Nashville musician Rickey Godfrey releases new blues CD, plays local dates
The much-awaited new blues recording from American artist Rickey Godfrey is finally here and it’s nasty, so get down with it and have some fun! Nasty Man is a powerhouse of a record – solidly blues-driven with jazz and funk influences that give it an edge and a sound that’s unique to the uber-talented musician.
Godfrey will be in the Coastal Carolinas promoting the new CD from Thursday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 14. Thursday evening from 5 to 9 p.m., he’s set to hold a CD release party at Boom Boom’s Raw Bar on 13th Avenue N. in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Friday he will be featured on Mid-Day Café radio program on WHQR public radio 91.3 FM in Wilmington, N.C. Friday night Godfrey will appear with bass guitarist Lan Nichols and drummer Rich Laverdure at the Rusty Nail blues club, also in Wilmington. Saturday evening, Nov. 13, Godfrey will play at Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things in Little River, S.C. from 7 to 10 p.m. The following morning, Sunday, Nov. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon, Godfrey will be at a band fair being held at O.D. Beach & Golf Resort. The fair is part of CBMA awards weekend, celebrating the best in Carolina R&B music. His Nasty Man CDs will be available for purchase.
The 12-track recording showcases Godfrey’s mind-boggling skills on both Telecaster and keys. According to Godfrey, who also produced the album, he intentionally kept the instrumentation sparse. “I didn’t want an over-produced, over-polished result,” he said. “This is a blues album, and I wanted a raw sound. I love the spontaneous stuff that happened in the studio, like Don Wise’s sax riff on [track 10] “’Let’s Get Busy.’”
It’s obvious that the CD’s lyrics were as important as the musicianship to this singer/songwriter. Godfrey wrote or co-wrote ten of the album tracks. “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” the opening tune, is an unabashed appeal to women everywhere to embrace their inner nasty selves. With its cleverly written lyrics, guitar work and vocals that come from the gut, “Nasty Woman” sets the tone for “Nasty Man.” Co-written with Richard Fleming, it’s already proving to be one of the album’s most popular during live performances.
Other notable tunes include “Don’t Argue In the Kitchen,” a humorous tale that proves jealousy and kitchen utensils are a recipe for disaster and “Don’t Get Your Money Where You Get Your Honey,” sharply crafted advice sure to be ignored, despite the drone keyboard warning us to beware – and behave. Slowing down the pace and the mood is “Johnny Jones,” Godfrey’s tribute to his friend and Jimi Hendrix’ mentor who died in 2009.
The only songs not written or co-written by Godfrey are “Allergic To Mink” by Gary Erwin aka Shrimp City Slim and “When You’re Cool (the Sun Shines All the Time),” penned by Gary Nicholson, Hank DeVito and Kevin Welch.
Boom Boom’s Raw Bar is located on 13th Avenue N. in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Telephone: 843-427-7304
The Rusty Nail is at 1310 S. 5th Ave. In Wilmington, N.C. Telephone: 910-251-1888
Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things is located at 111 Pavilion Dr. #24 (Lowes Food Shipping Complex), Hwy. 179 on the road to Calabash. Telephone: 843-249-3663
O.D. Beach & Golf Resort is at 98 N. Ocean Blvd., North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Telephone: 800-438-9590.
For more information about Rickey Godfrey and Nasty Man, visit www.RickeyGodfrey.com.
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).