Beach music legends Tyn Tymes, Tams share the bill at Gadsden

A piece of Gadsden’s music history is about to be replayed after nearly six decades.

Tyn Tymes and The Tams, popular beach musicians, will share the bill at a concert on November 17 from 210 at The Tracks – just as they did on March 10, 1967.

That concert at the old National Guard Armory on First Street, which has since been torn down, was sponsored by the Gadsden High School Checkers Club and was an unforgettable night for The Tyn Tymes, according to drummer Lanny Thomas.

“I don’t know how many people were there, but it was packed,” recalls Thomas, one of five original members playing with the band, formed by graduates of Emma Sansom and Gadsden high schools who attended college at Alabama, Auburn and Jacksonville State.

“It was a huge event,” he said. “We had so much fun.”

Thomas said the bands shared the same booking agent at the time, and since The Tyn Tymes were from Gadsden, they were tapped to open for The Tams.

“Everybody was really into it,” he said. “It was an exciting time and one of our favorite memories.”

The Atlanta-based Tams are known for their 1960s hits “Untie Me,” “What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am),” “Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me” and “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy”, their only gold single. One original member still performs, Robert Lee Smith, as does Albert “Little Red” Cottle Jr., son of former member Albert Cottle.

Thomas said The Tyn Tymes usually play a lot of their songs in concert, but naturally they’ll avoid that at this show.

He said they’ll hit the stage at 7pm (doors open an hour earlier) and play for about an hour and 20 minutes. Then, after a break, the Tams will come out for a 90-minute set.

“It’s going to be like a big indoor tailgate party,” Thomas said. “Families can come and fans can dress up as a certain team and bring food and drink.”

What they’ll hear at this “party,” beach music, is mostly rhythm and blues, according to Thomas, with an emphasis on dancing and one dance in particular: the swing. It originated in the Carolinas, where beach music has long been a staple, and is the state dance of both North and South Carolina.

South Carolina’s tourism website describes it as a “six-count, eight-step pattern danced in a slot.” Thomas, as a drummer, described it as a jumbled beat and called The Tams’ “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” the perfect shash song. “It’s fun music you can dance to,” he said.

The Tyn Tymes reunited in 2000 after an almost 30-year hiatus and have been playing regularly across the South East ever since.

The other original members still in the band are Jerry Rickles, lead vocals; Ken Striplin, saxophone; Carl Sharp, trumpet; and Ronnie Cornut, keyboards and vocals.

However, Thomas noted that some of the newer members — Benny Leverton, guitar and vocals; Lowell Shirey, percussion and vocals; Brian Bankston, trumpet; Curtis Buttram and Danny Thomas, sax; and Charlie Freeman, bass—have been on board for several decades.

There are also no signs that the old or the new are ready to slow down. Asked how long the band could last, Lanny Thomas replied, “Forever and a day.”

He said that whenever there was a vacancy, the goal was to hire someone who was younger and, without discounting former members, an even better player.

“We lost five,” he said, “but we’ve replaced them with great players and we have one of the best horn sections around.”

Tyn Tymes have signed a record deal with Bentley in 2021 and Lanny Thomas said the band will work with the label to obtain recording rights to some cover songs. He’s also working on some songs of his own, but said they’re not “close” to completion.

Tickets for the Nov. 17 show are $40 and are available at https://bit.ly/3SvhC8T .

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