Friday, July 12, 2013

Tams' Charles Pope, Wayne Loqiudice and Kommotion and Ray Whitley in the Hey Baby Days of Beach Music

Charles Pope gets his ticket to “The Party To End All Parties” in The Heeey Baby Days joining Wayne Loqiudice and Ray Whitley at the gala. (See foot note regarding The Party To End All Parties)

According to my Inbox, Diane Cottle-Pope’s call came in at 4:53 this morning. I knew even before I listened to the message that it had to do with Charles “Speedy” Pope younger brother of Joe Pope and Otis Pope. I don’t think he had others. Charles Pope had died the previous afternoon.  It was a great loss to the ever-dwindling group of entertainers that created Beach Music. Just in the last couple of months we lost others including Wayne Loqiudice and Ray Whitley.

Wayne was lead singer for The Kommotion, an Atlanta band in the 60s that had an army of incredible musicians (see band directory at  We regret we didn’t include more in the Hey Baby Days about this talented band who had a great cover of “The Little Black Egg” It took me a while to learn to spell his name but anyone that ever saw Wayne on stage remembered him.  Back in the day when it came to stage demeanor  show and dance, many say he could hold his own with Joe Tex and James Brown and is sometimes compared with Wayne Cochran of CC Rider fame

If one ever gets around to listing the all time great composers of what we refer to as Beach Music, the name Ray Whitley will be up near the top with Norman Johnson and others. What a family of greats came out of that old school house in Brookhaven Georgia known Master Sound. Whitley co-wrote the Tams’ hit “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” with one of the original Classics IV, J.R. Cobb.

Whitley wrote most of the Tams’ major hits including “What Kind of Fool”, “I’ve Been Hurt”, “Hey Girl, Don’t Bother Me”, “Laugh It Off”, “Too Much Fooling Around” and one of the more underrated songs of the Tams’ “Dancing Mood.” In the world of Reggae, “Dancing Mood” is almost a national anthem that many think was written by Delroy Wilson as he made it a major Reggae hit.  Little   credit is accorded its author, Ray Whitley. May he rest in peace.

I first met Charles Pope in 1968 when I first engaged the fabulous Tams Revue for one of the many  big four-hour shows and dances that we would have over the next couple of years. 

Charles always loved telling me back in the day that the “Tams were making me rich.” or “You’re getting rich off the Tams, ain’t you?” Fellow Tam Horace “Sonny” Key loved to tell people “we are sending Greg to college.” Easy to think such when the Tams’ were packing the various venues where we promoted the “World Famous” Tams and their 17-piece revue. No kiddin’ those really were the days! The Tams were the South’s equivalent of the Four Tops and Temptations. "According to Charles and Otis, Motown was interested in adding the group to its stable of R&B greats. 

It seems like yesterday when I sat in the Jonesboro home of Diane and Charles Pope reminiscing with Charles and Otis about the glory days. Older brother, Otis, was the road manager for the band for years. I kidded him about the near heart attacks he gave me the times when the Tams arrived just in time for a show. If you really want to see a blur... band  arrives at 7:45 for an 8:00 start and at 8:00, it's show time. It  could only happen in the Hey Baby Days.

Charles seemed more reserved when talking about the Hey Baby Days than others but when he spoke I listened intently as he offered great nuggets of info most of which is included in the book.

When people think of the Tams show, they think not just of the vocals and all the great tunes but of the high energy the Tams brought to the stage, their high stepping chorography.

According to Charles and Otis, it wasn’t always that way. “In fact at first we just stood up at the mic and sang, sort of like a doo wop group. However, when we first toured with James Brown and he saw our stage show, he said if you’re going to tour with me… you gotta dance" … so they did.

Charles said he and the group were shocked when the group arrived at a booking at a South Carolina club in the 60s only to find out it was an "all-white" club. And as they say, "The Crowd Went Wild". The Tams music had the right sound and beat for the shaggers and there in the Carolinas , the Tams' music hit its zenith.

The Beach Music world is going to miss Charles Pope. His contributions were numerous. Charles once said, ”Beach Music has been good to us.” Beach Music is a music genre some music pundits continue to insist doesn’t exist. They mostly reside in places other than the South. Beach Music has a special set of heroes that rarely get a lot of press. At the head of this class sits Charles Pope and the Mighty Tams.

God Bless Charles Pope!

Footnote: The Party To End All Parties is the ultimate Beach Music revival of greats that have passed on.  A scene of the great spectacle that took place in a small town auditorium in South Georgia is on the cover of ”The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music.” All the greats of the genre that have passed on are visible on stage while their still living cotemporaries may be there but are blurred and unidentifiable. Only those that have passed-on get a ticket to attend while others in attendance received a special invitation.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ninety-Six Swingin' Medallions Ninety-Six Keys To The City



1.      Most of the “youngsters” in the band have been Swingin’ Medallions  longer than the “original” members who recorded the iconic party song. However, once a Medallion, always a Medallion just ask all 96 former members of the band that reunited this past Friday night at the birth place of the Swingin’ Medallions, NINETY SIX, SOUTH CAROLINA although the county seat of Greenwood County is the official home town.



 John McElrath , Leader and Founder, Greg Haynes, unofficial band historian,  and Brent Fortson, an original saxophonist and  a legend of the UGA chapter of Phi Delta Theta


2.      The mayor of Ninety Six South Carolina gave keys to the city to all 96 members of the band that attended. He is apparently a man of strong faith so we looked around a found a copy of “The Heeey Baby Days” and presented him one of those…I asked if he had any spare keys but he was fresh out. He did say that the book would go on display at the visitors' center.

3.      The mayor also made mayoral proclamations honoring the band and their contributions to the city. It was apparent  that the entire population turned out for the gig and with such a gala and the good time had by all,  the mayor should have no trouble being re-elected.

4.      When I told Perrin Gleaton, the first guitarist for the band, that it’s all about the horns, I thought he might hit me. Although known for their horns, he reminded me that not one horn was raised on "Double Shot." Funny, but "Jimbo Doares said the same thing .

5.      Perrin appeared on the band's first single on Dot Records, “I Want To Be Your Guy.” He left prior to “Double Shot” and was replaced by Jimbo Doares. Fred Pugh and Perrin were successful with other Carolina bands. Both were Swingin' Friday night.  There are still folks who remember Fred from the Old Hickory in PC and his “Night Train” routine.

6.      There were some that were not present and they were sorely missed including those who are deceased: including: Steve Caldwell – saxophone, Charlie Webber-trumpet, Johnny Cox- Saxophone ; David Eastler-Drums, Gerald Polk-saxophone    Members  of their families or representatives were there to receive copies of the proclamation.

7.      Other living members of the band that were of the 60s that were not able to attend  were  Jim Doares- Guitar, Grainger “Brother” Hines- Saxophone , Ron Nobles - Drums and Bobby Taylor.   Five of the Eight that recorded “Double Shot” were on stage. Many who played with the band when it was known as The Medallions were present ( 1963-64).

8.      Dale Williams, Medallions lead vocalist in the 80s  voice sounded as good as he did back then… however… the rain came and the third set was cancelled so we did not get to hear Dale sing “I’m Going To Make You Mine” a composition that was written by another Medallion from the 80s, Hazen Bannister.


… and so on through 96


Hack had seven horns behind him on "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You"

96       If you like horns, there were plenty, with as many as seven going full blast at one time... If everyone who has claimed to have played saxophone at one time or another for the band actually did and were  present Friday night, they would have not been able to fit them in the Georgia Dome.


Note: we have taken some license in recounting the events that took place in Ninety Six South Carolina this past Friday night. e.g We really didn’t count all the band members that were present… there may have been more than Ninety Six including members of the band that were “Medallions” before the band even added “Swingin”  to Medallions. These gentlemen appeared to very hip so we now know that adding “Swingin” in 1965 had little to so with lifestyle. I remember stories from those who saw the band in their early days especially at UGA. They never refer to the band as the “Swingin’ Medallions”, but rather as “The Medallions”. This is proof positive that there are folks from the 60s that were actually there and do remember.

                                     Hack Bartley and Carroll Bledsoe
Shawn McElrath, Unidentified Fan, John McElrath ;with her  1967 album with seven of the eight original members' signatures
Only one signature missing from this one
Memorabilia from an Atlanta based collector includes album cover with signatures of all eight members who recorded "Double Shot", an original 45 RPM on the "For Sale" label plus signed Tams' album with signatures of Joe Pope, Charles Pope, Robert Smith, Horace "Sonny" Key and Joe Jones
Album cover with ALL eight signatures

                          Greg Haynes, Joe Morris, and Brent Fortson

Original Drummer Joe Morris

Mayor Hands out proclamations and keys to the city L-R Jimmy Perkins, Joe Morris, John McElrath, Carroll Bledsoe, Perrin Gleaton, Brent Fortson, Cubby Culbertson, Mayor of Ninety Six, Dale Williams, Robby Cox, Fred Pugh behind mayor... others out of view

Fred Pugh explains to fan about how he was able to wow the fans back at the Old Hickory in 1964 with "Night Train" while Carroll Bledsoe looks on... perhaps thinking that Fred's memory is a little fuzzy.

Mayor of Ninety Six makes presentation to John McElrath
Brent Fortson Signs two copies of "The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music." With his and Joe Morris's signature, we now have two books with autographs of all the members of the band and several hundred other signatures of members of bands from the 60s.
Jimmy Perkins, Greg Haynes, Fred Pugh and Hack Bartley

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peanut Man ,Willie Williams and Tones Persians

From: Steven Kahn
Subject: Willie Williams and Tones
Date: Monday, March 11, 2013, 7:24 AM

Hi, I noticed the forum posting about Willie Williams and the Tones / Persians ... Didn't this group record "A Star"/"Peanut Man" on Kennedy Records.... I'd love to find out more about this group... do you know the year it was recorded and who the members on the record were and where Kennedy Records was based? I'd love to see a label scan of the 45.. thanks so much




I am not sure but I am going to copy Tommie James who I think was a member of the Persians. If not, he may able to give some guidance. I think that Willis Blume at the Willis Blume Agency was also a member.Of course, there were several groups of Persians as there were Villagers, etc.



Hi Greg & Steve,

The Persians from Columbia, SC did indeed evolve from a group started by Willie Williams around 1965 when he and some fellow classmates in a choral group at Benedict College in Columbia, SC began performing in small clubs and other venues under the name "Willie & The Tones".

As the group added instrumentalists, the name was changed to "The Persians" around 1966-67. Wille said they were learning about ancient "Persia" in a world history class, and that's where the name came from. I believe Willis Blume was the drummer for a short time, and Fred Ferguson was one of the original vocalists.

"P-Nut" man was probably recorded in 1966, but I don't know who was on the recording besides Wille, and don't know anything about "Kennedy Records".

Willie was no longer in the group when I joined as their first keyboardist in mid-1967 and the vocalists were Fred Ferguson & Elvin Tobin, guitarist was Charles Stafford, on bass was Bill Miles, and drummer was Tom Graham.

Charles left in 1968 to tour with Billy Stewart, Tom Graham got drafted in 1969 and was sent to Vietnam, Elvin Tobin moved to Atlanta, and I left at the end of 1970 to help form the new band "Second Nature". Charles and Tom were also original members of Second Nature.

Fred & Bill kept The Persians going into the mid 1990's. There was a Persians reunion several years ago, and all the former members (that could be found) were invited, including Willie. Attached is a picture that Willie put together for that event, and these images were put onto some souvenir T-shirts. The picture on the right shows The Persians in 1968 when the members were Fred, Elvin, Charles, Bill, Tom, and me. At the reunion, that combination posed for a recreation of this photo, and a group photo was taken of all the former members who were there.

Leading up to the reunion, we had several rehearsals. Many former members attended & performed in chronological order of when they were in the group beginning with Wille who still sounded great, as did the other vocalists and all who backed them on instruments.

A great time was had by all the performers as well as a packed house on a Sun. afternoon at a club in downtown Columbia.

I have copied Bill Miles on this, and he may still have Willie's current contact info. He and/or Willie may be the only ones I know who can answer your questions about the creation of the "P-Nut Man" recording.

Musically, TJ

Tommie James

Second Nature

Camden, SC

More about The Persians from Bill Miles

We were playing at the KOR club in five points around 1964 and one night Jack Maynard and I were talking about R&B music and decided to find some black singers to make it sound right.

The plan was to go to the talent show at Benedict college and give a listen. I had to go to a meeting that night and when I got there it was almost over but Maynard had heard the Tones and we got together with them and played our first gig at the Wits Inn on Devine. That was in 1965.


We only played a few jobs and the group fell apart. The Tones had already recorded that record.


in 1966 I was playing with a group at a club on Sumter street. And the vocals were not cutting it so we got in touch with Willie and they came to the rescue and Charles Stafford was with them.


I joined Stafford and we brought in Willis Blume and we went to work at the KOR club in five points. At that time The Tones had changed their name to the Persians.


Later we replaced Willis with Frank Macaulay then Tommy Graham. Over the years we had the pleasure of working with a lot of musicians and I still keep in touch with some of them.


Willie is one of them. His phone number is 803.463.1901.


Bill Miles

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The First Concert at Sanford Stadium in 1963 featured Beach Music legends

The bands that are featured in “The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music” are ones that rocked with soul.  Generally these were not four or five piece bands that were the norm of the 60s but rather they were aggregations totaling seven or more musicians with horns. These bands were sought out as backing bands when the great R&B artists performed because much of the great soul music was enhanced by the sound of horns. Athens’ great horn band of the era was the Jesters who backed such artists as Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson and others. 

So when UGA put on its monster R&B Homecoming show in Sanford Stadium in October of 1963, The Divots of Roanoke, Virginia provided the sound. The vocals were provided by the who’s who of R&B music of that era. Much of the music played at that concert was what we now refer to as “Beach Music.” You might say that the first concert in Sanford Stadium was a Beach Music concert and get no argument from this vantage point. This would only be fitting for ground once trod upon by such greats as Trippi, Sinkwich, Walker, Tarkington and others.

The who’s who of R&B performed for that homecoming concert and it would be regrettable if the existence of the event were lost to obscurity. Do names like Jerry Butler, Major Lance, Mary Wells, Irma Thomas, King Curtis, Gene Chandler, Don Covay & The Goodtimers, and Darlene Love. Don Gardner/ Dee Dee Ford ring any bells out there?

During the research period for “the Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music’ we kept hearing the name of a band from Virginia called the Divots. Even the premier bands of the Carolinas sang the praise of the Divots so we spent the time and presented much about the Divots in the book. “The Roanoker” magazine graciously granted us permission to reprint an article about the band titled ”Roanoke’s Greatest Band Ever” by John Pugh. What a great read.

“July 19643. The Rolling Stones’ first tour of America. The music world is astonished as the Stones sell out 60,000 seat Shea Stadium. “An entire stadium sold out for one show!” the press blares. “Never in the history of live performances has anything like this ever happened.”

Never in New York, perhaps. Never such a humongous crowd. But flashback almost a year earlier. October 1963. Homecoming, University of Georgia, Athens Gee-Ay. A nine-act rhythm-and-blues bill sells out 40,000 seat Sanford Stadium. It features Major Lance, Jerry Butler, Don Covay & The Goodtimers, Irma Thomas, Darlene Love. Mary Wells, King Curtis, Gene Chandler, and Don Gardner/Dee Dee Ford . And backing the whole show is a bunch of white boys from Roanoke, Vee-Ay who could play rhythm-and-blues music with such feeling and drive that at one time or another they backed every major R&B act that toured the South in the 60s. A group that attained almost legendary status among its followers. A group called the Divots.

The Divots influenced many bands and among them, The In_Men Ltd. who first played at UGA in 1966 for Chi Omega and were then kidnapped by the Kappa Alpha Order for their front lawn parties. Unfortunately, the Divots never recorded but the In-Men Ltd. did record. In fact a 20-minute medley from 1968 appears on the recent release The In-Men Ltd. Legacy Sessions along with 14 additional recordings made in 2006 including the No. 1 Beach Music song of 2007, "Rhythm" The CD available at www.abebooks  In-Men Ltd. Legacy Sessions published by Rare Reads

The upcoming concert featuring Jason Aldean will be a winner, deservedly so, but the honor of being the first concert at Sanford Stadium belongs to a group R&B greats.

If you were one of the 40,000 that attended the concert, and you remember, send your comments. Many say that if you remember the 60s, you weren't there. That adage is not always true ?
 Also, it was the era  you could take photos without trepidation or getting signed releases so if got a few poloroids, stuck in a drawer, e-mail them, we’ll post. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

NEW From the publisher of “The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music

January 17, 2013

We are pleased to announce the release of the “Legacy Sessions” of the In-Men Ltd., a show and dance band based in Burlington, North Carolina in the latter part of the 60s. The band enjoyed immense popularity and were often chosen to back major R&B  acts that came to perform at popular venues of the era such as Myrtle Beach’s, “Beach Club”, Greensboro’s “The Castaways” and colleges throughout the South.  Their story is detailed in a 20-page booklet that accompanies the 15- cut CD.  Many of the In-Men were students at Elon College, which is now Elon University. In 2006, members of the band had a reunion and as a result of the reunion, the urge to record ignited several sessions at Charlotte’s StudioEast resulting in updated versions of classics from the 1960s to the 2000s. A few of the cuts were previously released including “Rhythm” . The song was No. 1 on the Beach Music chart from March of 2007 for 17 months, which is not too bad for a band that got back together to reminisce. Of note, “Rhythm” written by Curtis Mayfield of The Impressions and was originally recorded by Major Lance with the Impressions providing background vocals. “Rhythm” as recorded by the In-Men Ltd. features Geoff Smith on lead vocals and yes! those same Impressions sans Mayfield providing background vocals.

Although the In-Men Ltd.  no longer tour, their legacy remains strong and the sound that so many enjoyed remains alive through the “Legacy Sessions.” If you remember the great horn sound of the In-Men Ltd., and the equally strong vocals, this musical experience is for you!
 To Order The Legacy Sessions The In-Men Ltd. CD
send  $20.00 Check to Rare Reads 203 Townsend Place, Atlanta, Georgis 30327 or PayPal or use credit card and receive CD by priority mail: Click on link to purchase by credit card through ABE