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Posted: Monday, Jul. 14, 2008

‘Myrtle Beach Days' and beyond for this musician

Joe DePriest
Published in: Joe Depriest

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As a courier, Jeffrey Lynn Reid covers a 100-mile radius around Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

Delivering lost luggage is his job.

While Reid, 53, of Lincolnton, roams the region, all kinds of music goes with him.

His CD player is stocked with everything from the Beatles to Moody Blues, Stevie Wonder to Queen. Along the way, Reid also thinks about the latest song he's composing.

A former member of the Fantastic Shakers show band, he's written hundreds of numbers, including one of my favorite Carolina summer anthems, the best-selling “Myrtle Beach Days.”

“Blast From the Past,” off Reid's latest CD, “I Dig Vegas,” has hit the Top 10 beach music charts in Myrtle Beach.

With the Fantastic Shakers, Reid opened for such bands as the Beach Boys and Four Tops. As a solo artist, he recorded at Prince's Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis and played at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe.

On Thursday, Reid will celebrate 35 years in the music business with a one-man concert at the James W. Warren Citizens Center in Lincolnton.

His talents are diverse: songwriter, musician, vocalist, producer and engineer. So are his musical tastes. He's best-known for beach music, but he writes and performs a little of everything.

Listening to about 35 of Reid's original numbers, I was struck by the range of the material: beach, progressive rock, improvisational jazz.

The music trail

There was never any question what Reid would do in life: Music was it, for as long as he remembers.

Music was a bond in a family that had been touched by tragedy. Reid was 3 when his father fell asleep with a lit cigarette and died in a house fire.

His mother, Gloria, and older brother, Ronnie, didn't play instruments, but they passed along a love of music to Reid.

At 10, Reid's mother gave him a guitar and he began taking lessons from Jim McCurry in Long Shoals.

Country music was OK. But rock, especially the British Sound, was Reid's first love.

In 1972, he went to hear his heroes, Uriah Heep, at Clemson University.

One year later, he faced a live audience as a performer for the first time. Reid's mother was a hostess at the Shadow Club in Newton and told him the house band there needed a keyboard player. His musical ride had begun.

Reid was working a music job in Myrtle Beach in 1975 when he wrote “Myrtle Beach Days.” The version he recorded didn't make many waves. But the reworked song he recorded with the Fantastic Shakers after joining the band in 1978 became a beach music hit in the Southeast.

On the wall in Reid's home is a plaque from the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce thanking him for writing the number.

Reid traveled the Southeast with the Shakers, writing and co-writing some of their songs. They opened for the Beach Boys in 1987 at Charlotte's Memorial Stadium, playing before 33,000 people.

In 1994, Reid left the band to perform solo and run his own recording studio.

He won many awards, met musical giants such as Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson and kept writing songs.

Tragedy struck again in 1996 when his brother, Ronnie, was killed in a head-on collision near Newton. Reid dedicated the CD “Home” to him.

Stepping away

In 2005, Reid took a break from the music business. It can be, he told me, “wild and fickle, intimidating and downright vicious.”

He liked all types of music, but some audiences weren't as open.

So he stepped away for a while and got the courier job. You may pass Reid out on the interstates or highways as he carries luggage back to folks around the region.

And in clubs and lounges and hotels scattered from Lake Norman to Hickory, Gastonia to the Grand Strand, you may hear this Carolina original performing in person.

Times and tastes may change, but not Reid's passion for music. That still means everything to him.

Joe DePriest: 704-868-7745; jdepriest@charlotteobserver.com

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