Playing sax with my friends
The Spongetones, 1990
Accompanying Hank Ballard and Robert John
The Park Center Revival, 1985
Ray Charles and The Raelettes performed at Queens College in Charlotte, NC for a state-wide sorority council spring dance. Too few tickets had been sold, so some of us lucky Myers Park sophomores were invited to attend the show. What an experience, watching my hero, David "Fathead" Newman! It was a giant step in my understanding of what great musicians can do! Talking to The Raelettes at the break, we learned that Ray had decided not to do any more segregated shows. This may have been one of his last "white only" performances. I looked around at the sea of white faces that night and became more aware how segregated my world was.
Promotional T Shirt from my short lived movie career, "Ocean Drive Weekend" 1985
Singer-Songwriter, Greg Cagle
Pat is a "purist" - playing music with him gave me a chance to learn and stretch out.
Bobby and his big DW kit, 2015
Photo by Carol Cobal
A little bit of personal history...
I took every opportunity to see my heroes perform when they came to Charlotte.
Whether it was The Turbans, Little Anthony, or Bo Didley at The Show of Stars --
or Ray Charles and his band at Queens College, I learned something from every show.
Photo by Bill Bradford
Leroy Cooper David Newman Hank Crawford Marcus Belgrave John Hunt
Singing "White Cliffs of Dover"
(...with Smitty and his band, 1980's)
Doing overdubs at the Park Place Studio
Nat & Trish Speir
Nat Speir and Pat Walters
In 2013, my high school class held its 50th reunion.
(Myers Park High School Class of 1963)
The Original Rivieras were featured:
Joe Harris, Charles VanWagner, Smitty Flynn, Bill Bolen and myself.
For the reunion we recorded a CD of 10 songs from our 1962-63 repertoire. I created the rhythm tracks and horns in my home studio. The vocals were recorded at Smitty's house,
done "live" with no overdubs..
Nat Speir Studio Performances
From drums to violins,
musical sounds have always intrigued me --
whether it was the mysterious woodwinds of
Peter and the Wolf or Arthur Godfrey's ukulele.
I was drawn to the simplicity, predictability,
and the unique performances that lifted many
R&B and rock recordings to another level.
Brother Bobby was a gifted drummer from an early age.
He met Dallas Steele, drummer with The Delecardos,
at a junior high school dance and learned early about
"the funky foot." Bobby was always a standout
and received offers from several Motown acts.
Summer of 1958.
Nat, Bobby, and little sister Millie
at home in Charlotte, NC.
I had just gotten my new Fender Jazzmaster - $220 drop-shipped direct from Fender.