WHISPERING SMITH: Unbroken circles, that old wheel keeps a’turning

Bobby Cochran played the Durrington Working Men's club
Bobby Cochran played the Durrington Working Men's club

Once, a long time ago, I served a stint in the RAF Police and was posted to a quiet little RAF station very close to Bath.

One night when driving back from an evening out in Chippenham with other ‘snowdrops’ we happened upon a car wreck and, as there were plenty of emergency personnel in attendance, we drove slowly past and straight back to base.

The next day I read in the newspapers that the very popular American rockabilly star Eddie Cochran had died in the crash.

This popped back into my head last week when, with a friend, I went to see his nephew, Bobby Cochran, at the Durrington Working Men’s club where he was winding up a long tour with a one-off performance for Colin Penn of the Jive School of Events and the founder of the Honey Hush Club, my weekly jiving venue.

Colin, in partnership with Sue Walker-Reilly, promised a sell-out event to rock your socks off and so it was.

A packed hall with some folk just there to watch and listen and others there to leap around to an interesting mixture of rock‘n’roll, rockabilly, blues and even an old Hank Williams standard, Hey Good Lookin’, which was surprisingly easy to jive to.

Afterwards I had time for a private chat with the singer where we, quite emotionally, mourned the long-time passing of his uncle Eddie and my recollections of that sad evening way back in April 1960.

Both he and Eddie had been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame at the same time, the only time such a joint family presentation had or has ever happened since.

Happy to sign autographs and meet with the fans, an unassuming man willing to chat about anything from music, education and the need to give the youngsters of today every opportunity to study and enjoy the arts, as well as the need for literacy and an understanding of maths, to the presidency of Donald Trump...

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Good live music is so very uplifting whether it be in a pub, a show at the Windmill or a lovely choral service at St. James’ Church. Add dancing to the mix and you can fly.

Sadly, venues for such events have all but disappeared from Littlehampton and, as far as I can tell, with the demise of the United Services Club for yet more flats, that’s about the end of the road.

Great pity really, Littlehampton used to be real dancing town and I cannot believe that all of those dancing shoes and dressing ups have been binned! Let’s keep fit and keep live music alive...

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