BY RON WILLIAMS
By this time next week, we’ll know who will be the next mayor of Columbus (Writer’s note: It’ll be Robert Smith, again, so don’t act surprised). We’ll also know who the next Ward 2 City councilman will be (that race is much more hotly contested between the incumbent Joseph Mickens and challenger Susan Mackay. Mackay held the seat four years prior to Mickens). The interesting thing is that with the election of Marty Turner in Ward 4, when he defeated longtime incumbent Fred Stewart last week, the dynamics of the entire council has changed. Turner appears to be more in a political circle that would diminish the political power of current Mayor Robert Smith. And that’s with or without a change in Ward 2 with Mickens or Mackay. The election of Mackay would only further complicate the distribution of political power, which would probably be a good thing for the citizens of Columbus. The current council has become one of complete predictability when it comes to voting blocks. Turner’s election threw all of that out the window. In other words, Columbus city political hounds who like to follow the political going-ons of future council meetings will likely see a lot of 3-3 ties, which will force the mayor into making a lot of tie-breaking votes on issues. Mayor Smith should be on the hotbed much more during the next four years, taking away that predictability we’ve endured during the last four.
Either way, Marty Turner’s election has already became a game-changer at future Columbus City Council meetings. It should be interesting!
Charlie Burgin & Southbound Train To Perform at Ground Zero Blues Club
It might be some shameful promotion here, but it’s too big of a deal not to mention. My band, Charlie Burgin & Southbound Train, will perform at the internationally-known Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale on Saturday night, June 22. GZBC is jointly owned by Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and Clarksdale attorney (and likely next mayor of Clarksdale) Bill Luckett. The club has had so many world-famous entertainers grace its stage, it’s hard to name just a few. But Bonnie Raitt, Elvin Bishop, Willie King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Smokey Smothers and a host of others would be a pretty good example.
Most of you will remember Charlie Burgin. He was (and still is) a musical icon in entertainment circles around these parts, singing in regional venues dating back to the mid 1960’s from Columbus to Tuscaloosa. Almost two years ago, I was proud to be a part of his re-emergence into the area music scene. A lot of people had thought Burgin had passed away. But, oh no! In fact, Charlie is singing as good as ever. On May 18, Charlie and the band played our third appearance at Tuscaloosa’s Moose Lodge. Fans of Charlie, dating back to those mid-60’s that I spoke of, still flock to discover that Charlie is not only alive, but he’s singing with freshly-found gusto. At that performance, fan after fan just had to have a photo taken with Charlie B. They had remembered Charlie singing around the Tuscaloosa area in such venues as The Ponderosa, The Red Horse, The Shiloh or the old Stardust night spots in Northport. (Charlie performs, locally, at The Junction on Highway 182 every other Saturday night.)
When I told Charlie of the Ground Zero booking (and the fact that he might be singing on a night that Morgan Freeman could possibly be in attendance), he couldn’t have been more proud. The 65 year old Burgin lit up like the lights of a football stadium. And I (and members of the band) couldn’t be more proud for him.
The band consist of Ben Ferrell on guitar, Bobby Shannon on keys, sax, vocals (you name it), Mike McCoy on drums and vocals and Bruce ‘Bird’ Crain on bass. I proudly lend some vocals to the cause as well. And, of course, there’s the legendary Charlie Burgin himself.
If you’re over Clarksdale way on June 22, stop in. We’d love for you to join us. If not, the performance will be streamed live via the internet at http://www.groundzerobluesclub.com/ beginning at 9 p.m. In fact, you can view Ground Zero Blues Club performances on any Thursday, Friday or Saturday night at that same website.
The views and opinions expressed in Ron Williams’ columns are the author’s and are not necessarily those of The Columbus Packet or Packet Media, LLC.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at