LOOKING FOR CAROLINA SOUL 
 VINYL SALES?

Chambers Bros play UNC, 1969

While visiting North Carolina rock stalwart Stewart McLamb at his songwriting compound in Black Mountain, NC, I came across a 1969 edition of The Yackety Yak that he had recently purchased at Father and Sons in Raleigh. The Tarheel tome was a beautiful, full-color annual that, through photographs, interviews, and editorials, gave great insight into academic life, race relations, and the political climate of Chapel Hill at this time. Although the Chambers Brothers concert was a marquee event for the Student Union, the photo below was simply used to illustrate nightlife on Fraternity Court. As thousands of bands from across the country frequented the Greek circuit, there is no guarantee that this was a local ensemble. No identifying characteristic accompanies the snap shot, just the word “Hasson” emblazoned across the bass drum. Any guesses?

Odyssey Five - 2nd Time Around

(Photo by Andy Tennille)

Odyssey Five’s performance last Saturday, as part of the Crossroads Concert Series at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, is the very reason one gets into the “business” of prying into the lives and related legacies of our state’s musical veterans. Only teenagers when they recorded their lone LP, First Time Around, for Brunswick Records in 1975, the ladies of Odyssey Five are far more familiar with these songs today than they were when the lyrics sheets were shoved into their hands by producer Alonzo Tucker some 35 years ago. Time has also been kind to the voices of Odyssey Five, taking on a far more mature and finessed timbre in the intervening decades. Retro-upstart Ronnie Levels and his Genius Band, having cold-called Carolina Soul with the question: “Why doesn’t someone around here organize a soul revue?” were given the mandate to become part of the solution, and rose to the occasion. We hope this is the beginning of not just beautiful things for Odyssey Five and Ronnie Levels, but other Carolina Soul combos wishing to get a little more mileage out of their catalogs. We have proven that there is both a platform and an audience for this type of affair, and hope that Saturday’s time-machine talent show is the first of many.

Dungeon Family

Preparing for Crossroads 2 at SECCA (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, if you’re nasty) has sent me scrambling across Winston-Salem, screening bric-a-brac and artifact for the exhibit that will accompany this monumental concert event. Pictured here are several players and participants from Golden-Era Winston-Salem as seen through the lens of former parks employee and nightclub owner, Rodney Sumler. These very community events, everything from voter registration drives to portable concerts aboard the Showbobile, sewed the seeds for Sumler’s legendary Dungeon Club, which showcased too many Carolina Soul luminaries to mention (one, Odyssey 5, will be performing at Crossroads 2). These collages themselves were the basis for the monthly collages found in the pages of Sumler’s enduring AC Phoenix, which has served the Triad community for over 27 years. 

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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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