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Beach Buzz September 15

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More New Music: There is much new music in the beach community, either already arrived or just around the corner as artists gear up for the rest of 2015. Seven time Carolina Beach Music Award Female Vocalist of the Year and two time Solo Album of the Year winner Rhonda McDaniel just released Lookin' For Sugar on KHP Records. The hot tunes from the album are the title track as well as I Can't Wait To See My Baby's Face...........The Catalinas just released their first CD in fifteen years with Dancin' Romancin'.  A CD Release party was held in North Myrtle Beach at 2001 on August 21st and another at Loafers Beach Club in Raleigh on September 5th. The advance track that has already made the Beach charts is entitled Cool Breeze. Other tunes making some noise include Let's Celebrate and Just One Look. With the legendary Johnny Barker back in the fold, you know anything this band does is gonna be outstanding!!.............

 

Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot have been just that over the last two years!  The 2015 edition of Playin' With Fire, Volume 2 was released in late July. Already smokin' is the advance track of I Want It All Back (also included on Carolina Shag VI) and a duet with Marsha Morgan entitled Too Many Tears. Gary also does an uptempo soulful rendition of the late great Billy Stewart's Sitting In The Park. Gary and the band entertained several thousand fans on Saturday September 5th at Hot Nights & Hot Cars  in Pilot Mountain, NC, marking the 10th year anniversary of the beginning of this great event...........Tim Cashion's recent release of Feeturing has done very well with his solo Love Again having been a staple on the charts. Also receiving chart recognition is Tim's duet with Terri Gore on Love Power and his collaboration with Earl Dawkins on Win Win Night. ..................

 

The right Reverend Bubba D. Liverance all the way from Alabama has had a huge hit with A Night Like This from the We're Building An Island compilation. He has another strong single just out called What Else Could It Be? This track is in advance of an October album release for Bubba and the Cornhole Prophets entitled Haint Blue Deluxe. Never a dull moment with these guys!..........Can't recall if this tune has ever been issued on a compilation. Pam Russell, once again the integral part of Shaggie Maggie, teamed up with the Felix Five to give us Shake It Out & Let It Go, bringing back an old school R&B groove. It was sitting at #2 on the end of August's Cashbox Top 40 Beach songs.............If you look back at our Beach Buzz archives for the April 2014 edition, you will find a feature on versatile veteran guitarist/vocalist Bill Lyerly. Bill currently has a hot groove, Death Letter Blues, sitting at #32 and moving up on the Cashbox Beach Top 40. It is the hottest tune going on the Roadhouse Blues & Boogie Top 40 Chart, solidly entrenched in the #1 spot for the past several weeks..........


 

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We all recognize the fact that KHP Productions releases a good portion of the Beach music that we hear today on the radio and in the clubs, and they are certainly to be commended for their role in keeping the genre alive. There are several others, however, that give us quality products, just not necessarily as frequently. In last month's column, we highlighted the Patman & Robin label from upstate South Carolina. Others that are part of the industry include Forevermore out of New York (see more below), Green Dot out of Charlotte and Sisbro in North Myrtle Beach. Another record label that does not often get recognized in the Beach and Blues market is Bill Bradford's Charlotte based Spirit Records. You simply cannot deny the success of recent charting hits from Debby Dobbins with Take Me Away and Don't Let The Sun Set (On A Broken Heart), Sonja Grier's I'll Know (When The Right One Comes Along) and Maria Howell's Don't Give Up On Love. Beach music classics have flowed from the Spirit well over the years, including (They Call It) Mr. Dollars, Jazz Freak, She's 60 (But She Still Looks Good), Can't Help This Feeling, How You Gonna Feel,  Ellaree and (Talkin' Bout) The Cakes My Baby Makes.

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I may have told this tale before, but it was roughly twelve years ago that we received a cassette promo at the radio station with a song on it called It's Finally Friday. I took it home, listened to it and liked it so much that I converted it to CD and began using it at gigs and on the air. The artist for the song was a group out of New Jersey called Wallstreet. Since then, Odell Mickens and the guys have given us such Beach hits as Closing Time, Such A Beautiful Girl, The Little Things, Something You Got, Old School Music, and more. Their latest, Shot Of Love, has that definitive groove that Wallstreet does so well, combining the Philly sound with North Myrtle Beach!

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He is still referred to as the Godfather of Beach Music. Some fifty-eight years ago, he and co-founder Bobby Tomlinson started a band called The Embers, still in existence today. Jackie Gore is still going strong as well, sounding better than ever. Henrietta, New York's Forevermore Records, managed and produced by CEO Christopher Biehler, is on the verge of releasing a new Jackie CD entitled My Love Is Your Love (Forever). An outstanding advance single of a new Jackie tune, I'm So Happy, has been sent out to several of the DJs. The album consists of twelve tunes, including the enhanced (and previously released) production version of I Love Beach Music by Jackie and the Original Members. There will be a CD Release Party at Deckerz in North Myrtle Beach on Thursday, September 24th during SOS Fall Migration. Another Forevermore project is also scheduled to be released. The legendary Russell Thompkins, Jr., who became the vocal lead at age 17 for the original Stylistics when they were formed in 1968, has worked with the production team at Forevermore for several years. Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics latest is The Very Best Of The Stylistics Hits (Live)...And More. It is produced together with the musical accompaniment of the Long Bay Symphony, who are based in Myrtle Beach.

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SOS Fall Migration cranks up Wednesday September 16th this year, with head start parties at Deckerz, Fat Harolds and Ducks. Bands and/or DJs entertain at the clubs everyday through Sunday, September 27th. Of particular interest at every Fall Migration is Fun Sunday and Fun Monday (see the posters above).  SOS is an opportunity to see as many as twenty different bands and a multitude of DJs over the twelve day period. In addition to the clubs mentioned above, there is a host of entertainment planned for these locations: OD Pavilion, OD Arcade, OD Beach Club, Spanish Galleon, OD Cafe, Pirates Cove, 2001, Saville's on 2nd, Swillie's Hideaway, The Shoe Center and more! The website www.shagtour.com has a daily schedule from almost all of these venues that is being constantly updated as the time grows near.

 

 

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Speaking of the Embers (above), now featuring Craig Woolard, what have they been up to lately? Well, they work as much as they want to, are in more demand than ever, and have, for example, twenty-three dates on the calendar during the month of September! Many of these dates are private but you can see the band during SOS Fall Migration on Monday, September 21st in the Spanish Galleon at 8 PM or at Fat Harold's on Tuesday, September 22nd at 1 PM. The Royal Ambassadors of Beach Music keep right on keepin' on!

 

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How many four piece bands do you see these days that really set the crowd on their ears, creating nothing but positive feedback?  Jim Quick and Coastline?  No, almost, but they are actually a five piece band. The group I am talking about is one I had the pleasure of DJ' ing with on August 27th as they made their debut appearance at TJ's Nightlife in Raleigh. From Charlotte, Too Much Sylvia generates as much excitement on the stage as about any group in the business.  This veteran outfit consists of Rick Lee, Steve Long, Eddy Howie and Don Leonard. They are scheduled to be front and center at this year's SOS Fun Monday, guarantee you will be totally entertained, do not miss them!

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Here's something unique and a whole lot of fun during SOS, a chance on two separate occasions to hear seven continuous hours of that great old school Rhythm & Blues music exclusively from vinyl - no CDs, no computers, none of that, just records like it used to be! Several great DJ's will be playing, including the current and past Presidents of the Association of Beach & Shag Club DJs. The two events are scheduled from Noon to 7 PM on September 19th and 26th at Ducks on Main. Definitely more good times to be had during Fall Migration!

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It was what, two years ago, that the Fantastic Shakers celebrated their 35th year in the business with an anniversary tour of events and parties, culminating in a 3 CD set and a published book about the band. Now it is the Entertainers turn. Elected to the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame in 2000, this group has undergone many changes in its 35 years. One constant throughout it all has been the leadership of Earl Dawkins. They are among the hottest commodities in the genre right now and could very well be the best they have ever been. Voted as the 2014 CBMA Group of the Year, they are a strong candidate to win the award again this Fall. As the poster above illustrates, the next several months will be filled with many events as part of the celebration. The opportunity to be a cog in the wheel of the ongoing gala is there by becoming a sponsor. Check it out and be part of Beach music history!

 

 

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It is often amazing as to the history that can be behind a single favorite song.  Two lyricists that often collaborated on projects in the first half of the 20th century were John Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie. Smith was born in Tennessee in 1901, graduated from Vanderbilt University, later co-wrote Night Train to Memphis and started his first orchestra in the early 1920's.

Gillespie, born in Kentucky in 1888, worked writing lyrics for early 20th century vaudeville productions but was likely most famous for his composition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. It wasn't until 1949 that the two gentlemen got together to compose That Lucky Old Sun. Writing credits for the composition often erroneously state the co-author as Harry Beasley Smith, who was also a songwriter but not this songwriter.

 

The song has an immediate impact - the inaugural version of That Lucky Old Sun charted in 1949 as recorded and sung by Frankie Laine.  Within six months Vaughn Monroe, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra all had Billboard charting versions of the song. The list of performers over the following years that recorded the song is almost unbelievable - Dean Martin, Lavern Baker, Bing Crosby, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Andrews Sisters, Pat Boone, Paul Williams, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Jackie Wilson, Isley Brothers, Tony Bennett, Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Solomon Burke, Leon Russell, Jerry Garcia, Righteous Brothers, Letterman, George Benson, and so on. The majority of the versions were recorded either as ballads or at most at mid-tempo. So how then did a version of this song end up on Ripete Records first volume of the Beach Music Anthology Box Set in 1992?

 

Born Maurice Dollison, Jr. in New Madrid, Missouri in 1941, this young man escaped his harsh rural upbringing by signing up for military service. Later landing in Chicago, he was an accomplished guitarist as well as an aspiring singer/songwriter. He quickly found work in the burgeoning Blues and Soul scene in the Windy City. Co-writing a song entitled When You Wake Up, Dollison was quite surprised when the Thomas Records label released the tune with a new artist name for him - Cash McCall. (Interesting, there was a 1960 Warner Brothers movie entitled Cash McCall starring James Garner as a rogue businessman, assume that's where they got the name). The song became a hit, going to #19 on the Billboard R&B chart. Today, it is considered one of the all time top Beach music classics. McCall wrote or co-wrote several more tunes that were released on the Thomas and Checker labels. One of these released as the A-side of a 45 RPM single was entitled You Mean Everything To Me. The B-side was a WOW factor, an amazing smokin' soulful upbeat horn laden version of That Lucky Old Sun!!  Cash McCall's version did not chart but today is also now considered a Beach music classic!  He came up with one more that hit the Beach market, another B-side called Let's Get A Thing Going On, which the Legends of Beach covered with a righteous version of their own a few years back.  McCall continued recording and performing Soul, Funk, Blues and Gospel music over a career that has spanned 50 plus years!

 

 

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