Venerable Durham, North Carolina cultural arts festival Bimbé enters its 41st year, tomorrow, Saturday, May 22, at the CCB Plaza downtown.
1976 looks to have been a good year, with three Carolina Soul outfits on the bill, Blue Steam and Duracha, both of Durham, and the allegedly never-recorded Black Genesis of Raleigh. (Newspaper advertisement comes from The Carolina Times.)
If you spent any sizable amount of time consuming popular music in the Triad 1993-present, you are most likely familiar with Manard “Busta” Brown. Most ‘80s babies, like myself, had the privilege of growing up with Busta at 102.1-FM WJMH (“where hip-hop lives”), and growing old with Busta at older-sister station 97.1-FM WQMG. Although the circumstances surrounding Brown’s cordial dismissal from Entercom Entertainment Corporation is a nauseating narrative of corporate radio politricks and money over manners, this week’s story for Go Triad is an uplifting one, chronicling Brown’s arrival at community radio resource 90.1-FM WNAA where he continues to host the “Afternoon Thang” Monday through Thursday, 3pm-5pm. “WNAA is 24/7—a station for the people,” said Brown in a recent interview. “You have other programming here that is very informative, and the music is good too, so this was the best fit for me, as far as being connected with the Triad.”
Although Brown’s photo album is an exhaustive directory of Black entertainers—past and present—here are a few of our favorites.
Busta Brown and LL Cool J
Busta Brown and Jerry Rice
Busta Brown and the Kings of Comedy
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010
by kirby at 12:08 PM.
James Funches, who we profiled in Sophisticated Fight Song, has played in a number of memorable ensembles over the last three decades, teaching music within the Forsyth County School System for the better part of that time. Reggie Buie, a native of Chicago, grew up next door to drummer Isaac “Red” Holt, one of Ramsey Lewis’ preferred timekeepers, who would one day comprise one half of the soul-jazz franchise, Young-Holt Unlimited. The two were making decent money backing Carolina vocalist Janice Price, when a performance opportunity arose at Wayne’s Lounge, located in the long-demolished Ramada Inn on N. Marshall Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Buie loaded drum patterns and bass lines onto floppy disks, and the duo played smoothed-out standards and R&B numbers for a consistent crowd. “I wasn’t crazy about it until I saw the first check,” reflected Funches of the sessions. “We got paid like there was six of us!”
Recorded on April 29th, 1993, new jack swing’s newly minted song book was put to good use, with Today’s “Why You Gettin’ Funky on Me” (from the House Party Soundtrack), Johnny Gill’s “Fair-Weather Friend,” and perhaps the genre’s most infamous offering, “Poison,” by Bell Biv Devoe.
Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” as performed by Funches & Buie
When Crawford Cornelius Jr. passed away in April of 2008, he was remembered for not only his music, but for his industrious tenure as a schoolteacher in the Columbia, South Carolina area. Befittingly, this song is appropriate for churchgoers and kindergarteners alike, blurring the line between church ballad and lullaby.
“Have Faith” by Entertainment Unlimited, featuring Cornelius, Crawford
Wax Poetics is a fantastic publication, for whom I have been granted the liberty of telling many a Carolina tale over the years. The latest, from Issue 40, sheds some light on the roots of Winston-Salem’s permanently burgeoning rap scene. Due to lack of infrastructure and negligent radio, rappers from Winston never seem to gain true traction, and no one’s willing to back me on the brilliance of PWISD’s “Scared of the Tre Fo” (Keep your heads up, fellas). The magazine is available at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and a grip of independent bookstores, most of which can be located here. You’ve got ‘til the end of month.
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.