Beach Buzz September 2014

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Beach Bits: Yes oh yes it is SOS time once again! Fall Migration begins this week and carries on until Sunday, September 21st. Expect to see outstanding bands, DJs, dancers, parties and more. Quite a bit of new music will be heard for the first time as well. KHP Records latest compilation, Dancin' With My Baby, is scheduled to be released during SOS. . Already charting is a song licensed from Charlotte's Bill Bradford, the upbeat Take Me Away by Debby Dobbins. The Carolina Breakers first release featuring Pat Carpenter on lead vocals, Fell In Love Too Late, is included. Kingdaddy's new lead singer, Wayne Free, is highlighted on You're My Girl. Veteran vocalist Mark Black has an original here entitled Stay With Me. Two key duets included are Terri Gore and Tim Cashion's Whenever I Call You Friend as well as Jim Quick teaming up with Grayson Hugh on an exciting rendition of No More Pain. A sleeper tune that first appeared here in May on our Southern Soul Corner Top 45 is making its Beach music debut - from Texas, it's Miss Rebekah singing her original Dancin' With My Baby, and it becomes the title track of the release. Beach music's good friend from across the Big Pond, Roy Hamilton, has an original called Time Don't Mean A Thing, that will be re-released with a Carolina shag mix. Additional songs include a new studio mix of Dancing Mood from Little Redd's Tams, Dip Ferrell & The Truetones with Some Say Hey, a Blues number from The Catalinas and several more.............
A new label in Beach music, Little Peddler Records, will make its debut with a compilation release hopefully in conjunction with CBMA weekend. Under strong consideration for this project are several tunes, including the new one from Clifford Curry entitled Cold Beer Hot Women. Also good possibilities are Gary Brown with his latest Too Much Candy For A Dime, The Mighty Saints of Soul covering Show And Tell and North Tower drummer Mark Bost on Farewell My Summer Love, that also features Mark Black. Stony Point Music (Bill Bradford) is licensing a hot new track from the dynamic Sonja Grier entitled I'll Know (When The Right One Comes Along). Steve Edmunds has teamed up with Heather Hayes, who just happens to be the daughter of the late great Isaac Hayes, on a tremendous rendition of If I Could Build My Whole World Around You. A couple of new bands have possible tracks - The Swashtones, from the Charlotte area give us Sun, Surf And Summertime and Seabreeze, out of Burlington, turn out one called Spring Break. Here again, these songs as well as others will be worked over the new several weeks to determine the final content of the release.........


More new tunes: The Tommy Black Band has a new album that is also expected to be released during SOS. Beautiful Day In North Myrtle Beach will be 12 tracks of originals and cover tunes, with a combination of both brand new songs and a few that were previously released. Both Tommy and his wife Christina will be featured on selected vocals. We will have more on this album, including a review once all the songs have been heard, in next month's edition of Beach Buzz.............Checking out Fessa John Hook's recent chart, the Terry Hanck Band has two songs, Right Now Is The Hour and There's No Gettin' Over Me, that originate from their recent Gotta Bring It On Home To You album. The aforementioned new Sonja Grier tune broke into to John's chart as well and I am told the song is already receiving heavy play in the UK.........Have you heard Let's Shag On The Beach, a cool tune from Marcus Vess, Mike Thrift and Gary McKinney of  New Song Studios in Stone Mountain, GA? Check it out on iTunes.....


It is with great sadness that we note the passing of  music promoter and entertainer Willis Blume on August 31st. A resident of Orangeburg, SC, he and his wife Linda founded the Willis Blume Agency in 1972 in order to promote and arrange bookings for the artists and entertainers throughout the Southeast. In 2001, at the age of 57, Willis received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame at the Sixth Annual Cammy Awards in Myrtle Beach, SC. Willis retired from the agency in 2007. He will certainly be missed in the world of Beach music.



Here is a very early promo picture of The Castaways, originally from Durham, NC. Back in those days, bands in the Carolinas were often referred to as 'Combos'. The band got it's start in 1961, put together by two students at Northern Durham High School, Bill Carden and Skeets Brady. Through the past 53 years, the band members have come and gone but the name has persevered as one of the few remaining from the earliest days of beach music.

Former members include notable individuals in the genre such as JD Cash, Pat Christie, Tracy King, Tony Davis, Terri Gore, Barry Hastings, Duane Neese, Steve Edmunds, Archie Durham, Phil Wilson and Steve Owens. The current version of The Castaways (see below) is referred to as Generation Six. Generations One through Five will be inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame on Friday evening November 7th  during the 2014 CBMA Weekend. It is certainly gratifying to see this long standing band get the recognition they so richly deserve!!


                Current Castaways Band getting it done on stage


Generation Six, the current version of The Castaways is smokin' hot these days. Their on stage presence and crowd engagement is simply outstanding! I have had the opportunity to see them several times recently and each performance is better than the last. Jeff Weidhaas on trumpet and Jason Pulley on saxophone provide an ample horn section. Veteran keyboardist Randy Smith also chips in lead vocals on selected songs as does lead guitarist John Arthurs. Drummer Jason Johnson is the newest member of the band. Female lead Karen Clayton is a seasoned vocalist who has been fronting bands for many years. Bass guitarist Guy Brooks was actually a member of Generation Five as well - he also serves as the road manager and chief engineer. Put it all together and they hit the stage hard with alot of familiar Beach tunes, some solid Soul and a strong dose of Blues and Boogie. This current generation of The Castaways has their fourth album currently in the works - I have heard all the studio cuts and can honestly state that this will be one of the best new collection of songs to be released in quite a while!





Grayson Hugh(l), his wife and singer Polly Messer  and DJ Soul Dog 

                         Photo Courtesy of Rickey Lipscomb Photography (


Connecticut native and national recording artist Grayson Hugh completed his 'Back to The Beach' Carolinas Tour by turning in outstanding performances three straight nights on the same bill with  Jim Quick & Coastline. Thursday, 8/28 they were at TJ's Nightlife in Raleigh, Friday 8/29 at Thirsty's in Greensboro and Saturday 8/30 at the Spanish Galleon in North Myrtle Beach. Grayson's latest monster hit, Goodbye Train, has gone to #1 on almost all the Beach music charts in recent weeks. Do take the opportunity to go back to our June edition of Beach Buzz to read the musical biography of this outstanding performer. One fact that was not in the bio was that Coastline bass guitarist and vocalist Albert Rogers actually was in a band with Grayson in the mid-'90's here in North Carolina. It is indeed a small world!




Jim Quick & Coastline performing at TJ's Nightlife in Raleigh NC

          Photo Courtesy of Rickey Lipscomb Photography (


I was fortunate to be at TJ's in Raleigh on August 28th to observe a blistering opening set from Jim Quick & Coastline prior to Grayson Hugh and wife Polly Messer joining the band onstage. One of the outstanding 'old school' Coastline tunes in the set was the 1999 released New Old Songs, which was originally on the Rubyjude Records' All Aboard: The Beach Boogie Train compilation. A few of the folks around me were surprised that I made what they felt was a rather profound statement by saying that if the song was to be released today for the first time, it would climb very high on the charts and quite possibly go to #1. I did base that statement on a few facts (or maybe just suppositions, LOL):


1) The song did chart in 1999, although it certainly didn't go as far as #1 at that time. It was surrounded on the compilation by tunes from regional/national artists like Round And Round from Jack Mack, Cutie by Rue Davis, Right Kind Of Love from Barbara Carr and Mr. So And So by Smokehouse.

2) 1999 was part of what Beach music historian John Hook has called ''The Sixth Wave - 1995 to 2007......and beyond''. My theory is that wave ended some time right after 2007 and we are actually in the midst of The Seventh Wave. The music venues, media outlets, bands, DJs,  audiences, charts etc. have changed somewhat dramatically in the last 15 years -  Jim Quick & Coastline is a whole different band that has evolved with a HUGE cadre of followers. Even so, Jim said himself the band has not had a new album in several years. (He had a solo album and King Tyrone has had two albums in that timeframe). If New Old Songs was dropped today for the first time, the Coastline Crazies WOULD go crazy over it!

3) Nostalgic songs about the past in music have done very well in recent years, particularly following Mighty Mike Schermer's smash with My Big Sister's Radio. Prime examples include the Holiday Band single Jukebox, which finished in the year ending Smokin' Top 45 for both 2010 and 2011,  Old School Music, a charting hit for Wallstreet and That Old Rockola, also a big charting hit for Dip Ferrell & The Truetones.

So, maybe Jim will read this and compose and record a reminiscing Coastline sequel that will blow us all away!!



Speaking of Jim Quick, after an absence of approximately 18 months, his outstanding radio show, The Crossover, is back on the air live on the Internet at It airs on Tuesdays from 10 AM to Noon EDT and promises to be an eclectic blend of Blues, Soul, R&B and beyond.



North Tower Band performing in Pilot Mountain, NC on 9/6


I had a chance to work with the latest edition of The North Tower Band this past Saturday during the Hot Nights Hot Cars Series in Pilot Mountain. I had not seen this band perform since their major personnel changes which occurred late last year. The current lineup: Larry Dean, band manager, keyboards and  vocals -  Johnny Hopkins, horns and vocals -  Jeff Hinson, horns and vocals -  Chuck Canady, lead guitar and vocals -  Gerald Davis, bass guitar and vocals -  Mark Bost, drums and vocals and Steve Davis, sound engineer extraordinaire. Just the members' years of experience alone makes this Beach Music Hall of Fame group a tremendous band. Their performance has not missed a beat - the band engages the crowd and brings a high energy show to the stage!



Don Jordan & The High Rollers


 There is a brand spanking new band in Beach music that I am excited to tell you about! Outstanding longtime musician Don Jordan has put together a combination of veteran performers in the genre as well as a few that are new to this market. Don Jordan & The High Rollers  will be making their debut performance during  SOS Fall Migration on September 16th at Deckerz Bar and Grill in conjunction with’s 3rd Anniversary Celebration which will be aired live from 11am till 3pm! This group has been in the works for a while now and they are very excited to kick off their first live show during Fall SOS. Whereas all of the band members share a love for  Beach music this group will also be able to cover just about any style or genre  that you could imagine. They are committed to being the type of band that plays “something for everyone”.


Band leader Don Jordan is a former lead guitarist and vocalist for the Embers as well as spending the past six years on the road fulfilling the same duties as a member of The Craig Woolard Band. Darren Watts on Bass, and Rick Cutshaw on drums, round out the rhythm section. Together, they have toured nationally with Unknown Hinson and separately they have played with groups such as The Catalinas, The Entertainers, The Men of Distinction and a host of others. Keyboardist Tim Sidden was the music director at The Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach for 15 years and he has worked with numerous national acts in Nashville as a musician and a producer. John Nickels is an incredibly talented guitarist not to mention the many other instruments that he can play. John and Don are lifelong friends with a shared dream that they would someday play guitar alongside each other in a fulltime band. This group is ready to put on their best for the listening audiences -  so be sure to check them out when you can and help us welcome this new band to the world of Beach music that we all enjoy so much!


For the ninth year, The Beach Music & Shag Preservation Society is hosting a great Festival in Charleston. The dates, venue and location may change from year to year but one thing is for sure - the entertainment will be outstanding and it will be a fun time. Here is the official press release for this exciting event:


This ninth annual Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival will take place at the Holliday Citadel Alumni Center in Charleston, located at 171 Moultrie St. in Charleston. Tickets for the event cost $25 for BMSPSSC members and $30 for nonmembers. Live music will be provided by the Fantastic Shakers, Rhonda McDaniel and Jimbo Durham & Shag Attack. Deejays Gerry Scott and Andy Todd will entertain between sets.





The mention of Grayson Hugh coming back to this area reminded me of another popular artist in Beach music during the same timeframe. Do you remember a male solo vocalist  back in the '80's named Ricky Donathan?  From the Sanford, NC area, Ricky was a businessman turned recording artist for a brief period of time during that era only to never really be heard from again in the genre. His first foray into Beach was a recorded single entitled Summertime Is Here  with the Poor Souls in 1983, which was the #29 song for that year on the Rhythm 'n' Beach Top 40. Ricky's album, All Night Long,  consisting of 12 self-composed tunes was recorded in Charlotte and released on the Sandhills label in 1989. Several cuts, including the title track as well as Body Talk, Let's Get Together Again, Never Be Lonely and Forever Lasting Love, received heavy radio and club play. The songs are strong candidates for today's Beach shows that specialize in doing periodic flashback tunes. Although rumored to have passed away a few years back, Ricky is actually understood to be still alive and kicking in his hometown of Sanford.



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