The Tams Come to the Leslie Fairgrounds Sept 2nd
Published 10:35 pm Monday, September 4, 2023
Dragon flies buzzed across the Leslie fairgrounds, diving at gnats. A few of the sparse crowd waved fans in the relatively cool air brought by the hurricane. A food vendor sold hot dogs and hamburgers, another sold crafts.
The group Alex Clements and Friends opened, with two guitarists, a drummer, and Mr. Clements on keyboard and vocals. They played selections as varied as Come Hell or High Water, This Magic Moment, and an Elvis tribute, The Wonder of You. One couple slow danced to a melody, while another stepped quickly to a livelier tune.
Then, the white coated Tams took the stage. Electric guitars, trombone, and resonating drums boomed over the speakers as the performers played, feet moving to the music as they sang.
The Tams’ lead singer Little Red kept the crowd energized. He told how music was a family affair, talking about his father’s influence.
“He showed me how to be a Tam, he showed me how to be an entertainer. He said ‘Son, keep my music going.’ I said daddy, as long as I got breath, I’m going to do it.”
He then proceeded to sing I’ve Been Hurt, asking the crowd to clap during the song.
“Show my daddy upstairs what’s going on down here. Show him this music is still going, sixty years later!”
Mr. Red improvised on several occasions keeping the small crowd engaged. He danced amidst the audience, causing the crowd to laugh as he invited the audience to participate, even offering to let one of the latecomers dance with them. Mr. Red also sung Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy, asking the crowd to join him.
“I can’t hear ya’ll!” he exclaimed.
He also pointed out his son among the dancers, noting his footwork.
“That’s my son ya’ll. That’s how I used to do it right there.”
He talked about how his son was learning music from his father, just as he had.
“That’s my right hand right there. I’m proud of him. I’ll let him take it over one day, in about ten years,” he joked.
One highlight was when Mr. Red danced with his son, both displaying their footwork, ending in a graceful bow. At the close, he thanked the small crowd gathered in the fairgrounds.
“Thank ya’ll for inviting me to Georgia. I want to come back. I’ll bring some people with me too!”
Afterward, Mikai Cottle, little Red’s son, talked about following in his father’s footsteps.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s fun. Give’s me something to look forward to.”
He described some of the venues they had performed at.
“We play for a lot of different crowds. Thousands, sometimes hundreds, sometimes crowds like this.”
He told how he had been performing with his father for eleven years, but that his interest had started sooner.
“I’ve been watching since I was two.”
He is now sixteen and in the eleventh grade.
The crowd bought a few autographed T-shirts and met with the band members before leaving the fairgrounds.