The Popstream: Skiffle Time!


Today's installation of the Popstream is going to be kind of different: I know I haven't gone too far back earlier than the '70s in most of my entries, so I decided to showcase a little something from the late '50s as a change of pace. Before the Beatles made it big, they played skiffle -- as did Van Morrison, Ronnie Wood and a few other rock musicians who went on to bigger and better things in the '60s. Skiffle is a sort of hybrid of country, blues, folk and jazz that originated in the Southern United States at the turn of the 20th Century and saw a bit of a revival in the UK in the '50s thanks largely to the popularity of Lonnie Donegan, who turned skiffle into a sort of British equivalent of America's rockabilly movement. Pretty soon, a whole host of skiffle bands started cropping up across the British Isles, including this group of likeable amateurs whose names are a bit lost to time. (Sorry about the crappy picture up there; I tried to get more info and maybe some photos of this band by plugging the name of their guitarist into Google image search, but I just wound up with a bunch of websites about beer so I had to go for a YouTube screenshot.)

I'm not really sure what happened to any of these musicians, considering that the UK skiffle revival died down pretty severely by the early '60s. The band members in this clip seem more like hobbyists than serious musicians anyways; the young guitarist James in particular seems like he's a bit uneasy about being in a band, much less on television getting interviewed. And since he's not the flashiest guitar player it's fortunate that he admits to having a backup career plan. I'm sure that James found great happiness in his studies in biological research later in life, and I'd like to think that his work in the field of germ studies has helped to curb fatal diseases.


Hey, wait a sec.