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.