Summer may be almost at an end and John Peel would have been 73 years old today, so let's keep both spirits alive with this summer pop shoulda bin hit from 1986.
Written by Ted Chippington, this would be The 'Gales final stab at attaining that elusive Top 40 placement before Rob Lloyd threatened in a Radio 1 interview with Janice Long that he would jack it all in to become a greengrocer. (Coincidentally, it's John Nester who now runs a fruit 'n veg market stall). The single had financial and distributional backing from WEA, who'd signed the fledgling Fuzzboxes on the strength of their debut Vindaloo ep. Copies of the single came with a triangular sticker of the type that holidaymakers were prone to placing on the inside of the rear windscreen of their cars to display to the world how widely travelled they thought they were.
If not reaching a commercial peak, the band were certainly at a publicity peak - video shoots for the single in Blackpool, miming to the track on childrens music tv show Razzmatazz, and an amusing appearance on Central News that saw the band advocating Balsall Heath as a tourist attraction - even going as far as producing special Balsall Heath sticks of rock! Suffice to say, the only daytrippers likely to boost certain sectors of the town's economy would be after dark visitors seeking the fun and attractions of the infamous red light district.
The commercial failure of the single sadly spelled the end of Vindaloo. Ted went off to try his luck in the USA, Fuzzbox braced themselves for fame and fortune after recording their debut album with Lloyd in the producers chair (Bostin' Steve Austin would be released before the year was out), while The Nightingales went on an 18 year hiatus.
Rockin' With Rita, along with bside Let's Surf, were later reissued on the compilation album A Baker's Dozen, the latter reappearing as a bonus track on the 2005 Caroline True cd reissue of In The Good Old Country Way. The former was excluded not only from that package but also Ted Chippington's 4cd box set Walking Down The Road.