Friends and family pay tribute to Rockin Dave - the 'Elvis of Penarth'
TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular local rock and roll singer, regarded as 'the Elvis Presley of Penarth’, who has died at the age of 51.
Dave Cotton, better known as ‘Rockin’ Dave’, died after suffering a suspected heart attack whilst driving on Westbourne Road on June 5.
The 51-year-old, who lived in Barry, was the lead vocalist of the band Reservoir Cats for more than 14 years.
A humanist funeral was held for him at the Cardiff and Vale Memorial Park and Crematorium on Tuesday (June 19), and friends and former band members met at the Clive Arms on John Street, Penarth, where Dave regularly played and drank, beforehand.
A 6ft flower tribute in the shape of a double bass was made in his honour by friend Huw Clifton.
Roadie for the Reservoir Cats and close friend of Dave’s for more than 20 years, Mike King, said: "He was mind blowing - he was the Elvis Presley of Penarth.
"I’ll always remember his sense of humour. He never stopped laughing and was the life and soul of the party."
"He also had a passion for motorbikes and had a Yamaha 1600 himself. He also loved the big-engine American cars.
"He had a heart of gold and would give you anything, even the shirt off his back," added Mike.
“He will be dearly missed.”
Around 500 people attended the funeral, led by former AM, humanist celebrant Lorraine Barrett, and then the wake at the Park Hotel in Barry.
Speaking at the wake, his partner of 25 years, Val, called him a 'larger-than-life' character.
"Today is not a wake, it's a celebration of what a fantastic man he was," she said.
"I would like to thank everyone for their kind donations and for all of their support in these difficult times."
The funeral service was preceded by a cortege of 40 motor bikes, led by Dave’s own bike, ridden by friend Jonny Cash.
"He loved his bikes," added Val.
'Rockin’ Dave' performed in many bands, including the Rockin’ Rhythmaires, Drinkin and Jivin, Red Hot Roosters and Reservoir Cats.
But he had just launched his solo career, and performed at the Clive Arms at a jubilee bank holiday event on Monday, June 4, the day before he died.
The hour-long funeral included a live music session from Dave’s friends and former band members, Bob Lane on guitar, Shaun Ryan and Mike Bubbins on vocals, and Tim Griffiths on slap bass, who played three Elvis songs Peace in the Valley, Love me Tender and Mystery Train.
"It must have been very difficult for them to perform but it was awesome," said Val.
Dave, originally from Manchester and a life-long Manchester United fan, moved to Barry in 1987 to work at Ranks Mill. He went on to join the Reservoir Cats and performed many gigs in both Barry and Penarth.
Close friend Jeffrey Meredith, from Barry, said: "He was an excellent bass player and everyone admired him for his singing. On a Sunday we used to go down to the Clive in Penarth, put some rock and roll on the jukebox, and have a good time. We used to call it Sunday Club."
Penarth rock and roll agent Paul Barrett, who knew Dave since the early 70s, also paid tribute to him during the ceremony.
"Dave was one of the best half dozen singers I’ve heard in over 50 years on the scene,” he said.
"He was a hugely likeable and talented man, a loyal friend and a good companion. I’ll miss him and am proud to have known him."