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Beach Buzz February 2016

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Mid-Winter SOS at North Myrtle Beach January 13th through the 17th was deemed quite a success. The event has gotten so big that it actually kicked off on Wednesday with DJ's playing at selected clubs and of course a band that night at Duck's. Participating clubs/locations for entertainment throughout the weekend included Saville's On 2nd, Fat Harolds, Ducks, OD Arcade, Pirates Cove, OD Beach Club, Deckerz, Spanish Galleon, 2001 and Baywatch Resort.  February promises to be quite an active month at NMB as well with live entertainment at several locations.

 

The 2015 CBMA Song of the Year, Blackwater R&B Band's Dance Tonight remained at the top of the Smokin' 45 for January. Strong challengers shaping up and in some cases zooming up multiple charts include: Satisfy My Woman - Entertainers, My Girl (Shag Mix) - Andre Lee, Marvin Gaye - Charlie Puth with Megan Trainor, Don't Walk On By - Sammy O'Banion (we will have a feature on Sammy in the March edition), Cool Breeze - Catalinas, Too Many Tears - Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot with Marsha Morgan, True Love - Carolina Soul Band, We Were Having Fun - Grayson Hugh. 

 

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Speaking of Myrtle Beach fun in February, the Spanish Galleon has a full Valentine's Weekend lineup of entertainment on their schedule.

Thursday night February 11th features Jim Quick & Coastline, Friday night February 12th marks the return of The Entertainers and Saturday night February 13th is a special treat. The Martin Davis Band will perform featuring Durwood Martin, Tony Davis, with Big John Thompson and Jackie Gore. That show alone should be worth the price of the entire 3 day weekend!!

 

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Hard to believe it has been 10 years since the first Cabin Fever Throwdown!  At the first one in 2007, we had multiple DJ's participating, of which I happened to be one of those that played. This year's event, scheduled for February 14th, is sponsored by Band of Oz member David Hicks and the Raleigh Shag Club. The first 9 editions of this event were held at either the Longbranch (now closed) or the North Raleigh Hilton. The Throwdown has moved this year to the Sheraton Imperial Hotel located just off Interstate 40 and Page Road as you approach Research Triangle Park heading west from Raleigh.  Great entertainment assured with 4 outstanding Beach music bands performing for a very good cause, Transitions LifeCare, of which HospiceCare is an included division. Cabin Fever Throwdown won the Carolina Beach Music Award for Shag Club Event of the Year in 2015.

 

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The 25th Annual DJ Throwdown is scheduled for March 3rd through the 5th at where? North Myrtle Beach, of course. Thursday night is always big band night, this year is no exception. The Fantastic Shakers, Jim Quick & Coastline and the Band of Oz will all play at Ducks that evening. DJ's will then play continuously  (schedules are TBA) on Friday and Saturday. This shapes up to be the biggest Throwdown ever, be sure to be there!  

 

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 Did you realize that the Big Time Band (formerly known the Big Time Party Band) has been entertaining crowds from Central and Piedmont North Carolina to Myrtle Beach and beyond for over 12 years?  Formed in 2003 by music veterans Johnny Wilson and John Arthurs (now with the Castaways), they have been through some lineup changes over the years as most bands experience but are still going strong!  Big Time provides a blend of bluesy Beach music combined with somewhat of a Country/Rock flavor through a good mix of both covers and originals with the opportunity to feature multiple lead vocalists.  Their well received 2009 Footprints In The Sand album on the KHP label included previous hits like Drink Up, Oh What A Feeling and Tiffany Hancock's originally penned Do Ya Like. Their live performances always turn in to a celebration of the music. Big Time has received several Carolina Beach Music Award nominations over the years, including Best New Artist.

 

Big Time, their recent self-titled album release is a strong combination of previously charting singles and new compositions. Monster hits in the Beach music world include Four O'Clock In The Morning, which features Clifford Curry, and one of my favorite tunes over the last few years, the John L. Wilson co-written Cherry Groove. Another Wilson penned song which has been in the vaults for several years that works well for the shaggers is Carolina Fine. Two tracks previously released as singles that have seen chart action and radio play are the Johnny Wilson written I Love Them All and the Tiffany and Bill Hancock co-written I Stop Thinkin'. Even more originals: John L. wrote the serious mid-tempo shuffle I'm Grown while former band guitarist and album engineer Barry Briggs composed Summer's End (Time Will Come) and the instrumental only Dark Clouds. The covers are solid grooves as well -  What She Wants, Too Much Too Little Too Late and a rendition of Slip Away that met what they were going for - a cross between Clarence Carter and Greg Allman. Eleven tracks in all, Big Time is their time, with a musical styling that is all their own! Learn more about the band at  http://www.btpb.net/

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Speaking of party bands, have you had the opportunity yet to see Bounce? Out of Burlington, NC, this contingent of musicians takes Rock, Pop, Funk, Soul and Beach to the edge with high energy and intensity. They recently had a single included on the most recent KHP compilation, Take A Walk In The Sunshine. The Bounce rendition of Higher and Higher is what I would call a 'cover with originality', with lady vocalist Christina Foster providing the lead singing. Additional band members: Mike Foster--guitar, Michael Parks---vocals, Don Chambers--bass & vocals, Jarrod Crews--drums, Steve Edmunds--keys & vocals. One of the most experienced members in the music business is front of the house guy Alan Brantley, who has engineered setup and sound for many bands over the last 30 years, including Willie T & The Magnificents, Holiday Band, Big John & The Rhythm Brothers, Lia & The Wave, Hip Pocket and Punch. Bounce will be bringing their dynamic stage presence to Duck's in North Myrtle Beach on Saturday February 6th, it is guaranteed to be a huge party!

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 So, a few KHP compilations ago, actually it was on the Dancing With My Baby comp, a band called Hot and Humid (suspected to be Steve Owens & Summertime, LOL) did an excellent cover of a tune entitled Aeroplane Blonde. The original song was recorded in 2011 by one of the craziest horn Funk bands you have ever seen known as Here Come The Mummies. Based out of Nashville, all the on-stage players completely wrap themselves in mummy garb, being careful not to reveal their true identities. Formed in 2000, the band has had numerous albums and EPs since that point in time. I mention all this because, even though they travel the show circuit extensively, they seldom come to the Carolinas. The Mummies are actually scheduled to make a rare Tarheel appearance at Charlotte's Neighborhood Theatre on March 3rd.

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Back in October of last year, we published a feature, choosing a decade of Beach music in which to pick a song from each year (our first decade being 1981-1990) that finished as a top tune for that year and had some level of uniqueness as well. This month we chose to look at 1971-1980, a decade in which some feel that Beach music suffered a drastic decline. Beach music from the past is preserved by radio and club play, published history and the many fans who remember the songs  and pass the love of them on to future generations!

 

 

 1971 - Girls In The City  - Esquires. Formed in Milwaukee in 1957 while most of the group members were still in high school, the Esquires performed in some form or fashion for the next 40 years. Subsequent lineup changes and a move to Chicago to secure label backing resulted in their biggest hit, Get On Up, which hit #3 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1967. This mid-tempo song, written by group leader Gilbert Moorer,  peaked at #18 on Billboard in 1971, but finished  #7 on the Beach charts.

 

1972 - Ask Me What You Want - Millie Jackson. The #9 Beach song, it was the first in a long string of hits for a young, talented and beautiful chanteuse originally from small town Georgia. Getting her start performing in New Jersey nightclubs, her powerful singing led to many years of recordings on the New York based Spring Records label, with several of her singles making an impact on Billboard's R&B and Mainstream charts. With a total 39 charting singles and 20 charting albums in a 40 plus year career, shouldn't this lady be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

 

1973 - You Keep Telling Me Yes - Cannonball. Beach songs recorded by local groups in the decade of the '70's were in a clear minority, but if you did any hanging out at the Original Spanish Galleon in the summer of 1973, you were sure to hear this song over and over on the jukebox. Paul Craver was a member of the group, the song was written by Joe Clinard, Bucky Cherry and Jerry Hutchins and recorded at Reflection Sound Studios in Charlotte.

 

1974 - Show And Tell - Al Wilson.  Coming in at #19 on the Beach charts for the year, but to me this was one of the biggest impact Soul songs of the decade. I remember that WKIX in Raleigh sure wore it out!  I always felt that the California based Wilson was a very underrated artist as he recorded many songs over a span of a dozen or more years, but this was by far his biggest hit, making it all the way to #1 on the Billboard Top 100.

 

1975 - Some Kind Of Wonderful/Bad Time - Grand Funk Railroad.  The #10 and #18 songs on the Beach charts for the year, respectively. The first time I saw this band was May of 1970 at Spring Jubilee Weekend in Chapel Hill. I would not have imagined at the time that this group of hard rockers would ever register in Carolina Beach music! Originally formed in 1968 in Flint, Michigan, the band has disbanded and re-grouped a few times over the last 45 plus years. The current version of the band, of course, includes Beach music hitmaker Tim Cashion.

 

1976 - Lowdown - Boz Scaggs. The #4 song on the charts, the Canton, Ohio native and former Steve Miller Band member was just reaching the height of his popularity as a sololist on the national Pop/Rock scene. This tune was on his widely acclaimed top charting Silk Degrees album. The charting is significant from the standpoint that, particularly in recent years,  many of the Beach DJ's that are on the radio have realized that there are several of the Scaggs songs from the '70's  era that work well in their show formats.

 

1977 - Smoke From A Distant Fire - Sanford Townsend Band. This year is listed as the lowest point in Beach music history with only 10 total songs on the yearly chart. Hmm, isn't this the same year Saturday Night Fever was released? Anyways, this short lived LA based band had a major hit on their hands in '77, this fast paced tune with killer instrumentals was pretty much a one hit wonder for them. It was a blast for sure, however, racing up the national charts, peaking at the

 #9 position on Billboard in September of that year. Both Ed Sanford and John Townsend spent most of their subsequent careers crafting songs and providing session work for artists such as Loggins & Messina, Brenton Wood and Michael McDonald, among others.

 

1978 - I Love The Nightlife - Alicia Bridges. Right smack dab in the middle of the Disco era, this 25 year old lady from western North Carolina emerged with a smash hit, going all the way to #5 nationally. Her emphatic phrasing such as "Act-shon, I got so much to give" together with a powerful rhythm track made it a perfect dance tune for the big city clubs at that time. Although active in the business for many years after, Bridges never again reached that level of fame.

 

1979 - Myrtle Beach Days -  Fantastic Shakers. As the #8 Beach song for the year, it was another one born in the Carolinas that is now considered a classic. The band had just been recently formed in 1978 by Bo Schronce and Dino Fair. This tune about fun in the sun gave the Shakers early recognition in the Beach music crowd.  It was also included in one of Ripete Records earliest various artists compilations that happened to coincide with what we might call the 'revival' of Carolina Beach music.

 

1980 -  Lover And Friend - Minnie Riperton. Released in 1979, coming in at #13 on the Beach charts, the intro to this killer tune reminds me of Shaggin' With My Sugar by Staircase. Originally from Chicago, Minnie began her singing career at the age of 14 in the early '60's as a member of the Gems, who were on the Chess label. Eventually developing a silky smooth delivery and a wide vocal range, she was selected in 1968 to be the lead singer of the Soul/Jazz fusion band Rotary Connection. Later relocating to LA and going solo, Minnie charted nationally many times with singles and albums throughout the '70's. Riperton tragically fell victim to cancer in 1979 at the age of 31. Her legacy as an entertainer, however,  lives on in her daughter, actress/comedian Maya Rudolph.

 

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

 

              

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