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

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Impressions Last, Boppin' Sedaka and More in Episode 19 of The D-Team!

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 Impressions were architects of the smooth Chicago soul sound of the 60s. Like many other soul acts the Impressions' roots were in the church. Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler met in a Chicago church choir. The two future giants of soul sang together in gospel groups before joining a doo-wop act called the Roosters. The name soon changed to Jerry Butler and the Impressions and the group scored a crossover hit with "Your Precious Love." Butler went solo, Mayfield became group leader and songwriter, the Impressions signed with ABC-Paramount and hit again with "Gypsy Woman."

Eventually the act was pared down to a trio consisting of Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash. The Impressions racked up a long string of 60s hits in categories ranging from gospel to love ballads to black pride anthems embraced by the Civil Rights Movement.

The Impressions top 20 hit "We're a Winner" was one such anthem. However, the killer bee on the back of that 45 is
the side I'd like you to hear, the sweet, tender, melancholy ballad "It's All Over."

 "It's All Over" - Impressions (February 1968, uncharted 
 B side of  "We're a Winner.") 

Unlike some acts that experience a decline in quality over the years, the Impressions continued to make great recordings in the late 60s after they left ABC. In 1968 Mayfield started his own record label, Curtom, becoming one of the first African Americans to have his own label, Sam Cooke being the first. This is My Country, the first Impressions album released on Curtom, went top 5 on the R&B albums chart. It was chock full of excellent material including the title track which went top 30 pop and top 10 R&B. The album included a another beautiful soul ballad entitled "Gone Away."

 "Gone Away" - Impressions (track from 1968 album 
 This is My Country

When a group records updated versions of its early hits the results are often disappointing. Not so with the Impressions!

The Curtom compilation album The Best Impressions: Curtis, Sam and Fred offered fresh new versions of "Gypsy Woman," "Keep on Pushin', "I'm So Proud," 'I've Been Tryin'" and "Amen." All were as good or better than the originals.

Purist fans often cringe when a soul group tackles pop-jazz standards, show tunes and movie soundtracks. In 1969 the Impressions' former label ABC released a compilation of such material titled The Versatile Impressions. I bought the album and enjoyed it, my favorite track the Impressions' version of the Bacharach-David composition "The Look of Love," sung originally by Dusty Springfield on the soundtrack of the movie Casino Royale and turned into a top 5 charting hit single by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66.

 "The Look of Love" - Impressions (track from 1969 album 
 The Versatile Impressionshighest chart position #58) 


Poor Neil Sedaka is still sitting by the phone waiting for the nominating committee to call and tell him he's finally been named to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It'll probably never happen because Neil is considered a titan of pop rather than rock. Millions of fans are outraged over such nitpicking.

A seldom heard Neil Sedaka goody called "Bad Girl" reached the Billboard chart in November 1963 just six days before President Kennedy was assassinated. Defiantly derivative, "Bad Girl" sounds very much like "Foolish Little Girl" by the Shirelles with a little of Neil's "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" sprinkled in. The result is an ear pleasing hybrid that pene-
trated the top 40 but somehow failed to become a major hit.

 "Bad Girl" - Neil Sedaka 
 (December 1963, highest chart position #33/uncharted) 

 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! 


In the spring of 1965, Jr. Walker & The All Stars achieved their first and biggest hit with "Shotgun."

In the spring of 1969, Vanilla Fudge, a combination psychedelic rock and blue-eyed soul band, reloaded "Shotgun", made a decent dent in the Billboard chart
and electrified audiences with their live performances.

 "Shotgun" - Vanilla Fudge (March 1969, highest chart 
 position #68) 


His was one of the most distinctive voices of the boomer generation. The late, great Gene Pitney was not only a
gifted singer, he was also a songwriter who penned hits
for other artists like Bobby Vee ("Rubber Ball"), The Crystals ("He's a Rebel") and Ricky Nelson ("Hello Mary Lou").  Like Lesley Gore, Gene Pitney was part of an elite group of early 60s American recording artists whose careers survived and thrived during the British Invasion.  Quality never goes out of style and here are two Gene Pitney recordings that prove it, one released before the Beatles exploded and one released after.  "True Love Never Runs Smooth," a Burt Bacharach - Hal David composition, charted near the top 20 in the late summer of 1963 a few months before Beatlemania swept America.

 "True Love Never Runs Smooth" - Gene Pitney 
 (September 1963, highest chart position #21) 

Two years later Gene Pitney's "Last Chance to Turn Around" made a respectable run at the top 10 amid the new normal of Brit band chart domination.

 "Last Chance to Turn Around" - Gene Pitney (July 1965, 
 highest chart position #13) 

 Don't miss the next thrill-packed episode 

 of The D-Team, coming soon! 

 I love it 


 a plan 



Have a Shady day!


  1. Although Neil Sedaka was the only one I'd heard of on today's lineup, they were each a great set of songs. Hard to believe they probably won't ever consider him for the Hall of Fame!

    Shotgun was I think my favorite of all these new ones today. It was also interesting to read about Gene Pitney and how he survived and did well when others took a nosedive and failed.

    Thank you, my friend, for giving such a good array of great music to start the day with!

    1. Hello, Shelly! Yessum, millions of fans are bitter over the Hall's selection criteria. Neil Sedaka was an architect of rock 'n' roll. The fact that he wrote and sang upbeat, good natured pop songs rather than nasty, negative angst ridden material should not exclude him from recognition in the Hall of Fame. I was excited to find that live performance of "Shotgun" which was brand new to me until a few weeks ago. Thank you very much for taking time to come by, dear friend Shelly, and have a happy day over Texas way.

  2. I pitty the fool...LOL I watched the A Team. Mr T cracked me up.Wonderful lineup my friend.Vanilla Fudge, oh my gosh where do you find these old clips. Loved them all. xo

    1. Hi, Katie! My goodness, you're up early today (or up late)! Yes, I stumbled upon that Vanilla Fudge clip on YouTube and liked it so much that I decided to use it. The band is best known for their cover hits "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and "Take Me For a Little While" but they also did a great job on "Shotgun" and "Season of the Witch." All of those tracks can be found on the Fudge's Psychedelic Sundae compilation. Thank you very much for your comment, dear Katie. I'm so glad to know you had a good time here and I wish you a very happy Tuesday out your way.

  3. Some of my all time favorite tunes were on the LP I had of Gene Pitney played on our large stero late at night. Some truly happy memories. Great post my friend.

    1. Thanks, Odie! Gene Pitney's voice was unmistakable and he was an enormous talent. Throughout the sixties he always seemed to have a current hit playing on the radio. Gene died a few years ago and I'm still mourning his loss. Thanks so much for coming over, good buddy, and tell Rocky and Soffie I said hello.

  4. Hi dear Tom. Oh, oh, and oh again! Neil Sedaka and Gene Pitney - two of my all time favourites from the sixties. Oh Carol and 24 hours from Tulsa spring readily to mind, but I loved all their hits. It does seem a bit unfair that poor old Neil is still waiting to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! I hadn't heard of the other ones, but, nevertheless, still enjoyed listening to the records. Strange to hear people say that they have never heard of Gene Pitney!!!! Thank you so much for bringing back happy memories for me today my friend. I trust that you are getting some cooler temperatures over there in Florida now. Smooches and double smooches!!

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme! Smooches right back atcha, my friend. In fact, I'll SEE your double smooches and RAISE you another one! (LOL) Soul lovers like me find it hard to believe that some people never heard of the Impressions because they would be among the first groups that come to mind in that category. We were all exposed to different artists, groups and bands in our youth so there's nothing to be ashamed of on either side. I could listen to Gene Pitney's distinctive vocals all day long, how 'bout you? Neil Sedaka's music always leaves me feeling good. Sadly, feel good music is considered "lightweight" by the Rock Hall committee. Yessum, we are experiencing somewhat cooler temperatures here lately, ranging from the mid 80s to around 90. I am still smiling about the wonderful picture of Alfred that you posted on your blog for me. I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness, dear Thisisme! Have a wonderful evening!

  5. How can Neil Sedaka not be in the Rock n Roll hall of fame!? Thats crazy talk. Sure his songs are poppy but they are also very influential in the world of music. As for Vanilla Fudge, well I'd never heard of them before today but their name alone deserves a some kind of award for awesomeness. And is it just me or is Gene Pitney wicked sexy in a kind of nerdy science geek kinda way? Just me? K cool.

    1. Hi, Amber Blue Bird! Pop is poison to the Rock Hall of Fame and nice guys tend to finish last. Maybe if Neil Sedaka trashed a few hotel rooms and peed in the street now and then he'd have enough cred to be considered for induction. Vanilla Fudge might be THEE perfect name for a psychedelic blue-eyed soul band. I refuse to weigh in on Gene Pitney's alleged nerdy science geek wicked sexiness (Vanessa Angel on Weird Science is more my speed) but I never get tired of Gene's singing. Music lost a great one in 2006 when Gene passed away. Speaking of COOL, you are way beyond cool for making time for me on "your day off." Thank you very much, Girly Bird, and I'll see you over at your nest soon!

  6. I don't know the songs you've shared but I do love Gene Pitney and Neil Sedaka! Bad blood is one of my favourites! And somethings got a hold of my heart, what a song!

    Thanks for your comment today Tom! I'll be sharing some good news later!

    Emma x

    1. Hi, Emma! Good news about your apartment hunt? Wow, that's wonderful! I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed for you guys. I enjoyed Neil's later career hits "Bad Blood" and "Laughter in the Rain." I think my all time favorite recording of his is "The World Through a Tear." I uploaded it on my YouTube channel. As Sedaka songs go it's decidedly wistful and introspective but I love it. Thanks a million for taking time to swing by, dear friend Emma, and have a terrific evening in beautiful Dublin!

  7. Wow, Neil Sedaka and Gene Pitney - takes you right back, doesn't it? And Vanilla Fudge... I laughed out loud when I saw that clip. I'd kind of forgotten about them. We thought all of that was soooo radical at the time, but we had another thing(s) coming, didn't we? A nice little trip down Memory Lane today, Shady. All good.

    1. Hi karen! My mother clutched her heart when the Beatles came along, thinking it surely signaled the end of the world. (Gangsta rap was still light years away.) Yes, many of the bands of the era pushed the envelope with their radical styles and most of it seems tame (but not lame) looking back. I'm very happy when I can make you LOL, dear friend, and I truly appreciate your visit and comments. Take kare - karen!

  8. I enjoyed the Impressions and I do love Neil Sedaka and Gene Pitney. I bought singles from both those artists. 'Town Without Pity' was one of my favorites from Gene.

    I'm sorry the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame doesn't think Neil Sedaka is good enough for them. I do remember that even Paul McCartney wasn't inducted until recently and his daughter said, "It's about time." Great songs and memories today, Shady!

    1. Hi, Belle! I'm glad Curtis Mayfield and his cohorts made good Impressions on you. Gene Pitney adapted to the changing music scene of the 60s better than most other male singers, even Elvis. In 1968 Gene released what some critics consider to be the best and most exciting record of his career, the blue-eyed soul single "She's a Heartbreaker." Neil Sedaka has already secured his place in history as a giant of popular music. He is loved by millions and that's more than many of his hard rockin' contemporaries can say. Thank you very much for coming over for a listen, dear friend Belle, and have an enjoyable afternoon and evening.

  9. Shady, it's a tough choice - who do I love more, Neil Sedaka, or the A-Team?
    Hugs from Oxford!

    1. Well hi there, Joanna, and hugs to you, my dear friend! I'm glad to know you can relate to Neil Sedaka as well as to Hannibal, B.A. Baracus, "The Faceman" and Murdock. I'm thrilled to see you again, my dear, and I thank you very much for coming. Good night and sweet dreams!

  10. Good Evening Mr. Knight! You're on a roll with this one. OMG Gene Pitney! How do you describe such a powerful force that his voice projects? 'A Town Without Pity'-fierce and chilling...makes you want more! 'Only Love Can Break the Heart'-a major hit, tear-jerking, yet, lovely! This guy could bring you to your knees, 'Last Chance to Turn Around'-great and believable! You picked one of the greatest here.

    Neil Sedaka, yes-an unsung hero. He contributes, to this day, so much...well, we know and appreciate him-loved 'Oh Carol'.

    How about Jr. Walker, et al. The cool, danceable tunes. 'Shotgun' was the best. Their music was my kind of funky!

    So, we come to Vanilla Fudge! I saw them in concert in around 1969 or 1970 at Kansas University's auditorium in Lawrence, Ks. I didn't know who they were, got invited and went. I really liked them. Their 'chilling' version of 'You Just Keep Me Hangin On' still goes with me to this day. And, I've been able to work out some of the chord work on my keyboard. I was flabergasted to hear them do that song. And, their version of 'Shotgun' is good, but, doesn't top the Supreme's song.

    I didn't forget Jerry Butler. I always admired his work and how he collaborates with others. I remember 'Your Precious Love' as being a very romantic song.

    You covered a lot of ground here Shady...easy and fun to read, listen and learn! I really do appreciate how you keep us 'hanging on'! Have a wonderful rest of the week.♫

    1. Hi, Susan! I hope to keep you hangin' on as a friend for a long long time. I agree that when a Gene Pitney record starts to play you can usually name that tune in a second or two and are assured of a quality listening experience. Jr. Walker & the All Stars had a big back to back hit at the Dell with "(I'm a) Road Runner" and "Shoot Your Shot." I bought the Vanilla Fudge: Psychedelic Sundae best of compilation and was not disappointed. This live performance of "Shotgun" is pure excitement for me. At one time I owned just about every Jerry Butler album ever released. His voice was like butta. Thank you very much for coming for a visit, dear friend Susan, and I'll be seeing you soon on yours!

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