Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Don Smith, Cyril E. Vetter)

Smash 2033

No. 17    July 2, 1966




“We had recorded the song  several times,” explained Medallions leader John McEirath in an exclusive

interview.   “We tried all different arrangements and tempos, but it wasn’t going anywhere.   We decided

to pick up and go to another studio,  Arthur  Smith’s [the guitarist/composer  of  THE VIRTUES’ “Guitar

Boogie Shuffle” and ERIC WEISSBERG AND STEVE MANDELL’s “Dueling Banjos” ].       We said, ‘Look,

let’s set this up just like we’re live, playing on stage.’       We called in the toadies,  our friends, and people

from off the streets to make noise with us, to party with us; people we didn’t even know.    It worked:

we did ‘Double Shot’ in one take.       The song was originally recorded in Columbia, South Carolina, in

the early ’50s, by Dick Holler & The Holidays;  it was a cult number, a beach number.”


The Swingin’ Medallions were first formed in 1962 in the tiny town of  96, South Carolina.   McElrath met

Carroll Bledsoe,  a fellow folkie with a hootenanny trio at nearby Greenwood High.   A year later, Joe

Morris, a native 96er, was added to the fold.     By the mid-’60s, the Medallions line-up was in place:  John

McElrath (keyboards),  Jimbo Doares (guitar),   Carroll Bledsoe (trumpet), Charles Webber (trumpet),

Brent Forston (keyboards, sax, flute),  Steven Caldwell (sax), James Perkins (bass), and Joe Morris



Dave Roddy, the DJ at Birmingham’s WSGN who broke “Double  Shot” locally, suggested that the group

add the “Swingin’ ” prefix  to their monicker.    Just before the release of “Double Shot,” Dot Records

issued the group’s poor-selling debut single,   “I Wanna Be Your Guy.”


Follow-ups to the “Double” disk were hard to launch.   “‘She  Drives Me Out Of My Mind’ [#71, 1966]

charted real good,” said McElrath.      “And we did real well with our remake Of BRUCE CHANNELS’ ‘Hey!

Baby.’    But we had to go back to college or we’d be drafted, so we couldn’t devote ourselves to the music

as much as we wanted to.”


By 1970, the band started falling apart, as the guys began getting married and drifting away.    McElrath

started up his own studio in Greenwood, South Carolina; Brent Forston and Steven Caldwell had already

split from the group in 1967 to record as the Pieces of Eight for A&M.     Some labels bearing the “Pieces

Of Eight” name also tagged the group as “The Original Swingin’ Medallions.”


McElrath has kept the “Swingin’ Medallions” name active-­-“We actually played more in [the late ’80s]

than we did in all of the ’60s.”    An album was planned for release in 1990.      McElrath is the only original

Swingin’ Medallion touring under that name, but each year, from 1983 onward, all of the original

members reunite for a one-off concert in Atlanta.


According to McElrath,      Jimbo is currently an accountant; Carroll is a sales  representative for Zenith;

Charlie is a captain with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Department; Brent is a lawyer; Steve is the

president of a computer firm; James is with Eastern Airlines; and Joe is an  executive with the Sonoco

Paper Company.