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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On the Record: The Return of the Burdon Bunch

Beginning in the fall of 1965 with “It’s My Life” (Dell ranked #10), Eric Burdon and his group The Animals placed seven songs on my list of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell... five of them in the Top 100!

In the summer of 1966 the Animals were back in the barn with the double-sider “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Cheating.”

"Don't Bring Me Down" is a powerhouse of a song produced at the Brill Building by Mickey Most who also produced “It’s My Life." ”Don’t Bring Me Down” became another huge Dell hit for the Animals, coming to rest at #35 on my survey. The wailing, distorted fuzz guitar intro alone was nearly enough to rock the old barn off its foundation. In typical fashion Eric Burdon kept it real, delivering a passionate vocal performance steeped in streetwise toughness. Even on those hot Shady Dell nights the high voltage intensity of “Don’t Bring Me Down” always gave me shivers.

On the flip side of the 45 was “Cheating,” a bluesy number that also got its share of jukebox play. This Dell killer bee is ranked at #95.

At the Shady Dell the Animals were just as popular as the Stones and I dare say even more popular than the Beatles. Songs by the Animals resonated particularly well with Dellions who could relate to the blue collar working class sensibilities of Burdon’s boys.

A change in personnel and a change in creative direction coincided with the release of another Shady Dell 2-fer in the spring of 1967. “When I was Young” b/w “A Girl Named Sandoz” was the first single released by the newly formed group called Eric Burdon and the Animals, a band that had made a seamless transition from traditional blues rockers to exponents of British psychedelia. Heavy on drama and guitar distortion and featuring a shouting Eric Burdon telling it like it was, “When I Was Young“ hit Dell rats right smack in the bread basket and wound up at #53 on my Dell hits list.

The fab flip, the drug-referencing “Sandoz,” put Dell knights in a daze and was played heavily for many weeks, landing at #90 on my survey.

A few months after the release of “When I was Young”/"A Girl Named Sandoz" the Burdon brigade stormed the Dell again - this time with "San Franciscan Nights," a song that became a Summer of Love classic.

I enjoyed "Sandoz" and the other new recordings by Eric Burdon's reinvented group. However, my enjoyment was tempered by an uneasy feeling. I began to experience an internal tug-of-war between my devotion to the traditional Dell songs of the past and my undeniable fascination with the bold new sounds of psychedelia, acid rock, hard rock, and heavy metal.

Popular music was changing rapidly and that included the music being played on the Dell jukebox. Edgy, hard driving sounds by bands like the Jefferson Airplane, the Electric Prunes, the Blues Magoos and Count Five were filling the slots once occupied by sweet soul and innocent pop. “Light My Fire” by the Doors loomed on the horizon. A new era was upon us. For me, popular music was losing its soul and inspiration and was becoming a guilty pleasure.

Have a Shady day!

Friday, June 25, 2010

"I was never allowed to go there and spent every Friday and Saturday there!" Lynn B. Has Fond Memories of Violet Hill Country Club!

(September 1961)
For almost two years I have been telling my true story here on Shady Dell Music & Memories. So has Dell Rat Jerre, and Jerre will be joining the discussion shortly because we're flashing back to his halcyon days...the pre-Beatles era at the Dell.

(January 1961)
To help get you in the mood I have peppered the post with vintage record label scans representing classic Dell songs of the period.

(February 1961)
The star of the show, however, is Dell rat Lynn B. who brings us one of the most important finds in Shady Dell history. It gives me great pleasure to present to you exclusive photographs that Lynn and her friends took inside the Dell barn in 1961! Before viewing the pics please allow me to set the stage.

Lynn found herself a bargain or two at the Dellapalooza barn sale earlier this month and followed up her nostalgic pilgrimage to Mecca by offering to recount some of her Dell memories. "We went to the Shady Dell from about 1958 through 1963 or '64," Lynn remembers. "It was such a great place to meet other kids and dance our little hearts out."

(June 1962)
Along with her stories Lynn made available for our inspection an amazing pair of candids showing her and her friends mixing, mingling and dancing in the Dell barn!

"This, as I recall, was on a Sunday afternoon," Lynn wrote. "John used to open on Sundays once in awhile. As you can see, I don't think the fireplace was lit since we all have our coats on. Obviously, it was in the winter."

The Shady Dell has been called many things over the years, but the appellation that Lynn came up with is a doozy. "I had the back of these pictures labeled The Country Club - 1961," noted Lynn with amusement. "I labeled the pictures Country Club in case my mother saw them, hoping she wouldn't put it together and know I was at the Dell."

Maybe it's a good thing your pics were never discovered, Lynn. I haven't been to many country clubs that looked like a dusty old barn!

Lynn reminds us that John Ettline was a generous, good hearted father figure who knew and cared about his young patrons. No money? No problem! If John liked and trusted you he let you pay off the Dell admission fee on the installment plan! "John charged twenty-five cents to go into the Dell," Lynn continued. "There were times when I didn't have a quarter and he would let me in on credit until the next time." I'm sure that every Dell rat will agreee that John Ettline was always giving young people credit of one kind or another, right Lynn?

"He would make sure to tell us if our friends arrived yet," Lynn recalled. "We had a lot of fun at the Dell and you couldn't beat the music. John would come down in the barn and feed the jukebox and let the kids pick out what they wanted to hear."

(March 1961)
I remember that, Lynn! John struck me as the kind of person who loved to play host and entertain. Keep in mind that he once managed York's famed Valencia Ballroom. I got the impression that John dreaded silence. He always wanted to keep the music playing to preserve the Dell's festive atmosphere. I think John kept the Dell open no matter how late the hour because he never wanted the party to end! Maybe that also explains why the Dell was still operating when John was in his 80's.

Lynn's second photograph is a stunner for several reasons.

It might be the only photo in existence that shows Dell rats in action on the dance floor. This ultra rare photo also offers a glimpse of one of the benches that provided seating around the dance hall. Those benches have long since disappeared, presumably sold in the 1993 Dell auction. What I find most exciting about this photo, however, is the portion of the wall visible in the background.

A cropped image with a brighter exposure reveals the familiar musical cherub art motif, but there appears to be very little in the way of graffiti on the wall back in 1961! Compare that to the image below showing how the wall looks today!

"I do have to say we had some great times and met kids from Lancaster and Harrisburg that came every weekend," Lynn remembered. Her testimony corroborated my earlier assertion that the Dell was a gathering spot, not only for Yorkers, but for teens from all over Central Pennsylvania.

(August 1961)
Lynn continued a thread started last year by Dell Rat Jerre in which he described what the well dressed Dell rat of the late 50's and early 60's was wearing. "We also dressed to the nines," Lynn wrote, "dresses and heels on Saturday night. There were two sisters from Harrisburg that were always dressed like they were going to a cocktail party." The sartorial splendor that Lynn describes was a far cry from the dust coated Baracuta, tattered jeans and worn out Jacks that constituted my official Dell uniform in the mid and late 60's.

Like so many of the Dell faithful, Lynn's visits to the so-called den of iniquity were conducted on the sly. "I was never allowed to go there and spent every Friday and Saturday there, but only until 11:30 unless I stayed at a girlfriend's house. I had a curfew at midnight."

(July 1962)
"My friends and I would meet at Teen Can Teen at the YMCA. When the dance was over we would get a taxi (up to the Dell) because none of us owned a car or had access to one. We would split the cab fare. We would all find transportation home (from the Dell) without any strings attached."

(October 1961)
Parts of Lynn's story closely resemble the reminiscences of Dell Rat Jerre. Jerre Slaybaugh, who attended the Dell during the same time period as Lynn, rushed, pledged and joined Phi Della Ratta over the objections of his folks. "My parents were originally very anti-Dell," Jerre recalled.

"I only got to the Dell with older friends that had a car and then only before my 11:00 curfew. After many discussions, eventually my parents started to believe me when I told them that John and Helen were good people and tried to keep out trouble makers."

Jerre also hit some of the other dance venues that Lynn and her friends enjoyed. "The music was amazing," Jerre told me.

(1963) "Chapel Bells" - released on Wilkes Barre's Debra labelinitially as by The Palisades. Conflict with another Palisades act required the Scranton group to change their name to The Magics (aka The Precisions).

"I started going to dances in junior high at such places as Teen Can Teen, YWCA, and record hops (Buddy Holly era)," Jerre wrote.

(August 1957)
"The typical stuff you see in the movie American Graffiti was for real..."

"...the loop around York going out Market Street and back Philadelphia and past the Hiway theater..."

(May 1959)
"...playing the car radio, listening to the Heartbeats, Shirelles, etc. I really enjoyed the Doo Wop groups."
Thanks for the memories, Jerre! Quick question:

Did you ever challenge Milner to a drag?

(September 1958)
One of Lynn B's favorite memories has to do with a phenomenon that every Dell rat experienced at one time or another - the unnerving false alarm. "The very first time I went, we were sitting in the restaurant and we heard sirens. I thought, oh boy am I ever in trouble. We thought (the Dell) was getting raided.

Nope, it was just the show Highway Patrol on the TV! We had quite a few years of fun at the Dell. The sad part about all of this is you can never go back. You can just reminisce about an easier happy time."

That's a big 10-4, Lynn! Thank you very much for sharing your Dell memories and those rare and wonderful photos. You have contributed some very valuable pieces of the puzzle! Same to you, Jerre!

How about you, brother rat? Are you a man or a mouse?

If you have Dell rat tales to tell or vintage Dell photos to add to our gallery please share them with the world! Submit a comment to any of my blog posts and include your email address. Your email address will not be published. I will simply use it to contact you. With your permission I will publish your Dell memories like I did Lynn's, Jerre's, Ron's, Greg's, Lubie's and those of others who knew and loved John, Helen and the Dell. We are building a library here, a reference source for future generations. With your help and support, people of all ages can experience vicariously what you and I experienced first hand...the magic and wonder of the Shady Dell. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Have a Shady day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shady Dell, the College Years --------- April thru July 1968

Spring break 1968 brought me down to York and up the Dell. I was home all summer long and that meant many Shady Dell nights as well. Here are the biggest Dell hits from the spring and summer of 1968!

April 1968

"Tighten Up" – Archie Bell & the Drells

May 1968

"I Am the Man for You Baby" – Edwin Starr

"My Weakness is You" – Edwin Starr

"Does Your Mama Know About Me" – Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers

"I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)"
– Temptations

"Think" – Aretha Franklin

June 1968

"Jumpin’ Jack Flash" – Rolling Stones

"Licking Stick – Licking Stick" – James Brown

"The Horse" – Cliff Nobles & Co.

"Love is All Right" - Cliff Nobles & Co.

"Here Comes the Judge" – Shorty Long

July 1968

"I’m a Midnight Mover" – Wilson Pickett

"Stay in My Corner" – Dells

Don't miss the next edition of Shady Dell the College Years...coming soon!

And you won't want to miss my next post because I will be presenting one of the most significant finds in the two year history of Shady Dell Music & Memories! Please join me this Friday for an unprecedented trip down Shady Lane!

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

John Ettline: Every Dell Rat's Dad

John Ettline never had children of his own, but every Dell rat knows that John would have made a great father.

In winter John always made sure that the barn was warm enough by keeping a blaze going in the fireplace.

If you had car problems when it was time to leave, John was the go-to guy for help.

Windshield needed scraping?

Car buried in the snow?

Your heap wouldn't start, Bunky?

Locked your keys inside your car, genius?

Mr. Ettline was

Problems at home? John was always willing to dispense wisdom.

John Ettline was like a dad to us all!

Things to know and remember about John:

* John always looked out for the welfare of his family.

* John lived at the YMCA for a period of time with his brother George.

* John had a profound love of horses. He once owned a rare WWII era photograph of Hitler, Mussolini, and some high ranking officers enjoying the company of women. John traded that vintage photo for a picture of a beautiful horse.

* John possessed a photographic memory. He could always match a face with a name.

* John always had his nose in a newspaper. He knew a lot about a lot of things. He was extremely knowledgeable about current events, city, state and local politics, history, and sports.

* John sponsored a number of baseball teams in the York area, providing them with T-shirts.

* John relished the role of host. He loved to entertain, make people feel right at home, and show them a good time. He got a kick out of seeing kids having fun in a setting of his own creation, the Shady Dell.

* John's quiet manner commanded respect. He was loved by family, friends and all of the kids who attended the Dell!

Please play this clip as we honor John Ettline...
every Dell rat's dad!

Happy Father's Day, John!

We love you and miss you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The D-Team: Episode 8

In 1972, a crack Dell Rat unit was sent to prison by the Unific Court of Love for a crime they didn't commit..... (Death by Disco).

These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the York, PA underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of soul and revivers of rock ‘n roll.

If you have a problem (with hip hop divas and gangsta rap)...

if no one else can help...

and if you can find them...

maybe you can hire...

The D-Team!

I pity the fool
who don't like these songs!

"Rhymes" O.V. Wright (September 1976)

In the 1970's some of the coolest sounds to be found anywhere on the planet were coming out of the Memphis studios of Hi Records. "Rhymes," co-written by Al Green and performed by R&B great O.V. Wright, made only a brief chart appearance in September and October of 1976, but the silky smooth southern style soul song made a lasting impression on me.

"You Hurt Me for the Last Time" Inez Foxx (September 1972)

There were Stax Sirens and there were Volt Vamps.
Inez Foxx was my favorite Volt Vamp!

A few years after achieving a major hit with "Mockingbird,"
a classic soul duet that she sang with her brother Charlie, Carolina songbird Inez Foxx embarked on a solo career.

Inez went to Memphis where she recorded for Stax during the legendary record company's final years. Inez released an album of fine R&B material called At Memphis but it failed to catch on. In 1972 Inez released a single that is nothing less than a dynamite doublesider. Side A is one of the greatest and funkiest R&B girl power anthems ever - "You Hurt Me for the Last Time."

"You Hurt Me for the Last Time" is my Pick to Click. This Stax sizzler cooks! It's funkier than a mosquito's tweeter!
Yet it came and went virtually unnoticed.

It should come as no surprise therefore that this Inez Foxx stormer is the latest inductee into my Shady's Law Hall of Shame, a special place reserved for underachieving songs that coulda been, woulda been, and shoulda been hits!

On the B side is another southern fried R&B classic by Inez... the cautionary "Watch the Dog (That Brings the Bone)."


"Circuit's Overloaded" - Inez Foxx (July 1974)

The gifted Inez Foxx made a curtain call in the summer of 1974 with an early disco sound.

Inez had the joint jumpin' and the jukebox blowin' a fuse with "Circuit's Overloaded."

"Only the Strong Survive" - Darrell Banks (1969)

In the spring of 1969 Jerry Butler scored a Top 5 hit with "Only the Strong Survive."

Darrell Banks, the church trained secular singer that many considered Soul's finest voice...the man who gave the Dell and northern soul dance clubs in the UK two colossal hits

on one 45 when he waxed "Open the Door to Your Heart" b/w "Our Love (is in the Pocket)" - covered the Ice Man's hit with aplomb on his Stax/Volt album Here to Stay.

Darrell Banks' entire Here to Stay album is contained on the excellent other Motown soul compilation CD Rare Stamps, which includes fine tracks by soul mates J.J. Barnes and Steve Mancha. Highly recommended!

Unfortunately, Darrell Banks was not here to stay. In March of 1970 Darrell was gunned down and killed by an off duty police officer in a love triangle gone bad.

"Hollywood Hot" - Eleventh Hour (November 1975)

Saw 'em on Bandstand. They rocked. IIRC they had blinking lights on their costumes and embedded in their afros. They were Eleventh Hour, a mid-70s disco funk group assembled by veteran producer Bob Crewe.

Crewe, who a decade earlier co-wrote a string of hits for the Four Seasons with Bob Gaudio, wrote and produced "Hollywood Hot" and "Bumper to Bumper" for Eleventh Hour. Both became dance club hits. "Hollywood Hot" spent an impressive 16 weeks on the R&B Singles chart but somehow never managed to rise above #45.

Eleventh Hour was most likely inspired by George Clinton's
P-Funk dynasty and groups like Earth Wind & Fire, Average White Band and Kool and the Gang. Listen now as Eleventh Hour gives up the funk, beginning with "Hollywood Hot."

Eleventh Hour was a studio aggregation rather than an actual touring ensemble, but when Bob Crewe trotted his creation in front of the cameras on Bandstand that day,
I'm sure the group's edgy look helped to sell records.
I bought their act hook, line and sinker. Before Dick Clark could say "so long" I was out the door and up the street at Two Guys grabbing a copy of the album which contained the full length versions of these two gems plus several other funky dance tracks.

"Bumper to Bumper" Eleventh Hour (November 1975)

I highly recommend the Hollywood Hot album because it's early disco funk done right! 45 minutes of Eleventh Hour is time well spent!

Back in the day I loved the nightlife.
I loved to boogie on the disco 'round, oh yea.

There was just one problem. I was shy, insecure and immature. To my detriment I overcompensated by becoming a poser and a pretender. Let's face it... I was a jive turkey. When I went out clubbin' I called myself Vanilla Shake. John Revolta was more like it! I carried a funky ole jumbo giant toothbrush so that I could look cool brushing my teeth out on the dance floor.
Boy, could I clear a room! In retrospect, I realize that I was essentially hiding behind that oversized prop. Now that I'm older and wiser I can see that I would have been much more of a hit with the ladies if I had worn a genuine disco fever medallion around my neck!

Yeah, that's the ticket! They's babe magnets, sho 'nuff!
Oh, if I only knew then what I know now!

Don't miss the next thrill-packed episode of The D-Team, coming soon!

I love it
when a plan comes together!

Have a Shady day!