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Spotlight on Ricky Bratton and his band

Published as part of the February 13, 2013 edition.

Spotlight on Ricky Bratton and his band


Jeanie Summerville

Whatz up, babies?

Since it's February, that means it's Black History Month. So, are you and yours trying to learn more about your heritage? I now that I am and I'm not going to stop because as I said before, the more I learn the more I want to learn, so I can share it with you and then we'll all know. On that note, let's have some fun learning about the Ricky Bratton and his Band. However, this week's spotlight is a little different from the past spotlights on bands that were brought to you. Why? Versatility, baby. So, instead of me going to the venue, after the band has starting playing so that I can see and feel how the people were responding to them, tonight I got there early. As a matter of fact, 15 minutes earlier because some people shared with me how fantastic this band is and that I don't want to miss out on any of it! I took their word for it and here I am, so at this particular time I'm just going to sit back, relax and enjoy until they start performing. And, once they're performing, if they are as good as what some people say then I'm going to stand and jump and shout, if I want to! We can do that because Frost is gonna take you there.

Okay, they're performing now, I'm feeling it and everybody in the room is feeling it! I'm so very pleased that I listened to those people and came early because if not, I would have missed out on them performing some wonderful songs in the first 15 minutes such as, "Sarah Smile" by Hall & Oates, and a song that I've always liked that I know was song by Tina Turner because I saw the Ike and Tina Turner story. And, I think that song is called, "Nutbush City Limits." They are totally jamming and I'm totally loving it because their stage presence is just awesome. I'm also loving the way the two keyboardist interact with one another while having fun performing for all of us. Watching this band perform is a wonderful experience for me and everybody else because we're all smiling, some are singing along, some of us are dancing in our chairs, while others are dancing on the dance floor and it feels so good. And now, the time has come for their first break, so ladies and gentlemen we bring to you, The Ricky Bratton Band.

"Hello Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Ricky Bratton. I play lead guitar and the other musicians that are a part of my band are Alicia Davis on keyboards and vocals, Eric Green also on keyboards and vocals, Daniel Maple on bass and Tim Ormsby on drums."

After this introduction, the first question out of my mouth with great enthusiasm was, Ricky, how did you manage to put together such a fantastic band?

"Well, I did a lot of searching around for different musicians and Danny and I worked at a steel fabricating shop together. I was already in a band and he was getting out of a band and I asked him would he like to play bass? He said yes about 15 or 16 years ago. Then I ran into Eric Green and asked him if he'd play keyboards for me and he agreed, I actually stole him from another band. Alicia, I took her out of church but I gave her back. Then, I was looking for a drummer and I found Tim at a jam session. This band has been together now for about five or six years.

"And, what inspired me to want to get a band together is, when I was in the fifth grade I joined a talent show at James Smart School. At that time I couldn't really play that much but I could hold a guitar and just get up there, move around and show my stuff, I would say. Plus I would listen to musicians such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and said I want to be like those guys one day."

This is for Eric: When you're performing you're full of energy and just dynamic. Not only are you a great musician but you're also a great entertainer, M.C. and comedian. I love the way that you get out there and sing to the people and they love it too because I watched their eyes light up and their smiles become bigger.

So my question is, what are you feeling when you're making all of this beauty happen?

"I guess I feel like any other entertainer would feel because it's a good feeling to entertain folks and see them smile and their heads bopping and shoes tapping and things like that and I love what I do so." Then I said not every entertainer brings out in the people what I witnessed tonight that you have, and he said: "Well, I'm just unique like that and that's why I keep fresh batteries in those hand held mikes so I can do that."

Ricky added this:

"He has the most energy and he can get free to be amongst the audience. When I first got him to do it, he took it and ran with it. Which is really good because the ladies love it."

It's Alicia turn now and I wanted to know, how long have you been playing keyboards and where did you get that beautiful voice from?

"Well, I'm 23 years old and I started when I was 13 playing classical music and then in church. Now, I'm playing R&B with this band, which I enjoy but at first I didn't and I really don't know why. Maybe, it's because it was a new thing for me, I guess. As far as, my voice, I probably got that from my mom because she also sings."

Ricky then added:

"Actually, what it was is that, she didn't really want to mix the two music forms together gospel and R&B. But, I've been playing both for years and a lot of people say, well that's not right! So I ask them, what's wrong with it? They say, you're either going to play gospel or you're going to play R&B and I don't agree with that. I think that you should play what you can play. GOD gave you the talent, use it!"

So, let's find out the scoop on Daniel the bassist and the drummer Tim. First Daniel:

I've been playing music since I was ten but starting playing the bass when I was 13, so I guess for 47 years now. Music, it's just in my blood and since I can't express myself enough with words and stuff, my music gives me a way to outlet."

Tim had this to say:

"I started playing drums in the fifth grade band at school and now I'm 58 years old and I've played in jazz bands, classic rock, blues bands and R&B bands and I enjoy being in this band."

Now, it's time for them to return to the stage and finish bringing the people some more joy and excitement. So at this time I'm going to talk with two of those people and this is what they had to say:

"Hello Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Linda Martin and me and my husband come here to the American Legion Post 148 every weekend to listen to the bands for relaxation and out of all the bands that we've heard, I like this one the best. Because I think that Eric is awesome and with Ricky on guitar, no one can beat him, he makes his guitar talk."

Hello Frost readers. My name is Reggie Rogers and this is my first time watching this band and I like them. I like them a lot because they're hyped and I love the old-school music they're playing. I will definitely tell others about them and will come to see them again."

Now in closing I'd like to say, thank you to Ricky Bratton and his band for bringing me some more joy, beauty, happiness and peace of mind on our journey of love because I truly enjoyed watching all of you perform. And, to our readers I hope that you feel the same way too while reading about them. So until next week, you've been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.

P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to upclosewithjeanie@yahoo.com. I'd love to hear from ya.

P.P.S. I'd also like to thank all of you who have been sending me e-mails to give me some feed back on our journey. Keep up the good work and to those who haven't please feel free to do so because I'd love to hear from you too.

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