Friday, October 8, 2010
This summer we were were greatly saddened to learn of the death of a true giant in Virginia Soul music. Clarence "Sir Guy" Barron, passed away June 15, 2010 at his home in Aiken, South Carolina.
Mr. Barron got his start in the Berkley section of Norfolk with a group called The Visions. Clarence, better known as Guy, stood out not only because of his amazing voice and dynamic stage moves, but the striking figure cut by his tall, lanky frame and perfectly processed hair. In 1967 Sir Guy went out on his own and made a splash with his first record, "The Frog" b/w "Broke Down And Cried", on Frank Guida's S.P.Q.R. label. A strong regional hit, both sides were redone as "The Frisky Frog" and "I Cried" for George Perkins' D.P.G. imprint. The years that followed brought some genuine masterpieces from "My Sweet Baby" to "Let Home Cross Your Mind" to "I Need You Baby" and, of course, the one Sir Guy remains best known for, "Funky Virginia". An undisputed anthem around these parts, it's been suggested by more than a few that if there were any justice "Funky Virginia" would be the Old Dominion's official song. One thing's for sure, this record still packs dance floors not only here, but around the world, some forty plus years after its release. Surely one of the Commonwealth's finest exports.
Sir Guy will continue to live on in the hearts of friends and loved ones, the memories of those fortunate enough to have seen one of his legendary performances, and, of course, the wonderful, yet all too brief, recorded legacy he left us all. The impact these records have had on us here at "Funky Virginia" is obviously immeasurable. We just hope to do right by the name.
Sir Guy & The Rocking Cavaliers "Funky Virginia"
Sir Guy "I Cried"
Special thanks to our friend Kevin Coombe of D.C. Soul Recordings for the great picture of Sir Guy. Also a big thank you to Ol' Virginia Soul's Brent Hosier for his help with this story and many others.