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"!


  1. you are stupid, why don't you stay in Atlanta...thats right they don't want you in atlanta....your music is the worst....it sucks that is why you don't play at Ducks,,you are terrible....

  2. what have you done? do you own a club....thats right all you do is play that dead black music. If it is so great why is Fats Harolds always full of people. you don't play there and you don't play at ducks....what is your problem.....
    what do you do for a living?????

    1. This is a horrible comment. That "dead black music" is what the original shaggers learned from and danced to. What an ignorant comment. YOU KNOW NOTHING.....

  3. Who are you people that love to say such rubbish but are too chicken to say who you are...if I really believed in something I would say who I am...He speaks the sentiment of a lot of people and plays great music...do you have to relegate yourself to name calling and then not have the guts to say who you are...shame on you! Duck's was vastly different than Harold's and I am glad that Harold has a crowd of people...they like a certain kind of music, etc...and that's okay by me...I just prefer a different kind and that SHOULD be okay by you...Anonymous my foot...say who you are!!!!
    Moncille V. Thomas

  4. The reason we buy those cheezy little SOS cards is so we can feel special and waive them at the door wherever we want to go. Harold's is always packed and it always has been. The point is, if you want to hear bubble gum beach music, go to Harold's, there are definitely good times to be had there. If you want to hear true, original, shag music, you go to the pavilion and ducks too. I stared shagging in the early 90's, so I can't comment on the days before, but I can tell you from what I've seen over the last 10 years, the best days of shaggin in OD are in the past. Keep playing the good stuff Tommy and remember that you can't expect a bunch of bubble gum shaggers to understand your blogs.

  5. Cpt. Kirk & Barbara MauneyApril 11, 2009 at 9:54 AM

    We agree with Moncille. Have the guts to have an opinion? Then have the guts to state your name. Bashing Duck's, and David Shaw's business decisions may have a tinge of associated envy. Would you feel the same way if you were a regular DJ at Duck's, playing your brand of shag music? We don't like "Bubble Gum" Shag music, we're blues music lovers. We're happy to have a variety of clubs,ergo, go to the clubs that please you! This kind of divisiveness can kill Shag, is that what you want? We have to stick together! We can not fault Duck's or David Shaw, who welcomes all his guests and makes them feel special, and frankly love the two new dance floors.

    Barbara Mauney/Captain Kirk

  6. Don’t call my friend stupid! I’ve known Tommy Hamrick for over 25 years. Tommy has grown to be an Icon on this beach and his following grows every year. When he plays in the afternoon, many other DJs are there to hear him play his music. You know what kind of music you’re gonna get when you go there. That’s why so many of us go! If you get the opportunity to hear Tommy Hamrick play, don’t let it pass you by.

    Charles Gurley

  7. As someone who has been going to Ducks when it was Ducks Across the Street, and before Ducks Too, when it was Fats, a hamburger joint, I can tell you first hand that the changes in both have not been for the better. What those who are chastising Tommy don't understand is that when we go to the beach and go to a beer joint, we go because we like the fact that it will be the same as we left it.

    There is enough chaos and change in our daily lives. When we go to dance and drink and see our friends, we like the fact that there is no change in the places we go. We don't want it to change. If we wanted change, we would go to another beer joint. The fact that we go to the same places and these places don't change, that we reminisce about the past and listen to old music should say volumes about what we like and what is important in our social lives.

    I personally believe that David Shaw has made a mistake in changing Ducks in the past and certainly in the most recent change of eliminating it. I will truly miss Ducks and Ducks Too since they have been a huge part of my life and enjoyment of OD and the lives of many of our friends. I am shocked that icon joints like both Ducks are going to be gone as we knew them.

    We will find a place to drink, dance and hear the music we like, we always have, but we really would have liked to spend our money at Ducks and Ducks Too for years longer. But, that will not be the case it doesn't seem and we will spend time and money somewhere else.

    Our crowd has always supported joints at the beach and we will continue to do so. We will continue to support the dance and music we grew up with and still love. It's a shame that someone came in and felt that he was bigger than all the history and good times before him. Maybe he has a good reason, but I can't think of one.

    I hope in time that maybe Ducks and Ducks Too can resurface again. After all Shad Alberty, Bunk Leach, Harry Driver, Chicken Hicks and Billy Jeffers are gone now, but they left a legacy there and it's a shame to see that kind of history go because some guy wanted to come in and change it.

    Milton Nowell Jr.

  8. Well said my friends...Charles and Milton...
    There you go...to the two anonymous postings at the very beginning...YOU are the ones who don't know what you are talking about and you need to stay home! For those of us who have been coming to this beach and other beach joints forever...it has been said no better than by the two great dancers and lovers of music that have posted their comments...
    Our music and dance ARE here to stay...no matter what and we will make our own places to go and spend our time and our money!
    Moncille V. Thomas

  9. I like Duck's better since it has been remodeled and cleaned up a bit. I also like the addition of the other door into Ducks Too.

  10. Hey all. I loved the old ducks and ducks 2 as much as anyone. Wish it could stay the way it was in the Norfleet days forever. I also think Little Tommy is an incredible DJ and love hearing him play.
    The problem is, David Shaw didn't buy a museum. You can't blame a guy for trying to turn a profit in a bar. If whatever he was doing wasn't working, he has two choices - change or close. Just think of all the other shag clubs throughout NC and SC that we don't have anymore.

    Steve Stacy

  11. This is to some one name tommy or what ever you call your self, it seams no one knows you. Have you ever met Dacid Shaw? I met David long befor he owned Duck's and he has all ways worked hard at what ever he has done for work or play. He has always done the best for his fellow man if thay needed his help. I have known him to give money to pepole that needed food and clothing that he did not know. He is the guy thay talk about giving you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I thought he was off his rocker when he told me he was thinking about purching a club in OD. I don't know you, but if your a tenth of a man the David Shaw is your a good man. I know your not because what you said about his behind his back and not to his face. Thay call your kind a back staber. I hope i don't get to meet you cause i am not as good a man as David, because i would kik your back stabing ass.

  12. I know David Shaw! He graciously came to Savannah and supported one of our yearly events. He was, and is, a perfect gentlemen, a good businessman, and sharp guy.
    For those who have not noticed the age of our group, Shaggers, it is at a point that our ranks are dwindling. There are few clubs that haven't lost members to death, health issues, boomerang kids, grand kids, and a host of other issues associated with aging.
    Unfortunately, the party is almost over and those of us that love the Shag have got to realize it. Within the next 10 years there will very likely be no SOS and a very skeleton ACSC (if at all).
    Sit back and enjoy the little bit that's left because it's all almost over. I have been to Duck's and Duck's Too and love the changes. History is great but our turn is over. It's now our children and grandchildrens turn, it's their world. If you don't believe that check with any lounge and see how many lounges want Shaggers. Very, very few. They want the younger generation that spends money, drinks and have very few complaints about anything. The younger folks don't expect and demand like Shaggers do. Most dance clubs have been kicked out of so many lounges that they can barely remember all of the places they've been. Unfortunately, Shaggers reputations preceed them and its' always the same "They're cheap, dont's spend any money, drink water, want everything free, complain if everything is not to their liking, critize everything and almost everyone."
    Those very few like David Shaw should be appreciated, thanked and applauded because he (and the few like him) are the last of the lounge owners that are going to accomodate and put up with a group of Shaggers. There's very few places remaining that Shaggers can go and/or are welcomed so we better enjoy the little that left while we can.
    Bob Mc Ewen
    Savannah, Georgia

  13. I Personally like Ducks, especially Ducks Too when Butch and Steve play their DNM. Change always happens, we can't live in the past. I am sure that David made changes because he felt that this is a business and he has to turn a profit. I frequent the Pavilion and love the atmosphere and the music and hope it never changes. I do regret the influx of the Swing Dancers who think it is ok to monopolize the dance floors in all the clubs, they will eventually take over SOS as we know it. Change... Change... Change, not what I want at my age but it is inevitable.
    Tommy love your music, wish you took requests.

  14. My personal shag beginnings saw the regrettable loss of Fat Jack's, Jolly Knave, and many more shag clubs along the way. What a loss and disappointment that was as a young shagger trying to learn, live, and discover the beach life in the 70's and 80's.

    Ducks stepped in and over time grew to fill that void. Now some shag joint will eventually step up and become the grail and the center of the shag dance. This club will create new history by not being afraid to play shag dance traditional obscure R&B music for shaggers.

    Many shaggers, young and old will continue to seek out the roots, soul, and traditional music of this shag lifestyle wherever it may spin.......just like we had to do years ago. It will not die because of the youth that have recently experienced the roots of shag dancing at Ducks.

    BTW.. I feel honored that Tommy actually played a request for Jesse Belvin's "Hang Your Tears Out to Dry" on one our rare night out in Raleigh attending Charles Gurley's Roast a while back. Tommy, hang on, we are reaching the twilight of child rearing years and hope to gather with the gang once again very soon.

    Listening to the Ray-O -Vacs,
    Danny Johnson
    Willow Spring,NC

  15. Absolutely no request my ass. From a card carrying, record tote'n, drink fetching, cigartette lighting, blue station wagon riding, charter memeber of the little tommy hamricK original fan club I respectfully request "Let's do the Hokey- Pokey"!

    Now THERE'S some history.
    Lynn Adams Daves

    Love your blog!