Trotting round the county agricultural show of this particular shire I am enjoying and enduring family, familiar fun and attractions that marquee-based organisations offer such events; networking and soaking in the atmosphere of light drizzle and grizzling buggy-tied babies; brass bands, brassy mammas and farmer types; motorised senior citizens on their scooters, city-folks up for the day looking dazed, and the countryside crowd all mingling with the best brawn and beef that this green and lush part of Wales breeds, rides, kills and eats.
In amongst the smells and scenes and shoulder-bashing crowd noise and nanny-goats my ears pick up the sweet sound of rockin’ good guitar, drums and bass taking me back across the hills and years to the sound of sweaty youth and tooth-cutting chords.
Trot becomes canter as I brush past the heifers and rosette-decorated ponies; skipping over guy ropes and ribbons to the sound that’s pulling me closer – to a clearing in the grass where I find the performance stage of my local radio station; scene of many a nail-biting talent contest of years gone by when my eldest was a wanna-be sweet teen singing machine – and to a slightly damp scene of coffee-cuddling couples and families too, sitting in plastic chairs in the singing rain captivated by the sound that had lassoed me and pulled me in.
I listen silently for a while, toes tapping. Then I spot a chap who works in the works canteen and he’s looking different – all tanned and relaxed and smiley, minus his catering Trilby. I twist over and ask who they are.
“That’s a new band called the Mustangs. They sound like the Beatles don’t they? They are really good!” And now we are tapping in time together and both the same side of the counter as we counter the scene and the songs. I’m smiling with him.
I update my Facebook status to give these boys a plug; stay for a track or two then I am off down the muddy track and the tunes buzz for a while then fade.
Later I remember the fresh-faced youths with their old songs; oldies but goodies.
Their Facebook page has 302 ‘likes’. I like. Make that 303. And share. But it isn’t enough.
Their promo info says they do mainly covers from the 50s to the 80s and some of their own tracks too – which makes them marketable as well as marvellous.
They cite their main musical influencers as: The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, Elvis Presley, Fleetwood Mac, Johnny Cash, The Kinks, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, The Shadows and Status Quo. I reckon I would get on swimmingly with their parents.
Incoming post tells me what I want to know. The Mustangs, playing tonight for the West Wales Rock n Roll club at the old Dairy Club in Whitland, from the days when Whitland had a cheese factory and a future in dairy products. Now the only cheese is the outfits and smiles of the well-quiffed DJs playing sounds of the 60s. The tracks of my parents’ years and ears. I was practically weaned on the stuff.
Splish Splash I was takin a bath – how was I to know there was a party goin’ on? Former teen pop queen is having a rare Friday night spare. She shakes her car keys and we are off. Kids parked with close pal and bowls of pasta we are free for some action.
The Mustangs walk on and soon have the local rock n roll club members jivin’ and smilin’. They were let down by no lights (that needs to be sorted soon guys – I know equipment costs but that’s a priority for indoor gigs). I feel that the energy is slightly less raw than our first encounter in the great outdoors – but they look sweet 16 and play well. Loud and proud.
There is one snag to arriving (suitably dressed in red satin and dancing shoes) at a jive night. They all jive!
The ladies look stunning in their vintage outfits – light on their toes in their swirling skirts as their husbands twirl them around with the ease and familiarity that comes with time and timing. I’m smitten.
The couple sitting with us smile and chat. And a quick nudge and a wink later I am being spun around the dance floor in the arms of an unfamiliar male and for a moment there I feel like Olivia Newton John. It’s the one that I want. This jiving thing. It’s got to me.
We return to the table. Kind wife smiles. You look great out there!’ I’m blushing.
A guy in a check shirt comes over to talk to my beautiful girl. They both sing and play in the scene here in Pembrokeshire and they are comparing notes. We nod and say hi.
“They’re great aren’t they? They look great, sound great and they can really play their instruments!’
‘Yes it annoys the hell out of me’ he quips, half-joking.
The talented group are: Graeme Heath- Guitar, Vocals, Rob Howells- Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Glenn Alcock-Drums, Percussion and Matthew Collins- Bass.
A combination of these young colts and the experienced dancers have got to me.
It’s 10. We’ve rocked around the clock and need to get home. I’m feeling happy and need to find some jive classes. Quickly.
The Mustangs stand and deliver. But we miss the last dance. Off we go, singing at the front door as trusted babysitter pulls back the lock.
“Get in you two stop-outs!”
Rock n roll.