Sad news in early 2010 concerned the loss of author Keith Farley whose contribution to the documentation of West Midlands music history has been considerable. Keith's last book entitled 'They Rocked, We Rolled!' was published recently and is described as "A personal and oral account of Rock 'n' Roll in and around Wolverhampton and the West Midlands 1956-1959".
Keith Farley had previously written the book 'N Between Times that was first published in 2001 (see BRUM BEAT REVIEWS 'N Between Times). As far as I know, 'N Between Times was the first book ever to document Wolverhampton's 1960's music scene. 'They Rocked, We Rolled!' was completed by Keith just before his death in March 2010. Keith was well known locally as a school teacher, historian and music fan who had a number of books published. He was also the first official chairman of the Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society. Dave Cant who was a long-time friend of Keith's, has provided a good description of They Rocked, We Rolled! as follows:
In this book, Keith has taken a more general view of the 50/60s 'experience' - the importance to us then of the right hairstyle, the clothes and the all important knowledge of the latest releases, as discussed in the school playground. Both Keith and I went from council estate primaries to the local Grammar school and many of our experiences there are recalled in the book (including enrolling the Headteacher in The Teen & Twenty Disc Club!). The book again allows the band members of the time to tell us what actually happened in their own words and provides a fascinating pattern of musicians moving from one band to another in search of fame and fortune!
Keith writes of his many visits to gigs at local venues, such as the Lafayette, the Park Hall, the Ship & Rainbow, further afield to Old Hill Plaza and Willenhall Baths and even ventures as far away as Birmingham (!) to see the early stars of rock and roll. This is brought nicely full circle through seeing what he describes as "three elderly gentlemen" - Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis - at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall in recent years! Having earlier written a book on Wolverhampton cinemas, 'At The Flicks', there is also a section on seeing the early rock and roll films like 'The Girl Can't Help It' and 'Rock Around The Clock' and teenage reaction to shows like 'Six Five Special' and 'Oh Boy'.
Copies of Keith Farley's They Rocked, We Rolled! are available from Dave Cant 07730965009 at 74 Bellencroft Gdns, Merry Hill, Wolverhampton WV3 8DU
Price £12.99 (or £14.99 inc pp) Please make cheques payable to 'M Manley'
Copyright © John R Woodhouse