Tail of the Weak 3.6
Updated: Jan 26
Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.
There are musicians who are star headliners, the mere mention of their name evoking tears and hysteria. There are musicians who are excellent session players, cream-of-the-crop studio sidemen who make star headliner's records come to life. There are musicians who are background vocalists, who rarely see the spotlight shone their way.
And then, there are the journeymen—those who are competent and fully qualified to lend their talents to every facet of the musical industry—like Randall Bramblett from Jesup, Georgia.
Randall is a musician—keyboard player, saxophonist, guitarist, mandolin and harmonica player. He is a singer-songwriter—steeped in the vocal stylings of blues, folk, and gospel music.
His career as a solo artist, sideman, and session player has blossomed over several decades—performing with Gregg Allman, Bonnie Raitt, Robbie Robertson, Goose Creek Symphony, Levon Helm, Elvin Bishop, Steve Winwood, and Widespread Panic, just to name a few.
Born in 1948, Bramblett formed a R&B group called King David and the Slaves in '63—with Screven natives Jack and Denny Brinkley, along with Jesup brothers “King” David and Moi Harris, and Lee Riggins.
By 1965, David Harris was replaced by Waycross guitarist, T. Wayne Scarborough, Lee Riggins was replaced by Butch Peede on keyboards, and trumpet players Russell Martin and Eddie Peede were added.
After a brief stint at the University of North Carolina, where he studied theology, Randall moved to Athens, Georgia, carrying on with the Slaves, who had grown to an eight-piece band—minus the Brinkley brothers—with the addition of Athenians Davis Causey on lead guitar, saxophonist Harold Williams, Scotty Piotrowski on trumpet, and T. Wayne moving to bass guitar. Several years later, I would wind up playing in a band called Down Home with former Slave members, Wayne Scarborough and Eddie Middleton.
The popular King David and the Slaves worked the beach music circuit in the late 60s, opening for The Tams, Marvin Gaye, The Intruders, Steam, Jackie Wilson, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Jerry Butler at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
After making the decision to go out on his own in the early Seventies, Randall played sax on Gregg Allman's Laid Back album; and, in 1974 on the Gregg Allman Tour, he played and handled all the horn arrangements for the band.
His first two solo albums, on the Polydor label, were released in 1975 and '76, and included former Slaves lead guitarist, Davis Causey, along with acclaimed New Orleans pianist and songwriter, Allen Toussaint. Following the breakup of the Allman Brothers, Bramblett and Causey joined up with former ABB members, Chuck Leavell, Jai Johanny Johanson, and Lamar Williams, in the jazz/funk/rock band, Sea Level.
In the spring of '78, Sea Level played an outdoor concert at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Through my King David and the Slaves connections—Scarborough and Middleton—Down Home drummer, Monnie Carden and wife Angie, Becky Dupire, and I gained access to the Sea Level bus and enjoyed side stage seats during the performance.
It was a good day.
Steve Winwood—the former 16-year-old who belted out “Gimme Some Lovin'”, Ray Charles-style, on the 1966 Spencer Davis Group classic—tapped Randall to tour with him from '88 through 2004.
Since 1997, Bramblett has continued to turn out evocative and soulful solo albums—11 to be exact—that keeps him as busy as a one-legged tap dancer, with constant writing, recording, and touring.
On Friday, March 9 at 9 pm, Randall Bramblett and band will headline the 8th Annual Swamptown Getdown Music and Arts Festival at the Okefenokee Fairgrounds in Waycross, Georgia. Also on the weekend bill will be the Melody Trucks Band—whose daddy was ABB drummer, Butch Trucks—and Glass Camels, both from Jacksonville, Florida.
Make your plans to come out and hear all the fantastic bands at STGD, March 9-10, including Back City Woods of Macon, Athens' Big C and The Moonshynes, Bonnie Blue of Jacksonville, St. Simons' Conni Laine Band, locals Copperhead South, Custard Pie and Dirty Bird and The Flu from Valdosta, Waycross's Electric Owl and Glass Onion, St. Simons' Jamie Renee and The Walkers, Lazy Pie of Valdosta, Atlantic Beach reggae band NDKA, Pine Box Dwellers of Waycross, from the Golden Isles: Rider, Michaele and The Ambiguous, and Thunderbird, and Athens' Ty Manning and The Slawdog Biscuits.
Or as Randall Bramblett did say on No More Mr. Lucky:
Get in, get out, breathe out the dark
All you can do is save yourself
Leave the rest behind
And you can bring your kids and pets, too.
8th Annual Swamptown Getdown Music and Arts Festival
March 9-10, 2018
Okefenokee Fairgrounds : Waycross, Georgia Advance Weekend Passes:
Haynes, G. (2006) The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music. Rare Reads Publishing.
Phone interview with T. Wayne Scarborough Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin
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