Posts Tagged With: beach music

Kicking things off on WPTF

A number of radio stations figure prominently in the storyline of “Step It Up and Go,” especially WPTF-AM in Raleigh. Going all the way back to the 1930s, WPTF was one of the stations across the Southeast that aired the “Crazy Barn Dance” show with performances by that era’s old-time and emerging country acts including the Carter Family, Briarhoppers and Carolina Tar Heels. WPTF was also the last place the Monroe Brothers played together in the summer of 1938, before younger brother Bill Monroe struck out on his own and eventually invented bluegrass with Earl Scruggs. All this and more is in the book.

So I am pleased and proud to note that, fittingly, I’m going to be on WPTF myself Monday night for an interview about the book. I’ll be appearing on WPTF’s long-running “Tom Kearney Show” from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Oct. 12. Tune in 680-AM/98.5-FM in the Raleigh vicinity, or stream it online from wherever.

I will also be on Hillsborough’s community radio station WHUP, 104.7-FM, a couple of times this week to talk about the book. First up will be Monday’s “3-D News” morning show with host Bob Burtman, scheduled for the 8:20-8:40 a.m. slot. And then I’ll be on WHUP again on Tuesday (Oct. 13) afternoon around 2:30 p.m. on “The Charlie Brown Show,” chatting with Ed “Charlie Brown” Weiss. As a Beach Music Hall of Famer, he’s in Chapter 7, so I expect we’ll be talking a good bit about beach music. If you’re not anywhere close to Hillsborough, there’s an online stream.

Speaking of beach music, I’ll also be doing a virtual “History @ High Noon” talk on the subject through the North Carolina Museum of History at noon on Wednesday (Oct. 14), titled “Breaking Color Lines at the Beach.” It’s in conjunction with the museum’s new exhibit  “Beach Music: Making Waves in the Carolinas.” It’s free, of course, but there’s advance registration to get the Zoom link.

This week also brings a virtual appearance with North Carolina Poet Jaki Shelton Green, 7 p.m. ET Thursday (Oct. 15) via Durham’s Regulator Bookshop; and an interview on UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch” with host D.G. Martin at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday (Oct. 18).

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On The Beach

Depending on how you reckon it, I either spent three or 28 years writing “Step It Up And Go.” Yes, there were the last few years at the end, when I was directly working on the book. But that was preceded by a quarter-century were I was kind of writing “the first draft of history” of it all in the News & Observer, with features about the “5” Royales, Doc Watson, Nina Simone and more. That produced a body of work I could use as a roadmap in various chapters.

There were a few chapters, however, where I had to basically start from scratch and build them from the ground up — most notably Chapter 7, “Breaking Color Lines at the Beach: The Embers and Beach Music.” Being a snob (and also not too bright), I didn’t take beach music all that seriously for a lot of years. Nevertheless, when it came to the book, beach was just too important a subject to pass over.

The beach chapter actually turned out to be one of my favorites in the entire book, tracing the style’s origins as a product of its era of Jim Crow segregation in the years after World War II. And it fit very neatly alongside Chapter 5 about North Carolina’s most important 1950s-vintage r&b group, Winston-Salem’s “5” Royales, who have a few songs in the beach-music/shag-dancing canon.

If you’re interested in a demonstration showing more about what beach music is and where it came from, the North Carolina Museum of History just opened an exhibit about it that’s well worth checking out. “Beach Music: Making Waves in the Carolinas” will be on display through next September, with an impressive array of artifacts. Here’s a piece I did about the show for the city of Raleigh.

I’ll be doing an online talk about the museum’s beach-music exhibit and my book’s beach chapter at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 14 — History @ High Noon: Breaking Color Lines at the Beach.” The event is free (as is the exhibit to attend), but it does require advance registration to get the Zoom link.

Drop on by (virtually) and ask some questions.

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You’re gonna hear me on your radio

WHUPLast summer, I wrote a News & Observer profile of Charlie Brown, a legendary beach-music deejay who has been on the air for more than half-a-century in North Carolina. The real-life Ed Weiss is a fascinating character who more or less invented beach music, and I loved hearing some of his stories going back to the days of Beatlemania. He also had some terrific memories from emceeing a 1965 Rolling Stones show in Raleigh.

Well, turn-about is fair play, and Charlie is going to have me on his radio show tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 16) to talk about a few of the artists I’ve interviewed over the years. So I’ve collected an anecdote or two, including one about the person who originally inspired this blog.

“The Charlie Brown Show” airs on Hillsborough radio station WHUP-FM Tuesday afternoons from 1 to 3, and I’m scheduled for the first hour. This is weather permitting, of course, since we’re in the midst of an icy stretch here. If you’re within radio reach of Hillsborough, tune in at 104.7-FM. If not, listen online here.

Update: If you didn’t hear the show, it’s in the archive.

 

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