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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Real, Seldom Heard, Under Appreciated and Totally Neglected Best of the Delfonics!

Introducing the real sound of Philadelphia - two of the greatest sweet soul recordings ever produced, and two more inductees into Shady’s Law Hall of Fame.

Shady’s Law = the greater the song, the lower its chart position tends to be.

If it please the court, in order to make my Case of the Neglected Nuggets, I hereby offer into evidence exhibits A and B: “He Don’t Really Love You” and “You’ve Been Untrue”...the real best of the Delfonics. These two superb soul recordings were made in late 1966 at the studios of Cameo-Parkway just before the label folded due to financial difficulties.

With rich vocal harmonies reverberating inside an echo chamber and full-blown orchestration that featured dramatic kettle drums, “He Don’t Really Love You” and “You’ve Been Untrue” are stoned-to-the-bone Philly soul classics. Both produce fever and chills simultaneously. Listening to these songs is like sitting in a sauna and being showered with ice crystals!

“He Don’t Really Love You” was released on the Moon Shot imprint. (Maybe they should have called it Long Shot.) On the B side of the 45 was another fine song entitled “Without You.” The single generated some excitement around the Philadelphia area for a short while, but garnered little interest outside of the Delaware Valley.

It was only after the Delfonics hit it it big with their top 5 single “La-La Means I Love You” that “He Don’t Really Love You” was rereleased and finally made a brief appearance on Billboard in May of 1968. The song lingered on the chart for just four weeks before vanishing and never climbed above a disappointing #92. No way, are you serious? This ultra cool slice of Philly soul is better than “La-La…” or anything else the Delfonics released on Philly Groove!


The story was similar with “You’ve Been Untrue.”

The song was released on a Cameo 45, briefly stirred some local interest, but failed to make the Billboard chart. It didn’t even make a dent in the Bubbling Under chart. Gimme a break!


Unsolved mystery #1: Why didn't these two superb soul songs, "He Don't Really Love You" and "You've Been Untrue," become hits?

Unsolved mystery #2: The Delfonics have numerous "best of" compilations on the market. Why aren't these two gems included on any of them?

"He Don't Really Love You" appears on several of those comps but beware - it is not the original. It is a lame rerecorded version!

Why do the decision makers keep recycling, repackaging, and rereleasing the same Delfonics songs while ignoring the true essentials, the group's two best career recordings: "He Don't Really Love You" and "You've Been Untrue"? How many copies of "La La" do you think we need, guys?

Mercifully, the original version of "He Don't Really Love You" can be found on the fine various artists CD entitled Doctor Good Soul...

and on another entitled Tuff Stuff: Dusty Steppers.

In addition, the original versions of both of these Delfonics classics can be found on the 4-CD Cameo-Parkway box.

Closing argument:

“He Don’t Really Love You” and “You’ve Been Untrue” are the best of the Delfonics. Unlike some of their later material which sounds derivative and formulaic, these two songs sound as fresh today as they did in the 60s when they were recorded. "He Don't Really Love You" and "You've Been Untrue" are two of the finest examples of the emerging ultra-cool Sound of Philadelphia and two of the greatest lost soul treasures of all time. Case closed, next case.

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pimp My Dell! - Part 2: It's Nip and Tuck as Our Shady Lady's Facelift Continues to Raise Eyebrows!

Spring in York, Pennsylvania: April showers can be followed by May or June monsoons. Doesn't matter. Let it rain!
Our Shady Dell's got herself a brand new roof!

Veteran SDMM correspondent and award winning photojournalist Toni Deroche, who was recently appointed Violet Hill Bureau Chief, is back from the scene to bring us the latest pictures of the Dell's historic makeover! "The main roof is finished," Toni reports, "but extensive rotting was discovered on the little roofs covering the porches. Parts of those roofs still need to be replaced."

In the four weeks since Toni's first Pimp My Dell photo essay was published, the appearance of the Dell property has changed to such an extent that it might be difficult for some old time Dell rats to even recognize the place.

Dozens of trees have been cleared from the parking lot and other parts of the estate, opening up and brightening up the much too shady Shady Dell.

Toni says there are still more trees on the premises that need to be removed along with other forms of unwanted vegetation.

"We will hire someone else to clear the front and the bushes along the street line," she says. "The large tree in the very front is seriously overgrown and many branches touch the house."

"The house is also covered with ivy from top to bottom," Toni continued. "It's mostly in the front. I already removed enough to jam pack a large garbage can. Pulling the ivy off is not an easy job but it was actually fun! There's still a lot of it remaining. Some of the vines are two inches thick and spiny and it looks like it's growing into the bricks. It will take a professional with a long ladder to finish the job."

Grading of the land continues at the Dell. As the above image shows, a new driveway now cuts in from Starcross Road and slopes down toward the barn. Much contouring work remains to be done, according to Toni.

"More grading is scheduled and lots of fill will be needed to create the lush grassy yard that is planned where the old gravel parking lot was once located."

(April 2010)
In the photo above which was taken late last month, three of the Dell's porches are visible. As Toni reports, the ground level porch on the left toward the front of the house is made of cement and will remain intact, but the two wooden porches on the right of the screen were on the critical list.

"The porch outside the snack bar was torn up and replaced," says Toni. "The second floor porch directly above it, which incidentally is outside of an existing second floor kitchen, is also being replaced."

Toni says the stairway connecting the two porches has been removed because it made the second floor porch too narrow to be usable.

(2008 photo)
The exterior staircase that Toni was referring to can be seen clearly in this photo of the porch taken in 2008.

(May 2010)
In a photo taken this past week you can see that the flight of stairs is now gone. In the days since Toni snapped this picture the ground level porch was rebuilt and resurfaced with pressure treated wood. All that remains to be done is to reinstall the railing around it.

Work is also proceeding inside the Dell house. Williams Service Company, the Deroche family's heating, air conditioning and refrigeration contracting business, is in
the process of removing the bulky old radiators located throughout the house.

Williams is equipping the three story brick home with two new heat pumps and central air conditioning.

The Deroche plan also calls for parts of the Dell house on the first floor to undergo an electrical rewiring.

The first floor ceiling needs to be replaced. Several of the old tiles are caving in as can be seen in the above picture from 2009.

Take a good look at the photograph on the left. It might be the last one you will ever see of the old Dell snack bar in its present location. The remaining components of the Dell's commercial restaurant are slated
to be dismantled and removed. The space
will be transformed
into a modern residential kitchen
with new appliances and cabinets.

"The pool table, the pinball machine, the snack bar and stools and the ice cream/soda fountain will all be taken out of the house and put in storage while the interior work is being done," Toni explained, "and in all probability, none of those things will be going back into the house."

What will happen to the old snack bar and the other remnants of the Dell's restaurant and game room? At this point their final destination remains uncertain, but at least one of the items is being offered for sale by the Deroches. It's an instantly recognizable fixture of the Dell - one whose sentimental value alone renders it priceless!

Imagine what it would be like to own one of Elvis Presley's cars or one of Marilyn Monroe's gowns! That's the feeling you'll get when you stake your claim to this one-of-a-kind Dell collectible. Up for grabs is the Shady Dell's original soda fountain... the very same appliance that Helen Ettline used to dish up sundaes, banana splits and ice cream sodas to generations of Dell rats! Even if your Dell shrine already has everything but the kitchen sink, it won't be complete until you own this unique piece of Dell history - Helen's soda fountain! And it can be yours if the price is right!

In addition to the Dell soda fountain, the Deroches have other original Dell collectibles to sell. Toni is planning to put the Dell paraphernalia on display at a yard sale tentatively scheduled for the second weekend in June. "I will have a Dell section that includes things that were left after the previous auctions - things like ashtrays, ice cream dishes, a glass straw holder, a formica and chrome 50's style kitchen table, other assorted tables and chairs, original Dell mirrors, a stool and a folding step stool. Some non-Dell items for sale will include books, furniture, beer signs, mirrors, table lamps, floor lamps and many more miscellaneous items," Toni added.

Smile and say cheese, Dell rats! If you missed those previous auctions, you will have another chance to own a piece of the Dell and a piece of York County history when Toni has her yard sale next month!

Once again we thank Dell owner Toni Deroche for giving us another exclusive look at the Shady Dell's ongoing extreme makeover. To say that the old gal doesn't look a day over thirty might be a stretch, but just like us old rats the Dell's hangin' tough and staying one step ahead of the demolition man. For that we can all be thankful!

Have a Shady day!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On the Record --- Cool Covers & Jarring Juxtapositions: When "Worlds" Collide!

In May of 1964 the Beatles and other British Invasion acts were dominating the domestic pop music scene and American idols like Bobby Rydell were struggling to survive the onslaught.

Bobby Rydell's rendition of “A World Without Love,” a Lennon-McCartney composition, was released on 45 at a time when the native Philadelphian's career was on the skids. Bobby’s "World" entered the Billboard chart the same week as a version of the song by the English duo Peter & Gordon. Bobby’s record lasted only 6 weeks on the chart and crested at a disappointing #80, (see Shady's Law).

The Peter & Gordon release lasted twice as long and went straight to number one!

No question about it...Peter & Gordon’s recording of “World w/o Love” is great...

but I like Bobby Rydell’s Americanized version of the song even more. In fact, it's my favorite Bobby Rydell recording!

It's always fun to flash back to the early days of a artist's career when their popularity was on the rise.

Emerging teen idol Bobby Rydell appeared on Bandstand around Halloween 1959 and performed "I Dig Girls," the flipside of "We Got Love."

Another great B side could be found on the back of Bobby's next Cameo single "Wild One." With a long chart run that culminated in a top 20 finish in the spring of 1960, here's "Little Bitty Girl."

Unlike some artists of the period, Bobby Rydell had a vocal style that still sounds fresh to me today.

To my ears, Bobby's songs aren't old school, they're swinging school.

Like "Wild One" managed to do earlier in the year, "Swingin' School" made it all the way to the top 5 on Billboard.

Bobby made it three in a row with his next release "Volare," a delightful cover of "Mel Blu Dipinto Di Blu," Domenico Modugno's #1 hit from the summer of 1958. "Volare" spent more than three months on the national chart and remains the one song that I most closely associate with the summer of 1960. In the mid 60s, Bobby sang his oldie on Dick Clark's Where the Action Is, flanked by Jeri Lyn Stapleton (my Pick to Click) and the rest of the Action Kids.

In the spring of 1963 Bobby Rydell scored a top 20 hit with "Wildwood Days," a song that brings back childhood memories of fun-filled weeks spent in Wildwood, OCNJ, OCMD and other Maryland and Jersey beach towns.

My memories of Wildwood, New Jersey extend all the way back to 1953 for it was there on the boardwalk that I tasted pizza pie for the first time and enjoyed my first cone of soft ice cream!

I remember Wildwood's awesome amusement park where I patiently waited in line for a chance to climb aboard every Dell rat's favorite thrill ride, the Wild Mouse.

Down at Ocean City, Maryland I waited in an equally long line for a cup or bucket overflowing with World Famous Thrasher's French Fries. I always added extra salt and doused those thick seasoned potato strips with apple cider vinegar!

Another gastronomic delight that could be found at boardwalk stands in both Ocean Cities was the zesty, tangy Taylor Pork Roll sandwich.

Practically every beach community with a boardwalk had a salt water taffy shop where you could look through the window and watch as the machine pulled large batches of the sticky stuff. Pizza, ice cream, french fries, pork roll, taffy - as a kid I could eat foods like those all day every day and stay skinny as a rail. Not anymore. I gained ten pounds just writing about them!

Returning now the spring of 1964 and our When "Worlds" Collide discussion, it was clear that Bobby Rydell's career trajectory differed sharply from that of Peter and Gordon. In the mid-60s UK-based recording artists were on their way up while here stateside teen heartthrobs like Bobby Rydell were on their way out.

Peter and Gordon and other English Mop Tops might have stolen the spotlight from Bobby Rydell for a while, but vindication came by decade's end when the rock 'n roll revival swept America and Bobby, Frankie, Fabian and scores of other domestic artists of the pre-Beatles era extended their careers and garnered new generations of fans by touring in oldies revues.

Philly's phinest: the phabulous Bobby Rydell.
Forget him? I don't think so!

Have a Shady day!


Toni Deroche said...

I remember going to Wildwood with my parents when I was 4. My dad took me into the ocean for the first time and I started crying and saying, "I don't like this salty pool! Take me back to my pool!" (Wisehaven)

May 22, 2010 1:31 PM

Shady Del Knight said...

I hear you, Toni! I had a similar experience at Wildwood.
I threw a tantrum when mommy wouldn’t let me get on the roller coaster because it’s “just for big people.” Incensed,
I tossed my teddy bear off the pier and into the raging surf below, then stood there in my little pink shorts and Captain Midnight t-shirt and held my breath till I turned blue! Looking back, I realize that my actions were immature, but at the time I thought I had a case. A 37 year old man should be able to make his own decisions!

May 22, 2010 1:37 PM

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you followed me around to all my favorite spots at Wildwood. Believe me, it really hasn't changed that much. The family goes back for a week every year. Beach is wider, rides are newer (Northeaster - no wild mouse), T-shirts are more vulgar, but the french fries and pizza are still great. Taylor Pork rolls are hard to find. Kohrs is still there if you would like another ice cream.

May 24, 2010 9:44 AM

Shady Del Knight said...

Yep - I followed you around! As you might recall I broadsided you on the Scooter ride in my red #7 bumper car on July 19th, 1956 at 2:23pm. I would like to take this opportunity to offer a long overdue apology for my reckless driving. Thanks for your comment, my friend!

May 24, 2010 10:44 AM

Toni Deroche said...

My first roller coaster ride, the Hurricane, was at the Pavilion in Myrtle Beach, SC with my dad. I was about 10.
I screamed the whole way through it but was hooked! The Pavilion closed and was torn down to the ground two years ago. :( Nothing stays the same!

May 25, 2010 6:34 PM

Shady Del Knight said...

I remember going to the Pavilion many times when I vacationed in Myrtle Beach during the 1970s. Sad to know that it's gone now. If you haven't seen it, be sure to check out the Phoebe Cates/Bridget Fonda movie Shag. The late 80s film is set in 1963 Myrtle Beach and is filled with vintage cars, fashions, and dance steps! Thanks again for your comments, Toni!

May 25, 2010 6:40 PM

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Forget the Dean's List.................. We Got Ron's List!

In 2008 and 2009 I counted down The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell, the songs that I perceived as having had the greatest impact at the Dell during the mid 1960s.

Shady Del Knight's
Dell Top 10

My list culminated in
the final countdown of
The Shady Dell Top 10
(December 1965 thru September 1967)

10. "It's My Life" - Animals (November '65)
9. "Hello Stranger" - Capitols (April '66)
8. "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" - Temptations (June '66)
7. "Cool Jerk" - Capitols (April '66)
6. "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" - Righteous Brothers (March '66)
5. "No Man is an Island" - Van Dykes (March '66)
4. "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" - James Brown (May '66)
3. "Peace of Mind" - Magnificent Men (January ’66)
2. "Everybody's Gotta Lose Someday" - Del-Chords aka
Del-Cords (December '64)
1. "Close Your Eyes" - Five Keys (March '55)

Jerre Slaybaugh's
Dell Top 10

My Dell songs list was
soon followed by one from
Dell Rat Jerre who
attended the Dell
from the late 50s
through the mid 60s.

These were the most memorable songs from
Jerre's Dell years:

10. "Hey You" - Imaginations (1961)
9. "Coney Island Baby" - Excellents (December 1962)
8. "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss" - Jive Five (August 1965)
7. "Ooo Baby Baby" - Smokey & the Miracles (May 1965)
6. "I Don't Mind" - James Brown (June 1961)
5. "Time is On My Side" - Rolling Stones (December 1964)
4. "Maybe, Maybe, Baby" - Magnificent Men (Sept. 1966)
3. "Deserie" - Charts (July 1957)
2. "Close Your Eyes" - Five Keys (March 1955)
1. "Human" - Tommy Hunt (October 1961)

Dell Rat Ron's Dell Top 20

Now it's our
good friend
Dell Rat Ron's
turn to post a
Dell Top Tunes
Ron predates me
as a Dell rat
because he started
going there
in 1963
at age 14.
Ron's Dell years
overlap Jerre's
and mine.

"I couldn't cut my list down to 10," admits Ron. "These were all very important songs which I enjoyed many times during the years I attended the University of Shady Dell."

20. "Chug-A-Lug" - Roger Miller (October 1964)

19. "Those Were the Days" - Mary Hopkin (November 1968)

18. "A Girl Named Sandoz"/"When I Was Young" - Eric Burdon & the Animals (April 1967)

17. "What Now" - Gene Chandler (January 1965)

16. "Going to a Go-Go"/"Choosey Beggar" - The Miracles (February 1966)

15. "I'm So Proud"/"I Made a Mistake" - The Impressions (May 1964)

14. "Don't Look Back"/"My Baby" - The Temptations (December 1965/November 1965)

13. "Wooly Bully" - Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
(June 1965)

12. "Ruby Tuesday"/"Let's Spend the Night Together"
- The Rolling Stones (February 1967)

11. "My Girl Sloopy" - The Vibrations (April 1964)

10. "The Way You Do the Things You Do"/"Just Let Me Know" - The Temptations (April 1964)

9. "A Quiet Place (Johnny Dollar)"/"One Girl" - Garnet Mimms
(July 1964/May 1964)

(flip side shown)
8. "A Girl to Love" - Rosco Gordon (September 1962)

7. "Get Off of My Cloud" - The Rolling Stones
(November 1965)

6. "I'll Be In Trouble"/"The Girl's Alright With Me"
- The Temptations (June 1964)

5. "Peace of Mind"/"All Your Lovin's Gone to My Head"
- The Magnifcent Men (December 1965)

4. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"/"Tired of Pushing"
- The Magnificent Men (March 1968)

3. "Everybody's Gotta Lose Someday"/"Your Mommy Lied to Your Daddy" - The Del-Chords (December 1964)

2. "Close Your Eyes" - The Five Keys (March 1955)

1. "Island of Love" - The Sheppards (August 1959)

Thanks for a wonderful Dell top tunes list, Ron!

One thing becomes clear when you compare Ron's Dell songs list with Jerre's and mine. We all have our own individual set of filters. Each of us experienced the Dell in our own unique way. A certain song that played on the Dell jukebox might have resonated with you. You became anchored to it for life. While that particular song seemed huge to you, it might have made little or no impression on somebody else. It's a valuable life that applies not only to music and the Dell but to all of our experiences. Different strokes.....

The only Dell classic that appears on all three of our lists is "Close Your Eyes" by the Five Keys. I ranked it #1 and refer to it as the mother of all Dell songs! Jerre and Ron both ranked it #2. Ron explained why he picked "Island of Love" by the Sheppards as his #1.

"You know, both it and "Close Your Eyes" were the most representative songs throughout the years at the Dell," Ron wrote, "but I had to give a slight edge (to 'Island of Love') for one reason. The most commonly heard song whenever I was walking across the patio, and headed to the barn---whether I had just entered the Dell, or was coming out of the restaurant---was 'Island of Love.' Even if I was leaving for the night, or standing on the patio. I like both of the songs equally, but The Sheppards' song always said 'welcome to the Dell, Ron' or 'have a good night, Ron.'"

I always got that familiar "welcome back" feeling when
"Hello Stranger" played, Ron.

How about you, friend?

Yeah you...the guy in the Woody Woodpecker pajamas pouring PBR on his Froot Loops. For the love of Pete, man, it's three in the afternoon, dontcha think it's time to get dressed? Why don't you do what Dell Rat Ron and Dell Rat Jerre did? If you have a Shady Dell Top Tunes list of your own then please share it. I'd love to see it. It doesn't have to be 100 or 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!