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Beach Buzz March 13

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Lakeside Drive Band 

 

Lakeside Drive, wouldn't that be a good name for a Beach music band? It would conjure up visions of Williams Lake in days gone by or maybe Lake Murray today. No wait, we do have a band by that name and they have made some real noise in recent months on the Beach charts!  Charting hit tracks have included Candy Girl, I'm Still In Love With You, Let Em Roll and their latest, You Never Can Tell, which was #41 here on the Smokin' Top 45 for February.

 Formed in 2010, the Charlotte based ensemble combines youthful exuberance with years of experience on stage. The current band member lineup: Mike Howard, Paul Mitchell, Al Elbe, Jason Barker, Tara Crotty, Ken Davis. Together, they provide whatever style is required at private and public events, from Blues and R&B to Beach to Funk to Jazz to Country. Their outstanding repertoire has led to many repeat bookings in the greater Charlotte and surrounding areas. The band is currently working on a new single for this spring as well as a full length album due out later this year. Expect many more good things in the near future from the Lakeside Drive Band!

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The Big Sister's Radio guy is back with a just released album entitled Be Somebody. Mighty Mike Schermer brings it long and strong with twelve new tunes, accompanied by several guest appearances of familiar artists.  Texas style Blues divas Angela Strehli and Marcia Ball get it jumpin' on the boogie woogie title track. The mid-tempo In My Mind's Eye and the harmonious and more upbeat Got To Feel Love features the outstanding backup vocals of California based veterans Bonnie Hayes and Vicki Randle.  The legendary Elvin Bishop goes deep and bluesy with Mighty Mike on the warbling Corazon. The soulful spirit of Austin, Texas' Emily Gimble provides quite a duet partner on two cuts, Lonely Hearts and Stickin' To You. The tracks that bring back the sound most akin to Big Sister's Radio, however, are Schermer solos Do Me Like That and Over My Head. I'm also diggin' the B-3 licks on the very danceable Keep Reachin' For The Top. Good stuff all the way 'round on this album for Mighty Mike Schermer! 

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In January's edition of Southern Soul Corner, I wrote about the difficulties that female artists have to overcome in order to make a go of it in the music industry. It seems to be true in all of the genres, with Beach music being no exception. It is almost impossible from a solo perspective to sustain a career, you pretty much have to be a member of or have a performing agreement with a band.  We have had several female artists who have recorded outstanding solos and/or duets, particularly over the last dozen years or so only to have subsequently faded from the business.

Right of the top of my head, there is Sissy Quinn, Eliza, Suzanne Saxon, Casey York, Kerry Michaels, Andrea Keesee, Karen Benfield, Marlisa Dillon, Becky Fox Baldwin, Lia Long and Michelle Murray, all of which gave us some hit tunes in past years. Remember Eliza's Broken Hearted Melody, Casey's When You Come Back To Me and Sissy's duet Do That To Me One More Time with the late Dink Perry? 

 I am sure effort and expense versus reward certainly can be a factor when deciding whether or not to continue to be part of the industry. It is just a shame that the business can be so prohibitive that is causes many of our excellent female artists to eventually call it quits. The genre has been fortunate to have the likes of Terri Gore, Susan Trexler, Rhonda McDaniel, Karen Clayton, Taylor Manning, Vicki Skinner, Rachel Tripp and Christina Cooper to keep the female presence alive in Beach music!

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While on a recent vacation excursion at a quaint locale down South, I ran into a lady originally from Long Island, New York who had spent her college years in the late '60's at UNC-Chapel Hill. When realizing in our conversation that I too matriculated at that hallowed institution, as well as being from the town, the first thing she asked me was ''Are The Hot Nuts still playing?'' “Well yes”, I replied the band still travels the party circuit throughout the Southeast, their ribald performances entertaining crowds wherever they perform.

Doug Clark & The Hot Nuts, who started out in the mid '50's, were originally called The Tops. They were a group of guys still in high school, assembling a band to play the local fraternity parties in the area. The band's popularity expanded far beyond Chapel Hill in the '60's as their 'adult' lyrics and wild stage performances became more widely known to colleges all over the country. Nine albums (definite collector items today) were recorded between 1961 and 1969 on the Gross label, which was a division of the New York City based Jubilee Records. Several outstanding vocalists were members of The Hot Nuts over the years, including Prince Taylor and Fat Jack Massey, who later performed together in the Chapel Hill based Beach/R&B band Free Spirit. Although Doug Clark passed away in 2002, his brother John, also an original member, made sure that the band stayed on track. The song highlights of the band's fifty plus year career is well summarized in two 2009 releases by Ripete Records – The Best Of Doug Clark & The Hot Nuts, Volumes 1 And 2.

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Upon first hearing the 1970 single It's Gonna Be A Lovely Summer, I thought ''Wow, this killer tune sounds like it was recorded and absolutely meant for Carolina Beach music''. The artist, Gary, Indiana native Albert Jones, was one of the many seldom recognized but talented Soul singers that toiled throughout the '70's. Discovered by ex-Motown bandleader Choker Campbell, this upbeat groove was Jones' first single effort on the Kapp label and may have been the finest of his career. The soulful tune, re-released a year later on Tri-City,  is actually listed as the #39 Beach music song for the year 1970 in The Beach Music Guide.

 

Jones released several additional singles in the early '70's that I like including the Northern Soul sound of Fifteen Cent Love and I Do Love You, the latter of which combines pieces of Billy Stewart's classic with a few lyrics borrowed from the Intruders' Cowboys To Girls.  Albert also released somewhat of a novelty song, Vida Blue, as a salute to the great Oakland A's pitcher who was a dominant force in baseball during this time. As a testament to Jones' talent, tracks from his 1977 album, The Facts Of Life, have been sampled by several modern day R&B/Rap artists, one of the most popular being the Campbell written Mother Nature. The album was the last known recording released by Albert Jones.

 

                                       

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

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