Reviews by Fursey O’veebee.
ALBUM TITLE: TAS CRU
First off, I would like to say thanks to Pati deVries over at Devious Planet for hooking us up with some great blues CDs to review. They have a lot of great artists on their team so check ‘em out! One such great is seasoned blues veteran Tas Cru, who puts out another winner in Memphis Song . Starting off with “Heal My Soul”, this jam has a little Dire Straits-circa-1978 feel to it, but this guy is way more than a Sultan of Swing. Nice harp work accompanies Tas’ unique vocals.The title cut is a little slower, with a mystical eeriness reminiscent of something you would imagine hearing if you were broken down over by the side of Bloody 520 in the middle of a dark night with a full moon.“Fool For The Blues” is a great cut with rocking guitars as Tas tells how people think he is crazy for sticking with the genre, but he ain’t going anywhere! “Bad love, hard luck, tough times and bad bad news / That’s how it’s always been, they call it paying dues / Willie got it right, he comes to spread the news / He comes to testify, he’s a fool for the blues.” It’s like Tas is talking to me on that one! In “Give a Little Up” he laments about the inability of humans to compromise, and how if we’d all give a little up, we might get along much better. It’s a nice, groovy slow jam that exudes visions of a smoke-filled, dimly lit bar as the harp wails. Kinda like Fun-Time used to be but without the holes in the ceiling and the rain coming through. Another mellow rocker, “Daddy Didn’t GiveYou Much (But He Sure GaveYou the Blues)” he wails about how he screwed up some girls head in a really bad way. He picks it up with “Have a Drink” with good keyboards and proposes a toast to everyone! A great jam to sing the next time you are at Straw Hat and want to keep that guy from fighting you.You know, that one over there who’s giving you the stink eye.“That Look” is a come-on jam where he’s telling a woman how fine she is, but he knows he is headed for trouble. Two card-related jams follow, “One Eyed Jack” and “Queen of Hearts”. In the former, he sings how he can’t win because the devil has stacked the deck. Funky grooves accompany this cut as well as more nice harp work. In the latter, not to be confused with Juice Newton, he slows it down again, singing for his woman that he lost and now wants back. In “Don’t Lie to That Woman” he tells the tale about how his woman will put up with anything except a lack of honesty. Sounds like a good deal to me! The next cut, “Feels So Good” (not to be confused with Chuck Mangione) he says he feels so good he wants to play the blues the whole day through, which sounds like a great day to me. He winds it up with “Can’t Get Over The Blues”, another solid hit with great guitars and harp.Tas’ latest release is sure to please even the toughest music critic, so go out and grab one of these before they are all gone like the Bernard’s Surf sign.
ALBUM TITLE: ANTHONY GOMES
Hard-hitting blues rocker Anthony Gomes belts out another great CD with his latest: Peace, Love, & Loud Guitars . From the opening cut to the end, this CD rocks. Gomes’ guitar work is incredible as he rocks the frets off of the Flying V. He starts out asking B.B. King to come down from heaven and bring back the King of the Blues. He then hits the raunchy side with “White Trash Princess”, the trailer park dream. His description of her is classic, as he says she was wearing a “husband beater” and wants him to rock her trailer. He slows it down claiming to have “Blues in the First Degree”, a song that would make Blues Boy Willie proud (RIP).“Nasty Good” has some more good lyrics,“She’s not head over heels / She’s heels over head”. This guy could actually stand toe-to-toe with the majority of today’s “rockers” and blow them off the stage. That’s one of the great things about the blues, there are so many styles to choose from. Some slow, some country, some rocking, some mellow, some hard. There is an unlimited variety, just like the variety of bars when doing the walk-of-pain down A1A in Cocoa Beach but without the subsequent headache.“The Whiskey Made Me Do It” is another good jam, blaming all of his actions on the booze, “Drinking triples, and seeing double / Acting single, now I’m in trouble”. Sounds like me after a night out with Carolina Billy. Hopefully he is out of Cocoa Beach Jail by the time this comes out. Anthony slows it down in “You Are Amazing” where he delivers a romantic love song to his true love. We should all be so lucky to love someone as much as Anthony expresses in this lovely ballad. In the title track (who remembah title tracks), he rocks out another barn-burner that could probably be a new rock anthem.This song is worth the price of admission alone. Excellent guitar work. In “Stealin’ From the Devil”, he sings a spooky song about blues legend Robert Johnson, where he says he is going down to hell to get Robert’s soul back. Back to the dirty side of town he goes next with “Your Mama Wants to Do Me (AndYour Daddy Wants To Do Me In)” saying good girls go to heaven but bad girls go backstage. He slows it up a bit with “The Only Woman I’ve Ever Loved” as he laments a lost love, and pleads with the listener to not make the mistakes he did. Pretty funny considering he just sang about doing your momma and trailer love. In “Hard Road Easy” he rocks it out again, singing about life on the road and how you can’t stop him if you try.With the power in this CD, I believe him. He ends with “Take Me Back Home”, a slow ballad, showing his musical diversity once again proving hard or soft, this guy is the real deal.
There are so many great beachside residents on which to report. However, I had only to look across the office from where I sit every day to find one great American / beachside resident I am proud to report on. Being that I am the Editor-in-Chief for this rag, I have decided to take it upon myself, amidst much protest from the man himself, to bring to light someone I am proud of. He’s a moderately modest man who doesn’t often get the accolades he deserves. Outside from being my boss and friend, he is (most importantly) a decorated combat U.S. Marine veteran, and his story deserves to be heard.
So who is Mr. Beachside? Well, that’s Craig Harriman. Craig was born in Belfast, Maine. He spent the majority of his childhood riding four-wheelers, hunting, camping, fishing and exploring the great outdoors. His family owned a True Value hardware store for 20+ years, where he learned much of his work ethic. He fast-tracked through high school, graduating in just three years, followed by two years at Southern Maine Community College. In 2001 he signed up for the delayed entry program with the United States Marine Corps, with an M.O.S. of Presidential Security Forces.
On September 11, 2001, while attending college, he watched as two planes collided with the Twin Towers. Immediately, he made a willful choice to approach his recruiter and enlist. By the second day of the new year, 2002 , he was standing on the yellow footprints at Paris Island, South Carolina. After 13 weeks, he graduated from Boot Camp, and was soon after shipped to the School of Infantry where he specialized as a heavy machine gunner. After graduating the School of Infantry, he attended the Marine Corps Security Forces school where he specialized in close quarters battle (CQB). After graduation, he received his first orders to Washington State where he worked in classified operations. After two years of being an operator, Craig was promoted to Security Force Instructor where he spent a little over a year training students in CQB, physical security, and other special tactics. While at this duty station, he also received his 1st Instructor black belt in the Marine Corps Mixed Martial Arts program.
In late 2004, he received orders to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was assigned to a special unit preparing for deployment to the Iraq war. Tasked as a small unit leader for a combined anti-armor team, he specialized in transportation of high-risk personnel and high level dignitary security. He served two back-to-back tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), in addition to a classified area near Sadr City Baghdad. After the war, he received orders to Brunswick Naval Air Station where he served as an Infantry Inspector Instructor. His primary duty was to train infantry reserve units to fight in combat. His secondary duty was to serve as head of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program for the state of Maine, raising money for children in need during the holiday season. He was also assigned duty as casualty notification wherein he was responsible for family notifications of killed in action (KIA) Marines or deceased Marines. Essentially, once the Marine’s body came off the plane, it was in his stewardship until it was laid to rest. He has ushered many of our fallen heroes to their final resting spots and attended many funerals.
While stationed in Maine, he received medical treatment for injuries he sustained in 2010 and was medically retired. That year, he left the state of Maine and headed to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as a federal police officer. There, he was assigned a few very prestigious special assignments. When Obama came to Kennedy Space Center in 2012, Craig was selected to drive the lead security vehicle in his convoy.
During his years at the Air Force Station, he worked many launches. He even worked special detail on the last couple shuttle launches in history. Some days he gets that far-away look on his face and regales his excitement in meeting the many astronauts and dignitaries who shook his hand over the years.
In 2012, he took over representation of The Beachside Resident syndication, where he learned his passion for storytelling and reporting. Nearly simultaneously, in 2013, he stepped into the private sector and began work renovating and revitalizing properties within the greater Cocoa Beach area. I’m often in awe of the dedication it must’ve taken to operate a publication and transition to the private arena at the same time. I’ve transitioned out of the military myself; going to the mall to buy new sneakers nearly broke me.
As though that weren’t enough, within that year, he also created the Cocoa Beach Friday Fest, which still exists today, and attended the Florida Main Street conference where he helped establish the Cocoa Beach Main Street program. Craig has served as the Marketing Director/Production Manager on local events like the Cocoa Beach Art Show, Thunder on Cocoa Beach and The Legend of the Seagullmen. Some of the events he’s partnered with are Surfing Santas, Operation Surf and Surfers for Autism. In 2017, he started the Eastern Pro/AM and served as the Executive Director for the event.
Recently he’s worked on many community revitalization projects. Craig has helped incubate over 13 local businesses within the downtown Cocoa Beach community, and is also the founder of Mai Tiki Market. This year, The Beachside Resident hosted our first annual Mai Tiki Carving Contest where we gave $5,000 in prize money to the best tiki carvers in the country.
Craig’s concept for a tiki carving contest was a hit with the community. In fact, we’ve scheduled April 20, 2019 for the second annual event, so now it’s a thing. This guy is a maverick when it comes to brainstorming and fund-raising and we couldn’t be more proud of him for the events he’s conceived of and cultivated. Not to brag, but Craig has even served as a Board of Director for a couple years on the Cocoa Beach Kiwanis Club. Last year he helped lead the charge in raising over $10,000 for the Cocoa Beach Roosevelt playground.
His passions include skateboarding, surfing, VW’s, woodworking and reggae music. He is a father of two beautiful girls. He has a gorgeous girlfriend who pierces the masses with her custom jewelry (Whitney Bailey, Endless Summer Tattoo), three dogs, three chickens, five fish and one fine pig named Hammy.
Craig is an environmentalist at heart with a goal to better our environmental guardianship. He has a great passion for the ocean, and especially our lagoon. He plans to use his platform with Beachside Media and The Beachside Resident to raise awareness about local beachside subjects that affect us all. Craig believes in our community and that ultimately, the change must start with us.