There was once a building at 408 W. Princess Anne Road in Norfolk, purchased in 1959 by a record store owner named Frank Guida who used the space to record the works of local singers and musicians, such as Gary U.S. Bonds, Gene Barge and Jimmy Soul. Numerous hits were cut here during the early ’60s, including Bonds’ raucous “New Orleans” and “Quarter to Three,” and Soul’s exotic calypso rock ‘n’ roll tunes, “If You Wanna Be Happy” and “Twisting Matilda.”
This is the spot where the Norfolk Sound was born, the rambunctious party rock that influenced generations of musicians, among them the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead and the New York Dolls.
With input from yours truly, VL has also put together a cool online slideshow featuring key "Norfolk Sound" hits and rarities on the Legrand and SPQR labels, as well as prime slices of '60's soul from the Shiptown label, which was started by Norfolk businessman Noah Biggs and singer Ida Sands. There is also a link to the new documentary produced by the Virginia Foundation For the Humanities on Hampton Roads bandleader, Charlie McClendon.
The feature article is a complimentary piece to the article I wrote for the magazine years ago on legendary saxophonist and bandleader, Gene "Daddy 'G'" Barge.
Hopefully, all of this coverage will make you want to seek out and listen to all of the great R&B and soul music produced in the Norfolk area in the '60s and '70s. (Photo of Gary US Bonds, with his signature curl.)