buddy holly impersonators and tribute artistes , chris king

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My Chrysler Wrangler 4LT Sport Jeep , my pride and joy while in Spain .

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Buddy Walker, christened "Nick", has been an entertainer since the day he was born .

The youngest of three children, he grew up in Norfolk , England ,
where he lived until 2008 and has many life long friends still living there .

He has four children of his own:
Scott , Richard , Kathryn & Olivia , and now , thanks to Ryan and Kathy ,
he is also a proud Grandad to the lovely Eva-Mae .

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Scott & Belen
Richard & Hanna
Olivia & Carlos
Ryan & Kathy

 

NOT QUITE MY MEMOIRS , BUT HERE COMES A BRIEF INSIGHT INTO MY LIFE SO FAR !

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Buddy Walker , real name Nick Walker , born in Sheringham in North Norfolk ,  
something I am still proud of to this day .

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It was an ideal place to grow up in with sea and pinewoods as my back yard .
In those days of course it was safe to play out all day, and very often we did
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Maybe simple pleasures like riding bikes and playing on the beach and swimming . Yeah , we had gangs too , that was like out of Enid Blyton .
I had one brother, Roger , and because he was 3 and bit years older than me , we usually stuck to our own friends .

My Father, also from North Norfolk , was raised in milling .  Later in his life he was a master baker .
I was born above the bakery in the High Street . Later my parents had a hotel and they worked very hard ,
so my brother and I would play out most of the day .
I also have a sister Shirley and she is a bit older than my brother . She was very often away at school, and later studying music in London .

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The summers were great and always appeared to be long , but the winters seemed to go on forever, and I think it was a lot colder back then .
I can remember huge deep snow drifts which would close roads off completely, now you just maybe get a dusting once a year .
I can remember going to  to bed with warm milk and taking the radio . In those days they had great programmes from London like "Educating Archie" ,
"Life With The Lyons" , "Take It From Here" , and lots of good music programmes .

The other treat was to go to the local cinema and see every cowboy film that came round , no secret I was weened on them , that's all there was .
I loved the silver screen , I used to call it my window to the world and was always fascinated with America . Wow ! Where was this place ?
My mother was musical and sang and played the piano. My dad did also but he was an amatuer magician and vertriloquist .
He was also a member of The Magic Circle .

I started to take an interest in music at an early age . My first recollection was the Salvation Army Band and I love to listen to them to this day .
They would play across the street from where we lived every Sunday at 6pm , and still do . The other thing I grew up with was the local lifeboat .

A friend in the town who was an art student came round one Sunday evening and said " Who's heard of the Blues, I've got some records" .
Well , this was new stuff .
I think my Mother thought the end of the world had arrived !

When I was about eight my dad showed me some chords on his little banjolele , ( bit like a uke , small banjo ) this was my first instrument and
I played it solidly .
One day in the town Roger and I heard "Rock Around The Clock" on a jukebox , that really set us going , but we had to get thru skiffle first .

A year or so later Roger bought an acoustic guitar , which after 3 weeks stayed under the bed . I think he did a deal with my Dad
and before long it was mine !

A little later Elvis burst on the scene , and then one day outside a record shop , I heard the most amazing sound . It was the guitar that got me .
I said to someone in the shop, "Who's that ?" , the reply was , "That'll Be The Day" ,
by Buddy Holly and the Crickets !

My first ever concert was really a variety show and I saw Lonnie Donegan and his skiffle group .
I then got turned on to show business and the stage . I also remember seeing my all time comedy hero , Ken Dodd .

I played trumpet at school and loved it , but I'm afraid my piano lessons had gone out the window .
I was now just crazy about pop music , Rock & Roll and skiffle , and thats all I wanted .
I formed a skiffle group at school , we were called "The Wild Four" .

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In 1960 I had a call from a girlfriend of mine called Caroline .
Anglia TV were putting together a talent show . She was singing with her cousin Anne and they needed beefing up a bit !
So , I joined with my guitar and as a trio we won various heats on TV .

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Over 1000 acts were in this and we got thru to the final which was the TV company's first outside broadcast .
It came from The Britania Pier Gt Yarmouth .  Marty Wilde was special guest star .
Three acts were in the final and we came second by one point .
We had a recording test at Abbey Road - thought I'd arrived !!  Our group were called The Carolans , very pretty , but too mumsy !

After leaving school , I was mixed up . I had passed into an art college , but something musical came along , and halfway thru the term the college
wouldn't let me start , so it was too late .
 
I started work in a tailors shop , but didnt like that . I took a part time job washing up in a restaurant in the evenings , saving for my first trip abroad .
They offered me full time and to train as a chef .
I did it for a while and later left to work in a much bigger kitchen .

I was also singing in one or two Rock & Roll bands at the time and I was nearing the end of my eighteenth year and wanted to do music full time .
Not long after I was  offered my first pro job singing and playing guitar .

My first pro job was playing at the Norwood Rooms in Norwich for the Chic Applin Band ,  covering all dance music and some light pops of the day .

chic applin band

The venue belonged to Mecca dancing . It was a very up market affair with mostly banquets and dinner dances and we were working six nights a week .
I loved it , although I was a bit of a rocker and had to be restrained somewhat .

I did a summer season in Gt Yarmouth , but didn't return to the Norwood .

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I think they wanted a bit more
Frank Sinatra , but Chic did me right and got me an audition with Mecca's top young band ,
a new concept with 4 boys and 2 girls .

I passed the audition and joined The Nocturnes , resident at Tiffanys , Oxford Road , Machester .
Wow , what a beautiful venue ! Now playing both guitar and bass guitar, I concentrated on bass guitar and vocals . As I joined the band they had a great single out, Frankie Lymons  "Why Do Fools Fall In Love".
I spent the next 3-4 years with this band , recording 7 more singles , and 2 studio albums , recorded at
Abbey Road studios in London , plus one live album recorded in Tiffanys .

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The Nocturnes 1st Studio Album recorded at
Abbey Road Studios
The Noctures "Live" Album recorded live at
Tiffany's Manchester


We made an appearance on Granada TV, and live on BBC TV , and The Simon Dee show from BBC's Dickinson Road Studios .
We also made lots of music for supermarkets etc and in those days BBC radio had to have so much music recorded in their studios by live musicians
and groups , we did loads at the old studios in Hume .

Our band was moved to London to take up residency at the then Streatham Locarno London . At weekends we played upstairs in the Stalk Club . 
Also , one night a week , we did a relief night at Tiffanys in Shaftesbury Avenue W1 .

More BBC radio at Aolian Hall in Bond Street , a bit more at Abbey Road and the group started to split.
We lost one girl , Sandra , to "Brotherhood of Man" and the other two , Eve Graham and Lyn Paul , to
"The New Seekers".

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I went back up North for a while , and then took a job back in Norwich with the Allan Dennis Trio , at the superb Sampson and Hercules ballroom .
We did four nights in the Winter plus Sundays at one of the many American Air Force bases in East Anglia , and 6/7 nights in the Summer in holiday camps.
We played a Summer season at the Tower Ballroom in Gt Yarmouth , and after that I was off to London again to join a band called "Northern Lights".
More BBC and three of the band were heavily into session work and dragged me along too .

After nearly two years , I was back in Norwich at the Sampson and Hercules , this time very proudly under contract to Mecca Dancing to have my own band - "The Nicky Walker Arrangement" .

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This was a very happy time in my life , I had a good band , a good drummer, and the keyboard player had the first Korg synthesizer in Norwich .
We were flying !

I heard Mecca had plans for a disco and to do away with live music . The club thing was upon us !
I decided to leave and do something different . I did , I went to visit my brother in Australia .

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I stayed with my brother and his family in Perth for a few weeks and then hitched across the country doing odd jobs , fruit picking and allsorts .
Adelaide , Melbourne , Canberra , Sydney and up to Brisbane Queensland . I had such a good time in Brisbane .

I returned to Norwich and got a job driving a small truck . Chic Applin who by now was a successful local agent offered me a job as
guitarist/singer in a large holiday park .
When the Summer finished I rejoined the Allan Dennis Band , this time at the Norwood Rooms , the venue for my first pro job .

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It was a good band and we did a lot of Abba as it was so popular, and another Summer season . On returning to the Norwood for the winter,
there was a rumour it was going to become a bingo hall - it did !

At that time Norwich had a thriving pub scene and a friend of mine said , "You ought to go solo !" .

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So , with my new PA and an Ovation guitar , I did !

I used to play 5/6 nights a week and all kinds of music .  It seemed strange performing on my own after being in bands for so long .
After a while I was also doing cabaret shows and my pub nights as well .
I got involved with entertainment and holidays abroad , to Spain , Tenerife , Yugoslavia , and Majorca . 
That was good fun !

The same people ran shows like variety shows and I toured West Germany with them , all for the British military bases in mainly the
Hanover and Dortmund areas .

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On three occassions we performed in Berlin , what an exiting place .

After a while , lots of new equipment was coming on to the marketplace and I bought myself some new PA and added a Roland keyboard and
Roland guitar synth . I now got a much bigger sound and I loved it !
I also started my own entertainment agency, booking clubs and holiday parks , which was to grow , and I found myself working 24/7.

I obviously knew lots of people , and one day , whilst having a chat on the phone with leading Cliff Richard tribute act Jimmy Jemain , he said ,
"You should get into this ! " .
I thought the only person I looked like was me !

Somebody I had become good mates with from tours in Germany was a great young singer/comedian from Wales called Mike Doyle .
One day in early 1994 Mike phoned and said "Mate they've put me in "Buddy" at the Victoria Palace ,
I'm playing the "Big Bopper" . You like Buddy Holly , you'll love this . I'll leave you a couple of tickets at the box office" .

Well I loved the show and Mike was superb .
Later that week I was sitting at home still thinking about the Buddy show when I suddenly thought -
"Could I do a one man show about Buddy Holly ?"
From then , all I could think about was getting this show together . I bought my first old mic , then a Fender 50's reissue Stratocaster,
and a Peavey amp in tweed to look like an old Fender .

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I went back to see the show again in London .
I had a stroke of luck one day on the phone to the sound designer of the London show and he said he could let me have some trax from the show .
He had them remastered and sent to me . I practised all the guitar parts and the songs endlessly for a year , and had nothing but Buddy songs in my car , again all year !

I had a small run of Buddy shows in a holiday park just to row it in , but , in 1995 I first took the show on the road . I must admit I was learning as I went,
but I think my overall enthusiasm showed thru and won the day .
So that was 22 years ago !
I am of course still doing the Buddy show and love it more than ever. I have had more luck by being someone else .
It's ever since I put on those glasses !!

A few years ago I started to faze out the original show . It became harder to sell and I just found the way I work it now is so much better .
It used to take me 2 hours to set the show with bolt - together scenery , neon sign , various lighting , and all the sound was set up behind the scenery .
With 3 costume changes and running 90 minutes it became a bit big . So , I concentrate on my newer , more compact show now - one costume and a
60 minute show, it does work so much better I think .

Having seen the London show so many more times , I was even becoming more of a fan thru my own show .

In 1998 I met up with some British Buddy Holly Society members , who suggested I might like to join them on a trip to Clearlake , Iowa for the
40th Anniversary of Buddy Holly , in the venue Buddy last played in , The Surf Ballroom .
Along with my very good friend , Mike Delf , I have now been 6 times , and also visited Lubbock Texas ,
Buddy's hometown.

My show has now played all over England and Wales , and Ive been to Scotland , plus my favorite - Belfast and Northern Ireland .
I've
performed in many countries , both as Nicky Walker and more recently as Buddy Walker .

In the year 2000 I was invited by the BBC to take part in a documentary called "Rock Shrines".
Some of the filming took place at the crash site where Buddy Holly , The Big Bopper & Ritchie Valens
perished back in 1959 .

In June last year, I went to play in Dubai , what an experience !
Did a little TV there as well . Must have passed the audution because I flew back to Dubai to play the same 5 star hotel in November !
18 years ago I had a call from Chris King , an agent on the Costa del Sol in Spain , and from then I have
been over there to work many times . It is somewhere I have come to love very much and because of that I have decided to move over there permanently !

So , watch out for any updates and info on " Rockin' On The Costa " .

Out of all the venues I ever performed in , the highlight has to be performing onstage in
the legendary Surf Ballroom , Clearlake , Iowa . The venue Buddy Holly last played .

international entertainments agents on the costa del sol

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