Selecting the entertainment for the REBA event has been more of a pleasure than a chore. And when it came to choosing a band with the right mix of style and musicianship to reflect the theme of ‘excellence’, the Pink Cadillacs Rock And Roll Band immediately sprang to mind. The band has been in the Algarve, in one form or another, for 15 years, but the road to success has not been a straight one!
Drummer Hughie Rowe formed the Pink Cadillacs in Cornwall in 1991 with his wife Lois, who went on to become the manageress. That year, the couple decided to move to Portimão, bringing all the equipment and band members in a van.
Hughie and his band performed various gigs around the Algarve, including a series of roadshows on various Algarve beaches for the now-defunct Radio Atlantico Sul in Lagos. However, the band was not very stable and soon split.
By this time, another of the bands that had played at the roadshows, COD, had also split, so when Hughie ran into Colin Burgess, COD’s ex-bass player, he persuaded him to re-form the Cadillacs.
Initially, Robert Harris, a Welshman who had toured with the Oh Boy Show, joined Hughie, Colin and another singer. But within a few months Chip Howlett, an associate of Colin, replaced the singer and a stable and professional band was formed that lasted for several years and became the best known band on the Algarve.å
All went well, until, on his 50th birthday, Robert quit, leaving the Pink Cadillacswithout a lead guitar. After several unsuccessful attempts to replace him, Colin moved onto lead guitar, and a series of different musicians filled the bass-player’s chair.
The band continued successfully until 1997, when it split again. Two years later, Hughie and Lois contacted Colin with a view to reforming; so several replacement singers were auditioned to replace Chip, who had returned to the UK. One excellent replacement was found, and rehearsals began for a re-launch. Sadly, Hughie was taken seriously ill during this time and died a week later, so the project was abandoned until earlier this year, when Colin met Paul Philippart, a Dutch illusionist who works internationally, and persuaded him to take up bass and reform the Cadillacs. After considering several drummers, Win Fisher was recruited, and Colin says that he now feels that this, the fourth incarnation of the Pink Cadillacs, is the best yet.
The line-up is now Paul Philippart, bass and lead vocals, Colin Burgess, lead guitar, sax, harmonica, keyboards and lead vocal, and Win Fisher, drums and backing vocal. The repertoire is pure 1950s rock and roll, which actually covers a period from 1955 to 1964. The accent is on entertainment and good, fun, danceable music. The band have already ‘warmed up’ with a few private parties, and the public re-launch will be at Mariner’s bar & restaurant in Portimão on July 2. Colin is delighted to be playing at the REBA awards and told us: “We can’t wait!”
For moreinformation on the band, read Rocking in Pink by Lois Rowe ISBN 1-902651-50-2