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Have You Heard? March 2015

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  Mike Little is a member of the Electric City Shag Club in Anderson, South Carolina.  He is also a member of the Association of Beach & Shag Club DJ’s and the National Association of Rhythm & Blues Deejays.  He hosted for 3-1/2 years The Saturday Morning Beach Party on WANS, 1280 AM in Anderson, which was rated by Arbitron as the highest rated AM show listened to and number three overall for that time slot.  In 2004, he was awarded the Rufus Oates Award by the National Association of Rhythm & Blues Dee Jays for his writing contributions.  He now serves on the Board of Directors of the NARBDJ.

Passages 2014

We will always remember…

 

  Ernest Rockin' Tabby Thomas, born January 5, 1929 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, died January 1.  The solid Louisiana vocalist who played both guitar and piano recording music since the mid-fifties.  He began his musical career in San Francisco, California where he was stationed during his time in the service.  He returned to Baton Rouge and began playing the local clubs and recording music.  By the end of the 1960's, he had retired from performing, but this was short-lived when he founded his own record label in the early 70's.  With the success of the label, Tabby began his own blues club, Tabby's Blues Box and Heritage Hall.  By the mid 80's, the club was the most popular blues club in  Baton Rouge.  Tabby was still active into the new millennium, though he was not performing as much due to injuries suffered from an automobile accident.  He will always be remembered for his songs Goin' To New Orleans and I Can't Hold Out.

 

  Deejay Joseph B. “Skipper” Duke, born July 4, 1942, died January 19 at his home in Greenville, North Carolina.  Skipper was a graduate of Washington High School and East Carolina University, where he was a standout in football at both schools.  He retired after a long career at DuPont.  As a deejay, Skipper was a member of the Association of Beach & Shag Club DJ's and in 2010 was inducted into the DJ Hall of Fame.

 

  “Jumpin'” Jeppy White, the energetic trombone player for the Catalinas died June 5.  Born August 6, 1951, Jeppy, formerly of Charlotte, North Carolina, lived in Sunset Beach.  He graduated from Platt High School, and his love of music led him to Harrt School of Music where he became an accomplished trombone player.  Jeppy had an outstanding career in music starting with the late R&B legend, Cortez Greer.  He a member of the Catalinas for over thirty years and most recently played with the award winning Craig Woolard Band.  Jeppy loved performing and making people laugh. 

 

  Bobby Womack, born March 4, 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio, died June 27 at his home in Tarzana, California as a result of numerous health issues.  His upbringing was strict and highly religious, but his father, Friendly Womack, encouraged his sons to pursue music as he had sung and played in a gospel group.  Bobby joined his brothers Cecil, Curtis, Harry and Friendly, Jr. to form the gospel quartet the Womack Brothers.  This led to open a local show for the Soul Stirrers in 1953, where Bobby befriended lead singer Sam Cooke.  After touring the country to open for numerous gospel groups, Cooke eventually formed his own SAR label and recruiting the brothers to transform themselves into a secular music group.  Cooke renamed them the Valentinos, and in 1962 they scored a Top Ten hit on the R&B charts with Lookin' For A Love.  The group's 1964 single, It's All Over Now, written by Bobby, was covered by the Rolling Stones and became the Stones' first U.K. number one.  Sam Cooke's tragic death in December, 1964 left the Valentinos' career in limbo.  Just three months later, Bobby married Cooke's widow which earned him tremendous ill in the R&B community.  In the late 60's, Bobby began recording solo, scoring several hits including Fly Me To The Moon.  In the early 70's, the J. Geils Band revived Lookin' For A Love, giving the group their first hit.  Bobby later rerecorded the song giving him his second number one R&B single and his only Top Ten hit on the pop charts.  Also in the early 70's, he scored another R&B Top Ten hit, Harry Hippie, an ironic tribute to his brother.  Bobby Womack was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

 

  Deejay Jim Davis of Simpsonville, South Carolina, born October 25, 1946, died at his home July 29.  Jim attended Wade Hampton High School and worked in the auto parts business for most of his life.  During his career, he received the Mercedes Benz of North America Parts Manager of the Year award numerous times.  Jim was a member of the Association of Beach & Shag Club DJ's and was inducted into the DJ Hall of Fame in 1990.  He was also a member of the Shaggers Hall of Fame, the Greenville Area Shaggers Hall of Fame and the Living Legends Association.

 

  Second tenor and founding member of The Tymes George Hilliard died September 24.  The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania group enjoyed equal success in both the United States and the United Kingdom.  The Tymes had hits in both countries with So Much In Love, a U.S. Chart topper and a million seller, Wonderful Wonderful , a remake of the Johnny Mathis classic hit from 1957.  So Much In Love was elected to the Songs of the Century in 2001.  In the late sixties the group hit it big with People, and in the mid-seventies, they scored again in the charts with You Little Trustmaker.  Then in 1975, the Tymes released Ms. Grace.  Of course it was a hit in the U.S. But also became the group's biggest UK hit reaching Number One in the UK Singles Chart in 1975.  Ms. Grace remains popular in the United States, especially along the Carolina coast in the Beach Music scene and is in the Top Ten all-time Beach Music hits.  The Tymes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005.

 

   Jimmy Ruffin, the older brother of the late David Ruffin former lead singer of The Temptations, died at age 78 on November 17 in Las Vegas, where he lived.  Jimmy was born in Collinsville, Mississippi on May 7, 1936.  In 1961, as a singer, became part of the Motown family.  After a stint in the military, he returned  to Motown, where he was offered the opportunity to join The Temptations, but after hearing his brother David, they hired David for the position instead.  Jimmy decided to resume his solo career.  In 1966, after hearing a song written for The Spinners, he persuaded the writers that he should record it.  His recording of What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted became a major hit, not only in the United States, but the United Kingdom, as well.  He left Motown and recorded for Polydor and Chess.  With his popularity in Great Britain, he moved there in the eighties where he continued to perform successfully.  Other songs by Jimmy Ruffin that we have enjoyed and danced to over the years are I'ved Passed This Way Before, I'll Say Forever My Love, As Long As This Is L.O.V.E. Love, Falling In Love With You, Too Busy Thinking About My Baby, Everybody Needs Love and I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You).

       

Other Notable Passages …

 

  Jay Traynor, lead singer of Jay & The Americans (This Magic Moment, So Much In Love), March 30, 1943-January 2; Phil Everly, The Everly Brothers, January 19, 1939-January 3;

Anne Gordy Gaye, sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. and first wife of Marvin Gaye, January 28, 1922-January 14; James Timothy Shaw (The Mighty Hannibal), August 9, 1939-January 30; Malaco recording artist and son of the late, great Johnnie Taylor, Floyd Taylor (I'm In Love With The Girl Next Door, Crazy 'Bout The Woman In Red), January 25, 1953-February 20; Frannnie Beecher, member of Bill Haley's Comets (40 Cups of Coffee), September 29, 1921-February 24; Frank Reed, lead singer of The Chi-Lites (Hot On A Thing (Called Love), Try My Side (Of Love) Oh Girl, Have You Seen Her), September 16, 1954-February 26; Pittsburgh deejay Craig “Porky” Chadwick, 1918-March 2; vocalist and guitarist for Bloodstone (It Should Have Been Me, Tell Her, Natural High); Charles Love of Bloodstone (It Should Have Been Me, Tell Her, Natural High) 1946-March 6; George “Buggs” Winfield of The Chateaus (If I Didn't Care), July 2, 1936-March 30; Joe “Speedo” Frazier, Lead singer for The Impalas (I'm Sorry (Iran All The Way Home), September 5, 1943-April 1; 2007 CBMA Hall of Fame inductee Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, Rockabilly artist, musician and founder of the Legendary StudioEast recording studio in Charlotte, April 21,1921 in Clinton, South Carolina-April 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina; musician and songwriter Jesse Winchester (Say What), May 17, 1944-April 11; Little Joe Cook of Little Joe & The Thrillers (Peanuts), December 29, 1922-April 15; singer and songwriter Deon Jackson (Love Makes The World Go Round), January 26, 1946-April 18; Jessica Cleaves, The Friends of Distinction (Grazing In The Grass), December 10, 1948-May 2; Bobby Gregg, drummer for Steve Gibson's Red Caps (Would I Mind , I Love You, Two Little Kisses), April 30, 1936-May 3; Cubie Burke, The Five Stairsteps (O-o-h Child), November 8, 1964-May 15; Earl Gregory Nesmith, The Flamingos (1980's), May 9, 1950-May 28; Ralph Pruitt, The Fantastic Four (I Feel Like I'm Falling In Love, As Long As I Live, I Live For You), 1940-June 3; deejay Casey Kasem, host of the longtime syndicated music radio show, America's Top 40, April 27, 1932-June 15; arranger, composer, conductor, entertainer and recording artist Johnny Mann of The Johnny Mann Singers, who handled the background vocals for such artists as Gene McDaniels (A Hundred Pounds of Clay), August 30, 1928-June 18 in Anderson, South Carolina; lyricist and former husband of Carole King, Gerry Goffin (Take Good Care of My Baby by The Shirelles, Up On The Roof by The Drifters, Loco-Motion by Little Eva), February 11, 1939-June 19; singer and session guitarist for the house band at Memphis' Hi Records, Stax Records and Motown Records, Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, November 16, 1945-June 22; Greenville, South Carolina Blues singer, Linda “Chocolate Thunder” Rodney, August 5, 1956-June 30; Tony Obert, founding member of The Earls (Remember Then, Life Is But A Dream), 1942-July 14; Blues singer and guitarist Johnny Winter (Can't Hold Out (Talk To My Baby) with Ben Harper, One Step At A Time),  February 23, 1944-July 16; Lucius Gill, founding member of The El Rays, which became The Dells the year after Gill's departure, 1935-July 18; Russell J. Birnbach, better known as Jim Russell of Jim Russell Rare Records in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1920-July 20;  TK Records co-founder Henry Stone, instrumental in the careers of James Brown, Ray Charles and KC & The Sunshine Band, June 3, 1921-August 7; Russetta Hightower, The Orlons (Wah Watusi, Don't Throw Your Love Away), June 23, 1944-August 2; Tommy Gough, founding member of The Crests (16 Candles, The Angels Listened In, Step By Step), October 15, 1939-August 24; Joe Poonanny Burns (Let It Roll, Hole In Your Drawers), 1940-August 27;  Wendell Lee of The Avons (Tell Me Baby, Where Would I Be) 1937-August 28; singer, dancer, producer and songwriter Bob Crowe (wrote Silhouettes for The Rays), November 12, 1930-September 11; Paul Revere Dick of Paul Revere & The Raiders (Louie, Louie), January 7, 1938-October 4; Joe Sample, singer, composer and pianist (Rio de Janero with Randy Crawford), February 1, 1939-September 12; baritone singer Bea Best, The Jive Five (I'm A Happy Man), My True Story) 1933-September 15; John Holt, The Paragons (Oh Lovin' You, The Tide Is High), July 11, 1947-October 10; Tim Hauser, founder and member of The Manhattan Transfer (Operator, Groovin' and Tuxedo Junction), December 12, 1941-October 16; LeRoy Crume, who sang with Sam Cooke in The Soul Stirrers, June 20, 1933-October 21; bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce, who was a member of Cream with Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton, combining blues rock with the sound of hard rock and psychedelic rock, May 14, 1943-October 25; English clarinetist and singer Acker Bilk (Stranger On The Shore), January 28, 1929-November 28;  blues singer Little Joe Washington, March 1, 1939-November 13;  Motown recording artist Frances Nero, March 13, 1943 in Asheville, North Carolina-November 13; blues soloist Mickey Champion, who also recorded with The Nic Nacs (The Robins), April 9, 1929-November 24; lifelong rocker and saxophonist Bobby Keys, who toured with Buddy Holly and played sax with The Rolling Stones, recording the sax solo on Brown Sugar in just one take, December 18, 1943-December 2; Edward “Sonny” Bivens, founding member of The Manhattans (I'll Never Find Another (Find Another Like You), Call Somebody Please, Kiss And Say Goodbye), January 15, 1936-December 3; Richard Levista, who sang with the black group, The Earls (Lovin'Jim), 1927-December 7); Richard Lavister, The Mello Kings (Tonite Tonite, Kid Stuff), 1931-December 7; Winfred “Blue” Lovett, also a founding member of The Manhattans, November 16, 1940-December 10; The Harptones' (Sunday Kind Of Love, Life Is But A Dream) pianist and arranger Raoul Cita, February 11, 1928-December 13; songwriter Larry Henley, who co-wrote Wind Beneath My Wings (popularized in our market by Lou Rawls), was also a member of The Newbeats (Bread And Butter); English rocker and blues singer Joe Cocker (Unchain My Heart, Watch The River Flow), May 20, 1944-December 22; Jo Jo Benson worked with Peggy Scott to record Lover's Holiday and Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries, May 2, 1944-December 23 and trumpeter and saxophonist Melvin Jackson, who worked with B.B. King and Bobby “Blue” Bland, 1935-December 30. 

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