“C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-AAAA” …the part of Billy Scott and the Georgia Prophet’s song California where during the refrain they sound out each letter of the word…you remember, no? Well, actually, unless you were a fratty kid thirty years ago, perhaps you don’t.
The Georgia Prophets had two really fun hits that they are most remembered for…California and I’ve Got the Fever. Neither song, as great as they were to sing along to at the top of your lungs in a beer soaked KA house at 2am, were really great songs to dance to. Shag that is. Fever was too fast and California slightly too slow for the more elegant, nuanced hand dancing that characterizes the Carolina Shag. As I’ve posited before, our version of the Fratty-Trad mating dance is all about footwork and movement from the waist down while your upper body is fairly calm. Further, the Carolina version is about doing that footwork in a tight little confined bit of dance floor real estate. You move around, ultimately, all over the dance floor. But the footwork that if you’re good at it, has others stepping back to watch you dance, occurs in a space about the size of a shoe box.
Oh, and they had another great song that you’d want on your jukebox at the fratty—Nobody Loves Me Like You Do. Hard to shag to too, though. So I’ve just settled on the fact that the Georgia Prophets songs were good as background music while you were standing there, waxed cardboard complimentary cup of bad draft beer in hand, sh_t talking some sorority trixie on the off-chance that the next song would be one that you could shag to. Or go upstairs and look at etchings. Shut up.
Fever and California were good songs to dance to if you did that Virginia...UVA—Sweet Briar—Hollins sling your date around epileptically…all arms and no nuanced footwork technique. But hell, anyone could learn to do that shit in fifteen minutes. I loved the Sweet Briar—Hollins gals that I met at the Chinese Disco during one sweltering hot Washington summer of my youth. And when one of the Georgia Prophets songs cranked up, I’d dance with ‘em to those songs, but only my style of dancing. I saved the arm slinging, contortionated, epileptical activities till we returned to my place—the ever so elegant Presidential Gardens Apartments where all of the other 24/7 hungover interns lived.
So BillyScott at 70, had some severe stomach pains back during the first week of October. Pancreatic cancer gets you fast. Real fast. And the older I get, the younger 70 seems. Thank you Billy Scott, for all of my 2am sing-alongs with you. Thanks Billy, for taking me back this morning, to some of the greatest memories of the greatest seven years of my life—my undergrad fratty epoch. My love and prayers go to your family and all in your sphere who, like me, will miss you.
I've Got the Fever