The scene: Carolina legend Arthur Smith’s studio in Charlotte, c. 1961. Local teen sensations the Constellations have prepared three songs to record for release on Impel Records: a new version of “I Got a Woman,” “How I Love My Baby,” and “I Need Somebody.” But they need a fourth side, so guitarist Don Camp–looking sharp above in his British Invasion-style suit–improvises this biting, propulsive riff and arranges “Dumb Dee Dumb,” which eventually becomes half of Impel R-2119 and the only instrumental David Lee ever released. Surf rock (not beach music) from Shelby, North Carolina? Not bad for a sixteen year old. That’s one mean guitar tone.
Don’s style changed over the years, and his musical interests evolved too, with stints in country outfits like the Stetson Gang and his current role as guitarist and singer in the Inside Out Band, which also features his son. Don kindly lent us his musical photo album to scan, where we found the amazing shots below, which offer some evocative glimpses into the musical worlds of Western Piedmont North Carolina. We wish we could have been at both these shows, which look like serious parties. Paradise of Bachelors, indeed. Mr. Camp, we salute you!