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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dell Rat Ron's Got the Lads and Shady's Got the Ladies!


 Dell Rat Ron Shearer's back to play 
 stax 'o wax at the greatest lil station 
 'n the nation, SDMM. In today's post  
 Ron's spinning some nifty nuggets 
 recorded by male artists and I'm 
 answering with a few of my favorite 
 solo female and girl group sounds. 
 Verstehen sie das? 

 With that I'll 
 exit stage left 
 and say Ron... 
 be my guest! 


Shady, The Mad Lads were 
a young doo-wop vocal 
group that recorded for 
Stax/Volt, the record 
company that developed
the Memphis Sound; yet 

they were classified as a 
Philly Sound group. The 
Mad Lads' first record 
"The Sidewalk Surf" b/w 
"Surf Jerk" was released 
on the parent Stax label 
in 1964 and didn't chart. 
Don't think I ever heard it. 
The Mad Lads' first hit, 
"Don't Have to Shop 
Around," an answer song to "Shop Around" by the Miracles, 
was released the following year on the Volt subsidiary. 

"Don't Have to Shop Around" - Mad Lads 
(November 1965, highest chart position 
#93/#11 R&B) 

The Mad Lads followed-up in 1966 with "I Want Someone" 
which in my opinion is just as good if not better than 
"Don't Have to Shop Around." 

"I Want Someone" - Mad Lads 
(March 1966, highest chart position 
#74/#10 R&B) 

Another one of my favorites by the Mad Lads, their fourth 
record, was "I Want a Girl," another sweet ballad. 

"I Want A Girl" (August 1966, 
highest chart position #16 R&B) 

 Ron, you done went 

 and souled out on us! 

 Please permit me to 

 step in for a moment. 

I don't remember hearing it at the Dell, but the Mad Lads' record "Don't Have to Shop Around" was played at the very first party that I attended as a freshman at Penn State.
I might add that the Mad Lads had a string of hits on the R&B side of the ledger, but unlike Motown artists who had
no difficulty crossing over, the Lads' singles were not commercial enough to perform well on the pop chart.

 Okay, Ron, now that we met your 

 Lads... it's time to meet my lassies. 


It was surreal that night in 1984 when I worked side by side with the Chiffons, the great girl group of the early and mid 60s.  Hired by a Tampa Bay promoter, I served as stage manager for an oldies concert that brought together in the same show Freddy Cannon, the Coasters, the Earls and the Chiffons with special guest appearances by original members of the Flamingos and the Tokens, plus Mr. "Birds and the Bees" himself, Jewel Akens!  Earlier that day I sat with Jewel in the empty auditorium and watched the Chiffons rehearse. One of the gals had broken her leg and was in a cast and on crutches. She was quite a trouper because the show and the Chiffons went on as scheduled that evening.

We're all familiar with the Chiffons' three big hits, "He's So Fine," "One Fine Day" and "Sweet Talkin' Guy" and I'm sure you've heard them a million times. I'd like you to hear two seldom heard killer covers by the Chiffons, beginning with
a bitchin' renditchin' of Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" that could have been a hit for the Bronx based girl group.

"It's My Party" - Chiffons (track from 
1963 album One Fine Day

Now, listen to the Chiffons' handling of "My Boyfriend's Back," a song that became a smash hit for the Angels. Released as a single, the Chiffons record lasted just one week on the Bubbling Under survey. That's hard to believe and a terrible injustice (see Shady's Law) because this sensational power platter deserved the top 40!

"My Boyfriend's Back" - Chiffons 
(December 1966, highest chart 
position #117) 

 Ron, it's your turn to do the guy thing. 


Shady, you mentioned the Tokens in your Chiffons intro. 
In addition to making recordings of their own the Tokens 
also produced records for the Chiffons and the Happenings.  
Let me begin my final segment with the Brooklyn doo-wop 
group's first hit on Warwick records, "Tonight I Fell In Love." 

"Tonight I Fell in Love" - Tokens 
(June 1961, highest chart position #15) 

Up next is my favorite Tokens song off the album The Lion 
Sleeps Tonight. It's my favorite version of  "The Wreck of  
the John B," maybe since it was the first one I heard (a lot).
The traditional West Indies folk song was recorded by 
several artists including the Weavers, the Kingston Trio and 
Johnny Cash.  The title was changed to "Sloop John B" and 
became a top 5 hit in 1966 for the Beach Boys.  I hope you 
enjoy the Tokens' version of "The Wreck of the John B." 

"The Wreck of the John B." - Tokens 
(December 1961, from album The Lion 
Sleeps Tonight

The sequel to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is called "B'wa Nina" 
which means "Pretty Girl". I don't remember if WSBA played 
it but Dick Clark did. I fell in love with it more than "Lion". 

"B'wa Nina" - Tokens (March 1962, 
highest chart position #55) 


My turn, Ron. It always impresses me when a country artist crosses over and achieves a hit on the pop chart. Georgia peach Brenda Lee appealed to a wide audience by branching out into pop, rockabilly and rock 'n" roll while remaining faithful to her country roots. She racked up 37 US chart hits during the 60s, ranking her in the top 5 in that category right behind Elvis, the Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis. In December of 1959 Brenda Lee released "Sweet Nothin's," a song that was partly sung, partly spoken and partly whispered. Brenda's record hopped on the Billboard Hot 100 two days after Christmas and spent an astounding 24 weeks (nearly half a year) on the chart, reaching its pinnacle in the top 5 the following April!

"Sweet Nothin's" - Brenda Lee 
(April 1960, highest chart position #4) 

Brenda Lee's name, albeit with a different spelling, is currently enjoying renewed popularity thanks to its use in the hit TNT crime drama The Closer. Series star Kyra Sedgwick plays Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Georgia police detective transplanted to Los Angeles where she heads LAPD's fictional Major Crimes Division.


It would be a major crime for me not to include sultry sixties songstress Nancy Sinatra among Shady's ladies. Surrounded by leggy, boot wearing go go dancers, Nancy sizzled in the original promotional film made for "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," the Lee Hazlewood penned million seller that made Nancy a star. A modern remix using the original promo clip launches the boomer classic into the stratosphere!

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" 
(BSB Remix) - Nancy Sinatra 
(April 1966, highest chart position #1) 

 Thanks for the music and 

 memories, Dell Rat Ron! 

 As always I had a swell time  

 playing tag team with you. 

 We'll be seeing you in your 

 next feature coming soon! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. What an amazing line-up of music for us today, Shady! Love your story about the Chiffons- their sound is timeless. I mentioned in an earlier post how much I love to wear boots, and a friend invariably starts singing the Nancy Sinatra when he sees us. Nancy sings it way better than he does.

    Thanks for an enjoyable morning of great music!

  2. Shelly - That's right, you're the boot lady and I knew you'd relate to this vintage Nancy Sinatra clip. I was particularly impressed with those two Chiffons covers. I had never heard them before, not until I did research for this post. The mark of a great artist or group is when they can take somebody else's hit and make it their own, performing it as well or better than the original. Thank you very much for reading and listening, dear Shelly, and have a fabulous day!

  3. You were right, Nancy's song just got my Thursday started off on the right foot. I feel a strut coming on.

  4. Amber Blue Bird - I'm glad to know that the special "Boots" remix got your toes tappin' and your wings flappin'. Thanks so much for coming to call, dear friend, and here's hoping that you have a wonderful Thursday ahead!

  5. Oh Shady, the tunes you chose made it feel like Sunday night and The Ed Sullivan show. Well Brenda Lee for sure! As I've mentioned before I'm a Beach Boys fan so the Sloop John B was no comparison, I tried, I really tried to like it as much. Sorry...I think the ladies won me over this time...Chiffons rule!

    I'm off to get some new boots for Fall...


  6. Sush - Sunday night and the Ed Sullivan Show is an excellent way of describing this lineup. All that's missing are Ed's awkward, stumbling intros. (LOL) It seems like that Nancy Sinatra video is prompting all of you ladies to "reboot" yourselves. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, dear friend Sush!

  7. Hi Tom. I agree with Sush, the ladies certainly won it for me this time. Wonderful choices you had for us today. I always used to love The Chiffons, and it was good to hear your story about when you actually saw them. It's My Party was always one of my all time favourites, by Lesley Gore, so it was really good to hear it sung by the Chiffons today. Love Nancy Sinatra and These Boots are Made for Walking. (Also loved her duet with her dad, Somethin' Stupid). Brenda Lee was also another of my all time favourites and I have several of her records on my juke box. Sorry Ron, but I give it to Tom today !

  8. Thisisme - Glad you found some songs to bop to today. I predicted you'd like Shady's ladies and I'm not surprised to know that Brenda Lee's already found a home inside your jukebox. Thank you for stopping by for a look and a listen, dear Thisisme, and have a fine English evening!

  9. Thank you dear friend for your lovely comment for my daughter Kitten...Hope you are well x

  10. Sharren - Hello, dear friend! You've got a lovely daughter. I hope Kitten had a wonderful birthday. I'm sure she appreciated mum's special acknowledgment. Your visits always brighten my day, Sharren. Please take care and have a splendid evening in your part of England!

  11. Hi, Shady!

    Beautiful job as usual, combining our thoughts and tastes. My guys and I did pretty well. With the exception of "John B", we were looking for and appreciating the ladies, and you brought in a bunch a very beautiful, talented ladies. The Chiffons intrigued me with their covers. Other than missing Quincy Jones arrangement (which was his first success), "It's My Party" was just as good as Lesley Gores. On "My Boyfriend's Back" I wasn't sure if a track with backup was missing or it was deliberately filled-in with instrumental only. At any rate, I liked it, and it was refreshing to not hear "hey-la, hey-la" for a change. Little Miss Dynamite has always been a favorite, had some of her 45's, but never fully appreciated her until Juice Newton covered Brenda's B-side, "Break It To Me Gently". Years later, I heard the original again, and fell in love with Brenda all over again, loving that song even more. My smiles and enthusiasm culminated in the remix of "These Boots", although seeing Nancy brightened me even more than the song. Interesting how they can take a vocal and add a different background to it, and it still rocks, maybe even better. Nancy looked great a few years ago in a Playboy pictorial, done tastefully---still beautiful and in great shape, I might add. Enjoyed hearing my guys, but the girls topped it.


  12. Ron - Hello, good buddy! Seems like Nancy Sinatra brightened everybody's day today - lads and ladies alike. That "Shop Around" single by the Mad Lads is actually my Pick to Click. As I wrote in the post the record was played at the first Penn State party that I attended. A group of guys, mugs in hand, gathered in a circle and sang along to the record, imitating a doo-wop group singing on a street corner. It was a great memory from the fall of 1967. Soon after, R&B and soul started going out of style and nearly everybody was listening to the hard stuff. Thanks for another great tag team, Ron, and we'll be seeing you soon!

  13. Wow Shady I was feeling like I was on a different planet reading about and listening to groups I had no idea who they were. Then you saved the day for me with that trio of gals that I know and love. Great post today my friend.

  14. Ron & Shady - I certainly enjoyed The Tokens, whom I don't remember. The Chiffons did a great job, but I do like the originals better. Brenda Lee was always a favorite of mine. The Boots song brings lots of memories. It was such a huge hit in California when I was 16 I guess! Nancy now hosts Siriusly Sinatra on Sirius Radio. I always love the songs she chooses to play.

    My sister sees me bopping around on my computer chair and asks, "Are you listening to Shady?"

  15. Great music selection. I learn so much from your blog. Keep em coming

  16. Odie - I'm glad you put those books down long enough to listen to some tunes over here on Shady lane. You know what they say about all work and no play! Thanks for coming by, Odie. Please toss Rocky a biscuit and tell him it's from Shady!

    Belle - For obvious reasons it does my heart good to know that you were bopping and bouncing to this music today. Nancy Sinatra's bold remix reminds me of another performance of "These Boots" that comes during the closing credits of the 1991 crime drama Delusion, one of my favorite movies starring Jennifer Rubin and Kyle Secor. Thank you ever so much for coming to see me, dear friend Belle, and enjoy your evening!

    Isarel - I try to offer something for everybody. I'll have you know that folks are still buzzing about the killer playlist that you submitted a few months back. Thanks for visiting, my good friend, and have a great evening in Anaheim!

  17. It's very interesting to hear The Tokens version of that song! It's very different from the Beach Boys version that I know so well. Love the two different styles. That remix of These Boots is priceless!

    Here's to a great weekend for you my friend!

    Emma x

  18. Hey, Emma! I't great to hear from you. I will be the first to admit that I never heard that rendition of "John B." before Dell Rat Ron sent it to me. I never heard the versions by the Weavers, Kingston Trio or Johnny Cash either. I was raised on the Beach Boys record. There are several modern remixes of "Boots" on Y/T and I usually don't like D.J.s tampering with 60s music, but this remix is the best one I found and IMHO it actually improves upon the original. Thanks so much for your visit and kind comments, Emma, and have a delightful Irish weekend!

  19. Love the Chiffons. And those boots are still awesome. Man. I forgot just how short skirts used to be. My brother used to joke that hemlines were touching bottom. Not that he minded the view.

  20. Great bunch of oldies my friend. loved the videos. My boots are made for walking too. giggle. Big Hugs and wished for a weekend as sweet as you are.

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  22. ♫ Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone ..." but we've got a darn good idea! Always loved "It's My Party! Shady, if you first heard "Don't Have to Shop Around" for the first time at a party and you danced to it, it must have been a slow dance. I noticed the The Mad Lads' songs were slow ballads. Hope "ballads" is the right word. Love any version of "John B". All the hits of the Chiffon's are special. "B'wa Nina" really grew on me and I liked it. "These Boots" was a perfect conclusion. Shady and Ron once again have amazed us! A big thanks!

  23. Donna K. - Hello, my friend! It's so nice to see you. Nancy Sinatra and her gaggle of go go girls were dressed much more conservatively when they performed their hit on the Ed Sullivan Show.

    Click here:

    Thank you very much for visiting and commenting, Donna. Have a great weekend and please come back soon!

    Katie - I'm very happy that your boots walked you over my way. I am really getting into your blog with its diversity and positive tone and it delights me to know that you can relate to what I have to offer. Big hugs to you, my dear friend!

    Cindy - I think Johnny's going to return with lipstick on his collar! Yessum, the Mad Lads specialized in Philly style ("cool") soul ballads. I don't remember slow dancing to "Shop Around" at that party because I was too busy laughing at a bunch of guys who suddenly gathered in a circle (think flash mob) and sang along with the record pretending that they were harmonizing on a street corner like the vocal groups used to do. You're a doll for sampling all of these recordings and I really appreciate your comments! Have a great weekend, Cindy!

  24. I'm a bit behind on reading but this was a great post bringing back to memory some fantastic songs. I owned the Nancy Sinatra album mentioned and played it over and over. I was fascinated that she had a pair of slacks with boots (all in one piece) made for her. I just thought that was the cat's meow back then. Also love The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Brings back great memories.

  25. Hi, Barb! Thanks so much for dropping by for a visit. Nancy had a white hot career going there for a while with her solos and duets with her dad and with Lee Hazlewood. I never get tired of hearing "Jackson," "Summer Wine," "Sugar Town" or "Something Stupid." I recently saw Frank, Junior making a cameo appearance on a TV series. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" reminds me of the cold, harsh, snowy winter we were having in PA when the song was popular. Thanks again, Barb, and please come again soon!

  26. I didn't realise it was The Chiffons who recorded all those tracks - I've been educated once again! Thank you for all your lovely comments dear Shady, Alfred sends his very best woofs over to you ;) I have a very special visitor arriving today from deepest Devon so that should be fun :)

  27. Gawgus - I hope your weather's holding up so that mum can bask in French sunshine. She'll be very happy to see Alfred again, I'm sure of it. Have a delightful visit. Thank you very much for your comments and your friendship, dear Gawgus Girl!


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