Woo woo! It’s about time this Nashville boy got his butt back to the beach. Rickey Godfrey’s tearing into town for three short days before he grabs a bus back to Music City so he can finish his CD on schedule.
On Thursday, Sept. 2, he’ll play Key West Crazy on the waterfront in Little River, S.C. Show time is 7 – 10 p.m. This is a great little spot, with a full-on restaurant to go along with its full-on bar. I’ll be there, so I hope the margaritas are still $2.50, and I can’t wait to get me some fried green beans!
The next night, Friday, Sept. 3 Rickey’s heading to the ILM to play the Rusty Nail. This is one of my favorite dives in Wilmington (N.C.). It’s your basic smoke-filled room, a lowdown blues joint that just happens to be home to the weekly blues jam for the Cape Fear Blues Society (CFBS). You never know who’s going to stop by. Joining Rickey on this gig will be Wilmington bass player Lan Nichols (also head honcho for CFBS ) and drummer Rich Laverdure, both of whom play with Tommy B. & the Stingers. The show starts at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 4, at 9 p.m., Rickey turns south again to the Grand Strand, this time playing at Cool Daddy’s, on Ninth Avenue behind Ripley’s, just near the old Pavilion. Cool Daddy’s is owned by Diane and Phil Salone , drummer for Myrtle Beach-based funk-blues band, Inlyn Gruve. Phil will be on the drum kit and Jimi Brown will be playing bass.
Get yourself to one or all of these gigs, because Rickey’s gonna be wailing on his Telecaster and you don’t want to miss a note!
For those of you who are just now discovering this versatile virtuoso, let me bring you up to speed on all things Godfrey. Rickey Godfrey, who has been blind since birth, began studying classical piano and voice at an early age. He had his first guitar by the time he was 13. Performing throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, he has worked with artists such as Rufus Thomas, Sam Moore, Billy Preston and Junior Walker. He has been nominated by the Music City Blues Society for both Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year. Last year he played the Montreal Jazz Festival with the Chocolate Thunder band.
Rickey is well known throughout the Carolinas for his hit songs “Can’t Change My Heart,” “No One Loves You Better Than Me,” “Whatever It Takes” and “If Ten’ll Kill Me, You Can Give Me Nine.” He’s earned a pile of CBMA awards including blues album of the year, group album of the year, song of the year and more.
For the past several months Rickey has been writing, composing and recording for his new blues CD, which he expects to complete by early October. “I’m having a lot of fun with this recording,” he grins. “This is a blues CD, so I really let go on guitar and piano, too. Not everyone knows that I play keys, so it’ll be a surprise to some folks. I wanted to do a really sparse album that showcased my own instruments, so it’s not overly produced. You’ll hear Don Wise [formerly with Delbert McClinton] sitting in on sax once or twice. Shaun Murphy from Little Feat and N.Y. soul singer Angel Rissoff are going to add some great background vocals. I’ll be doing a few of the tunes on this trip to the coast, so y’all are going to get a sneak peak of what’s comin’.”
Rickey doesn’t play around these parts often enough, so I hope you’ll come out in droves and show this boy some love.
Key West Crazy is located in Little River, S.C. at 4492 Water Front Ave. For information, call 843-249-6163. Address for the Rusty Nail is 1310 S. Fifth Street, Wilmington, N.C. Telephone: 910-251-1888. Cool Daddy’s Bar & Grill is at 300 9th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, S.C., located behind Ripleys. Free parking passes are available for patrons. A refundable $10 deposit may be required. Telephone: 843-333-5941. For more information about Rickey Godfrey and to listen to a sampling of his music, visit his Facebook fan page.
Freddy Mangum /1963 – 2009
We recently lost two musicians, one I knew personally and the other only by reputation. Both were significant artists and deserve mentioning here. Freddy Mangum, 46-year-old lead vocalist for Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 7; and Johnny Jones, 73, Nashville blues guitarist and mentor to Jimi Hendrix and countless other musicians, died on Oct. 14, also unexpected.
I first met Freddy Mangum in 2004 in Raleigh, N.C. during a celebration of Carolina beach music, the regional R&B genre. He was recording a number of tunes for the northern soul market with the Sugar Bees, from Florence, S.C. , although his fulltime gig was as a lead vocalist with Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.
“Freddy was with me for 15 years,” Maurice Williams told me in a telephone interview earlier this week. “I was managing him now, and I produced ‘Mama Didn’t Know,’ his single on the GAD label. We had so many plans … a solo album for him … it’s such sad timing, here he has this song on the charts and he passes away.”
After years of hitting the high notes for Maurice, Freddie Mangum had just come into his own. “Mama Didn’t Know,” which was written by Curtis Mayfield, is a bona fide hit and climbing the beach charts.
Fred Shaw, who owns Bradley House Productions and is also the Sugar Bees drummer, said, “We’ve been friends for years. I was devastated when I heard. I was in Washington D.C. and left to go to the funeral in Durham. Over 500 people showed up, could hardly fit them…
“We’ve done a lot of recording together … and I always knew when we went onstage that he was going to pull off a great show. Freddy just had that magic in his voice. I never heard him hit a bad note.
“The Zodiacs will be different now. They’ll go on, of course; they’ve had their share of loss in the group, but they’ll go on.”
Shaw continued, “ Maurice was just so proud of Freddy … Freddy was great to be around. He was always positive … a good friend. ”
Williams agrees, “He was like a godson to me, to me and my wife, Emily. He had a fantastic personality … He was my right hand man, I put him in charge of the band. He conducted rehearsals. He helped me produce, too. He set everything up for us. I was going to get off the road and Freddy would have the Zodiacs…” His voice trails off and it’s obviously a sad moment for Maurice Williams.
I feel so fortunate that I got to see him just last month. Jerry Goodman of GAD Records and Maurice Williams decided the group would make a last minute appearance at Craig Fleming’s Beach Music 45 record showcase at the Avista Resort in North Myrtle Beach. Some three hundred fans were treated to over an hour of hits like “Stay,” “Little Darlin’” and Freddy’s own “Mama Didn’t Know.”
They rocked the place.
This would be the last time I saw Freddy Mangum perform and the last time I spoke with him. We talked about setting up an interview. He was going to be my next long interview. I’m a Freddy fan and I wanted to know what was ahead for him.
Life’s too damn short.
Johnny Jones/ 1936 – 2009
Johnny Jones, although not a household name, played a major role in Nashville’s Jefferson Street R&B scene as depicted in the 2004 Country Music Hall of Fame’s Last Train To Nashville project and compilation CD (Vol. 1 and II) of the same name.
Jones was born in 1936. It’s said he experienced his first live blues performance by Joe Hill Lewis in Memphis, Tenn. at the age of 13. By the early 50s he had relocated to Chicago with his mother, a move that would place him in the midst of the great blues players of the time and help shape his own musical career. He shared a flat with harpman Walter McCollum. Together they formed a group, often playing with Junior Wells and Freddy King.
Jones moved to Nashville sometime in the early 60s, where R&B icon and songwriter Ted Jarrett took him under his wing and taught him how to read music In Nashville, Jones worked as a studio musician and played in his own band, the Imperial Seven.The group worked regularly at the popular New Era Club. It was with this group that Jones met a young guitarist named Jimi Hendrix, who regularly sat in with him at the club. During this period, Jones also played rhythm guitar with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown in the house band for “The Beat,” a Dallas television program.
In the mid sixties, Jones was a founding member of another band, the King Kasuals*, which included not only Hendrix but also bass player Billy Cox, who was later part of Hendrix’ Band of Gypsies and also played with him at Woodstock.
Shortly afterward, as Johnny Jones & the Imperials, Jones released three funked up tunes: “It’s Gonna Be Good,” “Soul Poppin’” and a cover of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.” “Soul-Poppin’” would be included on vol. 2 of the Night Train To Nashville disc set. “Really Part I” was included on vol. 1 and “Lucky Lou,” originally performed by the Imperials, but not recorded in the studio was also on vol. 2.
Jones would go on to work with musicians such as Bobby Blue Bland. Continuing to gig around Nashville, he mentored many of the younger Nashville guitarists and played the Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival every year.
Just last month, Jones was one of the speakers at a memorial jam in honor of his own mentor – Nashville treasure Ted Jarrett ( single, “You Can Make It If You Try and album, Night Train To Nashville).
There has been no funeral, but tentative plans are in the works for a celebration of the man and his guitar mastery at The Place on Second Avenue in Nashville.
*There are numerous references to this band as both King Casuals and King Kasuals.
Writer Dariel Bendin can be contacted on the Internet on MySpace (MySpace.com/culturejunkie); Facebook and Twitter (Twitter.com/darielb).
Papa’s Pizza In Little River, S.C. To Offer Live Entertainment April 23 – 25
NOTE: CHANGE TO SCHEDULE. I’ve just heard that one of the guys in Tommy’s trio has some sort of medical issue – in his family, maybe – and Tommy Black has to reschedule his appearance at Papa’s. The gig is still up on Papa’s website, though. So, either way, call before you make other plans for Thursday night. Rickey is still on for Friday night and Saturday afternoon. DB Apr. 21, 2009. 11.56 p.m.
Papa’s Pizza, Wings & Things, located in the Lowes Food Shopping Center in Little River, S.C., will offer live entertainment on Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25. Local beach artist Tommy Black will perform with his Tommy Black and Blooz trio on Thursday evening from 8 – 11 p.m. Nashville blues singer/guitarist Rickey Godfrey is set for Friday night, 8 – 11 p.m. and again Saturday afternoon, 2 – 5 p.m.
The popular local eatery has scheduled the performers to coincide with 10-day S.O.S. Spring Safari, the annual celebration of shag dancers and beach music lovers, which begins officially Friday, April 17 and runs through Sunday April 26 in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach.
This is the first time vocalist Tommy Black will appear at Papa’s Pizza. A prolific songwriter, he penned and performed “Shadow Shaggin’,” which earned him a 2008 CBMA award for Best Smoothie. Other hits for the Fayetteville, N.C. native include “Sabrina” and “Lalita.” Recent releases include a cover of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and “Unbreak My Heart” from the singer’s newest CD, Shadow Shaggin’ and the Ones We Miss.
For Rickey Godfrey, this is a return appearance to Papa’s. He is well known at the beach for hits like “Can’t Change My Heart,” the number one song in beach music for some 13 months from Soul Sensations, his 2004 CBMA award-winning album and single; “If Ten’ll Kill Me You Can Give Me Nine” and “Once In a Lifetime Love,” the title track from the 2006 Group Album of the Year. His brand new soul single, “Help Yourself To Me” has debuted on Beach Music 45 at number 30 and is climbing the charts now. Back in Nashville, he has been honored as a Music City Blues Society nominee for both guitarist and keyboard player of the year.
Papa’s Pizza, Wings & Things is a homey, comfortable, welcoming restaurant that serves a range of mid-priced pizzas, calzones, salads, pastas, wings and more. Signature dishes include the Phab-U-Lous Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup and a Kitchen Sink salad, chock full of mixed greens, grilled chicken, crumbled bleu cheese, dried cranberries, walnuts, red onion and more, served with a range of homemade dressings.
Papa’s Pizza is located at 111 Pavilion Drive, in the Lowes Food Shopping Plaza in Little River, S.C. on the road to Calabash, N.C. For more information, call 843-249-3663 from S.C. and 910-575-7900 from N.C.
For more information about the musicians, visit their websites:
Tommy Black: www.tommyblackandblooz.com
Rickey Godfrey: www.myspace.com/therickeygodfreyband
In recent months, Papa’s Pizza has offered customers a range of entertainers including R&B group, Sammy O’Banion & Mardi Gras, soul-blues guitarist/singer Rickey Godfrey, singer Gary Lowder and singer/DJ Gary Brown. You can keep up with the restaurant’s future events at their website or on MySpace.