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Ray Campi – A Major force in the UK Rockabilly cat culture

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Ray Campi rockabilly.

Ray Campi

Rockabilly Legend

A Major force in the UK Rockabilly cat culture

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I was so sad to learn Ray Campi passed away March 11 2021, aged 86.  It cannot be overstated what a transformational force he was in the late 70’s as the head statesman in the emerging UK rockabilly cat culture, which evolved out of the teddy boy rock ‘n’ roll scene.  He brought huge energy and excitement to a new generation who sought their own musical and fashion identity.

Ray had recorded a number of tracks in the 1950’s.  Most of these would remain unreleased until over over 25 years later when he became a rockabilly cult figure.  Ronnie Weiser was the architect behind Ray’s rising from the ashes.  He persuaded Ray to learn to play the double bass, which was a genius idea as most rockin’ bands were using electric bass guitars at the time.  With that instrument, complete with a flag tied to the top of its neck, Ray stood out like the legendary figure he truly was.  Try to find a rockin’ band not using a double bass today.  You will have to search hard as Ray’s influence has made the instrument a mandatory element in all credible rockin’ bands.
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Signed to Ronnie Weiser’s label, Rollin’ Rock Records, along with stable mate Mac Curtis and other significant artists, the rockin’ recipe was unleashed and the world changed for a generation who would remain in awe of the music and lifestyle for evermore.
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Ray Campi - The Head Statesman of the UK Rockabilly cat culture
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I vividly remember buying every Ray Campi record back in the day and listening for hours to the unusual songs and musical arrangements he brought to my eager ears.
I have met him a couple of times at  Viva Las Vegas rockabilly festival.  We were wearing almost identical clothes, and it was clear I was still very, very much influenced by him.
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His songs stand with the classics and always fill the dancefloor with frantic boppers demonstrating they still have the fancy leg and foot work demanded by this music.  I won’t go into creating a discography here, but give yourself a treat by .putting on your dancing shoes and bop along to ‘Rockin’ at the Ritz’, ‘Tore up’, or ;How low can you feel’ (not forgetting to stomp the floor at the appropriate time).
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Thank you for the music and memories Ray.  You played a big part in making me a lifelong rockabilly devotee and I am eternally grateful.  Rest in peace.
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Rockin’ Paul G.

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Ray Campi rockabilly

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