OTHER NOTABLE SHOWS
THE SOUTHERN COUNTRY MUSIC CONVENTION (1965)
Jon's band 'Johnny and The Hayriders' featuring the great Gordon Huntley on steel guitar, were one of the bands featured on a show staged at 'The Marquee Club' in London's Wardour Street - August 29, 1965. It featured the very best acts in British country music of the time including 'The Hillsiders' and 'The Tumbleweeds'.
GRAFTON BALLROOM - LIVERPOOL 'NEW SOUND IN COUNTRY MUSIC' (1967)
Jon's band 'Jamie, Jon and Jerry' topped the bill in January 1967 on a show titled, 'New Sound In Country Music' staged at a venue that was once a thriving dance hall attracting a host of star names including 'The Beatles' - 'The Grafton Ballroom' on West Derby Road in Liverpool. Jamie, Jon and Jerry played for an hour to an audience of 1200. Jon was quoted to have said after the show, "The Country scene in Liverpool is marvellous - the people up there really go for our kind of music. We had a great reception and a terrific night and we'd like to go back very soon."
SUMMER BASE FAIR - RAF UPPER HEYFORD (1967)
Jon's band 'Jamie, Jon and Jerry' appeared at the 'Summer Base Fair' - RAF Upper Heyford in 1967. Also on the show was Lulu (pictured leaving the stage). It was on this show, Jon was quoted to have said, "We were asked, which one of you was it that got Lulu drunk? They were trying to sober her up at the time, before she went on! Honestly, which member of our team would do that? Seriously though, she did a great show and we all really enjoyed working with her."
BBC RADIO 1 'COUNTRY MEETS FOLK' (1968)
Jon Derek had already made several appearances on this weekly BBC Radio show with bands 'Jamie, Jon and Jerry' and 'The Jon Derek Group' but this particular performance on December 21, 1968 was with the new line-up of 'Country Fever' with birthday boy, Albert Lee on lead guitar (the members of Country Fever sang Happy Birthday to Albert live on stage). Recorded in front of a live audience at The Playhouse Theatre in Charing Cross, London and also featuring folk singer, Ralph McTell (Streets Of London) this was archived as one of the best shows in the history of the programme and was subsequently aired again 23 years later in 1991 when the BBC revisited the programme.
TOP RANK SUITE - SOUTHAMPTON (1971)
'Lucky Stars In Concert' was the name of an album recorded 'live' in front of an audience of 1400 people at a once unique entertainment venue in Southampton known as the 'Top Rank Suite'. Featuring Jon's band 'Country Fever' this album made history on the country music scene by being the first modern country album recorded 'live' featuring all British talent. The album sold for 19/11 when it was first released. Journalist, Richard Day wrote at the time, "The atmosphere turns electric with a very exciting performance from Country Fever. A nice contrast to the rest of the acts on the show."
CHARLEY PRIDE - BBC RADIO (1971)
Charley Pride - one of the most successful country music artists of all time, made his very first promotional trip to the UK in February 1971. He had already become a huge sensation back home in the US having registered on the 'Billboard Country Chart' thirteen 'Top 10' singles, including six 'No.1's', in just his first five years as a recording artist. Jon's band 'Country Fever' were asked to back him on BBC Radio broadcasts. The photo shows them rehearsing at 'The Playhouse Theatre' in Charing Cross, London.
CHARLEY PRIDE WITH JON DEREK'S GIBSON GUITAR
SMOKEY ROGERS - THE PONDEROSA (1973)
Jon's band 'Country Fever' backed American western swing singer/songwriter, Smokey Rogers on June 10, 1973 at the well known country music venue of the time 'The Ponderosa' (The Boars Head Hotel - Wickham, Hampshire). It's highly likely that this was just one of the dates on a tour as opposed to being a one-off show. Smokey Rogers was perhaps better known for his songwriting. He wrote 'Gone' - a No.1 hit for Ferlin Huskey in 1952 and 'My Chickashay Gal' popularised by Roy Rogers - reaching No.4 on the US Country Chart in 1947.
JIMMY PAYNE (1975)
American artist, Jimmy Payne (like George Hamilton IV), had fast become a more familiar and popular name across the pond with an appreciative British audience. Making several tours to the UK, predominantly under the guidance of promoter, Mervyn Conn - a live album was recorded in June 1975 by the 'Mervyn Conn Organisation' at the notorious 'Broadmoor Hospital' in Berkshire. Hosted by the since disgraced, Jimmy Saville - the album entitled 'Jimmy Payne & Friends' features Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever'. It was released later that year on Ocean/Pye Records.
JON DEREK - WAKEFIELD THEATRE CLUB (1976)
Jon Derek was booked as the resident act/compere for the entire week of the 'Wakefield Theatre Club - Country Music Festival' (May/June 1976). I'm sure it would have been a real pleasure for Jon to have worked with the great names on the bill such as American stars, Eddie Noack, Rose Maddox, Billy Armstrong and Mac Wiseman in addition to Miki & Griff and Scottish hitmaker of the 60's, Karl Denver.
LONDON COUNTRY (1976)
The advertisement on the left was taken from the 'Radio Times' (October 1976).
Jon Derek was a regular on Bob Powel's 'BBC Radio London' programme 'London Country' - a show which ran from 1971 right up until 1988.
Jon, singing live and playing guitar would perform an acoustic set of about four or five songs, sometimes accompanied by another guitarist.
TOMMY JENNINGS (1977)
Talented singer/songwriter, Tommy Jennings - brother of Texan country superstar, Waylon Jennings, toured the UK in 1977. A 'package show' took place at the 'Intimate Theatre' - Palmers Green, London N13 on June 5, 1977 which featured Jon Derek. - Despite sounding very much like his brother, US country chart placings sadly tell the story - 'Make It Easy On Yourself' (No.96) and 'Don't You Think It's Time (No.71).
FIRST ALL BRITISH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL (1977)
Possibly the very first country music festival of it's kind 'the outdoor event' was staged at Chelmsford City Football Club's - 'The Stadium' on July 30/31, 1977. Festival's like these really took off in the 1980's and by the 1990's, there was at least one staged somewhere in the UK each weekend throughout the spring and summer months. The best names in British country music, at the time, took part in this event including; Jon Derek, Frank Jennings, Kelvin Henderson, The Hillsiders, Frank Ifield, Barbary Coast and Miki & Griff. Hosted by top broadcaster and compere, Wally Whyton.
BUSKETT ROADHOUSE - MALTA (1978)
Jon Derek had become a country music star overnight in Malta after the release of his single 'Till The Rivers All Run Dry' topped their charts in 1977. This was then followed up by the flip side 'Making Believe' also making the number one slot. Jon made his first promotional trip to Malta in the early part of 1978 and along with radio broadcasts and television appearances, he appeared nightly (February 25 - March 6) at a well known cabaret venue on the island known as 'The Buskett Roadhouse'.
BUSKETT ROADHOUSE TICKET
BOXCAR WILLIE (1978)
Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever' took part in a 'special' BBC Radio 2 'live' show staged at the 'Golders Green Hippodrome' in London - June 1978. It was broadcast on David Allan's programme 'Country Club'. Headlining, was the everpopular Texan 'hobo' country artist, Boxcar Willie. Special guests were; Jon Derek, Lorne Gibson and Pete Stanley.
BILLY ARMSTRONG - CESARS PALACE (1979)
Jon Derek appeared at the 'Cesars Palace' in Luton (September 23, 1979) with Billy Armstrong - one of country music's top fiddle players from 1965-1977. Billy was named 'Fiddle Player of the Year' no less than 13 years in a row by the Academy of Country Music. A former member of 'Hank Thompson's Brazos Valley Boys' - Billy carved out a solo career in the 1970's and released three albums.
TOMMY COLLINS (1979)
American country singer/songwriter, Tommy Collins who was instrumental in creating an early day 'Bakersfield' sound, and, who had five 'Top 10' hit songs on the US country chart, visited the UK in 1979. He appeared at the 'Festival of Country Music and Steam' near Bridgnorth, Salop on September 15, 1979 along with Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever'. This could well have been as part of a tour and it is highly likely that Jon Derek & Country Fever would have been backing and touring with him, however, only one show was advertised. Tommy Collins also wrote some great songs for other artists including; 'If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin'), which was a top 10 hit for Faron Young in 1954 and a No.1 for George Strait in 1988. Also, 'Carolyn' and 'The Roots of My Raising' both No.1's for Merle Haggard.
BBC RADIO SHOW - MARVIN RAINWATER (1979)
Whilst on tour with Marvin Rainwater and, towards the end of 1979, Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever' backed Marvin on a pre-recorded BBC Radio 2 show 'Country Club' presented by David Allan and Wally Whyton that was broadcast for the first time on January 10, 1980.
JON DEREK - DOLMEN HOTEL, BUGIBBA - MALTA (1980)
Jon Derek made another 2-week promotional trip to Malta in 1980. Having scored two No.1 hits on the Maltese singles chart in 1977 - his popularity was still very much alive on this country music loving Mediterranean island. In association with 'The Maltese Country Music Appreciation Society', he was booked to appear at the 'Dolmen Hotel' and was backed by local group 'The Joe Portelli Quintet'.
MALTESE COUNTRY MUSIC APPRECIATION SOCIETY
Founder/President: Vince Laus
Society's Patrons: Charley Pride and Bill Anderson
PORTSMOUTH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL (1980)
Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever' were on tour with Liz Howard in 1980. Making her first visit to the UK, she had been booked to appear at the third and final day of the 'Portsmouth Country Music Festival' staged at Portsmouth Airport. Following 'Johnny Tillotson', top journalist/publicist of the time, Alan Cackett wrote; Liz Howard, a relatively unknown, but up-and-coming singer, took to the stage next. She ran through a substandard set distinguished only be her duets with Jon Derek, highlighted by 'Till The Rivers All Run Dry' (which would have been even better sung solo by Jon)! It was a pity because Liz has a stylish voice, well capable of tension and variety - as she demonstrated with some of her original material. But she is a singer in search of a song and a convincing stage personality. On this evidence she has precious little of either.
LIZ HOWARD WITH JON DEREK & COUNTRY FEVER
COUNTRY & WESTERN JAMBOREE - CAISTOR-ON-SEA (1980)
Jon Derek (singer/compere) featured with his band Country Fever on the '2nd International Country & Western Weekend Jamboree' at Ladbrokes Caister Holiday Centre - Great Yarmouth, Norfolk the weekend of March 14-16, 1980. Also appearing were; American singer, Jimmy Lawton, Irish showband, The Cotton Mill Boys, American fiddler supremo, Billy Armstrong and the inspiring, legendary English guitarist, Bert Weedon. Jon Derek and Wally Whyton compered the event.
ESSEX COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL (1980)
Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever' were one of four British acts supporting American stars, Don Everley (The Everly Brothers), Webb Pierce (who charted more No.1's on the Billboard Country Chart in the 1950's than any other artist), The Wiburn Brothers (popular duo 1950's to 1970's) and the lesser know, B.J. Wright. They all appeared at the 'Essex Country Music Festival' staged at the 'Essex Showground' in Chelmsford the weekend of August 16-17, 1980. Compere was Wally Whyton.
THIRD INTERNATIONAL COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever' were featured for the second time in 1980 on 'Showstopper's' International Country Music Weekend held at 'Ladbrokes Caister Holiday Village' - Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Held the weekend of October 10-12, 1980 - the acts this time around carried a lot more pulling power with the likes of American stars, Don Gibson and Carl Perkins on the bill, in addition to Carroll Baker (said to be the First Lady of Canadian Country Music). Once again, with a firm handle on compering duties during this period, the responsibility was left in the very capable hands of BBC Radio 'Country Club' presenter, Wally Whyton.
WALLY WHYTON INTRODUCING JON DEREK
MEAN FIDDLER (1983)
Due to personal family issues, Jon remained, for the most part, closer to his home in Ealing for a period of time in 1983, when he took up MC duties at the newly opened 'Mean Fiddler' venue in Harlesdon, North London. A glitzy night spot with an American style honky-tonk slant to it, music venue mogul and owner 'Vince Power' referred to Jon as Britain's answer to Ernest Tubb when her realised just how long he had been around on the scene for. A firm favourite for visiting cabaret acts and Irish acts such as 'Margo' and 'Rose Marie' to name a few, the Mean Fiddler offered Jon some stability and comfort especially during the winter months when touring can be hazardous.
PATSY MONTANA (1983)
Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever' took part on a 'Country Music Special' featuring American singer, songwriter and actress, Patsy Montana who's signature song 'I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart' was a million-selling single in 1935. The show was held at the 'Carleton Inn', Morecambe - September 30, 1983.
CRESSET COUNTRY - BBC RADIO CAMBRIDGESHIRE (1989)
Having taken part on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's 'Cresset Country' the previous year, Jon Derek and his band 'Country Fever' were invited back, by popular demand, for another appearance at 'The Cresset' in Peterborough on February 23, 1989. A popular 'live' show in front of a theatre audience of 900 people - hosted by radio presenter, Steve Somers and broadcast simultaneously on the BBC airwaves.
BRIGHTON COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL (1989)
WORTHING PAVILION THEATRE
JON DEREK & COUNTRY FEVER
In association with the 'Maltese Country Music Appreciation Society' and, 18 years after Jon scored two No.1 hits in Malta, he returned for a third visit in October 1995 to do a few shows. One of them - promoted as a 'Country Music Bonanza' was staged at the Topaz Hotel's 'Forum Suite' where Jon topped the bill, appearing alongside some of Malta's finest cabaret acts including, 'Manuel'.
TRIBUTE TO THE COUNTRY GREATS (1999)
Throughout Jon's career he's been referred to as the British version of his idol, George Jones. So, when staging a 'Tribute To The Country Greats' who else would you choose as your 'George Jones'? Jon Derek, backed by 'West Virginia' appeared at this event staged at 'The Lakeside Country Club' - Frimley Green, Surrey on September 5, 1999. Promoter, Dave Street wrote in the programme, "A real veteran and one of Britain's most popular and successful country singers who will always be remembered for fronting one of the finest ever home grown bands 'Country Fever' who included in their line-up the man who is acknowledged as one of country music's finest guitarists, Albert Lee. Jon went on to top the bill at most of the festivals and until a couple of years ago, still toured the 'club' and 'festival' circuit. He will be remembered with affection for many things not least for the way he can sing a George Jones song."
GEORGE HAMILTON IV's MEMORIAL CONCERT FOR PETE SAYERS (2005)
Having now retired from 'live' performing, Jon Derek received a telephone call from his friend, George Hamilton IV who asked if he would take part in a memorial concert he was arranging for British country artist, Pete Sayers who passed away in February 2005. Jon, who had worked with Pete on many shows over the years, kindly obliged and was one of a few selected acts (Ann & Ray Brett, Steve Somers and Tom Travis) who featured on a show held at St. Andrew's Church in Isleham, Ely, Cambridgeshire. Journalist and broadcaster, David Allan covered the show for the publication 'Country Music People' - he wrote; "I had high hopes that the recent memorial concert arranged by George Hamilton IV for his friend Pete Sayers would be a memorable evening, but I had no idea how good it would be. None of the artists taking part were - how can I tactfully put this - in their first flush of youth. However, from the very start, it became apparent that they were all in their prime."