High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Double Overtime! The First of Two Bonus Editions of Dueling Doo-Wops!

 That's right!  We're heading into 

 double O.T. with Volume 6, the 

 first of TWO extra posts devoted 

 exclusively to doo-wop! 

Our Dueling Doo-Wops series is aimed at bringing you some
of the best seldom heard group harmony recordings of the 1950s and 60s. Dell Rat Ron Shearer joins us again with platters aplenty and I brought along my own boss batch!

 Ron, if you don't mind, 

 I'd like first serve. 

It's important to remember that some of the greatest
doo-wop was made by singers who were teenage or even younger. My first Pick to Click is an excellent example.


The Six Teens were not six teens, at least not in 1956 when they started making records. The Los Angeles based group consisted of five teenagers plus 12 year old Trudy Williams.

As the story goes, little Trudy merely tagged along to the studio to watch her older sister and the others make a record. She wound up being appointed lead singer of the group! (I can just hear Jay & the Americans singing "Only in America, land of opportunity.") Originally calling themselves The Sweet Teens, the group released a single that failed to chart. Later that year they released a second record using The Six Teens as their name and scored a hit. "A Casual Look" went top 50 on the Billboard pop chart, top 40 on the Cash Box survey, and cracked the top 10 on the R&B chart. Young Trudy's voice was pure and virtuous and even though "A Casual Look" culminates with a girl becoming a teenage bride it is, by modern standards, a sweet, innocent record -
a far cry from today's sly, slick and wicked gutter sludge.

 "A Casual Look" - The Six Teens (August 1956, highest 
 chart position #48 Hot 100, #38 Cash Box, #7 R&B) 


They're the R&B vocal group that recorded "Close Your Eyes," The Mother of All Dell Songs and the #1 record on my list of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell. The Five Keys from Newport News, Virginia, were already seasoned veterans in 1955 when they waxed that hit for Capitol Records. In 1951, recording for Aladdin, the group achieved a #1 R&B hit with their version of "Glory of Love," a 1936 chart topper by Benny Goodman. For some reason all 18 of their other Aladdin singles sold poorly. As you'll realize when you listen to the beautiful ballad "Teardrops in Your Eyes," the Five Keys' spotty success had absolutely nothing to do with quality.

 "Teardrops in Your Eyes" - The Five Keys (1953, uncharted) 

The Five Keys' follow-up release makes my eyes roll back 

in my head. It's one of the finest R&B love songs of the 50s - passionate pleading, crying, sweating, feeling... it's all here 
in "My Saddest Hour."

 "My Saddest Hour" - The Five Keys (1953, uncharted) 

 Ron, the ball's in your court! 


 Shady, when I heard the 

 Safaris sing "Image of a 
 Girl" back in Volume 1 
 of Dueling Doo-Wops
 I flashed on a song by 
 the G-Clefs that was on 
 the charts a year later. 
 It had been more than 
 five years (1956) since 
 the Roxbury, Mass 
 doo-wop group achieved 
 a minor hit with a jumper 
 entitled "Ka-Ding Dong." 
 The group returned to the 
 charts in 1961 with the 
 bigger hit "I Understand 
 (Just How You Feel)," a song that had been recorded in 
 1954 and made into a hit by The Four Tunes and June Valli. 
 The G-Clefs went top ten with their cover and England's 
 Freddie & the Dreamers cracked the top 40 with their 
 rendition in 1965. "I Understand" is sung to the familiar 
 melody of  "Auld Lang Syne" and the G-Clefs record, 
 released in September 1961, remained popular all the way 
 through the Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year holidays. 

 "I Understand (Just How You Feel)" - The G-Clefs 

 (December 1961, highest chart position #9) 


 As you know, Shady, the original O'Jays were favorites in 

 the York-Lancaster-Harrisburg area, their records covered 
 by the Delchords and many other groups. They also played 
 on the same bills as the Magnificent Men and the Soul Clinic 
 as well as were backed up by those bands.  Here is one of 
 their most popular songs from those days. Unfortunately, 
 very few of these classic O'Jay songs are included in any 
 collections except imports, high-priced and not remastered. 

 "You're On Top" - O'Jays (July 1964, uncharted) 

 Ron, the juice 

 is on the loose! 

As long as we're sampling the O'Jays I'd like to spin another record by the veteran soul group.  It's a genuine lost relic, one that predates the O'Jays' first Imperial classic "Lonely Drifter." It's "Crack Up Laughing," the killer bee on the back of "That's the Way I Feel," a record originally released in 1961 on King Records when the group was known as the Mascots and reissued in 1963 on both the Little Star and Imperial labels. Enjoy the very early sound of the O'Jays!

 "Crack Up Laughing" - The O'Jays (July 1963, uncharted) 



Singer, songwriter, producer and composer Barry De Vorzon was another of those behind the scenes guys responsible for hit records released by other artists. Barry composed the 1960 hit "Dreamin'" for singer Johnny Burnette along with the delicate "Nadia's Theme," the Grammy Award winning theme from the daytime drama The Young and the Restless.

Barry De Vorzon also founded Valiant Records, the label that signed the Association. He wrote "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" (an entirely different song from the Boyce and Hart composition) and offered it to a group called the Cascades. When they turned down the song, Barry adopted a d.i.y. mindset, formed his own West Coast trio called Barry and the Tamerlanes, and recorded it himself. The result was a cool, up tempo doo-wop record that entered the Billboard top 30 the day after the assassination of President Kennedy.

 "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" - Barry and the 
 Tamerlanes (December 1963, highest chart position #21) 


"Popsicles and Icicles," a song written by David Gates who later formed and fronted the group Bread, began its chart run that same dark day, November 23rd, 1963, on its way to a top 5 finish in the winter of '64. The Murmaids were a trio of Los Angeles teenagers made up of the Fischer sisters, Carol and Terry, along with their neighborhood friend Sally Gordon. The Murmaids' dreamy girl group ballad, written and recorded before the tragic events unfolded in Dallas, serves as a grim reminder of the innocence America lost that day and never regained.

 "Popsicles and Icicles" - Murmaids (January 1964, highest 

 chart position #3) 

 Ron, I see you in the on deck circle 

 waiting to spin wax by one of 

 Dell Rat Jerre's favorite artists! 


 Shady, you and I both remember Pittsburgh native 
 Tommy Hunt, formerly of the Flamingos, singing his hit 
 song "Human" at the Dell night after night.  Jerre ranked 
 "Human" as his #1 Dell song.  Ironically, Scepter Records 
 released "Human" as the B side of that Tommy Hunt single.  
 I used to listen to "The Parade of Broken Hearts" never 
 knowing it was the A-side. (Not at my house, it wasn't.) 

 "The Parade of Broken Hearts" - Tommy Hunt 
 (October 1961, A side of "Human") 

 As much as I love Tommy Hunt's "Human", there is one 

 other song of his I love just as much. I recall that it was 
 the second record released after "Human." The song, 
 "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself," was 
 written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Soul diva 
 Dionne Warwick recorded it later (1966) and had a top 
 30 hit, but I thought it mediocre compared to this one.

 "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself"  - Tommy Hunt 
 (August 1964, highest chart position #119) 

Speaking of Tommy Hunt's group, the Flamingos, Ron, did you ever hear the story behind the making of "Lovers Never Say Goodbye," one of their best known hits? Have a CMP on the house while I play this next clip.


The Flamingos reinvented themselves in the mid 60s with the Dell smash "The Boogaloo Party" but they are best known for their doo-wop output during the 50s. Here's the story of how the group came up with the title of their first pop hit.

 "Lovers Never Say Goodbye" - Flamingos (March 1959, 

 highest chart position #52 Hot 100, #25 R&B) 

 Ron, just for a change, I thought you and 

 the gang might enjoy a little Cello music! 


Here's a genuine doo-wop doublesider for you! Best known for the up tempo side of their lone hit record, the Cellos' artistry with the ballad might be doo-wop's best kept secret. The New York R&B group made a decent dent in the Billboard pop chart (#62) with their jitterbug beat version of "I'm the Japanese Sandman," a frequently covered song written in 1920. Legal issues required Apollo Records to change the song title to "Rang Tang Ding Dong (I Am the Japanese Sandman)" thereby hampering record sales because fans searched in vain for the original "Japanese Sandman" title. Listen to an excellent example of a black doo-wop group 

with an updated sound that appealed to the rock and roll generation.

 "Rang Tang Ding Dong (I Am the Japanese Sandman)" 

 - The Cellos (June 1957, highest chart position #62) 

A perfect complement to "Sandman" is the dreamy flip side, "You Took My Love."

 "You Took My Love" - The Cellos (June 1957, uncharted 

 B side of "Rang Tang Ding Dong" 

 Now let's wrap up our platter party 

 with a Chi-town stomper! 


Central Pennsylvania had its Magnificent Men. Chicago had its Magnificents. In 1956 the vocal group lead by tenor Johnny Keyes scored a top 10 R&B hit with the jump side 

"Up on the Mountain." Their uncharted, seldom heard "Don't Leave Me" is superb up-tempo late 50s doo-wop. Listen at your own risk. It could lead to a Magnificents obsession!

 "Don't Leave Me" - The Magnificents (1958, uncharted) 

 Thank you Dell Rat Ron 

 for playing Dueling Doo-Wops 

 again today and for making 

 every spinner a winner!  

 See you soon in Volume 7! 

Have a Shady day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pop Gets Rocky and Soul Gets Funky! The Jukebox Giants of August 1967

 Summer 1967 is fading fast.

 It's time once again to 

 sample the sounds inside 

 the Shady Dell jukebox. 

As the record selection for August reveals, innocent teen pop is being supplanted by rock, and soul music is becoming slick, sophisticated, hip, trendy and funky.

 Experience the look and sound of  

 young America! 

 New, Hot and Hitbound: 

 “You’re My Everything” – Temptations 

 “The Letter” – Box Tops 

 “Funky Broadway” – Wilson Pickett 

 “Reflections” – Diana Ross & the Supremes 

 “Gimme Little Sign” – Brenton Wood 

 “Get on Up” – Esquires 


 Old Dell Gold: 
 (Records from past weeks, months and years 
 that have maintained their popularity) 

 “I Could Be So Happy” – Magnificent Men (July ’67) 

 “You Changed My Life" – Magnificent Men (July ’67) 

 "Karate Boogaloo” – Emperors (July ’67) 

 “You Gave Me Something (and Everything’s Alright)” – 
 Fantastic Four (June ’67) 

 “Washed Ashore (On a Lonely Island in the Sea)”
  – Platters (July ’67) 

 “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” – Jay & the 
 Techniques  (July ’67) 

 “(I Wanna) Testify” – Parliaments (July ’67) 

 “A Whiter Shade of Pale" – Procol Harum (July ’67) 

 “White Rabbit" – Jefferson Airplane (July ’67) 

 “Searchin’” – Emperors (May ’67) 

 “Lookin’ For My Baby” – Emperors (May ’67) 

 “Hypnotized” – Linda Jones (June ’67) 

 “Soul Finger” – Bar-Kays (June ’67) 

 “I’ll Turn To Stone” – Four Tops (May ’67) 

Big changes are coming to the Dell jukebox in September.

Which of these records will still be spinning and which ones will take an early retirement?

 You have 
 one month 
 to speculate 
 but remember, 
 ladies & 
 this is only 
 an exhibition, 
 this is not 
 a competition; 
 so please -- 
 no wagering! 

Have a Shady day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Command Performance: The SDM&M World Premiere of Two New Mag Men Videos!

By the time I started Shady Dell Music & Memories
in the summer of 2008, I was already busy editing videos and uploading them on YouTube for presentation on the blog.

Today, I proudly present two new videos I produced at the request of Dave Bupp, lead singer of The Magnificent Men, the blue-eyed soul band from York and Harrisburg, PA.

 Dave Bupp in the studio with Thom "Daddy C" Colson 

Recently, Dave sent me an email in which he wrote:

 Yo Tom,

 I have a favor to ask of you. I have no idea how to 

 load a song & video to Youtube. You do great work, 
 and I’ll be forever grateful for your interest in my career. 
 Here’s what I need: Can you put CRY WITH ME BABY 
 & ALFIE on Youtube?  I know it’s probably a lot of work 
 to do this, but they are the only two recordings of 
 The Men not on Youtube. With the new interest in the 
 group via the movie SHADE, I’d like those new fans to 
 hear the two remaining songs. 

 Thanks & Stay Soulful Brother, 

 Dave Bupp 

Can you imagine a lad from Liverpool being contacted by
Paul McCartney and asked to make videos for his songs? That's how exciting it was for me when I received that
email from Dave, an idol of my teenage years and a man
I admire and respect today.

Dave tipped us off about The Magnificent Men's connection to the Sylvester Stallone movie Shade in a comment he left on my YouTube upload of the band's classic rendition of "Stormy Weather."

Dave wrote: 

 Has anybody out 

 there seen the 
 movie "SHADE"? 
 Stormy Weather 
 is featured at the 
 beginning of the 
 movie and a 
 couple of times 
 throughout the 
 movie. I was 
 blown away when 
 I rented this movie 
 and heard my 

I went to work on Dave's special request, first producing a video for The Mag Men's version of "Alfie," a track from their third Capitol album The World of Soul. "Alfie" was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David to promote the 1966 British
film starring Michael Caine. The song was also recorded by Cilla Black, Cher and most successfully by Dionne Warwick. Bupp and company took the song and made it their own.


 The Magnificent Men 

Next I produced a video for "Cry With Me Baby," a track from
the Mag Men's eponymous first Capitol album. I chose to create a novel interpretation of the song using cover art from vintage teenage romance comics.

 "Cry With Me Baby"   

 The Magnificent Men 

Upon completion of the videos I sent the YouTube links to Dave and before long he responded with this email:

 Hey Shady Boy, 
 You did it again!!!! 
 Thank You So Much 
 for taking the time to 
 add those tunes to YT. 
 You did a great job, 
 and the videos tell a 
 story. You will always 
 hold a special place 
 with The Del-Chords, 
 The Mag Men, and me 
 personally. Thanks for 
 keeping York’s rich 
 heritage of Rhythm & 
 Blues alive worldwide. 
 I know the Soul Clinic feels the same. YOU DA MAN!!!! 

 Thanks Again & Much love, 


You are very welcome, Dave. The opportunity to get to know you in recent years and count you among my friends is one that I treasure. I feel like I'm at rock & roll fantasy camp all year 'round. In my teen years when I played these and your other recordings a million times I never dreamed of making this kind of close connection with hometown heroes like you and the guys in The Soul Clinic. I'm glad you like the videos, my friend. It's an honor to help immortalize your outstanding work for future generations.

Have a Shady day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Cup Runneth Over

It's time to present the latest edition of Dell Rat Feedback, letters to the editor sent in by you, the devoted friends and followers of Shady Dell Music & Memories.



In reference to the recently concluded 9-part series covering the history of The Soul Clinic, the eight piece R&B band from York, PA, drummer and band leader Larry Smith wrote:

 I am so pleased with how it came out. 

 A) It was a well-researched, INTERESTING saga... 

 B) Presented in an accessible "interview" style by a 
 wonderful writer & editor, Mr. Thomas Anderson... 

 C) ...that made you want to read more! 

 D) Even people who don't listen to music a lot or don't 
 particularly like "Soul Music", LOVE the "behind the scenes 
 stuff" and "anecdotes". We had plenty in there dude! 

 (The Clinicians have gained a new friend. Tommy!!) 

Jackson Truett, who played keyboards for The Concords and Jay & the Techniques, wrote:

 I enjoyed the blog. Memories 
 are fun especially when they 
 represent our moments in the 
 spotlight. The names, pictures 
 and places were really quite 
 revealing. They brought back 
 memories of a time that very 
 few enjoyed in all of America. 
 I've always felt that "American 
 Graffiti" was written about 
 York. The York/Harrisburg 
 scene was more than "BIG" it was a "Gold Mine" that very 
 few tapped into. Those days are remembered by Yorkers 
 with fun and affection. 

Jack's former Concords band mate Rick Dillman, who became trumpet player for The Soul Clinic, wrote:

 Can't thank you enough for 
 sticking with this and getting 
 it right. Everyone absolutely 
 loves it. All of us are humbled 
 and so appreciative for the 
 love expressed. You can be 
 proud of the series. We are. 
 We will be enjoying this for 
 a long long time. 

 I made this image with all of us and you in the background: 

 "The Ninth Clinician" - lol..  

 Hang it on your wall. You deserve to be included now. 

 Much Love, Rick 

In case you missed it, you can catch the entire 9-chapter Soul Clinic series from the beginning by clicking here!


I have received a handwritten letter from my dear friend Kathleen Mae Schneider. Kathleen, my special guest blogger, presents her exclusive series, In-Dell-ible Memories in which she tells the story of her mother Margaret's childhood at the Shady Dell in the early years of the 20th century. Margaret turned 100 years old in April and Kathleen sent us pictures
of the happy occasion.

Kathleen wrote:

 Your posts on the blog and the comments they elicited 
 really helped to make Mother's birthday an especially 
 wonderful celebration. 

 She never in a hundred years - literally- ever expected 
 or received such attention. We so appreciate your time, 
 your thoughtfulness, and most of all, your caring about 
 our mother and our family. Such kindness will never be 



Submitted for your approval...

Meet Mr. Blake Stough, a man who has come down with a bad case of Shady Dell Fever. Blake operates a blog called Preserving York in which he explores York County history.

Recently, Kathleen Mae Schneider contacted Blake and enlisted his aid in solving some of the Shady Dell's many mysteries.

Kathleen wrote:

 Blake Stough has picked up 
 your enthusiasm about the 
 Shady Dell. He came to the 
 Dell and stayed almost four 
 hours. He was entranced 
 with the place! He loved 
 poking around in crawl 
 spaces and the loft of the 
 barn and found some 
 goodies there. 

 Blake Stough wrote: 

 I visited the Dell with Kathy and had a great time exploring  
 its secrets. 

 I'm sure you'll be interested in the photographs I took, 
 which included the use of a wide-angle lens so I could 
 capture more of the scene at one time. 

Blake has already published two articles about M'Lady Shady on his blog.

 Family. Heritage. History. Genealogy. Memories. Tradition. Life. 

The first post traces the timeline of major events in the early history of the Dell from its construction through the Brown family years during which automobiles, hunting dogs and patent medicines were sold there, through the Spangler family years when squab pigeons were raised in the barn for sale to local restaurants, and on to the Ettline years when the estate was transformed into a hangout for teenagers. Follow the history of the Shady Dell in Blake's article entitled:

 Tough Times Were Faced 

 During The Pre-Shady Dell Days 

Next, tour the Dell as it looks today and behold the series of outstanding, high quality photographs taken by Blake during his recent visits:

 Behind The Scenes Of York’s 

 “Shady Lady” Estate 


Finally, I received a thoughtful and beautifully composed letter from my dear friend Jenny at Knees and Paws. Jenny has engaged me in a friendly argument, encouraging me to go beyond blogging and write a book or screenplay based on my experiences as a teenager at the Shady Dell.

 Jenny wrote:

   It's not about the squab. Your screenplay is about that one night at the Dell, the night that is in essence, every night at the living Dell. The one night where your experience is the one that people feel on a cellular level...not something like a history lesson 
or a detached memoir.. 

   It's not about the squab, but it is about that one night when you felt what it means to look into John's eyes as a young man. The night that got a little crazy and you ended up breaking that girl's heart, but not on purpose. It's about that night when you realized how deep your feelings were when you danced to soul music that was so different than anything that was "safe" to listen to, like white music. 

   It's about that night when you felt a kinship with your buddies, bonds that would last a lifetime. It's about showing what happens when young people create a community when they are given something so rare and beautiful; a space to dance! It's about Helen and John wanting a houseful of children and moving around that barrier of natural selection. 

   It's about that one night, but also about every night in flashbacks and conversations. It's about that time when you were so frustrated with the way things were going at home, how god awful boring the land around you felt, how quiet the house was when your parents were reading their newspapers. How you were secretly counting the hours until sunset. It was about the music. The girls. Maybe even about the beer, but it was really about the music. 

   It's about that one tragedy that you haven't yet forgotten that changed how you lived. 

   It's about showing the people in our country what they could still be having if they threw away their ipods.

   This is the only way we evoke even a fraction of an emotion in literature, in film, in blog land: though the magic of a personal story in the context of a changing, fleeting season in a complex and beautiful world.

   Please understand that I fully enjoy Shady Dell: Music and Memories the blog and plan to continue reading it for the duration. I love it and this is why I am writing to you today. 

   I want to see and hear and feel that night that has nothing to do with squab, and it's a selfish thing to wish for. 

Your friend, 

 Shady Dell Fever:  It's Catching! 

 My cup runneth over. 

Have a Shady day!