Carl Wade & Something Special pay tribute to the life and music of Don Grooms.
Don was a Florida folk music icon until his untimely passing in 1998.
He was born in poverty near the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina, one of five children his mother raised on little more than twelve dollars a month.
Despite this, he obtained an education, became a television journalist, spent time as an investigator during the Johnson Administration, then became a journalism professor at the University of Florida for 31 years. He was not given to talking about himself--so much of what he did is unknown
But he never forgot his roots or his people and often returned to them.
Grooms sense of humor often bordered on the outrageous but he could be deadly serious when he felt that was called for. And both of these aspects of him are reflected in his songs.
But often, when singing something funny, he would be making a serious statement. He had the journalists' simple straightforward style that said what he wanted simply and eloquently. His images were fresh and original and if he used a cliche it was on purpose and for effect.
Carl and Barbara were fortunate enough to know Don Grooms albeit not as well as they would have liked. He was not given to idle talk and had little patience with people who would waste his time. But he was always genial to them.
Carl was in great awe of him. He and Grooms would meet at festival many times and would talk at length about nothing in particular.
Carl had heard Don Grooms' music before meeting him. His song "Back Roads" was what started this project. Carl heard someone else sing it and was surprised to learn Don had written it and sought him out to ask permission to record it. Don grunted, "Yeah, go ahead." So Carl bought one of the cassettes with the song on it and was blown away by all the other great songs on it. Many of them became permanent additions to Carl & Barbara's repertiore.
After Don's passing, the project went on hold for a few years. Later, with the permission of his widow and the encouragement of his friend Tom Sheddan, Carl and Barbara revived the project.
There were other delays as the the original recording engineer went out of business and another had to be found.
Then their producer, Tom Henderson, came down with health problems during this time Bill Dudley was chosen as engineer and his contributions to the quality and texture of the recording are too numerous to list here. And Tom was there as well adding his solid rhythm guitar and his unique production ideas when he probably would have preferred being home in bed.
Tom got better. Carl and Barbara and Bill got used to working with each other and the project got finished.
The songs on this album represent a cross-section of Grooms' work. Some funny, some sad, all very human.
Some of the songs, "Walk Proud My Son" and "Back Roads" were frequently performed by Don at festivals, shows, and jams. Others like "My Song" and "Walking Away" were not.
All the songs were written by Don Grooms except "Sugar Babe" which is based on Mance Lipscomb's original with an added verse and a slightly different melody and actually sounds very little like the original.
CARL WADE AND BARBARA SHAFFER DON'T IMITATE STEVE AND EYDIE THEM BUT THEIR INTERACTION AND CHEMISTRY IS SIMILAR.
CARL AND BARBARA ARE A VOCAL-INTRUMENTAL DUO, HALF OF THE
GROUP "SOMETHING SPECIAL" THAT HAS BEEN BUILDING A FOLLOWING
THROUGH RADIO EXPOSURE AND APPEARANCES THROUGHOUT FLORIDA.
Carl Wade & Something Special is a multi-instrumental, multi-generational, semi-retro-traditional country-folk-quasi-bluegrass group whose songs cut across several musical styles
Rich vocal harmonies and tight imaginative arrangements set them apart
THEY ARE REGULARS AT FOLK AND BLUEGRASS FESTIVALS THROUGHOUT THE STATE.
THEY DO A VARIETY OF STYLES AND SONGS, MANY OF THEM HIGH-
LIGHTING THE UNEASY TRUCE IN THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES.
HUMOR PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THEIR ACT THROUGH THEIR
STAGE ANTICS AND OFF-THE-WALL NOVELTY SONGS.
THESE FUNNIES ARE BALANCED WITH LYRICAL LOVE BALLADS AND
VIBRANT FOLK AND BLUEGRASS STANDARDS. CARL AND BARBARA DON'T WRITE BUT THEIR MANY WRITER FRIENDS HAVE GIVEN THEM A WEALTH OF FRESH MATERIAL.
Much of their material comes from bluegrass. Many of their songs date back to the golden age of country music but without electric instruments or drums.
Some songs come from folk music~~ from old-time music,~~from western swing, and a few from blues.
Many are "off-the wall" humorous songs that don't fit any of these genres.
All of their material has a fresh, exciting sound--arranged from the standpoint of what makes the song work best.
They tug the heartstrings, strike a nerve and tickle the funnybone!!!