Beach Buzz August 2014

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                                            The SwashTones Band


Beach Bits:  Who says songs about surf, sand and which way to the beach no longer work? A new group on the scene, The SwashTones, have a catchy tune entitled Sun, Surf  And Summertime that I really like! It was produced at Ken Hartsell's New Track Records Studio in Concord, NC. Jerry Collins, Cassie Belk, Bradley Swaringen, Eric Morris, Jonathan Treece and Micah Eubanks are the band members. The group will be playing at Deckerz in North Myrtle Beach on Saturday, August 23rd and on Thursday, September 18th during SOS Fall Migration..........


The release deadline for music qualification for the 2014 Carolina Beach Music Awards was August 1st, proliferating a rush of new songs in the last several days........Terri Gore and Tim Cashion have a nice collaboration just out entitled Whenever I Call You Friend.......... In advance of their forthcoming CD, the Tommy Black Band just released It's A Beautiful Day At The Beach. It is tequila sunrise at the Tiki bar!! Also just saw another one from Tommy come into my mailbox, it is Christina Black on lead vocals with an upbeat rendition of I'll Always Love You...........Rhonda McDaniel also has a new album close to being released. I Need You Now is the latest dropped single that will be included.........Big John Thompson and Roger Smith, the Boulevard Boys, are back with a new one called Headin' Out........


More new tunes: With sixty years in the business, the legendary Clifford Curry blesses us with his latest called Cold Beer, Hot Women...........Charlotte veteran vocalist Debby Dobbins has a new tune entitled Take Me Away, which charted just this week on 94.9 The Surf....... Outstanding vocalist Gary Brown also has a recent single release, a rousing rendition of Too Much Candy For A Dime.…....a cool groove entitled Do You Remember comes from gTown Sounds featuring Ron Ownby.........and, the Carolina Breakers just within the last few weeks released a new song that features the vocals of their latest recruit Pat Carpenter. Fell In Love Too Late has already made it's way on to 94.9 The Surf's Top 20 tunes.



                                      Carolina Breakers


Speaking of the Carolina Breakers, I had the opportunity to DJ between sets with them at the Hot Nights Hot Cars event on August 2nd in Pilot Mountain, NC. Even with the constant threat of rain all day, the crowd came out strong to see the Breakers. The band never sounded better with at least four different individuals capable of assuming lead vocal duties at any one point in time. Their harmony, versatility and synchronization is simply outstanding. The Breakers have had back to back charting hits this year with Show You The Way To Go and the aforementioned Fell In Love Too Late, in my estimation one of the best songs so far for 2014.


Based in North Myrtle Beach, the band members are: Jerry Shooter, vocals and guitar; Keith Pollard,  vocals, trombone and trumpet; Roger Taylor, vocals and keyboard; Larry Chavis, drums and vocals; Pat Carpenter, vocals and guitar; Kevin Shooter, saxophone; Maurice Leggett, sound engineer; with Elio Sanchez being added as an additional horn player. The group hits the road hard in August – from Jekyll Island, GA to Roanoke, VA with stops in King NC, Winston Salem, Sunset Beach and several gigs in North Myrtle Beach. Be sure to catch their performance at the closest venue to you!






A new song from outside the Beach music world entitled Patience broke into the July Smokin' Top 45. It comes from Mississippi native Noel Gourdin, one of the tracks from his recent album release of City Heart, Southern Soul. In deference to the album title, Gourdin is not a Southern Soul stylist but more in the range of contemporary R&B. He does, however, emulate his musical background  - growing up in Brockton, Maine, his father introduced him to the Soul classics while his brother exposed him to New Jack Swing. This is Noel's third major album release – After My Time dropped in 2008 followed by Fresh: The Definition in 2011.


Another contemporary R&B male vocalist breaking through on the July chart was Eric Benet. Be Myself Again comes from his 2005 album entitled Hurricane. Alabama born and Wisconsin raised Eric has been on the R&B scene for more that twenty years. His first album interestingly titled True To Myself, came out in 1996. His 1999 release of A Day In The Life made it to #6 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart while the top single, Spend My Life With You, went to #1. Since that point in time, Eric has had four additional albums and thirteen singles make the Billboard charts. Eric is a four time Grammy Award nominee as well.




Overflow Crowd for The Castaways on July 17th

                         North Myrtle Beach in the Horseshoe


Although it is already August, there is plenty of outdoor summertime Beach music entertainment still to come along the coast of the Carolinas. Several of the annual Summer Concert Series venues are still in full swing. Here is a partial list of forthcoming events:


Holden Beach

August 17th Tim Clark Band

August 24th Marsha Morgan Band

August 31st The Imitations


Sunset Beach

August 27th      Carolina Breakers

September 3rd   Fantastic Shakers

September 10th Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot


Ocean Isle Beach

August 8th          Rick Strickland Band

August 15th      Jim Quick & Coastline

August 22nd      Sea Cruz

August 29th       Band of Oz

September 5th Holiday Band


North Myrtle Beach (Horseshoe)

August 14th         Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot

August 21st         Carolina Soul Band

August 28th         Atlantic Groove

September 18th   Hip Pocket

September 25th   Jim Quick & Coastline


The much anticipated sophomore album from Steve Owens & Summertime has finally arrived. The 2012 winners of the CBMA New Artist of the Year had tremendous success with their self titled first release, hitting the charts hard with I'd Give Up Everything For You, Do You Love Me Like That and You're So Young But So True. The new release, Second Time Around, has advance single I Just Want To Satisfy already headed to the top of the charts. Another one from the album with shag hit written all over it is Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away. The high profile tune, however, is definitely track #2 on the album -  So You Think You're In Love Again was written by West Coast composer and saxophonist Paulie Cerra (who also wrote A Much Better Place from the band's first album).

Quite a story here - Steve met Paulie through a good friend's son, guitarist Sam Meek, who had brought several of his Los Angeles musician cronies back home to North Carolina to play for his dad's 65th birthday party. Hearing them play this particular tune, Steve was enamored, immediately asking Paulie about it. One conversation led to another over the next several weeks – Paulie not only agreed to allow the song to be recorded, he was also willing to arrange for the music to be recorded in L.A. The session musicians on the recording includes some heavyweights – featuring Paulie, who has played with such greats as Bobby Bland, Little Milton and Lucky Peterson,  on both alto and baritone sax, with Lee Thornburg (Tower of Power, Chicago) on trumpet and trombone, James Gadson (Charles Wright's 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Bill Withers) on drums,  John Thomas (Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt) on piano, along with Sam on lead guitar and John Hart on bass. The song definitely has a “national” feel and sound to it!


Charlotte, N.C. based Spirit Records has consistently released some of the best Soul, Blues, R&B and Jazz from it's stable of artists for the last thirty-five plus years. Under the guidance of Bill Bradford, who writes many of the songs, Spirit has also had many Beach music hits as well, some of which have also penetrated the UK Northern Soul market. Debby Dobbins' Jazz Freak, Bradford & Bell's (They Call It) Mr. Dollars, Pelicans' She's Sixty (But She Still Looks Good) Sonja Grier's Right Here, Right Now, and the Groove Doctors' Ellaree are just a few that come to mind.

Spirit's latest compilation, Back To Detroit, is composed of fourteen tracks from eight of the label's artists, harking back to the classic sound of the Motor City that has never left all us baby boomers. Multi-talented vocalist and long time actress Maria Howell (she recently had a key role in the NBC TV series Revolution) gives us three of her best jazzy Soul grooves with Love Flight 109, Last Flight Out and Misconstrue. I always love the vocal stylings of Sonja Grier – she has a distinctive flair that has quite a bit of Carolina Beach in it. Hold On, Take Another Chance, Been In The Storm Too Long and Can't Hold Back are definitive Grier classics. Veteran virtuoso Debby Dobbins has been at this for as many years as Spirit has been in existence. Glad I Found You and How You Gonna Feel are two great examples of her legacy.

Jimmy Styles is given solo credit on (Talkin' 'Bout) The Cakes My Baby Makes, which was another previous Beach music hit for The Groove Doctors. The Doctors are not left out here – Lockdown is a strong horn driven instrumental track. Thomas Moore's Fallin' So In Love With You   sounds like it was imported straight from Motown to the jukeboxes of North Myrtle Beach! Thief In The Night by David Cook was also featured on Spirit's 2008 Soul Project Reconnection compilation. I was not as familiar with Pervis Lee's work but can certainly dig his bluesy Cover Me. Available at CD Baby and on iTunes, with great vocals and instrumentation throughout, I have loaded the entire album to add to my Internet radio show playlists!



     Early Nomads, Chapel Hill, NC          Early Embers, Raleigh, NC

Bo the Webguy, who does a ton of work to promote Carolina Beach music, recently had an interesting stream going on Facebook. The question he posed was:

Do you remember the first Beach Music Band you saw in person?

Having grown up in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, I answered “either the Embers, Chapel Hill's Nomads (still playing) or the Corsayers with a young James Taylor”. The truth is I don't really remember – it could easily have been Burlington's Monzas or Durham's Castaways. As a teenager in the 'mid-'60's, we were right in the middle of the evolution of what Beach music was to become, but we really had no idea of the experience, we were just along for the ride!

Heading to North Myrtle Beach in the summers, listening to the 45's on the pavilion jukeboxes, we were digging May I by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs, Hello Stranger from Barbara Lewis, Sunny by Bobby Hebb and What Kind Of Fool from The Tams. Back home at WKIX 850 AM in Raleigh, the KIX Men of Music led by Charlie Brown were fueling the movement, spinning the tunes that would forever become  classics. It was at about this time that the term “Beach music” was coined. Later and a little older,  frequenting the local watering holes, we heard Try My Love Again by Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces, When You Wake Up from Cash McCall, Ain't No Big Thing by The Radiants and I'm Gonna Miss You from The Artistics. Little did we realize that once the chronological work was completed years later, these songs and others would be considered some of the best ever in Beach music.

Getting back to the bands, the many that started up over the Southeast during that era did not have Beach music in mind as the genre they would be emulating. The aforementioned groups along with Gene Barbour & The Cavaliers,  Catalinas, Harry Deal & The Galaxies, Sensational Epics and Swingin' Medallions etc. were covering the Soul and R&B they picked up from the national groups along with occasional originals that they might write. Some members had aspirations of a rising star music career while others were just excited to be in a band making a little extra money. College fraternity parties and lake clubs were key venues that afforded them the opportunity. Neither the bands or the folks like me enjoying their performances really had any notion that they were at that time etching their place in Beach music history. It was a magical time to be young for sure!


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June 2013     

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