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, August 31, 2010

The D-Team: Episode 9

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!

"Suspicious Minds" - Dee Dee Warwick (May 1971)

We lost two great ones in October of 2008. Lloyd Thaxton, the comedic TV dance party host, died on the 5th. Less than two weeks later, sultry soul sister Dee Dee Warwick passed away. I paid tribute to Lloyd last fall. Right now I would like to share with you one of the many fine recordings that are Dee Dee's legacy.

Dee Dee spent her career in the shadow of her famous sister Dionne. In that respect she reminds me of Erma Franklin, another great yet underrated soul singer. Erma, who waxed the Dell megahit "Piece of My Heart," was eclipsed by her superstar sister Aretha.

Dee Dee Warwick also reminds me of her white soul counterpart Evie Sands. Like the talented Evie, Dee Dee
fell victim to record companies that dropped the ball and failed to offer adequate promotion. Like Evie, Dee Dee saw
a number of her fine recordings covered and turned into bigger hits by other artists.

"Suspicious Minds" is Dee Dee's cover of the song Elvis Presley took all the way to #1 in his comeback year 1969. Recorded at southern music mecca Muscle Shoals, Alabama in October 1970 and released in the spring of 1971, "Suspicious Minds" reached its peak at #24 on the R&B Singles chart but only made it to #80 on the pop chart.
It was Dee Dee's last charting single for Atco, a subsidiary
of Atlantic Records. The lackluster chart performance of "Suspicious Minds" was par for the course. Atlantic systematically neglected Dee Dee while pouring most of its resources into established stars like Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack.

To say Dee Dee's version of "Suspicious Minds" is better than the Elvis original would be to compare apples and oranges. Both recordings are sensational, but one is well known and the other obscure. Please listen to Dee Dee's wonderful yet seldom heard rendition.

"Action" - Freddy Cannon (September 1965)

Freddy Boom Boom Cannon's late career hit "Action" was
the theme used on Where The Action Is, the mid 1960's music/variety show produced by Dick Clark.

Action featured many of the popular recording acts of the day including a heaping helping of Paul Revere & the Raiders, the show’s house band.

Unlike Clark’s studio-bound American-Bandstand, Action filmed its musical performance segments at locations around the country. Artists lip-synched to their hits at pools, parks, recreation areas and resorts. During the summer, much of the shooting took place at SoCal’s Malibu Beach. The winter segments were filmed at the Big Bear Ski Resort. In reality, the Action TV series was as much a promotional vehicle for tourist destinations as it was for the recording artists it showcased.

A rockin’ rollin’ reveille call to good times, Freddy Cannon's “Action” went to the #13 spot on Billboard.

"Just Ain't No Love" - Barbara Acklin (December 1968)

A brilliant songwriter and extraordinary singer, Barbara Acklin had the kind of vocal styling that I could listen to all day long and never tire of it. The songs Barbara wrote and recorded at Brunswick Records in the late 60's are among the finest examples of Chitown soul. Every Barbara Acklin opus was a soul satisfying blend of big city polish and sophistication and street wise, dues paying credibility.

"Just Ain't No Love" is a lament about our troubled world;
but unlike "War" and other heavy handed protest songs that hit you in the face like a battering ram, Barbara practices restraint. Her lighter touch makes the message in the music infinitely more palatable. Released at the start of the Christmas holiday season of 1968, "Just Ain't No Love" deserved to be a hit. Instead, sales were mediocre. The record reached #23 R&B and stalled halfway up the pop chart. As Barbara's record faded away it must have burned for her to watch Young-Holt blasting off toward the top of the chart with the instrumental version of her still unreleased "Am I the Same Girl."

Let's give Barbara some sugar. Please listen now to her superb yet unheralded recording "Just Ain't No Love."

"Ben Crazy" (July 1962)/"Batman & His Grandmother"
(June 1966) - Dickie Goodman

I've always had a weakness for novelty records. I am especially fond of the so-called break-ins created by Dickie Goodman, the pioneer of modern sampling. Goodman began his string of break-in hits and misses in the late summer of 1956 with "The Flying Saucer" a War of the Worlds parody that he recorded with his partner Bill Buchanan and released on his own Luniverse record label. Eventually Goodman released singles under his own name on a variety of labels including Mark-X, Rori, Cotique and others.

In the D-Team spotlight are two of my favorites by Dickie released on two of the more collectible record labels of
the 60's. In July of 1962, Diamond collectors picked up
"Ben Crazy," a satirical sickie based on the popular doctor drama Ben Casey.

And in June of 1966, Red Bird-Blue Cat completists

added "Batman and His Grandmother" to their otherwise soulful collections.

Holy Barbara Gordon, Batgirl!

Yvonne Craig's my Pick to Click!

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!


  1. Love Freddy Cannon.
    Btw if you follow my blog you need to unfollow then refollow for my posts to appear in your blog feed.

  2. Thanks so much for your interest and your comment, Emily!

    In 1984 I was stage manager for an oldies concert that featured the Chiffons, the Earls, the Coasters and Freddy Cannon. Surprise guests on stage included Jewel "Birds and the Bees" Akens and original members of the Flamingos and the Tokens. Following the concert I joined Freddy at a restaurant for dinner and had the honor of sitting next to him. Very interesting man! Freddy autographed his dinner napkin for me and even jotted down his Tarzana address and phone number in case I was ever in the neighborhood.

    Thanks for the heads up about your fine blog, Emily. I was wondering what became of it. I have found it again and I remain a loyal follower. I must say, however, that I missed your Sunday Spooktacular last weekend!


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