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

Monday, May 30, 2011

She Tagged Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss)


If you're wondering about title of this post I will tell you that it was inspired by "He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss)," the controversial song by the Crystals that was banned by radio stations for allegedly condoning domestic violence on women.

I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time, but we've come a long way, baby since the days when songs for teenagers that were essentially tutorials on the acceptable rules of dating, gave a free pass to bad boys (aka "rebels") to smack their girlfriends around, ostensibly as a way of demonstrating their love.

Hey, leader of the pack...get a clue! 

On a much cheerier note I am very proud to announce that
I have been blogger tagged by my dear friend Belle Unruh at
Tales From a Loser Who is Sometimes a Winner.

Belle, thank you very much for acknowledging me. You know by now that I cherish our friendship! Belle and I are less than four months apart in age and although she grew up on the west coast and I on the east coast we have lots of music and memories in common. Belle is a deeply caring person. That caring is conveyed in her posts and in her comments. Although I never met Belle I feel like I have known her all my life and I have come to care a great deal about her as well.

I am also honored to be the recipient of the Good Bloggers Pay it Forward 
award from my dear English friend Thisisme who lives in South Hams, Devon. This lady is as fine a person as you'll ever encounter - goodness and decency personified - and it seems like we've been friends since childhood. Please visit and support Thisisme's delightfully entertaining blog Southhamsdarling.

The Good Bloggers Pay
it Forward
award is a way for us to thank our fellow bloggers for helping us to further our blogs and gain followers. The rules are simple. Thank and share your "linky love" with the person who gave you the award, then pay it forward and give "linky love" to five other bloggers. Since Belle's tag game requires me to link to 8 other bloggers, I'd like to reduce the confusion by tagging those 8 and giving them the Pay it Forward award as well.  Sound like a plan?

Alright, let's get down to business. Here are 
the loaded questions that I am bound by 
law to answer as Belle's tagee: 

Do you think you are hot? 

I don't just think I'm hot...I KNOW I'm hot! Here in Florida
it's 95 in the Shady and my a/c isn't working!

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you are 
using at the moment. 

For years the image below has been my desktop background because it inspires me. It's a screenshot from William Wyler's epic motion picture The Best Years of Our Lives.

The film, released in postwar year 1946, featured Harold Russell, a U.S. serviceman-turned-actor who, in reality, had lost both of his hands in a training exercise. Russell portrayed Homer, a coming home solider riddled with doubt, shame and fear, believing that without hands he was no longer man enough to be worthy of Wilma, the fiancee he left waiting for him. The role of Wilma was played by one of my favorite actresses, Cathy O'Donnell, and the intimate scene in which Wilma confronts Homer's disability is among the most gripping and poignant ever captured on film. Please, dear readers, urge your children and grandchildren to overcome the phobia that many of them have about watching black and white movies. Best Years gives today's young people a glimpse of the values that older generations are trying so hard to preserve. The Best Years of Our Lives is a character study that teaches all of us what love really is and what sacrifice really means.

When was the last time you ate chicken? 

Excuse me? Getting kinda personal here, aren't we? Suddenly I feel nekked! That's a secret that I intend to take to the grave. Therefore, I respectfully refuse to answer that question pursuant to my rights as defined by the 5th Amendment which may be invoked on the grounds that any answer I give might tend to incriminate me.

Okay, that was my "funny" answer. My real answer is as follows: I honestly can't remember exactly when I last ate chicken because I rarely remember what I had for lunch or dinner the day before. If I had my way I would never eat meat again. I eat meat for one reason only: because I am under doctor's orders to do so to correct chronic borderline anemia.

What songs have you listened to lately? 

Sam Phillips: 
"Private Storm"
"Raised on Promises"
"Holding On to the Earth"
"Same Rain"
"Same Changes"
"I Need Love"

Agnetha Faltskog: 
"Once Burned, Twice Shy"
"Stand By My Side"
"Click Track"
"Turn the World Around"
"I Won't Let You Go" (extended version)
"Fly Like an Eagle"
"Last Time"
"I Stand Alone"
"If You Need Somebody Tonight"

What were you thinking while doing this? 

Running through my mind were the Animals song lyrics:
Oh lord, please don't let me be misunderstood. 

Do you have any nicknames? 

Yes, I am often referred to as "your highness," "your lordship," "your royal majesty" and "The Real Slim Shady."

See there again, those were my "funny" answers. Can you detect a pattern emerging here? All kidding aside, in college
I was called "TEA" because my initials spell that word. Now that I have become ecologically minded and have drastically reduced my carbon footprint I am known as green TEA! 

If any of my newer friends are puzzled now and wondering why my initials aren't SDK, you can find an explanation here.

Now it is my solemn sworn duty to tag 
8 other blogger friends and answer 
even more perplexing questions! 

1. Cindy at Cindy Ellison 
2. Amber at Amber Blue Bird 
3. Leanne Elizabeth Manning at Ramble On 
4. Ashton King at Journalistic Musings 
5. Joan at Anything Fits a Naked Man 
6. Lauren at Someone Like You 
7. Emma at Ol' Green Eyes 
8. Kelly-marie at A Harem of Peacocks 

Who is listed number one? 


Here is an outstanding individual, one who deserves special recognition! Cindy Ellison and her husband Clint recently moved from the Dallas area of Texas back east to scenic Tennessee near Cindy's hometown. Cindy is as sharp as they come and I can honestly say that I like everything about her. She is a charming and extremely intelligent woman, a gifted artist, e-commerce merchant, antiques collector, decorator, a talented writer and a wise, witty and downright wonderful human being. Cindy is the complete package - everything that I look for in a blogger and a friend. She does what few people have the time, energy and dedication to do. She faithfully supports the blogs of people who support hers. You can always tell by her comments that she actually takes time to read and think before writing and submitting. Cindy radiates warmth and sincerity. On her own site Cindy is a gracious host who gives personalized attention. I call it service after the sale. She "listens" to you and answers you by writing intelligent replies to your comments. Cindy Ellison is a tremendous asset to the blogging world and to the world in general.

Say something about number 5. 


Joan is another new arrival to Tennessee. For many years Joan was practically my neighbor down here in Orlando, FL before moving to my hometown of York and most recently to the Nashville area. Joan is a former actress currently working in the tourist industry. She is a gifted writer, an intelligent, articulate woman who explores a wide range of topics on her blog. Joan is courageous. She faces life's challenges with the tenacity of a champion boxer glaring at the opponent during weigh-in. Joan also exhibits a marvelous sense of humor in her writing which I greatly appreciate. I find myself closely alligned with Joan on the important issues that she tackles on her blog. Opposites might attract but it's always great to find a kindred spirit, someone with whom you feel especially comfortable communicating, someone you recognize as "one of us" rather than "one of them." That's me and Joan. I like her. I respect her. The world could use a few more like her!

How did you get to know number 3? 


The brainy and beautiful Leanne Elizabeth Manning is a law student in Liverpool, England. Leanne loves Led Zeppelin and her blog is named after one of the band's early songs. She is also a huge Beatles fan and she and I met on the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death. As I recall I stumbled upon Leanne's blog early last December while doing research and fact checking for my John Lennon tribute and discovered that Leanne had a comprehensive two-part post about the man, the music and the legend on her own site. Leanne is barely 21 years of age and yet she instantly accepted me as a friend, no questions asked. In a world filled with suspicion and deception Leanne's willingness to trust and welcome me into her world speaks volumes about her character. Leanne possesses maturity and wisdom far beyond her years. I relate to her as easily as I would to another baby boomer. Leanne gets it. She eagerly embraces all that was good about the past. Simply put, Leanne is part of the solution and I am absolutely thrilled to count her among my very best friends!

How about number 4? 


Ashton King is a television news producer in southeastern Alabama. I discovered Ashton when I noticed her comment on another blog stating that television news is her entire world. As a former news producer myself I saw an obvious opportunity to share war stories with somebody who can relate to what I experienced in the business. The rewards have been many. Ashton is an intelligent young woman who has proven that she has the right stuff to meet the challenges and pressures of television news, something that very few people have the organizational skills, flexibility, timing and temperament to do. Ashton is a strong, opinionated young woman who never hesitates to express herself. I was ecstatic to discover that Ashton has a fondness for music of the boomer years. That gives her something to enjoy on my blog. Ashton and I have bridged the generation gap and found an abundance of common ground. We are learning a great deal from each other and
I treasure our blossoming friendship!

Leave a message for number 6. 


To Lauren, my dear young student friend in Ohio, a dedicated vintager, thrifter, preservationist of romance, innocence and virtue, the reincarnation of Audrey Hepburn: I have a special homework assignment for you: Please watch the 2010 movie Secretariat and observe actress Diane Lane in her portrayal of "Penny" Chenery Tweedy, the real-life housewife who risked everything to foster the greatest champion racehorse in history. I want you to model that woman's calm demeanor, her confident smile, her determination to follow her dream,
to meet adversity head-on, to go for it and win. Step into that picture, Lauren, and be all that you can be! Why not you?...why not now? The world desperately needs more fine young people, dear friend...someone like you! 

You are a child of the universe. 
No less than the trees and the stars, 
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Leave a lovey-dovey message for number 2.


To Amber Blue Bird: If they ever remake Empty Nest, you could take over the role originally played by Kristy McNichol.

To Oliver: Love means never having to say you're sorry for piddling on the rug. 

Amber is a native Texan who now lives in Connecticut with her husband and her dog Oliver who got his name from Ryan O'Neal's character in Love Story, one of Amber's favorite movies. Amber found me first. She noticed one of my comments on a mutual friend's blog and posted a playful comment in reference to me. I love playful people and recognized Amber's poke as an invitation to check out her blog. I knew immediately that Amber was friend material. My instincts were correct. Amber quickly became one of my favorite people in the whole world. Amber gets me and I get her. There's no working at it. The connection is just there and it has been from day one. It can honestly be said that we are birds of a feather. A sense of humor is just one of the things that Amber and I share. Similar tastes in music would be another. Yet, maintaining a sense of humor is especially important to both of us. In a world filled with ranting and bringing people down, lifting them up by means of humor is becoming a lost art, but it's one that Amber has mastered. Amber has an eye for fashion and an ear for music. Her head's on straight and her heart's in the right place. I am weak in the knees for Amber Blue Bird! I am proud to know her and elated to have her as my friend!

Do number 7 and 8 have similarities? 


Emma and Kelly-marie are two lovely young women living in the British Isles. Emma, who lives in Dublin, Ireland, is a university grad in the fashion industry. Kelly-marie, an art and design grad, is a visual merchandiser living in London.
In a blogosphere filled with fashonistas who prefer to operate a girls only club, these two dear blog friends have welcomed me into their lives. I am truly grateful. Emma and Kelly-marie share my fascination with Twin Peaks. Both women are avid vintagers. Both are old souls with a keen sense of history. Both are dedicated followers of fashion and connoisseurs of the arts. Both maintain busy social calendars, out and about in town and country experiencing culture in all its forms. They post reviews and pictorial essays on everything from fine dining to plays, movies, band concerts, art exhibits, fashion shows and vintage shopping expeditions. Emma and Kelly-marie recognized something special in me and I in them. It is that spark of recognition that I yearn for and cherish so very much when I find it. Emma and Kelly-marie are two of their generation's finest. They are outstanding citizens of the world and I am blessed to have them as friends!




Have a Shady Day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Means Fun, Pt. 1: Spring Fever

Bruce Brown made a splash in

1966 with his documentary film,

The Endless Summer.

The movie followed a couple of surfer dudes on a safari around the globe in search of the perfect wave. As the
pair hop scotched from one exotic locale to another
(Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and
California) they managed to stay one step ahead of
winter’s chill. For those lucky guys the fun never had
to end.

The idea of an Endless Summer captured
my imagination back then. It has since
became a powerful metaphor for keeping
the spirit of youth alive no matter what
your age.

Do it, Dell rats! Just do it!

For those of us living in the northern hemisphere the warm weather has finally arrived! To help you spring into the Endless Summer of 2011, I'm kicking off a 12-part series called Summer Means Fun. All summer long I'll be sharing my favorite songs of the season and the special memories that go along with them.

What better way to begin our summer celebration than with a Beach Boys medley? Please disregard the graphics at the beginning and end of our first video. You won't be hearing Stars on 45. The medley is actually performed by Gidea Park, a Beach Boys/Four Seasons tribute band led by English singer/songwriter/producer Adrian Baker who sang with both American groups during his career.


"Beach Boy Gold" - Gidea Park (1978) 

Warm California nights, 

With the breeze blowin' in 

time for love to begin. 

Sunset walks on the beach that last till well after dark.....
I - am - so - THERE!  Here's little miss sunshine, lollipops
and rainbows,
Lesley Gore!

"California Nights" - Lesley Gore 
(April 1967, highest chart position #16) 

The greatest summer of your life might start while you're
still sitting in the classroom. As legendary masked surfers Jan and Dean explain, the catalyst could be the new girl in school.

"The New Girl in School" - Jan and Dean
(April 1964, highest chart position #37)

Let's keep things rolling along with a rousing piece of pop from Philadelphia songbird Diane Renay, the perky, bubbly little lady with the powerful pipes.

Although Diane Renay was a solo artist, her recordings are categorized as girl group. Unfairly dismissed in some circles as a one-hit-wonder, Diane was one of the best female vocalists of the girl group era.

As was the case with many other domestic artists and groups, Diane's career suffered collateral damage from Beatlemania and the ensuing British invasion. Diane Renay
is best known for her most successful recording "Navy Blue."

"Navy Blue" - Diane Renay
(March 1964, highest chart position #6)

A pop classic, "Navy Blue" deserved to be #1 in the land. Instead, it got bogged down at #6 on the Billboard chart.
In the wake of the Beatles phenomenal success, the deck was stacked against recording artists like Diane.

In 1964, the U.S. pop charts became infested with Beatles. At one point in April, the Liverpoolians held down all 5 of the top positions on Billboard:

1) “Twist And Shout”
2) “Can’t Buy Me Love”
3) “Please, Please Me”
4) “She Loves You”
5) “I Want To Hold Your Hand”

Later that same month, the Beatles heaped on two more top 10 hits: “Love Me Do” and its flip side, “P.S. I Love You.“
The Beatles' dominance of the mass media, the record charts and radio playlists had many American born teen idols and old fashioned doo-wop style vocal groups entering Pleas of Nolo Contendere.

As much as I liked "Navy Blue," it was Diane Renay's less successful follow-up single, "Kiss Me Sailor" that really blew me away. It’s another example of the sparkling clean Brill Building production style that I love. “Kiss Me Sailor” is an expertly crafted song, with the diminutive thrush delivering even more vocal punch and pizazz than she did on “Navy Blue.” Breaking into the top 30 in May of 1964 with no less than 8 songs by UK artists forming a glass ceiling above her, Diane's "Kiss Me Sailor" was one of the top feel-good songs of the decade!

"Kiss Me Sailor" - Diane Renay
(May 1964, highest chart position #29)

Love springs eternal.

It's as perennial as the grass.

Springtime brings young lovers out of the woodwork and out of the house. Jumping ahead in time to the spring of 1966, here's one of Jerry's kids, Gary Lewis, with a WSBA Land favorite..."Green Grass."

"Green Grass" - Gary Lewis & the Playboys 
(June 1966, highest chart position #8) 

Don't go anywhere. 

We're just getting started. 

More great summer sounds 

are just ahead in Part 2! 

Have a Shady day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

That's Cool, That's Trash. That's Sloan and Barri and That's the Way to Make Records!


Listen to this and then we'll talk. 

"Halloween Mary" - P.F. Sloan 
(from the 1966 album Twelve More Times

After listening to that song you can understand 
why singer/songwriter/producer Philip (P.F. 
"Flip") Sloan was sometimes referred to as the 
poor man's Bob Dylan.  Sloan never became a 
household name but he and his partner Steve 
Barri wrote, produced and performed on some 
of the greatest recordings of the 1960s! 

It was Sloan's voice that Jan Berry used as the lead falsetto on Jan and Dean's 1963 smash hit "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena." Sloan and Barri's vocals were also added to the mix on several other Jan and Dean recordings.

Sloan and Barri wrote
"(Here They Come) From All Over the World," the Jan and Dean recording used as the theme song
for the epic 1964
T.A.M.I. Show (Teenage Awards Music International).

"(Here They Come) From All Over the 
World" - Jan and Dean (March 1965, 
highest chart position #56) 

Sloan and Barri achieved a sound similar to Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys when they recorded their own surf rock material using the name The Fantastic Baggys.

"Summer Means Fun" - Fantastic Baggys 
(Summer 1964, uncharted) 

"Tell 'Em I'm Surfin'" - Fantastic Baggys 
(Summer 1964, uncharted) 

At Dunhill Records Sloan and Barri wrote Barry McGuire's
"Eve of Destruction" and Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man" which became the opening titles theme of Secret Agent,
the American broadcast of the British spy series Danger Man.

The pair also scribed two of my favorites by the Turtles, "You Baby" and the Dylanesque "Let Me Be."

"Let Me Be" - Turtles (November 1965, 
highest chart position #29) 

Sloan and Barri penned what I consider to be the best and most listenable of all Herman's Hermits' recordings, the top 10 hit "A Must to Avoid."

"A Must to Avoid" - Herman's Hermits 
(January 1966, highest chart position #8, 
clip from 1966 motion picture Hold On!

Sloan became a session guitarist for Dunhill. He created and recorded the distinctive guitar intro for "California Dreamin'", the first hit for the Mamas and Papas, and played lead guitar on that as well as "Monday, Monday."

Sloan and Barri founded the Grass Roots and wrote their early material including the best song to come out of the groups folk-rock phase, one that I have come to like even more than the Dell song "Let's Live for Today."  It's called "Where Were You When I Needed You."

"Where Were You When I Needed You" 
Grass Roots (July 1966, highest chart 
position #28) 

I saved the best for last. My favorite recording by the P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri duo is the one they made as The Street Cleaners called "That's Cool, That's Trash." The single was released by the Amy/Mala/Bell label group in late 1964 and has a call-and-response structure similar to "That's Life (That's Tough)," a minor hit for Gabriel & the Angels two years earlier.

Sloan and Barri sound a lot like the Kingsmen on this one
and the Pac Northwest band recorded a cover of this song. In addition, the Kingsmen hit "The Jolly Green Giant" which was released around the same time, sounds very similar to the Street Cleaners record. You'll also hear similarities to
the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" at the end of the song.

Listen now to my Pick to Click for the talented team
of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri...
a way cool teen party record that never charted. It lingered on the fringe of my memory all these years and came roaring back to life recently when I discovered it on YouTube.

"That's Cool, That's Trash" 
The Street Cleaners 
(December 1964, uncharted) 

The terms one-hit-wonder and no-hit-wonder are commonly used to describe records that never made it. They are dismissive labels that rarely tell the whole story. Shady's Law reminds us that chart performance had little or nothing to do with quality. "That's Cool, That's Trash" is a lost treasure...
a garage/frat rock nugget that kicks butt all over town!

We also need to remember the unsung heroes of rock n' roll, guys like P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri who spent years working hard behind the scenes and away from the limelight. Sloan and Barri should be the poster boys for Shady's Law. They created many great songs that didn't perform well on the chart along with many others that became major 60s hits for other artists.  Few people made greater contributions to the mushrooming pop music scene during the mid sixties!


Fantastic Baggys..... 

Jan and Dean..... 

Beach Boys..... 

I don't know about you but I'm ready 
for summer, and in my next post I'm 
kicking off a three month long series 
entitled Summer Means Fun!  Gas up 
your woodie... wax up your board... 
smear on the sunscreen and join me! 

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Six Degrees of Cameo-Parkway: The Real Sound of Philadelphia!


Philadelphia's Cameo-Parkway 

Records practically invented the 

60s dance craze. Ever hear of 

"The Twist"?

Chubby Checker is perceived by some as a one-hit-wonder for his revolutionary recording that persuaded people of all ages around the world to get out on the dance floor. The fact of the matter is that the underrated performer from South Philly was as prolific as he was terrific. One of my favorite records by Chubby is "The Fly," a dance number
that broke into the top 10 during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season of 1961.

"The Fly" - Chubby Checker 
(November 1961, highest chart position #7) 

During the golden era of doo-wop and rock and roll there were many acts named after birds (Flamingos, Penguins, Larks, Wrens, Robins, Crows, Ravens, Orioles) and cars (Edsels, Cadillacs, Cobras, Stingrays, GTO's, Fleetwoods, Impalas, El Dorados). There were also quite a number of groups named after fabrics or articles of clothing (Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, the Swinging Blue Jeans, the
Turbans, Chiffons, Five Satins, Velvets).

You can add to that list the Philly vocal group The Orlons. The Orlons came up with their name as a friendly poke at
the Cashmeres, another vocal group at their high school that was named after a type of fabric. As the story goes, school friend Len Barry, lead singer of the Dovells, urged the Orlons to audition for Cameo-Parkway. C-P had already established Len and the Dovells as hit makers with "Bristol Stomp." As you are about to learn, several Cameo-Parkway releases that shoulda been, coulda been and woulda been #1 hits, were instead denied that honor by the songs of other artists. "Bristol Stomp," for example, reached #2 on the Billboard chart before being turned back by "Runaround Sue" (Dion) and "Big Bad John" (Jimmy Dean).

"Bristol Stomp" - Dovells 
(November 1961, highest chart position #2) 

Upon signing with Cameo the Orlons were initially used as backing vocalists for soloist Dee Dee Sharp. The Orlons sang backup on Dee Dee's first two dance hits beginning with "Mashed Potato Time," one of the most exciting records to emerge during the pre-Beatles 60s.

"Mashed Potato Time" ran into the same brick wall as had "Bristol Stomp." The record was headed straight for #1 but was blocked from that spot for several weeks, first by "Johnny Angel" (Shelley Fabares) and then by "Soldier Boy" (Shirelles). Listen now to "Mashed Potato Time" and I think you'll agree...Dee Dee Sharp and the Orlons cook!

"Mashed Potato Time" - Dee Dee Sharp 
(April 1962, highest chart position #2) 

In the summer of 1962 the Orlons backed Dee Dee on her follow-up hit "Gravy (for My Mashed Potatoes)." The Orlons recorded their own version of "Gravy" which became a track on their debut album The Wah-Watusi.

"Gravy" - Orlons 
(track from 1962 album The Wah-Watusi) 

Now, here's that first smash hit for the Orlons, held back from the #1 chart position by "Roses are Red" (Bobby Vinton) and by "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" (Neil Sedaka).

"Wah-Watusi" - Orlons (August 1962, 
highest chart position #2) 

Dee Dee Sharp, who had also started as a background singer and rose through the ranks at Cameo, capped off the year with her third top 10 hit in a row, a super fast dancer entitled "Ride!"

"Ride!" - Dee Dee Sharp (December 1962, 
highest chart position #5) 

"Stompin' Everywhere," the flip side of "You Can't Sit Down," is highly derivative of "Bristol Stomp." Nevertheless, the Dovells' killer bee is another fine Philly style dance record, tailor made for Jerry Blavat's yon teens and the Geator's gang at Memories in Margate, New Jersey!

"Stompin' Everywhere" - Dovells 
(June 1963, uncharted flip side of 
"You Can't Sit Down") 

In 1963 the Orlons had a hit single with an ear pleasing cover of "Not Me," a song recorded two years earlier by R&B rocker Gary U.S. Bonds.

"Not Me" - Orlons (July 1963, 
highest chart position #12) 

The Orlons version of "Not Me" was smooth and polished. Now listen to Bonds' rough, raw and rowdy rendition and
I think you'll agree that the original's still the greatest.

"Not Me" - Gary U.S. Bonds (track from 
1961 album Dance 'Til Quarter to Three) 

To conclude my six degrees of Cameo post let's jump ahead to 1967, the end of the line for Cameo Records. By 1967 it was an entirely different decade and a different world. Dance singles, Cameo-Parkway's bread and butter, had started going out of style at the beginning of 1964 when the Beatles conquered the world. The era of the singer/songwiter was upon us. Cameo tried to adapt but it was too little too late. Financially crippled, Cameo Records went belly up. Evie Sands, one of the greatest and most overlooked artists of the 60s, had the dubious honor of recording the last single on the Cameo label. The song that I would like you to hear was one of the last. It's the original recording of songwriter Chip Taylor's "Angel of the Morning" waxed by Evie Sands a full year before Merrillee Rush turned the song into a top 10 hit. As was so often the case in Evie's hard luck career, her fine rendition never charted.

"Angel of the Morning" - Evie Sands 
(May 1967, uncharted) 

For decades, record collectors fussed and fumed as the Cameo-Parkway vaults remained sealed amid litigation, preventing the release on compact disc of dozens of essential songs produced by the company. Finally, a few years ago, the long awaited four disc C-P box set hit the market and I highly recommend it. You can forget about that slick, high gloss 70s stuff. If you want to hear the real sound of Philadelphia, then Cameo-Parkway in the early 60s is the place to start!

Have a Shady day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The D-Team: Episode 12

In 1972 a crack Dell Rat unit

was sent to prison by the

Unific Court of Love for a

crime they didn't commit...


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... 


I pity 

the fool  







The singing/songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart had a hand in producing some of the greatest pop music of the 1960s, particularly in the bubblegum rock category. Boyce and Hart wrote most of the Monkees early material along with hits made by Fats Domino, Chubby Checker,
Little Anthony, Jay & the Americans and Paul Revere & the Raiders. In the late 60s Boyce and Hart released a couple of memorable hits of their own, beginning with "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonght." The song landed on the Billboard chart just before Christmas 1967, enjoyed a substantial 14 week run, and cracked the top 10. At a time when large numbers of people were abandoning AM radio and listening to album rock on the FM dial, I was still embracing feel good pop songs like this one.

"I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite" 
- Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart 
(February 1968, highest chart position #8)

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were back on the chart in the summer of '68 with "Alice Long." The record had a 10 week chart ride and a promotional video helped it to break into the top 30.

"Alice Long" - Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart 
(August 1968, highest chart position #27)


Del Shannon possessed one of the most distinctive voices in rock 'n roll. He was one of the few American recording artists to successfully withstand the relentless attack of the British invaders. Del's many fine recordings stand today as durable evergreens. His songs still sound fresh and vital rather than stale and dated like those recorded by some of his early 60s contemporaries. Here's Del Shannon with "Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow the Sun)," a song that landed on the chart Thanksgiving week of 1964, worked its way into the top 10, and remained popular well into the new year!

"Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow the Sun)" 
- Del Shannon (December 1964, 
highest chart position #9) 

Only two things you done 

need to know, fool... 

Ain't Hannibal or nobody else 

gonna get me up in no 

AIR - O - PLANE!!! ..... 

and the D-Team plays 

the best music! 


Before he was a star the late great Gene Pitney teamed up with Connecticut songstress Ginny Arnell to form a duo that made rock 'n roll records as Jamie and Jane.

"Snuggle Up Baby" - Jamie and Jane 
(1959, unreleased) 

"Classical Rock and Roll" - Jamie and Jane 
(1959, uncharted) 

Now let's listen to a couple of solo records by Ginny Arnell.

Feminists aren't going to like Ginny's painfully self-deprecating "Dumb Head" which was released at the end
of 1963. The dumb dumb ditty struggled to gain traction throughout the month of January and made it less than halfway up the Billboard ladder before fading.

"Dumb Head" - Ginny Arnell (January 1964, 
highest chart position #60) 

Ginny's next single was doomed from the start. Released in the spring of 1964 it encountered stiff competition from the British Invasion mop tops. It also suffered from the split play phenomenon because one side got pushed by MGM and the other side got played more often by radio stations.

Both sides of Ginny's record were great. On "He's My Little Devil," which was apparently an answer song to Neil Sedaka's 1961 hit "Little Devil," Ginny comes off sounding like a female Gene Pitney.

"He's My Little Devil" - Ginny Arnell 
(April 1964, uncharted) 

The killer bee side, "I Wish I Knew What Dress to Wear," is a throwback to the Eisenhower 50s and didn't stand much of a chance against the wailing guitars of the British Invasion. Ginny's gem registered on the Bubbling Under chart for just one week before disappearing.

"I Wish I Knew What Dress to Wear" 
Ginny Arnell (April 1964, highest chart 
position #130) 

Gene Pitney's career took off, but Ginny joined the ranks of no hit wonders. Like Sue Thompson, Ginny had a distinctive little girl voice and made some fine recordings, yet she couldn't catch a break.

Compared to the sounds produced by modern hip hop divas Ginny Arnell's songs are hopelessly dated and they won't win many fans among women's libbers; but "I Wish I Knew What Dress to Wear" is regarded today as a girl group classic and all of Ginny's fine teen sound/girl group recordings deserve to be heard.

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

I love it 


a plan 



Have a Shady day!

Saturday, May 14, 2011








I've been waiting for Blogger to restore my last post along with its 9 comments. The last two comments on the post before that are also missing. When I logged on this morning and noticed that nothing had changed I decided to republish Dell Rat Ron's Stacks O' Wax which you can find by scrolling down.

Losing one of my blog posts would be like having a page ripped from a book that I'm trying to write. Luckily I found Ron's article intact among my drafts. However, it hurts to lose the original embedded comments because they are important to me as are the people who took time to leave them. I would therefore like to thank the following people whose comments were lost in the shutdown which Blogger has blamed on data corruption:

Amber Blue Bird 

I hope that all of your comments will eventually be restored. Comments and the threads that they sometimes spawn often provide valuable information. Every piece of the puzzle matters. Every person who takes the time to read and comment is appreciated.

What have I learned from
the Blogger Crash of 2011?
I learned that being forced to take a day or two off from the sometimes frantic pace of blogging isn't the end of the world. It's actually a good thing to pause for a while and make sure that you have your priorities straight. Thank you very much for your patience and for your ongoing friendship and support!

Have a Shady day!