A Semi-Local Institution

One of the greatest one-hit wonders of the 60s was the frat-rock classic “Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love)” by the Swingin’ Medallions. Yeah, you know you want to sing along.

(By the way, if anyone wants to give me a Wurlitzer juke like the one in the picture, I’d be happy to find a place for it.)

The song made #17 in the greatest year of rock and roll history (1966, for any of you newcomers), but it’s higher on my personal hit parade, and here’s why. The song is featured on the Nuggets box set, which I got after we moved to Muncie, IN for my Ph.D. work. I was reading the book of “liner notes” (Hey, it’s a 4-CD set), and I noticed that the band was from Greenwood, SC, about 30 miles from Mondoville, but I didn’t know that then. I recognized Greenwood as my dad’s birthplace, the little town in the Piedmont where I visited my grandmother in my single-digit years. I did a little math — Dad would have been about the right age, so I called him.

“What do you need?”

“Well, Dad, I want you to return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear (Dad and I loved a good Lone Ranger allusion) in Greenwood. Did you know any of these guys?” And I started reading off the names of the band members.

He said, “Yeah, I knew them. I was friends with John McElrath and  Jimbo Doares — had a crush on his sister. Where are you finding these names?”

I said, remember the band The Swingin’ Medallions? Had a hit with “Double Shot –”

“You’re shitting me.”

“Nope.” I told him how I had found this stuff out, and we wrapped up the conversation. A day or two later, he told me he had found the band’s webpage, and had dropped a note to Mr. Doares. I don’t know if he ever heard back.

But the band has in fact become a multi-generational enterprise (with a new generation of McElraths joining their dad, the only remaining original member) and a regional institution. They’re based in Atlanta now, but gig around the South, doing the R&B-with-a-shuffle-beat that is known around here as “Beach Music.” And they’ll be playing here in Mondoville for New Year’s Eve. I won’t be at the show (A New Year’s gala at the Opera House is a bit expensive for my tastes), but I’m glad they’re around, and I think Dad would be as well.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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