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, February 28, 2009

On the Record: Sing Along with Mitch!

Your great granddaddy's Mitch:

Think “Yellow Rose of Texas.”

The official Dell rat Mitch:

Think "Sock it to Me-Baby!"

Influenced by flamboyant showmen like Little Richard and James Brown, white R&B party starter Mitch Ryder challenged rocker Ted Nugent for the title of Motor City Madman. Mitch was one of the principal players on the mid 60's Dell scene. In December of 1965 the blue-eyed soul shouter and his Detroit Wheels rolled into the Dell packing heat. They kept the joint jumpin' throughout 1966 and into the spring of '67.


In the beginning, you had to be a masochist to go around uttering the phrase sock it to me because to sock someone meant to hit them, or to administer a beating.

"Sock it

to the

other guy,

not to me,"


As time went by the urban slang expression took on new meaning. Being the sockee was no longer a bad thing, it was a good some cases a very good thing.

I always thought that the use of
sock it to me on the hit TV series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in, a command usually followed by a pie
in the face or a drenching with a bucket of water,
was the earliest
use of the phrase in mainstream media.

I assumed that the popular Laugh-in expression was the inspiration for the
Mitch Ryder song
“Sock it to Me-Baby!’
As it turned out I was putting the cart before the horse.

It only added to my confusion when I remembered Aretha Franklin singing sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me in her hit song “Respect.” I wondered if Lady Soul's sock it to me ad lib predated Mitch Ryder’s use of the phrase. Keep in mind that Otis Redding's original version of "Respect," released in September of 1965, used the words
"give it to me." When I checked into the actual chronology
of events I determined that Mitch Ryder used the phrase first. His “Sock it to Me-Baby!" single started climbing the Billboard chart on February 4th, 1967. On Valentine's Day
ten days later Aretha recorded "Respect" and made use of the sock it to me expression. The pilot episode of “Laugh-in” came last in September of 1967.

It doesn’t matter who’s on first or what’s on second. The fact is that "Sock It To Me-Baby!" cranked it up a notch at the Dell during the winter of 1967. At position #45, it is the highest ranking of four songs by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels to make my Shady Dell Top 200 hit list.

Contributing to the song's popularity were the nebulous lyrics. My friends and I were convinced that we had another “Louie Louie” on our hands because it sounded to us like there was at least one very naughty word near the beginning of the song and Mitch punched it. Along with provocative, possibly dirty lyrics that got the record banned by several radio stations, "Sock..." boasted other key elements that
Dell vikings loved - a frenetic beat and Ryder’s shouting
R&B vocals.

Got time to join me for a Mitch Ryder block party? Here they are, the vinyl four...the high voltage dance records that kept the Dell gang singing along with Mitch in the mid 60's!

“Jenny Take A Ride” (December '65)

“Little Latin Lupe Lu” (March '66)

“Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly” (October '66)

“Sock It To Me-Baby!” (February '67)

Is “Sock it to Me-Baby!’ Shady Del's Pick to Click?






Got an itch for even more Mitch? Gotcha covered, my friend!
Here's a bonus toe-tapper for your listening pleasure:

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Remembering Helen

Helen Trostle Ettline passed away 25 years ago today on February 25th, 1984.

Things to know and remember about Helen:

* Helen was genuine. She was what is referred to as real people. What you saw was what you got. Helen was never afraid to speak her mind.

* Helen could not have children of her own, but she loved kids and welcomed generations of them into her home and into her life.

* Helen had the warmest smile around, and when she smiled, there was always a twinkle in her eye.

* As Helen presided over the Dell's snack bar every evening, her constant companions were the oldies that played on her jukebox.

Helen, this one's for you:

Unforgettable, Helen. That's what you are!

We love you and miss you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell Part 13 (#80 to #71)

We're gettin' way up there where the air is rare!

The countdown continues now as we salute 10 more heavyweight hits from the Shady Dell of the mid 60s.

Examine these lyrics and name those tunes!

In the rain
In the dark, in the sun

Wiggle your legs, baby

Better take it easy, 'cause the place is on fire

You'll be my lovin' woman, I'll be your lovin' man

Once again heartache has found me

If I didnt tell her
I could leave today

I spy for the FBI

If I had my choice of matter
I would rather be with cats

Walkin' down my street
Why don’t ya come up to my house?

Not a sad word should a young heart be saying

(end of clues)

Remember the grading scale:

All 10 right – Congratulations! You’ve been appointed dean of the College of Musical Knowledge

7-9 right – Licensed lyric lover

4-6 right - Lyrically challenged

1-3 right – Sign up for remedial classes at the School of Rock

0 right – You just dance and hum along!

Now, here are this week's 10 Shady Dell countdown songs:

80. "Ebb Tide" - Righteous Brothers (December '65)

79. "Funky Broadway" - Dyke & The Blazers (March '67)

78. "Gimme Some Lovin'" - Spencer Davis Group (January '67)

77. "Let's Live For Today" - Grass Roots (May '67)

76. "I've Passed This Way Before" - Jimmy Ruffin (December '66)

75. "California Dreamin'" - Mamas & Papas (January '66)

74. "My Baby Likes To Boogaloo" - Emperors (March '67)

73. "I'm A Man" - Spencer Davis Group (April '67)

72. "Gloria" - Shadows Of Knight (March '66)

71. "Since I Lost My Baby" - Temptations (August '65)

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!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Strangeloves - Strange But Untrue! (Part 2): From Oz Outbackers to Sons of the Beach!

Would you buy a used car

from these men?

The Strangeloves, 60s pop rockers who promoted themselves as a band of brothers from Australia were, in reality, the New York City based singing, song- writing, producing team of Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer. The group achieved a modest string of chart hits with songs that also wowed the crowd at the Shady Dell.

The Strangeloves were part of the so-called Gang at Bang.

Bang referred to New York’s Bang Records label founded by Bert Berns.

Ahmet and Neshui Ertegun and Gerry Wexler, three of Berns’ friends from Atlantic, helped get the company started.

BANG is an acronym for the first letters of their names.

When a pop music act scored a hit record in the mid 60s, invitations soon followed to perform on nationally televised teen music programs like Bandstand, Where the Action Is, Shindig and Hullabaloo. The Strangeloves were no exception. Here are the guys on Shindig singing their two hits from the summer and fall of 1965, "I Want Candy" and "Cara-Lin."

While the Strangeloves recorded some memorable hits they also produced some forgettable misses...

including a cover of a mid 50s hit by Jaye P. Morgan that stalled at #122 on the Bubbling Under chart in December 1964...

and the hopelessly anachronistic "Honey Do"/"I Wanna Do It" combo which spent the last 5 weeks of 1968 Bubbling Under, never managing to rise above #120.

There is one very memorable miss by the Strangeloves that
coulda been, woulda been and shoulda been a hit.

In July of 1965, between the release of "I Want Candy" and "Cara-Lin,"
the Strangeloves teamed up with the Angels, the successful girl group that later sang backup chorus on Lou Christie’s early 1966 hit "Lightnin’ Strikes." The collaboration resulted in the release of a single entitled “Out In The Sun (Hey-O)” using the Beach-Nuts as the artist name.

Blurring the lines between the pop, bubblegum, and girl group categories, "Out In The Sun (Hey-O)" was loosely based on Harry Belafonte’s 1957 calypso hit, "Banana Boat (Day-O)." As such, "Out In The Sun (Hey-O)" was possibly the first commercial rock record to use a steel band in the arrangement.

An excellent recording, "Out in the Sun" nevertheless fell victim to Shady's Law and went nowhere fast. Seemingly mired in quicksand, the song struggled for five weeks to escape Billboard’s Bubbling Under Basement, never climbing above position #106. York’s WSBA radio, however, picked up the record and played it often. I believed then and I believe now that "Out in the Sun" deserved to become a top 40 hit.
I loved the song’s unique island sound and catchy boy-girl call-and-response format.

The previous summer, the Pixies Three had provided an ideal school’s out forever anthem with "It’s Summer Time U.S.A."

In a similar fashion, "Out In The Sun (Hey-O)" became the perfect theme song for the summer of 1965!

Have a Shady day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Strangeloves - Strange but Untrue! (Part 1): From the Land Down Under to a Jukebox Near You!

Once upon a time...

three Brill Building producers

decided to form a recording act

and see if they could make

a bunch of hit records.

Keenly aware of America’s post-Beatles preoccupation
with all things UK, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and
Richard Gottehrer thought that it might be a hoot to
concoct a bogus backstory and cast themselves as
lads from a distant shore. Their historic brainstorming
session probably went something like this:

We’ll say that we’re three brothers…
three brothers from…..  

NO!..make that Australia! Yeah, that’s it! 

Our day job…gotta have a day job. Let’s see,

how about…when we’re not making music and
teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony,
we’re herding sheep in the Outback
Yeah, that’s the ticket!
We’re musically inclined shepherd brothers
from Oz! Hee hee hee hee hee! 

Our name, our name…what should we

call ourselves?

...The Traveling Wallabies? 
...Crocodile Dundee and the ‘Roos? 
...The Baa Baa Ber-Anns? 
...Three Billy Goats Gruff? 
...The I-O-Ewes? 

NO!, I’ve got it, the Strangeloves!

We're Miles, Niles and Giles Strange...
the Strangeloves! Ha ha ha ha ha!

(Editor's note: strange isn't the word
for these guys!)

The Strangeloves made their charade work for a while.
Pop rock fans did not question the fabricated bio claiming that the New York producers were Aussie ranchers arriving on our shores to spread their gift of rock ‘n roll. The Strangeloves didn’t sound Australian on their records, but audiences liked what the boys were puttin’ down so why
call for an investigation?

The Strangeloves started out with a bang (Bang 501, that is) in July 1965 when their single, “I Want Candy,” a shamelessly derivative variation of the Bo Diddley sound, barely missed the nationwide top 10.

The fake foreigners followed up in September of '65 with the big beat rocker “Cara-Lin.”

“Cara-Lin” is my Pick to Click among all songs by the Strangeloves. The record cracked the national top 40 on Billboard, became a sizeable regional hit around Central Pa. and placed in the top 100 on my Dell’s Greatest Hits survey.

In January 1966, the Strangeloves brought the heat with “Night Time,” a rousing number that reached a respectable #30 on Billboard, and nearly cracked the top 20 on Cash Box by late February. "Night Time" was also a big hit at the Dell, winding up in the top 50 on my list of top Dell songs.

With it's driving beat and macho lyrics, “Night Time” was one of those records that got me psyched, pumped up, and made me feel unstoppable. The song helped me to put on my game face at the Dell, thereby saving me from getting pounded on a nightly basis.

A relaxing change of pace is offered by the Strangeloves on the B side of "Night Time."

“Rhythm of Love” is a refreshingly mellow and subdued performance. This killer bee steadily grew on me over
the years until I found myself enjoying it as much as
"Night Time."

The Strangeloves hooked up with a popular girl group to record one of the freshest and most durable fun-in-the-sun classics of the 60s, a record that did for the summer of 1965 what “Summer Time USA” by the Pixies Three did for the summer of ’64. More on that in my next post.

Have a Shady day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

On the Record: Choose Your Boogaloos! (Part 2)

Now, let’s pivot from Jersey over to Central PA and meet Don Gardner's opponents, the Emperors of Harrisburg.

Before we continue with Part 2 of our Battle of the Boogaloos challenge, though, let's back up and recall the Emperors’ biggest hit and best known recording, “Karate,” the cookin’ dance number that had everybody at the Shady Dell throwing kicks and martial arts chops at one another.

“Karate” showed up in the jukebox at the beginning of December 1966 and remained popular throughout the winter of ’67. "Karate" reached #55 on the Billboard chart. That was an admirable achievement for our Harrisburg heroes when you consider the difficulty encountered by the Magnificent Men in trying to get most of their fine recordings on the charts. Although a minor hit nationally, "Karate" was a sensation at the Dell and ranks at #25 on my list of the Dell’s 200 Greatest Hits.

Five years after the release of "Karate" by the Emperors, superstar Carlos Santana reworked the song and scored a top 20 national hit with "Everybody’s Everything."

On the flipside of the Emperors' Mala 45 is the killer bee “I’ve Got To Have Her”...

...a surprisingly tender ballad that’s also way up there in the top 40 on my Dell survey!

Now, on to the business at hand. Let's FF to March of 1967, when the Emperors wowed the Dell crowd with a cover version of Don Gardner’s “My Baby Likes to Boogaloo.”

Dell dancers were still throwing “Karate” chops when the ‘Burg’s favorite funkmeisters proved that they weren’t ready to give up the throne. They hit back hard with another sensational jukebox two-sider, “My Baby Likes to Boogaloo" b/w “You Got Me Where You Want Me.” The A-side got the lion’s share of attention and jukebox play. With its raw and rowdy lead vocal, soulful group harmony, cookin’ funk organ, and outrageous lyrics that included I spy for the FBI (reminiscent of Edwin Starr’s "Agent OO-Soul"), “My Baby Likes To Boogaloo” was another major Shady Dell crowd pleaser.

The Emperors also placed the flip side of the record on my Shady Dell Top 200.

Click and listen to a genuine Shady Dell killer bee, the up-tempo funk fest entitled, “You Got Me Where You Want Me.”

It's time to declare a winner in our Battle of the Boogaloos, so I'll stop stalling and name my Pick to Click.

At the risk of being labeled a turncoat, I’m choosing the original Don Gardner version of "My Baby Likes to Boogaloo." This bad boy is a primal unstoppable force. It's over-the-top, off the hook, of the most exciting recordings ever made!

No matter which Boogaloos you choose, I hope you agree that both of these records rock and both deserved a much better fate on the chart.

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

On the Record: Choose Your Boogaloos! (Part 1)

Ain’t no doubt about it, R&B great Don Gardner wails! As Joe Niagara, the Rockin’ Bird of Wibbage might have said, “this cat takes a toe hold, cuts from the heels and POW!

Don Gardner hit the jackpot in June of 1962 when he teamed up with Dee Dee Ford to record “I Need Your Loving,” a rip-snorting’ duet that broke the top 20.

When it comes to Don Gardner’s gravel-voiced soul shouting, more is definitely better. That’s why I made a point of getting the 5-minute extended version of "I Need Your Loving" on compact disc.

Meanwhile, 42 years ago today, this was rockin' you!

Don Gardner came roaring back in January and February of 1967 with “My Baby Likes to Boogaloo.” I'll be the first to admit that I was clueless. I didn’t know my soul as well as I thought. For more than 35 years, the only version of “My Baby Likes To Boogaloo” that I had ever heard of was the one by the Emperors of Harrisburg. That changed a few years ago when I was listening to a web-based soul oldies program. Don’s blistering original rendition of the song came on and knocked my socks off! Don Gardner’s version of “My Baby Likes To Boogaloo” is flat-out, no-nonsense, funky, low-down, snake-in-the-grass, snappin’ ‘n snarlin’ R&B at its nastiest, chillenz.

It’s a mystery and a shame that this Don Gardner masterpiece, easily one of the most exciting performances ever put on record, only managed to reach position # 126 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under chart! It’s further proof of Shady’s Law: the greater the song, the lower the chart position.

No, not Motown…Tru-Glo-Town!

A brief sidebar about Tru-Glo-Town and its eye-catching apple green label. As was the case with Bang Records and the Co & Ce imprint, the Englewood, New Jersey-based Tru-Glo-Town label was named after the company’s founders. TRU = Trude Heller. GLO = Gloria Toote. TOWN = Ed Townsend. Tru-Glo-Town 501 is one of the most buzzworthy and sought-after soul 45s in the collecting world. Fierce bidding wars have erupted on eBay in recent years every time a copy is offered in auction. I learned the hard way that northern soul enthusiasts in the UK and throughout Europe have very deep pockets when it comes to snatching up American-made singles like as this one!

(to be continued)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Now Playing at the Shady Dell: February 1966

Can you believe that January is already behind us? 1967 will be here before you know it.

It's time to take another peek inside the Dell jukebox to find out what's on the musical menu for the month of February.

Experience the look and sound of young America!

"Peace Of Mind" – Magnificent Men (January ’66)
"All Your Lovin’s Gone To My Head" – Magnificent Men (January ’66)

"It’s My Life" – Animals (November ’65)
"Night Time" – Strangeloves (January ’66)

"Don’t Mess With Bill" – Marvelettes (January ’66)
"California Dreamin’" – Mamas & Papas (January ’66)

"Ebb Tide" – Righteous Brothers (December ‘65)
"Going To A Go-Go" – Miracles (January ‘66)

"Cleo’s Mood" – Jr. Walker & The All Stars (January ’66)
"Lightnin’ Strikes" – Lou Christie (January ’66)

"Jenny Take A Ride" – Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (December ‘65)


"Agent Double-O Soul" – Edwin Starr (August ’65)
"Big City Lights" – Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs (August ’65)

"Everybody’s Gotta Lose Someday" – Del-Chords aka Del-Cords) (December ’64)

"Close Your Eyes" – Five Keys (March ’55)

"Something About You" – Four Tops (November ’65)
"Human" – Tommy Hunt (September ’61)

"My Girl" – Temptations (January ’65)
"Don’t Look Back" – Temptations (November ’65)

"Two People In The World" – Little Anthony & The Imperials (August ’58)
"I’m A Happy Man" – Jive Five (August ’65)


"Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)" – Four Tops

"My Baby Loves Me" – Martha & The Vandellas

"Woman" - Peter & Gordon

"Homeward Bound" – Simon & Garfunkel

"Love Makes The World Go Round" – Deon Jackson


Big changes are in store when we look inside the box next month. It's March Madness Shady Dell style!

Which of these songs will still be around and which will disappear?

You have
one month
to speculate
but remember,
ladies & gentlemen,
this is only
an exhibition,
this is not
a competition;
so please --
no wagering!

Have a Shady day!