Albert "Li'l Redd" Cottle grew up, literally, among his show-stopping, singing and dancing dad and his pals.
The older men, who formed the R&B group The Tams in the early 1960s in Atlanta, went on to a record contract with ABC Records and top 10 singles that include "What Kind of Fool" and "Hey Girl." And that was fun to watch, for a little boy.
"I've been with them since I was 6, and I'm 38 - 39," said Cottle, the son of lead singer Charles Pope, now 71. "I used to come out and sing a couple songs. My brother used to call me out and I'd do a song, I think I'd do ‘Feelings.' Then I'd just dance with the guys in the back and try to fit in."
Today, as the members of the group age, Cottle splits the singing with his father. When The Tams take to the stage Friday night at the Smithgall Arts Center, Cottle said they can expect Pope to start the show with some of the group's old favorites, and then Cottle will take over and kick the party up a notch.
"My dad will come out and do the hit songs; I do a lot of different stuff, might do Jackie Wilson or the O'Jays," he said. "My dad keeps it kind of (for) people who remember the good old days, let them get theirs."
Be prepared to dance, Cottle said, because their classic tunes are known to get a crowd tired out.
"We go do a lot of dancing and high energy. We're really high energy -people will tell us, ‘Man, you made me tired," he said. "That's the main thing they can look forward to - some good entertainment."
Pope recalled the band's rise to fame in the 1960s as "real good."
"It's always been good for us," he said. "We never had no bad times. It's always been good."
And Cottle said he grew up listening to stories the older men told of the cities they visited and the great venues they performed in.
"They said it was like, a lot of fun back then. Now, there's so much going on, but back then everyone was so friendly ... it seems like everyone was just happy, happy, happy," he said. "They loved it back then; (Pope) used to talk about it a lot, when all the guys were together, how much fun they're have at this place back in the '60s, and I'd be like, ‘Man, I wish I was there."