Be young, be happy ... go see the fabulous Tams  on Sept. 18 at Festival Park and witness a band that’s been bringing it for 46 years.
    The show is part of the Fayetteville After Five concert series — one of the chief fundraisers for the Fayetteville Museum of Art. As always, admission is free, though the experience is often priceless. For this particular show you’ll be treated to a band formed way back in 1962 that has ridden the crest of the beach music wave for these 40+ years.
    The Tams are famous for such golden oldie radio staples as “What Kind of Fool,” “Hey Girl,” and, of course, “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.” However, despite striking gold later in their career and eventually being named “The Beach Band of the Decade” and earning an induction into the Georgia Hall of Fame and Atlanta Hall of Fame, times were tough in the beginning as the band played gigs for as little as $1.25 a night; the miniscule wages couldn’t cover the ornate stage costumes so many bands wore at the times, so they bought inexpensive Tam O’Shanter hats, from which the group earned its name.
    They’ve worn those trademark “tams” for all these years, and one band member — Charles Pope — has been there every step of the way. Pope, 72, is still going strong on the stage, though he has a successor branching off from his family tree. Band member L’il Redd, 39, — billed as having the “fastest feet in the South” — is Pope’s son, and he’s been singing and dancing with the Tams since he was 7.    “My Dad put me up on the stage when I was a little bitty thing and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said L’il Redd. “And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It’s been the most fun you can imagine having.”
    {mosimage}And don’t be fooled by his father’s advancing years — L’il Redd says it’s harder and harder to get the elder Pope — the only original Tam in the group — off the stage.
    “You can’t tell how old he is when he’s performing,” said L’il Redd.
    L’il Redd says the Tams have performed in Fayetteville “countless times” over the years, including last year’s Dogwood Festival; he says the crowds have always been “great.”
    “There are a lot of beach music fans in Fayetteville and they really get into the music at our live shows,” said L’il Redd.
    But it’s not just beach music that folks will groove to at Fayetteville after Five. Though they have a lot of older fans, the Tams also attract a young following as well, so the group will mix in more contemporary songs such as “Love Train” by the O’Jays, Motown standard “Higher and Higher,” and the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.”
    “We have a high energy show with a lot of audience participation,” said L’il Redd. “So the folks that show up, I guarantee we’ll get ‘em dancing.”
    Fayetteville After Five features food vendors and purveyor’s of adult beverages, as well as other artists on site. The event runs from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Bring a chair or blanket to relax on the lawn as the Tams take you back 40 years to the days of shagging all night long on Ocean Drive.


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