A few You-Tube links, which I thought you guys might find interesting:
Rock and Roll Revue You-Tube description: Master of ceremonies Willie Bryant hosts an eventful evening of music and comedy captured live at the Apollo Theatre, featuring such popular artists as Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, the Clovers, Dinah Washington, Martha Davis, and Mantan Moreland.
Rhythm and Blues Revue You-Tube description: Musical variety show filmed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City, featuring a cast of popular performers: Willie Bryant, Freddie Robinson, Lionel Hampton, Faye Adams, Bill Bailey, Herb Jeffries, Freddy & Flo, Amos Milburn, The Larks, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Joe Turner, Delta Rhythm Boys, Martha Davis, Little Buck, Nat King Cole, Mantan Moreland & Nipsy Russell, Cab Calloway, Ruth Brown, Paul Williams Band.
Bill Bailey appears at 11:22. He was the first person to be recorded doing the Moonwalk (at approx 13.00), although he referred to it as the “Backslide”, in the film Cabin In the Sky (1943)
Rock, Baby, Rock It! – You-Tube Description: This 1957 rock n’ roll quickie is famous (or infamous) in cult movie circles for it’s low budget charm, combined with a rare authentic look at then contemporary youth culture.
Unlike it’s more slightly higher budgeted Hollywood contemporaries from Columbia Pictures (“Don’t Knock The Rock”), or Warner Brothers (“Untamed Youth”), or even American International (“Shake, Rattle, And Rock”), “Rock Baby Rock It!” was independently produced in Dallas, Texas.
Instead of big names such as Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, or Little Richard, this gem featured local Texas talent in the way of blues singer Roscoe Gordon, vocal group the Five Stars, Everly Brothers sound-alikes The Belew Twins, Bill Haley-type combo The Cell Block Seven, and local Texas rockabilly legend, Johnny Carroll.
What makes these fine performers all the more exciting to watch here is the fact that, for the most part, they’re performing their numbers live for the camera, and not lip synced.
Also of interest for retro fans is seeing real teenagers doing real teen dance styles on film, rather than the usual 30-something professionals doing Big Band-era lindy hop in most other (Hollywood) rock n’ roll exploitation quickies.
Look for Kay Wheeler, president of the largest Elvis Presley fan club at the time, doing her rock n’ bop routine. According to Alanna Nash’s book “Baby Let’s Play House”, Ms. Wheeler’s dancing actually influenced Elvis’ hip shaking on stage. Whether true or not, you can definitely see the Elvis style in her dance routine to Johnny Carroll’s “Sugar Baby.”
A true time-capsule of a particular place in a particular moment in time, “Rock, Baby Rock It!” is a must-see for any fan of rockabilly or retro youth culture.