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

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sweet Words of Pizmotality and the Pompatus of Love

Our good buddy Jerre, who was sworn in as a Dell Rat in 1959 and ran with the pack through the mid 60s, has checked in once again - this time to reveal more of the songs on his list of the Dell's greatest hits. In doing so, Jerre provides a valuable service. He gives us our first real indication of the types of tunes that were hot in the Shady during the early important period of Dell history about which many of us are eager to learn.

Tommy Hunt

In a previous
post, Jerre
revealed his
choice for
Dell song:

1. "Human"
by Tommy Hunt

Let's have a look at a few more of Jerre's Greatest Dell Hits:

Jerre placed "Close Your Eyes" by the Five Keys, (my choice for #1), in the #2 position on his personal Dell survey. Listen to this all-time Dell favorite, preceded in this clip by the rarely heard original jump side, "Doggone It, You Did It."

2. "Close Your Eyes" by the Five Keys (March 1955)

In the third spot on his Dell hits list, Jerre says he would leave room for "any Jive Five song." I have always suspected that Eugene Pitt and his superb r&b vocal group kept the Dell dancing during the early 60s. Thanks for confirming it, Jerre! I rounded up five of their best recordings for our listening pleasure.

"Hello...this is Joe Niagara, and I've got a stack of knocked-out Niagara nifties of the past. If you're ready...this rockin' bird will fly!" Remember those simulated deejay radio shows on albums released by the oldies reissue label Lost Nite? I owned the one featuring the late great Joe Niagara of WIBG. As I recall, this is how the rockin' bird introduced the Jive Five on that album: "Over the years this group has beaucoup R-B-Is...the R for records batted in!"

3. "My True Story" by the Jive Five (July 1961)

Jerre certainly knows how to pick 'em! The Jive Five and the Shady Dell "go together like hand and glove." It's easy to understand how the group's power ballads kept couples locked in tight embrace night after night, year after year.

4. "Never, Never" by the Jive Five (November 1961)

One of the most important things to know and remember about the Dell is that, when it came to music, this was the rule: old school is cool... it never, never went out of style.

As the 60s unfolded, Dell rats eventually embraced harder and heavier sounds, but they maintained an enormous respect for sweet soul love songs and simple, straightforward, traditional street corner group harmonies. That's why it can be said that Jive Five recordings had Shady Dell written all over them!

5. "What Time Is It" by the Jive Five (September 1962)

6."Beggin' You Please" by the Jive Five - the killer bee flip of "What Time Is It" (September 1962)

While those older Jive Five songs predated my stint as a Dell rat, the group's mid-1965 single, "I'm a Happy Man," played frequently during my first year on the scene. This mid-tempo recording is pure joy. Like all Jive Five numbers, it is brimming with positive energy. "...Happy Man" made a big splash at the Dell and had couples flocking to the floor. That's why it earned a spot in the upper half of my Top 200 countdown.

7. "I'm a Happy Man" by the Jive Five (August 1965)

The Rolling Stones knew the score. Mick and his merry men were heavily influenced by American r&b and, like other UK acts, covered the work of black artists in their early recordings. Here, in its seldom heard original form with organ intro, is a Stones single that earned a lofty position on Jerre's top tunes list:

8. "Time is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (October 1964)

Thanks, Jerre, for writing in and giving everybody a valuable glimpse of the Dell songs that were popular during the first half of the 60s! You have provided important pieces of the puzzle!

Do you have a Shady Dell Top Tunes list of your own that you would like to share? I'd love to see it, especially if it covers a different period of Dell history. It doesn't have to contain 200 songs; even a Top 10 would be interesting and instructive. Submit your Dell's Greatest Hits list in the form of a comment and I'll get it posted.

Have a Shady day!


  1. Jerre checking in again. Great work on the Jive Five. In my opinion, another killer B side by the Jive Five that went along with the time frame was "People From Another World". I'm not sure what was on the other side. A fun song with typical Jive Five harmony and bass effects. "Hully Gully Calling Time" was another often played B from them. Other favorites were No Not Again, United and Kiss Kiss Kiss. Yes, I was a big Jive Five fan and have all the 45s in my collection. Definitely not one hit wonders.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Jerre! I remember "Hully Gully Calling Time" very well. It was on a various artists album that I owned called "Murray (& Jackie) the K's Golden Gassers for a Dance Party."


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