By: James HowellStaff Writerjhowell@civitasmedia.com
February 24, 2013
I am proud that Greg Carroll was a Member of “The Legendary Ink Spots,” as well as other groups but there was so much more to Greg.
Greg and his loving wife Lois Carroll, chose to live in Ashe County in the latter years of their live. They could have lived anywhere but they choose to be here.
Greg was extremely involved with many aspects of living. He helped many people and organizations. I told him once that he and Lee McMillan were a lot alike. One time I was very ill and in the hospital. McMillan had come to visit; then Greg Carroll came to visit. They both got to talking, having a little meeting when suddenly Greg said, “Man, look at the time.” McMillan said “Oh gosh I gotta go.” I coughed and said, “Excuse me fellas, but I hope you enjoy the meeting.” We all laughed. They left.
Greg was a member of the Lions Club and very active in the many projects they did. We did a gig for the Lions Club that was a big success.
Greg had a special place in his heart for the Riverview Community Center. He would often tell the band, “can’t practice on Thursdays, I got to help feed the people.” He would help serve the food, donate his time, money, and experience. Greg loved to be in the many activities associated with the center. He would get a part in the many “Skits” that the people put on. He would be there on a lot of Fridays to hear the locals play and sing. It was nice, and a lot of work behind the scenes. One of the big events for Riverview was the famous Rubber Ducky Race. The people always had Greg in charge of selling tickets. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. Ha ha.
Greg was on the committee for the Ashe County Civic Center. He and Lois donated a nice PA system for them to use.
Greg was also involved with the “Transportation Committee” for Ashe County.
He was concerned about people. He was on the Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission. Greg was on a committee that helped challenged people. Whenever BROC had a raffle Greg was in charge of ticket sales. Man, he could sell tickets.
Greg was on the Homeowners Committee as well. We sang at their last meeting. It was so very nice.
Greg sang at the “Riverhouse” often. He helped others as well.
Greg would sing and entertain for so many events. The wine festivals, etc.
Greg was also very active in his church and all the activities there. That was his last performance The annual singing at the Methodist Church at Three Top Mountain. He gave the church a song he composed special for that event.
I met Greg while singing at “Shatley Springs” one year. We instantly hit it off. I didn’t really know who he was until McMillan told me. But Greg came back to “Shatley” and sang with me. He invited me to join his band. It was hard work, but it was extremely enjoyable. Greg could be so demanding, but he just wanted you to do your best and then step it up a notch.
The band Greg founded in here consisted of Greg Taylor on keyboards, drummer Jean-Claude Lyalls, lead guitarist Jimmy Brooks, bass guitarist Pat Saxon, and myself Peggy Sue, who played keyboards, sang and was a general “flunky.” Ha ha.
It definitely was an honor and privilege to preform on stage with all these talented people. One of the challenging things was the music. There was no printed pages of the songs Greg sang or the way he sang them. So, I would go to the studio and Greg would sing the songs and I would put the music down, then together we would make charts for the band. That was an experience for sure. We used to argue over keys, etc. One time I insisted that the words to a song were different than what Greg sang and he said, “Hey this is my peoples’ song I know it.” We just laughed.
One time I was playing at Shatley Springs and Greg showed up unexpectedly. Well, I gave him a microphone and he sang for a while. An older lady in the audience came up to the stage and told Greg, “Young man you can really sing. I mean it, I believe you could really make it if you would try. “
Little did she know that Greg was an “Ink spot” who had preformed all over the world for many dignitaries, etc. She was so sweet.
Greg just loved people, rich, poor and in between. It didn’t matter he could talk to any one and before leaving make people happy.
Often times Greg would say during on stage performances: he’d look to the left and tell the people repeat after me: “‘BE HAPPY,’ the center section: ‘SPEND SOME MONEY,’ the section on the right, ‘WRITE IT DOWN.’”
At the end of a performance Greg would say, “Ashe County Civic Center your home away from home. Be careful going home the life you save could be mine. You gotta go somewhere but ya can’t stay here..bye bye.”
Greg always said, “gotta take care of Momma.” He was a good husband.
Greg Carroll: Singer (extraordinaire), song writer, instrumentalist, entertainer, but most of all for Ashe County, he was a GREAT HUMANITARIAN.
Here’s to you Greg. We will remember you. Thanks for choosing Ashe County.
Peggy Sue Perkins