The seventh annual Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival will be held on August 25 and 26 in the ballroom of the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, which is connected to the Embassy Suites, organizer Harriett Grady has announced.
The two-day event will feature six powerhouse acts, shag workshop and deejays: on Saturday, brush up on your shagging at a workshop with Jerry and Barbara Wade, 1 p.m.; Rickey Godfrey Band at 3 p.m.; the Castaways at 5:30 p.m.; and Carolina Soul Band at 8 p.m. Deejay Gerry Scott will spin tunes for shaggers in between performances.
On Sunday, deejay Betty Brown begins at 1 p.m. and returns between acts. The Fantastic Shakers start at 2 p.m.; the Johnny Rawls Blues Band – with Rickey Godfrey sitting on guitar – takes the stage at 4 p.m.; and the mighty Tams close out the entertainment at 5:30 p.m. Betty Brown returns to the deejay booth at 7 p.m.
The Festival is being presented by The Beach Music & Shag Preservation Society of South Carolina (BMSPSSC) along with Big Mamma Entertainment of Charleston, S.C.
In a telephone interview, Grady said she formed the BMSPSSC back in 2006 at the urging of Diane Pope, manager of the original Joe Pope Tams and wife of original member Charles Pope. “She [Diane Pope] talked to me for several years asking me to have a beach festival in Charleston,” explains Grady. “She said there was not a beach music festival here and she thought there should be. She said she had been thinking about it over and over and she thought I should be the one to do it. So about that same time an investor came along and said every one in Charleston pointed at me to help get a Beach Festival going.
“Well, with two strong people coming at me I decided to try it. I coined the name Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival that first year and it stuck. That was in 2006 and I have continued every year on my own having the Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival. The Joe Pope Tams have been in all but one of them.”
Festival sponsors include Strom Altman Suzuki of Charleston; Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine (myrtlebeachalternatives.com) of Myrtle Beach; music blog DarielB-Flying Under the Radar (darielb.wordpress.com). According to Grady, she is still seeking and accepting sponsors for the event.
BMSPSSC is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization formed to promote, preserve and perpetuate the S.C. state dance, the shag, and South Carolina’s most popular music, beach music. Festival tickets are $20 per day for BMSPSSC members and $25 for nonmembers. Two-day tickets are $35/members and $45/nonmembers. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.bmspssc.com or http://www.pivotsbeachclub.com. Special Festival rates are available at the adjoining Embassy Suites. For more information, call 843-814-0101.
This is going to be a lot of fun, so I thought I’d share it with you. Sunset River Marketplace,
the very cool gallery in Calabash, N.C. where I hang out so much, is bringing in Bo Schronce to speak at their next Creative Exchange event on Monday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bo formed the Fantastic Shakers back in 1978, so you know he’s got decades of stories to share.
Growing up in Lincolnton, N.C. Bo Schronce first started singing at church, but he admits candidly that he liked the attention that came with being the lead singer in a band. His very first group was the Little Logan Hot Dog Band (He was Little Logan). A few other small bands followed including Bo & the Fugitives and Nobody’s Perfect. In the mid 70s, he joined the Catalinas, one of the Carolinas’ definitive beach bands. In fact, it was Bo’s vocals recorded on what has become the band’s signature tune “Summertime’s Calling Me.”
However, Bo Schronce is best known for his Fantastic Shakers, which, by the way, he co-founded with keyboard player Dino Fair, now with the popular S.C. powerhouse trio, Sea-Cruz. The Shakers are known throughout the region for beach hits such as, “Myrtle Beach Days,” “Shakin’ the Shack,” and the classic ballad, “Where Do I Go.”
With the Shakers, Bo has built one of the most versatile bands around. Five lead vocalists, three horns and what seems to be a limitless song list of original and cover tunes mean this group is always in demand.
They have performed at Lincoln Center in New York City, where blues fans and radio station deejays welcomed them warmly. “After they heard ‘Shakin’ the Shack,’ we got in big with the N.Y. blues stations,” said Bo. “I didn’t know how to handle it. I’m just a redneck farm boy from N.C. who knows how to sing.”
Bo Schronce’s vocals are well known and respected throughout the industry. Nashville guitarist and vocalist Rickey Godfrey says, “I think Bo Schronce is easily the most talented, versatile singer in beach music. He can do everything … and he does!”
Jim Quick, front man for the Coastline band and King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers agrees. “ Bo has a voice that is the representation of the greatest songs in beach music. He’s a performer who can’t be compared to any other I’ve known, a southern gentleman … A father figure, a tutor, a singer’s singer, a show man a nd a dear friend. He’s a red-neck badass, a family man, and the hardest worker in and out of the music scene … a man of truths and a man of the most audacious lies an ear can absorb.”
How’s that for a ringing endorsement, Bo?
The Fantastic Shakers have been guests of honor at both North and South Carolina gubernatorial events. Myrtle Beach has presented them with the key to the city. They have also played the American Bop Association Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. The band’s gigs take them from the Carolinas and Virginia, beyond to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. Bo Schronce has taken home three Carolina Beach Music Academy (CBMA) awards for Male Vocalist of the Year. The band has five Group Album awards to their credit, plus other honors for singles and blues albums, including a 2011 Song of the Year award and 2011 Blues Song award for their hit single, “I Still Do.”
Despite all this, they cut back their play dates a little bit each year. “I want time for my family,” says Bo. “I love to garden, I love to fish and I’ve got my dogs – a competition pack of beagles that I take out whenever I can.”
Since opening in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has become an active supporter of performing, literary and visual arts in the area. The gallery hosted Brunswick Arts Council’s Evening of Miniature Masterpieces fundraiser multiple times and is a regular sponsor for the Friday evening Summer Concert Series at Ocean Isle Beach.
Creative Exchange is an interactive community event held at Sunset River Marketplace. The gallery is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW (Hwy. 179) in Calabash, N.C. The Bo Schronce presentation takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There is a $7 fee and, due to limited seating, reservations are required. This event is expected to fill up quickly, so get your spot early.
For more information, call 910-575-5999. If you’d like to be notified about upcoming Creative Exchange, Coffee With the Authors or other gallery events, send an email to email@example.com. Gallery news is also posted on the website: www.sunsetrivermarketplace.com.
The nonprofit Charleston Beach Music and Shag Preservation Society aka Harriett Grady will hold its sixth annual Charleston Beach Music And Shag Festival over Labor Day Weekend on Sunday, Sept. 4 and Monday, Sept. 5.
This year the fun will be taking place indoors at Plan B restaurant and nightclub in Charleston.
The Festival will feature live entertainment, multiple deejays, shag dancing and shag workshops.
The shag, which is a six-step swing dance, has been hugely popular in South Carolina for more than 60 years. The roots of the shag being danced today is generally believed to have started with black R&B bands playing the beaches but not getting radio airplay. White teenagers discovered the music and danced to the jukebox, sometimes right on the beach. In 1984, then S.C. Representative Bubber Snow introduced Act. No. 329, which named the shag as the official dance of South Carolina.
Charleston residents Jerry and Barbara Wade will be conducting shag workshops at the Festival. They’ve been shagging together since the fifties, when they learned the dance at the old Folly Beach pier. They were shagging to artists like Jimmy Reed, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters and Lloyd Price. They still love shagging today and share their love and techniques with others at their Charleston Shag Company.
Live entertainment will be provided by four of my faves. On Sunday, from the Upstate of South Carolina, Rhonda McDaniel & Friends take the stage at 4 p.m. For the past three years, our girl has been voted Female Vocalist of the Year at the Carolina Beach Music Academy (CBMA) awards. In 2008, she also earned Solo Album and Blues Song of the Year. Playing with her at the Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival will be guitarist Ashby Stokes (Swinging Medallions); drummer Eddie Wayne (Swinging Medallions, Fabulous Expressions); Frank Wilkie (Rickey Godfrey Band, Marshall Tucker Band) on bass; saxman Tony Kennedy (Rickey Godfrey Band, and keyboard player Joey Werner (Out-of-Towners).
At 7 p.m. Charleston’s Rick Strickland Band will open their show. Singer/songwriter Rick Strickland, also a multiple CBMA award winner, is well-known for some of beach music’s most popular recent hits including “Something Smooth,” “One Step Closer,” and “So Do I.” His duo with band mate Lesa Hudson, “When You Look at Me” has been No. 1 on 94.9The Surf for the past four weeks, and shows no sign of slowing down. Delivering soulful R&B with a rock & roll kicker, Rick Strickland Band is a crowd favorite every time.
Carolina Soulband has the 2 p.m. slot on Monday, Sept. 5. This group performed for years with Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters. Today, the nine-piece band plays their range of soul, R&B, and beach music to packed festivals and clubs throughout the southeast. Drummer Chris “Silk” Terry formed the group about two years ago. Jervey “Supreme Keys” Geddies , longtime bandleader for Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters also serves as CSB’s bandleader and keyboard player. These two lead a high-energy ensemble of extremely talented performers to present one crowd-pleasing performance after another.
At 7 p.m. it’s Coastline time – when Jim Quick & Coastline hit the stage. I love these bad boys for both their onstage shenanigans and their monster talent. Quick is one of the best songwriters around. When I pop his 2007 album Sneakin’ Out Back into the player, it’s every bit as good as the first time I heard it. Folks outside the area are starting to take notice of Quick and Coastline, too. The band has opened for Delbert McClinton, Montgomery Gentry and Darius Rucker. Quick’s latest CD, Down South, was produced by big ole Nashville producer Gary Nicholson. There’s a new music video and a live DVD coming soon. These boys are hot!
In addition to live music, popular area deejays Gerry Scott, Mike McDaniel,Jim Bowers and Betty Brown will be spinning tunes for dancers and listeners both. The deejays, who each have their own specialty niches, pride themselves on finding and playing that most obscure old tune alongside the current hits.
According to Harriett, “Plan B is going to be a terrific venue for us. The dance floor is brand new … the bars, the deejay booth, stage, sound and lighting … it’s all new. This is going to be a great event.”
Sponsors for the 2011 Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival include: major sponsor, 1340 The Boardwalk; Big Mamma Entertainment; Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine; and DarielB – Flying Under the Radar music blog.
Tickets for the two-day event are $45/members of the Beach Music and Shag Preservation Society of S.C. and $55/nonmembers. One day tickets cost $25/members and $30/nonmembers. For tickets or more information, visit them online.
Plan B is located at 3025 Ashley Town Center Drive, #201 in Charleston. Take I526 West to Hwy. 17. Turn right on Hwy. 17, travel two blocks, and look for the Plan B sign on the right. Telephone: 843-571-2001.
Woo woo! It’s summertime at the beach and that means it’s time for Concerts On the Coast. Every Friday from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Property Owners Association (with help from some very generous sponsors) hosts a series of free concerts just over the bridge on the Island.
This year, the Entertainers opened the series, followed by local classic rock band, Bailout, and then the Imitations on June 11. If you missed those, not to worry, we’re still got 12 more concerts throughout the summer.
Coming right up on Friday, June 18, will be Legends of Beach. And I’m here to tell you, these guys really are legendary. They’re some of the finest vocalists and musicians in beach music today. Lead singer Jackie Gore was the songwriter for the beach music classic “I Love Beach Music” back in 1979 when he was with the Embers. R. Mark Black (vocals, saxophone), Gerald Davis (bass), Jeff Grimes (guitar, saxophone) and Johnny Barker (vocals, keyboards) were all Embers, too. I saw this group at the Spanish Galleon a couple months ago and they were phenomenal, one of the best in this genre that I’ve ever seen.
The Attractions, known for their monster horn section and their number one hit single, “Zing Went the Strings,” take the stage on June 25. This popular group has opened for the Tams, Clifford Curry, Fifth Dimension and the Platters, just to name a few. This should be another great show.
On July 2, another of my favorite groups will be at Ocean Isle – Mark Roberts & Breeze. Formed in late 2007, MRB was named New Group of the Year at the 2008 CBMA Awards. They rock, they roll, they’ve got soul, and they’re going to get you on your feet. If we’re lucky, they’ll do Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell In Love. If we’re really lucky, they’ll follow it with Gary Moore’s “Still Got the Blues For You.”
The next Concert on the Coast is Craig Woolard Band on July 9. For those of you outside the beach music community, Craig has also been lead singer for the Embers. In fact, he took Jackie Gore’s place back in … what year was it, Craig? Since forming in 2004, CWB has evolved into a powerhouse of a band, combining soulful blues with R&B to deliver one great show after another. Visit cammy.org to see for yourself all the awards Craig and the group have won.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Continental Divide is known for their happenin’ horn lines and professional performances. If you’re into Motown, soul music, oldies and beach music, plan to attend this July 16 show. And wait until you hear lead singer Gene Pharr.
That brings us to July 23, when the big sound of Band of Oz returns to Ocean Isle Beach. Originally from Raleigh, N.C. Band of Oz was born in 1967 as a part time band playing frat parties and proms. Today the’re one of the top bands on the beach music circuit, playing the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia. Boasting a formidable horn section and the not-so-secret weapon of Jerry West’s guitar, Band of Oz draws a crowd wherever they go.
Churning out classic rock and blues, GB4 Band is on the roster for July 30. This is a group I haven’t heard yet, but I’m looking forward to the show. They’re known for playing everything from classic rock to funk, soul and blues. Something tells me they’re going to rock the beach!
Goldrush, in the August 6 slot, will be performing a happy mix of oldies, R&B, blues and beach. Together for 32 years, they are one of the few groups asked to perform at the very first beach music awards show in Myrtle Beach. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Percy Sledge and more.
The next group coming to town is another of my faves. The Holiday Band. So mark your calendar for August 13 and get yourself over the bridge to Ocean Isle Beach. Whether you’re a shagger, a blues mama, a beach purist, a party animal, you just can’t go wrong with the Holiday Band. They’ve played everywhere from Lincoln Center in N.Y.C. to House of Blues in Myrtle Beach. But they’re still a bunch of sweet ole boys. (Okay, sorry, you’re not really ole.) A word to the wise: bring your boogie shoes to this show. You be dancin’!
Here’s another first time group at Ocean Isle! Jim Quick & Coastline will hit the stage running on August 20. For the uninitiated, these are the bad boys on the block. Led by wild man Jim Quick, this rock ‘n’ soul group is known for their hard-drivin’, kick-ass, no-holds-barred brand of swamp funk. Don’t worry about the kids though, these guys have a soft spot for the young ‘uns. Another must see, in my book.
Now, just in case you made the mistake of missing Craig Woolard’s July 9 concert, CWB will be back for another round on August 27. If you’ve never heard Craig sing, make sure you catch at least one of these shows.
Closing out the summer season on Friday, Sept. 3 will be the mighty, mighty Tams of Hotlanta, Ga.! “Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me,” “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy,” “What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am).” Need I say more? Come out to see “Little Redd” Cottle and the rest of this legendary group.
The concerts run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and draw about 1,000 folks from the area. There’s an area for dancing right in front of the stage, and don’t forget to bring lawn chairs. See you there!
“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!
Rev. Bubba D Liverance
Let My Peoples Dance (2008)
Label: Ain’t Bad Records
You know you’re in for some fun when the guy’s name is Rev. Bubba D Liverance, his band is called the Cornhole Prophets and the CD is titled Let My Peoples Dance. What you may not know until you pop it into the player however is the topnotch songwriting, musicianship and production quality of this disc.
Take your cues from the title, and get ready to boogie. Opener and title track, “Let My Peoples Dance” is a cleverly written shout out to the masses to take a minute to feel the beat and shake your bootie. “That’s What You Do” is a very danceable soul tune penned by Bubba and Sam Hankins. According to the good reverend, it was written in the same mold as “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” by the Swingin’ Medallions where the writer’s so affected by a girl, her lovin’ made him turn flips, shout out loud and finally made him pass out. In this tune, her lovin’ has him “speaking in tongues.”
The swingin’ “My Baby’s a Seafood Platter”(Rusty McHugh/Wild Okra Music ASCAP) is one of just two not written or co-written by Rev. Bubba. “Ain’t No American Idol” is the rev’s initiation of a backlash against American Idol. He thinks they should have better finalists. In “Mo Better,” Bubba’s affection for 60s soul and R&B is apparent. “If You Can’t Shag” is one of the most popular – and controversial – tracks on the CD. The full lyric is “If you can’t shag, get your ass out of Carolina.” It was reportedly inspired by an eighth grade South Carolina requirement to learn the State dance – the shag. Can that be true? If you can’t shag, you can’t graduate from eighth grade?
By the way, the horns are none other than the Memphis Horns: Wayne Jackson (trumpet); Donnie Sanders (sax); and Carl Hale (trombone). Yep, the very same Memphis Horns from Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” and Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds.” Musicians include Bubba D Liverance (guitar/vocals); Sam Hankins (guitar/vocals) Jane Rhodes (keyboard/vocals); Jonas Schultz (keyboard/saxophone/vocals); Austin Solomon (bass) Russell Garner (drums/percussion). DB. April 7, 2009.
A version of this post will be published in the entertainment section of Coast Magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, issue April 9 – 23, 2009, p. 26.
It’s that time of year when over 10,000 shag dancers descend upon the Ocean Drive
section of North Myrtle Beach for ten full days of barbecue, beach time, silliness, catching up
with old friends, live music … and above all, shagging (and no, I’m not talking about the
British version, although I’m not discounting it either).
This year’s Society of Stranders (S.O.S.) Spring Safari officially begins Friday, April 17
and runs through Sunday, April 26. Don’t forget, you need to renew your S.O.S. membership
to attend events at the sanctioned S.O.S. lounges: Ducks and Ducks Too, Fat Harold’s,
the O.D. Arcade, O.D. Resort and Pirate’s Cove.
If you’ve never experienced a Spring S.O.S parade before, it’s not to be missed. Adults
gone wild, and it’s a blast. Head on over to Main Street in North Myrtle Beach on
Saturday, April 25. The parade starts at 1 p.m. Lots of folks like to close out the weekend
with the Camp Kemo event, held at Fat Harold’s. There are live performances, auctions
and more – all to send kids with cancer to camp for a week, so they can remember what
it’s like to be a kid again. This year’s event is being dedicated to the memory of saxman
Johnny Cox, who lost his own fight with cancer earlier this month. It won’t be the same
without people stuffing bills into Johnny’s horn. Word has it, though, that Johnny’s son
Scott Cox, will be there to do the honors. Bring your Kleenex.
One last thing, welcome and thank you to all the deejays who’ll be spinning tunes around
Sam West– Upstairs in the O.D. Resort
Charlie & Jackie – Ducks
Judy Duke – Fat Harold’s
Ellen Taylor – O.D. Arcade
Friday, April 17
Spanish Galleon 7 p.m., Tommy Black and
2001 Nightclub, 7 p.m., Craig Woolard
Band (no S.O.S. card needed)
Chasers Beach Club, 9 p.m. Castaways (no
S.O.S. card needed)
Saturday, April 18
Fat Harold’s, 1-5 p.m., Sea-Cruz
Pirate’s Cove 2 – 6 p.m. The Poor Souls
Spanish Galleon 7 p.m. The Entertainers
with guests Vicki Skinner, Bobby Smith and
2001 Nightclub, 7 p.m., Tim Clark Band
Sunday, April 19
Fat Harold’s, 1-5 p.m.,Holiday Band
HOTO’s, 1 p.m. Mark Roberts & Breeze
(no S.O.S. card needed)
Spanish Galleon, 7 p.m. Band of Oz
Monday, April 20
Spanish Galleon, 7 p.m. Embers
2001 Nightclub, 8 p.m. Jim Quick &
Tuesday, April 21
HOTO’s, 3 p.m. King Tyrone & the
Graveyard Ramblers (no S.O.S. card needed)
Spanish Galleon, 7 p.m. Mark Roberts &
2001 Nightclub, 7 p.m., Sea-Cruz (no
S.O.S. card needed)
Wednesday, April 22
Fat Harold’s, 1-5 p.m., Jim Quick &
Spanish Galleon, 7 p.m., Sammy O’Banion
& Mardi Gras
2001 Nightclub, 8 p.m. Legends of Beach
(no S.O.S. card needed)
Thursday, April 23
Fat Harold’s, 1-5 p.m., Craig Woolard Band
Spanish Galleon, 5 p.m. Pre- release party,
various artist. Band of Oz follows.
2001 Nightclub, 8 p.m. Mark Roberts &
Breeze (no S.O.S. card needed)
Friday, April 24
Fat Harold’s, 1-5 p.m., Fantastic Shakers
Spanish Galleon, 4 p.m.New music release
party, followed by Holiday Band
Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things, 8 p.m.
Rickey Godfrey (no S.O.S card needed)
2001 Nightclub, 8 p.m., Craig Woolard
Band (no S.O.S.card needed)
Saturday, April 25
Avista Resort, 12 p.m. Big Time Party
Band (no S.O.S. card needed )
Spanish Galleon, 7 p.m. Rick Strickland
Band, Bobby Smith & the Poor Souls
Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things, 2 – 5 p.m.
Rickey Godfrey (no S.O.S card needed)
Sunday, April 26
Fat Harold’s, 1- 5 p.m. Camp Kemo, various
A version of this post will run in Beach Newz in Coast Magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, issue April 9 – 23, 2009, p. 24.
This note about the memorial service held yesterday in Woodruff, S.C. for Johnny Cox came to me from Debbie Cox Sloan and Jill Cox Parris via email today (March 30, 2009). A second service will be held in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. next Sunday (April 5, 2009) at the Pavilion. 11:30 a.m. A celebration of Johnny’s life will follow immediately afterward at the O.D. Beach Club, which is located at the O.D. Beach Resort & Hotel.
As a follow up, we wanted to share with you some highlights from Johnny’s memorial service yesterday, and ask that you pass along the family’s heartfelt thanks.
We held a memorial service yesterday (Sunday) in our family’s hometown, Woodruff, in honor of Johnny. We were overwhelmed with the outpouring by his friends. As Johnny watched from heaven, we know he was thrilled to see over 200 people there (some from the Myrtle Beach area) to honor the pieces of their lives and places in their hearts that Johnny filled. We are sure he was thrilled to see “standing room only!”.
His mother, children, grandchildren, sisters, niece, nephews, and their families were touched by the presence of so many. The service was led by Johnny’s life-long friend, Chaplain Tom Casey, formerly of Woodruff, who shared childhood and school-time memories of Johnny. Johnny’s daughter, Lee Cox Wise, and son, Scott Cox, also lovingly delivered beautiful memories of tribute to Johnny as a father and grandfather. Johnny’s sister, Debbie Cox Sloan, presented a loving tribute of childhood memories on behalf of his mother, Elizabeth Cox, sister, Jill Cox Parris, and herself. A written tribute, composed by Kay Murphy Cox Miller, appeared in the program.
The chapel was beautifully adorned with several flower arrangements, lovingly appreciated by the family, although in lieu of flowers, the family has/had asked that memorial contributions in memory of Johnny Cox be made to the American Cancer Society, 154 Milestone Way, Greenville, SC 29615. Over 50 large framed photographs of Johnny were displayed for all who attended to enjoy. A beautiful brass saxophone, shared by Steve Craig, singer of the Out-of Towners Band, stood at the alter below a touching photograph of Johnny playing his own beloved saxophone.
Beautiful music was presented by the Out-of-Towners Band, after the members reminisced about Johnny. Also a special part of the service included Johnny’s own recorded music. All of Johnny’s grandchildren sang an angelic rendition of “Jesus Loves Me”. Johnny and the angels were definitely beaming from heaven!
The family is so grateful for the presence of extended family, childhood friends and classmates from the Woodruff High School Class of 1962, and the MANY musicians who attended the service. Three large rows were reserved, as a place of honor, for the seating of musicians who had performed with Johnny. The rows would not hold all who were there! Among the many seated on these rows were the Out-of Towners Band, members of the Barons (the group Johnny and his father performed with for many years), as well as 6 former members/members of the Swingin’ Medallions with some of their family members. At one point in the service, Medallion founder and music icon, John McElrath, lovingly expressed his affection for Johnny.
We know that Johnny lives on, not only in the music he played, but more importantly in the hearts and lives of those who loved him. His too early passing leaves an ache in our hearts, but his presence lives on with us forever.
Thank you all for sharing in this beautiful celebration of Johnny’s life.
I received this from Johnny’s sisters and they have given me permission to post it here.
Memories of Our Brother, Johnny- by Jill Cox Parris and Debbie Cox Sloan
Many people only knew the musician, Johnny Cox, a member of The Jays, The Sparkletones, The Barons, The Swingin’ Medallions, Sassy, Rhythm Brothers, Griff & Johnny, The Out-of-Towners Band, and many more. We would like to honor his memory and introduce you to more about him as a son and a brother- the Johnny we knew and loved.
Johnny’s mother lovingly called him “Junebug” and she called him this throughout his life and reminded him (and us) many times that his favorite book was still “The Pokey Little Puppy.” In the first grade, he was asked to be the director of the 1st grade musical group in the school program, but had to relinquish the title of Director and play the cymbals instead because he was the only one who could “feel the beat” and play the cymbals at the right time. He loved playing midget football and idolized his daddy who was the coach of his team. “Johnny Rex”, the apple of his grandmother’s eye and the apple of many of his aunts’ and uncles’ eyes, would put on his “Davy Crockett” coonskin cap, and go “hunting” behind his home with his Daisy BeeBee rifle, accompanied by his beloved dog Rags. He would take his little sister to Sunday school with him and try to make her comfortable by sitting in her class with her until he could “sneak out” to his own class. Johnny’s first “normal” job was behind the soda fountain at Stinson’s drug store, where he made the best cherry cokes in Woodruff. He spent his first paycheck on a jacket with a fur-lined hood for his little sister, but in the next moment would send her screaming as he terrorized her by chasing her as he pretended he was “Frankenstein”. By the way, speaking of scared, the movie that always terrified him was “The House of Wax” starring Vincent Price.
At 13, he cut his first record with the Barons. It was called “Jaywalk”, a song he wrote and played on his saxophone. He was recruited by a band called the “Sparkletones”. The group had a hit called “Black Slacks” and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Johnny toured with them in Canada, playing sax, at the age of 14. Upon his return home, his 6-year old sister kissed his hand over and over because it was the hand that shook the hands of Ricky Nelson, Fabian, and Paul Anka!!! However, if the truth is known, his sister adored him much more than those other stars and grieved every time he went away!! He loved getting his mother to hum or sing a song to him, and then he would play it back to her on his sax…….Always amazing her!
He loved taking pictures of his sisters with his black and white film camera……..posing his little sister like Zorro or a dead cowboy, and taking pictures of his baby sister because he said “She looks like a baby model.” He taught his little sister to shag and loved bouncing his baby sister on his knees.
Johnny had many girlfriends, or those who wanted to be his girlfriend. His aloofness (which was really shyness) seemed to make him a good catch…but there were a few (Janet, Jean, Nancy, Martha, Becky, and Kay) who really captured his interest and attention. Back then, he did not like the fact that he wore glasses, so he would wear prescription sunglasses at night. When he was asked why….he would say, “Because the street lights hurt my eyes!” Johnny was the lead in the school play, and his little sister practiced his lines with him diligently. He drove a school bus, was in the Beta Club, and was voted Best Looking AND Most Talented out of his senior class……a fact he never let his family forget. He talked of taking his dates home ON Saturday nights in time to get back up to the “Wenoka” to watch “the Fugitive” on TV with his friends! On a couple of occasions, we witnessed a few of his buddies making fun of him on Sunday afternoon because he always took a Sunday afternoon ride or picnics with all of us and then went back home with us to watch Bonanza together as a family. He said it didn’t matter, because that was what he wanted to do. Daddy liked “Pa”, Lorne Green…Mama liked Brother Adam, Johnny and Debbie liked Little Joe, and Jill liked “Hoss Cartwright”….that was our favorite show.
As a Furman student, he wanted his mother to see how he had arranged his dorm room. Before he would let her in, he turned on the lamp beside his bed and started a jazz record by Dave Brubeck on his record player. This prompted his roommate to say, “Johnny, you would think you were bringing Marilyn Monroe in to see your room”, to which Johnny replied, “No, I just want Mama to like it”…he loved his mother deeply. Johnny came home on weekends to teach the 13-year old boys in Sunday school. One Sunday, as the family got ready for church together, his baby sister could not find her Sunday black patent leather shoes….so someone had to stay home with her….it was Johnny, who then promptly fell back asleep while his baby sister rode “round and round” him on her tricycle, trying to wake him! He also orchestrated a Christmas Eve service at home, directing his family members to read the Christmas Story from the Bible, and to kneel around the Christmas tree together to hold hands and pray.
Years later, when his baby sister yearned to drive the family car, Johnny took the opportunity to teach her all he knew about driving. Johnny was 29, and Jill was 13. Nearly 10 years had passed since Johnny had lived at home with the rest of the family, but he still had a big brother’s heart. Not surprisingly, he managed to get the family car and his baby sister home safely. After only 30 minutes, Johnny was sitting in the passenger seat while baby sister drove as they rolled up in the driveway. Our parents were not surprised at all….. that was typical “Brother Johnny.”
We were always proud of Johnny and the fact that he was a great musician. We’ve always held a soft spot in our hearts for musicians, since both our Dad and brother played music. You know, most “normal” families back when we were growing up had formal living rooms where the mothers kept the nicest furniture in the house… you know, the room where children were not allowed to play? Well, our home’s living room was filled with guitar amps, a Hammond organ, a Farfisa keyboard, a saxophone stand, and drums. Our family’s house is where our Dad and brother’s band rehearsed many times. While we rode bicycles up and down the street outdoors, or did homework in the adjoining room, we could hear the sounds of our Daddy and Johnny playing their songs, laughing and talking with their band mates. That was what occupied our mother’s living room (it takes a special breed also to be a musician’s wife)! We can’t help but smile when we remember the smells and sounds of laughter, leather guitar cases, cigarette smoke, and chord progressions being discussed and shouted out above the tunes. Over and over again, they would play, until the song was perfect. Looking back now, we laugh about how we never realized this wasn’t “ordinary.” We never stopped to think that other living rooms in Woodruff were not filled with bulky music gear, microphones, and long, black, winding cables plugged into amplifiers. It all seemed normal to us then, and we never thought otherwise….. until now.
A very early memory of our brother is of him performing at the American Legion Hut in Woodruff with a group of teenage boys. He was playing his beloved saxophone, of course, and we were in the crowd watching the band and swaying to the music as he played the song, “Last Night”. His baby sister was 3, his little sister was 11, and Johnny was 19 at the time. At one point he came down from the stage area and began to hold our hands, dancing with us and laughing. We also were privileged to be with him and see him play the last time he performed on his beloved sax in December, 2008…..a memory we will cherish forever. We now realize with the passing of our brother (and our Daddy 3 years ago), that their presence in our lives made our family’s life as extraordinary and un- typical as you might imagine. Looking back on these memories, we wouldn’t have had our lives any other way!
By the way, no one will ever play “Danny Boy” as good as our big brother did!