Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ray Whitley, Bill Lowery, Wayne Logiudice, Curtis Mayfield

It was like a five minute conversation, but it lasted slightly over an hour and it was full of rich stories from the Hey Baby Days of Beach Music. If I had connected with Wayne Logiudice prior to the publication of the book, the book would not yet be out. And if I had not connected with Rick Bear, I would have never connected with Wayne. Well maybe I would have but it might have taken a few more years.

Wayne told me stories of his musical past in such an entertaining manner that I had to focus on taking notes which is not among my greatest talents. He had just gotten the book but had already read quite a bit. He said I had gotten everything about him right and he really enjoyed reading about Ray Whitley who he fondly remembers from his early days in the business in Atlanta. In fact, Wayne played the drums on the session that produced “Yessiree, Yessiree” a single released on the Vee-Jay label by Ray Whitley in 1962. Those were two new factoids that came out in less than 10 seconds. It was such a conversation that if the phone had not started acting up, we’d still probably be talking. I did tell Wayne as we were coming unconnected that I would compile my notes and get back with him in a couple of days.

As to Ray Whitley, Wayne referred to him as a genius, a person that was always writing or thinking a song. I was with him one day and he just came out with, ”Say Wayne, what about these lyrics for a song, ‘I Feel A Hitchhike Coming On…’” Not sure if that line is any of Ray’s compositions but we are learning more everyday.

Wayne was especially complimentary of the late Bill Lowery, a person he deemed responsible for getting a lot of musical careers started in Atlanta. He also repeated what I had heard so many times over the years … how nice of people Mary Talent and Cotton Carrier were. Both were mainstays at Master Sound and Bill Lowery Talent. Wayne referred to Master Sound as “the little old school house.” It’s now buried somewhere below the Brookhaven Marta station.

Wayne said he had a lot of help getting started in the business especially as it related to playing the drums. He credits several drummers who helped him along the way: Tommy South ( Brother of Joe South), Mike Clarke (a drummer for Tommy Roe as well as the main cog at Southern Tracks ), Johnny Duncan of Randy & The Holidays and Charlie Spinks of the Nights Shadows. He also had great things to say about the Kommotions own drummer, Rick Bear. It sounded to me like Wayne Logiudice never met a drummer he didn’t like.

Note: Refer above to the comment about my note taking acumen; names and spellings subject to change)

Over the next few days, we’ll add to this posting more revelations from our second call with Wayne Logiudice. If you have memories of seeing Wayne and The Kommotions perform back in day, post a comment below.

Here is a preview of anecdotal material coming soon to this post:

(1.) More information on the session that produced “Little Black Egg.”


(2.) Curtis Mayfield invites Wayne to record a song that subsequently becomes a hit for the Impressions.


(3) Charles Brook Atkins, former Chicago Bear, and personal manager for Hank Ballard, Tommy Hunt and Wayne Logiudice (C.B. was also the husband of Sarah Vaughn)

(4.) Cured by a fox in Small’s Paradise

and much more


January 6, 2007

I had another great conversation with Wayne Logiudice tonight. The quality of his memories from the great days of R&B abound. I hope that I will be able to relate them with as much emotion as there were related to me. He is flattered to be referred to by some as the true
" white James Brown." He admired the Godfather, but he says that honor belongs solely to Wayne Cochran.

more to come ...

January 7, 2007

It would be easy to draw the inference that much of the '"stagemanship" employed by Logiudice resulted from hours of observing the Godfather because that was the case for a legion of young white male men in the early 60s. Even Jere Real's liner notes on the sleeve of "Ow ! Boogaloo" mention Wayne observing J.B. from backstage at the Apollo Theatre.

It would be virtually impossible for any inspiring young entertainer not to be affected by the main man of soul. However, before Wayne Logidice became a serious entertainer at the beginning of the 60s, he had already garnered his share of dancing awards winning multiple contests growing up in the Chattanooga area. James Brown did not have to tell Wayne that if he wanted to be on his show (like he did the Tams) he would have to learn to dance.

It would have been even easier to think that Wayne picked up the art of rocking the microphone between his feet from Brown but again, he did not. Wayne chuckles when recalling seeing an entertainer perform the "feet" for the first time. If you're curious, it was George, Curious George; that is who inspired Wayne to incorporate the rocking, moving, sliding and other manipulations of the microphone into his act. "Curious George would miss from time to time but the audience didn't care because he was such an entertainer." Update: I should learn to read my scribble better... IT WAS NOT "Curious George" but it was "Gorgeous George" aka George Odell who a record on the Stax label. He is still around Atlanta so we hope to get more info soon. Wayne took what he learned by Gorgeous George and added some tricks he learned watching Joe Tex perform.

It was the combination of vocals and swift feet that drew the audiences into Wayne Logiudice. He would render a medley of as many as twenty difference songs ( mostly ones from the top 100 of the Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music ) and he did it in a spinning jiving manner that held the attention of a crowd.

Wayne likes to credit many for inspiring him on stage, but none more than the great Jackie Wilson.

15 comments:

harrietth said...

I remember Wayne very well from my days on the Atlanta music scene. I was a member of Paul Peek's band and met Wayne when our band played at the Atlanta club Country Green. We even hung out a few times. Wayne was extremely talented and knew his way around a stage and how to have an audience eating out of his hand. I don't live in Atlanta any longer, but I still like to hear about folks I knew back when. Please pass along my regards to Wayne. Paul died in 2001.

Harriett

heybabydays said...

Harriett,

Glad I saw your post; I am going to be talking with Wayne soon and will relay your greeting. I especially appreciate your comments about Wayne. He apparently had a heck of a stage presence. We will continue to post a lot about the Atlanta scene of the 60s to make up for a lack thereof in the book. If you have any vintge 60s photos of the band, we would love to post them.

Regards,

Greg

Joseph said...

I think I am Wayne's half nephew. I met him when he visited his Father in Houston TX. I was five at the time. Wayne had done a small gig with the Temptations and was the only white guy to have ever performed on stage with him. I only saw him once in my life. I would love to know what happened to him. Sincerley, Joe Gregory

KatyD said...

Hey Joe Gregory,

I am Wayne's sister-in-law. He would love to talk to you. E-mail to me at myarose0614@yahoo.com

Joseph said...

Hi Katy D. I sent an email to you regarding my Uncle Wayne. I sure would like to talk to him. I can't believe it has been 47 years since I last saw him. I hope I don't start crying. Please let him know I said hi and that I hope to hear from him. Thanks Katy D.
Joey Gregory

Donna said...

I met Wayne Loguidice in Piedmont Park in Atlanta when he was 14 years old. I was the older woman in his life. I think I was 18 or 19 at the time. We hung out together for years and I always loved him to pieces.

He was the "blackest" white boy I ever met. I used to go watch him perform at the old Misty Waters skating rink. Ray Whitley was one of our mutual friends, as was Mac Davis. Mac had a band called The Zots that played the old Plantation Club and Misty Waters. I have so many fond memories of the late 50's and 60's. I think I last saw Wayne sometime in the 70's when he pulled up beside my baby blue Mustang on a motor scooter and he bonked his head on my car window trying to lean in and kiss me!


If you talk to Wayne, please give him my contact information. I'd love to reconnect with him. The last I heard of him, from a mutual friend named Jackie Garmony, Wayne had married a lady named Ginger.

I'm sure Wayne would remember me. We had more fun running around Piedmont Park together. I lived on Monroe Drive at the time.

I was Donna McBride at the time. He was my buddy and I loved him dearly.

Donna Overall
donnaoverall@bellsouth.net
770-937-0024

Donna said...

Actually, I was 17 when I met Wayne Logiudice. I talked to Wayne today after his sister-in-law passed along my information to him (Thanks, Katy!) and we plan to do 40 years of catching up tonight. That will be a hoot!

You know what they say about the Sixties...if you remember them you weren't there. Between the R&B scene and the folk music scene, I spent all my time in places like the Royal Peacock, the Wallahaji Ballroom, the Plantation Club, Knotty Pines, The Bottom of the Barrel, The Bistro, The 12th Gate, the Catacombs, etc.

The late 50's and the whole decade of the 60's was the greatest time of my life. I actually had The Reverend Gary Davis as a house guest for 3 days when he was playing The Bottom of the Barrel. Talk about a living legend! And the legendary old blues singer Buddy Moss was a friend of mine and sang one of my songs called Codeine Man.

There was a lot of overlap between my Rhythm n' Blues life and my 10th Street weekend hippie life on the "strip."

I even knew the Jiv-A-Tones who did Flirty Gerty in the late 50's. And, Tommy Roe came over to my house on his motorcycle one time to discuss recording a song I wrote that Charlie Broome of the Jiv-A-Tones wrote the music to. I wrote lyrics and several of my songs were recorded. Pete Seeger put music to one of my civil rights songs and it was published in the New York Broadside magazine in 1968.

I knew so many of those people back then. I sure wish I could find an old coot who remembers how to do the Panama City Bop! There were Shag people and Bop people. I was a dancing fool with the bop and spent many happy hours dancing at Misty Waters swimming pool pavilion to the jukebox. I remember dancing with one of Mac Davis' Zots members who I used to date, and the metal taps on his shoes striking sparks on the concrete.

I could write a book. Maybe I will someday!

heybabydays said...

Donna,

I posted to the blog a short time ago some of our emails related to Wayne. I am glad that folks are using the blog to reconnect as evidenced above. Hopefully, this will be the area for more about Wayne Logidice and the Kommotion and for other Atlanta bands of that time period. I particularly enjoyed finding the Jet Magazine references to Wayne. There are more. There was another blurb in Billboard that I hope to find and post. From all accounts, Wayne was a show stopper.

Regards


Greg

Tom Diehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Diehl said...

I'd love to get more info on Ray Whitley if anyone has anything on him...I have no idea if he's even still alive but if he is, I'd love to get in touch with him.

WalkerTOm said...

KNew Ray and his wife Hildegarde in Atlanta many years ago. They had a son named Christopher, I believe. Sorry to hear he's fallen on hard times...

Lakeside said...

As of 3/31/13 Ray is still alive but not expected to last more than a couple of weeks. He is on life support via kidney machine. I attended high school with him. Sweet, sweet man.

Donna Overall said...

So sorry to hear about Ray. It's a shame that he has not gotten the recognition he deserves as one of the seminal figures in the Atlanta music scene.

Donna Overall said...

Wayne Logiudice died of a massive heart attack on May 31, 2013. RIP my old friend.

Donna Overall said...

I posted some videos I took of of Wayne Logiudice's last public performance with some his old band mates at Brookstock 2012. It was the first time he had been out of Tennessee in 25 years. I still can't believe he's gone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE2PKoRbuRs