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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meet the Newly Inducted Members of Shady’s Law Hall of Fame (or is it Shame?)

One of my favorite various artists record albums of the 1960s was The Motown Sound, Vol. 6.

I bought the 16-track LP because it contained several of the Dell’s greatest hits:

“Don’t Mess with Bill"
‘Going to a Go-Go”
“My Baby”
“This Old Heart of Mine”
“Just a Little Misunderstanding”
“Truly Yours”

I was also delighted to find three other excellent songs on the album that were unfamiliar. All three quickly became favorites. These three songs were so good that I wondered why I had never heard them before. When I acquired Joel Whitburn’s Record Research books a few years later and looked up the three songs I was surprised to see how poorly they had performed on the Billboard chart.

One of the gems that I discovered on the album was Tammi Terrell’s “I Can’t Believe You Love Me.” This fine solo effort by Tammi charted in January of 1966 and ran out of steam at #72.

Tammi Terrell bonus track:

Tammi tried again. In the late spring of 1966 she released another soul satisfying single, “Come on and See Me.”

"Come on and See Me" was right in the pocket, yet it also performed poorly on the chart, grinding to a halt at #80 around the 4th of July.

Another great song on The Motown Sound Vol. 6 was "As Long as There is L-O-V-E Love" written and produced by Smokey Robinson and sung by Jimmy Ruffin.

“As Long as There is L-O-V-E Love” turned up on the Billboard Bubbling Under chart on the first day of 1966.

The song bubbled for three weeks and only got to #120 before it fizzled out!

Jimmy Ruffin bonus track:

A major northern soul dance floor filler in the clubs of Great Britain, "He Who Picks a Rose" remained unreleased as a single.

With the same backing arrangement as "I Gotta Find a Way to Get You Back," Jimmy's "Rose" was a bloomin' hit just waiting to happen. Too bad it never hit the streets as a 45. "Gotta Find a Way," meanwhile, was a great slice of Motown recorded by the Temptations, by Tammi Terrell with the Dennis Edwards-led Tempts and by Tammi solo. Here's Tammi's version.

Like the Marvelettes, the Velvelettes were another Motown girl group eclipsed by the Supremes.

The best known Velvelettes record, “Needle in a Haystack,” was also included on my Motown Sound album. Of all the featured songs in this post, "Needle" was the most successful. It climbed the charts in October and November of 1964 and finished at #45. A superb soul song like this one should have gone top 10!

Now let's sample a couple of Velvelettes bonus tracks.

The Velvelettes were an attractive girl group with a wonderful sound and some great material. They should have been a star attraction. Instead, their releases became less and less successful. Case in point: “He Was Really Saying Something” from February 1965, a record that stalled at #64.

Another excellent recording by the Velvelettes was “These Things Will Keep Me Loving You.”

Yet another chart underachiever, "These Things" bubbled under in October of 1966 but never climbed above #102.

What happened? Was the seven word title "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You" too long and cumbersome to allow this fine song to catch on?

Not one of the above Motown masterpieces made it into the top 40. Most didn’t even come close. Why didn’t these songs become hits? Why didn’t these talented artists become superstars?

It is disheartening to realize how many gifted artists failed to achieve the success that they deserved because they weren’t promoted properly; and how many times record company execs ordered black music to be cleaned-up, prettied-up, sanitized and repackaged to make it more palatable to white audiences.

The weasels didn't think that white America could handle the truth! Listen up, mister businessman. When it comes to soul music I take mine black. Hold the vanilla. Give it to me straight. Give me some truth. Give me Linda Jones!

Have a Shady day!


  1. Ah I love your blog so much, such fantastic music.

  2. Look who's talking - you write a marvelous blog, Emily! Love your p.o.v.

    To all readers:
    Check out What Makes You Smile?

    To all bloggers:
    Follow that girl!

    Thank you very much for your comment, Emily!

  3. Hey Shady. How about reviewing The Intruders. They had an album in 1967 tht was a killer. It had on it United, Together, Devil with an Angel's Smile, Up and Down the Ladder,Baby I'm So Lonely. It set the tone for the Philly groups to come and had my Jack's jumpin.

  4. The Intruders were a Gamble that paid off. The Intruders, along with the Delfonics, the Formations, Bunny Sigler, and the Philadelphia based Gamble-Huff writing/production team helped to lay the 1960s foundation for TSOP, the highly successful ultra-cool Philly sound of the 1970s that included Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (R.I.P. Teddy Pendergrass). In 1967, when a lot of soul music was getting funked up, I loved the traditional, sweet, good-natured soul style of Little Sonny & the Intruders. I eagerly bought their Cowboys to Girls album which to me amounted to a "best of" set because every track was right in the pocket. I especially liked the seldom heard songs on the LP like "Turn the Hands of Time," "It Must Be Love," "Sad Girl," "Friends No More," "Everyday is a Holiday," and "Good For Me Girl." During my stint as a Dell rat which ended in the fall of 1967 there was one Intruders single in particular that jammed the floor every time it played. "Baby, I'm Lonely," the song you mentoned, was the dreamy snuggle side while the fab flip "A Love That's Real" was the uplifting shuffle side. I'll be posting more about the Intruders this summer. The fabulous Formations are also in the pipeline. Coming up this spring I will be shining the spotlight on the Delfonics. In a post that will no doubt have some scratching their heads I will circumvent "La-La Means I Love You" entirely and reveal my picks as the REAL best of the Delfonics!

    Thanks so much for your comment, BJ, and keep those Jacks jumpin'!


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