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People will pretend they’re teenagers again, says Little Pattie

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“I promise you, they’ll all go away with a big smile on their face and they’ll have pretended they were teenagers again, like we do.”

That’s the vow from Australian music icon Little Pattie ahead of The Good Old Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which will take the stage at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre (PACC) on Sunday 24 March from 2pm.

The effervescent performer is touring with legendary hit-makers Digger Revell, Jade Hurley OAM, Dinah Lee and Lucky Starr for the first time in six decades.

And, it’s bringing back the memories not just for the stars of the show, but audiences throughout the nation, too.

“It is fantastic being together,” she said.

“I have to say it’s very much like a family… we all like each other and care about each other, which is pretty special.

“We’ll do two or three shows in a row and then we might not see each other for another month.

“But, when we do, it’s terrific.

“There’s great excitement hitting backstage and the dressing rooms and catching on up on the news.

“Honestly, it’s wonderful.

“I think the only non-buzz is travelling by planes these days.

“However, everyone moans and groans about the frequent difficulties in flying… you don’t know whether it’s going to get there on time, whether it leaves on time or it’s cancelled altogether,” she added with a laugh.

“So, we’ve learnt to allow ourselves an extra 24 hours just in case.

“The best fun is when we’re in the ‘people movers’, a minibus, when we talk most of the way or reminisce.

“We all have great stories – and funny ones.

“Also, we torment each other with humorous tales.

“We genuinely care about each other and worry about each other because none of us are spring chickens anymore, however we’re still in pretty good nick, touch wood.”

Every member of The Good Old Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll team is a certified legend.

Revell has performed with some of the greats, including Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell and Johnny O’Keefe.

Lee boasted international No. 1 hits such as Don’t You Know Yockomo, Reet Petite and Do the Blue Beat and is acknowledged as New Zealand’s greatest musical import to Australia.

Hurley, dubbed by O’Keefe as Australia’s King of Country Rock, is the nation’s very “piano man”.

Each record he’s released achieved Gold, Platinum or Double Platinum in both Australia and New Zealand.

Starr is an Australian pioneer rock and roll, pop and country music singer, guitarist and television presenter.

His most popular single, I’ve Been Everywhere, appeared in early 1962 and peaked at No. 1.

He was inducted into the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.

As for Little Pattie, she stormed onto the charts, as a 14-year-old schoolgirl, with He’s My Blonde Headed, Stompie Wompie, Real Gone Surfer Boy/Stompin.

It was released in November 1963 and reached No. 2 in Australia.

Further hits included We’re Gonna Have a Party Tonight (#18 in March 1965), Pushin’ a Good Thing Too Far (#28 in March 1965) and Dance Puppet Dance (#9 in October 1965).

And, as a longstanding member of the Bandstand family, she established herself as a prominent force in the Australian music industry.

Little Pattie won plenty of accolades, too, including Best Female Singer, Most Popular Female Personality, TV Logie for Most Popular Teenage Personality, ARIA Hall of Fame and the award for being one of Australia’s Most Loved Faces of the 20th Century.

Recently, she received the MO Lifetime Achievement Award and the Australian Women in Music Lifetime Achievement Award.

And, she shows no sign of slowing down either.

“It honestly doesn’t stop for me,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“People ask ‘how come you’re still performing?’

“But, I just take it all in my stride… and often feel genuinely grateful that I can do what I do.

“In fact, I’m really blessed to have had, and continue to have, a career that’s successful.

“It’s pretty wonderful really.

“Not only successful but enduring as well because a lot of artists don’t have that longevity.

“Those who started in the 1960s, like myself, are fortunate that we had several lasting TV programs, such as Bandstand and Countdown, which continued into the 1980s.

“Then there were all those tonight shows, which had great production.

“They treated performance with respect and, during that period, we saw the advent of daytime variety like Mike Walsh for example.

“There were places we could appear on television… and we were fortunate.

“Could you name one [show] now?

Little Pattie with Young Talent Time’s Johnny Young.

“Sadly, I think we’ve been decultured, to be quite honest.

“Every other Western country that I know of has a pretty healthy pop culture, however we’re sort of left behind here.

“Back then, you also enjoyed considerable amounts of supportive radio stations who were proud to play your songs.

“We had a quota system as well.

“But, we enjoyed community support, too, which was terrific.

“It went hand-in-hand with the media, television and radio; we just don’t have that anymore.

“Today, it’s a totally different situation.

“Record companies don’t sign up artists like they used to, so the individuals or groups go independent.

“That costs a fortune.

“It’s not a win-win game anymore, so I consider how lucky I was.

“We learned on the job… we were thrown in at the deep end.

“I was 14 for Heaven’s sake, I just had to learn as I went along and kept going.”

Little Pattie admitted she was eagerly-anticipating performing at PACC in the heart of the Hunter Valley.

“I hear it’s a beautiful venue,” she said.

“It sounds like it’s got atmosphere and an intimacy about it – they’re cleverly designed those kind of performance spaces.

“The better the venue, the better we perform.

“We’ve appeared at some gorgeous theatres and council-driven performance spaces.

“However, many of the big ones don’t have the atmosphere that the smaller ones have.

“I’m particularly looking forward to Cessnock because my husband and I had a little property at a place called Quorrobolong for about a decade.

“It was great, we had some Murray Grey cattle and a kelpie.

“I’ve been back to the Hunter in recent years, I’ve sort of rediscovered it again.

“It’s really picturesque these days.”

To book tickets for The Good Old Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll, phone 4993 4266.

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