Don Woody at the 10th Viva Las Vegas Festival, 2007
The Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly weekend was amazing! I enjoyed seeing all of the differetnt activities and performances going on.
The show I was involved in was called "the Legends" and featured 5 of us "older" rockabillies. It was a thrill for me to be able to take the
stage with Mac Curtis, "Sleepy" La Beef, Narvel Felts and Billie Lee Riley.
I admit I was a little nervous since I had not performed on stage in a very long time, but the fans were great and gave me a big welcome. They also knew all the words to my songs, many sang along with me.It was fantastic!
The other thing that really helped was the Viva Las Vegas band. They were outstanding. They knew all my songs and had rehearsed them before I got there, so my rehearsal went easy and we tried to make them exactly like the records. Band members were Ashley Kingman on guitar, Shorty Poole, bass, Carl Sonny Leyland on keyboard and Bobby Trimble, drums.
After the show, I got to meet several fans and pose for a few pictures. All in all, it was an unforgetable weekend for me and my family!
When I headed to Viva Las Vegas 2007 I was excited to see the cars, the bands but most of all the legends.
This would be my second round to that particular festival. I have a relatively large collection of rockabilly songs and I recognized a
few of the names on the rockabilly legend list. Mac Curtis was up first. Who I haven't heard much of nor didn't recognize any of his songs.
Sleepy La Beef was up next, a name most rockabilly fans know. They seemed to get better as we progressed through the list. After "Sleepy" came Don Woody.
I knew nothing about his music or him but for me it was his songs that stole the evening. He opened up with a song called "Barking up the Wrong Tree".
I stood listening to his lyrics and the beat and we get to the chorus and the whole crowd yelled out "woof woof". I was quite amazed and felt a bit foolish
that everyone in the entire crowd new the song but me. Don Woody seemed a bit shy yet perhaps overwhelmed. I am sure the rockabilly fans made him feel at
home and ease as he finished his first number and the crowd went crazy. Don Woody impressed me with his songs including "Barking up the Wrong Tree",
"Morse Code", "Make Like a Rock'n'Roll" and "Bird Dog" in which the whole crowd whistled with the chorus. The lyrics seemed simple but clever
and catchy. Mix that with the authentic rockabilly beat and you have some great songs. I thought to myself, he sounds like it could be like the authentic
recordings. I wouldn't know this until I got home online and did some research and found Don Woody's homepage. Loving the music so much, I was lucky to
find them to download on his homepage! As I listened I noticed that he sounded practically identical to the authentic recordings done back in the day.
I wish I had got to meet him but by the time I was there he had left. Viva Las Vegas '07 was great and Don Woody's great songs definitely would have been a
Don Woody's voice was phenomenal! It sounded just like the 50s tracks. We all knew it was going to go well when Mr. Woody showed up at
practice and totally floored us! Some friends in the crowd told me that the 4 killer songs we did sounded exactly like the records.
The crowd was very enthusiastic. They were singing all the barks in Barking Up The Tree. It was one of my highlights of backing many original
acts in all 10 VLV's!
Back in the late 1970's in England I got a copy of an MCA Long Player called, I think, Rare Rockabilly. It had Don Woody tracks like "Make Like a Rock
and Roll", "Bird Dog" and "Barking Up The Wrong Tree" and I can still remember crowds of young cats yelping along and burning up the dancefloors.
The opening chords of "Bird Dog" in particular, which sounded just like Johnny Burnette....
To actually see the man, and to find that steamhammer voice in much the same shape as when I first heard it was a real thrill. I am privileged to have been there!
The Friday evening's Stars of Rockabilly - packets, where several fifties stars inheriting lazy to a comeback,
is a correct experience. The legendary Sleepy La Beef - that actually does not see it smallest court out - coats in a
cloud of perspiration, and the timid Don Woody - as been traced up of fans after to have been disappeared in the insurance sector
in fifty years - pushing down those most considerable ovations I consulted from an audience.
Taken from the Swedish newspaper DN (29 april 2007)
Video is filmed by John Caspermeyer (St. Louis Missouri). The Audio is by D. B.Schramm, MFB Productions, Mission Viejo California.
Also to see video in bigger size (directly from YouTube), you can press the links below:
Special thanks to Garry and Tom Ingram for their photos!