Here’s a treat.
Newton Collier, now 71, was 20 years old in 1965 when he met a young singing duo in Augusta, Ga.
Collier had started playing the trumpet in Macon at the tender age of 14. He learned by listening to other musicians and then recreating their tunes on his aunt’s piano.
Prater family members had a chance to sit down with Collier in Macon March 21, 2016, and talk about meeting the singers the world would soon know as “Soul Men” Sam and Dave.
After that first meeting in 1965, Sam and Dave asked Collier to join the band and he went on the road with them on the “Chitlin” circuit. They played in clubs and dance halls from the Apollo Theater in New York to the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. They drove a series of used station wagons, vans and buses across the Jim Crow South in the turbulent Civil Rights era of the 1960s.
When they played to all-white audiences in Alabama, they had police escorts. Their van passed Freedom Riders who were protesting segregation throughout the South and often preceded them or joined them in towns where they performed. Collier said those were tense days, but they let their music speak for them and put it all on stage. It was common to have five-hour high-energy performances.
Stay tuned to www.PraterMusicFest.com for more memories of life on the road with Sam and Dave.
Dave Prater’s hometown of Ocilla, Ga., is celebrating the man and his music during Prater Music Fest May 12-14, 2016.
In this clip, Collier talks about how he learned to play music in Macon, Ga.