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Oldies Music Glossary: "Beach / Shag"

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The best of the shag/beach compilations

The best of the shag/beach compilations

source: ripete.com
Definition: A brand of easygoing soul music with (usually) a laid-back groove, "beach music" or "shag" has nothing to do with surf or surf-like instrumental bands; it's a style of soul (and, sometimes, fifties R&B) that caught on with teens on the Carolina coast in the early Sixties, kids who adopted a sort of West Coast Swing-style dance to the beach parties and beachside clubs they found themselves in. Beach music is usually a slow groove that's easy to partner-dance to, and tends to be poppier and happier than the usual gutbucket soul of the South. It has origins in New Orleans Soul from the early Sixties, early doo-wop, and can also incorporate some garage-rock sounds -- "Double Shot Of My Baby's Love" by the Swinging Medallions is a favorite, as is Billy Ward and his Dominoes' "Sixty Minute Man."

However, beach music is usually defined as brassy, easygoing pop-soul with a very sweet leading edge: the group Chairmen of the Board, famous for their genre-defining 1970 single "Give Me Just A Little More Time," are considered the kings of this style, with the Tams -- famous for 1963's "What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)" -- coming in a close second. Together, the two singles could be seen as a bookmark to the beginning and end of the "beach music" sound's development, yet many of these bands, and also a raft of newer ones, play this music today. Indeed, head Chairmen General Johnson -- sort of the Godfather of Shag -- formed his own label to sell directly to beach music aficionados, and labels like Ripete also specialize in this narrow, but quite intense, fanbase. You can see shag and beach music events along the Carolinas even today. For more information, check out my Beach and Shag Music FAQ.

Also Known As: Carolina Shag, Pop-Soul, Southern Soul
Examples:
  1. "Give Me Just A Little More Time," Chairmen of the Board
  2. "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy," The Tams
  3. "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am," Bill Deal and the Rhondells
  4. "Gimme Little Sign," Brenton Wood
  5. "Teasin' You," Willie Tee
  6. "Girl Watcher," The O'Kaysions
  7. "With This Ring," The Platters
  8. "I Got Loaded," Lil' Bob and the Lollipops
  9. "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," Major Lance
  10. "Get On Up," The Esquires
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  6. Beach/Shag Music -- Glossary of music terms -- Oldies Music Songs and Artists

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