Southern Raleway - Stonewall - Zaharas

Three names - 32 years. The bands live on in me, and the songs I am now writing.

****All songs have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office****
I never claimed to be a good guitar player or singer, but I sure had fun trying!

Country Tunes
From The CD - Crazy Over You
By: Mick Lail

What’s going on with Zaharas these days?


As far as I know, I am the only member of any of my bands who is still writing and recording. Every once in a while, an idea comes to me and I putter around with it to see if I can make a new song.

I have recorded enough songs so far to make one country CD, three rock CDs, and one Christmas CD. I continue to write and record on my own at times. Time is becoming short, and inspiration is harder to come by than in my younger days.

Over the years, the music has changed a lot. My recordings go all the way back to 1974. If nothing else, my kids will have something to remember me by!

Here are a few interesting things that others have to say about our first album: Livin’ Ain’t Easy.

Rare music store in Belgium
ZAHARAS: Livin’ Ain’t Easy (private US 74)* bloody rare and great North Carolina thunderous hard/rock quartet… 10 awesome tracks with heavy Led Zep influences, manic vocals, cooking acid guitar leads, and that feel you’ll find in Finchley Boys or Josefus

From a book about bands from the 70’s in
ZAHARAS: Livin' Ain't Easy - Private Pressing From North Carolina, a hard rock quartet with strong Led Zeppelin influence.

This hard rock album dates to the mid-70s but sounds more modern, almost 80s.

On the first few songs, two of which are slower and more deliberate than your typical hard rock/southern rock fare, the songwriting and guitar playing are surprisingly subtle for this style of music.

Oklahoma, USA.
ZAHARAS-Livin' Ain't Easy –Vegas (U.S., '74)* - Rare privately issued hardrock blaster; thunderous beat, tortured vocalist, and the ever-present smokin' axework.

ZAHARAS-Blackbird – VEGAS (U.S., ’79) Totally unknown and obviously much more rare second album in the same musical niche as their first. Issued in plain white cover.

Oregon, USA
It's definitely a specialist item.


*The album was recorded in 1978. I have no idea why everyone has  that it was done in 1974. - Mick

1 - Crazy Over You
2 - Hidden Emotions
3 - Honey
4 - It’s Over
5 - Lifetime Lover

6 - Lucky One
7 - Sarah
8 - Secret Hideaway
9 - The Prayer

Rock Tunes
From The LP/CD - Zaharas - Livin’ Ain’t Easy
The Vinyl LP is Extremely Rare

1 - Grand Illusion

2 - Livin’ Ain’t Easy

3 - One Last Night Together

4 - Stairway To Heaven

5 - The Feelin' Ain't Right

6 - Sittin' At The Round Table

7 - You're My Baby

8 - You Can't Shut Me Out

9 - I Love You Babe

10 - New York City

Cecil Crotts wrote “The Feelin’ Ain’t Right”.

From The LP/CD - Zaharas– Blackbird
The Vinyl LP is Extremely Rare

1 - Blackbird

2 - I’m The Sun

3 - Lay Down

4 - Let My People Go

5 - A Way To Get High

6 - Love Me

7 - Reflections

8 - She Wants Me

9 - Starr

10 - Evil Woman

From The CD - Zaharas - Shades of Darkness

1 - Master of The Night

2 - Evil Woman

3 - Jessica

4 - Talk of Time

5 - Looking For Love

6 - Grand Illusion
7 - Bar Hopper
8 - Sacrifice
9 - You’ve Got a Friend
10 - Death and Destruction

Note: Evil Woman was originally on the CD Blackbird.

Grand Illusion was originally on the CD Livin’ Ain’t Easy.
When I started the “Shades of Darkness” Project, those two songs just seemed to fit in with the mood of the new set. So, I just added them to this CD too.

From The CD - Mick’s Christmas CD
Catchy title don’t you think?




1   - Away In a Manger
2   - Come All Ye Faithful
3   - Deck The Halls
4   - Frosty The Snowman
5   - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
6   - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

7   - Jingle Bells

8   - Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem
9   - Silent Night
10 - Silver Bells
11 - The Christmas Song
12 - What Child Is This
13 - White Christmas  - Traditional
14 - White Christmas – Modern


The first two Vinyl LPs are long gone. There are only a few of them in existence and they are becoming more rare as time goes by.


I always wanted to make a Christmas CD, but I kept putting it off. I finally got around to singing these songs with some back-up karaoke music. Believe me, it is nothing great. In fact, a few of the songs are not too good at all, but I had a lot of fun doing it.


Just don’t expect Bing Crosby!
I recently found a copy of the first record that my band ever recorded. We did it back in 1974 (I think that is correct). It's a 45 with two songs on it - Lonely Man and I Want You.

New Songs – Not Yet On CD

1 - Waitin’ For The Night Time

2 - Lillie
3 - That Somebody Is Me – Country

4 - Take Me As I Am – Country
5 – Just Playing

I am hoping to have these two projects finished in the next few years. Time is getting short and inspiration is getting harder to find than in my younger days.

Fans Everywhere – Thank You!


How our first album, Livin' Ain't Easy, found its way all over the United States and several countries in Europe is a bit of a mystery. But it just proves that music has a life of its own sometimes. It is nice that some people appreciate our old LPs and are taking care of them. To my delight, Blackbird is now becoming quite popular as well.

A little bit of the old band will always live on in those pieces of vinyl. Thanks to all of our fans from the past and the present. Thanks also to those of you who will become fans if you ever have a chance to hear how a bunch of good old boys from the Catawba Valley played their hearts out in North Carolina Honky-Tonks.

It gives me unending joy to know that the music that I wrote is still wanted all over the world. Along with the old vinyl records, I have completed two self-made CDs that are pretty decent, but very different from the old music. These CDs are becoming popular in their own right.

The "Livin' Ain't Easy" LP was a labor of love, but the "Blackbird" LP was intense, complicated, and took much longer to write and complete. The vast majority of any band's fan base does not really know what inspired the songs the band does. So, I will tell you a little about some of the songs.

The song Livin' Ain't Easy was written while I was sitting on the floorboard of a car as we were trying to find places to play when we first started out. One Last Night Together was written for my wife. Stairway To Heaven - Part Two is self explanatory. I Love you Babe was written for an old girlfriend. And my favorite song on the Livin' Ain't Easy LP, Grand Illusion, is about a young man who overdoses on drugs and sees his dead girlfriend. Nobody in my band was allowed to do drugs. The only one allowed to drink any alcohol while we were playing was the drummer because he worked up such a sweat - and he wasn't allowed more than a beer during breaks.

On the Blackbird LP, the song Blackbird is about how people in ancient times believed that the blackbird signified evil. Reflections was yet another song for an old girlfriend. Let My People Go was something for the disco haters of the time. Evil woman was about a witch. Looking For a Way To Get High was another song about young people overdosing on drugs. Starr was about a really hot young lady who I just couldn't say no too. And my favorite song on the Blackbird LP, She Wants Me, is about a man who was done dirty by his woman and now he has found another so the ex-girlfriend is out of luck.

I am amazed that I even have any of these LPs left at all.

The Mick's Christmas CD done for the fun of it. I used karaoke music and sang a lot of old standards. One thing I am not is a Christmas song type singer. It isn't that good, but it was a lot of fun.

The Crazy Over You CD was done simply because I wanted to do something country. The songs on it range from happy go lucky to brooding and tragic. I like it but you may not. As far as country tunes go, they are pretty good. That said: It is not the best sounding of my projects, but it won't hurt your ears too much if you decide to listen to it.

My favorite project so far has been the Shades of Darkness CD. I think I was born to play that type of music. I had more fun doing that set of songs than any other. There are a few songs on the set that seem a bit out of place, but I just wanted to do something really different. Seven of the ten songs in that set deal with the occult, death, and just evil in general. You know, family stuff. :)

I love that people like my newer CDs, and I really appreciate the interest in the old vinyl records. Hopefully, when I am long gone from this world, my songs will still be playing somewhere.

I hope that you enjoy Blackbird, Livin’ Ain’t Easy, and all the rest of my songs, as much as I enjoyed making them.


UPDATE: It has taken many years, but "Livin' Ain't Easy" and "Blackbird" are now all over the world. They are now in the following countries that I know of:  Germany,  Sweden,  Italy,  The Netherlands,  Japan,  Russia, Belgium,  England,  Scotland,  Spain,  Portugal,  Chili, and  Brazil, and of course, all over the United States, and virtually everywhere else from illegal downloads. The band, Zaharas, has been mentioned in countless music books and articles in several countries.


Zaharas Lives!


Article about the band:

ZAHARAS was a southern rock band that originated in the Hickory area of North Carolina in 1977. Members of the band came from Bethlehem, Long View, Hickory, and Granite Falls, North Carolina. The group consisted of

Mick Lail, Gary Freeman, Cecil Crotts, and Glenn Freeman.

After many years of playing in groups which played only covers of songs by other bands, the members of ZAHARAS decided to play only original tunes. Mick Lail, lead singer and lead guitar player, was the driving force behind the band as well as the chief songwriter. Cecil Crotts, backup singer and rhythm guitar player, collaborated with Lail on a few songs. The Freeman brothers, Gary on drums and Glenn on bass guitar, and Crotts, were musicians and left the majority of the song writing to Lail.


The band had a good local following and was seen as a novelty for playing only original songs. After several months, playing at sold out clubs was common as people wanted to see these guys who were bucking the trend.


The shows that ZAHARAS put on were the usual rock and roll type that was common in that day except for their clothes: All four guys changed into different outfits after each set. The highlight of the night was the last set when Cecil wore black velvet pants with a matching shirt, Glenn wore a brown satin suit, and Mick came on stage with a pearl white satin suit. Gary wore whatever was comfortable for him as everyone knows that drummers get hot banging around the way they do.


The band recorded two albums during their brief time together. The first album, Livin' Ain't Easy, is now a collectors item and is still being sold all over the United States and a several countries in Europe. The second album, Blackbird, came a little over one year after Livin' Ain't Easy, and was quite a bit different. Lail reached into the darker parts of his life and came up with some classics that dealt with sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the occult.


The group stayed together for almost four years and never actually broke up. They just quit playing. Lail continued to write and play with friends when he had the chance, and Gary showed up many times to keep a beat. The two constants in the band were Lail and Crotts who played together for around ten years, and remained friends for life.


The darkest day in the bands history came when drummer Gary Freeman died as a result of a fire in 1981. Gary rushed into a burning home to save his brother, Glenn, who he thought was trapped inside. Gary didn't know that Glenn had already gone out the back door and was safe.


The only member of the band who is still active is Mick Lail who is still writing songs and recording. Mick has recorded a solo country CD, another rock CD, and is currently still writing for a second solo rock and country collection. Most all of these songs are very much different from what ZAHARAS played many years ago, but one can still hear the old band in there if one listens closely.


Lail has made a webpage for the band that you can reach through this link: http://www.micksplace.net/mick/music.htm


End of article

There were many more musicians and friends who played or helped out through the years in the various incarnations of bands before Zaharas. These include - Drummer - Rick Lail ( my brother), Keyboards - David Kerley (my nephew), Bass - Paul Sams, Drummer - Roger Isenhour, Bass - Tommy Collie, Bass - Dennis Berryhill, Guitar - Keith Johnson, Part Time Roadie and good Friend - Mike Roper, Lights and Sound - Paul Hill, Manager For a Short Time - Donnie Webb.


Those who have taken the final journey into the great unknown.

Gary Freeman - 1982, Paul Hill, David Kerly - 2010, Cecil Crotts - 2010, Rick Lail - 2011, Tommy Collie - 2013



The band may no longer be playing, but the music will live on as long as there is a fan somewhere in the world.

Mick Lail