DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Stocking Stuffers: Music Picks to Keep You Groovin’ Through 2012

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on December 12, 2011

This is the time of year when I sit back with a nog while all y’all tell me what’s cool, hip and happenin’ in the world of music. This year I’ve asked a mix of special friends to share their music picks with us. Enjoy!
Mike Farris
Mike Farris. Intense, talented and on fire, this Nashville boy is one of the most exciting performers I’ve ever seen. Check out his picks.
Various Artists
Cosimo Matassa Story (import)
Proper Box (2007)
If you really want to take a peek inside the birthing room of rock & roll, look behind this curtain! Between the 40s and 60s everything that came out of New Orleans was recorded at Cosimo’s J&M Studio. Way too often overlooked, New Orleans and her amazing musicians laid the foundation for rock & roll. If you don’t like this box set, we can never be friends.

Various Artists
Goodbye Babylon (Box Set)
Dust-to-Digital (2003)
Sacred music grown in the hot southern dust. One of the greatest box sets ever put together. Makes me proud to be a southern boy.
From Amazon: Goodbye Babylon is a 6 CD gospel reissue collection. 5 CDs contain 135 songs from 1902-1960 and the 6th disc is comprised of 25 sermons recorded between 1926-1941. Also included is a 200 page book complete with Bible verses, lyric transcriptions, and notes for each recording, plus over 200 illustrations … Sound restoration and mastering by Airshow Mastering, the team that restored the “Anthology of American Folk Music” (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997), and won a Grammy® for their work on “Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton” (Revenant, 2002). – Reverently packed in raw cotton and housed in a deluxe 8″ x 11″ x 2.5″ cedar box. Notes and essays by musicologists and scholars, including several Grammy® winners. – Contributors include Lynn Abbott, David Evans, Ray Funk, Anthony Heilbut, Kip Lornell, Luigi Monge, Paul Oliver, Opal Louis Nations, Bruce Nemerov, Guido van Rijn, Ken Romanowski, Tony Russell, Doug Seroff, Dick Spottswood, Warren Steel, David Tibet, Gayle Dean Wardlow, and Charles Wolfe.

Bill Withers
Still Bill (DVD)
New Video Group (2011)
Still Bill (documentary)- I know this is not technically a record. It’s a film….and I haven’t even seen this yet, but I can still safely say that it’s a must watch. Bill Withers is one of the great songwriters of our time and a true artist intent on steering his own wheel. Ride on, Bill……ride on.

Brian Rutenberg
Brian Rutenberg. Before he grew into his true self as a sought after N.Y.C. artist, this Myrtle Beach boy was a drummer. I knew his picks would be cool, but I had no idea how cool.

Youssou N’Dour
The Lion
Virgin Records (1989)
My first recommendation is the fabulous Senegalese singer/ percussionist Youssou N’Dour whom I saw in concert at S.O.B’s in N.Y.C. in the late 80s. His soulful rhythm, smooth ambient keyboards (somewhat akin to Brian Eno), and musical voice are fabulous. I enjoy many of his albums but my favorite is 1989’s The Lion (Virgin), songs like “Bes” and “My Daughter (Sama Doom)” make me smile. His music also takes me back to the blissful days when I met my wife Katie. Now we have children and they like the same songs.
Robert Shaw & the Robert Shaw Festival Singers
Rachmaninoff Vespers
Teldec (1990)
If you want to be transported through music then Rachmaninoff’s Vespers are a must. They are sublime. Go somewhere you can be totally alone for an hour, shut the lights off, and listen. I also enjoy just looking out a window (preferably on a gloomy day) or a long drive with this recording. My ongoing studies of the late Canadian pianist/philosopher Glenn Gould involve long stretches of driving in Ontario and the Vespers are a perfect soundtrack. Another listening place might be the parking area that juts out onto the beach by the Cherry Grove Inn around 54th/55th Ave N. in North Myrtle Beach. I am not sure if it is still there but watching the surf to these Vespers would be nice; “Bless The Lord,” “O My Soul” and “O Serene Light” reaffirm what it means to be a human being.
Robert Plant
Principle of Moments
Rhino (1983)
Finally I am listening a lot to Robert Plant’s second solo album Principle of Moments released the year I graduated from high school in Myrtle Beach,. Although the drums are not Bonham they are played by Phil Collins with some heavy down beat and the unadorned clarity that Bonham mastered. There was a remaster released in 2007 which I play in my studio a lot. “In the Mood” and “Big Log” are still fabulous songs.
Clair DeLune
Clair DeLune. Music historian, writer and professor, producer and host of Blues Moon Radio … I love all that Clair does, and I’m grateful for her participation.
Various Artists
Bummed Out Christmas
Rhino (1989)
The Bummed Out Christmas CD seems an odd choice because it is topically dreary, not cheery. As the host of Blues Moon Radio, I talk with a number of people each year who are not upbeat about the holidays. Contrary to popular belief, blues music does not depress one, it is one’s “ticket” for climbing out of a pit of despair and can improve your mood, so I recommend Bummed Out Christmas to all.
This CD fits the bill two ways: For most, it is an over-the-top array of songs so wildly absurd they are laugh out loud funny, thus a welcome break from standard treacly holiday pap . For those in a deep funk, it has been known to provide a balanced perspective – even if only from a “misery loves company” or “someone has it worse” perspective. The most requested holiday song on my radio show each year is “Christmas In Jail,” by the Youngsters, which begins with the ominous “I was in the wrong lane, feeling no pain.” It acts as an ersatz public service announcement – reminding us of our duty to not drive if drinking, but entertains as it informs.
Demetria Taylor
Bad Girl
Delmark (2011)
Bluesman Eddie Taylor’s much-covered classic, “Bad Boy,” is given a twist by his daughter, Demetria. Eddie Taylor, who was not as well-known – yet was integral to the Chicago scene as Jimmy Reed’s guitarist – introduced Reed to that now-famous shuffling style. Eddie Taylor has influenced more people than know his name, including his own children, three of whom work actively in Blues music. This year Taylor’s daughter, Demetria, rises above the “Blues Legacy” tag with her vocals on “Bad Girl,” earning her place in the blues world as a powerhouse of song. It is nominated for Best CD of 2011 Lunie Award on Blues Moon Radio.
Laurence “Luckyman” Beall
The Huntsville Sessions
Turbine Incredible (2010)
Last but not least… indeed this is most likely my absolute favorite find of the year…
Laurence Luckyman Beall is the freshest, most invigorating artist to appear on Blues Moon Radio this year. His work is highly energized and he puts more sound out solo than most artists with backing bands. Sporting the Western-style dress and duck-tail hairstyle that emerged when Rock’n’Roll was young, Beall (pronounced ‘Bell’) is serious about his folio of Blues, Rockabilly and Americana that would get any mule kicking in its stall. Those who see Beall perform are impressed and charmed by his vibrant personality as well as his intense musicianship, comprised of powerful lyrics and melody, and a unique approach to electric chicken-pickin’ guitar work. His CD is the most commented on by Blues Moon Radio’s listeners this year… and many have become enthusiastic converts to “the Luckified.”
Sam Hannaford
Co-founder and past president of the nonprofit South By Southeast music organization, this guy is responsible for making top drawer music (and musicians) accessible to the Carolina coast. Love you, Sam.
Otis Redding
The Definitive Collection (4CD set)
Rhino Records (1993)
After having half finished reading “Bill Graham Presents,” the autobiography/biography of Bill Graham, I realized that he and I have two things in common. One, we have helped put on music concerts (not that I put myself 1000th in the same company of this great Rock Icon), and number two, that Otis Redding was our favorite all time performer. Unlike Bill, I never had the pleasure of seeing Otis live, but this four-CD set is a very definitive representation of his short but significant contribution to popular music – helping to bridge the racial and music genre gaps that existed until the 1960s.

There are outtakes of many of his more popular tunes that I find very interesting, as well as enjoying the songs heard on the radio back in the day and now. He is timeless. Unfortunately, he died the week after he recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and never got to hear his biggest hit on the radio.

Laura Nyro
Laura Nyro Live At The Bottom Line
Cypress Records (1989)
Always a huge fan of Laura, I was gifted this out of production CD a few years ago (it’s available on eBay). Known mostly for her pop hits recorded by The Fifth Dimension, Barbra Streisand, Blood Sweat and Tears and others such as “Stoney End,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die,” and “Stoned Soul Picnic,” Laura’s emotive piano playing and vocal phrasing have always touched me. This is a great example live of those qualities as exemplified on songs such as “The Confession,” “My Innocence/Sophia” and “Broken Rainbow.” She also mixes in R&B covers of “High Heeled Sneakers,” “La La Means I Love You” and “Up On The Roof.” She has influenced many singers.
The Duhks
The Duhks
Sugar Hill Records (2005)
Having seen these multi-talented young musicians at Merlefest in 2005, I bought their CD immediately. I have rarely been as impressed by a group that offered so much a diversity and cultural music mixture. Running the gamut from Celtic, Portuguese, Cajun, Rock N’ Roll, as well as Black Sea Island Gospel music, these folks tear it up. Jesse Havey’s vocals are unreal, along with fellow band member Tania Elizabeth. “Death Came A Knockin”, “Dance Hall Girls”, “True Religion”, and “ The Waggoner’s Lad” stand out to me especially. I am unsure if they are still playing, but even with a change in membership, they put on a great show.
Mike Taylor
Singer/songwriter and band leader for Southern soul/variety group, the Holiday Band, Mike has lived and breathed music since he was a kid. One of my faves.
What’s It Gonna Be Santa?
Rhino (2003)
Twenty of the best arrangements of Christmas songs ever. Every song has a unique flavor, the changes are NOT traditional and the playing and singing is off the chart. I don’t usually like Christmas CDs much, but I love this one. You must listen two or three times to get used to the vibe.

Pete Lauro
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro reviews blues and indie music at Mary 4 Music, and I’m always happy to listen to his picks. Yeah!
Hubert Sumlin
Healing Feeling
Blacktop Records (1990)
This is one of my favorite CDS simply for the fact that it introduced me to the person who has become my all time favorite blues vocalist – Darrell Nulisch. While at a friend’s house, he happened to be playing the CD and when the song “Play It Cool” came on I was blown away. I asked him to let me see the CD jacket and bought it the very next day. It’s almost 12 years old and I still listen to it very regularly.

Roomful Of Blues
That’s Right
Alligator Records (2003)
You could easily put on a three-day blues festival just using the great musicians that have been a part of Roomful of Blues over the last 40 or some years. Through it all, the band has remained in tact and is still headlining blues festivals themselves. This is one of my favorite discs of theirs because it featured the debut of Mark DuFresne who I feel gave them back the punch they needed in a front man. This is real good stuff.
Downchild Blues Band
I Need A Hat
Linus Entertainment (2009)
This is another one of those bands that’s been around forever. As the story goes, they were supposedly the influence for the Blues Brothers. This Canadian band, led by Donny Walsh, has more discs out than I care to count, and this – their latest release – is one of their very best.

Pat Patterson
The S.C. Internet radio station owner (along with wife Robin) of Large Time Network is one of my favorite deejays, and has a wonderful collection of obscure music.
Rickey Godfrey
Nasty Man
Serenity Hill (2010)
There is a lot of good music available right now, but I have three favorites. I am a Rickey Godfrey fan through and through. His latest release Nasty Man is “Nasty” but in a good way!! Rickey is so talented and his talent shines with each song from his vocal ability to his amazing guitar licks. This CD should be in your collection right now. I feel that only Rickey could get away with the title “Nasty Man” and then on top of that pull off “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” one of my favorites, as well as “When You’re Cool (The Sun Shines All The Time).” Only Rickey can make the blues shine.
Craig Woolard Band
Main Street People
Sisbro (2010)
Also on my list is Main Street People on Sisbro Records from The Craig Woolard Band. Beside the obvious songs on the charts “Your Love Is Amazing,” “Impossible,” and “Beachaholic,” there are some other great songs as well. “Soulful Kind Of Love,” I’m In Love With The Girl Next Door” and “Main Street People.” You can’t go wrong with this CD.

Dip Ferrell & the Truetones
Along For the Vibe
Arcade Records (2011)

The new CD from Dip Ferrell And The Truetones, Along For The Vibe, on Arcade Records is awesome. The shag tunes “Hey Girl” and “Love Monkey” will make you lay some leather down on the dance floor. Two beautiful ballads “Baby Come Back To Me” and “I’m Way Too Proud” have great story lines, yes songs do have story lines and these certainly do. Not only that, but the music is fabulous and makes for a true slow dance.

Stuff the stockings with these CDs and you can’t go wrong!!! I simply put them in and hit “Play” without skipping to the next song, and that to me makes a great “Stocking Stuffer” and CD. Merry Christmas and happy listening!!!!
Sheila Cain
Head honcho and radio host for Blues City Radio, Sheila Cain found time to give us her faves, despite the fact that she was in the middle of moving her life to Denver. Check out her radio show.
Karen Lovely
Still The Rain
Pretty Pear Records (2011)
Being a blues enthusiast, my number one pick this Christmas has to be Karen Lovely’s latest CD, Still The Rain. I’ve listened to every track over and over again and still can’t get enough.

The title track “Still The Rain” is contemporary blues at it’s very best. But don’t overlook one single song on this CD. Every one is a winner in my book. Tracks from this CD have kept Karen Lovely at the number one spot on Blues City Radio for the past eight weeks straight with no signs of slowing down.
Karen Lovely has the potential to become a blues phenom!
Etta James
Geffen Records (2010)
I don’t generally buy “collection” type CDs, but Etta James is the exception to the rule on this one.
Her CD Icon, a 12-song sampler spans the best of Etta over her illustrious career.

From “At Last” to “I’d Rather Go Blind,” this CD highlights her many hits. There’s just something about her sultry, soulful voice and lyrics that takes one on a musical journey that is hard (if not impossible) to duplicate. This is a “Must Have” CD for anyone who loves, blues, soul and R&B. I guarantee it will not be re-gifted.

Thanks to all my pals who contributed here. Happy Holidays to all!


CD Picks: Strange Love/Sweet Love

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on May 18, 2011

Strange or Sweet?

No matter what your leanings, there’s something to love on both of these new CDs: Strange Love by Roy Roberts and Sweet Love from the Holiday Band.
Roy Roberts
Strange Love
Ocean Beach Records (2011)
Genre: Soul-Blues

When it comes to soul-blues, Greensboro, N.C. artist Roy Roberts is one of the smoothest, coolest, classiest around, and I expect this latest offering to bring him even more superlatives.  The ten-track recording is classic Roy Roberts, showing off – among other things – his songwriting talents on all ten tracks.  Vocals range from funky to sultry and back again. The Mofo Horns section is just killer.

The opener, “My Love Bone,” is a shout out from a man to the woman who owns his heart, and other favored organs. The Cray-esque “We Still Together,”  with its nod to “I Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love,” Roberts’ award-winning R&B tune from 2004, is sure to be a hit in the shag market. The title track, also reminiscent of Robert Cray stylings, showcases Roy’s very apt vocal abilities. “I Can’t Wait” is worth the wait. But, I’d pick up a copy today!

Players on the CD include: Roy Roberts (vocals, guitar, Hammond organ, keys), A.J. Diggs (bass, rhythm guitar), Chuck Cotton (drums), Eric Callands (piano, Hammond organ), Reggie Wall (background vocals on  “A Woman Needs Love”), The Mofo Horns: Rusty Smith (trumpet, trombone), Scott Adair (tenor, baritone sax), Eddie Blair (additional sax solos). Strange Love was produced and mixed by Roy Roberts and David Seward. Engineering/ mastering: David Seward. Recorded at Rock House Studio.
The Holiday Band
Sweet Love
Green Dot Discs (2011)
Genre: Beach-Blues

Holiday Band, for those of you outside the Carolinas, is a topnotch variety band that tours the southeast performing a range of bluesy pop, funk and Carolina R&B, better known as beach music.

Sweet Love, the band’s new ten-track CD features a tasty mix of covers and original tunes penned by band members Mike Taylor and Duane Neese.   The opening track, currently on several beach charts and a favorite with fans, is “She Sure Got Away With My Heart,”  written by country writing team Walt Aldridge and Tom Brasfield.

“We always get a lot of requests for ‘Don’t Play That Song,’ so we decided to do the Aretha Franklin version It was a chance to show off our horn section,” says band leader Mike Taylor.

“Someone Like You,” (Van Morrison) with lead vocals by  Taylor is a hugely successful track on the disc, and definitely one of my favorites.

“I love the arrangement,” says Taylor. “If you listen to the piano line, it’s almost like a Bruce Hornsby lick.”

Taylor and Neese wrote the title track about six years ago. It was originally recorded by the Castaways. “They never  pushed it that much,” adds Taylor, “ so we recorded ‘Sweet Love’ ourselves, and it’s become a real signature song for Duane [lead vocals].”

Also included on the disc is “Jukebox,” another Taylor/ Neese tune, which won a 2010 CBMA award for Best Blues Song.

Players on Sweet Love include: The Holiday Band: Mike Taylor (vocals, guitar), Bill Ward (drums), Duane Neese (vocals, trombone), Bob Martin (saxophone), Doug Neese (bass, vocals), Mike Neese (vocals, guitar). Additional musicians: Robyn Springer (background vocals), Mark Stallings (keyboards), Rick Murray (drums), Tim Gordon  (saxophone), Brad Wilcox (trumpet), Ben Shaw (trumpet), Keith Johnson, (trombone). Producers: Tim Eaton, Mark Stallings & Mike Taylor. Engineered by Tim Eaton & Mark Stallings at Studio East, Charlotte, N.C. Also recorded, mixed & mastered at Studio East.

This has been a great week for music. Strange and sweet, just like me.

S.O.S. Spring Safari 2011

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on April 19, 2011

The ten-day adults-gone-wild party better known as  S.O.S. Spring Safari has just wound down, leaving thousands of shaggers, musicians, club owners, servers and workers exhausted … but already gearing up for the next one. Here are a few highlights of Spring S.O.S. 2011.

Birthday boy Mike Taylor and the Holiday Band kicked off S.O.S. at Duck’s. (Photo Jim Allen)

The Surf is back! Did you catch Ted Bell and the Surf van out on Main Street? (Photo Jim Allen)

Rickey Godfey put in an appearance at Papa’s Pizza on the road to Calabash!

Rhonda McDaniel ridin’ in style at the infamous S.O.S. parade. (Photo Jim Allen)

Dolly McDermott struttin’ her stuff at the Two Blondes on the Beach Fashion Show. (Photo Jim Allen)

Steve Bassett brought his immense talent and sound to the Spanish Galleon.

Some folks left O.D. long enough to catch Donny Trexler at Poos Tuesday night.

Mark Roberts with Mandy and the little Lima Bean. (Photo Jim Allen)

Hip Pocket was a big hit at Deckerz on Saturday. (Photo Jim Allen)

It’s Just Another Day In Paradise for Calabash Flash!

CWB on the Boom Dock. YEAH!

Boom Boom’s Raw Bar, another reason to leave O.D. once in a while.

Deejay Joey Warren at Boom Boom’s KHP party.

What a week!

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on March 10, 2011

Victor Wooten's slapping and thumb-picking bass techniques was something to see!

The Grand Strand was the place to be this past week. Bass extremists Steve Bailey and Victor Wooten performed two awesome shows at Coastal Carolina. Whoa! South By Southeast brought the rockin’ Randall Bramblett Band back for another SRO crowd. I’m surprised the Train Depot is still standing. Green Dot Records had its CD release party for the Holiday Band’s latest recording, Sweet Love, and it was sweet. I love these guys.

Up at Ocean Drive there were two big deejay events. The Association of Beach and Shag Club DeeJays held its annual DJ Throwdown. Sure wish I could have made their James Hunter show on Saturday night!  Duck’s Beach Club held its first annual DJ Appreciation party – four days of partying, that is, including a show by the mighty, mighty Tams of Hotlanta! I managed to catch the final set for Jim Quick & Coastline at Fat Harold’s on Sunday. Stay tuned for more news about this bad boy.

Myrtle Beach's own Steve Bailey is the master of the six-string fretless.

Randall Bramblett rocks with the best of them!

The legendary Davis Causey working his Strat.

The Holiday Band at their CD release party: Bob Martin, sax; Duane Neese, vocals, horns; Bill Ward, drums; Mike Taylor, vocals, keyboard, guitar; Doug Neese, vocals, bass guitar; and not shown, MIke Neese, vocals, guitar.

Frontmaniac for the Coastline band, Jim Quick

CD Pick: ‘Deep Fried Southern Style’ is Hot!

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on January 12, 2011

What happened? Did the South head south for the winter? The new year’s blustery entrance and record deep freeze are taking their toll on me.  I need some heat.

I’m hungry for somethin’ soulful to warm my innards and Deep Fried Southern Style, the 2010 compilation CD from Shanty’s Records more than satisfies my appetite for smokey old tunes, hot guitar licks and lip-smackin’ vocals. The 21-track disc is a tasty combination of soul-blues, R&B and shag tunes. So whether you’re fixin’ to sit back and enjoy it by yourself or invite a mess of folks over to dance and carry on, get yourself some Southern Style.

Track one is the soulful “A Love To Call Mine” by Johnnie Taylor. Penned by Paul Taylor, it’s from Taylor’s  This Is Your Night album (Malaco Records 1984), and a sweet way to open the album. Track two is another tasty morsel, this time by Oscar Toney Jr., “No More Heartaches,” from his album, Sundazed (Bob Grady Records 2001).

Track three is “Katrina Katrina,” (think “Corina Corina”) by blues piano legend Henry Gray, from his Times Are Gettin’ Hard CD (Lucky Cat Records 2009). After 50 or 60 years, you think it might start to get stale, but Henry’s as real as ever.
Next on the menu is “Memphis Women &  Chicken,” the classic from T. Graham Brown’s T. Brown Graham Live (Aspirion Records 2004). This soul-country tune was written by Gary Nicholson, Dan Penn and Donnie Fritts.

I have to confess here, that I don’t often enjoy compilation albums. I find them disjointed and without a concept.

Not this one.

Producer David Wade, who is also the owner of Shanty’s Records, has done a fine job of selecting tunes. The fledgling label, which he founded in 2010, is based

David Wade (photo Jim Allen)

on the premise of  “bringing back the songs and artists that have slipped through the cracks, or have been forgotten along the way.”

One of my favorite tunes on the disc is the soulful “Can’t Tear Myself Away” by Jamaican born singer/songwriter Ruby  Turner from her 2005 R&B release So Amazing.

Burlington, N.C.’s Holiday Band is represented with another Dan Penn tune, “I’m Your Puppet,” originally performed by James and Bobby Purify in 1966 and later  Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrill.

Two tracks from the Roadrunners are also included. Track 11 is “Let the Boogie Woogie Roll” written by Nugetre, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler; and track 18, “Devil With a Blue Dress On,” made famous by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Vocals on these two are by the late great Earl Gaines. On piano is Jay Spell, who sadly just passed away over New Year’s.

T. Graham Brown is back with his “Brilliant Conversationalist.” This is the original title track from his second album for Capitol Records (1987).
Mark Roberts & Breeze gives us “The Way You Love Me” and  a rockin’ version of the 1997 Wayne Toups tune “Love Me As Hard As You Hurt Me.” The latter is also on his Cover To Cover album (Shanty’s Records 2010).

From Rickey Godfrey comes “G-Man,”  written back in the 80s by Rickey’s brother and sister-in-law, Ronnie Godfrey and Kim Morrison (they’re also singing backup). A little trivia for you, this tune was featured for a bit on G. Gordon Liddy’s Radio America show in the late 90s.

Holly Singletary-Artis, well known throughout the Carolinas as one  of the high-energy vocalists in the now defunct Sammy O’Banion & Mardi Gras,  does a beautiful job on Carlene Carter’s “Come Here You.”

Deep Fried Southern Style is a deliciously rich music gumbo blending all my favorite ingredients – blues, R&B and soul.  I wanted to know how David Wade developed his taste in music.

A deejay since the early seventies, he tells me his first gig was with the Air Force. From there, he went to CBS radio, where he hosted the syndicated Salty Dawg Blues & Review Show.

“I have been fortunate to have been able to deejay all over the world – on military bases,  at American Embassy functions, state functions and more. I spent 21 years in the Air Force, retiring in 1989. Throughout my military career, I was able to keep playing music.

“I also owned Shanty’s Beach & Blues Club in Carolina Beach, N.C., which was nominated for a Cammy is first year of being opened. Shaggin’ Time was also nominated for Internet Radio Show of the Year the same year  – 2009.”

Additional tracks on Deep Fried Southern Style are “Swanee River Rock” written by Ray Charles and performed by Manny Lloyd of Soul Posse; “Airtight Alibi,” another Johnnie Taylor original; “Broken Hearted Melody,” by Eliza (a hit for Sarah Vaughn back in 1959); “Stop Me From Starting This Feeling” by Clinton Horton of the Magnificents; “More Love,” a Smokey Robinson tune sung superbly by Holly Singletary-Artis; “Bubba White’s” by Charleston, S.C.’s Rick Strickland from his 2008 release Island Soul; and “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” by Men of Distinction.

Closing out the CD is the bluesy “You Do Me Wrong” by DieDra from Living the Bluz (RuffPro Records 2010) . That’s her husband Keithan Ruff wailing on the guitar and playing just about everything else on the track, too. I expect you’ll savor Deep Fried Southern Style down to this last tasty bite. I sure did.

Additional album credits: sequencing Midi, Richard Robertson and Terry Nash; engineering, J.K. Loftin/Cape Fear Studios.

Ocean Isle’s Callin’ Me

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on June 17, 2010

Jackie Gore performing with Legends of Beach at the Spanish Galleon, N. Myrtle Beach, Spring 2010.

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.”

CWB will appear July 9 and again August 27. (Photo Jim Allen)

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’!

Jim Quick & Coastline bring their crazy asses to Ocean Isle on Aug. 20.

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!

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.

CD Review: Got It Bad For The Holiday Band

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on September 9, 2008

Genre: Beach & Boogie

For the past week or so, I’ve had Got It Bad For You, the Holiday Band’s latest, playing in the car. According to lead vocalist, Mike Taylor, “We set out to produce a real Carolina beach music CD … with that shag feel …” And that’s exactly what this is.

Six of the ten tracks are receiving regular radio play on the beach stations, so you’ll be singing along as soon as you pop the CD in the player. Three of the tracks are in the top 20 of Craig Fleming’s Smokin’ 45.

Released on Ripete Records in April, it’s not what I’d consider a true concept CD, more like a compilation. In fact, Mike Taylor told me they like to take sort of a shotgun approach and see what works. For Holiday Band fans, this’ll be right on target.

Got It Bad features three original tunes by Mike Taylor and/or Duane Neese and seven other offerings. In a telephone interview, Mike said, “I’d like to get back to more songwriting. I write a lot by mysel, but I find working with another lyricist takes me in new directions, which is good.

“What I like about working with Duane is that he’s both a good musician and lyricist. We’ve written some for the Castaways and may do work for some others, too.”

Duane Neese’s “Motor Under the Hood,” is the CD’s first track and features Duane on lead vocals. It’s a funny, bluesy tune about … well, it’s a guy thang. And, while it’s already a terrific live tune, the radio version is getting a very strong response, too. By the way, Mark Black is playing saxophone on this one.

The title tune, “Got It Bad,” is a Neese-Taylor collaboration with Mike on lead vocals. It’s just climbed to number 20 on Craig Fleming’s Smokin’ 45, (Read on for the other two).

The duo wrote the third original, “Do You Really Love Me” for bass player Doug Neese to sing. “It’s got a Caribbean feel, but more subtle, without all the steel drums and vibes,” says Mike.

Mike Neese takes the lead on Chris Rea’s “Fool (If You Think It’s Over),” which is proving to be a favorite with shaggers. Arrangement is by Mike Neese and Mike Taylor.

The very popular “Rabbit Got the Gun” is also on the CD. This recording was Mike Taylor’s first vocal after having vocal surgery. It was a great choice, and if you’ve heard him perform “Rabbit” live, you know the voice keeps getting better and better. Guest performers for this track include Ronnie Waters on guitar and Randy Gilkie on piano.

These next two are my two favorite tracks on the album: “I Know It’s Hard But It’s Fair” features Mike Taylor on lead vocals and really showcases the solid vocal harmonies of this group. The R&B tune was written by guitarist/songwriter Lowman Pauling of the 5 Royales. I love this studio version.

“There’s No Getting Over Me,” with Duane on lead vocals, was written by Tom Brasfield, with music by Walt Aldridge, and originally performed by Ronnie Milsap. Again, a solid recording.

“Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone,” from the Motown machine of Holland-Dozier-Holland features Mike Neese on lead vocal, and at number 18, is the third track to chart in the top 20 of the Smokin’ 45.

The two final tracks include the Paul McCartney tune “Only One More Kiss,” with Mike Neese on vocals and the gospel number, “Rough Side of the Mountain,” with Mike Taylor and Shonda English on vocals.

The CD was recorded at Studio East in Charlotte with Tim Eaton and Mark Stallings and at Bradley House with Fred Shaw and Curtis Carpenter.

The Holiday Band is a tight, talented group of musicians who have been playing together for years. The group actually formed in 1991 when sound man Alan Brantley (now with Hip Pocket) was backing Gary Brown on a CD. The experience was positive for both and evolved into the original Holiday Band, which worked part time, playing mostly private gigs. Mike Neese was in this original group. Mike Taylor joined in 1992. At that time, David Franks (Band of Oz) was playing keyboards and Tommy Rogers (The Inmen) was the drummer.

In 1999 the group’s Shotgun Boogie CD took off and the Holiday Band began playing more shows. In 2003, the Holiday Band took home Group Album (Southern Soul Revue), Song of the Year (I’m Man Enough”), Songwriter of the Year (Mike Taylor for “I’m Man Enough”) and Group of the Year.

Current drummer Bill Ward has been with the band for 13 years. Bass player Doug Neese (Mike’s cousin and Duane’s brother) joined 12 years ago. Saxman Mark Payne signed up 10 years ago. Duane Neese, lead vocalist who also plays horn, joined the group in 2006. He’s the new kid.
Holiday Band Website

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