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Have You Heard? May 2016

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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.

Have You Heard...
by Mike Little

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  Have you heard about the new KHP Music's compilation, Take a Walk In The Sunshine, that was released in time for the Carolina Beach Music Awards that were held at the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach in November, 2015?  With only four months on the market, the album boasts seven songs in the charts.  Down & Dirty Love by The Tams, featuring Little Redd, leads the pack by reaching the Top Five in one chart and making a stronghold in the Top 25 of another.  Sammy O'Banion is coming strong with his new release, Don't Walk On By, and it has recently entered the Top Ten in one of the charts. The number is a medley of Carole King's It's Too Late, recorded in 1971, and Dionne Warwick's Walk On Back, recorded in 1964.  Andre Lee has really made a name for himself in the Carolina Beach Music market.  After having a lot of success with such songs as I Found What I've Been Looking For and Back In The Day Cafe, he is back in the charts with My Girl.  Other charted songs from the album include Everlasting Love by Donny and Susan Trexler, On The Way Out by Jim Quick and Nicole Andrews and What Else Can It Be by that War Eagle guy, Bubba D. Liverance. You will also find the charted songs I Get The Sweetest Feeling by Pat Christie and Nothing Can Help You Now by Jimmy and Darlene Harrison.  Take A Walk In The Sunshine has much more.  England's Roy Hamilton should experience success in the near future with his contribution, Tale A Walk In The Sunshine, the title track to the album.  Paul Craver takes part with In Her Own Way.  Maria Howell has already experienced success with Don't Give Up On Love.  Keyboardist, saxophonist and vocalist, Glenn Tippet of The Coastline Band, displays his vocal talent with Something Like Olivia.  The album also includes music from Johnny Cobb with a his take on Michael Bolton's Love Is A Wonderful Thing.  You will also find music from new comer, Bounce! a high energy party band from the foothills of North Carolina.  Check out their version of Higher And Higher.  Take A Walk In The Sunshine carries a bonus track from the late Willie T of Willie T & The Magnificents.  The bonus track is Two Lonely People by Willie T. & Zipper.  Willie T., William Lee Graves, died this past August.   Take A Walk In The Sunshine is a necessity for deejays to play today's current popular music.             

 

  The Knickerbocker All-Stars has released the group's second album on the band's own label, JP Cadillac Records, Go Back Home To The Blues, building on the enthusiasm received from their first album, Open Mic At The Knick.  The Knickerbocker All-Stars is made up of celebrated veterans and masters of their craft.  The band is comprised of original members of Roomful of Blues, members of The Duke Robillard Band and Sugar Ray & The Bluetones, vocalist Willie J. Laws and Brian Templeton, veteran lead singer for The Radio Kings Of the thirteen songs on the release, there are four originals penned by band member, Al Basille, when he was with Roomful of Blues.  You Know That You Love may be the best of the four.  Check it out.  However, you might prefer the title track, Go Back To The Blues.  Another one that fits is I Tried, that was featured on Roomful's 1998 album, There Goes The Neighborhood.  You definitely want to check out Jukin'.  The tune is an instrumental, composed and initially recorded by Willie Mitchell.  The musicians and singers appearing on Go Back Home To The Blues are somewhat different from the group's debut release.  The current Knickerbocker's lineup includes Boston's best-loved guitarist, Monster Mike Welch, member of Sugar Ray & The Bluetones and leader of the Monster Mike Welch Band.  On tenor saxophone comes Sax Gordon Beadle.  In addition to heading up the Sax Gordon Band over the years he has been called up to play and record with numerous American Blues & Soul greats.  Sax Gordon has been featured as soloist on albums by legends such as Champion Jack Dupree, Charles Brown, Roscoe Gordon, Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy McGriffin and Billy Boy Arnold.  Go Back Home To The Blues by The Knickerbocker All-Stars is sure to be popular and a classic some day.

 

  It was Van Morrison who heard James Hunter in concert and worked with him to release his first major album, his 1994 solo debut, Believe What I Say recording, which gave us the hit, I'll Walk Away.  Van Morrison even appeared on the album.  James Hunter went on to release more albums which contained numerous hits for the Beach Music market.  Those include People Gonna Talk, Corina, Watch & Chain, Kick It Around and more recently, Let The Monkey Rode.  Over the past two decades, James has accumulated quite a following.  He now has been on the scene enough to acquire plenty of feathers in his cap, with his music appearing on the Billboard chart and the Beach Music charts.  He has also received a Grammy nomination.  James Hunter has now signed with a new record company, Daptone Records, who has released The James Hunter Six's latest...Hold On.  The new album carries at least five cuts that any of which could easily enter into the charts.  I feel that Light Of My Life just might be the first one to enter the Beach & Shag charts.  Also, In The Dark, This Is Where We Came In and Something's Calling could easily jump into the charts.  Also, A True Heart is a great number.  It is only about 2 1/3 minutes long, but give it a -4, and you'll see them headed to the hardwood.  Hold On by The James Hunter Six is in the stores now.

 

  Andy Poxon comes from a long line of accomplished musicians.  His mother and father met while studying classical music at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.  His grandfather played the French horn for over thirty years, and his grandmother teaches classical violin.  Andy is a talented young singer, songwriter and guitarist, recording his first album, Red Roots, for EllerSoul Records at age 16 in 2011. EllerSoul has now released Andy's third album, Must Be Crazy, that carries thirteen songs that he either wrote or co-wrote.  Of the number of songs on the album that will appeal to the Beach and Shag market, Making A Fool tends to be the one that surely will breakout during the upcoming Deejay Throwdown in March and the upcoming Spring Safari of the Society of Stranders in April.  You will also find that the title track, You Must Be Crazy, will be appealing, as will Give Me A Chance and Living Alone.  Living Alone sounds something that Delbert McClinton would record.  Rightfully so, for the album was recorded and mixed at Rock House Studio in Franklin, Tennessee.  Rock House is owned and operated by Kevin McKendree, who was keyboardist for Delbert for a number of years.  Kevin handles the piano, organ and electric piano on all of the songs on Must Be Crazy.  You will also want to take in the instrumental, Rebound, co-written by Andy and Delbert's son, Yates, who plays the organ on the song.  Check what I call a happy song on the album, I Want To Know.  For a good “get-close” song, you will want to take in Harder Everyday.  As said, Andy Poxon is a talented young man with a remarkable level of professional poise for one so young.  Andy Poxon's Must Be Crazy, from EllerSoul Records...now available in record stores everywhere.  By the way, EllerSoul Records was established by and owned by attorney, Watkins Ellison and Ronnie Owens.  Ronnie is Lil' Ronnie of Lil' Ronnie & The Grand Dukes.

 

  Rick Strickland's new album, New Beginning, has only been out just a short period of time, but the title track from the album, New Beginning,  is already on one chart and is bubbling under on another.  New Beginning first appeared on the Sisbro Productions' album, Carolina Shag VII.  Another song from the release, the ballad A Long Time Ago, received a lot of play and first appeared on Patman and Robin Records' We're Building An Island.  New Beginning is not the only song we'll see on the charts.  If you listen to The Best Of Me, you will see what I am speaking of.  It is surely to move into the charts once New Beginning plays out.  You should also listen to I've Got My Mind Made Up.  It, too, should be well accepted by the dance crowd.  Front person of The Rick Strickland Band, Lesa Hudson, is featured on the release with Joy.  It Is What It Is has already received some play for line dancers, however it is not the only one on the record that has that potential.  All of the songs on the album were written, produced, arranged, engineered and mixed by Rick.  I surely expect New Beginning to achieve great success in the market place.  I also feel that the album and songs will find their way into the awards arena, joining Rick Strickland's many other achievements.  Something Smooth won Solo Album of the Year in the Carolina Beach Music Awards in 2007, and Rick was Songwriter of the Year for is the title track.  Rick's Island Soul was also voted Album of the Year in 2010.  Numerous other awards have been awarded over the past years between Rick Strickland, Lesa Hudson and The Rick Strickland Band.

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Andy Santana has released his latest, this one by Andy Santana & The West Coast PlayBoys, Watch Your Step from Delta Groove Music.  Of the many number of songs from the album that fit into the Beach Music and Shag markets, there are three strong songs that have chart potential, maybe four.  Andy could have been a little more Southern in his dialect on the Knock Knock intro, but the song should please the dancers.  Playgirl has a great piano intro, and it immediately moves into what should draw folks to the floor.  When you listen to Go On Fool, you'll probably say, “What is he thinking?”  Hold on.  Slow the song on the pitch control to -4, and you may have the best song on the album.  Other notables on the release are One Way Love Affair, No Double Talk and You Smell Like Cookies.  Don't let the title of the latter song fool you.  The Andy Santana number has a great harmonica intro and is very upbeat with a true shag beat.  In addition to Andy Santana, there are numerous talented West Coast artists such as Kid Andersen, Mighty Mike Schermer, Rusty Zinn, Anthony Paule, Bob Welsh and a host of others.  They make up The West Coast PlayBoys with Andy Santana on vocal, harmonica and lead guitar.  Watch you step with Watch Your Step.  It's gonna be hot.

 

  Pittsboro, North Carolina's BigTime's sophomore release, the self-titled BigTime, from Fine Groove Records, is out.  BigTime was formed in 2003 as the BigTime Party Band and released the band's first album, Footprints In The Sand.  Drink Up from the album received a lot of attention, elevating the band's popularity.  This release also carried Do Ya' Like and Oh, What A Feeling.  Following the release of Footprints In The Sand, BigTime Party Band was nominated for Best New Artist in the Carolina Beach Music Awards.  BigTime's recording efforts since that time were featured on several award winning compilations.  I Love Them All was part of KHP Music's Party On The Ocean.  In 2012, the band's single, Cherry Groove, was released on a single and found its way into being a part of Sisbro's compilation, Carolina Shag III.  The was written by band member John L. Wilson and Barry Briggs, who sang backup vocals and played guitar on the song,  The band later went into the studio with the legendary Grammy award winner Clifford Curry to record Four O'clock In The Morning.  The song was released on KHP's Back In The Day Cafe album.  The song received two nominations in the Carolina Beach Music Awards, one as Collaboration of the Year and the other for Producer of the  Year for founding member Johnny Wilson, who oversaw the recording of the track.  The new album, BigTime, features these three songs and much more.  The first new single release is Carolina Fine.  It was written in 2003 by John L. Wilson and was intended for release by the original lineup of the band.  Various reasons kept it from being recorded during that time, but it is now featured on BigTime.  Also, check out the band's take Johnny Mathis' and Deneice Williams' Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.  The group's version of this classic could possibly be seen entering into the charts.  In reviewing the all of the songs, you should pay close attention to What She Wants and Slip Away.  BigTime's BigTime is available now at your favorite outlet that carries Beach Music.

 

  Delta Groove Records, the leader in West Coast Roots and Blues music, released Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars debut album, Fifty Shades of Blue.  Though this is Anthony's debut album, he is no stranger to recording.  He is an original member of Sugar Ray & The Bluetones and Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters. In addition, he has recorded with Otis Grand, Kenny Neal, Debbie Davies, Duke Robillard, Zora Young, The Radio Kings and many others.  Anthony, who plays piano and the Hammond organ on the project is definitely backed by a group of all-stars.  Darrell Nulish is lead vocalist and plays harmonica on the key number on this release of the thirteen song album, that being The Blues Never Sleeps.  Darrell was a founding member of Anson Funderburgh's Rockets and spent time with Ronnie Earl's Broadcasters.  Other all-stars include Sugar Ray Norcia who provides lead vocals and plays harmonica on a number of songs, including the ballads Don't Keep Me Waiting and Your Turn To Cry.  Toni Washington provides the lead vocals on the up-tempo Diamonds and Pearls.  Michelle “Evil Gal” Willson joins Sugar Ray on the title track, Evil Shades of Blue and handles the lead vocals on If You Want To Get To Heaven..  Other all-stars include Monster Mike Welch on guitar, Michael “Mudcat” Ward on acoustic and electric bass, Marty Richards and Neil Gouvin share their talents on drums.  All songs on the album were written by Anthony Geraci.  Fifty Shades Of Blue has been nominated in the upcoming Blues Music Awards to be held in May in Memphis, Tennessee.  The nominations include Album of the Year, Traditional Album of the Year and Song of the Year for the title track of album.  Fifty Shades of Blue by Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars is a sure winner. 

 

  Brian Bleakley and Steve Ambrose are 2 For Fun.  The two are the lead vocalists of the international recording artists of The Original Rhondels.  As you probably know, Bill Deal & The Rhondels were formed in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1959 with Bill Deal, now deceased, on vocals, organ, electric piano and bass pedals and Ammon Tharp as lead singer and drums.  The band went on to become a cross between Blue Eyed Soul and Beach Music with three singles that were national hits with the Rhondels' own sound, The Tams' I've Been Hurt and What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am) and Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs'  May I.  The group also scored regionally and in Beach Music markets with Swingin' Tight and Nothing Succeeds Like Success.  Brian and Steve works with the rest of The Original Rhondels to continue the tradition.  The duo has also come together as the duo, 2 For Fun and has combined their talents,creating their own sound.  They enjoy singing together and entertaining a variety of audiences with their music.  Brian and Steve recently released their first full Beach Music and Pop album, Breezin' With You.  As expected, the release contains a variety of music for all.  There are two on the album of which you want to pay close attention to, one being the original title track, Breezin' With You.  The other song that will surely bring the dancer to the floor is Shake That Thang.  The number is the pair's version of Earl Thomas' The Way She Shakes That Thang.  If you have trouble finding 2 For Fun's Breezin' With You, you can get it from their Website, 2forfun.com.            

 

  There's more to come in time for the Spring Safari of the Society of Stranders.  The Entertainers will be releasing The Best Of The Entertainers in celebration of the group's 35th anniversary.  This album will carry all of The Entertainers' hits plus three new ones.  Rhonda McDaniel will be releasing her new album, Catch The Fire.  The title track is Rhonda's take on Drizabone's hit.  Jim Quick and the boys are working furiously on The Coastline Band's new album.  The Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band is expected to complete their new album in time for SOS.  The Band of Oz is also anticipated to complete the songs for the group's new release.  In addition, Green Dot Music should be able to have its new compilation in time for the Safari.  More to come!

 

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Kwik Kuts

 

  Here are some cuts from various artists that may work well in the Beach Music scene.

 

  They Can't Take That Away From Me by Willie Nelson.  In 2015, Willie Nelson won the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize and became the first Country Music artist to receive the honor.  The award was created by the United States Library of Congress in 2007 to a composer or performer for his or her lifetime contribution to popular music.  The prize was named after brothers George and Ira Gershwin whose compositions influenced greatly to popular music.  So honored, Nelson went into the studio with most of his band and longtime producer, Buddy Cannon, to cut eleven of George Gershwin's tunes.  The results, along Nelson's recordings from previous releases, became the new release, Summertime...Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin.

 

  I Said Yes by The SugarBees featuring Mary Vella.  This ballad will be receiving a lot of attention in the coming months.  This award-winning has been around for a long time performing a variety of music.  The group is best known for their recorded music such as Give It To A Good Man, Slippin' And Slidin' and The Monkey Song.  Today's lineup of band members features front person Mary Vella on percussion and vocals.  The personnel of the band has changed over the years.  However, drummer and vocalist Fred Shaw is the glue that keeps the band front and center in the public eye, having been with The SugarBees in the beginning, when it was the house band of Ripete Records.

 

  Swing On by O.B. Buchana.  This one should draw the smooth steppers onto the floor.  The number comes from Ecko Records' Mississippi Folks.  The Mississippi native began his career at age eight, singing Gospel in his church, eventually becoming lead singer of the gospel, The Mighty Suns of God, at age eighteen.  He then began recording secularly, eventually signing with Ecko.

 

  Baby Come Back Home by Mr. X.  Songwriter and Gospel singer, Mark “Mr. X” Safford entered the Southern Soul and Rhythm & Blues scene when he began sending songs he had written to Lewis Clark aka The Love Doctor.  In 2009, he scored his first hit as Mr. X with Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, which also caught the attention of our market.  Baby Come Back Home has already charted with a few deejays.  Look for the song to be his biggest hit in the Beach & Shag arena.   

 

  I'm Gonna Hit That Thang by Jaye Hammer.  The words are somewhat risque', but the song has a good dance beat.  It comes from Jaye Hammer's latest from Ecko Records.  Mississippi native Jeremy George aka Jame Hammer began his solo career at age eighteen.  He lost his eyesight when he was twenty-one, but this did not deter him from continuing to pursue his dream.  After signing with Ecko, Jay Hammer gave the Beach and Shag music market Dig A Little Deeper.

 

  True Love by the Carolina Soul Band.  Based out of the High Point/Winston-Salem, North Carolina area, these powerful vocalists studied under and performed with The Original Drifters.  In addition to Beach Music, the showband performs Motown, Oldies But Goodies and classic Rhythm & Blues.

 

  It's Party Time by Val McKnight.  The song comes from her new release from Ecko Records.  You might want to take a listen to Good Lovin' Daddy.  The songs come from her new album, Independent Woman.  Vivacious Val McKnight, who hails from Edwards, Mississippi, gives out electrifying Soul, Blues and Rhythm & Blues.

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