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, April 14, 2009

On the Record: No Strings Attached - The Pure Soul of the Van Dykes

The Eastern world – it was explodin’ - violence flarin’ – bullets loadin'...and on the home front, racial tension was on the rise.

In the midst of all the chaos and strife came the calming voices of reason... the healing voices of the Van Dykes.

“No Man is an Island” stands alone in its refreshing simplicity and utter purity. Unlike many recordings of the period that were overproduced and overwrought, “No Man is an Island” is performed nearly a cappella with sparse instrumental accompaniment. Dell knights and their ladies danced in silent reverence as the Van Dykes imparted their unifying, spiritually uplifting, and timeless message.



Two months after “No Man is an Island” first appeared in the Dell jukebox, Simon & Garfunkel’s “I am a Rock (I am an Island)” joined the lineup.

For a while, both were on the Dell's playlist at the same time. When the two songs played during the same evening, it highlighted the stark contrast between the hope and sincerity of the Van Dykes song and the bleak cynicism of the Simon and Garfunkel composition.



On the flipside of “No Man is an Island,” the Van Dykes offered another heaping helping of sweet soul harmony.

The crowd pleasing mid-tempo shuffle “I Won’t Hold it Against You” is considered to be the A side of the disc by northern soul clubbers and collectors in Europe.



“No Man is an Island” and “I Won’t Hold it Against You” were enormous back-to-back Dell hits that played several times each night throughout the spring and summer of 1966. “No Man Is an Island,” the quintessential Shady Dell soul ballad, was so huge that it earned a spot in the elite top 5 on my list of the Dell’s Greatest Hits. The killer bee is way up there, too, placing in the Dell top 40.

I have a bonus Van Dykes track for you. "Save My Love for a Rainy Day" by the Temptations has always been one of my favorites. The excellent Van Dykes version is currently available on their anthology CD, Tellin' It Like It Is: The Mala Sessions. Here again are the Van Dykes with the northern soul dance floor filler “Save My Love for a Rainy Day.”



At a time when recording studios were using the wall of sound to move product, the Van Dykes dared to take a different approach. They laid down simple, straightforward, heartfelt vocals with minimal instrumental clutter. In doing so, the Van Dykes proved to the world that less is more.

Have a Shady day!

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