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 11, 2009

Let's Go Huntin' with Hunter & Cruisin' with the Wild I-tralian

It's time once again to shine the spotlight on two more volumes of the Cruisin' series, the simulated Top 40 radio broadcasts of the 50s and 60s released on albums in the early 70s.

As I have done before I will name my Pick to Click from each of the albums and include as a bonus track another of my favorite songs released the same year.

To help set the mood I hung a few more vintage soda pop ads on the wall.

Hop in and we'll cruise out to the left coast, turn around, and go shufflin' off to Buffalo. First, let's hit the Sunset Strip and go Huntin' with Hunter!

Hunter Hancock - KGFJ, Los Angeles

"There is Something on Your Mind" - Big Jay McNeeley
(vocal by Little Sonny Warner)

Garnet Mimms recorded an excellent rendition of "There is Something on Your Mind." Dave Bupp and the Del-Chords performed the song at the White Oaks Reunion last fall.

The definitive version of the song is the one that deejay Hunter Hancock introduced on Cruisin' 1959. Tenor sax show stopper Big Jay McNeely and his band teamed up with satin smooth vocalist Little Sonny Warner to make this slow blues ballad my favorite track on that Cruisin' album and one of the greatest records on the charts during the summer of 1959.

"Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)" - Edward Byrnes & Connie Stevens (June 1959)

He played "Kookie" Kookson the 3rd, the street wise, hair combing, jive talking hipster on the hit TV detective series 77 Sunset Strip.

She portrayed Cricket Blake, the perky photographer, lounge singer, and part time sleuth on the hit TV detective series Hawaiian Eye. Cricket Blake was most likely the inspiration for Cricket Blair, the blonde tressed model turned lawyer on Y&R.

Together, Kookie and Cricket made sweet music, if you want to call it that. "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)," a novelty single performed by Edd Byrnes and Connie Stevens, was released at a time when the buzzworthy young stars were seeing a meteoric rise in the value of their stock. Byrnes was already riding high as the breakout scene stealer on 77 Sunset Strip and Connie was in production on Hawaiian Eye, a series that would send her popularity skyrocketing in the months and years that followed.

Connie Stevens and Edd "Kookie" Byrnes were hip and trendy and so was their record. Radio stations played it and fans bought it. While serious artists bristled, "Lend Me Your Comb" shot into the top 5 on the national pop singles chart. Like, lay it on me!

Rad, dad! Now let's blow the La-La scene and kick our jets Buffalo, baby!

Dick Biondi - WKBW, Buffalo

"Fannie Mae" - Buster Brown (March 1960)

The wailing blues harmonica intro allows oldies lovers to name that tune ("Fannie Mae") in seconds flat. It was always exciting to hear Dick Biondi, the self-described Wild I-tralian of Buffalo, seamlessly inject the name Buster Brown at the perfect moment right before the melody began.

Buster Brown's "Fannie Mae" is my Pick to Click on Biondi's 1960 volume of the Cruisin' series. The blues rocker became Buster's biggest chart hit, breaking into the Billboard top 40 in the spring of 1960.

"The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man"
- the Rolling Stones

I'm breaking my own rules by jumping ahead to 1965, but this is the perfect time to roll out one of my favorite killer bees, the one found on the flip side of the Rolling Stones' Jaggernaut "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

Listen to the familiar riffs in "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man," a song the Stones based on Buster Brown's "Fannie Mae." The song was written as a good natured poke in the ribs aimed at the Stones' own London Records promo man who accompanied Mick and his mates on their first American tour.

"Lucille" - Everly Brothers (October 1960)

As I mentioned in an earlier Cruisin' post, "Wake Up Little Susie" by the Everly Brothers was one of my favorite songs as a boy.

Eventually, I started drifting away from the Everlys and their mellow, laid back rockabilly style, favoring music that packed more of a punch.

Then came the moment in the late 60s when I had an epiphany and realized that the Everly Brothers had their own unique brand of old school cool. It was the moment that I first heard their version of Little Richard Penniman's shouting 1957 hit "Lucille."

The Everly Brothers put their rendition of "Lucille" on the Billboard pop singles chart during the fall of 1960 and it stopped just shy of the top 20 mark. Here are Phil and Don Everly performing their excellent cover of "Lucille" on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show.

Don't miss the next edition of Cruisin'...coming soon!

Have a Shady day!

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