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Mike Little is a deejay from Anderson, South Carolina and is a member of the Electric City Shag Club in Anderson where he deejays for the club on a regular basis. as well as a member of the Carolina Shag Club in Greenville.  He was a highly rated radio deejay for WANS AM Radio for 3-1/2 years.  He writes articles for several publications, including the newsletters of the Association of Beach & Shag Club Deejays (ABSCDJ) and the National Association of Rhythm & Blues Deejays (NARBDJ), for both of which he is a member.  He also writes articles for the Website, beachmusic45.com, as well as the SOS publication, Carefree Times.  In 2003, he received the NARNDJ's Rufus Oates Award.  In 2017 he was inducted into the Deejays Hall of Fame as an honorary member by the ABSCDJ.  Also in 2017, he was inducted into the Greenville Area Shaggers Hall of Fame as an honorary member.  He also serves on the advisory Board of Directors of the Carolina Beach Music Awards.

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My Music Or Yours

by

Mike Little

 

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Right after the first of this year, Nola Blue Records released the album Going Back Home.  After careers spanning six decades, Billboard (Magazine) Music Awards (BMA) nominee Blues legend Benny Turner and Grammy Award winning co-producer Cash McCall combined their talents to release this collection of Chicago treasures.  The two began their friendship over sixty years ago in Chicago, Illinois.  They reunited, revisiting their roots and the songs they once played nightly in the Windy City clubs.  Benny Turner began his musical career playing guitar, bass and singing background vocals for various Gospel groups including The Soul Stirrers.  He played and toured with his brother's band.  His brother?  Freddie King!  Freddie King gave us such memorable hits such as Hide Away, I'm Tore Down and Taking Care Of Business.  Benny played with Freddie until his death in 1976, becoming deeply depressed afterwards.  After two years of seclusion, he re-emerged, joining Mighty Joe Young's band, playing with him for eight years.  He later moved to New Orleans, becoming band leader and playing for Marva Wright's band for twenty years.  Benny later went solo, paying homage to his brother with songs like See See Baby.  Benny Turner hit it big along the Carolina coastlines and beyond with Breakin' News and, on a lesser scale, I Can't Leave.  Then in 2019, right at the first of  the year, Cash McCall came rolla, rolla, rolla, rolla, rolla 'round teaming with Benny Turner to release Going Back Home.  I am sure that you are familiar with Cash McCall, who gave us the 1967 hit, That Lucky Old Sun, and the year before, When You Wake Up.  Christened Morris Dillison, Jr. at birth, he cut the demo of When You Wake Up, being shocked to learn later of its release billed to one “Cash McCall”.  The song became a national Rhythm & Blue hit, sending the newly christened Cash McCall on tour with the Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars.  Going Back Home offers us a number of songs from which to choose.  One that you might find interesting is Bring It On Home.  Guest vocalist and three-time Grammy nominee Billy Branch lends his vocals to this song that he had previously recorded.  Gospel singer Carla Davis takes the lead on Got To Find A Way.  Cash McCall takes the lead on The Dirty Dozens, a song written and recorded by Little Johnny Jones as Dirty By The Dozen aka Sweet Little Women.  These songs are all good.  However, it is Benny Turner's take Willie Mabon's Poison Ivy that will bring the dancers onto the floor.  Look for this one to move into the charts at some time in the future.  Benny Turner and Cash McCall's Going Back Home from Nola Blue is available everywhere that sells recorded music.  Here is a little trivia about the album.  Going Back Home was recorded and engineered at Ecko Studios in Memphis, Tennessee by Till Palmer, as well as at Music Shed Studios in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

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KHP Music had planned to the compilation album Carolina Shine for the Fall Migration of the Society of Stranders.  However, a nasty, mean old, drippin-wet witch decided to dump herself on North Carolina and South Carolina, therefore forcing the powers-to-be to cancel our 10-day party.  Even so, the music goes on and Carolina Shine was released, produced by Keith Houston, Julian Fowler and Jay Jenkins.  The title track Carolina Shine is sung and co-written by Jim Quick.  The song is in tribute to the survival in the coastal areas after the damage and flooding of Hurricane Florence.  The song is also available as a single with all proceeds going to Hurricane Florence Relief.  Of their fifteen songs on the album, this release has seven, yes 7, charted hits on the album thus far.  Carolina Shore by The Carnival Band featuring Chris Miller has been at the top slot on Fessa John Hook's Beach Music Top 40 for some time and still is near the top as the weeks move on.  Carolina Shore is also on Beach Music 45's Smokin' 45 and is headed in an upward direction.  Doug Manning is best known for being the father of singer Taylor Manning.  He is also known for his long-time work with The North Tower Band. Doug, along with The Doug Manning Project featuring Tiffany Ivy contributes to Carolina Shine with Being With You.  The James Michael Brown is back with his band giving us a take on a fabulous re-recording of The Temps' My Baby.  Harold Smith, keyboardist for Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot and Gary Lowder, along with The Smokin' Hot band, join together to give us a beautiful medley of a slowed-down version of Don't Pull Your Love Out and The Casinos' Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.  Newcomer Jeff Ayers brings forth his take with a smooth version of Paul Davis' Cool Night.  Spirit Records' Sonja Grier is a part of the Carolina Shine with Been In The Storm Too Long.  Spirit's owner and founder, Bill Bradford, used her as a background vocalist before placing her in the limelight.  Another on-the-rise charted song graces this hot release is the smoothie Forever Lovers penned and sang by Roger Smith.  Roger was one of the members of The Poor Souls and carries on with the band name today.  Roger is also one of “The Bad Boys Of Beach Music.  In addition, he sang with Big John Thompson, creating The Boulevard Boys.  Roger is a also member of The Lakeside Drive Band.  Carolina Shine also carries Steve Owens & Summertime's Hallelujah I Love Her So, the band's take on the Ray Charles classic, but with more of a Shag tempo.  Others that make this release great are Jaye Hammer, sing his hit I Ain't Leaving Mississippi, The Original Swingin' Medallions' Shaggin', Southern Soul singer Lamar Brace, The Catalinas, Johnny Cobb & Jerry McCoy and the Tommy Black Band with a salute to America.  Carolina Shine shines!

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The Hardway Connection's It Must Be Love broke out during SOS in 1999, becoming one of the hottest songs during the close of the decade, capturing the National Shag Dance Song of the Year during the Carolina Beach Music Awards, known then as the Cammy Awards.  The Washington, DC group made their debut appearance in the South in front of the Carolina Beach Music fans during that year's Cammy Awards weekend.  It Must Be Love went on, leading the way for future mega-hits such as Party 'Til The Lights Go Out.  With co-lead singers Jerome Mackall and Toni Love, Hardway went on to give the Beach and Shag fans and dancers more, like Dirty O Man, with Toni taking the lead, and Eyes On You, with lead vocals by Jerome.  Songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Robert Owens takes lead of the band, keeping the group's members together going on nearly two and one-half decades, first gaining recognition in a Memphis blues competition in 1994.  As they did nearly fifteen years ago, The Hardway Connection brought their new summer-released album, I Don't Wanna Go, for the Carolina Beach Music Awards, which will be available during the Spring Safari of SOS featuring the hot song Strong Woman, which is already being played for Beach Music and Old School Rhythm and Blues lovers near and far.  Toni Love, once again, carries the strong lead vocals for the rising hit.  Jerome Mackall returns with his highly recognizable voice for True Love.  Don't think The Drifters' True Love.  Don't think Glen Frey's True Love.   Nor should you think of those recorded by Black Diamond, Carolina Soul Band, nor Pat Boone.  Think Hardway Connection with the band's unique sound, which True Love could very well be a future hit for the DC group.  There is also a nice ballad your dancers may enjoy, which is appropriately titled Hardway Body.  Other songs to check out are With Out U and O Not Again.  I Don't Wanna Go is filled with great music.  This album is available where ever Beach Music or Rhythm & Blues music is sold.  You can also visit The Hardway Connection page on Facebook.    

 

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Forevermore Music has recently released Russell Thompkins, Jr.'s new album, Between Love Songs.  Already, Russell's take on Love Makes The World Go Round is in The Beach Music Top 40's top five, inching it's way upward.  The song was originally recorded in 1961 as a part of the Broadway musical Carnival.  In 1966, Deon Jackson recorded the song, making it a Beach Music classic.  As you know, Russell Thompkins, Jr. is best known for his falsetto vocals as lead vocalist for The Stylistics.  The Philly group came together in the late sixties from two other groups.  In the early seventies, The Stylistics had twelve straight number one hits including You Are Everything, Betcha By Golly Wow, Break Up To Make Up and You Make Me Feel Brand New, just to name a few.  But it was the group’s up-tempo music that caught the ear of the shaggers such as My Heart, So Long (Since I Felt This Way), You Are, Sing Baby Sing, Sixteen Bars and Can't Give You Up.  Russell left The Stylistics in the year 2000, studying music formally and learned to play the piano.  In 2004, he started a new group Russell Thompkins Jr. & The New Stylistics.  A version of So Long (Since I Felt This Way) is contained in the new release Between Love Songs, as well as Keeping My Fingers Crossed.  This release is flooded with ballads sung in the manner that only Russell Thompkins, Jr. can do.

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J.K. Loftin and Cape Fear Studio in Wilmington, North Carolina have released a new compilation, Carolina Moon.  This 6-song EP disc features three songs that are already in chartland on Beach Music 45's Smokin' chart and Fessa John Hook's Beach Music Top 40.  Sylvia Johns Ritchie's Carolina Moon, the title track of the release, has been bouncing around since the CD release and now is at the top of the chart 94.9 The Surf WVCO-FM radio in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach and the World Wide Web.  A North Carolina native, Sylvia is a professional musician in Nashville and New Orleans and has recently moved to the Southeastern section of North Carolina.  Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band's charted hit I'll Never Let You Go is also part of the release.  Doug Winstead carries the lead on this hit.  The Feature Attraction Band, more commonly known as FAB, gives us the charted hit This One's For The People.  The number was written by FAB's lead vocalist Gregg Browder just for this album.  Formerly with The Embers and now with Steve Owens & Summertime, Jimmy Weaver comes on strong with his powerful vocals and keyboards on Runnin' Blues.  Ohio native Dan Thomas has performed with bands such as Mark Roberts & Breeze and Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot.  On stage, he has often performed That's Alright Mama, but has never recorded it.  Now it is a part of Carolina Moon.  Funky Leroy Harper, Jr., James Brown's saxophone player for fifteen years, has resettled in Myrtle Beach.  He has recorded James Brown's song Hot Pants for this release.  Though not a Shag song, it is interesting that the song is redone with Max-A-Million.  Max-A-Million is a Grammy Award winning Reggae, Rhythm & Blues and Hip Hop band based out of Chicago.  J.K. Loftin is best known for his guitar and vocal work with Heart & Soul, The Craig Woolard Band, Mark Robert & Breeze and Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot.  He also was a part of The Delta Riders' and The Feature Attraction Band's debut albums.  Over the years J.K. has received numerous Carolina Beach Music (CBMA) nominations.  He was awarded the Producer of the Year Award from the CBMA in 2015.

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Laura Jane & The 45's released their latest, Late Last Night – Elixir Of Sara Martin.  The Louisville, Kentucky band revives the work of Louisville's prohibition era Blues original Sara Martin.  She was dubbed “The Famous Moanin' Mama” and “The Colored Sophie Tucker”.  The album's highlight is I'm Gonna Be A Lovin' Old Soul that was a hit for Sara Martin, a tune that she co-wrote.  Other highlights on the album include Joe Turner Blues, that was written by W.C. Handy, and Sugar Blue.  Laurie Jane & The 45's is a band of close friends and family that includes Laurie Jane Duggins on lead vocals and her husband, Cort Duggins on guitar and piano.  It has been said that Laurie Jane sounds a lot like the late Janis Joplin.  What do you think?  Late Last Night – Elixir Of Sara Martin by Laura Jane & The 45's is on the Down In The Alley label.

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  Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band has released their latest, Band Of Brothers in celebration of the group's tenth anniversary.  And “band of brothers” they are.  Every member of the group takes on the lead vocal spot at one time or another, especially in concerts.  Each one also shares their instrumental talents as well.  This band consists of Jeff Alspaugh on trombone, Jody Bundy on sax and keyboards, Devin Dove on drums and guitar, Dale Edwards on guitar, Albert Rogers, formerly with The Coastline Band, on bass, William Sellers on keyboards and Doug Winstead, formerly with the North Tower Band, on trombone and bass.  The highlight of the album at this time is If He Should Ever Leave You.  This one is already on charts and looks to be there for a while.  Other notables on the album include the band's take on Three Dog Night's Sure As I'm Sitting Here, Uncle Kracker's In Between Disasters and Tom Jones' If He Should Ever Leave You.  Blackwater slows it down to give the band's rendition of Vince Gill's Down To My Last Bad Habit.    Band Of Brothers by Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band!  Get it while it's hot.       

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Kwik Kuts

 

  Here are some cuts from various artists' new or relatively new releases that should attract steppers out to the hardwoods.

 

  Left With A Broken Heart by William Dell & The Wee Jams.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's William Dell & The Wee Jams has released their latest, (In The) Big City.  The first single released from the new CD was the title track, (I Lost My Love In The) Big City.  The song was doing well in the Carolinas.   Then the album was released.  After the album release, the deejays began playing Left With A Broken Heart, a song from Marv Johnson.   The Wee Jams started out as The In Crowd, changing over to The Wee Jams when William Dell joined the group in the band's hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Other members of the group are Gordie Herbst, an accomplished guitarist, Dave Billingsley and Louis, aka "The Gent", Cioppa.  To The Weejams' loss and our loss, The Gent joined The Choir in Heaven on November 3.  The band is fulfilled with second tenor Dan Fera, vocalist and keyboardist Tom O'Hara, drummer and percussionist Phil "Phox" Seretti and the multi-talented trumpeter Hal Weiss.  William Dell retired from The Wee Jams several years ago but filled in for one of the members who was ill  for an extended period of time.  He has never looked back and is enjoying his second career in the same job.

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Good Lovin' Will Make Everything Right  by Val McKnight.  Like Tina Turner, Val McKnight sings “rough”. She roughs it out on this Ecko Records tune from her latest Ecko Records release, Stroke That Cat.  Other songs on the disc that you might find interesting are Can You Ride This Pony and That's My Boo Thang.   Hailing from Edwards, Mississippi, which is a part of the Jackson, Mississippi metropolitan area, Val, who spent most of her musical career as background vocalist, has stepped out front again for her third solo album and second from Ecko.  The electrifying Soul and Blues singer is bold, bawdy and naughty.

 

 

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Before The Next Teardrop Falls by Al Green.  In the fall of 2018, Al Green went into the Sam Phillips Studio (Sun Records) in Memphis, Tennessee and recorded the single.  He began his recording career in 1969, releasing the album that contained his first hit. Tired Of Being Alone.  In 1972, he broke out with his signature song, the album-titled Let's Stay Together.  In 1980, Al Green left secular music and recorded his first Gospel album.  This was following his “wake-up call” after he fell from the stage while in concert.  In 1993, he returned to secular music by releasing Your Heart's In Good Hands, his first non-religious album in over a decade.  In addition to the title track, Don't Look Back, the two songs from the album and others were fully grasped during the Society of Stranders' time of listening and dancing.  Before The Next Teardrop Falls is Al Green's first recording in over a decade.

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Groupie Girls by Jay Hammer.  On the heels of his hit I Ain't Leaving Mississippi from his 2015 release, I'm The Right Man,  Ecko Records has released Jaye Hammer's newest.  Double Trouble, the title of the new CD, carries twelve selections from which to choose Jaye's next hit.  My choice would be Groupie Girls.  It is a little long, as most songs are these days, but can be faded faded out for a proper time of a shag song.  Double Trouble also carries a pretty good line dance song, Bootie Slide.   Check that out, also.  Jaye Hammer hails from Clarksdale, Mississippi where he absorbed the sounds of the area's Blues scenes including the region's Delta Blues.

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Good Rockin' Daddy by The Knickerbocker All Stars featuring Thornetta Davis.  New dimensions have been reached on the remake of this Etta James classic.  Lots of horn!  Great lead vocals!  Great background vocals!  The song appears on The Knickerbocker All-Stars' latest album, Love Makes A Woman.  The Knickerbocker All-Stars, over the years, rose from the musicians and singers that joined Roomful of Blues on stage on Sundays at the Knickerbocker Cafe in Westerly, Rhode Island, beginning in the seventies.  Guitarist, lead singer and legendary Blues great Duke Robillard of Roomful of Blues would invite individuals to join the band on stage to perform.  Some great talented musicians and vocalists would come on stage and perform.  About a decade ago, some of these extremely talented individuals came together and formed the Knickerbocker All Stars.  Joining the Knickerbocker All-Stars on the just-released album are guest singers Darcel Wilson and Detroit Blued and Rhythm & Blues songbird Thornetta Williams.  Thornetta has opened for numerous artists in concert in the Motor City area including Bonnie Raitt, Gladys Knight and Etta James.  Between 1997 and 2003, she was a background vocalist for Kid Rock, appearing on several albums and singles.        

 

I'm Gone, But I'll Be Back - Buster Brown, 1961; Mike Little, 2019.

 

 

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