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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dell Rat Jerre Presents: The 15 Biggest Doo-Wop Whoppers!

Mercy mercy me!
This here's the
and I'm your
doctor of love!
Now you listen to
the Wolfman.
As long as you
got the curves,
baybay, I got the

Just remember
what the Wolfman says. It's all according to how
your boogaloo
situation stands,
ya understand.

My good

friend Dell Rat
Jerre asked
me to spin
some of his
It's Jerre's

list of the 15
Greatest Doo-
Wop Classics!

The Shady
Dell was a doo-wop mecca, ya see, and
Jerre is dedicating these snuggle songs
to all you Dell vikings and Dellettes
around the world!

So cuddle up with that special someone
and start squeezin' while Jerre's doo-
wop whoppers do the pleasin'.

Without further ado, from Dell Rat Jerre
and me to you, here are the dreamiest
slow jams of all time, and that's a
natural fact from Wolfman Jack!

You pay close
attention to 
these songs or 
the Wolfman's 
gonna GETCHA!

1. "To The Aisle" – Five Satins
(September 1957)

2. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" – Platters (February 1959)

3. "Those Three Little Words" – Delcos (October 1962/April 1963)

"Those Three Little Words" was released on 45rpm in October of 1962 as the B side of "Arabia" but failed to chart. In April of 1963 "Arabia" appeared on the Billboard Bubbling Under chart for two weeks before disappearing.

4. "No Not Again" – Jive Five (April 1962)

This is the killer bee side of "Hully Gully Callin' Time," a Shady's Law special that spent 5 weeks trapped in the Bubbling Under basement and then vanished.

5. "Coney Island Baby" - Excellents (December 1962)

6. "Close Your Eyes" – Five Keys (April 1955)

The mother of all Dell songs!

7. "Tear Drops" – Lee Andrews and the
Hearts (January 1958)

8. "Gloria" - Cadillacs (August 1954)

9. "The Closer You Are" – Channels (1956)

"The Closer You Are" was a smash hit in New York, Jersey and Connecticut and was heavily promoted by legendary deejay Alan Freed; yet it never registered on any Billboard chart, not even Bubbling Under! Although it was unjustly snubbed by the trade mags, this fine Channels ballad went on to become one of the best loved and most requested
doo-wop classics!

10. "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"
- Devotions (March 1964)

This was the ballad B side of the Devotions' up tempo top 40 hit "Rip Van Winkle."

11. "The Actor" – Dovells (June 1962)

This is the killer bee on the back of "Bristol Twistin' Annie," a Dovells' stomper that cracked the top 30.

12. "Last Night I Dreamed" - Fiestas
(May 1959)

This is the fab flip of "So Fine" which just missed the top 10.

13. Twilight - Paragons (1958)

This one is regarded as a New York mini-classic.

14. Hey You - Imaginations (1961)

15. "Goodbye To Love" - Chantels (1959)

The killer bee "Goodbye to Love" and "I'm Confessin'," the
A side of this Chantels single, both remained uncharted.

Oh my my! Dell Rat Jerre took us on
a slow ride to Shangri-la, baybay!

Everybody's talkin' 'bout the Wolfman's pompatus of love, and you take it from
me, my friend Jerre's the guy with the
goods, a solid sender he's no pretender.
Thank you, brother rat, for a doo-wop
list that rules the whole wide world! 


Who's next?

If you have a Top Tunes list I'd love to see it.  It would be fascinating to discover which songs meant the most to you in your youth or which ones resonate now in the present. Why not do what Jerre and others have done? Make a list, submit it in the form of a comment and I'll get it posted.
It can be a list of your favorite songs, the most exciting songs, best songs from a particular time period similar to
my mid 60's Dell survey...anything you like!




Have a Shady day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Remembering Helen

Helen Trostle Ettline
passed away 27 years ago today on February 25th, 1984.

Things to know and remember about Helen:

* Helen was real people.

* Helen was genuine.

* With Helen, what you saw was what you got.

* Helen was never afraid to speak her mind.

* Helen had the warmest smile around and when she smiled there was always a twinkle in her eye.

 * Helen could not have children of her own but she loved young people and welcomed generations of them into her home and into her life.

* Every evening while Helen presided over the Dell's snack bar...

and Dell rats occupied booths and whiled away the hours feeding their faces and gabbing...

and the pinball machine near the rear door buoyed spirits with its incessant dinging and popping...

the jukebox at the end of the counter next to the ladies' room door played a steady stream of doo-wop oldies.

I chose this song because it reminds me of that very special woman, the first lady of the Shady Dell. Helen, this one's for you.

Unforgettable, Helen.

That's what you are!
We love you and miss you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dell Rat FAQ's: What is Shady's Law? As a Newly Inducted Member of the Rat Pack, What Can I Do to Make Sure That I Remain in Full Compliance at All Times, Thereby Earning My Mouse Ears? (Part 2)


(knock knock knock)

(knock knock knock)

(knock knock knock)

My three dimensional exact replica
of the Milky Way galaxy just arrived,
assembly required, and I'm giving you
the honor of helping me put it together
while you finish your explanation of
Shady's Law.

(Me on other side of door using phony, high pitched voice)
Uh...this is Shady's grandmother. Shady's
not home at the moment. 
He's addressing the
United Nations.
 Please go're
making me incontinent!

Oh okay, Sheldon, I give up.
Come on in and I'll continue my rant.

Remember hearing this jingle
in the 60s when you dialed

"The Mighty 9-10
Wonnn-derful WSBA
presents the sweet
sound of success,
the tune voted best,
the number one song
on W-S-B-A!"

Well, I can't remember if it hit #1 in WSBA Land, but "It's Summer Time U.S.A." by our Hanover neighbor girls, The Pixies Three, was huge!

The song broke in July of 1964 and was played in heavy rotation all through the vacation period.

As I remember it, "Summer Time U.S.A." was the undisputed theme song of the summer of '64 in Central PA. (John, Paul, George and who?) Yet this sensational Pixies platter that ruled the airwaves in our neck of the woods went almost unnoticed on Billboard and in other parts of the country.

"It's Summer Time U.S.A." by the Pixies Three
(highest chart position #116)

As we learned in my previous post "It's Summer Time U.S.A." is an example of a sensational song that merely bubbled under Billboard's Hot 100.

To me bubbling under is and was misleading term.
It implied that records listed on that chart had enough thrust and inertia to achieve escape velocity and propel themselves into orbit.

Instead, many of those excellent songs remained trapped - imprisoned - never able to break free from that dungeon of despair. Yet, these songs were lucky compared to those that didn't have enough juice even to make the Bubbling Under chart! The following songs are all first round inductees into the Shady's Law Hall of Fame (Shame).

"Bermuda"/"Spanish Lace" is a double dose
of dynamite by Frankie Valli's vocal group.

This superb yet uncharted single, released in 1961 on the
Gone label, became my all time favorite Four Seasons record.

"I Can't Let Go" by gifted blue-eyed soul songbird Evie Sands (America's answer to Dusty Springfield) is the sensational yet seldom heard original rendition of this song.

Evie's killer klassic was popular in New York City but failed to register on any Billboard chart. (WTF?) A cover version recorded by England's Hollies just missed the top 40 stateside and soared to #2 in the UK.

And the Del-Chords?


Thank goodness for LOCAL record charts, the surveys released every week by local radio stations. While the Billboard chart represented a broad nationwide sampling, local top tunes surveys were able to reflect the enormous popularity of local and regional recording acts. Artists like the Del-Chords, Mag Men, Quintones, Emperors and Kit Kats not only found room on local charts, they often dominated.

More noteworthy examples of Shady's Law: "So Sharp" by The Soul Clinic, a cookin' cover of a song by Dyke and the Blazers, took Central Pennsylvania by storm in 1968, yet failed to put a dent in the Billboard chart.

"So Much Love Waiting," an outstanding late 60s soul record by Central Pennsylvania's Magnificent Men, came and went uncharted!

"Searchin'" was a cool Coasters cover waxed by the Emperors of Harrisburg, but it never reached any Billboard chart, not even Black Singles!

That brings us back to the Shady Dell where the patrons were the program managers. With our dimes and quarters we
fashioned our own playlist. We knew what we liked. We made our own hits, and the popularity of a song at the Dell was often inversely proportional to its popularity in the rest of the world...a phenomenon that
I refer to as Shady's Law.

Have a Shady day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dell Rat FAQ's: What is Shady's Law? As a Newly Inducted Member of the Rat Pack, What Can I Do to Make Sure That I Remain in Full Compliance at All Times, Thereby Earning My Mouse Ears? (Part 1)

I opened the SDM&M mailbag this
morning and found an inquiry from
Dr. Sheldon Cooper who writes:

To whom it may concern
(that would be YOU Mr. Knight),

Recently I detected a 563.277 percent spike in the number of unique mentions of Shady's Law on my quantum physics message board.

All this chatter
has aroused my
curiosity. Please
outline in detail
the principles of
Shady's Law and
explain why your
hypothesis is more
closely alligned
with the Big Bang
Theory endorsed
by noted Russian
physicist George
Gamow or, as the case may be, with the Steady State model of the universe espoused by English astronomer and mathematician Fred Hoyle.  I'll give you thirty seconds to reply.

Thank you for your letter and your interest in Shady's Law, Sheldon. The explanation is really quite simple.

Shady's Law
states that
the greater the record...
the lower it's chart position
tended to be.

You see, Sheldon, I have always been fascinated by the music trade charts. For decades
I habitually studied the Billboard and Cash Box lists. I loved to follow the weekly progress of songs to see which ones caught a bullet and were headed for the top, which ones were losing their momentum, and which ones were in a free fall.
I collected several of Joel Whitburn's Record Research bibles and spent hours at a time looking up all of my favorite songs so that I could memorize and compare their stats. I began
to notice a pattern emerging. More often than not, the mathematical law of inverse proportionality applied to my favorites: the "greater" the song, the lower its position on the national record chart.

When I did my original research for this blog
I couldn't even find some of my favorite songs until I bought the Whitburn supplement that lists the records that "bubbled under" the Billboard Hot 100.

Please allow me to present to you some of my first round inductees into the Shady's Law Hall of Fame (Shame). Each and every one of these songs was trapped in the Bubbling Under Bargain Basement and never managed to break out!

"Gimme Some Lovin' by the Jordan Brothers
(highest chart position #129)

"Stormy Weather" by the Magnificent Men
(highest chart position #133)

"Truly Yours" by the Spinners (highest chart position #111)

"Take Me for a Little While" by Evie Sands
(highest chart position #114)

"Lover's Medley"
("The More I See You"/
"When I Fall in Love")
by Marcy Jo and
Eddie Rambeau
(highest chart
position #132)

"Thanks for posting this. Brings back
many memories of myself and Marcy Jo 
traveling around promoting this record."

"Amazing that it got
to be the number 1
record in Baltimore
and just piddled
around with the rest
of the country. So
thank you Baltimore.
Eddie Rambeau"

Thanks for your comment, Eddie! In addition to hitting
big on Baltimore radio,
"Lover's Medley" got strong support from The Buddy Deane Show, the Bandstand style teen record hop broadcast
on WJZ-TV.

All of the songs presented in this post shoulda been, coulda been and woulda been hits if only they had caught a break. But wait! There was a fate worse than bubbling under and
it was total obscurity. When we continue with Part two,
I'll introduce some of the greatest noncharting records of
all time!

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ron Rocks, Rolls and Remembers

Our good friend Dell Rat Ron

(Ron Shearer) has responded

to my recent post in which I 

staged a Battle of the "Boys."  

It was a spin off competition in which readers voted for the version of the song "Boys," they liked most. They chose from the Shirelles original, a cover version by the Beatles, and a rendition waxed by one time Beatles drummer Pete Best. My "Boys" article triggered Ron's memories of the Shirelles and other artists so I invited him to be my guest blogger today and share his stories with all of us.

With that, I'll step aside and say
"Ron, be my guest!" 

I keep thinking of the Shirelles a lot lately since a commercial has been playing on the TV using "Mama Said". As near as
I can tell, it really is the Shirelles' recording.

Ron, if I may interrupt you,
I would like you and everybody else to take a couple of minutes and watch the following video entitled Recreating the Shirelles.
It's a modern film short
that does a brilliant job of simulating a vintage Shirelles performance.

That song ("Mama Said"), "Dedicated to the One I Love", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", "Tonight's the Night" and, to a lesser extent, "Boys" epitomizes the ultimate in R&B girl groups to me. Mostly, I never heard "Boys" until the girls at D-Town (Dallastown High School) played it all the time on the jukebox and danced to it on
a daily basis for a long, long time. But the other songs, just make me melt and miss the days when we used to wrap our arms around a beautiful girl with her head on our shoulder to dance slow...

or at least hold hands to fast dance with her.
The cha-cha-cha and the stroll were the only ones where we didn't have that physical contact with them. The Chantels with Arlene Smith, "Maybe", "He's Gone", "The Plea" and the Marvelettes earliest songs were up there also.

I remember seeing the Shirelles live back in Reno, Nevada at one of the first Hot August Nights which was held at what was left of a drive-in theater.
It was the last time they booked over a dozen acts and the police had to stop it at midnight because they had gone past curfew, and there was a neighborhood nearby.

The Shirelles went on, as they had for many years, minus one girl who had died of cancer. They never replaced her, and always explained to the audience that she was always there with them in spirit. The Shirelles went through a lot of changes over the last decades, with Doris leaving the group at one time and later returning, Shirley going solo, and both Beverly and Doris each forming separate groups with new girls, each group billing themselves as the Shirelles. As near as I can tell, Shirley Alston and Beverly Lee are still alive. Why they didn't appear with Doris the last time I saw her on PBS's tribute to doo-wop is a puzzle. A while later, I heard a DJ on the local oldies station announce that Doris passed away. What a representation of an era.

Just a note of trivia: On a TV interview at her home, Doris explain how the British invasion, which paid tribute and popularized American rhythm and blues, was also the downfall of it. When the Shirelles released "Sha La La", England's Manfred Mann covered it and garnered much more airplay.

I can't say whether I really like one version of
"Sha La La" over the other, but I was saddened
that the girls' career was going downhill due to
the popularity of their music.

While I like all the versions of "Boys", the Shirelles are my first love, and I just identify it more since
I knew it so long as a a girl group song, by one of the greatest girl groups of all time.

That Hot August Nights show also had Johnny Rivers, Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave), Brook Benton (the last year he was alive), the Chantels (with Arlene Smith), Little Anthony (no Imperials), the Drifters. I can't remember who else.

Seeing the original Chantels do "Maybe"...

and Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia" were memorable.

Johnny Rivers tore it up and did perhaps the longest set, from "Secret Agent Man"...

to "Rockin' Pneumonia" (with great piano work, but still only second to Huey "Piano" Smith.

I always wished I could play boogie woogie on
the piano. I don't remember if Paul Revere & the Raiders were there. They played the cabarets in Reno frequently, and Paul had a club there for awhile (he lived just north of there in Idaho).

Thanks for allowing me to share those memories and music history with you.

Ron, thank you very much for dropping by as a guest blogger
and sharing your stories with us! My Picks to Click for this post
are "Sha La La" by the Shirelles, the live performance of "Maybe"
by Arlene and the Chantels, and Brook Benton's live version of "Rainy Night in Georgia." You know what they say: "If there's a
rock and roll heaven....." I went ahead and added your vote for
the Shirelles to the Battle of the "Boys" balloting. Let's have a look at the tote board and check the final score:

Beatles: 5

Shirelles: 4

Pete Best: 1

Showering Shady: 1 write-in vote

I'd like to tag Ron's post with my Pick to Click by Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns, "Don't You Just Know It."

I'd also like to propose another


Listen to these two killer recordings of
"Look in My Eyes" and tell me which you
like better...the version by the Chantels:

or this one by the Three Degrees from their early years on the Swan label:

Fine print: Any votes cast for Shady singing in the shower will be declared null and void.

Thanks again to original Dell Rat Ron Shearer for accepting my invitation to



Have a Shady day!