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Beach Buzz November 2015

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 The time is here: The 21st Annual Carolina Beach Music Awards begins Wednesday November 11th and runs through Sunday November 15th. It promises to be bigger and better than ever - the current band/solo artist count of official performing acts is up to twenty-four with more still to be announced. Not only can you see long time favorites such as the Embers, Band of Oz, Holiday Band, Jim Quick & Coastline, Fantastic Shakers, Entertainers, Castaways and the Mighty Tams but it is also an outstanding opportunity to see relatively new artists to the genre such as Midnight Allie, Blackwater Rhythm & Blues, Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot, Carolina Soul Band, Too Much Sylvia, Steve Owens & Summertime, Carolina Breakers and more. Eddie Cornelius (Cornelius Brothers), Jeff Cook (Alabama), Eddie Floyd, Lomax and more surprise guests will be there as well.

 

The Carolina Beach Music Awards, once known as the Cammys, have evolved over the years. Some original award categories were discontinued, some have been added and still some have changed titles but are essentially the same award. This evolution reflects the general changes in the music industry that have occurred over that period of time. We have moved from hardcopy media format to the social media network of the online Internet. Advances in technology result in the need to move forward with it - thus you see more recent categories such as Internet Radio Station, Internet Radio Show and Internet Radio DJ. The Board of Directors and Advisory Board are constantly striving to keep the categories and the rules for the awards relevant to the changing times.

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Some Interesting Cammy/CBMA History:

The first year of the Cammys in 1995 saw a preview of the future in Beach music and future winners with several of the category awards. The Song of the Year winner was You're The Boss, You're The Best, which was a collaboration with Billy Scott, Maurice Williams, Clifford Curry and The Coastline Band. Coastline would win this category again in 1999, 2000 and 2007. Coastline would also win New Artist of the Year in 1995 and go on to win Group of the Year in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008, which is among their many overall awards over the years. Of course Jim Quick is the only original member remaining from the group from way back when - hey, that's why they are now called Jim Quick & Coastline!

 

The Female Vocalist of the Year in 1995 was Susan Trexler, who is very much still active in the business. The Group of the Year was Band of Oz, who would go on to win this award seven more times, the most recent being 2013. Oz also won Group Album of the Year for Let It Roll. The Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year in 1995 - the late Billy Scott, who was one of the cornerstones of Carolina Beach music for many years. Billy's original group the Georgia Prophets was elected to the CBMA Hall of Fame in 1997.

One now discontinued category that was active in 1995 was Original Song. The winner was Gone Fishin' by the Chairmen of the Board, now considered a Beach music all time classic. The late General Norman Johnson also won Songwriter of the Year for both 1995 and 1996. The General and the Chairmen were absolutely one of the most important factors in Beach music for thirty plus years.

 

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The Fantastic Shakers are another group of longevity who have experienced much success on Awards Weekend. Although they have only won Group of the Year twice (1998, 1999), this outstanding band has numerous overall wins across multiple categories including Group Album, Blues Album, Entertainer, Song, Blues Song, Male Vocalist, Instrumentalist, Ballad/Smoothie, Collaboration, and of course the group as well as individual members being selected to the CBMA Hall of Fame.  Their production of Shakin' The Shack was amazing - it won Group Album, Blues Album, Song and Blues Song of the Year in 1998. I doubt Bo Schronce and Dino Fair had any realization of the industry success they were creating when forming the Shakers back in 1978!

 

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We mentioned the Band of Oz above. It is hard to talk about the success of Carolina Beach music without them as part of the discussion. With the origination of the band right at forty years ago, their shows have become legendary in stature and entertainment value. Oz too has won numerous CBMA awards across categories Group, Group Album, Song, Ballad/Smoothie, Male Vocalist, Entertainer, Producer, Engineer, Instrumentalist and Live Production. The band was elected to the CBMA Hall of Fame in 1997. One unsung hero in Oz has to be Jerry West, whose versatility as an entertainer won him both Male Vocalist and Instrumentalist of the Year in 2009!

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Another outstanding group that I have to mention when it comes to award history is the Holiday Band, who will be going into the CBMA Hall of Fame this year. The band has won Group Album of the Year four times (2000, 2003, 2008, 2011), Group of the Year in 2003 and 2009, Blues Album in 2000 and Song of the Year, I'm Man Enough, in 2003 in addition to multiple awards for Mike Taylor as Songwriter of the Year. One of the most significant wins for Holiday had to be in the Blues Song of the Year category in 1999 for Shotgun Boogie. This was also the title of the album that brought them fully forward as a force to be reckoned with in Beach music. Holiday has gone on to have more individual songs to make the Beach charts over the last seventeen years that any other artist in the genre. Holiday will be performing on Friday evening November 13th directly after the CBMA Hall of Fame Awards presentation in the OD Ballroom.

 

 

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But what about the Embers, you might ask. The Embers featuring Craig Woolard will be closing the festivities of this year's CBMAs on Sunday night with a huge jam session in the Spanish Galleon. When you think of the Embers (if you are around my age!) you remember them as one of the longest running bands in Beach music, approaching sixty years now. The band has recorded and released many albums over that period but I would have to single out three as being extremely important to the ongoing success of the Beach genre. 1979's I Love Beach Music was monumental - it came at a time when the music industry in general had drastically changed and Beach music in particular's survival was in question. Tunes such as the title track, Hold Back The Night, Gonna Do Beautiful Things For You and I'll Come Running brought back some of that good time feel to the culture.  The second one I would say would have to be 1988's Colours. Key tracks included Stop Me From Starting This Feeling, What You Do To Me, Sunshine And You and Glad I Fell In Love With You. The result further extended the band's repertoire with songs that are still heard on today's Beach radio shows. The third significant release, Let's Have A Party,  won Cammys in 1996 for Best Group Album, Blues Album,  Song Collaboration, Duo Recording (Craig and Debbie Dobbins for Bring It On Home To Me) and Best Compilation Album??. Wait, wasn't it an Embers album? Yes, but there were so many collaborations with the band by great artists on the release that Compilation Album just made sense. With Johnny Adams, Jerry Butler, Jimmy Hall, Bill Pinkney, Debbie Dobbins, Greg 'Fingers' Taylor, Maceo Parker and John Ellison all on board, it was a huge landmark of local/regional/national cross section of Beach music! It is extremely fitting that this legendary group has been selected as one of the closing acts for this years CBMAs!

 

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What about CBMA win streaks? The Entertainers won their first Group of the Year Award in 2014, stopping a consecutive win streak of five years by Band of Oz. Can other streaks continue?  Jim Quick has won Entertainer of the Year eight times in a row, Craig Woolard has been voted Male Vocalist of the Year five straight times and ten out of the last thirteen years and Rhonda McDaniel has made it seven years in a row for Female Vocalist of the Year. The longest current consecutive streak?  Producer of the Year, Keith Houston, with thirteen years in a row since 2002!   

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One of our very special guests at this year's CBMAs will be singer/songwriter as well as instrumentalist/producer Lomax Spaulding. Lomax is a Georgia native who has been in the music industry for many years working with the likes of Cameo, Levert, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Stephanie Mills, Luther VanDross, Atlantic Starr, Zapp & Roger, R. Kelly, Jermaine Jackson, Mel Waiters, Alexander O'Neal, among many others. As a songwriter, Lomax has had compositions across R&B, Soul, Gospel as well as Country genres. As far as solo recording work goes, his Life's Lessons album caught my ear about three years ago, particularly a song called Swing It. The tune first appeared here on our Southern Soul Smokin' Top 45 chart in January of 2013. It eventually made it's way over to Beach music, debuting at #33 on our Beach Smokin' Top 45 in April of 2014. It hit number one this past December and remained in that spot for the next ten months.

 

Two additional songs from Lomax's album that have gotten chart action and/or DJ play are Let Me Work It and Baby It's Over. He also has a brand new single, The Knock Down Inn, which is destined to be hot! In addition to joining us for all the weekend festivities, Lomax will be performing with the Summerdaze Band on Saturday night in the OD Ballroom as well as on the Sunday afternoon CBMA Awards Show at the Alabama Theatre. We look forward to seeing and hearing this very versatile performer who has made such an impact this past year in the world of Beach music!       

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Have you ever been to a private party where the public was also not to be turned away if they chose to come? I worked at one just like that on October 24th, playing in between outstanding sets as performed by the Castaways Band! The group was definitely at the top of their game combining Beach, Boogie, Soul, Blues and some awesome Country Rock to entertain an overflow crowd in Chapel Hill, NC. The Castaways played several selections from their latest album, Movin' On, which is currently nominated for Group Album of the Year. Five songs from the CD have already seen significant chart and/or radio action:  Dreamin', Woman on the Move, Talk To Me, Pretend We Never Met and Dancin' Fool. There is the potential for a few more to hit the charts going in to 2016, particularly Cool My Heels and My Turn My Time. In addition to Group Album, the band is nominated in five additional CBMA categories this year. You can catch the Castaways at this year's weekend on Friday afternoon November 13th at Deckerz and/or Saturday evening November 14th in the OD Beach Club. They will also be performing on the Saturday afternoon Industry Awards and at the Sunday afternoon CBMA Awards Show at the Alabama Theatre.

 

 

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