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Beach Buzz June 2015

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Hot Tracks: The latest single from the Southern Gentleman of Beach Music, Paul Craver, is entitled Don't Let Love Walk Out On Us and has started zooming up the Beach charts..........Blackwater R&B Band has a smokin' tune, Dance Tonight, which was written by Gerald Robinson, aka Southern Soul artist Larome Powers. Just saw last week where the song was being  distributed as part of the June advance package of tunes to the Southern Soul genre DJ's by Jerry 'Boogie' Mason. Look for more big things from this tune in the immediate future.......Another 'dance at night' tune, LOL, Dance With Me Tonight from UK soulster Olly Murs is making chart headway as well....... Phil Wilson recently told me he has always wanted to record Movin' And Groovin'. Well, he has done so and very well I might add, it is hot right now.......

 

I'll Know (When The Right One Comes Along) by Sonja Grier has been blistering of late. The Bill Bradford production out of Charlotte was also

included on the latest KHP compilation as well........Mississippi born, Memphis raised and now Chicago based bluesman Linsey Alexander has been honing his craft for over 50 years. He has worked alongside of such greats as Buddy Guy, AC Reed and BB King. Linsey's Call My Wife from his Come Back Baby album is a hot lick in Beach music right now. It has that down home boogie sound that gets the dancers on the floor!........Gotta continue to mention the dynamic voice of Ms. Lesa Hudson, her Get Your Feet On The Floor from Carolina Shag VI is currently hot as a firecracker, it is moving up all the charts right now. Another one from that compilation beginning to make some noise is I Want It All Back from Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot...........

 

Jim Quick has another huge hit on his hands with his rendition of Tears Of Love. The Grayson Hugh written tune was originally released on his 1988 Blind To Reason album.......This Girl Needs A Tune Up by the Marsha Morgan Band has zoomed up the 94.9 The Surf's Top 20, sitting at #3 in the most recent Countdown.........Nathaniel Kimble's Bad Mamma Jama first appeared on our Southern Soul Corner's Smokin' Top 45 in March of 2014. It is now making it's way up the Beach charts as well........Call Me by St. Paul & The Broken Bones was in the most recent Cashbox Magazine's Beach Music chart Top 10. This Birmingham, Alabama based group which has had bookings all over the U.S. and Europe so far this year  performed a killer show at Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre on June 6th........

 

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It's certainly no secret that Ms. Jody is the #1 attraction in Southern Soul these days as well as being one of the most popular artists in Beach music as well. For the first time in quite a while, however, she has released a new album that does not already have a song that has become a flame thrower on the beach. Talkin' Bout My Good Thang does contain twelve tracks that emulate the classic Jody style. You Got Your Hooks In Me and Don't Say I Love You both have a good shag beat (ie bumped up just a tad). I love the frenetically fast pace that she throws down on Double Dealer. Jody puts all of that energy and booming voice into A Piece On The Side, but the content may cause some restrictions on playing -  Club? yes, maybe, Radio? uh, no! It will be interesting to see what emerges as the top hit from this release........


 



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Harold Bessent   R.I.P

                                         Photo Courtesy of Jim Allen

 

Harold Bessent, better known for a countless number of years as Fat Harold, passed away on May 22nd.  He was truly a legend in Beach music circles, keeping one or more clubs open to the public in North Myrtle Beach for years. Harold meant so much to so many people as a mentor and a friend. He is also one of the key people responsible for the Shag being named the state dance of South Carolina. He became known as the King of Shag, introducing the dance to many everywhere he went.

 

As teenagers and on into college, we North Carolinians made the trek constantly to NMB, which we all referred to as Ocean Drive. The first Spanish Galleon opened at the corner of Ocean Blvd and Main in the '60's, where the OD Beach and Golf Resort (and current Spanish Galleon) stands today. Harold Bessent entered a partnership with two gentlemen we only knew as Pappy and Buddy and together they took the Galleon into the evolving Beach music era of the '70's. His was the smiling and friendly face that I always remember as a patron.

 

 The Galleon would be the first of many clubs/partnerships that Harold would enter into over the next 40 plus years, fanning the flames of keeping Beach music alive.   He received many honors over his long career, including induction into the Shaggers Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Carolina Beach Music Academy. Harold Bessent will be greatly missed by all those throughout the Beach music community and beyond!

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                                             Mel Waiters   R.I.P

 

We lost another great one with the May 28th passing of renown Southern Soul artist Mel Waiters, who also had a significant impact in Beach music

over the last several years. The San Antonio, TX native got his start as a radio DJ but soon moved into recording and performing, much of which was original self-composed material. Beginning in 1995, Mel would begin a string of releasing 15 albums over the next 20 years. Songs that made the Beach charts and/or DJ playlists include: Hole In The Wall, Swing Out Song, Ice Chest, Got My Whiskey, Your Kitchen Was Closed, Smaller The Club, Two Step, Throwback Days, Friday Night Fish Fry, Everything's Going Up and Got No Curfew. As they say, the good often do die young - Mel Waiters was only 58 years old.

 

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Blackwater R&B Band at TJ's Nightlife

              Photo Courtesy of Rickie Lipscomb (fotozbyrickie.com)

 

I have to admit it - I do not get out enough to see live shows by our Beach music artists. However, after seeing virtually no one the first part of 2015, I have had the opportunity (and took advantage of it) to see ten bands over the last four plus weeks, one of the most recent being having the privilege of working with the Blackwater R&B Band at TJ's Nightlife on May 28th. It was their first time there on Beach night, hitting the stage with a blistering ninety minute first set of Beach and Soul that delighted the crowd. Based out of Clarkton, NC, nine members strong, the band features four horns and some outstanding vocalists. Another recent fabulous evening was Friday, May 15th, as I was attending the wife's class reunion on the campus of Meredith College. The Band of Oz turned it out in fine fashion, got the crowd rocking, and for the first time in known school history, beer and wine was served outdoors for an event!

 

In talking to industry peeps, I  hear the same comments/complaints in the business over and over ''too many bands operating out there filling Beach venues, not nearly enough venues to go around, promoters continue to hire the same bands without giving the newbies a chance, pay scale going down instead of up'' etc. etc.  There ARE quite a few bands out there billing themselves as doing enough Beach music (or they have been doing it for years) to warrant bookings in the genre. It is also true that Beach music clubs are not as readily available as they once were - it is an extremely tough business and very hard for clubs to stay operational by focusing primarily or totally on Beach music. Ducks Beach Club in North Myrtle, as an example, has 28 bands booked to play there during the month of June BUT they are definitely not all Beach music bands. There is also the argument that the outdoor weekly 'Alive After Fives' or Beach music festivals across the Carolinas  tend to book the same core bands over and over.  I know, I know, quite a dilemna for so many in the business!!

 

Let's take a minute to qualify what constitutes a full time Beach music band. There are bands who derive their primary livelihood from the entertainment industry, that being most if not all members are 100% devoted to the music.  Then there are many bands that are what we would classify as 'part time'  - that is they play when they have bookings but most if not all the band members have regular jobs and/or other sources of income. It is no coincidence that the recent Top 30 Beach Artist list as compiled by Bo the Web Guy reflects the difference. The top seven bands in terms of popularity are what I would consider to be 'full time' in the genre - Oz, Coastline, Embers, Shakers, Entertainers, Holiday, Tams, in that order, all doing business as their source of primary income.  Conclusion - There are certainly no easy answers to insuring that all the Beach music bands, whether they be part time or full time, stay on the path to be successful.

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Do you remember a 1998 album entitled Hip Shakin' Mama produced by Marion Carter at Ripete Records on superb Soul/Blues singer Ruby Andrews? Ruby was a veteran recording artist and performer who, at that time, had been at it for at least 35 years. Born in Mississippi, moving to Chicago at the age of six, she started singing professionally while still in high school. Debuting as a solo artist on the Kellmac label, Ruby's third single in 1967, Casanova (Your Playing Days Are Over) was to become perhaps her biggest hit, making the Billboard Top 10.  Her work over the next two decades included some outstanding tunes on the Zodiac and ABC labels including: Just Loving You, You Made A Believer (Out Of Me), You Can Run, I Guess That Don't Make Me A Loser, Can You Get Away, Gotta Break Away, Since I Found Out and Help Yourself (Lover). She later recorded some Jerry Williams aka Swamp Dogg produced material for the Atlanta based Ichiban label.


 


The Ripete production, engineered by Bradley House, contains some killer tracks: I Found You, Somebody Touched Me, Strange Things Happening Everyday, Chance and Yousa Hard Dog (To Keep Under The Porch). Also included is a fine rendition of the Fontella Bass/Bobby McClure classic You'll Miss Me (When I'm Gone) as performed by Ruby and Vance Kelly. Another album hit, the Sidney Bailey / John Ward written Footprints On The Ceiling, was also covered by Barbara Carr as an album title track on Ecko Records. All this coming to my mind on Ruby was spurred by one of the youngest performing artists currently in Beach music. Allie Privette recently recorded a nice cover version of  I Got A Bone To Pick With You, reviving a fine soulful tune that Ruby originally recorded in 1976.


 


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