Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring SOS 2009

Yes Oh Yes...It's SOS...Again! Spring and Fall SOS are the two events that get me the most wired of all the events in our community. Although I am about to DJ my 51st SOS, I still get as excited as a child on Christmas Eve. I think I'm lucky that it still affects me that way. Beside the fact that it's the biggest shag party of the season, I think I also still get excited because I have a deep appreciation for still being able to participate one more time.

Having been around this life style since high school and college, I've been fortunate to have darken the doors of many of the great old joints and honky tonks throughout the two Carolina's, as have many of you. I'm sure some, if not all of them will ring a bell with a lot of you: The Cellar, Coachman, Castaways, Bushes, Jokers, Four Winds, T-Club, Twilight Lounge, Jack's Palace, The Castle, Wit's End, D.A.V., Owl's Club, Tally Ho, Fiesta, Upstairs, Pawley's Pavilion, The Pad, The Beach Club, and many more. The singular thread that binds them together is...they no longer exist.

I would bet my life that not one of us, back in those days, ever gave a thought to the fact that all of these great joints would all be gone one day. I know I thought there would always be The Pad. This is yet another example of youth being wasted on the young.

I think about those great old joints, and other memories of the past, every time I step in that DJ booth at The Pavilion. I remind myself that our Pavilion too, will one day be only a memory.
I'm always excited and greatful for one more opportunity to play my music in that great old building.

Twenty six years ago H Lee Brown gave an unknown, little skinny "dj" from Newberry SC, a shot at playing, what would become, the biggest shag party on the planet. I hope he would agree that it worked out fairly good for both of us. This SOS, H Lee is again stepping up and giving another unknown, skinny little guy a shot. Young Jason Cagle out of Charlotte NC will be playing at the Pavilion on the last Saturday of SOS from 11am untill I come on at 3 o'clock. Young Jason knows and loves our music and he plays it from his soul. A good DJ is like a good song, they're both very hard to find, but when you hear one, it's so easy to recognize. I've been around this community a long time, and if my opinion counts with any of you, Young Jason is a good 'un! I hope you'll choose to slip away from the parade a little early and get down to the Pavilion and support Jason. I'm confident you won't be dissappointed. A special thanks to H Lee and Pam for bringing Jason into the fold.

Speaking of H Lee and Pam, I hope you will take the time to seek them out at SOS and thank them for providing us with this special place to re-live the past, share our memories, and make new ones. The Pavilion is a very special place and they are very special people.

This will be my last blog for a few weeks. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read them and to comment. I know you won't always agree with what I write, but that's OK, just keep on reading. Y'all drive safe and hope to see ya at The Pavilion, Thursday the 23rd at 3 o'clock. LET'S BOOGIE WOOGIE !!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dead Ducks

Due to all the things that I need to get done in preparation for SOS, I had decided not to do a blog this week. However, after certain events occurred at the beach last week, I reconsidered. I am of course referring to the "Ducks Debacle."
Let me make a few things clear at the outset. To me, Ducks hasn't been Ducks since Norfleet Jones and Bob Baker turned over their keys. I haven't DJ'd at Ducks but twice since 1999 so it's not going to affect me if the joint lives or dies. But the demise of Ducks will affect a whole bunch of folks. My young friend William Green and the other members of Duck's staff who were cast aside like so much small change, will be greatly affected. The members of the shag community who enjoyed years of memories and who were loyal patrons, will be affected. Also I'm sure that as I write this piece, there are 15 or 20 DJ's looking for a port to weather this storm in.
Short and sweet, what you have here is, a fellow who came down to the beach, with a full bag of money, and an empty bag of history. He obviously had no conception of how things work at the beach, and never got a clue about who and what is important at the beach, and to the shag community as a whole. The first thing he did was to start tearing out the past and completely change the landscape of Ducks. He showed arrogant disregard for tradition, history, and what the folks felt comfortable with. He did away with as much of the past he possible could, and as quickly as he could. The past be damned! This was his club and he was hell bent to put his stamp on it. He turned a cozy little shag joint into a bowling alley. Well you did it your way...how'd that work for you?
Memo to the man from Charlotte: The shag world is about PRESERVATION! It's about HISTORY! The shag community's whole world revolves around THE PAST!
In my very first blog, I spoke about what money will buy you in the shag community. I said it could buy you those fancy "dance" shoes in a bag, and a few shag steps, but it can't buy you a history on the beach. You either lived it or you didn't. So too, a big bag of money and an even bigger ego, does not equal success in the shag joint business at the beach. But a sense of our history and knowing who the players are would likely give you a good head start.
The irony, it seems to me, is that the man who wanted to show us how it should be done at the beach, although he failed miserably, will, in the end, still have a legacy. He will forever be known as the man that killed Ducks.
As I have alluded to before, God blessed me and allowed me to be born in the great state of South Carolina, but I have lived the past 22 plus years in the Atlanta area. The "locals" of greater Atlanta, having had to deal with the influx of folks from the North, have a saying, "We don't give a damn how y'all did it up there...if you don't like the way we do it here...Delta's ready when you are"!
Memo to the man from Charlotte: "Highway 9 is ready when you are"!