Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers Profile

Glen Moffatt
16 Feb 2016

Canterbury’s Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers brought the Nashville sound to New Zealand in 1968 with an album on the HMV label.

Their brand of country was a long way from traditional country and western – Val once told an Auckland newspaper she didn’t emphasise the ten-gallon hat and yodelling and that she believed country music had moved on to a new sophistication where it was more modern and electrified.

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The original Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers reunited in 1994. Left to right: John Cooke, Val, Jim Lange.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers reunited in 1994. Left to right: John Cooke, Dave Johnston, Val, Jim Lange.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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On the way to Duvauchelle Bay. Clockwise from top left: Malcolm Marshall, John Cooke, Dusty Spittle, Glen, Dave Johnston, Val Elliott, Les Thompson, Val’s mother and Brian Cross.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers. Left to right: Dave Johnston, Val, Jim Lange, John Cooke.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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A Val Elliott-organised fundraising concert in Auckland in 1970
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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A Dixie Twirlers square dance function. Left to right: John Cooke, Mike Saville, Val Elliott and John Hunter.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers performing at the Caroline Bay Sound Shell in the late 1960s
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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John Cooke and Val Elliot aka Vee-Jay
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Rhythm Ramblers guitarist John Cooke with some of his record collection
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Dave Johnston and Val Elliott setting up for a concert in Ashburton
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers outside the HMV Studios in Wellington. Left to right: John Cooke, Jim Lange, Val, pianist Garth Young, engineer Frank Douglas, bass player Slim Dorwood, drummer Leo George.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott singing with The Caroline Ramblers at The Rendezvous in Christchurch. Left to right: Malcolm Marshall, Val, Jim Morrison.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers. Clockwise from left: John Cooke, Val, Dave Johnston, Jim Lange.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott in square dance mode in Tauranga, 1994
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott singing at The Rendezvous in Christchurch
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers reunited at the Old Time Country Music Awards, Christchurch, 1994. Left to right: Malcolm Lilley, Val, Dave Johnston, Richie Harrison, John Cooke, Jim Lange.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers. Left to right: Jim Lange, Val, John Cooke.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott starting out in 1964
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott performing with The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. Left to right: Colleen Bain, Dave Calder, Paul Trenwith, Alan Rhodes, Val.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers late 1960s promotional card. Left to right: Jim Lange, Val, John Cooke.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Howard Gable’s letter to Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers regarding the progress of their Country Sounds LP
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott singing with The Caroline Ramblers at The Rendezvous in Christchurch, with Malcolm Lilley behind
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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At the presentation for Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers’ Country Sounds LP at the Rangiora Town Hall, 1968
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers performing at the Caroline Bay Sound Shell in the late 1960s
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Howard Gable’s record pressing schedule for Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers’ Country Sounds LP
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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The Caroline Ramblers’ Big 66 Country and Western Show featuring Val Elliott, “Canterbury’s answer to Maria Dallas”, and her Rhythm Ramblers
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott and John Cooke with John Sommers, writer of John Denver’s hit ‘Thank God I’m A Country Boy’
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott and Jim Lange in concert
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott and John Cooke jamming at home with John Sommers, writer of John Denver’s hit ‘Thank God I’m A Country Boy’
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott with American square dance caller Otto Degner from New Mexico
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott calling at a square dance for their Dixie Twirlers club
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott on the NZBC show The Country Touch
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers reunited at the Old Time Country Music Awards, Christchurch, 1994. Left to right: Dave Johnston, Val, Jim Lange, Malcolm Lilley (rear), John Cooke, Richie Harrison.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott being presented with the first pressing of Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers’ Country Sounds LP at the Rangiora Town Hall, 1968. Left to right: businessman Norm Gibson, radio personality Warwick Burke, Val, HMV employee Sally Alexander and an HMV executive.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers performing at the Caroline Bay Sound Shell in the late 1960s
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott and John Cooke in concert
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott and Jim Lange in 1994
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott and John Cooke on stage at their square dance club The Dixie Twirlers, 1992
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers' 1968 album Country Sounds
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On the way to Duvauchelle Bay. Clockwise from top left: Dave Johnston, John Cooke, Malcolm Marshall, Val Elliott, Dusty Spittle.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers. Left to right: Jim Lange, Val, John Cooke.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers reunited at the Old Time Country Music Awards, Christchurch, 1994. Left to right: Dave Johnston, Richie Harrison, Val, John Cooke, Jim Lange.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott, circa 2000
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Back of a Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers late 1960s promotional card
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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At the presentation for Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers’ Country Sounds LP at the Rangiora Town Hall, 1968
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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A late 1960s country show in Christchurch with Val Elliott dubbed as “the South Island’s Maria Dallas”.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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A welcome back concert at the Riccarton Club, 2000, with a band that included John ‘Red’ McKelvie
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Val Elliott & The Rhythm Ramblers. Clockwise from left: Dave Johnston, Val, John Cooke, Jim Lange.
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Brendan Dugan and Val Elliott at Rangiora in the late 1960s
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
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Labels:

HMV

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Members:

Val Elliott - vocals, guitar, piano

John Cooke - vocals, guitar

Jim Lange - steel guitar

Dave Johnston - guitar