An Interview with Jerry Wright of The Southcoasters
“Still sounding good after all these years.”
It all started when John Reininga met Beeman Strong at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. With the rising popularity of such groups as the Kingston Trio and Limelighters, these two lads came down with a serious case of folk fever.
They met Jerry Wright in Houston, Texas one stormy night at a hurricane party in Sin Alley. For three days and nights they were cooped up together. Aside from the strain on personal hygeine and consuming too many soft drinks, they found a shared love for folk music. Playing banjo, bass, and guitar, when you put their voices together, it was magical.
So, here they are, over 50 years later. They are still singing together, still consuming too many soft drinks, only the personal hygeine issue has improved. They are three 25-year olds, trapped in senior citizen bodies.
Before fading into the background called, “making a normal living,” they became popular regulars at local folk clubs like The Jester, playing to record crowds and attracting a loyal following. Featured on numerous “Hootnanny’s,” sometimes as headliners, they played on the same bill with such notables as Johnny Cash, George Jones, Judy Collins, Brenda Lee, Bobby Bare, Kay Oslen, Guy Clarke, and The Rum Runners, quickly rising to the top and recording several hit records.
If you are of the age where you know what a “Hootnanny” is, then you may remember their first big hits, “Black Gold,” and “Hurricane.” Besides becoming a national chart climber, it also played well in Italy, Belgium and Beaumount.
Where they are now
Now John devotes his time to developing the Gold Coast, while Beeman is busy consulting developers in Texas, for a small fee. Jerry is retired and spends most of his time hunting and fishing with his grandkids and playing with Beeman. They came out of retirement to create these C.D.’s because two of them have had first-hand experience with prostate cancer and, like most of us, have lost too many friends to breast cancer.
Hopefully, M.D. Anderson can use the money to help find cures for these dreaded diseases.