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.
When the subject of conversation is a ten-day adult party that takes over a town in the south, you know you’re talking about S.O.S. in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The 2011 S.O.S. Fall Migration starts Thursday, Sept. 16 and runs full board through Sunday, Sept. 25.
Most of the fun will be taking place at the famous S.O.S. lounges – Fat Harold’s, Duck’s, O.D. Arcade, and the clubs at the O.D. Beach Resort and Golf Resort (Spanish Galleon, O.D. Beach Club and the upstairs O.D. Café). But make sure you also check out Deckerz, right off Main St.; Boom Boom’s Raw Bar on 13th Ave. North; HOTO’s on the beach in Cherry Grove, 2001 Nightclub on Lake Arrowhead Rd.; and Captain Poo’s at Anchor Marina. Party hearty, folks.
There’ll be shag exhibitions and workshops, live entertainment, deejays spinning your favorite tunes, dancing, dancing and more dancing! In fact, over at Fat Harold’s, they’ll be holding their first Last Shagger Standing contest from 12 noon to 12 midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 20, and the payoff is a thousand bucks, so start practicing those maneuvers.
On the first Sunday and only Monday of Fall Migration, thousands fill the streets for two of the biggest block parties you’ll ever experience. For Fun Sunday, as it’s come to be called, head to the parking lot across from the O.D. Arcade (100 S. Ocean Blvd.). Mark Roberts Band and Legends of Beach, two of the hottest bands around will play from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Mark Roberts group defines the term “dance band.” They play everything from beach and boogie to blues rock to party music. Musically and stylistically, they’re a cut above.
Legends of Beach, featuring the inimitable Jackie Gore on lead vocals, is pure beach music. If you haven’t seen them lately, Pat Carpenter has joined the mix on guitar and vocals. Add to that Nantucket saxman Eddie Blair, Ben Shaw on trumpet and Original Carolina Girl Terri Gore on vocals. And let’s not forget band stalwarts Johnny Barker (keys), Tony Davis (drums) and Gerald Davis (bass). Hot ticket … and it’s free!
Fun Monday brings us another amazing day. Main Street will be blocked off and the band stage will be at the “horseshoe” at the ocean. The bands start at noon and play until about 5:30 p.m.
Wallstreet will be here, all the way from Joisey. This five-man R&B group doesn’t get to this neck of the beach all that often, don’t miss this opportunity to hear a topnotch group. Founder Odell Mickens splits his time between playing the B3 with Wallstreet and bass guitar for the Trammps, known best in the Carolinas for their “Hold Back the Night.”
Wallstreet singles include “The Little Things,” “Closing Time,” “Finally Friday” and their latest “Old School Music” on Shantys Records. Odell tells me they’ve got a brand new drummer, Jerome “J.T.” Tyus from the late Keisha Brown’s band. Don’t miss this show.
Sharing the Fun Monday bill with Wallstreet will be CWB – the Craig Woolard Band with special guest Danny Woods, formerly with Chairmen of the Board.That’s going to be some kind of vocal energy on that stage, a whole lotta soul goin’ on. For anyone living under a rock, Craig Woolard is a superb vocalist. Before starting his own band, he spent many years with beloved beach music group, the Embers. Beach, boogie and blues … he does it all. But my favorite is Craig’s rendition of “Georgia.” Goose bumps, every time.
Last but not least for Fun Monday is soul singer William Bell. This guy is considered one of the architects of the 1960s Stax-Volt sound. His debut single was “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (1961), and he’s still associated with the tune. Another William Bell classic is “Private Number,” (1968) a duet with Judy Clay. “Trying to Love Two” hit the Top 40 and No.1 on the R&B charts. Otis Redding fans will recall “A Tribute To a King.”
Many folks don’t realize that William is noted for his songwriting as well. He shares songwriting credits on Chuck Jackson’s hit, “Any Other Way,” which Bell recorded first, by the way. He also penned his hit “I Forgot To Be Your Lover” (1968), which would become a Top 10 pop hit for Billy Idol in 1986, and co-wrote (with Booker T. Jones) the 1967 Albert King blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign.” I promise you, the William Bell show will be super.
To say Fun Monday is fun is an understatement. It’s a blast. If you’re in the neighborhood, head over the Main Street and enjoy yo self!
Events at the S.O.S. lounges mentioned above require an S.O.S. card for admission. For $35 per person, you’ll find yourself part of a unique lifestyle, one that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else. Entry to the other clubs will either be free or close to it. For more information and schedules, visit the S.O.S. website or the clubs’ individual websites.
If you’ve got other events, club dates or S.O.S. news, feel free to add your comment here!!!
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.
There’s a new band coming to town, but for many of the shaggers heading to Ocean Drive for the annual Spring Safari, these will be happily familiar faces.
The Virginia Beach All Stars are none other than brothers in soul Steve Bassett and Ammon Tharp with their rockin’ compadres Donald Quisenberry, Randy Moss and Cornell Jones.
For any new kids on the block, here’s a quick rundown on who these guys are.
Steve Bassett is a legendary blue-eyed soul singer. He has worked with top national and international acts, and had a hugely successful career as a jingles singer.
The late John Hammond, Sr., longtime record producer for CBS, who has been given credit for discovering Billie Holliday, Bill Basie, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and countless others said, “[Steve Bassett] is a singer’s singer and he communicates with his audience in a soulful front porch manner that crosses markets and generations and leaves his listener feeling like he has sung to them alone.”
Bassett has written tunes with Clifford Curry and played around Nashville with T. Graham Brown, Leroy Pernell and Gary Nicholson. He has folks like Duane Eddy, Jimmy Hall, Delbert McClinton, Tony Joe White and Donnie Fritts doing vocals on his CDs.
During the late nineties he spent a year touring the U.S. with Delbert and still considers him a pal.
In a telephone interview last week, Steve told me about his career, including that early encounter with the iconic executive.
“I was about 30 when I met Mr. Hammond. He had left his job with Columbia, and I went to his office in Manhattan to audition for him.I sat at the piano, sang two or three songs and looked up at him. He said, ‘I’ve never heard a white man sing like that.’”
Hammond took him the next day to a showcase at the Bottom Line featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan. He also introduced him to former Atlantic recording exec Jerry Wexler.
The rest is history.
Hammond signed Bassett to Columbia records. When Reese Wynan left Stevie Ray Vaughan to play with Delbert McClinton, Bassett joined SRV and Double Trouble on their Texas Flood Tour (1983).
The association also lead to Steve Bassett, his 1984 CD release on Columbia Records, which was produced by Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett in Muscle Shoals, Ala. Credits also include senior producer John Hammond, Sr.
“They picked me at a time when R&B was waning,” remembers Steve. “My record was released on the same day as Cindi Lauper’s.”
The lack of enthusiasm for the disc may have had something to do with the company’s promotion guy who apparently wanted a little more reason to promote the record, and when it wasn’t forthcoming, the record never went anywhere.
Steve went on to say, “A year later though, he was busted and sent to prison.”
Payback’s the pits, ain’t it?
Bassett had a studio band called The Mystic Soul Bubbas that initially included Roger Hawkins and David Hood (the Muscle Shoals rhythm section) along with Randy McCormick and Jim Horn. The band since evolved into a sizzling seven-piece classic, soul, boogie and blues group.
Steve figures he’s written some 150 tunes total, about 30 of them with Rick Darnell, probably best known for “The Thrill Is Gone,” made famous by B.B. King and Lucille. On his website, Bassett says, “Rick took me to the land of real blues writing. We laughed our way through many adventures together, and had the chance to cut some of the 30 songs we wrote together on Party In A Box and You Don’t Know Me.”
One of his best known tunes in the beach music market is undoubtedly “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” written with Robbin Thompson in 1976 and the unofficial Va. state song.
Ammon Tharp has been a driving force in blue-eyed soul music since 1960 when he and Bill Deal formed the first incarnation of the Rhondels in Norfolk, Va. Before opting to leave the road behind them, the group played N.Y.’s Madison Square Garden with Deep Purple, Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Crazy Elephant.
Subsequent groups include Fat Ammons Band, Sheiks of Shag, Original Rhondels (during the late nineties), and The Mystic Soul Bubbas.
About Ammon Tharp, Steve Bassett says, “Working with Ammon … it’s pure funky pleasure … he’s a southern soul backbeat drummer who knows how to keep the floor full.”
They first crossed paths in Virginia Beach, when Bassett heard Bill Deal and the Rhondels for the first time. Over 30 years later, they’d meet again, this time at Ocean Drive, finally playing together at a show on Brown’s Island, Va.
When the Virginia Beach All Stars come to North Myrtle Beach for S.O.S., they’ll be supporting their new CD, Saturday Night on the KHP label. According to Steve Bassett, when he and Ammon wanted to reach out to the shag market again, they immediately thought of Keith Houston, owner of KHP Records and Band of Oz. The new CD features a version of “I Wanna Dance With You” (Steve Bassett-Rick Darnell) with shared vocals by Steve and Ammon. Other tracks include “Trust Me” (Steve Bassett-Rick Darnell/ 1994); “Somebody Got To Do It” (Steve Bassett/2001); and “Sweet Virginia Breeze” (Steve Bassett/Robbin Thompson/1978).
The Virginia Beach All Stars boast more formidable talent. Bassist Donald Quisenberry played with Bill Deal and the Rhondels from 1963 to 1977. He was also part of Fat Ammons Band from 1978 to 2002 and later, the next version of Fat Ammons Band, FAB.
Randy Moss on guitar spent six years with Steve Bassett’s Virginia Breeze Band and also played with The Mystic Soul Bubbas.
Gospel singer Cornell Jones has been singing with Bassett since 1990 and has also been with The Joker’s Wild, a version of the Drifters (1975-1977) and The Mystic Soul Bubbas.
They’ll be at the Spanish Galleon on Saturday, April 9, 7 p.m.; Sunday, April 10, 5 p.m. opening for the Band of Oz; and Monday April 11 at 6:30 p.m.
Ready To Party (2009)
Label: KHP Records
Ready To Party, the dance-driven offering from KHP Music features 14 tracks designed to get you on your feet and groovin’ to the music. This is the collection produced in conjunction with the National R&B DJ Association and released in time for Spring S.O.S., the ten-day shag extravaganza held in North Myrtle Beach every year. The compilation includes music for shag, line dancing, bop and swing.
Overall I like this disc a lot. The tunes are a nice mix of originals and covers, which happily, are sufficiently obscure that listeners won’t feel as though they’re sifting through the recycle bin. Plus, the production value is consistently good, which isn’t always the case with compilations.
Opening track is Chicago soulman Lonne Givens’ take on “I’m Ready To Party,” which was written by Sidney Bailey and John Ward in the 80s. You may remember versions by both Ollie Nightengale and Billy Scott. KHP has changed the tempo a bit and added instruments to the arrangement. A great opener, it sets the tone for the whole album.
Band of Oz is in the number two slot with an Al Green tune – “Build Me Up.” This is already a big hit with shaggers in the Carolinas.
Track number three, “Help Yourself To Me,” is written, produced and performed by Nashville soul-blues artist Rickey Godfrey. Backup vocals are handled by brother Ronnie Godfrey and sister-in-law Kim Morrison Godfrey. The guitar solo is classic Rickey Godfrey. With horns inspired, in part, by Willie Tee’s “Thank You John,” this one is also climbing the shag charts.
Vicki Skinner’s “See You Later” is track four. If it sounds familiar, Dee De Sharp recorded it in the eighties, but Skinner’s version is sultrier and sexier. A great slow shag.
“Doot Dootsie Wah” from Little Isadore & the Inquisitors is filling dance floors up and down the east coast. It’s doo wop with an edge, hard to resist.
Track six is another tune already shakin’ things up, “We’re Tight,” a duet by the bluesy Rhonda McDaniel and soulman from another planet, Angel Rissoff a.k.a Little Leopold, formerly with Little Isadore. This is a remake of a 1966 Rufus Thomas duet with daughter Carla, on the Stax label.
King Tyrone and the Graveyard Ramblers bring us “You Ain’t Got No Sense,” written by front man and prolific songwriter Jim Quick. KHP recut the original and added some big band sound that will be a surprise to anyone familiar with Quick’s unique brand of rock and soul.
Mark Roberts & Breeze covers the 1972 tune, “Don’t Ever Be Lonely,” by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose. It’s been rearranged very successfully with a shag beat. This is another tune that’s filling the dance floors.
“Mr. Zachary,” track nine, from the Taylor Manning Band, was written by Taylor Manning, who penned her first tune at 13 years old. Lead singer for the band, she follows her cover of “Mercy” last year with another hot dance tune.
The Magnificents cover the Aretha Franklin hit “‘Til You Come Back To Me,” which was co-written by Stevie Wonder and hit No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 3 on Billboard in 1973. As usual, the Magnificents live up to their name.
Smoothie lovers, the Out-of-Towners bring you an old favorite, “I’ve Got the World On a String,” made famous by Ole Blue Eyes in 1954. This is dance music.
Track 12, “She Pulled the Trigger,” a kind of funny racy number about being shot in the patooty is by Bobby Smith, of the Poor Souls. FYI, this is the on air mix, no naughty language.
Kenny Vance and the Planotones are up next with “Miss Annie.” Originally performed by doo wop group, the Plurals, in the fifties, this is Kenny Vance’s second mix on this song. According to the record label, he’s fattened it up a bit.
The Fabulous Kays are the closers, with “10 Pounds of Party”, written by the band’s Tony Pace. This uptempo tune is sure to please swing dancers west of the Mississippi.
Ready to Party is a lot of fun and I like it more with each play.
This will also be published in the entertainment section of Coast and Alternatives magazines(May 21 – Jun 4, 2009, p. 26) in Myrtle Beach, S.C.