Since the obscure beginnings of Carlos Gonzaga (‘RCA Victor’) who covered charted songs by Elvis Presley, Paul Anka or Neil Sedaka back in the late 50’s it took about three decades to Portugal to get established on the European Rock’ n’ Roll scene with names like The Tennessee Boys, Ruby Ann, The Mean Devils, 49 Special, the texabilly rockets, the dixie boys, the hot rods, Carl & the Rhythm All Stars and many others.
After several lonely years in Figueira da Foz on the west coast. Actually he grew up in Angola (1961) long before the independence and only heard fado and Bossa Nova when he was a kid. Later his family moved to Nogent sur Marne (Paris outskirts) and through his older brother discovered Gene Vincent and all the great minor pioneers like Joe Clay. His first historical appearance was at Paris’ famous late ‘Golf Drouot’ club circa 1978. Leader of bands such as The Winkle Pickers and The Hooligans, he cut his first collector E. P. on the legendary ‘Savas-Iguane’ label by 1983 including his own Rock’n’Roll school’.
Helped by Jean ‘Charles’ Smaine (an ex-Vince Taylor manager and famous in the country/Rock magazine field) he soon gained international responses from Switzerland, Benelux, Germany, Scandinavia and even UK’s ‘Now dig this’. Guest on various FM stations sometimes with late Country fellow Tex Bernie and had live appearances backed by the Hornets then the Alley Cats: the ‘Bataclan’ in Paris (March 27, 1990 with Tony Marlow’s Blue Five (Rockin’Rebels, Betty and The Bops) and Jerry Dixie (another early ‘Savas’ act); a german date by… swiss Paul Bulkhalter’s ‘Crazy Beat’ club (June 16 on the same year) along with King Pleasure and his biscuit boys ; and opening to Malcolm Yelvington in La Ferte MacéE, France and a final one in Spain ( 1991 ).
After a few other recordings in Paris, Nelson settled down in Portugal (summer 1992) where he founded a family and started a job at the casino of Figueira da Foz…
By April 1996 Jean ‘Charles’ Smaine saw Carlos Diaz’s demo review of ‘I’m ready’ (Cochran Brothers) in ‘Rock therapy’ magazine of Barcelona he contributed to at that time. From that period Nelson made part of manier ‘Endemol group’s new talent shows on TV’s.
With covers of songs by Hank Williams and Billy Fury among others. He also succeeded In getting full page features in weekly publications and of course Figueira da Foz’s daily paper.
With still manier a difficulty to pick up good musicians, he decided to produce his own ‘Everybody’s rockin’ with Nelson Carrera’ CD album at the turn of the century backed with solid guys : Jacques Brunisholz (drums); Raphael Decaix (lead guitar); Francis Gomez (upright bass) and ‘Red Dennis (DRUMS)’ .
The first renaissance show took place In Colmar, France on June 19, 2004 where he was headliner with The Hot Rocks (Alex Mazzoleni / lead guitar ; Francis Gomez / UPRIGHT BASS and RED Denis / DRUMS ) produced by Sandy Alberteau’s ‘After dark’. On the event both a live CD and DVD were released but not officially on sale! Then came a second album this time distributed by fellow Ricky Norton on his ‘Chupeta’ label including their ‘Something to remember’ duet and a cover of ‘Bad but pretty’ (originally cut on ‘Savas’). Radio play lists came from all over France along with new positive press reviews both on Rockin’ and Country mags (special mentions to the national weekender paper ‘VSD’ largely sold in shops).
Another song (Dale Hawkins’Little pig’) was released on ‘Chupeta’ compilation album with Burt Blanca, Ervin Travis , Betty and Bops…More TV appearances on Claudia Colonna’s ‘La panthère sort ses griffes’ (‘La Locale’ TV seen in the whole Paris area + on the web) and Portugal again… Other major appearances came: France with Villeréal (southwest) and co-star Ervin Travis (June 11, 2006) gironville Country-Rock fest (same area) (August 27, 2005) while another Portuguese TV sow on RTP 1 was broadcasted to Africa!
2006 was quite another good year to Nelson: with both minor dates (‘Ar d’rato’ in Coimbra for example) and major events (first Portuguese Rockabilly festival in Porto; called Great shakin’ fever’; ‘Portugaloha’ fest on August 16-19 with Be.Bops, Charlie Thompson; Eddie Clendening; Clipjoint Cutups; Carl and The Rhythm All Star; Ruby Ann in Lisboa. Previously called nelson and The Hi Rockin’ Trio, the Portuguese line up today is called The Bayou Ramblers : Pedro serra lead guitar (‘Portuguese Pedro Radio Show’) JOAO Baptista (bass guitar) Luis Pedro Madeira (banjo, accordion) and Big Arl(drums) Nelson backed with The Hot Rocks appearing at the ROCABILLY FESTIVAL promoted by ‘Blue Monday’ in Pont d’Ain (close to Lyon,France) with Marvin Rainwater Starliters and Collins Kids.
Nelson ended the year with more great features in France’s ‘Big Bear’ and Finland/UK’s ‘Southern and rocking’ magazines plus an unwaited distribution interest by Nic Nilsson (aka Fireball Steven) on his ‘Fireball records --
JEAN "CHARLES" SMAINE