CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Before It Was Soul - Vol. 2: "I.O.U."


Welcome to vol. 2 of my series

BEFORE IT WAS

SOUL!

As you might recall, this series brings you some
of the greatest R&B and doo-wop recordings of
the 1940s and 50s - singles listed and ranked
on the black artist chart, a survey that twice
underwent a name change during the period:

THE HARLEM HIT PARADE
(October 1942 – February 1945)

MOST-PLAYED JUKEBOX
RACE RECORDS
(February 1945 – June 1949)

MOST-PLAYED JUKEBOX
RHYTHM & BLUES RECORDS
(June 1949 – October 1958)

Romantic love, lost love, unrequited love,
physical attraction and infatuation are among
the common themes found on recordings in
this series, especially vocal group records
released in the 50s. Other familiar subjects
include man's temptation, vice, sin, infidelity
and other human flaws. In his referece book
Those Oldies But Goodies.. a Guide to 50's
Record Collecting, music historian Steve
Propes lists the following prevalent themes.


Positive or pleasant themes:

* Sex and virility
* Partying and night life
* Fast cars

Negative or problem themes:

* Drinking (occasionally presented in a boastful manner)
* Money problems
* Crime, punishment and dangerous situations
* Remorse and appeals for religious help

Many R&B vocal group singles feature a
dreamy ballad side backed with an up tempo
"jump" side. Jump sides are typically "dirty"
ditties with sexual themes. Records most
sought after by collectors are the ones with
sweet, tender, innocent vocal group ballads.
Original label 45s in that category have
been known to fetch hundreds or
even thousands of dollars.

Without further delay let's listen to
a few of these great long lost relics.

THE HARLEM HIT PARADE
(October 1942 – February 1945)

LOUIS JORDAN &

HIS TYMPANY FIVE

Louis Jordan and his jazz band are making
their second appearance in this series and
for good reason. Jordan, nicknamed "King
of the Jukebox," rose to fame during the
the WWII years and is on the books as the
top R&B artist of the 40s. With his innovative,
often humorous style, Louis Jordan won over
white and black audiences alike. In vol. 1 you
heard "I'm Gonna Leave You On the Outskirts
of Town," the A side of Jordan's first chart
single. On the B side, Louis is once again
singing the blues. Seems he got himself
hooked on a married woman and...
"It's a Low Down Dirty Shame."

"It's a Low Down Dirty Shame"
Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
(Nov. 1942, B side of "I'm Gonna
Leave You On the Outskirts of Town")

SONG BEGINS AT
58 SEC MARK!





MOST-PLAYED JUKEBOX
RHYTHM & BLUES RECORDS
(June 1949 – October 1958)

THE FIVE KEYS

The Five Keys were a vocal group from
Newport News, Virginia, that specialized
in the love ballad. They were responsible
for waxing "Close Your Eyes," the #1
Greatest Hit of the Shady Dell, a single
released in 1955 on Capitol Records.
Of greater interest to collectors are
the group's earlier recordings on the
Aladdin label.  In 1951 The Five Keys
scored their biggest hit with another fine
ballad, "The Glory Of Love," a cover of
Benny Goodman's pop hit of the 30s. On
the flip side of that Five Keys single, the
guys demonstrated their versatility with
"Hucklebuck With Jimmy," a rowdy, sexy
number loaded with euphemisms.

"Hucklebuck With Jimmy"
The Five Keys (Sept./Oct. 1951,
B side of "The Glory of Love")





MOST-PLAYED JUKEBOX
RHYTHM & BLUES RECORDS
(June 1949 – October 1958)

BILLY WARD

AND HIS DOMINOES

Piano player Billy Ward had a good thing goin'
with two of the greatest R&B singers of all time
fronting his group The Dominoes - Clyde McPhatter
from 1950 to 1953, and Jackie Wilson from 1953 to
1957. In 1951 The Dominoes scored a #1 smash hit
with the dirty ditty "Sixty Minute Man." In 1953 the
group changed their tune and recorded "The Bells,"
a somber, emotionally charged ballad that features
the hysterical sobbing of Clyde McPhatter.

"The Bells" - Billy Ward and
His Dominoes (Jan. 1953,
highest chart pos. #3)





As you might expect by now, the killer B side
of the Dominoes' drop-dead slow-paced, weepy
"Bells" ballad is a song that couldn't be more
different. Rendered in a style similar to the
group's monster hit "Sixty Minute Man,"
the jump tempo "Pedal Pushin' Papa"
is built around a highly suggestive
bike-riding euphemism.

"Pedal Pushin' Papa" - Billy Ward
and His Dominoes (Mar. 1953,
highest chart pos. #4)




MOST-PLAYED JUKEBOX
RHYTHM & BLUES RECORDS
(June 1949 – October 1958)

THE ROBINS

In vol. 1 we heard two songs by The Cardinals.
Now let's listen to the warbles, chirps and tweets
of another R&B bird group, The Robins. Formed
in Los Angeles, The Robins started releasing
records in 1949. Over the next few years the
group hopped from one record label to the
next and underwent numerous personnel
changes. Around 1956 The Robins split
into two groups with one retaining the
original name and the other becoming
a much more successful act known as
The Coasters. Listen to the splendid
group harmony on this 1955 Spark
label ballad by The Robins...
"If Teardrops Were Kisses."

"If Teardrops Were Kisses"
The Robins (spring 1955,
uncharted)





MOST-PLAYED JUKEBOX
RHYTHM & BLUES RECORDS
(June 1949 – October 1958)

THE SPANIELS

Nearly two decades before Michael and his
brothers The Jackson Five put Gary, Indiana on
the map, The Spaniels, led by James "Pookie"
Hudson, became the first successful R&B group
in the nation's Heartland. The Spaniels pioneered
the classic vocal group formation with the lead
singer positioned solo at his own microphone
and the rest of the members sharing a second
mic. The Spaniels are best known for their
hit ballad "Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite"
 which is regarded as a doo-wop classic.
The Spaniels were one of the first acts to
sign with Vee-Jay Records and became the
label's top selling vocal group. The Spaniels
performed regularly at The Apollo, The Regal
and other venues on the Chitlin circuit. The
Spaniels were a versatile group. They perfected
the sweet romantic ballad and could also rock,
roll and jump the blues with the best of them.
In the summer of 1957 The Spaniels released
a single with "Everyone's Laughing" on the
A side. Shady's Pick-To-Click is the fab flip,
"I.O.U" aka "I Owe You," a cleverly written
ballad so beautiful that it brings tears.

"I.O.U." - The Spaniels
(July 1957, B side of
"Everyone's Laughing")





I hope you enjoyed listening

to these R&B doo-wop relics.

Stay tuned for volume 3 of

BEFORE IT WAS

SOUL!

coming your way soon.

Have a Shady day!