. Of course, the highlight came when she sung “I Will Follow Him.”
Next came the headliner himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, the “Killer.” He put on a great show. He looked like he had lost a little weight and he was looking a lot better than the last time I saw him perform. You could tell, though, he was not feeling his best. He put on a fairly long show which included some classic country and of course he rocked the Surf with “Great Balls Of Fire” and “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Gin’ On.” This was the best I have seen Jerry Lee in a long time. The crowd was really into him. I couldn’t get close to the stage to take any pictures because the fans were packed tight against the stage.
After Jerry Lee finished his part of the show, the crowd was treated to a little jam session. Tommy Allsup backed Little Peggy March on her version of “It’s So Easy” which Tommy said he might not be able to play it in her key. But of course, he could. Gary Lewis then called Sonny West back up and they performed his rendition of “Rave On” with Allsup on lead guitar. Next up came the Fleetwoods singing back-up on a tune by the house band. Gary Lewis sang a little back-up on “That’ll Be The Day” with the back-up group taking the lead. To me, this little jam session was another highlight of the evening.
All of the acts came down to the tables and signed autographs except Jerry Lee Lewis whom was not feeling well.
Over all, it was a great three days of music. I can’t wait for the next one.