Eulogizing Tap and Rock: Howard Sims Jr. and Joe Boyd


A movie on hoofers in Harlem in the ’30s and 40s, and a book on rock in the ’60s — they’re featured back-to-back this weekend.

Joe Boyd, a native son, now a producer and music historian, reads from his book, “White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s” tonight (Friday, November 21, at 7 p.m. at the Arts Council). As Kevin L. Carter reports in this week’s U.S. 1, Boyd discovered and/or produced artists ranging from Pink Floyd and Nick Drake to Eric Clapton, the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Richard and Linda Thompson, R.E.M., Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and 10,000 Maniacs. Jim Floyd, son of Princeton’s former mayor, will introduce the show. Floyd, Princeton Class of 1969, took the photo of Boyd at the Newport Festival that was used on the front cover of “White Bicycles.”

Howard Sims Jr., the son of “Sandman” Sims (1917-2003), will comment on the film “No Maps on My Taps,” which features his father. Sims Jr., now 39, lives in Princeton with his wife and four children. He appears in the film as a boy dancing with his father. It will be shown on Sunday, November 23, at 3 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library.

Both Boyd and Sims Jr. are eulogizing lost arts. Carter quotes Boyd saying he doesn’t think popular music is as important, or as musical, as it was during his ’60s heyday. “It is nowhere near as important as it was in the ’60s,” Boyd says. “Every art form has its golden age, and I fear pop’s has passed.

Sims believes that Savion Glover, who he says owns the tap legacy, focuses on performing, not evangelizing. “I think he is a beautiful person,” says Sims. “but he is the last of this era. When he’s gone, this craft is gone.”

Whether in race relations or in the arts, says Sims, “We need to do things for each other. No matter what you may think of me, I need to speak to you, and I need to show you that I am not the person you think I am. If we have a craft or a skill, it shouldn’t be about money all the time. We should share that knowledge with each other. That was the beautiful thing about my dad.”

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One thought on “Eulogizing Tap and Rock: Howard Sims Jr. and Joe Boyd

  1. The film “Taps” starring Gregory Hines will be screened in an anniversary celebration for the Tap Legacy Foundation on Saturday, February 14, t 8 pm., at the Directors Guild Theatre, 110 West 57th St, NY 10036. The $7 tickets are in limited supply and are supposed to be the original 1989 prices. The code to get them is Tap7. Otherwise tickets are $25. There will be a champagne reception for all ticket hodlers. Call Ticket Central at 212-279-4200

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