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April 8, 2021

Intriguing Vintage Photos of French Rockabilly Gangs in 1982

Beginning in the 1970s, rockabilly—a look and culture spawned in 1950s Tennessee—experienced a revival, first in California, then in the UK, and from there spread elsewhere. In 1982 Normandy, Gil Rigoulet trailed a group of bandmates and friends, adherents of the rockabilly subculture, watching and photographing them in an intimate yet documentary style. Here he described his experience:
 


“A couple of six-packs of “Kro” sit on the boot of the blue Chambord with a white roof, Saturday afternoon in a dead end street of St Michel. Detached houses from the Fifties stand all around us, the car’s backlight needs to be changed, the pompadours look sharp, we are discussing the rusty patches, the Ranch where the gang is to meet that evening; a young girl with a headscarf dating from another era sits next to us, two Arondes pull in, the afternoon is slipping away, from the Chambord’s tape player tunes from Crazy Cavan & The Rhythm Rockers fill the air, the six-packs are gone, not a “Kro” left, the V8 of the Simca Versailles is purring like an American one, we all cram into the cars about to roar off, my Nikon F burns the Tri X…

“For the next three months, I will follow Marco, Raynald, Michel, Eric, Boumé, Lionel, Titi, Denis, Alan, Jimmy, Laurent, Bouboule and the others, in their bedroom, with their parents, at the Tuffier hair saloon, at work, at King Bee’s record vendor, on the parking lot where they fix their Arondes, the Chambord … at the Liberty bar, during the dancing parties at the Jularedo Ranch; the gang where pals are more important than a gal.”

Gil Rigoulet’s portraits and street photographs of the scene was compiled into his book Rockabilly 82. Take a brief look through 33 intriguing pictures:
 




































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