Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Tony Drake Story

Several years ago my good friend, legendary Blues man Roy Roberts, sent me a  CD featuring the music of a young man in Tennesee. In August 2011 we were able to help Tony and his family move to Winston-Salem so he could work on his next CD with Rockhouse Records. My company is helping with the PR and serves as the media contact. All of our services for  The Tony Drake Story project are provided at no charge; listening to his music and his story changes something inside you forever.

His website: http://www.tonydrakestory.com/   Facebook: Facebook Link

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Race

Thought for the day...

The Race

Our Special City

All Images © GHPC INC

In the summer of 1996 I worked on a project for the Atlanta Olympics. I believe I was able to capture the essence of Winston-Salem in the photograph. I modified the original image in December 1999 with the addition of the Moravian Star from Bethania Moravian Church.
.... And I still believe Winston-Salem is ...my kind of world...

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Friend, Blues Legend - Roy Roberts

It was one was of those chance encounters in 1995 that led to my meeting with Roy Roberts. Over the years we became good friends and stayed in touch while collaborating on musical projects. We have several releases coming up this year including his Gospel Album.

...Let The Music Play...

Roy Roberts became hooked on music while growing up in a small town in Tennessee, listening to blues and R&B on radio stations WLAC out of Nashville. Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do” was the clincher and at the age of 14, Roy worked on a nearby farm to earn the money for his first guitar, a mail order Sears Silvertone.

When he turned 18, he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina to live with an uncle. There he had another inspiration to become a professional musician, when he and a carload of friends happened upon a nightclub where Jerry Butler was performing and making quite an impression on the ladies. Roy sharpened his skills while playing in makeshift bands until he landed a job with local hero Guitar Kimbers’ Untouchables. Before long, Roy was backing up major artists who came through town. One of those artists, Solomon Burke, took young Roy under his wing after letting him sit in as a bass player during a local gig. He was soon handling the guitar chores behind the future soul legend on tour. Roberts subsequently picked up touring gigs with such luminaries as Eddie Floyd, “Little” Stevie Wonder, Dee Clark, and Otis Redding, while fronting his own band, The Roy Roberts Experience, on the regional club scene and Southeastern beach town circuit.

Roy began to cut records in the mid-sixties, staying mostly behind the scenes as a session man. The tragic death of Otis Redding inspired him to step up to the microphone with a song dedicated to the late crooner. The record was released on Nina Simone’s NinaAndy label and backed by an ace studio band. Roy followed this successful effort with a string of 45’s that carried him well into the seventies. During the disco years, Roy turned his talents to country music, touring with the great O.B. McClinton and releasing a number of country records. After a brief hiatus from the music scene, Roy built a recording studio in Virginia in 1989, where he produced records by regional gospel artists and cut a gospel record of his own.

One day in the early nineties, he heard a young Robert Cray singing the blues on the radio. “That cat’s got my style,” he declared, and got the blues fever once again. Besides recording his own material on Rock House, Roberts has produced albums for the label by Priscilla Price, Lou Pride, Chick Willis, Skeeter Brandon, Floyd Miles, Eddie Floyd, and many more. Roy continues to record and produce records for his label, and tours the U.S. and Europe regularly. After receiving numerous awards, Roy has earned his place among the finest artists playing blues today. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Snow In Sri Lanka!

Nuwara Eliya really looked like a little England yesterday. The Meteorological Department said the temperature of some places in Nuwara Eliya froze to five degrees Celsius during the last few days.

A very unusual event for the tropical island country - Enjoy the snow/frost while you can!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Annual "State of The Union" December 2011/January 2012

December 24, 2011

To my family and friends around the world:

Yes, It is that time of the year again! My annual “State of the Union” message is ready for distribution. At this point you do have a choice, proceed to read or promptly delete! I have been a little more reclusive this year, not sure if it is the age showing or just another phase I have to go through at this stage in my life! In either case, all is well, life is good and all components are moving forward.

2011 was a year of more changes, opportunities, a few disappointments as well as encounters of the weird kind! For all the wisdom that states one can never go back to a point in time, I do have a new twist on this idea. I look at life as a computer; we continue to load up software, add hardware, change operating systems, call tech support, end up listening to horrible music, being transferred numerous times and finally ending up with even more frustration. I must hand it to the software engineers who write the millions of lines of imbedded code that make computers do wonderful things; in their wisdom they chose to keep a series of restore points within the system. So when your computer acts up, going back to the last restore point when everything was working well gives you a point in time that you may return to, once again.

This was one of those years when I had to go back to a restore point, unload all the add-ons of the last two years and reset my systems to where they used to work real well. The results were remarkable and the reset has brought back the definition and focus I needed once again.

The family is well; my wife and I are celebrating our 32nd year of life together this year. Our oldest daughter and our son-in-law, have given us the joy of two delightful youngsters! The transition into being grandparents is wonderful! Our second daughter and our youngest daughter are doing well. Our youngest son will be a senior in high school next year.

My health continues to hold up well. The most recent checkup at Duke earlier this month went well. All functions and test results are great; the only minor inconvenience is a bit of bone loss in my lower back. The notion that I am spineless has now been confirmed!! Thankfully there are more pills with even more side effects to hopefully resolve the issue. Now I have two great lines added to my repertoire; “Must be age or my medication!” The heart is good – one year plus since the big one! I am eternally grateful to my doctors and their staff for taking good care of me.

The recent visit to Duke inspired me with the material for this year’s message. My appointment was at 8:00 am which meant I had to leave home around 6:00 am. For most of my life I was up at dawn and rarely missed a sunrise; however, over the years I have turned into a night owl and it is rare that I see a sunrise! On this particular morning, just about the time I was cruising through Greensboro on my way to Durham, the familiar brilliance and glory of a spectacular sunrise began to unfold right before my eyes.

Memories of watching the sun rise in different parts of the world began to crawl back through my mind. One particular sunrise was observed while standing on top of Adam’s Peak, the mountain considered sacred by all four major religions. Located in the central part of Sri Lanka, the mountain is 2243 meters or 7359 feet tall. The long climb up the mountain begins a little after midnight. The path to the summit is 5200 steps, carved and built into the side of the mountain. Thousands of pilgrims make this trek, people from all backgrounds, the rich, the poor, all socio-economic, ethnic and religious groups are represented in this mass of moving people.

The journey is slow and tiresome. The objective is to reach the summit just before sunrise to observe a phenomenon that is unique to the mountain. On the right day, when there is no mist or fog, the rising sun casts a shadow of the mountain down in the valley. The shadow forms a triangle, visible for just a couple of minutes before the bright sunlight fills the valley. To the individual or group working their way up the mountainside, there is no guarantee that the morning will be clear. There is always the possibility they will reach the summit only to be greeted by a sea of white mist and clouds where the sunshine will never break through. That is the faith they must exercise as they continue up the winding path.

Our family made this trip when I was around 12 years old. This was one of those auspicious mornings when there was not a cloud nor a hint of mist in sight. The darkness was soon dispelled by the dawning light, the sun burst forth from the edge of the horizon and there before our eyes was the wonderment of the magical triangle.

Forty seven years later, I am in my office on a Friday afternoon, remembering that moment. I can see the image so vividly, my mind transported back in time in a few seconds. It will be Christmas Eve tomorrow so I need to get this off to all of you scattered around the world. I remember the family, friends and individuals I have been fortunate and blessed to know through all these years.

As I look back at all the good, the not so good and the obviously bad encounters, events, incidents that I have been part of and/or witnessed over the years, the take away is clear. All the little things that seem to be so overwhelming or insurmountable are like the proverbial bump in the road. As time goes by, the once highly relegated relevance of these matters fade away into obscurity. For as the trek up the mountain taught me well, it will not matter in the morning.

All through our lives we accumulate negative baggage, whether real or perceived. It seems to be of no consequence that our lives are also blessed with joy and happiness; the bad seems to outweigh the good. As we look at the year behind us, we will remember the joys and sorrows we have shared, the gains and the losses we have borne, the wondrous additions of new life and the sorrowful farewells we have bid those with whom we have lived and loved.

As we celebrate the variety of holidays based on our individual and collective beliefs, let us take the time to remember that the things of the past are what reinforce our faith in the future. And as we look forward to celebrating the dawn of another year let us resolve to be more thankful and focused on the good things that this life offers each one of us. It is equally important to remember that the day to day experiences we will endure will not matter in the morning. There is no guarantee that you will see the brilliance of the rising sun; there may be clouds that obscure the majesty below, but above the clouds, the sun is always shining and there always is a morning.

And when our lives are complete we will remember the words of the Psalmist: “For his anger endures but for a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

I wish each one of you and your families Peace, Love and Joy in the coming year. May you find the joy in your life as you bring joy to those around you.

…for there will be joy in the morning…

Thank you for being my family and friends,

George Pingho

George H. Pingho
GHP Consultants, Inc.
email: info@georgepingho.com
Cell Phone: (336) 972-7888

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The Mountain and The Triangle