South Carolina has produced some of the best R&B, Soul, and Beach Music bands in the world. What really sets these apart for me is the brass, the horn sections, that is something we do very well down here in Carolina. I enjoyed learning the history of the Epics, going through the photos dating back to the early 60’s and witnessing how they grew from a party band to a first class show band with nearly all original members intact. That is no easy task starting out as a group of high school kids, it takes discipline, practice, trial and error but I would think most importantly it would require a lot of fun and close friendship in order to achieve that level of tightness especially over such a long period of time.
As a side note I included a live performance of their cover version of “Vehicle” originally done by The ides Of March. I did this for two reasons – to show just how incredibly tight they still are as a working band, (this is no easy song to pull off live as it requires tremendous power and timing in delivery), and simply because it’s one of my favorites and they kick it out!
The Sensational Epics were formed in 1963 as a five-piece group based in Columbia, South Carolina. They played primarily for high school and college fraternity & sorority functions, performing what is now known as "Beach Music". Their on-stage antics, choreography, and dynamic sound made them an instant favorite across the southeast. Along the way they shared the stage with such names as The Drifters, Gladys Knight, and James Brown.
In 1965, the Epics evolved into a nine piece "Show and Party" band, featuring five horns and a very talented rhythm section. The song, “I’ve Been Hurt”, written by Ray Whitley, was recorded in late October of 1965 and released on the “4 Sale” label in early 1966. From there it was a short trip for the Epics being signed to Cameo Records. More single releases followed including the original version of "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy" and "You Warp My Mind" on Warner Brothers Records, then "All My Hard Times" and "Play It By Ear" on Capitol Records.
In time, the members graduated from college and began careers or served during the Vietnam war so the band ceased to exist. Then in 1999, The Sensational Epics reformed with all but one of their original members to play a high school reunion. The event and reformation was so successful they decided to pick up where they had left off and they can be found out performing and entertaining crowds across the southeast today.
In 2014 the Epics were honored by being inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame. Currently they record on Ripete Records and their most recent CD release is titled "Been There, Ain't Done Yet" along with several compilation CDs containing such contributions as "Freedom Trilogy" and "Because of You".
Mike Tronco - lead vocals
Bill deLoach - keyboard
Gene Lee - trumpet, vocals
Buster Elrod - trumpet, vocals
Rick Richardson - sax, vocals
Larry Clark - sax, vocals
Fred Perry - sax, vocals
Tom Graham - drums
Mike Clark - keyboards
Phil Frazer - keyboards
Jim Davis - guitar
David Erwin - guitar
Andy Shull - guitar, trumpet
Jim Anderson - guitar, deceased
Jay Collier - trumpet
Jim Brazelle - baritone sax, vocals, deceased
Jim Chappell - drums, vocals
Ken Campbell - drums, deceased