Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pogo The Medallions Madras Madness and the plight of Ray Whitley




above: Nora Marion receives a copy of "Madras and Madness" from Medallion Shawn McElrath to be given to Dad








Swingin' Medallions play in the Swamp for thousands at the Swampfest...while the City of Waycross's patron saint, Pogo, the possum philosopher looks on from the Water Tower. Pogo is credited with such quotes as:

"We Have Met The Enemy and he is us"

"Where ever you go, is where you are"

"We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunity."




I had planned to take my ninety year old father somewhere he had never been and that was to a concert featuring the Swingin’ Medallions in downtown Waycross. However, Saturday morning my father had a bout with dizziness we took him in to be checked out and after running a battery of testes, he seemed to be alright but we decided against the concert. Nora Marion and I went for a couple of hours and came away impressed with how well the band catered to a crowd of several thousand that represented every age group and race. The Medallions had music for everyone and I think they played every song on their latest CD, “,Madras and Madness.” Something that I had never seen the band do was to engage the very young that were attendance at the concert. The band invited on stage with them all the toddlers in attendance. Twenty or so took them up on the invitation and were soon rocking on stage with the band to “Brick House.” I am sure it was an experience the kids will never forget.


The band gave us a CD that we could give to Dad, presented above to Nora Marion by band member, Shawn McElrath. I’ll be interested in getting Dad’s review after he listens but I think he’ll enjoy many of the great cuts on the CD. We were grateful for the great service we got at Satilla Regional in Waycross for my father. A little disappointed that he didn’t get to see the band he had heard about for forty years but judging from the crowd’s reaction to the band, they’ll be back.

We end this posting on a bit of a downer but thought that we should share because maybe we can collectively do something about what you read below:


Hello to all, my name is Tom

I came across your blog through a google search for a man that I met recently. I'm involved with a ministry that brings food for the flesh and food for the soul through the word and music. At a homeless shelter in Gainesville, Ga I met this man playing guitar and singing to the other residents there. Through conversation I learned two things about him (other than being homeless). First he is very nearly totally deaf, and that his name is Ray Whitley; besides being an artist in his own right is author of many hits for such greats a the Tams, Billy Joe Royal, Tommy Roe, The Swing Medallions etc. Just thought you guys would want to know . I wish I knew how to post on your blog.

Peace
Tom


Note: I have responded to Tom and will be in touch with him over the few days. Hopefully, we will come up with some ideas that will help Ray. Ray Whitley gave us some of the greatest songs of our youth. Maybe we can give something back to Ray.

6 comments:

Jeffers66 said...

That's sad about Ray Whitley. I really like his own version of "I've Been Hurt". He also did a little-known single on Columbia that was produced by Curt Boettcher (of the Millennium/Sagittarius) -- it was a real change of pace for him, but quite good. I'd be interested to hear where this leads.

heybabydays said...

Jeff,

Thanks for your comment. We'll be in touch with Tom and try to determine the best way to help. Hopefully something can be done. We will update as soon as possible.

Regards,

Greg

Gene Lee said...

Greg, As evidenced by the pics of mine that you saw, The Epics had quite a bit of interaction with Ray Whitley back in the 60's. I was aware that Ray had a problem and it saddens me to find that he has yet to overcome them. Ray Whitley was a blessing to the Sensational Epics and he gave everyone much joy with his musical talents. Please keep me posted as to anything that might be done to help Ray.I(and The Epics) would surely like to be a part of it.
Hmmmmmmm......possibly a "Save Ray Concert"?

heybabydays said...

Gene,

Thanks for your comments. Those photos of Ray were great adds to the book and certainly helped the story we had about Ray in the book. When it comes to the music of the hey baby days , few names stand out any more than Ray Whitley's. By the way to all those lovers of Raggae, RAY WHITLEY composed "Dancing Mood." About have the listings you see for the song originally recorded by the Tams has either no composer listed or Desmond Wilson, who covered it in a Raggae arrangement that became a huge hit. The Tams' "Hey Girl Don't Bother Me" another Whitley composition became a #1 in England. He and J.R. Cobb created a southern anthem with "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy" first recorded by the Sensational Epics and then covered by the Tams who hit it big with the song. So many others like "What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am"( Tams) and the Tams' song covered by virtually every Southern band including the Epics. "I've Been Hurt," There are so many others that I am not sure I can list them all: "I Found A Rainbow" recorded by the Swingin' Medallions, "Too Much Fooling Around", "Silly Little Girl" "Laugh It Off" "You Lied To Your Daddy" etc. etc. Wayne Logiudice said about Ray, "He was always writing a song."

Thanks for alerting folks about Ray and if they want to make a comment or two about the greatness of his works, ask them to post a comment to this posting.

Regards,

Greg

SOL said...

I REMEMBER RAY WHITLEY IN THE BASS HIGH SCHOOL DAYS IN ATLANTA AROUND 1961.

HE HAD ONE ONE THE GREATEST ELVIS PRESLEY STYLES THAT I EVER HEARD.

I HAVE A FEW OF HIS RECORDINGS AND ENJOY THEM VERY MUCH.

I AM VERY SAD TO HEAR THAT RAY IS TOTALLY DEAF AND IS HOMELESS.

RAY IS IN DEFFINATE NEED OF HELP AND I WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO CONTRIBUTE IN ANY WAY I CAN

IF YOU HAVE ANY PHOTOS OF RAY, PLEASE FORWARD TO sollatimore@hotmail.com

I AM ALSO A VOCALIST. MY STYLE IS BLUES.

PLEASE KEEP ME POSTED.

THANKS___
SOL LATIMORE

heybabydays said...

Sol,

Sorry to be so tardy in responding to your post. We have reached out through the initial contact but have received little feedback. I think there are many who would help if help is desired.

Thanks,

Greg