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Beach Buzz July 14

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Beach Bits: The heat is on, summertime is here for sure!!  Swing It is hot! The tune that originated in Southern Soul from Lomax Spaulding has steadily moved up the Beach music charts in the last couple of months. It first appeared on our Southern Soul Corner  Top 45 in January 2013. Two additional Lomax tracks from his Life's Lessons album that have also charted there are Baby It's Over and Let Me Work It................nice to see Grayson Hugh's Goodbye Train hit #1 on 94.9 The Surf's chart. It was at  #8 here on Beachmusic45 for June and was on the move upward..............Can't Stop Loving You from the Fantastic Shakers is doing really well. Doug Winstead's voice is a perfect fit for this rare Robert John written tune.....another smokin' tune right now is Show Me The Way To Go from the Carolina Breakers.......

 

Anyone playing Beach music on the radio that is not using Jimbo Durham's Bouncin' Back in their rotation is missing the boat. This is one of the best songs of the year – produced by Bobby Simmons, it features Rickey Godfrey on keyboards, guitar and background vocals, Frank Wilkie on bass, Craig Sorrells on trumpet, Tony Kennedy on sax and Jimbo singing and playing drums. Does that lineup remind you of any former Beach band?........I have not heard a huge amount of noise about them, but somewhat quietly the Summerdaze Band has both Something Fried and Somebody Thow'd Back Luck On Me rockin' the charts!............. Phil Wilson, formerly of the Fabulous Daddy 'O's, Castaways and winner (with Jackie Gore) of 2012's Song Collaboration of the Year, is enjoying recent success with his rendition of Sunday Morning Woman.........as predicted, Lesa Hudson's Shame On You is getting heavy airplay and moving up the radio charts. Lesa's trademark has become commanding vocals with outstanding studio production...............Andre Lee continues his magic lock on the DJ's with both Back In The Day Cafe and Stepping With You holding steady June slots on the Smokin' Top 45...........

 

Several Recent Band Happenings – by this time now, everyone is aware that Sea Cruz is finishing up an amazing twelve year run as one of the most entertaining groups in Beach music. They will certainly be missed by all.............Pat Cashion is a recent addition to the Lakeside Drive Band, replacing one of the founding members, Al Eble. Pat will provide lead guitar, share lead vocal duties and also contribute to song  compositions …........Veteran vocalist and guitarist Pat Carpenter is the newest member of the Carolina Breakers, who have a full July schedule that includes Mount Airy NC, Raleigh, Charleston and North Myrtle Beach...........John G. Franklin, an accomplished musician who was with the Breeze Band for many years, has recently joined the Fantastic Shakers. .............. The Ronnie Hopkins Band out of Columbia, SC was playing their first gig at Ducks this past week. Ronnie, who also does solos, duets and Men of Distinction band performances, has more that thirty years experience as a music professional.....

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New Music:  Didn't I say the summertime heat is on?  Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot's  new six song Playin' With Fire EP has just been released featuring Hold On, Sexy Soul and I'm Movin' On.......The Entertainers forthcoming CD will be titled Summer Love. Advance track Maybe We Can Still be Friends was released a few weeks back an is already charting............I Just Want To Satisfy, rapidly climbing the charts, is the advance track from Steve Owens & Summertime, whose Second Time Around album will be released very soon.  Also in various stages of completion: new albums from the Castaways, Rhonda McDaniel, Band of Oz and Tommy Black. Look for a new KHP compilation later on this year with  tunes from Roy Hamilton, Gary Brown, Mark Black, Terri Gore & Tim Cashion plus several artists we have not heard from in a while.......

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                                             Atlantic Groove                      

   One of the hottest up and coming acts in the business right now is the band known as Atlantic Groove.  Based in Salisbury NC, the group came together when three original members of Hip Pocket left that band in 2010. Brian Hatley, Rob Robinson and Phil Lowder created the nucleus for an exciting new music venture. Brian manages a large share of the lead vocal duties as well as playing a mean trombone. Rob handles the keyboards and provides vocals, Phil plays trumpet and sings as well. Newer members of the band include Todd Wright on bass and Chris Hartis on drums. The band has two of the best technical guys in the business as members – Preston Honeycutt, longtime sound engineer for the Fantastic Shakers, came over to Atlantic Groove late last year to provide lead guitar and Ken Holland, sound engineer and road manager for Jim Quick & Coastline for many years, is now running the board. All of the band members have vocal skills and different members may be singing in live shows at any point in time.

Atlantic Groove has to date enjoyed hit singles with I Got To Change, which was included on KHP's You Bug Me Baby compilation and I'm Crazy About That Woman In Red which was featured on KHP's 2012 Stepping Out Tonight compilation. Their latest release entitled I Really Didn't Mean It certainly has hit potential written all over it. The band promises to continue working on a full length album as time in the studio will allow. Booked through Green Dot Music in Charlotte, Atlantic Groove's live schedule is full of dates ranging in location from northern Virginia to the southernmost tip of South Carolina. Many folks are just now discovering this outstanding high energy band – try to get out to see them at a locale nearest you!      

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For the last twenty years, one couple has served as the loyal (and royal) ambassadors to Beach music like no other. I am referring to Flash and Babs Ludwick, who moved South from the Washington, DC area to Calabash, NC in 1994 and immediately embraced the North Myrtle Beach music scene. Since that point in time Calabash Flash has written many tunes, recorded several while also performing religiously for whatever the event or worthy cause happens to be. Babs is also quite an accomplished artist who has produced some beautiful watercolor scenes of the area.

Flash and Babs were certainly not music neophytes - Growing up, Flash attended high school in Yuma, Arizona, while also spending time there as a local DJ on KOFA 1240 AM. His "Platter Party" was on the air 6 to 9 PM Monday through Friday, the only show on the station that featured Rock 'n' Roll. Flash and his mom were living with his uncle, who was a big concert promoter. Many years later while living in northern Virginia, Flash began a part time mobile DJ business while also dabbling in songwriting.  

Flash has performed for the CBMA Awards weekend and membership drives, all of the Ripete, One20 Inc and KHP Artist Showcases, our many Beachmusic45 sponsored Avista Resort Fall and Spring SOS Showcases, Beach Music Days in both North and South Carolina, North Myrtle Beach Endless Summer Festivals, live radio shows and numerous charity and fundraising events for artists with health concerns.  In September 1996, Flash released his debut self-composed single entitled Shaggin’ In The Moonlight. It was distributed it to various record stores in North and South Carolina. Since that point in time, he  has written or co-written and sung several songs that have appeared on compilation albums primarily directed to the Beach music market.

One Track Mind was a Flash composed single that became a huge hit for studio group Spring in  2002. Based on the song's success, George Spring received a Cammy nomination for New Artist of the Year and Flash also was nominated for Songwriter of the Year. It was the #18 song for the year 2002 on the Rhythm 'n' Beach Top 40. The tune still fills up the dance floor when played and was definitely one of the best radio and club songs of the decade. Flash released his eighteen track Flash Flood CD in 2005, a unique blend of original Carolina Beach music together with other genres. Two of the featured tunes, Just Another Day In Paradise and Eye Of The Beholder did so well on North Myrtle Beach’s 94.9 FM The Surf that they both were inducted into the station Hall Of Fame. Flash Flood also received a nomination for the CBMA's Solo Album of the Year in 2008.

Flash followed up with hit singles Wild Crowd in 2008 and one of my favorites, Standing On The Corner, in 2009. The latter tune was not a Flash co-composition, not at first anyway. He answered the call to duty from Joe Graziani (Sugarbees, Inlyn Gruve),  asking him to help out with a new Doo Wop style tune. After Flash worked with the guys in the studio he took home a copy, ended up reworking it, the final product being approved by Joe and released with Flash & The Calabash Kings as the artist of record. The song just recently went back into my Internet radio show regular rotation.

In recent years, Flash has expanded his horizons by writing and recording tunes in  Country, Gospel and a Doo Wop ballad entitled I Know (It's Forever). Additional follow up charting hits have included Quit While You're Ahead, Stay Right Here, Satisfied and Touch Of Your Kiss. Flash's latest single,  Bluesman Flash,  is a self-composed tune which he performed on 2013's CBMA Awards show at the Alabama Theater. It was recently featured on the Patman & Robin Records compilation I Like It Like That. The song has received quite a bit of airplay and is now a regular request at any function where Flash may be performing. All told, Calabash Flash has had eleven singles that have made the Beach music charts over the last eighteen years.

Babs Ludwick is very supportive of everything Flash produces but she also has developed quite a following in the Grand Strand area as well as lower North Carolina. She belongs to several professional organizations such as the Watercolor Society of North Carolina, Brunswick Arts Council, Waterway Art Association and Associated Artists of Southport. She is also a member of Studio 12, a group of artists who meet weekly at Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash to paint and share art experiences. Babs has been a featured artist in shows at Franklin Square Gallery in Southport. Sunset River Marketplace also featured her in a one-woman show titled Abstractly Babs. One of her paintings was the anchor piece in an earlier exhibit at the gallery called Why Red?

Flash and Babs Ludwick are certainly considered to be local treasures. If you are in the Myrtle Beach area, you may run into Flash performing at Captain Poo's, on the Tiki Deck of the OD Beach & Golf Resort, at Key West Crazy or quite possibly at any live music venue on the Grand Strand. Babs will likely be there as well – be sure to stop by and say hello, they are the sunshine that will most assuredly light up your day!!

 

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It has been written and is generally accepted in the history of Beach music that the genre almost died in the mid to late '70's due in part to the emergence of Disco as well as other changes in direction in the music industry. Was that really the case or was Beach music merely taking a break to regroup and transform? Up until that point, the hit songs in the genre that today are considered classics had primarily come from national recording artists in the early Blues, Doo-Wop, R&B and Soul arenas. The golden age of Beach music of the '60's and early '70's was fueled by the music recorded at such stellar studios as Motown, Chess, Stax, Mercury, Atlantic, Vee Jay, RCA, Columbia and Brunswick.

By the mid-'70's, the winds of change had already been blowing, however, particularly in the American music industry. Many headline artists began to realize that they were losing traction in the business. Some would adapt to the change, secure new contracts and persevere, others never regained the momentum they enjoyed in earlier years. This was particularly painstakingly true in the Soul/R&B genres.

Perhaps the loyal followers that have served as the preservationists of Beach music over the years had slowed down a bit in the '70's as well. I am referring to the baby boomer generation that grew up in the South and headed to the beaches in the carefree days of the '50's and '60's, living the music that would become the classics. Responsibilities of reaching adulthood came along –  we were finishing school,  getting married, trying to find a good job, having kids, buying a house etc. This included the members of the many bands that had formed and played throughout the '60's, eventually disbanding. Certainly some level of support for the music dwindled – it was still in our hearts but not as much in our actions.

The period between 1975 and the end of the decade in 1979 may have been the low point, viewed as being the almost lost era of Beach music. What is amazing, however, is how many songs recorded during that period ended up on the Beach charts, not necessarily during the period but up to and including the fifteen years that followed. Some of the most requested songs for today's Beach music radio shows were actually recorded during 1975 - 1979. See the examples in the list below.

Another key development happened during that time frame - many of the local/regional bands of the '60's that played Beach music had left the business, BUT, several new bands were formed in the  '70's that have carried on the music since that time. I'm talking about Band of Oz, Fantastic Shakers, Entertainers, North Tower, Part Time Party Time Band, Breeze Band and Second Nature, to name a few. A handful of the bands that were there from the beginning continued to soldier on such as the Embers, Swinging Medallions, Catalinas, Castaways, Bill Deal & The Rhondels and Sensational Epics.

There were some other factors weighing in during this 'lull' period that would have far reaching impact on Beach music. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the Embers released a monumental album, I Love Beach Music, in 1979.  Down in South Carolina, Marion Carter and Pete Smolen were securing rights to several hard to find Beach music favorites that had already become classics – these tunes would be combined with new discoveries and singles from regional Beach bands. Their Ripete Records label began the compilation series Beach Beat Classics and Shaggers Delight, which would help turn the crank on Beach music once again.

Over in Myrtle Beach, a revival of a different sort was taking place. Delbert McClinton and the like was being discovered, igniting the fire on an interest in Boogie and new Blues for shagging that continues to this day. Add to all that, the Chairmen of the Board left Detroit to set up shop in the Carolinas, blessing us with many great recordings while also becoming the headliners for Beach festivals and shows throughout the region for the next three decades.

Going back to our earlier question, did Beach music really almost die? I don't think so, it just took an extended ''pause for the cause'' to regenerate momentum for the many years to come!

 

Song Examples From 1975-1979 That Became Beach Charting Hits

I Told You So - Janice  1975

Walk Away From Love  - David Ruffin 1975

L-O-V-E - Al Green 1975

Swing Your Daddy - Jim Gilstrap 1975

First Impressions - Impressions 1975

Hold Back The Night - Trammps 1976

Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel - Tavares 1976

Trying To Love Two - William Bell 1976

Young Hearts Run Free - Candi Staton 1976

Love Really Hurts Without You – Billy Ocean 1976

Little Red Book - English Drifters 1976

Love Don't Feel Like Love - CL Blast 1977

Do You Believe in Love At First Sight? - Dionne Warwick 1977

Used Ta Be My Girl - O'Jays 1977

That Man Of Mine - Betty Wright  1977

Cheaters Never Win - Love Committee 1977

I Trust You - Billy Paul 1977

Jack & Jill – Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio  1977

(I'm Just Thinking About) Coolin' Out - Jerry Butler 1978

1-2-3 Kind Of Love - Wild Cherry 1978

My Life Is So Wonderful - Dells 1978

Lifetime Guarantee Of Love - Voltage Brothers 1978

It Started With A Kiss - Hot Chocolate   1978

Old People - Archie Bell & Drells 1978

I'll Go Where Your Music Takes Me - Tina Charles 1978`

Waiting On Love - Johnny Bristol  1978

Party Time Man - Futures  1979

Gonna Get Along Without You Now - Viola Wills 1979

Sit Down And Talk To Me - Lou Rawls  1979

Lover & Friend – Minnie Riperton  1979

Begin The Beguine - Johnny Mathis 1979

  Artists, DJ’s, Club owners etc. send me your latest news for potential inclusion in Beach Buzz at nealfur@aol.com.

 

 

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