Sunday Love from Lake City

As Valentines Day has up and fallen on a Sunday, we offer “Jesus Loves Me,” a declarative love song piloted by Wallace Graham. Recorded in Florence, South Carolina, the hearts make a nice touch for this loveliest of Sunday offerings. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all.

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“Jesus Loves Me” by the Gospel Songbirds

“If there’s another rooster, he got to be a phoney!”

Quite often folks searching the Internet hit the Carolina Soul site via some variation of the term “Moe The Rooster”, and every few months, we field an email on the topic. The emails are never about the obscure Florence, South Carolina record label that put out at least two 45-rpm records in the early 1970s (listed in our South Carolina discography). Rather, they’re always about the man behind the label, the late Mr. Lonnie Crews, aka Moe The Rooster himself, a successful businessman who operated a record shop and photography studio on Dargan Street in Florence, disc jockeyed on WYNN FM, and most famously to the denizens of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, hosted a talent show every Saturday on WBTW TV 13. While no video footage from the series seems to have survived, the August 1974 issue of national R&B rag “Soul Teen And Soul” does contain a full-color write-up on the local legend’s TV and radio activities. We are sharing it here because at the moment, we have at least two requests for pictures, and we know even more of you who come across the site may too like to reminisce:

Thanks to South Carolina-based collector Rick Sutton, we are also extremely lucky to be able to share a short montage of audio from the talent shows, circa 1974, below. Enjoy.

p.s. On a future Sunday, keeping with our new ritual of uploading Carolina gospel tracks for your auditory pleasure, we will pick and upload a side from the Southern-Airs release on Moe The Rooster Records.

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Moe The Rooster, Talent Show Montage, 1974

Black Dynamite Has Arrived!

Modern Blaxploitation smash Black Dynamite has finally touched down in the Carolinas for a one-week screening at Greensboro’s Carousel Cinemas. Attn: Most of that week is behind us! The film, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the delightfully bad Black action films of the 1970s, stars alpha male Michael Jai White as a karate-kicking ex-cop who returns to the streets to fight the power, the pushers, the Man, et al. Writer and director Scott Sanders is an Elizabeth City native and a UNC graduate to boot, making this movie’s better-late-than-never Triad debut all the more significant. 

To commemorate the occasion, Artistika Nightclub is throwing a party tonight, Wednesday, February 10th. Carolina Soul selector Harley Lyles will be on hand invoking cinematic moments with his qualified arsenal of righteous rarities. Click the flyer to show detail. Both experiences come highly recommended.

Booker T. McGert

More gospel on a Sunday, this time by Booker T. McGert and The Spiritual Messengers of Gibsonville, North Carolina. Slow and beautiful stuff, it’s one of many releases on the great, Greensboro-based Ken-Yatta label that was run by the late Reverend Curtis M. Carrington.

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Booker T. McGert and The Spiritual Messengers “I’ve Got A Home In That Rock”

To Mock a Mockingbird

Due to space and time constraints, car salesman-cum-producer Jimmy Cheek received no mention in “Our Own Music City” from last week’s Go Triad. Cheek forged an array of hits on his Cheeco and House of Big Brother labels, but it is this 12” on the boogie-bearing Tamika imprint that brings our week of Funky Greensboro coverage to a fitting finale.

Charlie and Inez Foxx, Cheek’s cousins, cut Greensboro’s first national hit in 1963 with “Mockingbird,” an up-tempo take on the ubiquitous lullaby.  Almost twenty-five years later, Cheek took a young Melvin Washington into the studio to cut “Say You Love Me.” Nestled behind the balladeering B-side is “Mockingbird-Club and D.J. Mix,” and although it is attributed to Charlie and Inez, this modern instrumental bears suspicious little resemblance to the fabled original.

Reidsville native Fred Mills holds the honor of writing the title track, as well as arranging and co-producing alongside Cheek. Mills, who most famously collaborated with fusion muse and Durham native Betty Davis (former wife of jazz giant, Miles), used only the finest synthesizers Roland could build for these sessions. The results were most likely most evident at Rol-A-Rink in Melvin’s native High Point, where this accommodating EP supplied DJs with a banger for speed skating, a ballad for couples skate, and a futuristic lullaby for… Red Light, Green Light?

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“Mockingbird-Club and D.J. Mix,” from Melvin Washington’s Tell Me What to Do.

About

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.

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