The Golden Years gigs: 20 years of local music and charity in Norolk
- Credit: East Anglian Music Archive
This was the time when the former Norfolk skiffle kids turned into the grandfathers of rock ‘n’ roll… the Golden Years were dawning reuniting hundreds of musicians and raising tens of thousands of pounds for charities and good causes.
It was 25 years ago when a former “Toff” by the name of Derek Moore asked if I could help try to find former members of the band for a reunion.
The Toffs had been a bunch of lads working at Jarrolds who had decided to form their own skiffle band in the late 1950s…. they had a washboard made out of an old tea-chest, a couple of guitars, and would head to the Red Lion in Norwich to listen to the much-loved Alley Katz.
Before long skiffle was heading out of the back door to be replaced by rock ‘n’ roll. Drummer Derek joined the lads and off they went… playing in and around the city and towns – the Samson was one of the biggest venues.
When I wrote the story I asked for memories of other bands at the birth of rock in Norwich and all over Norfolk.
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The response was quite extraordinary.
A collection of respectable and rather mature citizens were emerging from the shadows (good old Hank) and revealing their past – as local heroes.
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Letters were arriving at the office from all over this country and abroad. Friends were meeting up for the first time in many years to chat over the days when they were in groups and having the time of their lives.
A few months on, in the summer of 1996, Derek was back in the office, this time accompanied by his mates from other bands so pleased to see each other again.
I asked them if they had ever thought of playing again.
“Would there be enough interest?” asked former Zodiac Terry Wickham.
Just then a woman in the office came over and tapped Micky “once a Cadillac always a Cadillac” Woodcock on the shoulder.
“I used to love listening to you play,” she said… and Micky smiled.
Radio Norfolk’s David Clayton, Andy Archer and Roy Waller climbed aboard and the Golden Years was up and running.
And when they walked back on the stage – WOW.
While dozens of bands did re-form, the one that didn’t make it was The Toffs.
Keep tuned as we follow the story of the Golden Years.