Journalist, historian and naturalist living in Perth's eastern suburbs.
1950s rockabilly music to explode in the Hills
Coo Jarvis is an explosion of sound in her own right, earning her the name Miss Dynamite as lead vocalist for Rockabilly band Bang Bang Betty and the H-Bombs. And she'll be bringing that explosive sound to the Parkerville Tavern on Saturday, February 6.
Bang Bang Betty. Picture David Woolley
With a mix of hot rhythm and blues, rockabilly and rumba, Bang Bang Betty will bring the garden stage at the Parky alive. As well as Jarvis, the band line-up includes Andy Jarvis on rocking guitar, Mark Sprogowski on honkin' tenor sax, Dom D'Leno pounding the drums and Marc Gordon, formerly with Rick Steele in The Hot Biscuit Band, on double bass.
The music is a journey back to the rock 'n roll of the 1950s when Elvis was taking the world by storm, but Bang Bang Betty focuses more on some of the other incredible artists of the day, many of them female, whose music has largely disappeared from the modern era.
Jarvis brings her own take to the music of the time from vocalists such as Ruth Brown, Little Esther, The Del Moroccos, Lavern Baker, Brenda Lee, Big Maybelle, and Peggy Lee – and the odd Imelda May tune for something a little more modern.
Bang Bang Betty delivering their high energy rockabilly. Picture Liang Xu
Many of these artists recorded the original versions of songs that have gone on to be well-known including Big Maybelle's Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, Big Mama Thornton's Hound Dog and Ann Cole's Got My Mojo Working. It's music from a time when every element of a band's performance was slick, with stylishly dressed musicians delivering music that was infectious and fun.
The Parkerville offers the perfect environment for live music with the sloping grounds among the trees providing a great space to see the band and to get up and dance. The H-Bombs feature musicians well-known to Perth audiences who have played in rock combinations of every style from blues and swing to rockabilly.
The band interprets the music in its own inimitable style, while remaining authentic to the music of the era, creating something that's exciting and spontaneous. The Bang Bang Betty & The H-Bombs name is a reflection of the post-World War II atomic era when the world was leaving behind its austerity and moving into brighter party times.
The rockabilly, rhythm and blues sound that was emerging was in stark contrast to the commercial music of the day. Bang Bang Betty's Andy Jarvis says the music was an evolution of the Big Band sound with its swinging sound and jumping beat which made it compulsive dance music.
Unlike the traditional instruments of the era electric guitar, sax, double bass and drums, delivered a raw R&B sound that was ideal to dance to. With more than 20 years of enchanting audiences behind her, Coo Jarvis has performed around the world but has now made Perth her home.
Much of Bang Bang Betty's distinctive sound is down to Coo's unique musical background, which ranges from classical piano to post-punk. Her career included a stint with Sydney-based, post-punk band, Toys Went Berserk, which released six singles and three albums and had a version of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven featured on the ABC's The Money or the Gun, hosted by Andrew Denton.
The band recorded an album in the United States before it split in 1992 and Coo and guitarist Andy Jarvis moved to England to launch a band called Feast and then Houdini before returning to Perth in 2003. The Parkerville Tavern is a bit over half-an-hour's drive from the city with a historic building set in a beguiling garden setting amongst the forests of the Perth Hills.
The Parky's event menu will have a range of food on offer from burgers, steaks, fish and chips and pizzas to curries and Korean fried chicken wings.
The bar will be open, and the event is family-friendly.