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Music Therapy

Posted by banjoy on Saturday, July 13, 2013

like this

Music Therapy
the best medicine I know of

A little back story first...

I've been holed up at home for months and have not picked or jammed much at all. Kind of bummed out by a few things but well, so it goes. So I just needed to get out of the house. A friend called yesterday to invite me to come hear them play at a gig about an hour from here. About 10 minutes before I was going to leave the house he called that his gig had been canceled because of the weather but grab my banjo come on up. We all met at Barley's Taproom to eat but he ended up getting a little ill during the meal and had to beg out of jamming. No problem I sure understand that stuff.

On the way up I passed directly by a Friday jam session in Chesnee, SC, HomeSpun Music, that I had been to many times before but it's been at least a year or longer since I've been there. So on the way home I just stopped there to pick, it was about 9pm. As with any jam that's open like that ya never know what ya gonna get. Well, last night I would have to say was exceptionally good. I got home at 3am after jamming for 5 hours.

These old codgers were pulling out these tunes that were really cool, all these jazz infused things that ya just don't jam to that much. I love this stuff and can't get enough. At 2 in the morning things were winding down and this old gentleman shook my hand and thanks me for jamming with him and he thoroughly enjoyed it. On his way out the door, KT, the organizer of that jam, asked, "Do you know who that is?" No. Although I'd seen this fellow before and I'm pretty sure I picked with him once or twice before at HomeSpun, but never like that. He was normally kind of reserved and just laid back. Well last night he really was having a blast before I had never seen him pull the things he was. That old codger picks the tar out of the guitar!! Jazzy, swingy stuff but we covered it all, even some Patsy Kline stuff :)

The name won't mean much to a lot of folks, but it was Harold Childress, who had been in the band called The Sparkletones ... a hit teenage band in the late 1950s that was signed to ABC-Paramount label. They were introduced first on The Nat King Cole Show with their hit song Rocket

Another well-known hit was Black Slacks, here is a track with an uncredited Paul Anka singing backup vocals

The Sparkletones also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, but I can't seem to find that on YouTube (yet) ... but there's a lot Sparkletones stuff on YouTube

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The leader of The Sparklestones is Joe Bennett who has been a jazz teacher in the Spartanburg area for decades. Spartanburg has produced a lot of jazz pickers including Col. Gene Wyatt and Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland amog them. All These cats hung out together.

I jammed with Joe a few years back when I moved back to Spartanburg and he and I performed at the same gig at The Hub-Bub Showroom here. He and I jammed backstage for a bit and it was pretty cool.

In the last few years Joe's heath has taken a turn for the worse, he is dealing with Parkinson's disease among other things. He was recently honored by Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart, who is friends with Joe, and here's a touching article about that:

Spartanburg guitar hero Joe Bennett reunites with Mickey Hart of Grateful Dead fame

Quoted from that article:

“Mickey Hart is my best and dearest friend,” Bennett said in an e-mail. “We’ve been friends for about 46 years. It was an honor to be a guest on the Mickey Hart show in the beautiful Halton Theater and perform ‘Black Slacks’ with the great Mickey Hart and his phenomenal band.

“It was true music therapy for me. I could feel the healing power of music throughout my soul.”

I could not agree more.

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Talk about a blast from the past. I really needed a dose of this, it's the best medicine I know of.

In addition, there were a few other musicians there making the whole things worthwhile. Turns out the excellent mandolin picker there and I were also exchanging cool and weird tunes and asked about each other and it turns out we live only 5 miles away from each other. The jam we were at is 20+ miles from my house! I see some potential homespun picking of my own in the future...

I know where' I'm going to be jamming next Friday.

5 comments on “Music Therapy”

dbrooks Says:
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @1:15:27 PM

Great story, Frank. It sounds like you are certainly re-energized now. Enjoy the upcoming lams.

a g cole Says:
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 @1:53:27 PM

I enjoyed reading your story, Banjoy. I usually go through Chesnee on my way to the Boone, NC area to visit friends and family. I hope to stop in on that jam sometime, perhaps try to pick a little, myself. Maybe I'll see you there sometime.

From Greylock to Bean Blossom Says:
Sunday, July 28, 2013 @6:14:10 PM

I hadn't heard from you in a long time and thought it was because I was too busy. What a great story. That rock'n'roll was real! Sounds like it is giving you a much needed re-boot. I know you'll be a real cool cat and have a good rest of the year.

Sultans of Claw Says:
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 @3:38:24 PM

Very cool!

SRyanRussell Says:
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 @9:00:18 PM

Well said

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