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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Beach Music

Beach Music

Staring out the window at the gloomy rainy COLD days of winter, my mind drifts to beautiful warm sunny days on the beach. I feel the heat of the sunbaked sand on my feet as it brings up memories of my happy times. Oh, how I love the sound of waves pounding the shore! I smell the salt as the tide dances in rhythms to the music on the radio and the songs in my head. BEACH MUSIC talks to my soul. The days of growing up with the TAMS, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Supremes, and other Motown groups inspire us to shag on the sand, drink beer, and dance all night.

It’s no wonder “garage bands” sprang up in every East Coast high school. I was fortunate to grow up in Burlington, NC. The area produced more beach music bands than any other area of the Southeast. The Embers, Band of Oz, The Monzas, Inmen Ltd, The Attractions, Holiday Band, Willie Tee and the Magnificents, and The Fabulous Five, to name a few. Some still perform after 40-50 years. Once it’s in your soul, it comes as naturally as breathing.

My favorite songs include 60-Minute Man (Dominoes), Ms. Grace (Tymes), One Mint Julep (Clovers), Green Eyes (Ravens). My ALL-TIME FAVORITE is You’re More Than A Number In My Little Red Book (Drifters) (or anything by the Drifters). The best songs for shagging are the oldies from the ’40s and ’50s. These are a combination of R&B, and a slow Jitterbug played on every jukebox in the country. The tunes are pleasant to hear, and you can actually understand the words and sing along. They are love stories set to music. For instance, “Ooh ooh ooh Miss Grace, Satin and perfume and lace, the minute I saw your face I knew that I loved you” or “Sugarpie honeybunch, you know that I love you, I can’t help myself, I love you and nobody else” and “Be young, be foolish, be happy!”

Keep on singing… I hear your joy! If you’re like me, when I hear Beach Music, I envision hot summer days soaking up the sun, a cool breeze blowing off the water. Palm trees stir in the wind. In the distance, the children laugh as they build sandcastles and chase waves. You start singing along, and your feet start moving in the sand, practicing a few dance steps in preparation for SOS.

For those unfamiliar with SOS, the correct name is ‘Society of Stranders’, not ‘Shagg’in On Sand.’ The Strand refers to The Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, where 2-4 times a year 5,000-10,000 + shaggers descend on the town to dance for ten days and nights. This sacred time is known as ‘Spring Safari’ and ‘Fall Migration.’ You can join in dance or watch some of the most magnificent, synchronized footwork in the world.

Groups that have performed at the Strand’s nightclubs are a ‘Who’s Who’ of Beach Music. Groups like Chairmen of the Board (I watched them two summers ago ), The Drifters, The Vandellas, and Mary Wells, seem to perform forever. When the Originals pass on, they’re replaced by younger lead singers. There is an entire new group of beach music performers in their thirties and forties keeping the legends alive. A few new groups release new original beach music – Black Water R&B, Midnight Allie, Jim Quick and Coastline, Sylvia Ritchie, and lots more.

Check out each year’s new talent when The Carolina Beach Music Awards induct their Hall of Fame artists. Every Sunday, Surf 94.9 FM plays beach music all day. Some older groups are coming back – Band of OZ, Holiday Band, The Embers, and others. Country is also joining the scene with favorites by Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Buffet, and Darius Rucker. What it takes to make a cool Beach Song is that great shag beat and a love story or a fun place to be.
Nothing will ever take the place of the oldies that built priceless memories and dreams for each of us. Remember the magic that is created when you hear “Hello Stranger,” “Under the Board Walk,” or “Lady Soul.” These songs are timeless, as are the memories. So “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy!” SUMMERTIME IS CALLING ME, and IT’S NOT THAT FAR AWAY!!

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