What a success! It started on Tuesday as musicians from across the country streamed in for the greatest music event of our generation. One at a time they came back to Albany for a reunion of some of the best musicians to have been from Albany during the 1960s and 1970.
Roger Gutierrez from the Swinging Medallions; Jimbo Thornton of Kudzoo and Ratz in the Attic; and Jimmy Tipton, guitarist with Tanya Tucker, The Righteous Brothers and Don Williams among others. The original Cotton and their earlier group the Seros with Eddie Middleton, Bobby Joiner, Stan Glass. Mark Yarbrough, Roy Stephens and Jeffery Cheshire and the original Strange Bedfellows were all there, as well.
The big reunion was on Saturday night but many met on Friday night for an impromptu jam session which lasted until closing. Bassist Mike King, Jimbo Thornton, Danny Fallin, Dave Walters made the amps boil over with some Southern-fried blues, old gold soul and just plain rock-n-roll. The Saturday-night reunion-fest was kicked off with a heart-warming prayer by Bro. Stan Glass. Jaxon Riley then took over the duties of emcee for the evening doing a fine job of introduction and history for each group.
The Big Ernie Soul four-piece trio blasted off the night with the old Continental Room renditions of “In the Midnight Hour” followed by “Whiter Shade of Pale”, and “Mustang Sally”. Ernie, Danny Fallin, Johnny McNair and Jimmy Tipton all played as if they were again standing there on the stage of the old C-room in the late 60s.
The Carpet Baggers brought back memories as Dave Walters pounded on the skins and Danny Fallin sang as always in their wonderful delivery of tunes they played as one of the best groups of the era.
Then, against all odds and to the delight of a huge crowd, Cotton took to the stage with all the original band members — Stan Glass, Roy Stephens, Mark Yarbrough and Jeffery Cheshire. Cotton was formed when an even earlier group, the Seros, disbanded, so, consequently, an even bigger thrill came when Bobby Joiner and Eddie Middleton went on stage with Cotton forming once again, as the Seros. Bobby and Eddie crooned out “You’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin” and several other Righteous Brothers-styled duets. After the Seros awed the crowd, Eddie Middleton drew all eyes and ears as he remembered many of the departed musicians who entertained Albany for many years with a memorial and a beautiful prayer. Thanks Eddie.
In the mid-60s, there was a well-loved group called Jay and the Knights. They migrated to the Savannah area, where they became the famous group “The Strange Bedfellows.” Gene Willis, Jay Willis, Jimmy Tabb, Woody Woodall and Jimmy Thornton (Jimbo), the original five members of the group, took the stage again after 40 years and blew everyone away with tunes like “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Stormy Monday”. The drummer, Woody Woodall, left the group during the 60s and was replaced with celebrity drummer Randy Brimberry of Brian Highland and the Jokers fame. As before, the group asked Randy to play a few songs to the delight of the whole room.
Not to be outdone, the original Echoes of the Billy and the Echoes fame — Jay Jacobs, Mike King, John Boyer and Mark Davis — delivered some smooth Southern rock, a little bit of country, and a little bit of rock-n-roll.
After they brought down the house, a jam session was started, where many of the musicians from south Georgia — including Danny Washburn and Mac Mercer — continued to belt out many favorites until the early hours of the morning.
What a night!
Written by John McNair.