An Eddie Cochran LP changed Darrel Higham's life. The British guitarist/singer, who wasn't even born when Cochran last toured England, entered his teens during the 1970s, just as punk was starting to attract a lot of teenagers -- but it was Cochran's lean, virtuoso-level playing and the most frantic beat of his best songs, on an old album that Higham found in his parents' collection, that became his inspiration. He spent the next few years learning all he could from watching other guitar players in action and also listening to lots of records that were getting reissued in England, by the likes of Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore as part of Elvis Presley's band, and Cliff Gallup in Gene Vincent's Blue Caps. Higham also became a devotee of the growing number of revival performers, especially the Stray Cats and Shakin' Stevens. At 17, he was playing lead guitar with such bands as the Baskervilles and Offbeats, and he eventually landed the most unlikely of breakthrough gigs, portraying Eddie Cochran in the London stage musical Elvis. Higham's fluent command of '50s rock & roll elicited admiration from the likes of Jeff Beck and Chrissie Hynde, and he also played upright bass with rockabilly legends Merril E. Moore ("The House of Blue Lights") and Terry Noland. In 1991, he formed Bob & the Bearcats with lead singer Bob Burfoy, and recorded a well-received album-length CD, Hold on Tight. In 1992, Higham received one of the highest personal honors of his career when he sang and played six months' worth of gigs in America with Eddie Cochran's band the Kelly Four. In the years since, with his own band the Enforcers, Higham has been one of the top young rockabilly enthusiasts of the 1990s and beyond.
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