I need to stop shooting my mouth off about how sick I am of tired old cover
tunes and even tired-er cover bands because, sure as Shinola, every time I do, some band comes along and insists on playing everything from “Mustang Sally” to “Lady Soul;” and completely blows me out of the water.
Carolina Soul Band is that band, and they’ve made me eat every last snarky word I’ve had to say about cover bands. I caught one of their sets at the O.D. Beach Club and it was a blast! Talk about high energy, I still have goose bumps from the vocals. The sax player was a crowd pleaser. They’re all showmen. What a great party band these guys are.
The nine-piece powerhouse puts out some of the sweetest, coolest, hottest
soularound – a mix of old school, R&B, beach music and southern soul. Their high energy level along with huge talent will bring you back for more.
Last week, I had a chance to talk to drummer Chris “Silk” Terry, who is also the group’s founder. He formed Carolina Soul Band about two years. He and all but one of the other band members had played for years as the backup band for Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters.
“I started off in gospel, played with the Brooklyn All Stars,” Chris told me. “I grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C. My dad was a gospel singer. My uncles played guitar, drums, keyboard … I think I chose drums so I could make a lot of noise.”
How big an influence was Bill Pinkney, I wanted to know.
“Bill was like a father to me. It’s hard hitting the stage and he’s not there. He taught me a lot about the music, and keeping it alive,” Chris remembers. “He showed me how to be a great entertainer and that I should never be arrogant with fans because the fans are who support us. He taught me so much. July 4, 2007 in Daytona was the hardest show I’ve ever played. That’s when Bill Pinkney passed.”
Bill Pinkney’s influence is evidenced throughout the band.
Jervey “Supreme Keys” Geddies, longtime bandleader for Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters also serves as CSB’s bandleader and keyboard player. FromCharleston, S.C. he has toured with Betty Wright, the Platters and the Coasters.
Joe “Run-On” Turner from Suffolk, Va., was one of Bill Pinkney’s lead vocalists, and you’ll know why after just one tune. What a voice!
Midway, N.C. boy Kacey “Smooth” Leak is also a vocalist from the Bill Pinkney days, and he plays lead guitar for CSB. He has also played for the Charlie Thomas Drifters, Ollie Woodson from the Temptations and the Herb Reed Platters.
Vocalist Erik Glenn is from Columbia, S.C. In additional to touring with Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters, he has starred in the gospel play “Bible Story” with Donald Lawrence and Daryl Coley.
Will Green, also from Columbia, performed with Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle, Jerry Butler, The Gap Band, Jeffery Osborne and more. He plays organ and keys, lead and bass guitar, drums and is also a super vocalist.
Phil “Crazy Strings” Watson from Myrtle Beach is the group’s rhythm guitarist, and he’s on vocals, too. He’s toured with Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters, Percy Sledge and the Marshall Tucker Band.
Birmingham, Ala. vocalist Paul Shields puts the soul in Carolina Soul Band. He’s also toured with Bill Pinkney and other nationally known acts. Once again … goose bumps.
Chuck “7 Strings” Ruby is the group’s bass player and also provides vocals. From Baltimore, Md., he’s the new guy, joined Carolina Soul Band about a year ago. Chuck plays a seven-string bass and, on occasion, a six-string fretless, bringing a definite jazz influence to the group. I bet Bill Pinkney would be pleased.
Chris tells me that it was his soon-to-be-wife and booking agent, Katisha Gladden, who – after Bill’s passing – pushed the group to form: “She comes in one day and says to me, ‘You’re too talented to be sitting at home. So here’s your name and your website.’
“We owe her a lot. She got us going.”
They haven’t stopped to look back once. They’ve been playing clubs, corporate events, festivals … and audiences love them.
“I think ‘Dock of the Bay’ is our most requested song,” says Chris. “But we get asked for ‘Baby Don’t Be Mad at Me’ a lot, too.”
“Baby Don’t Be Mad at Me” is Carolina Soul Band’s current single, a beach tune that’s climbing the charts and getting these guys some notice.
They’re also hard at work on a new CD (which will include covers and original tunes). Musician Jim Quick and Keith Houston, owner of KHP Music in Dunn, N.C., after one of the group’s early Fat Harold’s appearances, contacted Chris and set up a recording deal to co-produce a new album, which they expect to release this fall.
“Our band’s goal is to keep good clean music alive,” says Chris. “We want the younger generation to know that not everything is about killin’ and spillin’.
“I love when the parents and grandparents bring their kids who dance and love the music, too.”
All in all, I suppose a cover tune or two won’t hurt me, if I get to listen to musicians like these guys.
Here are some upcoming shows for them: Ducks on Main St. in North Myrtle Beach (Balladeer Lenny Welch will be joining them! ); Thirsty’s2 in Greensboro, N.C. on Aug. 5; back to North Myrtle Beach for Boom Boom’s Raw Bar on Aug. 12; my favorite beach bar, HOTO’s in Cherry Grove, S.C. Aug. 28; over Labor Day weekend, Fat Harold’s on Main St. Sept. 4; down to Chucktown for the Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival, Sept. 5; and back again to Fat Harold’s on Sept. 18. You’ll have a blast. And while I’m busy eating my words, you can sing along with theirs.