Carolina History Project
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Dirk's Beach Music 78rpm and 45rpm phonograph record collection.

Here's an old 1940's-era linen paper postcard depicting the scenic vistas of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as shown in the art deco block letters...most of the landmarks which no longer exist.  It states that Myrtle Beach is 670 miles south of New York," and "735 miles north of Miami.  It was printed by the long defunct Mack's 5 & 10 Cent store, originally based in Sanford, North Carolina.  It was a curbside trash find from a local house cleaning.  Glad that I found it in time before it was carted off.

Beach music is a Carolina regional "catch-all" term for music, mostly rhythum and blues (or R & B), that was featured by bands and vocal groups that performed along Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's "Grand Strand."  The Mecca being, of course, music played along Myrtle Beach's Ocean Drive, particularly at the old Myrtle Beach Pavilion.  Yes, the music is primarily R & B in style, but can include Motown, the smoothe slow pop songs of Sarah Vaughn, the doo-wop music of the 1950's and 1960's and even Johnny Mathis' disco version of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine!"  The music spans from the early "jump bands" of the late 1940's, like Lucky Millender and Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five, and can go, like I said, to some of the disco tunes from the late 1970's.  It is primarily energetic dance music in which couples "shag," a kind of hybrid version of the jitterbug and the Lindy hop of the 1930's and 1940's.  "The shag" is now the state dance of South Carolina.  Of course, in other countries, the shag has a completely different meaning, which has nothing to do with dancing.  But that is beyond the scope of this webpage.

1950's Atlantic records R&B vocal recording artists:  The Clovers 

Beach music is still quite popular here in the Carolinas.  There are not a few radio stations still devoted to this particular musical format.  Shagging clubs will sometimes get together for a dance at the local American Legion hall, while a DJ spins the old records.  Modern bands such as The Fantastic Shakers or The Band of Oz of Raleigh, North Carolina still play live concerts.  Some of the old time vocal groups, such as The Tams, still perform live at small towns throughout the area.  Harry Deal and the Galaxies, who started his band out in Taylorsville, North Carolina in 1959, has been publically performing for just over fifty years!  Harry Deal also runs Davo's Chicken in Taylorsville.  It has a built-in auditorium...just so that his band, at times, can perform and have happy "family-style" parties...while you eat!  (That's just so good and Southern!) 

Here's a photo of yours truly, Dirk Allman, sitting on the boardwalk of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, circa the spring of 1998-1999.  I was wearing my old 1950's Texaco-style gas station cap, which I still have, and I'm just taking it easy, looking out towards the Atlantic Ocean.  I had driven my elderly mother to Myrtle Beach for a small "few-days" vacation...and she took the photo.

What I want to include here are some of the photos of some of of the old recordings that I have found at various and sundry places over the years, from thrift stores and yard sales...and even a few that I got in the 1980's from Chris Beachley's old Wax Museum record store that used to be on Elizabeth Avenue here in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (He's still in business, still DJ's beach music and is famous for publishing a beach music journal titled It Will Stand.  His business is now on Monroe Road in Charlotte....and he sells and ships old beach music and doo-woop recordings all over the world!)

Here's a 45rpm Atlantic record from the 1950's, with original record sleeve touting the Rhythum and Blues artists of the day:  Joe Turner, Ruth Brown,
La Vern Baker, Ray CharlesThe Clovers and Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters.  (Clyde McPhatter was born on November 15th, 1932 in Durham, North Carolina.)  The record contained herein by the Drifters, is the beach music classic "Save The Last Dance For Me" with Ben E. King on the lead vocal.  It was a big hit in it's day...and can still be heard on the radio today.

A circa 1957 "Sputnik-era" satellite pinback button that belonged to my late father.  Such feats, as the possibilty of space travel coming soon, was reflected in the upbeat tempos of post-war American music...and beach music was no exception.

Here on a 78rpm Jubilee record, is the Four Tunes, the vocal group who also backed up Savannah Churchhill on occasion, with thier "jump tune" rendition of Irving Berlin's "Marie, which was a big hit, making #2 on the R&B charts in the early 1950's."  It was originally penned by Irving Berlin in 1927 and became a big band hit for Tommy Dorsey in the late 1930's.  In the 1950's,
R & B would update a lot of old standards from the Tin Pan Alley era.  The flipside is "I Gambled With Love."

Speaking of Savannah Churchill, here is one of her 78rpm Manor recordings from the late 1940's with the title "Sincerely Yours," with vocal back-up from The Five Kings.  The flipside is "I'm Too Shy."


This is a 1952 Atlantic 78rpm recording of the R & B and seminal rock 'n' roll classic of "Shake, Rattle And Roll" by Joe Turner and his Blues Kings.  It was later covered by Bill Haley in his Comets.

Another 78rpm Deluxe "Rhythum and Blues Series" recording of "Hearts of Stone" as done by the Charms.  The song was also covered by country artist Eddy Arnold.  The flipside is "Who Knows."

Here's some West Coast R&B with Shirley & Lee performing "Rockin' With The Clock" on a 78rpm Aladdin recording.  Shirley Goodman was born in 1936 in New Orleans, Louisana and passed away in Los Angeles in 2005.  After singing in church choirs, she made a demo and signed with Eddie Messner, owner of Aladdin Records.  She was paired with Leonard Lee (1936-1976) and became known as "Shirley and Lee."  Together, in 1956 they recorded "Let The Good Times Roll," topping #1 on the R&B charts that year, and making #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  In the 1960's Goodman moved to California and worked as a back up singer for Sonny and Cher, among others.  She got involved in the pre-disco boom in 1974 by recording "Shame, Shame, Shame."  After a few recording tours, she retired from the music industry, returning to New Orleans in the late 1970's.   

This is the Specialty label that recorded R&B records back in the 1950's.  Little Richard made his biggest hits on this label.  The flipside of this 78rpm record is Larry Williams only hit, "Short Fat Fannie."  The flipside pictured here is "High School Dance."  I thought it was just special to see the teenage autographs that a bunch of friends wrote on this record label sometime back in the mid to late 1950's.  They probably got together for a "platter party," and this was their way of commemorating the comarraderie they had back then.  Wonder what became of these folks?

Just a note here.  Many of the ephemeral artifacts found on this website are now, due to age, in the public domain and are from my personal private collection.  Items and quotes of a more recent vintage, that are used here in part for newsworthy commentary and/or educational purposes, are covered by the Fair Use Act of the US Copyright Office.    

OK, courtesy of youtube, here is an excellent video montage of "mom and pop" businesses that were once found along Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, ranging from the turn-of-the-20th century...all the way up the latter part of that century.  And boy is it full of nostalgia!  The music, that is played along with this slide show, is what we, in this region, call "Beach Music."  This video...and the music....will give my readers, especially those that look this site up on an international bases, some idea of what "Beach Music" is all about!  Special thanks to the patrons who put this video together! 

Also, the person who put up this video gives us a synopsis of what this item is all about:  Sit back and enjoy!  A postcard image slideshow of Mom and Pop motel history along the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand. It's a little long but great Beach Music while you watch.  A lot of shaggers have posted on this video; please share a story about NMB--North Myrtle Beach--(the Pad) or MB--Myrtle Beach--(Pavilion) shagging (dancing) history if you have any.
Mr Johnny Barker had this to say about the song and video.

"We recorded the "Beach Music Medley" in the early 80s with the Embers. My family stayed in Cherry Grove in the early 60s. Jackie Gore, Gerald Davis and I, all on this medley, performed today with the NC (North Carolina) Symphony in Raleigh, with the Legends of Beach, in an incredible show saluting NC (North Carolina) music, including beach music. We've got to start doing this medley? again. Thanks to whoever put this together. You and Frank H have my gratitude. Johnny Barker "

Thanks Johnny

Quit Wish'in Go Fish'in

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