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

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shady Dell, the College Years: August 1968 - March 1970

In September of 1967 when I left town to
begin four years of college I was demoted from the
rank of full time Dell rat (with all of its inherent rights and privileges) to that of a lowly Dell rat in absentia!
On the eve of my departure, the Dell gang stripped me of both my status and my dignity in a humiliating beat down ritual. I was restrained and forced to watch as the guys took a whisk broom and removed every speck of magic Dell dust from my Baracuta. I still have nightmares!

Fig. 3-a: the dreaded clean Cuta, symbol of shame
and dishonor worn by excommunicated Dell rats. 
Weeks turn into years. How quick they pass. From the fall
of 1967 until the summer of 1971 I was out of town and
out of touch two-thirds of every year. I couldn't get to the Dell and I had no way of knowing for sure which songs were popular there.

The jukebox that I listened to most of the time during those four years wasn't the one at the Dell. It was the one in the HUB...

the Hetzel Union Building cafeteria at Penn State.

Yuppies might have liked the HUB's music selection but it was too vanilla for my taste. I missed my soulful Dell songs!

Since I was no longer making the scene at the Dell on a nightly basis it's easy to understand why the number of songs that I remember being played there falls off sharply after 1967. Another reason was the music itself.

The age of innocence was at an end and the music reflected the changing times. James Brown was still a fixture on the Dell jukebox but his brand new bag was funk and black power social activism. Brown's newer material did not resonate as well as "I Don't Mind," "Lost Someone," "It's a Man's World," "Is it Yes, or is it No, "Bewildered," "Prisoner of Love" and other scorching R&B/soul ballads that Mister Dynamite had released in previous years. Recordings by the Temptations were becoming overwrought symphonies. Bad turned to worse when they and other artists abandoned their sweet soul roots and released a string of trendy message songs.

Previous installments of College Years covered the period from October 1967 through July 1968. It's time to wrap up the series with the best of the rest...the most important
Dell songs from my remaining college years.

August 1968

"Please Return Your Love to Me" – Temptations

"The House That Jack Built" – Aretha Franklin

September 1968

"Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud" – James Brown

December 1968

“Soul Sister, Brown Sugar” – Sam & Dave

February 1969

"Switch it On" – Cliff Nobles & Co.

April 1969

"I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing
(Open Up the Door, I’ll Get it Myself)" – James Brown

June 1969

"The Popcorn" – James Brown

"Mother Popcorn Pt. 1 & Pt. 2" - James Brown

July 1969

"Honky Tonk Women" – Rolling Stones

March 1970

"Get Ready" – Rare Earth

That's all I got!
What happened to the Dell songs from the rest of 1970 and 1971? Want the truth? I simply don't remember any after "Get Ready" that are irrevocably linked in my mind to the Shady Dell as were songs from previous years.

In 1971 I turned in my badge and joined the Shady Dell Alumni Association. Today, all that's left of my Dell days are my music collection, my two original Baracuta jackets (one tan and one navy), my original pair of Jack Purcell sneakers, and cherished memories of the people, the place and the best times of my life.

Have a Shady day!


  1. You are so right, The Best days of our lives. Only a Dell Rat can understand. Oh how I miss the Dell-John-Helen and the rest of the Dell Rats. A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

  2. I'm with you, buddy! If I could save time in a bottle...

    Thanks for visiting, Greg, and please come back often!

  3. One thing about it Shady, you have great memories of your teen years. You had somewhere to go that was fun and safe.

    In our neighborhood the teens were running wild, so two churches started after-school programs for them. I thought that was a wonderful thing. Boredom and teenagers are not a good mix.

  4. So true, Belle. My church also sponsored dances in a subterranean rec hall and there were quite a few places in York and York County for teens to hang out and dance. Anything's better than roaming the streets getting into mischief. Thank you very much for your comment!

  5. You certainly do have a great memory. Those were the years, for me it was spent in Viet Nam. Really felt out of touch with the world.

  6. I love this kind of music especially the stones. My mom is head over heals in love with them and has been since she was a teen so I pretty grew up with that band.

    Oh and no I didnt really notice the similarities between my video and Laura's Rambling Man but you are so right. Maybe I subconsciously had that vision in my head. Thanks for noticing and for stopping by.

  7. Odie, thank you for your service. You should get to know our Dell Rat Jerre. Thanks so much for your comment and have a wonderful Carolina weekend!

    Amber, the Stones were heavy hitters at the Dell before, during and after my time there. Mick and his merry mates were just getting cranked up when the Beatles called it quits. Thank you very much for dropping by and have a wonderful weekend in New England!

  8. Great blog. Love your walks down memory lane. Lisa

  9. Thank you very much, Lisa, and thank you for becoming a new blog follower! I hope you will find a lot to like here in the future. Please come back soon!

  10. What awesome memories you have! How wonderful that you had a place like the Dell to go to. I had nothing like that, and now feel EXTREMELY deprived!

    I, actually, am a HUGE James Brown fan! My coworkers often had me do my spot-on impersonation of his patented "Whoa" scream. I was AWESOME at it!! Thanks so much for sharing, Shady!

  11. ...and thank you for sharing your own memories with us, Joanie! Seems I was wrong all this time in assuming that everybody had a place like the Dell to go to when they were growing up. Knowing that some didn't makes me feel sorry for them, and it also makes me feel quite fortunate to have been able to experience those magical, memorable Shady Dell nights! Thank you very much for your comment, Joan!

  12. I'm getting down to the horns of the funky music here. Great brass!

  13. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment...I look forward to always seeing a well presented gentleman...Your father and yourself have exquisite taste!

  14. Hi, Israel! Theeeeeeeeeese are the JB's! I really got into that tight James Brown funk band during the late 60's. "(The Big) Payback" and "Papa Don't Take No Mess," two of Brown's hits released a few years later, are also highly recommended. Thanks for checking in to check it out, Israel, and enjoy your day in Anaheim!

    Hi, Gingeyginge!

    I was glad to see that post on your blog because to some of us the world is becoming too casual in more ways than one. The latest trend among male television news anchors is to adopt a more casual look, delivering the nightly news without jacket and tie. Credibility is already low in the news business as the lines between news and entertainment become increasingly blurred. In my opinion we're heading in the wrong direction. Thanks so much for dropping by, Gingey, and please visit soon and often!

  15. I used to love those Baracuta jackets; one of my early boyfriends used to have one. You certainly do have wonderful memories Shady. Things are a bit different these days. I personally think that we had the best times, but I suppose we would think that. LOL!

  16. I was a few years ahead of Shady at PSU and the hot song on the HUB juke box was House of the Rising Sun. And like Odie I spent too much TET time in the Nam and the hot song was Paint It Black. Everyone in my squad was a big James Brown fan and for some reason we also knew every word to Give Me a Ticket for an Airplane.

  17. Thisisme - Every generation tends to think their stuff was the best but doggone it, we've got lots of evidence to back up the claim! Thanks so much for your comment and enjoy the rest of your weekend in the UK!

    Jerre - I thought you and Odie would want to compare notes and Nam stories. I think "Rising Sun" was still playing at the H.U.B. when I was there, along with lots of Beatles, Bee Gees, and Manfred Mann as I recall. Thanks for your comment, good buddy!

  18. James was da man!!! Sad that one of my first memories of him as a performer was Living in america he performed during the Rocky IV movie. I know. I'm pathetic.

  19. You're not pathetic, Copyboy. You can't help it if you were born too late! Brother James is a frequent flyer here on SDM&M so please stay close and you'll hear all his best. Thanks so much for your comment!

  20. I'm with you shady, thse days have degraded to bleached hair, just beiber, lulu lemon and jersey shore. well the lulu lemon, i can deal with :)

  21. Hi, Major! Welcome to SDM&M! Did Belle send you here all the way from B.C.? It's so "older generation" of me to assert that my music was better than the music of today but dang it, let's face it, Gaga just ain't got the same soul as Disco Tex and his Sex-O-Lettes! (LOL)


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