Service militaire 1967-68 11 months in Tahiti, with French airforce
Since the late 1960s.
the Wild Rockin’ Cats Fan Club of Patrice Barbat.
En cette année 1968, il y avait queiques fan clubs, dont ceux de Little Richard (magazine Only Rock), tenu par Michel Thonney, Gene Vincent (I Remember), de Dominique Thura, Buddy Holly (Reminiscing), avec un nouveau president, Marc Alesina, Eddie Cochran (Nashville Cats), de Gilles Vignal, Burt Blanca (King Creole), Vince Taylor, de Patrice Barbat FLASHES ROCK Le premier article, appele Flashes Rock, est, pour l’epoque, des plus intéressants. Par exemple, nos rockeurs sont ravis d’apprendre que la marque Ember aurait 1’intention de rééditer sur album les vieux succes Capitol d’Esquerita. Le club pourra les importer. Patrice Barbat (président du Vince Taylor Fan Club) se démène auprès de maisons de disques pour faire rééditer “Brand New Cadillac” par Vince. Les fans de Freddie Cannon ont apprécié son dernier disque, mais les purs et durs
By the late 60’s when famous French records collector Charlie Barbat meet him in Shreveport, Tommy still had several boxes of unsold 45 rpm and was offering them for sale to wealthy collectors mostly from Europe. Charlie, always tight in money, passed the offer and keeps hunting in warehouses and jukeboxes operator depot from Louisiana, Tennessee or Mississippi like did Breathless Dan O’Coffey and few others early rockin’ pilgrims.
Many sides stayed in the vaults like “She’s My Baby” and “Sweet William” (issued for the first time in 1977). Those songs were issued on Sun 607, by French cat Charlie Barbat, and pressed at only 700 copies in Nashville with the legendary yellow label. Disillusioned with events Billy Lee Riley signed up with Brunswick in 1958 and had a very good single out “That’s all to the ball, Mister Hall” b/w “Rockin on the Moon” but, in December 1958, he was back at Sun. Here, he will rework the classic “Down By The Riverside” (Sun 313) and in June 1959, he cut his last session for Sam Phillips. That session lead to his last single (Sun 322) and went to join his former guitarist Roland James in the formation of “Rita” records. He got some records on that label and, later, on Mojo.
In 1962, Billy Lee Riley left Memphis and moved to Los Angeles but that’s a story for another day. Billy Lee Riley pursued a musical career for numerous years, in his own right and under a host of pseudonyms, and toured often in Europe. His first concert in France was set in Paris in November 1979, with Warren Smith, at The Palace. I was there and we really had a ball with those wild rockin’ cats. It was the first Rockabilly concert with vintage Sun cats ever set in France soon after the legendary ‘Sun Sound Show’ in London. Billy Lee Riley never really thought of himself as a Rockabilly artist but more of a Rock ‘n’ Roll one. And he never forgot those little green men and what they said to him in 1956.
Bernard Boyat (1945-2015), Bourg-en-Bresse,
discovered rnr thru ‘long tall sally’ in 1958
1st article published in British Bill Haley fancub magazine, Feb 1966