Saturday, March 31, 2012

Original Villagers, Master Sound was located on Fernwood Circle, K-Otics Classics IV, New Hey Baby Days CD coming soon

Need to post more as we continually get interesting emails even though the book was published over five years ago . Sorry that the books are all gone... BUT we are considering making the book available as an E Book ... let us know what you think.

For a look at the Entire Original Villagers From Union, SC, Click on the following link

The 'Original' Villagers - Union S.C.

L-R (Back): Larry Carver, Tommy Henderson,
Wayne Reed, Larry Williams, Melvin Sinclair,
Curt Bradford, Jimmy Kirby & Jim Woods.
(On Ground): Ken Sparks & Kenny Royster

The Original Villagers group is already listed on your internet site, but I wanted to send some updated information about the group. In 2010 we got back together for only the 2nd time in 40 yrs and performed at the Party in the Pines Festival in Whitmire, SC and then again in Oct 2010 at the Oktober Fest in Newberry, SC. Now we are looking at the possibilites of going into a studio.

I have attached some photos of the events plus a couple old pics I came across in case you are interested. The 1st photo is a group shot at the Party in Pines, 2nd shot a stage shot there. The 3rd shot is Newberry in Oct and the last two are 1967 shots. Appreciate the site and the book and the history with it. Still look at it quite regularly. Will you ever release another cd? If so, would like to add some music. If you have time you can visit our site at:

and listen to "It's Alright" and other songs recorded live and in studio back in the 60's. Have a good day, and again,

Thank You,

Ken Sparks, Agent

Cel. 864.981.3559


From: Rarereads

To: Ken Sparks

Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 6:05 PM

Subject: Re: Pictures

I finally figured it out and hope to post tomorrow by the way there were at least two Villager bands from SC Charleston, Sumter, ?


Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 29, 2012, at 7:05 PM, Ken Sparks <> wrote:

We were aware of other Villager groups around and that's why we changed our names to Original Villagers way back in the sixties. We had already built ourselves to much of a following to change the entire name. We played mostly in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, more than we did in South Carolina. Thanks for posting.



There is not question in my mind that the Original Villagers as listed in the Hey Baby Days directory was a great band back in the day and the fact that they are back together and looking to record is great. Visit their site below by clicking on the link and enjoy. Of course we need to mention that there were other great bands back in the day that were called the Villagers including at least two other Villager bands from South Carolina. (Sumter and Charleston) and from what I’ve heard , they were all great bands. You have to figure from looking at the photos above that the Villagers had a great horn section .

And don’t forget Cliff Ellis’s band of Villagers from Marianna, Florida which had a regional hit with their cover of the Tams’ “Laugh It Off” How many other bands used the name Villagers back in the Hey Baby Days ?

But you need to click on the YouTube above for the Union South Carolina Villagers. They are truly a band from the Hey Baby Days

MASTER SOUND Atlanta, Georgia

On Mar 30, 2012, at 11:17 AM, Larry Watts wrote:

Hello, Greg.

I've lived in Atlanta for over 20 years but just recently stumbled upon the old address of Master Sound, home of all those Classics IV tracks and some of the Tommy Roe that, as a child, I grew to love from the 8-Track tapes my parents constantly played. I go back that area every day and stopped by yesterday. I realize that street addresses change as neighborhoods grow so I started searching on the net for any pictures of the old location but didn't find one. With that in mind, I turn to you to ask if the studio was situated across the street from the parking lot entrance of Brookhaven Marta, on the corner of Apple Valley Road and Fernwood Circle, in the spot that is now condos or apartments.

Thank you for your time and for your interesting blog.


Larry Watts


The studio was located in what had been an elementary school that had been closed and purchased by Bob Richardson and or Bill Lowery. I am not sure about the actual ownership but it was acquired for the Marta station not sure exactly it's location on the Marta property but the address was Fernwood Circle. I visited Ric Cartey and Cotton Carrier a couple of times and my most vivid or possibly blurred memories include seeing a white haired man leaning over the boards in the studio ( Bill Lowery) , a door that had had a glass panel upon which Buie-Cochran was written, a former classroom with a single desk (Ric Cartey's) behind which a gold record was mounted on the wall (Young Love) and Ric's secretary Millie. I only visited a couple of times so I could be mistaken so I will forward to Butch Lowery and Buddy Buie and perhaps get some additional facts.

What would be really interesting is to get a list of all the great music created in that building... Just think of the artists and performers that hung out Master Sound: The Tams, Swingin Medallions, Classics IV, James Gang, Candymen, Billy Joe Royal, Tommy Roe, Roemans, Ray Stevens, Joe South, Ray Whitley, Emory Gordy Jr to mention a few.



From: ""
To: greg heybabydays
Sent: Wed, March 28, 2012 10:37:55 PM
Subject: Kim Venable - drummer for
K-otics and Classics IV

Hi Greg,

Hope things are going well with you. I enjoy having your great book on my coffee table every day.

I am putting together a portfolio for my daughter and granddaughter. I noticed some pictures of myself on your web site of when I attended the HBD book debut and signing at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Macon. I would greatly appreciate copies of the photos that I am in. I saw 3 on the web site but, if you have additional ones, I would be interested in them also. I have grey hair and I'm wearing a black leather vest. I stand out well in the photos.

Please let me know how I can get copies them. If they can be sent by email, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Kim Venable

Drummer for the K-otics and the Classics IV

Sent from my iPhone


Be happy to help, I remember chatting with you and reminising about the good old days. Glad that your sharing all this with your children, otherwise, they may never know how truly great those days were ... when virtually every national guard armory and teen club had a group of future rock 'n roll stars playing every Saturday night.



On Mar 24, 2012, at 3:48 PM, wrote:

Hi Gregg,

I've been catching up on the posts on your blog. Looks like you had a great time in my hometown, Dothan at the Music Fest in 2010. I have wonderful memories of dancing to those Dothan bands, the Webs and the James Gang at our high school dances.

Recently, while watching a special on Pop, Rock, and Soul on PBS, I got an idea. I wondered if the guy responsible for the wonderful specials on PBS would be interested in doing a show on Beach Music. I did some research and found that this guy is T. J. Lubinsky, the executive producer for many wonderful specials on music from the 1950's and '60's on PBS, which I am sure you have seen. He is a Pittsburgh radio host. I am going to write him a letter. If I can get him interested, do you have an extra book that you could send him? I know it's a long shot, but I know it would be a very interesting show.

Are you working on a follow up book to "Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music" and are there any additional CD's in the works? I am enjoying my 17 CD's very much!

Ann Adams

-----Original Message-----
From: Rarereads
To: alohabyana
Cc: greg
Sent: Sat, Mar 24, 2012 12:02 pm
Subject: Re:



I had a great time in Dothan. It was truly one of the highlights of all the events I have been fortunate to have participated in since the book was published. To be backstage and talk with those great songwriters was a thrill. Hearing co-composer J.R. Cobb do his version of "Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy" reminded me of that night back in 1970 when Ray Whitley sat in the living room of the Phi Delt house at UGA and did his rendition of that same song he cowrote with Cobb.

I actually working on a couple of projects one of which I will announce on the blog with the posting of this email.

Within the next couple of months we plan to release the cuts made by the In-Men ltd. during a reunion in 2006. These cuts are extraordinary and should have wide body appeal. The CD will include the 1968 medley that was edited from a body of music the band recorded for Curtis Mayfield in 1968 with the vocals of Mickey Combs and Freddy Owens. If you have not heard it go to YouTube and search for In-Men Ltd Medley

In addition to the medley are the cuts made in 2006 in Charlotte which features the vocals of Geoff Smith, son of keyboardist Moose Smith. In addition there is a wonderful cover of "At Last" by Geoff's sister Suzanne . Etta would be proud. Other lead vocals include Skip Hinshaw a former lead singer of both the In-Men and the Monzas with a riveting version of "I'm losing You" There are two cuts featuring the great Eddie Middleton whose resume includes King David & the Slaves (With Randall Bramblett) R.C. & the Moonpies (with Mickey Thomas) and the award winning Christian group
NewSong. Moose Smith's "High Heel Sneakers" winds up the CD. A full listing of the tracks is forthcoming

I don't think you anticipated such a lengthy reply but it was an opportunity
to post some news



Sent from my iPhone


WOW! Thanks for such a quick response.

I'm really excited about your new projects. I saw that post about the music that was discovered that the band recorded for Curtis Mayfield and made a note to check it out on YouTube but haven't yet. Can't wait for the CD you're working on.

We were so lucky to grow up in such a special era because they just don't make music like that any more!

Hopefully, I can get the executive producer of those PBS shows, T. J. Lubinsky interested in doing a show on Beach Music. Do you have an extra book to send him if I can get him interested? Please let me know

Please keep me posted. I listen to Beach Music every day. When I jog, I listen to the Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music CD's and when I am home I listen to If you haven't checked this Myrtle Beach station out, you should. You are probably already familiar with it.

Again, I'm so excited about your projects with Beach Music, my favorite!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The In-Men Ltd. Live from The Hey Baby Days 1968

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again but if you try, try again and still don’t succeed, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

which is finally what I did after explaining my dilemma to Gregg Burkhalter the designer of

I wanted to put a 21 minute medley made in 1968 by the In-Men Ltd. but couldn’t connects all the dots… aka the wma file extension with the photos etc. Some of my early tries are on the blog but it’s hard to download and cuts off the last 5 minutes of the medley. Now, life is easier thanks to Gregg who directed me to Ted Tatman of Charleston, SC. Ted did a masterful job of putting photos of the band with the music so that now after over 40 years, the world can appreciate the sounds of the great show band that hailed from Burlington, NC.


Click on the link below and enjoy the show

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Please Look Back: From the Hey Baby Days, the unofficial release of the In-Men Ltd.’s live demo made for Curtis Mayfield (1968)

click on the image to enlarge

Get Ready to party ( for 20 minutes) Read the post and then click on title above and download the party with the In-Men Ltd.

In the late summer of 1969, the In-Men Ltd. of Burlington, North Carolina appeared in the Waycross City Auditorium for a show of which I was the promoter. In the image above the In-Men Ltd. are the tuxedo-clad musicians. It’s pretty easy to figure out who the other two sets of performers are by noting the Tam o' Shanters and the madras pants.

Rachel Settle a Waycross Georgia based artist did a wonderful depicting my memories of these performers as they appeared on that stage and her work has become the logo of the Hey Baby Days as used on the dust jacket and the web site. Unfortunately, the In-Men Ltd. show & dance (as we called them back then ) did not go real well from the box office perspective. You could have rolled a bowling ball down the center of the dance floor without even coming close to hitting anyone. My excuses for the bomb are detailed in an entire chapter in The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music called “Down in the Alley with the In-Men Ltd.” After one set, the band and I decided to turn the lights out and go bowling. This is just too bizarre to make up.

However, that one set of music offered by the In-Men Ltd. that night in Waycross, Georgia in 1969 made an impression that has lasted a lifetime… one that rates right up there with the night I first saw the Swingin’ Medallions at the Jacksonville Beach auditorium. These bands were all about horns and show!

Certainly the financial impact of a failed show wasn’t good for anyone, me, my creditors, the band , etc It also disturbed me that a great band with a ton of horns came to town and just a handful of people saw them . But today, we are changing all that thanks to Dr. Sonny Long of the In-Men Ltd. who has permitted me to share with you what you may have missed back then.

During the research phase for the Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music, I met a gentleman from Burlington North Carolina that had in his possession a demo tape that the In-Men Ltd. had produced for Curtis Mayfield who was apparently considering them for his Curtom label. Why wouldn't he? The In-Men Ltd. sounded like the Impressions as well as the Temptations . In fact the Temptations once asked them not to do any of their songs when they were on the same show. It was a compliment well earned !

The demo that you will be listening to was made on the spot in one take in the Copeland Studios in Greensboro, North Carolina . When Alan Brantley first played it for me back before the book was published, I told him that it sounded just like what I had heard back in 1969 in a lonely Waycross City Auditorium. One of the song clips in the medley is the In-Men Ltd.s cover of the Artistics, ”I’m Going To Miss You”. It was a must for the book’s companion CDs . Not many bands do this song, they don’t have a Mickey Combs who could hit the required high notes. When listening, make sure your crystal is safely stored.

When you hear the clip of "The Letter" it should stun. It was #1 for The Box Tops so it's hard to think anyone besides the Box Tops or Joe Cocker could make any substantial improvements on what we all agree were masters. May I submit another master version of "The Letter," one of the zillion songs written by Wayne Carson.

Thanks to Alan Brantley for his preservation effort .

Thanks for Sonny Long for allowing me to present this medley of music from the Hey Baby Days on the Hey Baby Days blog

Thanks to Tim Eaton for his editing, restoration and production.

Most of all thanks to the In-Men Ltd. who made this remarkable recording.

Before you click and listen, please read the following:

This is a 20 minute recording, once you click, prepare to listen to all of it and get in the mood of the Hey Baby Days, visualize the tuxedo- clad musicians you see in the image above sharing the stage with the Tams and Swingin’ Medallions. After all, they all shared the stage at “The Party To End all Parties” If you happened to have been a member of Kappa Alpha at UGA in the mid 60s, you don't have to visualize, you know what I'm talking about.

Members of The In-Men Ltd. through the years can be found at

The In-Men Ltd of Burlington , North Carolina premier show band during the Hey Baby Days of Beach Music

Pictured in the photo above: ( This line-up of the In-Men Ltd. recorded the medley and also appeared in Waycross in the summer of 1969)

Back Row l-r Mickey Combs, Sonny Long, Tommy Rogers, Howard Eaton, and Moose Smith
Middle Row: Tommy Burgess and Garth Hutson
Front: Freddy Owens

More photos of the In-Men Ltd. are available at several locations at the site

Now Ladies and Gentlemen “Please Look Back” at one the great show bands of the Hey Baby Days, The In-Men Ltd.

Click the post title and download the sound of the Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music starring The In-Men Ltd.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Music From The Hey Baby Days of Beach Music featuring Dan Greer, Mayer Hawthorne, Kurt Harris, Motherlode, Pieces of Eight & Hourglass

Here's a collection of names you rarely see grouped together in a Beach Music posting: Dan Greer, Mayer Hawthorne, Kurt Harris, Motherlode, The Pieces of Eight and Hourglass ( Allmans) but read on and click on the links to music that you may or may not be that familiar with:

A 1970 creation that sounds like mid 60s ala Hey Baby Days

A 2011 release that has the classic Beach Music sound but is lyrically suspect

A Northern Soul classic that should have been on every UGA juke box in the 60s

Canada’s contribution to the Beach Music world Beach Music sound

It's only 5 Men-Its to the Hourglass

In 2010, I went to Jim Russell’s a fascinating record store on Magazine Street in New Orleans hoping to find some additions to my collection. You don’t have to download everything…they still make turntables. I especially like the retro turntables that enable you to make digital files so you can download on to your IPOD so you can maintain the file so that when you lose your IPOD which I frequently do, you’ll have a backup. After having such an exotic piece of equipment for two years unused, my son, the musician, finally showed me how to use it.. he said I needed to download some software… what Audacity he has… but I did find the right free Audacity software so now I’m in business, maybe

After giving the store owner an idea of what I was looking for I was directed to a 45 RPM by Willie Tee that I did not have, “The Man That I Am ” on the Gatur label. It’s great soulful ballad by the Beach Music icon. I had never heard this Willie Tee song but found it to be a great soulful ballad. The shopkeeper suggested that I might like another record as well so I bought it without hearing a note, glad I did. So I bought I bought “Curiosity Killed the Cat” by Dan Greer. I noticed that on the label it had the production company listed as Waycross Music. Now Waycross, Georgia is my hometown but I don’t remember a cat by the name of Dan Greer, curious or otherwise, but I liked his song and his voice. This cut sounded like it might have been recorded during the height of the hey baby days maybe around 1967 but it was apparently recorded just outside the HB zone in 1970. It has the two essential qualifiers for my taste: uptempo and horns.
Check a snippet of it out from a clip I found on line. Click on arrow to activate sound and be sure to read the comments associated with the link. CAUTION: a very scratchy start: ( copy and paste the following link in your browser as I have not yet mastered the art of making it easy to click and listen)

A new beach Music sounding record getting huge national exposure.

Not sure Mayer Hawthorne has ever heard the term ”Beach Music” and if so, he may think Beach Boys. Some pundits think he has created a new Motown classic but “not so” says my son, the professional musician. Wise, before his time at 32, he said that he has heard people refer to “The Walk” as new Motown. He says “they just don’t know the difference between the classic sound of Motown and the classic sound of Beach Music. I agree with him that the “The Walk” by Mayer Hawthorne has the classic sound of Beach Music however the great lyricists of both genres were a bit more discrete with their wording. The subtle difference between Motown and Beach Music is a little vague for the commoner. lol

We offer two versions of “The Walk” found on line. If the first one is a little too violent, switch to the next one which is one of the band's live television appearances.

If this link is a bit much for you, try the next one . ( copy and paste the links in your browser)

The Emperor of My Baby’s Heart recorded by Kurt Harris in 1964 and in recent years covered by Paul Craver of Beach Music fame was a Northern Soul classic that would have been on any juke box at UGA had we known about it… or maybe we were not paying attention. Check it out …

Researching a bit, it appears that Kurt Harris may have had origins in the coastal Georgia counties Macintosh and Glynn counties. When we find out more, maybe he too will be added to the honor roll of great R&B ers from South Georgia that includes many …Jesse Boone, Ray Charles, Little Richard, etc. JB hails from north of the gnat line!

O Canada

Just at the very end of the Heeey Baby Days of Beach music in 1969, a song appeared in American Top 40 that again has the great sound of Beach Music. I am not sure I first heard the original version on the radio or at a Beach Music revival as performed by the original Bits& Pieces which were formerly the Original Second Pieces of Eight. It does not matter though, they were great in any form and are still out there today doing both, “Lonely Drifter” and “When I Die” as the original Second Pieces of Eight. Here’s the original ‘When I Die” by Canada’s Motherlode, some of whom were friends of my friend Peter Whatmore of London Ontario. I was not able to find the Pieces of Eight’s version of “When I Die” on Youtube but their cover is a great one ! Melodic as Bamie would say !

O Canada !

It's Only 5 Men-its to the Hourglass

Finally, a cut that appeared on a 1968 Hourglass album that has a great Beach Music sound ... You wouldn't suspect after listening to this cut that a couple of years after Hourglass made this recording for Liberty records, they would become synonymous with Southern Rock as the Allman Brothers. But before all of that happened , two sets of good old boys from Alabama and Florida ( the Five Men-its and the Allman Joys) got together as Hourglass and created a little soul music !

Like any of the selections above ? yes, no, maybe , I'll get back with you, or "if I had a dime, I'd play the jukebox."