Nate Smith is a New York native and Duke University graduate student, who hosts Funk Disco Dance Fridays on WXDU 88.7-FM, Fridays from 6-8 pm.
This rich, White Yank was granted the olive branch of blog space on Carolina Soul to bring some real love to Duke University for their 2011 ACC Men’s Basketball Championship. Coach K would not recruit Chuck D, but I feel like Radio Raheem right now: right hand, left hand, love and hate, Duke and Carolina… Left hand hate KO’d by love! I love you Carolina fans for being who you are and thinking what you think. But as my friend would say, Baby blue, Carolina is not populist! That’s State. Go cheer on that.
If you want to hear a band that flips preconceptions about Duke on its lid, look no further than the One Real Band. Duke’s Harlequins may be “Carolina Soul-lite,” but ORB has soul. Former Durham club operator Bro. Yusuf Salim (RIP) says ORB “offer a repertoire of great variety, guaranteed to move you no matter what your favorite style may be.” And these guys had style (@jalenrose, I am awaiting my Twitter apology). We’re talking jazz, funk, proto-rap, soul, and (regrettably) standards. A trio of brothers Kimbrough, Duke alum and harbinger of Plumlee, led the band, which crossed town-gown boundaries to fill out its seven-piece. Guest singer Fleecia Heath, in her first Google hit and only appearance on their sole 1981 LP It’s Nice To Know There’s Still ONE REAL BAND, offers the most fragile of modern soul vocals, telling her counterpart Nat Martin, “We come back once again to the place where we began—one time in hate, the next in love.” Carolina will have its turn back at the top again one day, but until then…
Since becoming obsessed with the Big Ghost Chronicles, written anonymously by a Ghostface Killah-channeling genius, it’s hard not to call the Harlequins “shampoo-blooded” or simply “mad soft, b.” None the less, the University of New Jersey at Durham deserves some manner of acknowledgement for knocking the Tarheels off in the ACC Tournament last Sunday. I would call the Harlequins a poor man’s Four Freshman, but Duke University threatened to take legal action if I associated them with poor people. What deserves mention more so than this loofah-centric vocal ensemble is the backing prowess of the Harrison Register Quintet, comprised of Jim Crawford (tenor), John Ziolkowski (trumpet), Bobby Boyd (bass), Frank Bennett (drums), and Register himself on guitar. Bennett stands for having led the accomplished Duke Ambassadors a decade or so after Creed Taylor himself played trumpet in the seminal student ensemble. “Following an introduction by the Harlequins, a latin [sic] beat is the setting for this composition by arranger Wayne Barber.” Although the Harlequins have some serious pipes, and the Quintet some serious chops, they’re more like diet Carolina Soul. Carolina Soul-lite, Nahmean?
“I’ve Never Felt This Way Before” by the Harlequins
Saturday, March 5th, one college-basketball powerhouse will emerge ACC conference leader, and one will take an L in the anything-BUT-civil war that is Carolina v. Duke. As the moment of truth approaches, we need all the spirited wind that our Carolina-blue sails can withstand. Although fight songs like “Tarheel Stomper” pre-empted historic gameplay, others celebrate the certified triumphs of some of our most successful squads. Case in point: “Number One” by Hoke Simpson is a faux Calypso ode to the 1957 Championship Tarheels, a cluster of talented New Yorkers (still “works” for Duke) who eventually eked out a victory over Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas squad in triple overtime. Colonial Records was home to Andy Griffith’s breakthrough concept monologue, “They Called It Football.” I like the part where he says “Big Ah-range Drank.” Colonial Records was owned by former Daily Tarheel Editor Orville Campbell, who can be seen here with his most successful act.
“Number One” by Hoke Simpson with Ken & Ralph, Roy & Jerry
Greensboro rapper Brandon D is basically the man. Here he is seen ringing up my purchase of Nixon’s Songs About Him at his independent music kiosk inside Hanes Mall, Winston-Salem. Similar transactions have transpired regularly between Brandon and I, from the trunk to the flea market, for several years now. Brandon Davis is second generation rap family here in the Carolinas. His uncle, “Fly” Eli Davis, was instrumental in bringing the Payroll Records roster to prominence in late-‘80s Greensboro, and presently manages Charlotte R&B phenom Anthony Hamilton. Although Brandon received major-label attention from a tailspinning Elektra, the independent rap game has afforded Brandon complete control of his craft, immortalized most recently in his top-grossing Carolina Legend mixtape and the autobiographical Purple Rain-style dramamentary, Trap Boomin’. My first exposure to Brandon was via 2005’s Carolinacentric classic, “Da Kak Joint,” which uses Billy Joel’s “Moving Out” to great effect. Yes, that Range Rover has a Brandon D graphic wrap, and yes the name of that store is Hood Locker. This is Greensboro. Get used to it.
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011
by kirby at 07:25 PM.
Rap Music •
I’ve just completed my 9th Annual Carolina Soul “Thursday Night Feature” on WXYC 89.3 FM in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The program is available for download below, in three parts, and the playlist, annotated with links for further reading, follows.
Infinitie “Guess I’ll Get High (By Myself Again)” (Condaglo)
Something Special “Lose Myself in Your Love” (Condaglo)
Faze “Heart Wide Open” (Sound Star)
Saints “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (Sound Hut)
Saints “Love Can Be” (WigWam)
Saints “Tell It To Your Love” (Sound Hut)
Cornelius Crawford “Come on Back” (Entertainment Enterprises)
Cal Brandon “I Kept on Smilin” (Hit Man) R.I.P. Cal “Skeeter” Brandon (1948-2008).
Free Spirit “No Finance - No Romance” (Greene’s) R.I.P. Cal “Skeeter” Brandon (1948-2008).
Satin Finish “Took a Chance on Love” (Green Back)
Renee “You Treat Me Bad” (McGregory)
Fewell Family “Heaven Was Made for Me” (Power)
Ulysses & Crystal “Tonight My Love” (Sail Away)
Mel-O-Madnezz “Beautiful Day” (M.O.M.)
Bobby Cutchins “I Did It Again” (Lasso)
Root Doctor & the Voodoo Men “Witchcraft Is My Thang” (Mister D)
Gilbert Barnes “It’s Our Thing Darling” (Kix International)
Chuck Wells “Railroad Blues” (ELL) Recent video of this artist.
Travis Ricks and the Pearls “Lost Pride” (Pride)
Evening Light Gospel Singers “Have Faith” (Goldleaf)
The Gospel Echoes “God Won’t Change” (Echoes)
The West Family Singers “God Can Do Anything But Fail” (no label)
The Columbians “Stormy Monday” (Klub)
J. Wesly Smith with the Rubies Orchestra “Mama Laid The Law Down” (Merri)
Joey Graham & the Rubies Orch. “So What” (JCP)
Rick St. John “It ‘Sho’ Is Funky Down Here” (Nu-Beat)
Rick St. John “One Heart Hurting” (Independent)
The Fabulous Bowties “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” (Top Hat)
Jackie Cheeks “Can I Get to Know You” (Nebo)
Jackie Cheeks “Love Got a Hold on Me” (Pixxmattt)
Robert Lea & the Pack “I’m Gonna Get You” (Budweiser Showdown)
LMC Band & Show “Chopping Wood” (Mega Sound Studios)
Realistic Funk Band “Shock The House” (Mega Sound Studios)
Van Scott “Delicious” (VAAL)
Pilgrim Stars “Lord I Thank You” (Alpha)
Western Un-Yun “Do What You Like” (Choice Cut)
Lustre “Better Days” (‘Bout Time)
Bobby J. “Can I Come Over Tonight” (Prime Time) The artist’s Myspace page.
Kirby Hamilton “A Different Place” (Accent)
United Sounds “And When It’s Over” (United)
The Carolina Soul website serves as a living encyclopedia of soul music made in North and South Carolina. We strive to share Carolinian songs and stories of the last half century, and we invite the input of musicians and fans. We hope you will contact us if you have information on bands or recordings from the region.