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, September 28, 2010

Deep..... Deeper..... Deepest! Counting Down to the Greatest Soul Ballad...Ever! (Part 1)

We're still in the midst of our year long spin-off to find
The Most Exciting Record... Ever! The winner of that competition will be crowned soon. In the meantime, I would like to add another contest - a deep soul showdown. From a list of 10 worthy contenders, I would like to name the song that is, in my humble opinion, the Greatest Soul Ballad...Ever!

What exactly do I listen for? What makes a soul ballad great?

First, I listen for the three S's: sweetness, sincerity and simplicity.

Qualities like honesty, decency, vulnerability and inner strength are also important.

There are other considerations. Is the song relevant? Are the vocals delivered not only with artistry but with feeling and passion? Does the song inspire me? Does it produce a profound visceral response? Does it move me to tears? Does the song stick with me long after I listen to it? Do I play the song over and over again in my mind? Do I dwell on the song's message and meaning and how it relates to my life?

Let the music play!
Here is my countdown of the 10 Greatest Soul Ballads...Ever!

#10 "I Got Everything I Need" - Sam & Dave (May 1966)

The killer bee side of "Hold On, I'm a Comin" is the only Stax/Memphis song to make my list. Why? Because bold, brassy, sizzlin' southern fried R&B/soul isn't exactly what
I'm listening for in a great soul ballad. This Sam & Dave
song, however, is truly something special.

"I Got Everything I Need," a song of praise and gratitude for a woman who stands by her man even though he is dressed in rags, resonated with Dell rats big time. It's rendered with so much honesty, sincerity, and humility that it deserves to make this list.

I invite you to compare "I Got Everything I Need" to the similar themed "Skinny Legs and All," an R&B number released the following year by Joe Tex. The song suggested that few women would want to be seen with a man who is wearing "raggedy clothes." Shucks, "the man just forgot to get his suit out of the cleaners, that's all." While the Joe Tex ditty was played for laughs, the Sam and Dave ballad you just listened to always brought a tear to my eye. Show me a
woman who is proud of her man even though he's got holes in his shoes and bus fare is all he can spare and I'll show you
a real keeper, my friend.

#9 "Everybody's Gotta Lose Someday" - Del-Chords (December 1964)

The transitional soul masterpiece by Dave Bupp, Buddy King and their integrated, pre-Mag Men vocal group nailed down the #2 spot on my list of The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell. With its decidedly melancholy tone and spine tingling harmonies, "Everybody's Gotta Lose" deserves to be a top contender for best soul ballad.

#8 "Close Your Eyes" - Five Keys (March 1955)

Sweet and innocent, simple and sincere, this tender ballad recorded in the mid 50's by one of the leading R&B vocal groups of the period was indeed a soul survivor.

"Close Your Eyes" by the Five Keys outwitted, outplayed and outlasted all other Dell songs!

While other records came and went at the Dell, "Close Your Eyes" remained a fixture on the barn's jukebox for a dozen years or more, earning it the coveted #1 position on the
200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell!

#7 "No Man is an Island" - Van Dykes (April 1966)

Simplicity, sincerity, sweetness - the qualities that spring to mind at the very mention of the Van Dykes, an exceptional vocal group from Texas.

"No Man is an Island" by the Van Dykes, easily one of the greatest soul ballads ever recorded, only managed to reach #94 on the Billboard chart! Shady's Law rears its ugly head!

Oh well, the world's loss was the Shady Dell's gain.
The rat pack made this one a huge hit!

With scant instrumentation that borders on a capella and glorious church-based harmonies, "No Man is an Island" is a song that brings out the best in us every time we listen to it. Sadly, it wouldn't be long before many popular recording acts adopted the belief that they had to sex U up to sell records. In my opinion the great ones never even go there.

We're off to a flying start but there's more soul searching ahead. The feeling goes from deep to deeper in my next post. Please join me when I continue my countdown of
The Greatest Soul Ballads...Ever!

Have a Shady day!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The D-Team: Episode 10

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!

"Groovy Baby" - Billy Abbott (August 1963)

You married my daughter against my wishes.
You're no good for her.

You're a smug, arrogant s.o.b. just like your brother. You publish a gossip rag... a scandal sheet. You profit from the misfortune of others. You've slept with two-thirds of the women in this town. Let me tell you something, Billy Boy. If you ever hurt Victoria, I will do everything in my power to destroy you! GOT THAT? You have a nice day...

Nope! Wrong Billy.
The Billy Abbott in the D-Team spotlight is the 60's soul singer along with his backup group the Jewels. More about their "Groovy Baby" recording after some history.

A slang expression of the psychedelic 60's, “Groovy, Baby!” was resurrected in the Austin Powers films of the late 90's.

The origin of the term groovy can actually be traced back
to the 1930's and early 40's.

The word was used by jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong to refer to a fine piece of music - music that’s in the groove.

In his tender ballad "Groovy Baby," Billy Abbott uses the words in a different context to describe the special girl that he loved and lost. "Groovy Baby" climbed the Billboard chart in the summer of 1963 and peaked at #55. Billy was robbed because the song belonged in the top 20. Abbott’s sweet, sad, sincere vocals blend with the Jewels’ glorious harmonies to make this one of the best and most powerful transitional (doo-wop to soul) ballads of the early 60's!

"You Didn't Look 'Round" - Lesley Gore (September 1965)

It started in the spring of 1963 with her number one smash and signature song "It's My Party." Over the next four years Lesley Gore released a long string of superb pop songs, successfully competing for chart space with English moptops.

A few of Lesley's Mercury singles carried killer bees on their backs and some of her best material remained unreleased
on 45rpm.

One such gem is "You Didn't Look 'Round," a fabulous track found on Lesley's 1965 album My Town, My Guy and Me.
I love Lelsey's velvet voice and assured vocal styling. Her singing always sounds effortless and that's the mark of a great talent. "You Didn't Look 'Round" was a hit just waiting to happen. In all probability the song would have gone Top 40 had it been released as the A side of a single. Instead this wonderful song remained tucked away in relatively obscurity as an album track. Let's listen to this lost pop treasure.

"Lonely Drifter" - O'Jays (September 1963)

Need more proof of the validity of Shady's Law? Try this one on for size! Throughout the 1960's, the sensational yet underrated O'Jays released one underachieving single after another. In the early 70's, the Gamble-Huff team began to work with the group and turned them into one of the leading TSOP acts of the decade. I'm glad the O'Jays finally got their props. That said, I strongly prefer the purity and simplicity of the O'Jays' 60's output to their slickly produced material on Philadelphia International during the 70's. The same holds true for the Detroit Spinners who gained success but lost their soul when they signed with Atlantic in the early 70's.

The earlier the better I always say, and that's why "Lonely Drifter," the very first release by the O'Jays to make the Billboard chart, is my Pick to Click. "Lonely Drifter" is an exquisite transitional soul recording that parallels the work
of Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions. With an arrangement similar to that of "The Lonely Surfer," the hit instrumental released by Jack Nitzsche a few weeks earlier, "Lonely Drifter" shoulda been a stone smash; yet it only managed to reach #93 on the chart!

From September 1963, the final weeks of America's Age
of Innocence,
here are the O'Jays with their awe inspiring "Lonely Drifter."

"Transistor Sister" - Freddy Cannon (August 1961)

In 1984 I had the pleasure of sitting next to Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon in a restaurant and chatting with him over dinner. Freddy had just finished performing a set of his hit songs in an oldies revival concert that also featured the Chiffons, the Earls and the Coasters, with special guest appearances by original members of the Flamingos and the Tokens, and Jewel "Birds and the Bees" Akens.

I'm a sucker for records loaded with hooks and gimmicks and throughout his career Freddy Cannon made liberal use of them. "Transistor Sister" broke into the Top 40 in the late summer of 1961 and finished at #35.

I never touched that dial when WSBA played this Freddy fave! Let's rock, roll and remember!

A Massachusetts native who first made it big in Bean Town, Freddy Cannon is now 70 years young and residing in Tarzana, California. I can't help wondering why Freddy didn't go by his real name, Frederick Anthony Picarellio, Junior. Kinda rolls off the tongue...

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!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

8 Simple Rules for Leaving a Comment on a Moderated Blog

Mr. Knight isn’t here. He’s addressing the United Nations.
He left me in charge. I’m his senior adviser, his loyal friend and confidant, his indispensable right hand man. The transfer of power is now complete. As of this moment and until further notice, I have full, complete and total authority to conduct blog business as I see fit. You report to me now.
I will be monitoring each and every one of you to make sure that you are in strict compliance with the bylaws of this website.

Since many of you are apparently unfamiliar with the procedure for leaving a comment on a moderated blog,
I’ll run through it. You will listen. You will learn.
Pay attention - there will be a pop quiz.

The first thing you will be asked to do before writing a comment is to transcribe a series of letters and numbers. Requiring you to replicate this security code serves two important purposes:

1. It measures your I.Q.

2. It denies blog access to machines that transmit automated messages.

To all you machines out there, I offer this warning: I have you under surveillance. I know all about your vile scheme… your insidious conspiracy.

Your mission is to penetrate our defenses, infiltrate our ranks, mate with our women, take us over and, worst of all, to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. Let me assure machines everywhere that your diabolical plot is doomed to failure. We are heavily fortified. We are impervious to your malevolent invasion. You will be defeated!

The next step in posting a comment is to write your remarks in the space provided. See figure 1 below for an example of an acceptable comment:


“Gosh Golly
Gee Willikers,
Mr. Knight!
You sure have
a bitchin’ blog!
Love every
page (LOL)”
-Kenneth P., NYC


You will notice that Kenneth’s comment is positive and upbeat. This type of comment will pass inspection and get immediate approval for publishing on the blog.

The following guidelines apply:

* If your comment is interesting and you praise Mr. Knight, your comment gets published.

* If your comment is dull and boring but you remember
to praise Mr. Knight, your comment will still get published.

* If your comment is entirely off topic, contains obscenity,
is unreasonably negative or attacks others (flaming), it will
be deleted before it ever appears on the blog.

* If you try to send spam to the blog it will likewise be intercepted and eliminated.

READ MY LIPS: Under no circumstances will spam or any other canned meat products be allowed on this site! Slim Jims and Beef Jerky, on the other hand, are quite welcome.

When you click to submit your comment, don’t expect it
to show up on the blog immediately. Your comment was recorded and there is no need to resubmit. As I already explained, your comment will not appear until the moderator, Mr. Knight, has time to review it and approve it for publishing. This could take anywhere from a few minutes to
a few hours depending on how often Mr. Knight is able to check his messages. You need to consider the fact that
Mr. Knight has other important things to do during the day like sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, addressing the U.N., etc. These things all take time. Be patient.

This concludes today’s lesson outlining the 8 simple rules for commenting on a moderated blog. It would behoove you to memorize them. If you learn to recite them backward you will be awarded a merit badge. You can’t find 8 rules? Trust me, there are 8. Some are embedded with a secret code. Your job is not to question. Your job is to obey. If you fail to do so or dare to question my authority I will report you to
Mr. Knight the second he returns.

I’m just a
heartbeat away
Site Administrator.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shady Del Knight Presents: Cruisin' with Pat O'Day and Dr. Don Rose

It's time to salute two more volumes of the Cruisin' series, those fabulous simulated radio broadcasts featuring some of the greatest top 40 deejays of the 50's and 60's. As always, I'll pick my favorite song from each album and then add a couple more groovy greats from the same year.

Today, let's cruise up to KJR in Seattle and back down to WQXI Atlanta, better known as "Quixie in Dixie!"

Pat O'Day - KJR, Seattle

"Walk Away Renee" - Left Banke

The Left Banke's intricate harmonies and baroque, melancholy Bach rock style drew comparisons to groups
like the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Zombies.

Two singles released by the Left Banke became nationwide hits. Both songs also became giants of the jukebox at the Dell, filling the dance floor several times a night from the fall of 1966 until the spring of 1967. "Walk Away Renee" was the groups' bigger hit, vaulting to #5 on the Billboard chart and #2 on Cash Box in early November 1966.

The Left Banke's follow-up release is my Pick to Click. The hauntingly beautiful "Pretty Ballerina" reached #15 on Billboard and #12 on Cash Box in early March 1967.

"Walk Away Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina" were written by Left Banke pianist Michael Brown.

Brown penned these and several other songs as a way of expressing his unrequited love for Renee Fladen-Kamm, a striking blonde who at the time was the girlfriend of group bassist Tom Finn.

"Daydream" - Lovin' Spoonful (March 1966)

The month of March in Central Pennsylvania can be cold and blustery, but whenever I listened to “Daydream,” I imagined myself out there havin’ fun in that warm California sun. "Daydream," performed by John Sebastian’s west coast folk-rock band the Lovin’ Spoonful, was one of those Shady Dell songs that prompted me and my Dell buddies to memorize the lyrics and sing along. The song’s laid back philosophy fired my imagination. I pictured myself escaping reality - getting lost in a daydream perhaps, as the song suggested, for a thousand years! Stuck in school for three more months before summer vacation would arrive, I relished a song like “Daydream," with lyrics that included I’m blowin’ the day to take a walk in the sun and fall on my face on somebody’s new-mowed lawn.

Ranked at #82 on my 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell, ”Daydream” kept Dell dancers shuffling across the floor from late winter through the spring of 1966.

From mid July through September of that year, the Spoonful’s “Summer In The City” (#107) was hotter than a match head.

Strange as it seems, Dell rats were wild about cats! "Nashville Cats," that is!

With an impressive string of high-charting folk-rock and pop singles released during the mid 60's, the Lovin’ Spoonful was one American band that provided stiff competition for the Beatles, the Stones, and other UK acts.

Dr. Don Rose - WQXI, Atlanta

"Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" - Royal Guardsmen
(December 1966/January 1967)

Christmas 1966 was particularly lively in the Shady Dell barn. For the 10th year in a row, Dell rats were dancing a jig in childlike glee whenever Bobby Helms' nursery rhyme ditty "Captain Santa Claus" played on the jukebox.

During that same holiday season the Royal Guardsmen, six Florida guys who got the idea for their name from the British Invasion, inspired even more dance floor high jinks with "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron," a novelty record about a pair
of World War I flying aces.

In addition to being popular at the Dell, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" was a huge hit nationally. It skyrocketed toward the top of the Billboard chart only to be trapped for several weeks in the #2 spot by the meteoric Monkees and their latest hit "I'm a Believer." Even so, "Snoopy" was a long lasting hit record, staying hot on the chart until February 1967.

"Baby, I'm Lonely" - Intruders (September 1967)

Best known for their top 10 hit "Cowboys to Girls," the Intruders were a Philly soul group that produced some excellent recordings for the songwriting/producing team
of Gamble-Huff, developers and curators of the ice cool Sound of Philadelphia.

"Baby, I'm Lonely" featured the Intruders' sweet, innocent, sincere, no nonsense vocal style, one that I liked so much more than the sly, slick and wicked approach. The song showed up in the Dell jukebox in mid September 1967 which turned out to be my very last week as a Dell rat regular. Days later I left York to serve a four year stretch at an institute of higher learning in State College, PA.

"Baby, I'm Lonely" was the killer bee on the flip side of another great Philly soul recording by the Intruders,
"A Love That's Real."

Dell dancers packed the floor whenever this shuffle tempo favorite played on the barn box.

Cruisin' '68, '69, and '70 are still ahead and coming soon so stick around!

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sunny Side Up on the Shady Side of the Street - What's Cookin' at the Dell?

Put on your thinking caps, Dell rats. It's time for another
Mom & Pop Quiz. This one's multiple choice.

What are Rickey, Zombie, Phosphate & Jigger?

A. A personal injury law firm.
(If you've been wronged we'll make it right, and there's no fee unless we collect! )

B. The starting lineup of Poison after Bret Michaels went solo.

C. Types of soda fountain drinks once served at the Shady Dell.

Answer: C
If you flunked the test don't beat yourself up.
I could have sworn it was B!

But I digress...

The surprises keep coming here on Shady Dell Music & Memories. When I opened my mailbox recently I was astonished to find a package from John Ettline's niece
Nancy Rae Sieling. Nancy (seen below) sent a delightful that every Dell rat will appreciate!

Photo courtesy York Town Square/yorkblog.comSeems that in addition to being king of all Dell rats, Nancy's uncle John was quite a pack rat. After John's death early in 1993, Nancy worked countless hours cleaning up the Dell, sorting and organizing tons of memorabilia in preparation for the auction later that year.

In the midst of the house cleaning Nancy discovered and set aside this well preserved vintage 1950's Shady Dell menu! She saved it for more than 17 years before deciding to donate it for publication on the blog. Thank you very much for your generosity, Dell Rat Nancy!

Let's have a look at the menu starting with the front cover. Along with pictures of a sundae, a banana split and an ice cream soda...

there is also a conspicuous promotional plug for the dairy products division of the now defunct Borden company.

Flipping the menu over we find the familiar Elsie the Cow logo on the back cover.

The famous spokescow is another reminder that the Dell had a franchise agreement with Borden's ice cream. Borden's also manufactured the Elmer's Glue brand and promoted Elmer the Bull as the husband of Elsie the Cow.

Yeah no! You know what? Try as I might I just can't picture those two as a couple. I think Elsie could have done sooo much better. Why did she let herself fall for that bull?

But I digress....

By the way, do you remember Borden's ice cream as the sponsor of the 1950's TV series Fury (the story of a horse and the boy who loved him) starring one of my favorite actors, the late Peter Graves?

Fury was broadcast every Saturday morning on Lancaster's WGAL and Baltimore's WBAL. I distinctly remember each episode having an embedded commercial segment in which Borden's ice cream was dished up and eagerly consumed by orphan boy Joey Newton and his pal Pee Wee.

Yep, I still have a mind like a steel trap and a photographic memory.

One more thing...Fury would be happy to know that, according to the company's marketing literature, no animal products are used in the manufacture of Elmer's Glue.

But I digress.....

When we open the menu that Nancy sent we get a look at the surprising array of lunch and dinner items, snacks, desserts and beverages that were once offered at the Dell...enough to make the Galloping Gourmet green with envy!

Younger Dell rats might remember the Shady primarily as a place to hang out and dance and maybe buy a soda or a snack; but back in the day, as this menu proves, the Dell was in full swing as a restaurant, a bakery and more!

Indeed, if you go way back to the time before 1945, the year when John & Helen came along and purchased the property, the Dell, or whatever the place was then called, was a classy, upscale, white glove members only club that served alcoholic beverages and offered fine dining, music and dancing. The establishment was possibly set up as a private club in order to circumvent Pennsylvania's Blue Laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

During the early years of the Ettline administration, the late 40's and early 50's, the Dell featured live music performed by easy listening jazz combos and a piano player tickling the ivories of a baby grand in a front room designated as couples only. It wasn’t until droves of young people started hanging out on a regular basis in the late 50's that John began to cater to their needs by stringing lights, rigging loudspeakers, and turning the outdoor patio into a dance floor. Soon afterward John built an indoor dance hall with a fireplace down at the barn so that the party could keep going rain or shine, spring, summer, fall and winter.

As dancing grew more popular at the Dell, its role as a restaurant began to diminish. I consider myself lucky to have been a Dell rat in the mid 60's when those diner style booths still lined the pink room and waitresses came to your table and took your order.

Dell Rat Jerre and I both remember Helen waiting on tables and I also remember at least one other waitress. It might have been John's sister Louise Eppley who worked for the Ettlines at York's Central Market where the family maintained a kiosk to sell their baked goods.

There's little doubt that Louise also joined John and Helen behind the counter of the Dell's food and beverage stand at the York Interstate Fair. The Ettline's snack station operated for many years behind the grandstand as seen in this 1950's photo which appears on Jim McClure's York Town Square history blog on the network.

But I digress.....

The tipping point came at the start of the 1970's. The restaurant side of the Dell's operation was drastically reduced. The booths in the front room were removed and replaced first by a fooseball table and later by a pool table. At the same time the Dell's once extensive menu shrunk to include little more than the basic short order snack foods and soda fountain treats and seating was limited to the stools along the snack bar.

Taking a closer look at this menu of Nancy's, you will notice the Dell's telephone number, a reminder that in 1950's York phone numbers still had only five digits. Do you remember your old 5-digit phone number? I remember mine! It was 98236. It amazes me how I can remember totally useless information like my childhood phone number but can't for
the life of me remember where I put the lotto ticket that
I bought this morning! Oh well, back to the 7-11.

But I digress.....

This old menu harks back to a time when we lived our lives at a much more leisurely pace.

Soda fountains reached their peak of popularity in the 1940's and 1950's. In the early 1960's when America's love affair with the automobile became an all out obsession, soda fountains started to decline in number and in popularity. Drive-ins, Dairy Queens, and ubiquitous automatic coin operated vending machines that dispensed sodas in bottles and cans all helped to render osbolete the time and labor intensive soda fountain.

Did you know that the Dell menu once boasted 39 varieties of soft drinks? Frankly, it's hard for me to tell the difference between some of them.

As far as I can tell a nonalcoholic Zombie is made by mixing many or all flavors in the soda fountain - syrups and juices - along with carbonated water. It is also called Everything Mix, Swamp Water, or Suicide.

A Phosphate was made by blending milk and flavored syrup, squirting in seltzer and adding a pinch of phosphoric acid to enhance its taste and fizz.

Ade is defined as a sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice.

Rickeys all contain lime juice combined with one or more fruit syrups and carbonated water. They are never shaken, Mr. Bond.

If a Shady Dell Jigger is related in any way to the jigger described in American writer Owen Johnson's Lawrenceville Stories, it is a malted milk shake made by blending ice cream, chocolate syrup and malted milk.

I remain clueless about one of the dessert items on the Dell menu. Potpourri for 100 Alex: what is a Terp 4 Tower?

At the bottom of the menu is a friendly reminder that you could bring home the bacon (along with the calves liver)
by ordering Helen's Shady Dellicacies to go!

Thank you once again, Nancy Rae Sieling, for contributing this wonderful Shady Dell menu! It is a very valuable piece
of the puzzle!

A final thought. When I hold this old Dell menu in my hands
I can't help wondering how many other Dell rats held it before me...and which ones. Dave Bupp? Buddy King? I also wonder if any of them ever ordered the same combination that I always ordered. It was my favorite combo back then and it still is now. I call it Shady Del's Grand Slam: a grilled T-bone steak, breaded veal cutlet, Taylor pork roll, oysters, scallops, tuna fish, pickled boiled egg, triple decker cheeseburger, chili-con-carne, waffles smothered in maple syrup and butter, a cherry zombie, pie alamode and a C.M.P.

Oh...and a cup of Sanka with Sweet'N Low - hold the cream, hold the sugar. I'm always counting calories.

But I digest!

Have a Shady day!