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Chapel Hill's 1960s Rock Bands & Hugh Taylor

by Charly Mann

The rock and roll band era stated in Chapel Hill in the early sixties. While the members of these groups were white, most of their repertoire were cover songs of black artists like the Tams, Wilson Pickett, and The Drifters. The roots of this sound can be heard in much of the original music performed by Chapel Hill musicians over the last four decades. James Taylor, our most well known rock star, and singer-songwriter, has had as many hit songs that were covers of this 60's music as those written by him. They include Handy Man, How Sweet It Is, and Everyday. His two most recent albums, Covers and Other Covers (which was released on April 8th, 2009), are made up almost exclusively of the music of this era.

The common denominator of all these bands is Skip Via on guitar, bass, or dulcimer. Two of these bands, the Sands of Time and Bedpost Reunion, feature lead vocals by members of the illustrious Taylor family. Livingston and Hugh in Sands of Time, and Hugh in the Bedpost Reunion. According to Via, the Bedpost Reunion did some studio recordings. They used a recording studio that was located on Estes drive near where the main Post Office is today. He believes Jack Becker, Chapel Hill High School Class of 1970, may still have tapes of these recordings.

This is The Sands of Time performing at Guy B. Phillips Junior High School in Chapel Hill in October of 1966. Hugh Taylor is the lead vocalist

Skip Via, Fender Telecaster playing through a Fender Deluxe Reverb, David Hackney, bass, Biff Bream, guitar, Hugh Taylor, vocals.

Corodon (Don) Fuller, Mel Jones, vocals

The song you can listen to here is Hugh Taylor's rendition of The Tams classic What Kind Of Fool. It was one of the songs done by him in the Sands of Time. On this rendition his back-up singers are siblings Kate, Livingston, James, and Alex Taylor, who are also from Chapel Hill. lt is from his CD, It’s Up to You, which you can order directly from him at 508-645-3511. Hugh now runs the Outermost Inn in Gay Head, on Martha’s Vineyard.

Hugh Taylor

The Sands of Time photos were provided by Skip Via



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George Coxhead      8:52 PM Thu 11/11/2010

Great review of local 60's musical talent and history in Chapel Hill! What fond memories. To answer Susie Hill's question,(I remember you Susie), re Bill Scott who used be a drummer in the Nomads;Bill is a Presbyterian minister, who served as a missionary in Africa, and Berlin for many years. Last I heard, he is currently ministering in Atlanta.

Susie Hill      1:32 AM Fri 2/5/2010

I remember when Hugh, Robert Cromatie, Ronnie Taylor and rest would practice at the Cromaties. My house was across the street. So many deep memories. Hugh, your recording is fabulous.<br \><br \>Demetrius&#39; singing at the general assembly the day after Dr. King was assinated is a story I tell and it always fills my eyes with tears.<br \><br \>Does anyone know where Bill Scott (he was the Nomad) is?<br \><br \>The dances at the Zoom Zoom and the Presbyterian Church, the Ratskeller&#39;s cider, roast beef sandwiches and pizza, all the fabulous concerts at UNC (I never paid more than $6.00), great, great times.<br \><br \>Maybe we should have a reunion. I left Chapel Hill the summer for my senior year. I would of been a graduate of the class of 1970. <br \><br \>To all of that era, lots of cheer, Susie Hill

Don Kassay      9:08 AM Mon 2/1/2010

To Hugh:<br \><br \>Susan Dail, my better half for the past 10 years came into my studio this morning and told me that she had found this website yesterday and she was so excited. She remembers you from high school in Chapel Hill and told me that you and Becky Rigsbee dated some (Becky is still Susans best friend).<br \><br \>Susan and I move back to NC from San Antonio where we lived for 15 years. Susan has been doing Cancer Research for the past 14 years and worked at ILEX Pharmaceuticals in San Antonio. I am a semi-retired professional drummer who has worked with Rod Stewart, Elton John, Paul McCartney and many more great artists. I now own a Mastering Studio just outside of Raleigh.<br \><br \>I also recently started my own social (music) network I name the &quot;Music Network. I would like for you to check it out by clicking or pasting the following LINK: http://thunder-productions.ning.com<br \><br \>If you would like to join the Music Network to promote your website, which is great by the way, I would be honored.<br \><br \>If you have a mailing list, please add Susan to it: tsdail@nc.rr.com.<br \><br \>Thanks Hugh, keep up the good work. Memories is a great website.<br \>

Clare (Woolley) Martin      7:26 PM Thu 1/21/2010

OMG - this brings back SO many great memories from junior high and high school!! Don, Skip, Biff, Hugh, Donny, EVERYBODY was so truly talented. Makes me chuckle that the Hill became such a &quot;music mecca&quot; for so many great groups way after that. Must be something in the water, the air or that Carolina Blue sky!!! I love and miss every one of you!!!

Deborah Wagoner Miller      7:14 PM Thu 1/21/2010

I remember Jack Becker&#39;s band Thursday Grief playing on the back of a flatbed truck on Franklin St., but not sure I remember who else was in the band.

Skip Via      1:20 PM Tue 1/12/2010

Andy--you&#39;re right. I was just thinking of bands that I was in. We need a new chart. There were others, too--the Penetrations (no, really) with Roy Holsten, Peter Kirkpatrick, Billy Paladino, Pete Woods, and a few others come to mind. I never heard them play. I think Decatur fronted another band with Jack Becker and David Hackney after the Bedpost Reunion. I remember hearing them once at a battle of the bands.

Skip Via      12:34 PM Tue 1/12/2010

I&#39;m with Sarah on this one. Demetrius was incredible. My fondest memory of him is the a cappella performance he gave to the CHHS student body the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. It was very powerful and moving and it reminded us that we were all in this together.

Sarah Geer      6:37 PM Wed 12/30/2009

I am a huge fan of the Sands of Time. Skip Via, Don Fuller and the others were a great band. Andy, thanks for also mentioning the Nomads, the dances at the room under the Zoom Zoom (provided by Mrs. Danziger to keep us out of trouble), and the PYF dances in the basement of the Presbyterian Church. There was no air conditioning under the Zoom Zoom, and we would all come out of those dances dripping with sweat and very happy.<br \><br \>One of the best high school singers of that era was Demetrius Williams. I don&#39;t know if he sang with a band, but he gave an outstanding performance at the Chapel Hill High School talent show in 1966-67.

Corey      2:36 PM Sun 11/22/2009

Cool! I never knew about these bands. I&#39;d love to hear recordings, if they exist. I&#39;d love to hear how Liv and Hugh sounded back then. What was the set list of a typical show?

Andy Preston      6:00 AM Thu 9/24/2009

Pretty interesting piece about the bands. But..there are lots left out.The Nomads,Corsayers-bands that played at the rec dances under the Zoom Zoom and at the Presbyterian Church basement..I played in a band with Hugh Taylor,Jack and Danny Becker and Jay Cole, called the Crescendos, which played at dances at Guy B. Phillips Jr. High,where I was in school when the Beatles came to the U.S. I remember the whole school came outside to watch and hear(I think this is right) Roy Holsten, John Williams, and Billy Palladino play &quot;All My Loving&quot; on Silvertone instruments....

Skip Via      11:03 PM Sat 6/20/2009

Rich is pretty close. I was 15 in that picture, probably the oldest in the band. Hugh was probably 14. We played for several years after those pictures were taken.<br \><br \>Hugh and Liv were not in the Sands of Time at the same time. Hugh replaced Liv when Liv moved away for a time, as I recall. Both were great performers. I&#39;m fairly sure that these pictures represent Hugh&#39;s first performance with the Sands--if not the first, then certainly a very early one.<br \><br \>Liv was in a folk trio before we formed the Sands of Time. I don&#39;t remember the name of the group, but it included Paul (now known as Harlan) Collins and a young woman named Kim, whose last name I don&#39;t recall. Paul (Harlan) later formed the Shackles.

Blackie Perkins      10:32 AM Sun 4/12/2009

Does Hugh still perform? Perhaps the Sands of Time should have a reunion concert.

Milton Kaplan      1:48 PM Thu 4/9/2009

I&#39;m 22 and just putting together a Chapel Hill band. I would love to see if some of the former members of these old bands are still around and might like to play with our group.

George Adams      9:12 AM Thu 4/9/2009

I love the names of these bands. The only one of these bands I remember seeing was the SANDS OF TIME, and they were very good.

Kerry Frank      9:36 PM Wed 4/8/2009

When did Liv Taylor play with the Sands of Time? Is he in one of the photographs in your article.

Florence Stevens      5:28 PM Wed 4/8/2009

I think Hugh has a great voice. I guess he decided the life of a performer was not for him.

Rich Quick      2:50 PM Wed 4/8/2009

Great piece. I would love to hear what Sands of Time sounded like. These guys look like they&#39;re all about 14.

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Chapel Hill is located on a hill whose only distinguishing feature in the 18th century was a small chapel on top called New Hope Chapel. This church was built in 1752 and is currently the location of The Carolina Inn. The town was founded in 1819, and chartered in 1851.



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There would probably be no Chapel Hill if the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees in 1793 had not chosen land across from New Hope Chapel for the location of the university. By 1800 there were about 100 people living in thirty houses surrounding the campus.



The University North Carolina's first student was Hinton James, who enrolled in February, 1795. There is now a dormitory on the campus named in his honor.





The University of North Carolina was closed from 1870 to 1875 because of lack of state funding.





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