A dreadlocked giant with wide-ranging talent and great reserves of charm, Himons had been a child prodigy in the 1940s, a doo-wop vocalist in the ’50s, a soul singer in the ’60s and a bluesman in the ’70s before having an epiphany late that decade at a Bob Marley concert. The reggae group that resulted, Afrikan Dreamland, was one of the seminal indie bands on Nashville's club scene. Sanders, a longtime observer of the city's clubs, sets the scene:
To say that Afrikan Dreamland stood out, even among Nashville's burgeoning punk and college-radio scene of the early 1980s, is beyond understatement. Fueled by a high-stamina live show, they soon became one of the city's most popular acts, drawing large, enthusiastic crowds who danced nonstop to the group's irie rhythms. Before disbanding in 1987, they became the first American reggae group to get a video on MTV ("Television Dreams" in 1984) as well as the first Nashville-based act to release a video album (Apartheid Kills in 1985). They were also the first act in the city to mix drum machines with live drums.
But of course, nothing topped the spectacle of a larger-than-life reggae-soul shaman before throngs of adoring Vandy frat kids. A new day had dawned in Music City.
It's a piece that'll probably have a lot of people agreeing with veteran music scribe Robert K. Oermann's assessment: "They made me proud to be a Nashvillian."
UPDATE: Here's the link Nashville Jumps host Pete Wilson posted on the Nashville Cream thread, which will let you hear a rare 1960s R&B side Himons recorded under his "Little Archie" moniker.
It's a work in progress. I hope to get further comments after the holiday. But the ones that have come in so far have been eye-opening:
Robert H. King, who has passed away at 84, had his own set of rules for his pub, King's Inn, at 4403 Harding Road.
If you could shave, you could drink. In 1980, when I was 16, Mr. King sold me the first beer I ever bought at a bar: a Hudepohl, served (as always) in a fully frozen mug, for 50 cents.
I was following in well-trodden footsteps. One Nashville nostalgia website recalls: "In the 1950's in West Nashville, it was practically a rite of passage for a young man to have his first beer at King's Inn (where no one ever asked for an ID)."
But a young person enjoying the Inn's hospitality was expected to behave. On one of my first visits, as I watched the ice slide down the outside of my mug, I overheard a muttered blasphemy from the old-fashioned pinball machine over my shoulder.
Mr. King heard it, too. And that was OK — as long as Mrs. Grace King was not within earshot. But she was just then serving a cheeseburger at the bar, and Pinball Boy had broken a cardinal rule by cursing in front of her. Mr. King summarily expelled him from the premises.
As the waters recede and cleanup continues, I think we have to guess that there will be more.
Nancy Saturn, who died at her Whitland Avenue home Tuesday after a long bout with recurring breast cancer, is being remembered by friends, colleagues and artists across the city as one of the pivotal figures in the development of local arts. Those whose lives she changed will honor her memory today at West End Synagogue, 3810 West End Ave., in a service at 1 p.m., with burial to follow.
A Detroit native who moved to Nashville in 1969 with her husband, attorney Alan Saturn, she was perhaps best known for her artisanal crafts boutique The American Artisan, which she operated for nearly four decades until last year. The American Artisan Festival, which she founded (and which celebrates its 40th event this June in Centennial Park), blossomed into one of the premier arts and crafts festivals in the nation, according to Anne Brown, owner of The Arts Company.
"She pulled us up to a different level," said Brown, who knew Saturn personally and professionally for more than 35 years. "She used the term 'artisan' deliberately, because it means someone who brings beauty into function, and art into craft.
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