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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Show Me the Money, Honey (Part 2)


We continue now with some of my favorite 
songs that were right on the money


During summer vacation in 1969 I worked for a contractor in Red Lion, south of York. I dug ditches and laid sewer pipe in a new residential area close to Bud's Drive-In and the Shady Dell. The boss man also had me performing a variety of other jobs which ranged from mowing lawns and pruning shrubbery to painting barns, steam cleaning backhoes, bulldozers, cranes and other heavy equipment and applying sealant to factory roofs in 100 degree heat - fun fun fun!

I often worked alone but my transistor radio kept me company. One of the biggest memory makers from late that summer was
"A Boy Named Sue," the unconventional story song that became a big crossover hit for country legend Johnny Cash.

"A Boy Named Sue" - Johnny Cash 
(August 1969, highest chart position #2) 


It's the producer in me. I usually prefer studio recorded material to live performances because I have great respect for the artistry involved in sound mixing. Notable exceptions to my rule include James Brown Live at the Apollo, The Magnificent Men Live, and the series of albums by Johnny Rivers recorded live at the famed Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Johnny Rivers was the first recording artist signed to play at the Whisky when it opened its doors at the start of 1964. While Beatlemania was blowing other American acts out of the water and off the charts, Johnny's popularity continued to grow thanks to his exciting performances at the club.

"Greenback Dollar" - Johnny Rivers 
(from June 1965 live album 
Meanwhile Back at the Whisky A Go Go

A component that made Johnny's live albums irresistible to me was the go-go sound created by a posse of chanting, cheering girls (possibly the club's hired go-go dancers) singing along in the background. The gaggle of go-go girls can be heard loud and clear on Johnny's cool cover of an early Beatles hit.

"Can't Buy Me Love" - Johnny Rivers 
(from April 1964 live album 
Here We A Go Go Again


The Kingsmen were best known for "Louie Louie" the infamous late 1963 record that prompted an FBI investigation into allegedly obscene lyrics. "Louie Louie" was a rockin' cover version of an innocent mid 50s Jamaican love ballad written and recorded by Richard Berry. The Pacific Northwest garage band gave "Louie Louie" the full frat party treatment. Lead singer Jack Ely mumbled and slurred the words, fueling widespread speculation that the lyrics were filthy. They weren't. The FBI probe went nowhere, sales of the record skyrocketed, and "Louie Louie" became a rock standard.

"Louie Louie" - Kingsmen (January 1964), 
highest chart position #2) 

Another killer cover by the Kingsmen is "Money" the song by Barrett Strong that became the first hit for Motown Records in 1960.

"Money (That's What I Want)" 
- Barrett Strong (April 1960, highest chart 
position #23) 

In this clip the Kingsmen perform "Money" while the Shindig dancers shake their money makers. 

"Money" - Kingsmen (April 1964, 
highest chart position #16) 

There's no such thing as too much "Money" as proven by this high def video:

The Kingsmen changed their tune about cold hard cash when they recorded "Long Green" calling it the root of evil.

"Long Green" - Kingsmen (July 1964 
album track from The Kingsmen, Vol. 2, also 
B side of "The Jolly Green Giant" Feb. 1965) 

Anybody who believes that the Kingsmen were one hit wonders is sadly mistaken. As you can see and hear,
"Louie Louie" was only the tip of the iceberg. The Kingsmen practically invented frat rock, infusing their performances with the rowdy free-for-all sensibilities of a Friday night kegger at Delta House.

Live Kingsmen performances were 100% pure adrenaline and

you can take that to the bank! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. You've got some great, timeless hits there, Shady! I love how Johnny Cash has been "rediscovered" by each successive generation. He and Nine Inch Nails were an unlikely but very winning combo.

    Louie Louie is still played and enjoyed by kids like some of my students who think they've discovered something no one else has ever known about.

    Good music often knows no time barriers.

    Once again, another great post! Thank you, my friend, fo putting it all together for us!

  2. Shelly was right about good music knowing no time barrier. The Kingsmen have always been one of my favorites and they sure made my morning. Thanks for this toe tapping edition.

  3. Shelly - Johnny Cash was already an evergreen 20th century icon even before the popular biopic came along a few years ago. You made an important observation. Young people need to "discover" something and make it their own. It can't be forced upon them. Adults can't dictate what kids should like. They like what they like when the like it. Tomorrow they might be over it and on to the next thing. That's how it was with my generation, yours and every other generation. It delights me when modern youth find value in something that was also important to me at that age. Thank you very much for your wise and insightful comments, dear friend Shelly!

    Odie - I wouldn't have taken you for a lover of the rowdy Kingsmen but I'm glad you enjoyed these performances of theirs. As a teenager I owned their albums but I think you'll agree that you really need to see them live to get a sense of how exciting a band they were. Keep those toes tapping, good buddy, and say hello to Linda and Rocky for me!

  4. Hi there Tom. Another great post for us today. I often wonder to myself how long you take to actually put your posts together - there's always something good in there, like finding little nuggets of gold!! I agree with both Shelly and Odie that people like Johnny Cash will probably still be played by generations of youngsters to come. Louie Louie was such a huge hit. I don't think the Kingsmen ever made it over here to England. Certainly I had never heard of them, but it's always good to discover new sounds. Thank you dear friend.

  5. Thisisme - As you know I make my posts longer but I also publish less often than most people. Each post requires a good number of hours to produce and I am always working ahead to stockpile drafts. That Johnny Cash classic raised a few eyebrows in 1969 because the Archie Bunkers of the world weren't quite ready to accept the idea of a boy named Sue even in jest. Thank you for spreading sunshine and cheer on my blog, dear friend, and have a wonderful weekend!

  6. "can't buy me love" is definitely my favourite one among the songs you posted,it makes me feel like dancing!

  7. Katia - Dance dance dance! When I was a teenager I collected all of those Johnny Rivers live albums and really enjoyed them. Now I have them on CD. They made you feel like you are right there at the Whisky. Thank you for coming to visit, dear friend Katia, and have a fine evening and weekend in Italy!

  8. Oh had me laughing out loud with the Louie Louie story. I so remember all the fuss when it was played! The boys were positive they had heard the dirty words...we girls not so much. One thing I really remember about Louie Louie and have to laugh is it was SUCH a long song to dance to at dances and parties!

    I so admire all you know with the recordings of our day!

    Thanks for some more sunshine of the musical kind..

  9. Sush - You bring sunshine to my day with comments like this one, dear friend! My friends and I played "Louie Louie" over and over again trying to make sure we knew all of the dirty words that were allegedly embedded in the song. Once we had them memorized our brains could not accept the truth that the lyrics were actually benign. It's a textbook example of how you can become brainwashed into hearing things that aren't there, seeing things that aren't there, and believing things that aren't true... a lesson for us all. Thank you very much for your delightful comment, dear Sush!

  10. I so enjoyed watching Johnny Cash sing A Boy Named Sue. A great song. I had never seen who sang Louie, Louie before. At least I don't remember ever seeing them. The Kingsmen were terrific. Thanks so much for all the great songs. Oh, and Johnny Rivers singing at the Whiskey A Go Go was a treat. I asked my mom to drive past that place when I was young and she did. Oh, how I wanted to be able to go inside!

  11. Belle - How cool it must have been for you growing up in San Berdoo just a hop, skip and a jump from Hollywood and the Sunset Strip. Following the success of Mad Men, television networks are adding to their fall lineups other series set in the early 60s: The Playboy Club and Pan Am. I think it would be a great idea to have a series called Whisky set at the Whisky A Go Go in the mid 60s. Modern recording artists could guest star each week portraying their 60s counterparts and giving authentic performances of their songs, "authentic" being the operative word - not updating them with a hip hop sound. Thank you very much for your comment, dear Belle!

  12. That was a tough summer job for you, Shady, in 1969 working in the 100 degree heat ... it was preparing you for the hot and humid FL weather! It was so good to see Johnny Cash on your post and hear him sing. There truly is a life lesson in the song, "A Boy Named Sue", I can think of kinder adversities than a boy being named Sue! :-) Many years ago I saw Cash at a Billy Graham Crusade. LOVE Johnny Rivers, the "go-go" sound and go-go girls! (I loved being a go-go girl once for 1.5 hrs. :-O ) Adore the Kingsmen and the videos you chose, esp. the rare one. (They looked so young, they WERE so young) I'd have to flip a coin to decide my favorite between Barrett Strong's and the Kingmen's version of "Money". Thank You!

    Shady Del + Shady Dell Music & Memories = The Best!

  13. Cindy - Your kind words send shivers, dear friend. I realize that boomers tend to view the past through rose-colored glasses, but I wouldn't trade the music of my youth for that of any other generation. When I watch those performance videos I wish that I could jump through the screen and be right back there again experiencing it. (I'm referring to the Kingsmen clips and the Whisky A Go Go. I wouldn't want to be stuck in Folsom Prison! :) You were once a go-go girl, Cindy? Now there's a great topic for your next blog post! Why only 1.5 hours? Did you get fired for giving too many men heart attacks? (LOL) Thank you very much for your visit and your sweet comments, dear Cindy!

  14. During summers off from college my husband did landscaping work, who knew you two had so much in common :) Tidbit time: did you know that A Boy Named Sue was written by Shel Silverstein of "Where The Sidewalk Ends" fame?!?

  15. Amber Blue Bird - I know now thanks to you, dearie. IIRC you posted something about Shel on your own blog months ago, didn't you? I actually became familiar with Shel through his cartoons in Playboy Magazine. In the late 50s my parents had a collection of his cartoons ripped from the naughty pages of Hef's publication. They were stuffed in a drawer in the basement and I found them and loved them. I honed my ribald sense of humor primarily from those Playboy cartoons. Your husband and I have three things in common. We both worked as landscapers, we both likey Amber Blue Bird, and we're both voice pros like Goulet. Thanks so much for your visit, Amber, and have a great weekend!

  16. I've got an old computer, and an even older brain, so I think I must have not done something to get my message back to you since I haven't had gotten an email back from you. I've never posted on a blog before so I probably did something strange to foul it up.
    Did you see the article about the Shady Dell in the York Daily Record (July 29) by Mike Argento? There's a picture of my grandfather as a young entrepreneur printed with the story. Mike did a nice job I think. Mother agreed, although she remembered some things after he left that would have made an even better story about the Shady Dell homeplace.
    I'll try again to send my email address so you can contact me on another venue and I can send some pictures and info that might be of interest. (I think I know how to do that...)
    By the way, do you know the date of the open house that Toni Deroche mentioned. I believe it was to be in August sometime. I'd really like to see the house and take Mother, although I'm not sure I can get her to go. At 99, she's a bit hard to get pried out of her house! Also, it may upset her to see the house so different from when she lived there.

    I hope to hear back from you this time. Thanks for responding. Here goes!

  17. Shady...I just wanted to thank you for coming to my Bloggaversary party yesterday and leaving such a great comment. I don't know why I'm not following you since we follow a lot of the same people but I am now!! I read your comment on Pencil Girls blog about Eighteen by Alice Cooper and somewhere in my archives is a post about how much of an Alice groupie fan I was. So now I'm here! Thanks again for the comment and well wishes.

  18. Kathy - Yes, I read Argento's article and I am very interested in getting to know you and your mother. I will be emailing you shortly. Thank you for trying again!

    Bouncin' Barb - Hello and welcome to SDM&M! Yes, you and I bump into each other on a regular basis because we have several bloggy friends in common. I am thrilled that you decided to follow my blog. Who would have thought that we have Alice Cooper in common and that he would be the catalyst! (LOL) Thank you very much for your visit, your comment and your support, dear Barb!

  19. Highly energеtic aгticle, Ι liκed that a lot.
    Will there be a part 2?

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