DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Sunday at the Charleston Beach Music Festival

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on September 9, 2008

For beach music fans, last weekend’s Charleston Beach Music Festival (Aug. 21 – 24, 2008) was the place to be. I couldn’t be there for all four days, but I made it down to Chuck Town for Sunday, Aug. 24 and it was a blast! Hats off to Harriett Grady-Thomas, festival organizer and owner of J.B. Pivots for pulling together a terrific festival.

This is the third year of the beach music bash, which moved to the Citadel Alumni House, and what a great venue. We were out of the rain and into the air conditioning!

Holiday Band kicked off at noon. This is such a great, high-energy live group. Wearing wireless mics, at least one of them is usually out line dancing or shagging with the crowd. As for vocals, Duane Neese had more than enough motor under the hood for this audience of shaggers and music lovers. By the way, Bob Martin from California is the new guy playing saxophone.

Next up was Sea-Cruz. This triple threat can stand head to head with any of the big boys. And I’ve still got goosebumps from Butch Barnes’ amazing falsetto.

Singer/songwriter Rick Strickland was a wonderful treat for me. I hardly ever get to see him play live. He performed quite a bit from his new Island Soul CD, and, of course, couldn’t get off the stage without doing “Something Smooth.”

Johnny Rawls Blues Band had the 4:30 slot. If you’re into bluesy, soul-filled vocals and a sultry delivery, Johnny Rawls is your man. (Last winter, during the Lowcountry Blues Bash, Johnny told me he loved my red shoes, and I’ve been smitten ever since).

Many in the crowd had never seen him before, and they went wild! This time, Johnny’s daughter, Destini Rawls, performed with him. When she eased into “I’d Rather Be Blind,” the heart-wrenching, show-stopping Etta James standard, people stopped everything to listen. Playing keyboard with the band was none other than Easley, South Carolina’s Bobby Simmons, who did a fine, fine job.

I think it would be awfully tough to follow Johnny Rawls, but I doubt that even occurred to Jim Quick & Coastline. They hit the stage running and didn’t stop for the next hour. I love these boys!

Closing out the show was the inimitable Bo Shronce and his Fantastic Shakers.

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