DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

David Fair’s Rockin’ Americana Comes to Myrtle Beach

Posted in Interviews by darielb on April 6, 2012

(Photo courtesy David Fair)

Nashville singer/songwriter David Fair is coming to Myrtle Beach this weekend for two shows. Tonight, Friday night, he’s opening for Phil Vassar at Club Boca at Broadway At the Beach (in fact, he’s probably on stage now!); on Saturday, he’ll be at 2001 Nightclub in their intimate Stage room.

David plays a rockin’ guitar, writes some solid lyrics and brings a kick-ass voice to the stage. No surprise, he grew up with music all around him. His dad, Joe Fair, is a respected Nashville singer/songwriter in the Christian music community (Listen to “I Am Certain,” written by Joe Fair, vocals by David Fair). By age 12, David was playing drums in a garage band.  Then he joined Tennessee rock group Pieces of Eight, playing clubs and local events. David formed his own band at age 15. Dubbed Walt-Dizzy by David’s father, the group had a southern hard rock sound that helped them land gigs opening for Steppenwolf and headlining local shows throughout the south.

“After that I joined a hard rock metal band called Medicine Mann,” David said in a telephone interview last week. “I fronted them for eight years. We opened for some major acts.”

David is very low key about these major acts, so let me tell you. During his career, he’s opened for Tesla, Craig Morgan, Warrant, Skid Row, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Jewel, Quiet Riot, Big and Rich, Eric Martin and Eric Church. He’s played The Fillmore in San Francisco, the Cannery and the Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville, and the Bitter End in New York City.

“It was pretty cool,” David says. “I opened for Tesla at the Warfield in San Francisco … and I played the Fillmore, too, which was great because my dad had played there with the Grateful Dead. I grew up looking at the poster.”

Have you been living in Nashville this whole time, I asked.

“No, I had moved to California in 1999. After I left Medicine Mann, I began to pursue the Americana thing.

“My dad really helped me make connections,” he laughs. “He’s good friends with David Garibaldi, the Tower of Power drummer, who hooked me up with Troy Luckketta, the drummer for Tesla, who wound up producing my first solo CD. Halfway through the album, Tesla went out on the road. That was when I opened for them at the Warfield.”

(Photo courtesy David Fair)

Returning to Tennessee, David toured with the Mulch Brothers, opening for the group and then playing in the band. He also began work – with the help of CJ Boggs – on a second EP, You Never Know.

“CJ played on my first album and played for Mr. Big, and now he has this engineering gig. We set up a studio in the house, brought in these fabulous players … it was great.”

Players included some of the best session players in Nashville and then some: Troy Luckketta, Tesla’s drummer; Kevin Carlson from Aldo Nova on guitar and keys; bluegrass performer Chris Thile;  Bryan House, Sam Bush’s bass player; Bruce Bouton on steel guitar; “Banjo Ben” Clark, who plays with Taylor Swift and the Clark Family; Chris Solberg, Eddie Money guitarist, and N.Y.C.’s Phil Roselle, now part of the Sowing Circle.

David’s favorite writing partner, other than his dad, is music veteran Billy Falcon, who shares songwriter credits on half a dozen Bon Jovi albums and whose tunes have been covered by Stevie Nicks, Cher, Manfred Mann, Sherrie Austin, Meatloaf, Trace Adkins and others.

Based on what I’ve heard, the new CD will be a keeper.

Band members include: David Fair, acoustic lead vocals/guitar/harmonica; Moises  Padilla/drums; David Phoenix/bass; Josh Gramling, lead guitar/backing vocals.

The Backstory

David Fair and I share the same hometown. Floral Park, N.Y. I went to school with his Uncle Dave. My older brother was great pals with David’s dad, Joe. Joe played ball on one of my dad’s ball teams, either Little League or Babe Ruth, and my sister is friends with David’s aunt.

Until last week, though, when I got a message on Facebook from David, I didn’t know him and wasn’t familiar with his music. Now I’m a fan.

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Darden Smith Working On New Album

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on February 29, 2012

Darden Smith is touring Texas, Oklahoma and New York before heading to the U.K. for a session with songwriting legend Boo Hewerdine.

Remember when I posted about Darden Smith and his songwriting camp for veterans that took place earlier this year in Colorado Springs? Well, his people sent me another press release and I thought I’d share it with you. Right now, he’s in Nashville working on a new album.

The new release is being produced by Jon Randall and Gary Paczosa and will feature some of his more recent music (written in the last five years). It includes “Love Calling,” which some of you may have heard on the Sirius Coffee House channel.

Also on the recording will be “Angel Flight,” which is a collaboration with Radney Foster. It was inspired by volunteer missions of military pilots who return the bodies of those wounded in combat. The song has been performed at memorial services, repatriation ceremonies.

Other co-writers include Gary Nicholson (Vince Gill,“One More Last Chance”), Patty Loveless (“The Trouble with the Truth”), and Montgomery Gentry (“She Couldn’t Change Me”); the late Harley Allen (Blake Shelton’s “The Baby,” Joe Nichols’ “I’ll Wait For You,” and Darryl Worley’s “Awful, Beautiful Life”), Jack Ingram (“Barbie Doll”; and Jay Clementi (“Sweet and Wild” by Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker’s “Might Get Lucky”).

According to the press materials, “Smith has released a dozen critically acclaimed albums that have achieved broad appeal in both the American and British music scenes, including the most recent Marathon (2010). Praised by All Music Guide and Rolling Stone, his songs have climbed the charts in pip, country and rock genres. Hit singles include “Little Maggie” (Darden Smith, 1988), “Midnight Train” (Trouble No More, 1990), “Loving Arms” (Little Victories, 1993), and “After All This Time” (Sunflower, 2002).”

Darden will continue to record under his own Label, Darden Music. In addition, he has collaborated with photographer Kate Breakey in a 32-page book that pairs the lyrics from “Marathon” with her photography.

For more information, visit www.dardensmith.com and www.thebeanartistprogram.com

Godfrey Performs, Talks About Music at Sunset River Marketplace

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on April 19, 2011

Through story and song, Rickey Godfrey told the audience about his own introduction to music.

Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash, N.C. featured Nashville musician Rickey Godfrey at its monthly Creative Exchange event last Wednesday, April 13.

The talented multi-instrumentalist played guitar, sang and spoke about songwriting, his introduction to music and his experiences at the School For the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg, S.C. Blind since birth, Godfrey suffers from Leber Congenital Amaurosis. His older brother, also a musician, has the same inherited retinal degenerative disorder.

Despite the challenges of being blind, Godfrey is considered one of Nashville’s premier blues guitarists and  has been nominated for both Music City Blues Society Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year.

During the presentation, Godfrey demonstrated different genres of music, including blues, soul, R&B and performed music from his latest blues CD titled Nasty Man (Serenity Hill/2010). Godfrey’s previous recordings include Once In a Lifetime Love (Mossland/ 2006), Soul Sensations (Mossland/ 2003), and Let the Big Dog Eat (Aartvark Records/1983).

Since opening its doors in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has actively supported visual, literary and performing arts through its charity events and community presentations such as the Creative Exchange lecture series. For more information or to join the gallery’s contact list for future events, call 910-575-5999 or send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace. com. Both Sunset River Marketplace and Rickey Godfrey maintain Facebook pages.

CD Pick: ‘Nasty Man’ by Rickey Godfrey

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on November 21, 2010

I’ve been following Rickey Godfrey’s music for quite some time now – since I first heard his soulful rendition of Dan Penn’s “Smoke Filled Room,” which is on his Once In a Lifetime Love CD (2006).  With this new recording, Rickey brings the same raw vocals to the table, but with a focus on the blues. Nasty Man (Serenity Hill 2010)is a self-produced CD and Rickey took the opportunity to showcase his considerable talents: songwriting, vocals, guitar and keyboard.

This CD is just plain fun, more fun, in fact, than it is “nasty.”  I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite tune, but there are a few that stand out for me. The opener, “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” co-written with Richard Fleming, is classic Godfrey: sharp, edgy lyrics and gutsy vocals punctuated by masterful guitar stylings. Guitar buffs will love the ending. And, by the way, that’s Shaun Murphy from Little Feat AND Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band singing backup with Rickey.

“Don’t Argue In the Kitchen” is kind of jazzy, a fast-paced cautionary tale, funny as all getout. Flo and Joe go out to a club, drink a little too much, some chick starts flirting with Joe, and by the time the couple get home again, Flo is still all riled up and pops him over the head with an assortment of cooking paraphernalia. Dangerous place, that kitchen!

Rickey Godfrey at the Rusty Nail, Wilmington, N.C. Nov. 12, 2010

Johnny Jones” is a little bit of a departure. It’s full of sadness at the Oct. 2009 passing of Godfrey’s friend – and Nashville’s guitar legend – Johnny Jones.  After moving from Chicago to Nashville in the early 60s, Jones was working as a studio musician, when R&B icon Ted Jarrett took him under his wing and actually taught him how to read music. He began working at a club called the New Era Club. During this time, a young Jimi Hendrix used to sit in with him, anxious to absorb Jones’ lowdown blues sound. There was said to be a guitar face-off between the two at some point, and if you can find an old copy of The Tennessean (one of the 2003 issues), you can read about it for yourself. Not surprisingly, Rickey’s guitar solos pay homage to the guitar giant, including some of Jones’ own blues guitar licks.

“Let’s Get Busy,” track ten on Nasty Man (co-written with Doug Jones), is a sexy dance tune and it features N.Y. soul singer Angel Rissoff along with Rickey on lead vocals. Their voices are exciting and energetic. They combine with Godfrey’s keyboard and guitar solos plus an unexpected saxophone riff by former Delbert McClinton player Don Wise to deliver a tune that blows me away every time I hear it.

I’m a live music junkie, and I love that one of the resounding themes of this recording is its unrelenting energy. But, even with everything going on – gusty vocals, searing guitar, solid rhythm, flashy keyboards –the players never drown each other out.  Nasty Man is a strong Gotta Have.

Godfrey plays all guitar and keyboard parts. Other players include: drums – George Perelli (Michael McDonald, Larry Gatlin), Michael Grando and Tez Sherrard (Edwin McCain); bass Franklin Wilkie (Marshall Tucker Band), Doug Seibert; saxophone – Don Wise (Delbert McClinton); synthetic horns – Rickey Godfrey; background vocals – Shaun Murphy (Little Feat, Silver Bullet Band),  Ronnie Godfrey (Marshall Tucker Band, Virgil), Kim Morrison, Angel Rissoff (Little Isidore & the Inquisitors, Kenny Vance & the Planotones).


Get You Some Nasty!

Posted in CD Picks, Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on November 6, 2010

Nashville musician Rickey Godfrey releases new blues CD, plays local dates

Rickey Godfrey's blues CD, Nasty Man (Serenity Hill label-Oct. 9, 2010).

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.’”

Nasty Man!

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.

Rickey Godfrey – Back At the Beach

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on August 24, 2010


You don't want to miss Rickey wailing on his Telecaster.

Woo woo! It’s about time this Nashville boy got his butt back to the beach. Rickey Godfrey’s tearing into town for three short days before he grabs a bus back to Music City so he can finish his CD on schedule.

On Thursday, Sept. 2, he’ll play Key West Crazy on the waterfront in Little River, S.C. Show time is 7 – 10 p.m.   This is a great little spot, with a full-on restaurant to go along with its full-on bar. I’ll be there, so I hope the margaritas are still $2.50, and I can’t wait to get me some fried green beans!

The next night, Friday, Sept. 3 Rickey’s heading to the ILM to play the Rusty Nail. This is one of my favorite dives in Wilmington (N.C.). It’s your basic smoke-filled room, a lowdown blues joint that just happens to be home to the weekly blues jam for the Cape Fear Blues Society (CFBS). You never know who’s going to stop by. Joining Rickey on this gig will be Wilmington bass player Lan Nichols (also head honcho for CFBS ) and drummer Rich Laverdure, both of whom play with Tommy B. & the Stingers. The show starts at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 4, at 9 p.m., Rickey turns south again to the Grand Strand, this time playing at Cool Daddy’s, on Ninth Avenue behind Ripley’s, just near the old Pavilion. Cool Daddy’s is owned by Diane and Phil Salone , drummer for Myrtle Beach-based funk-blues band, Inlyn Gruve. Phil will be on the drum kit and Jimi Brown will be playing bass.

Get yourself to one or all of these gigs, because Rickey’s gonna be wailing on his Telecaster and you don’t want to miss a note!

For those of you who are just now discovering this versatile virtuoso, let me bring you up to speed on all things Godfrey. Rickey Godfrey, who has been blind since birth, began studying classical piano and voice at an early age. He had his first guitar by the time he was 13. Performing throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, he has worked with artists such as Rufus Thomas, Sam Moore, Billy Preston and Junior Walker. He has been nominated by the Music City Blues Society for both Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year. Last year he played the Montreal Jazz Festival with the Chocolate Thunder band.

Rickey is well known throughout the Carolinas for his hit songs “Can’t Change My Heart,” “No One Loves You Better Than Me,” “Whatever It Takes” and “If Ten’ll Kill Me, You Can Give Me Nine.” He’s earned a pile of CBMA awards including blues album of the year, group album of the year, song of the year and more.

For the past several months Rickey has been writing, composing and recording for his new blues CD, which he expects to complete by early October. “I’m having a lot of fun with this recording,” he grins. “This is a blues CD, so I really let go on guitar and piano, too.  Not everyone knows that I play keys, so it’ll be a surprise to some folks. I wanted to do a really sparse album that showcased my own instruments, so it’s not overly produced. You’ll hear Don Wise [formerly with Delbert McClinton] sitting in on sax once or twice.  Shaun Murphy from Little Feat and N.Y. soul singer Angel Rissoff are going to add some great background vocals. I’ll be doing a few of the tunes on this trip to the coast, so y’all are going to get a sneak peak of what’s comin’.”

Rickey doesn’t play around these parts often enough, so I hope you’ll come out in droves and show this boy some love.

Key West Crazy is located in Little River, S.C. at 4492 Water Front Ave. For information, call 843-249-6163. Address for the Rusty Nail is 1310 S. Fifth Street, Wilmington, N.C. Telephone: 910-251-1888. Cool Daddy’s Bar & Grill is at 300 9th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, S.C., located behind Ripleys. Free parking passes are available for patrons. A refundable $10 deposit may be required. Telephone: 843-333-5941. For more information about Rickey Godfrey and to listen to a sampling of his music, visit his Facebook fan page.

Shout! About Mike Farris

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on May 19, 2010

I’m a live music junkie.

There’s something so exciting about a live performance   – where decisions have to be spontaneous and there isn’t the luxury of “fixing it tomorrow.”

To witness the synergy between players, to be part of the emotion, the energy  and  the bond between artist and audience … to be in the house  when an artist pushes himself so far that the talent just erupts … For me, there’s nothing like it. And there’s no one who delivers like Mike Farris.

Mike Farris delivers a rockin’ gift of gospel. “When I’m singing this music, my voice just gets stronger and stronger,” he says. (Photo Ed Rode)

Former frontman for the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies now giving his voice for gospel, Mike Farris is a powerhouse. Whether he’s performing solo or with his band, the Roseland Rhythm Revue, he puts out an intense electrifying experience and I’m here to tell you, Mike Farris’ newest recording, Shout! Live captures the raw power of his performance.

The 14-track CD, which recently earned a Dove award for Best Traditional Gospel Recording, includes several songs from his 2007 Salvation In Lights including gospel standards “Sit Down Servant” and “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” plus originals “Selah! Selah!” and “Streets of Galilee.” In a telephone interview, Mike told me he wanted to document how much the songs have changed since he released Salvation In Lights and began performing it with his topnotch band. “When I recorded Salvation In Lights, it was just straight from my brain into the studio. The album took off and we started touring. Live, it got to be more soulful, raw. The original was mostly acoustic. There was very little electrical instrumentation.”

Players on Shout! Live include Mike Farris, vocals and guitar; Joe McMahan, guitar; Nick Govrik, bass; Keio Stroud, drums; Ericson Holt, piano, organ; Rusty Russell, Dennis Taylor and Greg Cox, horns; the McCrary Sisters: Ann, Regina and Freda, vocals.

If you’ve never heard the McCrary sisters, you’re in for a treat. Daughters of the late Rev. Samuel H. McCrary, an original member of the Fairfield Four Gospel Quartet, these ladies are making their daddy proud. Regina performed with Elvis, toured with Stevie Wonder and was a featured soloist at the Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach. What they bring to the Roseland Rhythm Revue is immeasurable.

‘Shout! Live’ (Sony 2009) by Mike Farris & the Roseland Rhythm Revue received a Dove award this year for Best Traditional Gospel Album. (Photo Ed Rode)

Listening to Shout! Live, I felt like I was there. Mike’s energy on “Selah! Selah!”  was through the roof. “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” thrilled me to the bone. Emotionally charged horns, background vocals of the mighty McCrary Sisters, Eric Holt tearing into the organ, audience reactions; it was like being at a Southern revival show and having the best seat in the house.

Shout! Live was recorded over four different Sunday Night Shout! performances at Nashville’s Station Inn. Farris has written an essay that’s part of the liner notes. In it he explains his concept for the Sunday night Shout!

“I like the idea of playing music and having church anywhere with anybody! By my own definition, church is what happens when one or more people come together and discuss, life, love, sin, God, enlightenment, witches, masters, and slaves. The human condition. I have found that that’s exactly what you get when you have “church” outside the prescriptive walls of church as we know it. People seem to let their guard down. They feel safe and warm and comfortable.

“The Shout! is a place for people to come who never found a comfortable seat in the traditional church, but always needed that ‘spiritual’ fix. We never turn anyone away. If they don’t have the money for the cover, they give what they can, if anything, and come on in. Some are there for a beer and some social time, some are there just because it makes them feel good, and some are there because they need some reassurance and to feel justified in their own private quest.

“Truck drivers mix with local music folks and housewives, college kids and little kids everywhere. Black, white, old and young, it makes no difference. We’ve discovered a great thing about this music that’s been handed down to us: Black spiritual music crosses all borders, tears down all walls, bridges all the gaps and reveals that everybody is a brother and a sister.

“We all have the same struggles and the same joys. In the end, we all walk away with a great big smile on our faces, feeling ‘excited delighted, and loved’!!!

Shout! Live is available on CD, as individual downloads and on vinyl. “If you’ve got a turntable, you’ve got to hear the vinyl,” the artist insists.

Whatever format you choose, play it loud. If you’ll let him, Mike Farris will give you goose bumps, and then some.

Mike Farris & the Roseland Rhythm Revue
Shout! Live
2009
Label: Sony
Genre: Gospel

Life’s Too Short: Freddy Mangum, Johnny Jones Pass

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on October 21, 2009
beach newz w/3 pics (2 for freddy, 1 for johnny story)
By Dariel Bendin
Life’s Too Short
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  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.
Freddy Mangum, 2009 (photo Dariel Bendin).
Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs performing at the Avista Resort last month (photo Dariel Bendin).
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.
This was previously publilshed online at darielb.wordpress.com. Beach Newz writer Dariel Bendin can be contacted on the Internet on MySpace (MySpace.com/culturejunkie); Facebook and Twitter (Twitter.com/darielb).
Johnny Jones, 2008 (photo: George Walker IV/The Tennessean)
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Freddy Mangum /1963 – 2009

Freddy Mangum in North Myrtle Beach,S.C. Sept. 2009

Freddy Mangum in North Myrtle Beach,S.C. Sept. 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).

Blues Guitarist Rickey Godfrey Is Heading To the Beach!

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 28, 2009
Rickey Godfrey working his Telecaster.

Rickey Godfrey working his Telecaster.

Nashville, Tenn. blues guitarist Rickey Godfrey is coming to the Grand Strand for five local performances.  On Sunday, Oct. 4, Godfrey will participate in the Myrtle Beach House of Blues Art Show & Blues Battle, and is slated to take the stage at 3:30 p.m. Godfrey has four dates scheduled at Key West Crazy in Little River, S.C. He will play Monday, Oct. 5 from 7 to 10 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10 from 7 to 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Godfrey, who has been blind since birth, is considered to be one of Nashville’s premier blues guitarists. He began studying at the age of seven, while attending the South Carolina School for the Blind. He studied classical piano and voice, and later added guitar to his list of musical accomplishments. The versatile guitarist is also known for his gritty soulful vocals.

Godfrey says, “I like many different kinds of music, which has helped me to develop more of an original style. I don’t just listen to blues. I listen to jazz, country, R&B, rock  gypsy music, classical, which gives my playing a lot of influences. So, when I play blues I don’t sound like Albert King or Elmore James. I don’t sound like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn, either; I sound like Rickey Godfrey. Although I love those guys I just mentioned, the blues I play, I infuse with guitar licks from old jazz guitarists like Charlie Christian, but, especially, Django Rhinehart, who was a big influence on my playing. It makes me sound different from a lot of guitar players who, I think, play too many stock, predictable blues and rock licks.”

Born in Greenville, S.C. he moved to Nashville in 1993. Since then he has worked with artists such as Rufus Thomas,  Sam Moore, Billy Preston and Junior Walker. He has been nominated by the Music City Blues Society for both Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year.

For more information about the artist, visit his MySpace page at www.myspace.com/therickeygodfreyband .