Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Billy Scott—R.I.P

“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.

Onward.  C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-AAAA

ADG    T-W-O

I've Got the Fever


Golf Tango Hotel said...

Wow....I had almost forgotten about the Georgia Prophets. And the Day Lilly (Chinese Disco) brings back great memories of some fun nights and some not so great mornings hanging on to the porcelain Honda. The VA version of the shag, while admittedly not as sophisticated and elegant as that of you Carolina boys, was simply easier, particularly after consuming large quantities of Natty Bos. If I'd a tried your way, I would have just tripped all over myself and ended up sprawled out on the floor.....oh, that happened anyway. But seriously those were great times....I had the opportunity to be back in Lexington (VA not SC) a few weeks back and was ready to move back and recapture my youth. Thanks for the post and RIP Billy Scott.

Mink80 said...


With no snarkiness intended....Sweet Briar is two words....I feel this Mink must come to the defense of all those cool chicks I "slung" around the dance floor at either the SBC Boathouse (SGTC...are you out there?) and in the party room at 301 East Washington in Lex Vegas. While I loved the Virginia style of shagging...I must admit at 54 I now default to Carolina....easier for old dogs to pull off....and no losses to the scotch & soda in the offside hand....


Mink80 said...

Oh, and apologies for not wishing you all the best for Thanksgiving personal thanks go to you for all of the hard work that goes into this blog and how it brightens my day. Hope you and LFG have a great one....

ADG said...

Mink80...thanks man, and no harm re the proper spelling of Sweet Briar. I'll go back and change it in a moment. And thanks for the thanks. My blogging time is nil these days but I still love doing it. LFG and I are staying close over Thanksgiving. We are taking her mother to dinner tomorrow evening.

GolfTango...I ended up on the floor probably as many times as you did--Carolina nuance or not!

Nick M said...

Englishman here.

I literally almost lost my coca-cola through my nose the first time I was asked if I liked "shagging" while visiting UNC CH for work in early 1982.

I quickly learned the error of my assumptions, and went onto discover that Shagging Music is a close cousin to the Northern Soul that I loved back in my teenage home in northern England.

This group was great, thanks for the links.

Anonymous said...

We had both kinds at Tennessee. The fast style was known as "Velocity Shaggin" by us devotees of the more refined version. Ever see two girls get slung together from opposite directions into the same spot on the floor? Crunch.

Never could perfect that smooth doubletime heel-toe thang like those SOS geezers, though.

Come and see us.


ADG said...

Scottie...would love to see y'all. Don't know when I'll get up that direction. And YES, I've seen two girls slung together from opposite directions. It was at the O'Farrell Theater in San Francisco in 1987.

Nick M. ... I like YOUR country's version of shaggin' even better than hours. And I've just learned about the level of devotion that a small group of British devotees still have for their own dance rituals and mores centric to Northern Soul. I love that you Brits looked back over at us savages to extract a unique genre of enjoyment vis a vis Northern Soul/Motown/"Beach Music"...because we damn sure enjoy(ed) the British Invasion. Marmite, anyone?

Barima said...

Happy Thanksgiving, dear fellow


Anonymous said...

"We are taking her mother to dinner tomorrow evening."

Here's to the three of you, coming together again to put one more coin in everybody's good memories vault. Cheers, Max.


Anonymous said...

Barima !!! Where are you? Aren't you blogging anymore? What happened to your podcast?

Anonymous said...

This post brought back a lot of memories thanks! My husband went to W&L ( from cola) and I went to MBC. I prefer the Carolina shag which is why I married him! Maxi, I am the Houck's friend, remember we discussed Stokes avoiding the bath! I love your stories!!

Anonymous said...

The only thing more fun than reading and writing about shagging... However, Billy Scott reminded me of Billy Stewart. I', betting there is a whole blog post about SUMMERTIME on that shelf where you keep the unwritten ones.

Scale Worm said...

I've never heard of this group nor this gentleman. Thank you for enlightening me, and for the music. I am sorry for your loss.

Barima said...

Dear Anon 2:03pm,

I'm still in London, I hope to properly blog again before New Year's Eve (2017) and Danielle returned to Canada, taking the video show with her. She is missed

I appreciate the questions and hope that clears everything up

All best,