As with most Tarheel records from the 1980s, this is largely unlistenable. The term “novelty” only begins to contextualize the piano boogers, cowbell abuse, Huey Lewis sax-foolery, and wet-noodle vocal posturing that mar this attractive picture disc. What is actually pretty cool is the Switched-On rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever.” That I can live with. Although College Town records maintained a post-office box in Durham (strike one), the Stillman-Davis Band also produced a picture disc for the Fighting Illii, leading one to believe that the the hyphenated duo didn’t have Tarheel-specific Fever after all. Regardless, they’d clearly come down with something. I guess that’s what you get for messing around in Durham.
‘Stars and Stripes Forever” by the Stillman-Davis Band
Not to give anyone the impression that Carolina Soul has been bought out by ESPN, or, heaven forbid, Fox Sports South, but March Madness offers welcomed respite from all the other manners of madness that plague us April-February. I keep trying to tell my fellow Winston-Salemites/Tarheel brethren Stuart Scott and Hubert Davis—People don’t want all this sports gossip, off-court drama, and contract politics. They want iPhone photos and locker room improvisations. Props to Alan Lomax, the Mike Jordan of Field Recording. Props to the 2011 Carolina Tarheels Heels—Go wherever the winds of basketball greatness may take you.
Assorted Sounds by the UNC Men’s Basketball Team and Pep Band
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
The Fabulous Fryers were a tragic assemblage of singers whose spirit machine inspired both staggering loss and epic victory for a pair of sports institutions in the early ’80s. Debuting in their home state of Iowa, “Hawkeye Hut-Hut” and “Bringing Home the Roses” harkened a scoreless performance for the University at the 1981 Rose Bowl. Feeling unfulfilled, the Fryers attempted to sprinkle their Anglican juju on another promising franchise whose season was reaching a climactic end. The Fryers stripped the vocals from their nauseating suite, adapting both songs to reference the 1982 Tarheels on route to the NCAA championship title. The ensuing victory over Georgetown would be the result, somewhat poetically, of Michael Jordan’s last-minute shot and James Worthy’s last-second steal, securing a hard-fought title for coach Dean Smith, and a resounding victory for the state of North Carolina.
After tonight’s somewhat discouraging loss to Duke, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude. The disco peril of “Tarheel Stomper” is a reminder that greatness often exhibits misleading symptoms, and that even a song this bad can preempt historical success. Perhaps the Fryers could cook us up some embarrassing manner of rap rock to get the championship blood flowing once again?
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.