“Well, there’s Art Benton on keyboards and then there’s . . . me,” he answered.
You see, it was just about a year ago that I interviewed Rick about his new Rick Strickland Band when he told me, “We’ll be going into the studio almost immediately after [the band’s debut]. We are excited about putting a band album out. It’s gonna be great.”
So what gives, Rick?
Turns out Rick is so excited about the band’s sound, he decided – along with the group – that because his own studio was set up for a single musician/engineer, they should wait and do it right. “I didn’t want to be overdubbing vocals. I want the band in the studio together, and we’re definitely going to do that, but for right now I have a new solo CD.”
Rick did the drum programming. He played all the bass, lead guitar and rhythm guitar parts. He also sang all the lead and background vocals. And wrote all the tunes.
The multi-talented musician also created the orchestral arrangement and then taught it to Art one part at a time.
The 12-track recording is titled Seven. Why Seven? This is Rick Strickland, remember, and I’ve learned there are surprises around every corner.
“You know, this is my seventh solo album,” I can hear him grinning over the phone. “ My band has seven members … my wife Gail really did figure out these things. My favorite Beach Boy album is Pet Sounds, album number seven. My favorite Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, their seventh. The photo we used for the CD cover … was shot from out on the water and when we looked at the image, there was number seven on the pilings!
“And don’t even get me started on the biblical references.”
I’m happy to report, however, that the disc isn’t limited to seven songs. The 12-track recording has the classic Rick Strickland sound his fans love to love. Seven is a mix of old and new, with the main theme being relationships – getting together, staying together, breaking up, second chances, leaving, longing and love. Track one, “I’ve Got Your Back,” is a funky soul tune that will be the first single released to to deejays and radio stations. By the way, this is also one of Rick’s favorites. Picking up the pace a bit is track two “Fever,” penned back in 1980 and just as much fun today. Up next is “Life Boat,” great for a slow shag or cha cha.
“I’ll Give You More” is a sweet promise as only Rick Strickland can. Track five, “I Wanna Know You,” showcases a classic Strickland melody, but it was a lyrical surprise to me: “I wanna get to know you, before we do the physical thing.” Sweet, old-fashioned concept. I’ll be surprised if this isn’t one of the album’s most popular cuts.
“Why You Wanna Pick On Me” is the kind of tune you blast on the highway and sing along at the top of your voice. It’s a pure toe-tappin’, shoulder-shakin’ romp through a relationship. Fun.
The next track, “Faith,” written in 1988 has special meaning to Rick and his wife. “My wife really had to love me a lot to marry me. I was dead broke and for our first Christmas together, I didn’t have money to get her anything. So I wrote “Faith” and that was my first Christmas gift for her. She likes my eccentricities,” he laughs.
“I Forgive You” is about staying in a relationship when you know better. “I’d rather hear your lies than try and live without you.” You can shag through your tears.
“Forbidden Fruit” is for anyone who fantasizes about stepping out on their sweetie, but resists the temptation. The next track is “Addicted.” Rick’s talent on guitar and his soulful vocals are evident on both of these tunes.
In “Back To Square One,” we get to hear a little of that falsetto voice we’ve come to expect from Rick Strickland. It’s never enough.
“If Our Love Must End” is about taking the high road when you’re afraid the object of your affections is moving on. Okay, I’ll be a grown up, but it’s not what I want.
The band is starting to include some tunes from Seven into their live show. Seven to be exact. Rick said, “I came to rehearsal with a list of songs I wanted the band to learn, and Lesa Hudson said to me, ‘Do you realize how many you’ve included? Seven!’
Seven is due for release in two or three weeks. The seven-piece Rick Strickland Band will be at the Spanish Galleon in North Myrtle Beach for the Kick-off to KHP’s Summer Concert Series on April 16 and then again at HOTO’s in Cherry Grove on April 25. Visit Rick’s website at rickstrickland.org or join the band’s Facebook fan page.
Oh, one last thing I forgot to mention: how many grandchildren does Rick Strickland have? Seven.
Veteran beach music performer Billy Scott has had a tough couple of years. First off, in 2008, he comes down with hepatitis B. Then he’s diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. To complicate matters further he already had a problem with ulcerated colitis. That’s like a triple whammy.
“All three together kind of jumped on me with both feet,” he told me earlier this week in a telephone interview. “I was in the hospital for over a week. The doctors had to make sure the came up with the right combinations of meds. It wasn’t easy.
“But I survived. I didn’t realize how sick I’d been, how bad I looked until friends told me later they didn’t think they’d see me again. All the prayers and wel wishes came from ten thousands of fans. It was something. I remember standing on a stage in Greensboro, N.C. and I heard God saying, ‘Here is your strength back and I was singin’ and dancin’ . I had my strength back!
“But then last summer, mid-summer, my stamina wasn’t there. I started getting hoarse. I blamed it on pollen, allergies. In Oct. we had a show to do and I just couldn’t do it. I ended up going to an ear, nose & throat doctor.
“‘Yep. You got a growth down there on your vocal chord. Looks like cancer to me.’
“So I went to the specialist.
“‘ Yep. You got a growth down there. Looks like cancer. Come back on the 19th; we’ll do a biopsy.
“‘ Yep. It’s cancer.’
“ ‘ Okay, I said, ‘What we gonna do?’”
The doc gave him two options: cut out the cancer and spend the rest of his life whispering or go through radiation.
Radiation it was.
On Dec. 9, 2009, Billy Scott began five days a week of radiation for six weeks. He endured a burn on his neck that took another two or three weeks to heal. Mind you, he hasn’t worked for months at this point.
The good news is he’s getting his strength back, he’s feeling good and the doctors are optimistic about his future. But he still hasn’t worked.
So his good friends have figured a way to help out: the first annual Easter Charity Beach Blast at Ducks Beach Club, starting at 1 p.m. on Easter Sunday, April 4. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. It includes some great live music, some terrific BBQ and best of all, everything goes to Billy Scott. In fact, make your checks directly to Billy Scott.
At press time, confirmed performers included the Embers, the Clovers, Bo Schronce, Calabash Flash, Donny and Susan Trexler, Paul Craver, Dave Freeman, Ceasar, Tommy Black, Tim Clark, Gary Brown, J.D. Cash, Clay Brown, Mark Roberts, Terri Gore, Coco Loco, CraigWoolard, Sea-Cruz, and the Prophets Band.
Other artists who may be able to add their talents to the show are Maurice Williams, Big John Thompson and daughter Julie, Too Much Sylvia, Showmen and Danny Woods and Ken Knox from General Johnson and Chairmen of the Board.
Billy Scott has been giving his time and talent to the beach music industry for the past four decades. As chair of Beach Music Association International (BMAI) he has worked tirelessly to promote the R&B music that has become such an integral part of the Carolinas. He was named Entertainer of the Year at the 1982 Carolina Beach Music Awards and has been inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame (1985), the Carolina Beach music Hall of Fame (1997), the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame (1999), The R &B/Beach Music Hall of Fame (2000), the North Carolina Entertainment and Music Hall of Fame (2003), the Original Beach Boy Hall of Fame (2006) . . . the list goes on.
My point is, Billy’s been working for beach music for over 40 years. Maybe beach music fans could return the favor now.
For more information about the event, call Ducks at 843-663-3858. If you want to make a donation, send a check!
If you ask me what sort of restaurant or club atmosphere I like the best, it’s almost always small, friendly, on the funky side, cozy if it’s indoors and low key for an outdoor spot.
Key West Crazy is my kind of place. Located on the waterfront in Little River, S.C. it seats about a hundred people. The walls are covered in flip flops signed by patrons and friends. The food is tasty, and there’s live music seven nights a week. A back deck offers unrivaled views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the sometimes bustling waterfront.
Owner Betsy Farnsley bought the restaurant from Mike Byrd just over a year ago. “I loved the name, the atmosphere,” she says, “although we’re stressing the food more … it’s more a restaurant now than a pub or tavern.
“Our goal is to have the best food at the most reasonable prices … and to be an incredi- bly fun place.
“We’ve made some improvements … added TVs … there’s an awning over the back deck now.
“Starting in April, we’ll be introducing a new menu … We’re adding Surf & Turf, Fins & Feathers.
“Also starting in April, we’ll be open for breakfast, Monday through Thursday 7 to 11 a.m.; and weekends (Friday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
“I think we have the longest happy hour at the beach: 4 to 8 p.m.”
Happy hour prices include $2 domestic beers, $5 wines and $2.50 well drinks. Happy hour prices extend to some of the appetizers, as well. (If you see Spring Rolls on the menu, be sure to try them. They’re delicious!)
Tony Maddi is Key West Crazy’s restaurant manager and also books the entertainment.
This month, he’s got something special planned. Nashville guitarist Rickey Godfrey is scheduled for two nights: on Friday, March 26 he’ll perform a solo act and Sunday, March 28 he’ll join Michael Stallings.
Rickey Godfrey is a musician’s musician – one of the best guitarists you’ll hear. One writer called him, “Music City’s best kept secret.” After performing at the Lowcountry Blues Bash in Charleston, S.C. , festival organizer Gary Erwin said, “Revelation – Rickey Godfrey is the best blues guitarist you’ve never heard of!” In an interview, recording artist Don Wise, who played saxophone with Delbert McClinton for some 22 years said, “Rickey Godfrey is the real deal. He’s a wild man on guitar … and I was stunned the first time I heard him play piano. He does it all … an amazing musician.”
Currently working on a new blues recording, Rickey said, “I can’t wait to get to Key West Crazy. What a fun place! I think I may play a few tunes from the new CD and see what these folks think of them …. after I get me some scallops, I mean.”
Blind since birth, Rickey began studying at the age of seven, while attending the South Carolina School for the Blind. He studied classical piano and voice, and later added guitar to his long list of musical accomplishments.
Originally from Greenville, S.C., he moved to Nashville in 1993, and has worked with artists such as Donna Fargo, Rufus Thomas, Junior Walker, Sam Moore, Billy Preston, Clifford Curry, E. G. Kight, Sonny Turner, Bill Pinkney and Rudy Blue Shoes, performing throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
In 2003, Rickey and keyboard player Bobby Simmons formed the Rickey Godfrey Band, which catered to beach and blues audiences in the Carolinas. The band released its first single, “Can’t Change My Heart” and CD, Soul Sensations. The next year, the group garnered four CBMA awards including Group of the Year, Producer of the Year, and Group Album for Soul Sensations and Song of the Year for “Can’t Change My heart.” During 2005, the band posted three additional Top Tens with “No One Loves You Better Than Me,” “Whatever It Takes” and “If Ten’ll Kill Me, Give Me Nine.”
Winter 2006 saw the completion of the Once In a Lifetime Love CD, released on Mossland Records. One of the singles off the CD, “Hotel Happiness,” featured the talents of Don Wise on saxophone. The Rickey Godfrey Band went on to earn 2006 CBMA awards for Blues Album of the Year, Group of the Year and Group Album of the Year.
Last year Rickey brought his unique brand of hot rockin’ blues to the Montreal Jazz Festival where he performed with Linda Rodney’s Chocolate Thunder band.
If you’ve never seen Rickey and veteran blues guitarist Michael “Pops” Stallings on stage together, you’re in for a treat. Michael, who is originally from Reidsville, N.C. has played with the Clovers, Percy Sledge, B.J. Thomas and many more. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to see him in the Kerry Michaels Band. I can’t say enough good things about Mike. But I will add that he is at Key West Crazy almost every Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. Is there a better way to end a Sunday afternoon? I don’t think so.
Other performers booked at Key West Crazy this month include Lenny Pruitt, Darryl Fox, Dillon, Marlisa, Lee Shane and Richard Hubbell. Check it out.
Key West Crazy caters to locals, but welcomes visitors warmly. It’s immensely popular with folks going out on the gambling boats. Soon, Betsy tells me, they’ll be staying open later some nights. “It’s important to me,” she goes on, “that however we grow, we continue to offer a safe, friendly atmos- phere. This is the kind of place that a woman can feel comfortable coming to by herself.”
Betsy grew up on a farm in southern Indiana. She went to school to become a veterinarian, but instead wound up in corporate America, working in sales management and purchasing for companies like Quaker Oats, Pepsi and Yum Brands. Now she’s put her skills to work making Key West Crazy the hottest restaurant around. Stop by for some scallops. You can’t go wrong with the scallops.
You’ll find Key West Crazy at 4492 Waterfront Drive in Little River, S.C. Call them at 843-249-6163. The monthly entertainment schedule, menu and other informational bits are on the website: http://www.keywestcrazylr.com.