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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Litter of Kittens, a Snake in the Grass, a Robot Man and a Sailor Boy = a Party!

 I'm Shady Del Knight 

 and I've got proof 

 that old school COOL! 


Sailor boys were a familiar theme in pop music
in 1964. I guess you could say the girls who
made those records were nautical and nice.
(Please don't leave! No more puns, I promise!)

In February and March, Diane Renay's signature song
"Navy Blue" climbed the chart and finished at #6.
In May, Diane's follow-up single "Kiss Me Sailor"
reached the top 30.

In June, a Brooklyn act known as the Sherry Sisters
tried their luck with "Sailor Boy." Not to be confused
with a song of the same name recorded by both the
Chiffons and Goldie & the Gingerbreads, "Sailor Boy" by
the Sherry Sisters is one of the best girl group sounds
of the Sixties. The record had "hit" written all over it,
yet it never even reached the Bubbling Under chart.

It was a different story in Japan where "Sailor Boy"
floated their boats and went on to become a million
seller. Let's hear what American ears were missing.

    "Sailor Boy" - The Sherry Sisters 
 (June 1964, uncharted) 




"Robot Man" is one of the lost rock 'n' roll recordings
by Connie Francis that's included on her Rocksides
compilation. Instead of playing Connie's version I'd like
you to hear an exciting rendition of the song performed
by the girl group Dee-Anne and the Kittens on Oh Boy!,
the first teen music program on British television.
The show originally aired in 1958 and 1959 and was
resurrected in the late 70s in a retro rock format.

Series regular Dee-Anne, now known as Deanne Blazey
of the band Baby Go Boom, was still in her teens
when she appeared on this 1980 episode of Oh Boy!
and did a fantastic job of covering Connie!

 "Robot Man" - Dee-Anne and the Kittens 
 (from 1980 British TV show Oh Boy!

Show of hands..........
Does anybody else see the resemblance between Dee-Anne and actress Haley Mills (at right)? Watch the next clip of Dee-Anne covering a Brenda Lee hit and let me know if you agree.

 "I'm Sorry" - Dee-Anne 
 (from 1980 British TV show Oh Boy!



In 1968 the courtroom was a familiar setting for soul songs.
Judge Shorty Long presided over "Here Comes the Judge."
The Unifics held "Court of Love" and R&B vet Don Covay
confessed: "I Stole Some Love" and was brought before
Judge Cupid for stealin' the love of another man.

 Don - say it ain't so, buddy! 

I remember obtaining this Don Covay record at Woolworth.
It was sold in one of those shrink wrapped bundles that
contained ten 45rpm records and priced at only 99 cents.
Those budget packs were like a box of chocolates.....
you never knew what you were gonna get. In the case of
this Don Covay single I got a double dose of ear candy!

 "I Stole Some Love" - Don Covay & the Goodtimers 
 (October 1968, uncharted) 

On the flip side of "I Stole Some Love" was a killer bee
called "Snake in the Grass."

This sssssidewinder was another sssssizzling
ssssslab of deep fried sssssouthern R&B
from Don Covay and the Goodtimers.

 "Snake in the Grass" - Don Covay & the Goodtimers 
 (October 1968, uncharted B side of "I Stole Some Love") 


They made the rounds of teen music/dance shows
like Shindig and Hullabaloo. Featuring the smooth
and soulful vocals of lead singer Sal Valentino,
the Beau Brummels exemplified the West Coast
folk rock sound of the mid 60s. The San Francisco
band had a top 20 hit with "Laugh, Laugh" and a
top 10 charter with "Just a Little."

My Pick to Click is a record that never reached the top 50,
probably because the Beau Brummels' small label, Autumn,
was going belly up by the time it was released. As I always
preach, chart position has absolutely nothing to do with
greatness, and here's one of the finest, purest folk rock
sounds of the Sixties, "Don't Talk to Strangers."

 "Don't Talk to Strangers" - Beau Brummels 
 (October 1965, highest chart position #52) 

 Join me next time 

 for more proof 

 that old school COOL! 

Have a Shady day!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Remembering Helen




Things to know
and remember
about Helen:

Helen was
real people.

Helen was

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

Helen was
never afraid to
speak her mind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I picked this song because it reminds me of that
very special woman, the first lady of the Shady Dell,
Helen Ettline.

Unforgettable, Helen.

That's what you are!

We love you and miss you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Counting Down the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell (#170 to #166)

 It's time once again to put your 

 musical knowledge to the test 

 as we continue our countdown of 

 The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell! 

 You know the drill. 

I'll give you a line or two of lyrics from five
of the most popular Dell songs of the mid 60s.
Your mission, Jim, if you decide to accept it, is to

 Name That Tune. 

Put on your thinking cap. Here are the lyric samples
for the next five Dell songs in the countdown:

 in your head, baby, I'm afraid 
 you don't know where it is

 I'm glad I've finally opened up my eyes 
 And pushed the fear of love, 
 the fear of love aside 

 don't worry, 
 Take your time, don't hurry 

 You try hard to hide 
 the emptiness inside 

 Deliver me from reasons why 
 You'd rather cry, I'd rather fly. 

Okay, let's find out how well you did.
Here are the Dell songs in today's countdown:

170. "Somebody To Love" - Jefferson Airplane (April '67)

169. "I'm Ready For Love" - Martha & The Vandellas (December '66)

168. "Nowhere Man" - Beatles (March '66)

167. "(I Know) I'm Losing You" - Temptations (November '66)

166. "The Crystal Ship" - Doors (June '67)

How many songs did you correctly guess from the lyric clues? Refer to the grading scale below to determine your music I.Q.

 All 5 right – 

 Congratulations! You’ve been appointed 

 dean of the College of Musical Knowledge. 

 3 or 4 right – 

 Licensed lyric lover. 

 2 right - 

 Lyrically challenged. 

 1 right – 

 Sign up for remedial classes 

 at the School of Rock. 

 0 right – 

 You just dance and hum along! 

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love at First Strike: My Valentine's Dance Party Will Bowl You Over!

  When we think of  

  Valentine's Day...  

  one special word  

  comes to mind.  


For my Valentine's dance this year I dusted off a stack of records that were popular around V-day during the 50s and early 60s. For decoration I tacked up some vintage pin-ups and print ads depicting guys and girls on bowling dates.

Vintage pin-Up by Art Frahm

If you're ready let's get the party started with
the King of Rock 'N' Roll. As my good buddy Karo
will tell you, too much Elvis is never enough!

 "Too Much" - Elvis Presley (Valentine's Day 1957) 

Some of my earliest bowling memories recall a time when establishments still employed human pinsetters. As I saw it, the pin boy had the coolest job in the world. Maybe he did!

Bowling alleys, as they were once called, began to change over to fully automatic pinsetting machines in 1946, but lanes I remember visiting in the 1950s at beach towns in Maryland and Jersey still used pin boys.

 "Magic Moments" - Perry Como (Valentine's Day 1958) 

Vintage pin-up by Edward D'Ancona

 "Catch a Falling Star" - Perry Como (Valentine's Day 1958) 

Vintage pin-up by Gil Elvgren

Something wonderful happened when I was eight years old. York's Suburban Bowlerama opened for business. Located atop South Queen Street Hill, the lanes were only a couple blocks from my home. Suburban Bowlerama quickly became one of my favorite hangouts.

My friends and I spent hot summer afternoons at the
Bowlerama striking, sparing, gutter balling, playing arcade
games and eating junk food. There was another reason why
we loved to hang out there. The place had one other thing
we could not get at home: air conditioning. In those days,
a/c was considered by many families, including mine, to be
a luxury rather than a necessity.

 "Peter Gunn" - Ray Anthony & Orchestra 
 (Valentine's Day 1959) 

 "Beyond the Sea" - Bobby Darin (Valentine's Day 1960) 

With the TV antenna on my roof pointed toward the south
I was able to pull in a strong signal from the three Baltimore stations, WMAR, WJZ and WBAL. Along with kiddie shows, horror movie hosts, dance parties, Colts football and Orioles baseball, I enjoyed televised bowling programs including the ones created and franchised by Bert Claster, the man who also gave us Romper Room, a show originally hosted by his wife. Remember Miss Nancy?

Vintage pin-up by Edward D'Ancona

Pinbusters and Bowling for Dollars, both of which involved regulation tenpin bowling, and Duckpins for Dollars, which used shorter pins and much smaller balls, both aired on Baltimore's NBC affiliate, WBAL Channel 11.

 "There's a Moon Out Tonight" - Capris 
 (Valentine's Day 1961) 

Vintage pin-up by Gil Elvgren

From 1960 to 1964 I loved to watch Make That Spare, the 15-minute program that featured top bowlers attempting
to make difficult spare combinations for cash prizes.

Don Carter was my favorite bowling celebrity.
I was awestruck by his skill and unusual technique.
Around Halloween 1961, Don became the first bowler
on Make That Spare to convert the very difficult
6-7-8-10 Grandma's Teeth super split, collecting
$18,000. That's the equivalent of a gazillion today!

Vintage pin-up by Edward D'Ancona

 "(Do the New) Continental" - Dovells (Valentine's Day 1962) 

Vintage pin-up by Bill Medcalf

 "Little Town Flirt" - Del Shannon (Valentine's Day 1963) 

 Wrong place - wrong time! 

My least favorite bowling memory was the night in 1966 when I pulled out of the Suburban Bowlerama parking lot in my VW but forgot to turn on my headlights. I got as far as Carlo's Pizzeria down the block before being pulled over by law enforcement. Seems the cops were on patrol that night looking for vandals who had recently smashed mailboxes in the vicinity. As luck would have it, the modus operandi used by the evildoers was to drive through neighborhoods with their headlights turned off.

 "Please remember, ossifer," 

 I pleaded.
 "All Dell rats are 

 presumed innocent until proven 

 guilty in a court of law!" 

  Have a Shady day...  

Vintage pin-up by Al Buell

  and a (Dell) ratty Valentine's day!  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"I Want My S-D-M-M!" Which Rock Clip Wins the Coveted "Shady Award" for Video of the Year?










 First Annual Shady Awards 




In Part 1,  MISS CRAZY   took the title of

 New (to me) Band of the Year. 

We now proceed to the next category,
the award for Video of the Year.




 "White Wedding" - Murderdolls (2008)  

 "Don't Change That Song" - Faster Pussycat (1987 
 with scenes from Russ Meyer's 1965 motion picture 
 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

 "Hall of the Mountain King" - Savatage (1987) 

 "Dreamin' in a Casket" - Hardcore Superstar (2007) 

 "Somebody Save Me" - Cinderella (1986) 

 "Turn Up the Radio" - Autograph (1984) 

 "Balls to the Wall" - Accept (1984, lip sync circa 2006-09 
 performed by Japanese anime character Haruhi Suzumiya) 

 "Screaming in the Night" - Krokus (1983) 

 "Planet Boom" - Tommy Lee/Motley Crue (orig. 1994, 
 rereleased in 1997 on soundtrack of movie Barb Wire 

 "Hot and Bothered" - Cinderella (1994) 

 "Hide Your Heart" - Kiss (1989) 



 GOES TO..... 

(pregnant pause while envelope opens)

 "Screaming in the Night" 

 by Krokus! 

Why? Because it's a great song combined with a great video!
This band from Switzerland also impressed me with its
versatility and longevity. Krokus is still together and will
be releasing a new album, Dirty Dynamite, this month!

Named after (of all things) a flower, Krokus started out
in the mid 70s playing prog rock. The band achieved
much greater success when they switched to a more aggressive, hard-edged yet commercial rock style.

 "To the Top" - Krokus  (1982) 

Along with bands like Airbourne and Rhino Bucket, both
featured in this series, Krokus became adroit imitators
of the Bon Scott era AC/DC, a sound clearly heard on such
songs as "Long Stick Goes Boom" and "Playin' the Outlaw."

 "Playin' the Outlaw" - Krokus (1982) 

Krokus evolved into a pop metal band, mastered the
power ballad and scored a hit with "Screaming in the Night"
due in large part to the high budget conceptual video that
ran on MTV. "Screaming in the Night" is also nominated
for Song of the Year and will take on a field of worthy
challengers in the next phase of the competition.

 Please stay tuned for Part 3 of the 

 First Annual Shady Awards 

 coming soon! 

Have a Shady day!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sing Along With Mitch! (Ryder)





Influenced by flamboyant showmen like Little Richard
and James Brown, white R&B party starter Mitch Ryder
challenged rocker Ted Nugent for the coveted title of
Motor City Madman. Mitch was one of the principal
players on the mid 60s Dell scene. In December of 1965
the blue-eyed soul shouter and his Detroit Wheels rolled
into the Dell packing heat. They kept the joint jumpin'
throughout 1966 and into the spring of '67.


In the beginning, you had to be a masochist to
go around uttering the phrase sock it to me
because to sock someone meant to hit them,
or to administer a beating.

 "Sock it to the other guy,  not to me," follow? 

As time went by the urban slang expression took on new
meaning. Being the sockee was no longer a bad thing.

It was a good some cases a very good thing.

I always thought the earliest use of the phrase sock it to me in mainstream media was on the TV series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in. When a cast member spoke those four magic words they typically got hit in the face with a cream pie
or drenched with
a bucket of water.

I assumed that the popular Laugh-in expression was the inspiration for the
Mitch Ryder song
“Sock it to Me-Baby!’
As it turned out I was putting the cart before the horse.

It only added to my confusion when I remembered Aretha Franklin singing sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me on her hit record “Respect.” I wondered if Lady Soul's sock it to me ad lib predated Mitch Ryder’s use of the phrase. In Otis Redding's original version of "Respect," released in September of 1965, the R&B titan used the phrase "give it to me." In their 1969 hit "I Turned You On" the Isley Brothers also shouted give it to me along with sock it to me and whip it to me. (I need to look it up in my Funk and Wagnalls, but I have a feeling they all mean the same thing, y'all.)

When I checked the chronology of events I determined that Mitch Ryder was the first of these recording artists to use the phrase sock it to me. His “Sock it to Me-Baby!" single started climbing the Billboard chart on February 4th, 1967. On Valentine's Day ten days later Aretha recorded "Respect" and made use of the sock it to me expression. Laugh-In, the vehicle most responsible for popularizing the SITM phrase, actually came last in order, premiering in September of '67.

It doesn’t matter who’s on first or what’s on second.
Mitch Ryder's "Sock It To Me-Baby!" cranked it up a notch
at the Dell during the winter of 1967. At position #45
it is the highest ranked of the four Ryder records
that made my Shady Dell Top 200 hit list.

Contributing to the record's popularity were its ambiguous
lyrics. My friends and I were convinced that we had another
“Louie Louie” on our hands because, to our jaded ears, it
sounded like there was at least one naughty word near the
beginning of the song and Mitch punched it. Along with
the provocative, possibly dirty lyrics that got the record
banned by several radio stations, "Sock..." boasted other
key elements Dell vikings loved - a frenetic beat and
Ryder's shouting, over the top R&B vocals.

 “Sock It To Me-Baby!” (February '67) 

 Got time for a Mitch Ryder block party? 

You've heard of the final four. Now hear the rest of
the vinyl four... the high octane dance records
by the Detroit Wheels that kept the Dell gang
singing along with Mitch in the mid 60s!

 “Jenny Take A Ride” (December '65) 

 “Little Latin Lupe Lu” (March '66) 

 “Devil With A Blue Dress On &
 Good Golly Miss Molly” (October '66) 

 Is “Sock it to Me-Baby!"

 my Pick to Click? 






 Got an itch for even more Mitch? 

 Gotcha covered, my friend! 

Here's a bonus toe-tapper for your listening pleasure.
(Don't hurt yourself!)

Have a Shady day!