Monday, January 19, 2009
Cruising with Clifford Curry down I -16
Top Photo: Clifford with the Five Royals (early 60s)
Bottom Photo: Clifford at The Beach Club, backed by the Caravelles (mid 60s)
Nora Marion and I were returning yesterday afternoon from Savannah to Atlanta. It was raining and sort of all around dreary when the cell rang. It was area code 615 which is Nashville. On the other end was a bit of sunshine, Mr. Clifford Curry. Anyone who knows Clifford knows what a great sincere person he is ... always wishing everyone well. He was calling to wish Nora and I a happy New Year. This is not anything out of character for Clifford. He sent us a post card once thanking us for including him in The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music. Of course, that was all backwards because we should have sent him a post card thanking him for his contributions to the book and for all the good times he has provided so many people for so long beginning back in the Hey Baby Days.
Clifford has a new song song coming out on a compilation CD that Jerry Goodman is set to release. He also indicated that he was finalizing a song being co written by Salty Miller of Monzas', "Hey, I Know You" fame. Clifford is not slowing down much for someone who has been entertaining for a half century.
Here's an interesting tidbit that I am not sure we have in the book or not but it involves Clifford Curry's first appearance at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
During the course of accumulating information, photos, etc. for the book, two of our main contributors, Tommie James and Sonny Long told about the time that their bands backed up Clifford Curry for his first appearance at the Beach Club. The problem with that I thought was that Tommie was a member of the Caravelles and Sonny was with the In-Men Ltd. One of them must be mistaken I thought. Maybe it was actually two different times and one thought that it was Clifford's first appearance when it was really not. Both of these guys are stand-up types and would never intentionally mislead so I wrote it off as a mistake of fact.
Sometime thereafter, I ran into Clifford at an event and sort of laughingly told him the story of how two different bands hold the distinction of backing him up on his first trip to the famed Beach Club. He smiled and said, "They're both right!" There was a period of time that Cecil Corbett operated two Beach Clubs, both in close proximity of one another and that particular night, Clifford appeared at both clubs, one where the Caravelles were performing and the other where the In-Men Ltd. were performing, both backing the Master of shooting the hole in the soul.
I encouraged Clifford to write his memoirs because it would be of great interest to all those who love the music of "The Hey Baby Days." I plan to follow up with Clifford over the next few days, so if you're reading this posting and want to recall a memory of Clifford Curry, send it on.