Fatback Band Letter

Linda Fay Blakely of Wildsugar
May 11, 2010

In the Good 'Ole Summertime

In the good Ole Summertime… music in the air, festivals jumping all over the world…its “girl watching” time. Let’s bring on the girls. I Like the Girls! I hope before the summer is gone I’ll be able tell you we’re performing someplace. As of now, on the beach, fishing, recovering from a minor toe surgery and lots of eye candy.

Fatback from the 70’s/80’s through the 90’s to now, music is everywhere. The availability of music is overwhelming; this is what I was talking about few newsletters back, the dumbing down of music. It’s a good thing that musicians can get their music out to be heard. Whereas the major label may have passed them up, with the internet, it’s possible to be on even ground with the major. Digital services popping up that allow you to seek and release new music, music providers that have no limits to the amount of music you can listen to... but are we getting the quality music? Are we dumbing down our eardrums, are we getting desensitized with so much music availability? Are we listening through worn-out ears tainted from so many sounds?

It looks to me that we are getting too much of a good thing. The whole internet is in chaos. Is that a positive thing? I don’t know whether or not too much music means not enough quality. I just hope the new technology don’t create a world where music appears to have no value at all. All this technology is a good thing and I love it! We have so many tools to work with now and so many ways to find new music, but the road to stardom hasn’t changed. Years of hard work affecting your craft, experimentation, building a solid foundation, believing in whom you are and being dedicated is the long road to stardom. Just ask the ones who made it there.

Janice Christie of Wildsugar
In the forty years of performing, we shared the stage. 15 of those years were with a group of young ladies who started out with us as dancers, to background singers, to stars and that was just what they were: stars. “Wildsugar” became stars in their own right. How did all this come about? Well, about the time our fourth album came out on Events Records. The band was beginning to get a little national play on the radio and it was also around the time when go-go dancing was popular. The band consisted of seven men (musicians, just standing and playing). Remember we were a band that played… not played and sang sitting behind band.

As the drummer, all I could see was a dead stage, no action, no movement. Looking at seven guys' backs was no fun. The ideal hit me to add go-go dancers to the group. I talked it over with my partner Gerry Thomas, who was my right hand man, in Maryland. If you wanted anything done right, he’s the man. And Robin Dunn, to this day I don’t how we met. I got to contact her and ask her how. She’s the one that put it all together. We started with two girls, Robin and Nona, for maybe one show before Robin added her sister, Desire’ or did Desire’ replace Nona? I don’t remember exactly, maybe one day I can catch up with Robin and ask her to write “The Wildsugar” story for us...

The dancers were a instant hit with our audience. After a few months, the girls felt like they should be singing and dancing, remember, we got them for dancing only they were not singers. This is how Deborah Cooper got in the band, we needed a lead singer for the girls, but Deb was not a dancer. Now we have dancers that are not singers, who want to sing, and a singer who’s not a dancer and musicians who can’t sing or dance. Robin taught the dancing and Gerry the singing. This was the beginning of building our foundation.

Robin Dunn of Wildsugar
We did a lot experimenting and fine-tuning until we finally got it right. This was when all twelve members were breathing and thinking alike. And what we did, we did it our way! The dancers became singers and the musicians were dancing and singing somewhat. What I’m trying to say is that in today’s world, in order to cut through all this, you've got to develop an act. Also, they have to build their own audiences and that’s what we did. And making good music is the key.

It has been forty years and still building. I can’t thank you enough for your support over the many years!


In today’s world, word of mouth is the big promoter of music. If you haven’t told your friends about our new album, Bill Curtis and Friends w/Fatback Band is out there on the internet, iTunes, Amazon, all the e-music store. You can send them here to sign up for our free download and our newsletter. You know Fatback isn’t for everyone, it's an acquired taste, created strictly for music lovers only.


MP3 of the Month: "Jam Session"

A little something about this month's download: This is a little Jam session we did while warming up before recording back in 2007. Willy Bridges on sax, Pete on Bass, Robert Damper on Keys, Bryan Morgan on Guitar, and Bill on Drums. You know the tune "Gotta Get My Hand on Some Money" I was doing some ad-libbing on the end I took it out maybe I do some edites see how it sound. Let me know how you like it.

Click here to Download "Jam Session"

'Boggie' King
Man who assaulted Rock Hill musician 'Boggie' King gets 18 years

by Andrew Dys - Columnist

YORK -- Life is about characters blazing through life, giving the rest of us some joy from their burn.

Thursday, one of Rock Hill's great characters showed what being a character, and having character, is all about. Just minutes before the guy who almost beat him to death was sentenced in criminal court, the man known to the world only as "Boggie" got up slowly from his seat on a court bench. At 4 feet 6 inches tall, he wore sunglasses, even inside, because musicians wear sunglasses, and Boggie has cut 20 albums and performed all over the world on his guitar.

But he also wore sunglasses because the beating at his electronics shop on Rock Hill's West Main Street was so severe he almost lost his right eye. A half dozen surgeries saved the eye. The joy never left the body. Beatings can't turn Boggie at age 70 from joy.

"My name is John Wylie King but everybody calls me 'Boggie,'" King told the judge. "I've had an electronics shop in Rock Hill for better than 20 years. You know those young kids: they want those amplifiers that go 'Boom Boom' all the time in the back of the car, and this guy just come in the store about an amp. I told him I didn't have one like he wanted, I turned around, and I don't know, man, he put a headlock on me. Next thing I know I am on the floor thinking I am gonna die on the floor of the shop. A week later I came to."

What King knows now, but didn't know that day 26 months ago, is the guy standing ten feet from him beat Boggie with an amp and other stuff he found in the shop, tied Boggie up with a cord, "maced" Boggie, then left him in a bloody heap on the floor.

The only thing stolen was an ATM card.

The guy's name is Lagerald Dickerson, 21. He got through the ninth grade in Rock Hill. Dickerson had left the York County prison farm that same morning of Feb. 26, 2008. He had found a blank check in the county landfill where the inmates were working, and devised a plan to cash it at Boggie's, where a thousand young guys had gone to see Boggie.

Dickerson had been at the prison farm for a traffic violation. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to armed robbery, assault and battery with intent to kill, and kidnapping. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting prison guards during the 26 months he's been in jail since the attack on Boggie.

On the day Boggie was beaten and robbed, Dickerson took a cab from the prison farm with the $25 he had, staked out Boggie's shop from next door at Drum's Tire shop, then burst in and robbed Boggie, he admitted in court. Dickerson topped his day of Feb. 26, 2008, by throwing a vicious beating on Boggie.

Dickerson's court-appointed lawyer, Mark Simpson, admitted in court his client had "a problem with anger."

But Boggie didn't point at Dickerson. He did not scream or yell for justice. This man who has toured Japan, and England, who has a cult following among "funk" aficionados and has played guitar since just after he was able to walk, said simply he sometimes is worried that he might get hit over the head again. But that's about it.

"I'm glad it's over," Boggie said to the judge. "Happy."

Then he shuffled back to his seat and sat down.

Erin Joyner, the assistant solicitor prosecuting the case, was left to describe the crime.

"A heinous crime," Joyner used first. "A planned crime," came next. "This crime was brutal," finished Joyner's trifecta.

Dickerson did apologize in court, but he never looked at Boggie when he did it. He faced the judge and spoke softly. But his grandmother, Ruth Dickerson, told the court she was shocked when she was heard Boggie was assaulted, and "Boggie's family needs to know we are sorry he did it."

Even the assailant's grandmother knows Boggie.

Dickerson confessed a day after he was arrested, which was just two days after the crime. He's been in jail ever since. The judge, Alex Macaulay from Walhalla, succinctly told Dickerson Thursday: "That was a terrible thing you did to Mr. King."

Prosecutors asked for 21 years in prison for Dickerson. Simpson, the defense lawyer, asked for 10 years - the minimum for armed robbery. Macaulay gave 18 years, including the 26 months Dickerson already has served.

Court was over.

Boggie, who has given a thousand interviews, willingly talked afterward, patient with TV people who asked if Dickerson got enough jail time. Boggie, a guitarist by calling, a TV repairman by trade, who has entertained royalty in England and blues crowds on Rock Hill's Black Street and a million other places, did not scream out that he had been jobbed. He just said he was happy it was done.

Then Boggie readied to leave. The bailiffs knew him. Everybody knew him. They all said hello. Then Boggie walked to his SUV, big enough to carry the TVs and amps he fixes.

"Flat screen TVs, you name it, I'm busy," Boggie said.

He tapped a beat on the truck door. He talked of playing music in Barcelona, Spain. He talked of lugging his guitar case, big as he is, through airports and the plazas of Europe. He had already moved past this guy with the anger problem, 21 years old now, who tried to kill him over Boggie's ATM card.

Boggie was not angry Thursday. He looked up at the sky and said, "Great day."

Then this 4-foot-6 inch giant of a man, whose face is on record covers, whose sound is legend, climbed, and I mean climbed, into that big SUV and drove back to Rock Hill and went back to work fixing television sets.

Andrew Dys 803-329-4065 adys@heraldonline.com

Fatback Live at the 02 in London 2009





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