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, April 30, 2013

From Ricky to Rick - Respected to Rejected, Reinvented and Resurrected!

 America watched young 

  Ricky Nelson  

 grow up on his family's 

 long running television series 

 The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. 

At age 21, Ricky changed his name to Rick,
an indication that he was maturing and out-
growing the teen pop that made him famous.

Did the name change have anything to do
with the fact that Rick never again achieved a
#1 hit record? I'd like to know what you think.

The fact remains that Rick Nelson was
not as popular as Ricky Nelson had been.
Before long his records were falling short
of the top 10, the top 20 and even the 
top 40. In 1967 Rick finally appeared
on The Ed Sullivan Show but by then
Ozzie and Harriet had been canceled
and Rick's career had nearly flatlined
in the wake of the British Invasion.

Although hits were hard to come by in the
mid to late 60s, Rick Nelson continued to record
great songs. Please watch and enjoy a few more
of Rick's best television performances beginning
with this pre-Beatles single which reached #6.

 "It's Up to You" - Rick Nelson 
 (January 1963, highest chart position #6) 

In 1963 Rick Nelson left his label, Imperial Records,
signed with Decca, and released his first album for
that company entitled For Your Sweet Love.

Rick's voice was like buttah when he sang
"I Will Follow You," a velvety cover/answer to
the Little Peggy March hit "I Will Follow Him."

 "I Will Follow You" - Rick Nelson 
 (from the May 1963 album For Your Sweet Love

During Rick's early career on Imperial he had scored
many two sided hit singles, but very few of the 45s he
released on Decca became doublesiders. Indeed, Rick
had problems getting a hit on one side of the record.

"Gypsy Woman," not to be confused with the hit by
the Impressions, struggled up the chart for 9 weeks
and never reached the halfway point! That's a crime
because this Rick Nelson record is way cool.

 "Gypsy Woman" - Rick Nelson 
 (June 1963, highest chart position #62) 

If that gypsy woman looked in her crystal ball
in the summer of 1963 she must have seen
the Beatles coming. By the time the
Fab Four had taken over the music
scene, Rick Nelson's records
were Nowheresville.

In 1965 another fine single of Rick's landed
on the chart but vanished in two weeks flat,
never rising above #96.  For Rick Nelson
the pop music landscape of the mid 60s
had become a "Mean Old World."

 "Mean Old World" - Rick Nelson 
 (March 1965, highest chart position #96) 

Next we fast forward more than four years and
behold a mature, reinvented Rick Nelson, firmly
established by this time as a pioneer of
country-rock. It was the end of the 60s.
Rick had a new look and a new band
and was on the comeback trail.

Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band appeared
on The Mike Douglas Show and performed their new
top 40 hit, a record that spent an astounding
18 weeks on the Billboard chart, a fine rendition
of the Bob Dylan composition "She Belongs To Me."

 "She Belongs To Me" - Rick Nelson 
 and the Stone Canyon Band 
 (December 1969, highest chart position #33) 

In October 1971, Rick Nelson took part in an oldies
revival concert at Madison Square Garden. Rick walked
on stage wearing bell-bottoms and a purple velvet shirt
with hair down to his shoulders. Surely Rick's new look
surprised fans who hadn't seen him in years, but all
went well as he sang a couple of his familiar hits.
When Rick began to perform "Country Honk," the
countrified version of the Rolling Stones hit
"Honky Tonk Women," the crowd started booing.
Some say the booing was merely coincidental and
resulted from a disturbance that erupted at the
back of the audience when police tried to remove
some drunks. Whatever the reason for the booing,
Rick took it personally. He walked off the stage
and refused to return for the finale.

One year later Rick and his band were cracking the
top 10 with "Garden Party," a major comeback hit
based on that unpleasant New York experience.

 "Garden Party" - Rick Nelson 
 and the Stone Canyon Band 
 (Oct. 1972, highest chart position 
 #6 Hot 100#3 Cash Box

My blood ran cold when I awoke New Year's Day
 1986 to the shocking news that Rick Nelson
had died in a plane crash the night before.

Rick's untimely death was one of the many tragedies
in rock history and left us wondering how many
great songs were left unwritten and unsung
by fate's cruel intervention.

 You can't please everyone, 

  Eric/Ricky/Rick Nelson,  

 but you pleased me 

 and millions of other fans 

 around the world. 

 We thank you! 

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spotlight on Eric Hilliard Nelson

 Welcome to the first of two 

 posts devoted exclusively to 

  Ricky Nelson,  

 a talented and versatile 

 singer, songwriter, musician 

 and actor - a teenage idol 

 with plenty of street cred. 

Ricky Nelson grew up in front of the cameras during
the 14 seasons of his family's hit television series,
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. At age 16,
Ricky declared that if Elvis Presley could become a
rock 'n' roll star, so could he. Father Ozzie helped
Ricky get started making records and before long
the young singer/guitar player was a teenage idol
with a huge international fan club of his own.

It should come as no surprise that Ricky's singing soon
became a regular feature on Ozzie and Harriet. Every
second or third episode ended with Ricky and his band
performing in front of a group of excited teenagers.
Ricky Nelson thereby became the first teen idol to
use television to promote his records.

I hope you enjoy these rare and wonderful
clips of Ricky singing on Ozzie and Harriet.

The mark of a great artist is when you buy his or her 45
and get a twofer, two great songs for the price of one.
Few pop singers waxed more great doublesiders than
Ricky Nelson. Some of his B sides surpassed the A sides
in popularity, one example being the top 10 rockabilly hit
"Believe What You Say," the fab flip side of "My Bucket's
Got a Hole In It" which finished its chart ascent at #18.

 "Believe What You Say" - Ricky Nelson  
 (May 1958, highest chart position #8, 
 B side of "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It") 

Many of Ricky Nelson's smooth ballad sides
became hits, but Ricky confessed that he
preferred to sing up tempo material.

Note the happy expression on Ricky's face
as he performs the rousing rockabilly number
"I Got a Feeling," a top 10 hit eclipsed
on the chart by the B ballad,
"Lonesome Town."

 "I Got a Feeling" - Ricky Nelson 
 (December 1958, highest chart position #10, 
 A side of "Lonesome Town" which peaked at #7) 

A good natured, easy going character on the
family's sitcom, Ozzie Nelson had a reputation
as a domineering, controlling patriarch.
Ozzie did not allow Ricky to appear on
TV shows that could have helped him to
become an even bigger star, such as
American Bandstand and Ed Sullivan.

Ozzie's decision to keep Ricky from performing
on other TV shows was shrewd because it
helped boost ratings for Ozzie and Harriet. 
The Nelsons' series remained the only place
where fans could see Ricky singing his latest
hits like the tender ballad "Young Emotions."

 "Young Emotions" - Ricky Nelson 
 (June 1960, highest chart position #12) 

Ricky Nelson turned 21 in May of 1961 just as his
all time biggest hit was starting to climb the chart.

The up tempo B side, "Hello Mary Lou," reached #9 while  
the mid tempo "Travelin' Man" went all the way to #1.

 "Travelin' Man" - Ricky Nelson 
 (June 1961, highest chart position #1) 

Beginning with his next single release, "A Wonder Like You"
b/w/ "Everlovin'," Ricky shortened his name to Rick.

The move reflected Rick's growing desire to shed his teen
idol image and adopt a more mature approach to music.

Fans continued to call him Ricky. Record labels and
picture sleeves in the UK continued to be printed using
using his original stage name and Rick Nelson continued
to record pop songs that resonated with adolescents
like the #5 charting teen pop ballad "Young World."

 "Young World" - Rick Nelson 
 (April 1962, highest chart position #5) 

The melancholy "Teen Age Idol" could have been a
status report on the life and times of Rick Nelson.

The song reminded us that even the rich and famous
can spend much of their lives in Lonesome Town.

 "Teen Age Idol" - Rick Nelson 
 (September 1962, highest chart position #5) 

Trouble loomed on the horizon for Rick Nelson.
"Teen Age Idol" was to be the last single of his
career to reach the top 5 on the Billboard chart.

Rick was a teen age idol and it was, as he sang,
a young world, but the Liverpoolian Moptops were
waiting in the wings, preparing to derail the careers
of many American idols. It wouldn't be long before
Rick Nelson would be perceived as old school.

In my next post we'll continue to follow Rick Nelson's
singing career through Beatlemania and beyond as he
produced great music but reaped poor record sales.

 Please join me for part 2 

 of my tribute to 

 Eric/Ricky/Rick Nelson! 

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Margaret! Oldest Living Dell Rat Turns 101 Years Young Today!

Tom Anderson back with you today on this very special occasion. I am delighted to announce that our dear friend, Margaret Elizabeth Brown Schneider, affectionately known as The Oldest Living Dell Rat, is celebrating her 101st birthday today! Please join me in wishing Margaret a very happy birthday and many more. Here with a special tribute
to Margaret is my friend and Margaret's devoted daughter, Kathleen Mae Schneider.



Kathleen Mae 

"If I'd known I was gonna live this long,
I'd have taken a lot better care of myself."
-Mickey Mantle (1931-1995)

“Fourteen babies were born yesterday. 
Isn’t that something?”
-Margaret Brown Schneider (1912-)

By her bright window in view of a cloud of glorious yellow daffodils she planted years ago, my mother reads her morning paper and marvels at the list of York County births. Here, at this late stage of her life, she’s interested in tiny strangers who are just beginning theirs; she’s curious and concerned for others even as she lives with the daily challenges of her own old age.

Perhaps this is why Mother’s got Mickey beat by 37 years. You’ll never hear regrets from her because she’s pretty much satisfied with her life.

Everyone asks her the secrets to her longevity. They often suggest she must have good genes, but she’ll remind them that her parents and siblings didn’t live this long. She offers that she never “drank” or smoked and was passionate about mowing her lawn until she was 95.

Our Lawn Ranger in 2007

Was it physical fitness or a special diet? Only
if you count hard work and homemade meals. Did
she get through the tough times in her life with counseling? Negative. That’s what husband, family and friends were for. How about focusing on healing from tragic losses? That’s an easy one: helping others took her mind off her problems. Grudges
and enemies? Not on her radar.

Surely her faith and attitude toward life had something to do with it they guess. Now they’re talking! She agrees her simple faith in God and following the Bible, along with “the big ones” of forgiveness and the Golden Rule, served her well
for a century. Others are living one day at a time (recently she’ll tell you it’s an hour at a time), counting her many blessings and not “dwelling” on troubles.

Slight, and holding steady at her fighting weight of 114 pounds, Mother is seemingly made of pure determination and grit. She lost my father, the love of her life, 33 years ago and misses him terribly, but she doggedly perseveres. Calmly accepting her circumstances without bitterness or self-pity, she approaches life with gratitude for the great love she’s known and the time she’s been given. She amazes everyone she meets by still touching the world with goodness, grace and humor.

Here are some of Mother’s Rules
for Living beyond 100:

Sleep late in the morning. Look your best.
(She calls her daily makeup her “health”.)
Eat small simple meals and snacks (chocolate). Drink water and take vitamins. Read devotions
and nap frequently. Keep moving and exercise
your brain to keep it working. Help others and
let them know you care about them, maybe by
sending greeting cards faithfully to those you love, personally signed with a small note.

There are a few more. Watch the news to “know what’s going on in the world”. Feel grateful
for your life and satisfied where you are. Clip coupons to save money, but buy a few lottery tickets occasionally “to help senior citizens”. Give lots of hugs and say “thank you” and “I
love you” frequently and mean it. (She once told
a visiting repairman that she loved him because
“He looked like he needed it.”)

She takes little medicine and sleeps peacefully and soundly in the same bed where her three children were conceived and two were born. She wants to stay in the house my father built as long as, in her words, “I know where I am.”

And boy, does she ever! She keeps on top of the news despite poor hearing and eyesight. She is fascinated by the Internet and this blog, but still can’t grasp why she sees herself here. While her fifth grade education limits her understanding of such things as this or politics, she is an eager learner who gladly accepts our help. After seeing 18 American presidents come and go in her lifetime, she proudly voted for the first time in last November’s election.

Casting her first ballot at 100 years of age!

She relies on old fashioned ways to keep current too. We laugh at the bent middle slats in her window blinds – the ones right at her eye level – that prove she keeps tabs on her neighbors, and that her favorites on TV are Joyce Meyer’s “Enjoying Everyday Life” (a religious program)
and “Baggage” (a decidedly non-religious one)!

Mother’s beautiful hands that knew so much cooking, baking and sewing for our family remain steady enough to decorate cookies, do simple mending
(if someone threads the needle) and even decorate Easter eggs!

Role reversals can be pure fun. Once, she asked for her favorite chocolate after only eating half her dinner, prompting me to say, “Mother, I’ve been waiting 62 years to say this to you. Not until you eat your peas!!!”

Requesting we not make “a big fuss” on her birthday like last year, there will be a few gifts and a small party, surrounding her with the love and familiarity she likes best. She did confide to me just one other birthday wish: to push her old mower around her yard one more time! We know that we are the ones with the best gift, however.

Margaret and her “kids”

This amazing woman survived 101 winters, serious illnesses, painful losses, widowhood and old age. Having given us life, she still shows us how to live it. We are so blessed to have her with us - teaching us ways to love more fully and – in her last lesson to us – how to grow old.

Happy Birthday, Mother!

We love you so much!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Don't Judge a Record by its Cover







Covering somebody else's record could be justified
as the sincerest form of flattery. It could also be
seen for what it often was, profiting from somebody
else's work. During the 40s, 50s and 60s many white
artists, groups and bands mined American R&B catalogs,
recorded the songs and turned them into hits while black
artists and their original work languished in obscurity.

Let's have a spin-off!

Listen to the following sets of originals and covers
and let me know which version you like better.



ETTA JAMES - cover


Formerly known as The Royals, Hank Ballard and the
Midnighters recorded the up tempo R&B blues number
"Work With Me Annie" in January of 1954. The single was
was released in February and quickly came under attack
from the FCC for its suggestive lyrics. Efforts to restrict
the spread of typhoid "Annie" and prevent it from poisoning
the minds of white teenagers failed. The Midnighters' record
shot to #1 on the R&B chart and became a million seller.

"Work With Me Annie" - Hank Ballard & 
The Midnighters (spring 1954, highest chart 
position #1 R&B)

Using the same melody, R&B thrush Etta James recorded
an answer song to "Work With Me Annie." Originally called
"Roll With Me Henry," the song was renamed "Wallflower"
to avoid offending the church lady. Etta's version, performed
with her girl group "The Peaches," also featured uncredited
vocal responses from Richard Berry, the man famous for
recording the original version of the rock 'n' roll standard
"Louie Louie." Etta's record also became an R&B chart topper
but was deemed too risque for the pop chart.

"Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)" - Etta James and 
"The Peaches" featuring Richard Berry (Spring 1955, 
highest chart position #1 R&B)

The "Annie/Henry" song was sanitized for the pop market
by Georgia Gibbs using the safer title "Dance With Me Henry."
Georgia's vanilla version reached the top 5. Responding to
criticism that she enjoyed pop success with tame renditions
of original R&B recordings, Georgia made the valid point that
most artists back in the day had no control over the material
they recorded or the arrangement that was used. In other
words, if the record's lame the label's to blame.

"Dance With Me Henry (Wallflower)" - Georgia Gibbs 
(April 1955, highest chart position #3)


PAT BOONE - cover

FATS DOMINO - original

Fact: 99.99% of the music to which I was exposed at home
during childhood was recorded by white artists and many
of those recordings were covers of black originals. I didn't
know any better. White or whitewashed music is the kind
my parents bought and played. For me, an innocent child,
it was like ingesting a near lethal overdose of vanilla extract.
Here, for instance, is mild mannered crooner Pat Boone
performing a fairly decent cover of Fats Domino's hit
"Ain't it a Shame" aka "Ain't That a Shame," a record
that Pat rode all the way to the top of the pops.

"Ain't That a Shame" - Pat Boone (September 1955, 
highest chart position #1)

Roll over Beethoven and step aside, Mr. Boone.
Fats is in the house to show us how's it's done.

"Ain't it a Shame" - Fats Domino (September 1955, 
highest chart position #10 Pop/#1 R&B)


PAT BOONE - cover


Here's another cautious Caucasian cover by Pat Boone.
This one, a rendition of "Tutti Fruitti," went beyond
boring all the way to downright embarrassing. In all
fairness, Pat is quoted as saying that he didn't want to
record this cover because the song "didn't make sense"
to him. Pat implied that he was basically forced into it
by the producers. I can understand why the song didn't
make sense to Pat. Richard Penniman's original dirty lyrics
had already been cleaned up by the time Richard waxed the
original version and the meaning of the song was lost in
translation. The naughty lyrics "good booty," for example,
had become the nonsensical rhyming words "aw rooty."

"Tutti' Frutti" - Pat Boone (March 1956, 
highest chart position 12)

 (Hey, Pat... I liked you better when you were in a Metal Mood!

The older generation loved Pat Boone's records
because they were nice and safe and clean. To them,
nice and safe and clean was good. Oldsters just
didn't get it. They couldn't grasp the concept that
the rules are reversed in rock 'n' roll. Bad is good.
Kool kids didn't want their music nice and safe and
squeaky clean. They wanted screaming, shouting,
sweating, piano pounding Little Richard.

"Tutti-Frutti" - Little Richard (February 1956, 
highest chart position #17 Pop/#2 R&B)


FATS DOMINO - original


During the 1920s, 30s and 40s many country blues singers
recorded songs about the boll weevil, the notorious beetle
that destroyed cotton crops. "Bo Weevil," recorded by
Fats Domino, seems to have nothing to do with the insect
pest and is instead a fun ditty about a country boy who
worried his mama by running off somewhere. (I'm thinking
Bo was probably hangin' with his buddy Johnny B. Goode.)

"Bo Weevil" - Fats Domino (track on November 1955 
album Carry On Rockin', released on 45 February 1956, 
highest chart position #35 Pop/#5 R&B Mar./Apr. 1956)

Stop the presses and hold the phone! 
History is about to be made here on SDM&M. 
I actually like the white cover version of 
"Bo Weevil" better than Fats Domino's original!
It's a rousing rendition of the song performed by the
versatile and prolific Teresa Brewer, one of the most
popular female vocalists of the 50s. Released as the B side
of her top 10 hit "A Tear Fell," Teresa's "Bo Weevil" charted
in the top 20. My mother adored Teresa Brewer and owned
this 45. I loved it then and it's my Pick to Click today!

"Bo Weevil" - Teresa Brewer (March/April 1956, 
highest chart position #17, B side of "A Tear Fell")

 So you see, Beaver, 

 you should never 

 judge a record 

 by its cover. 

 Woll... yeah, Miss Landers says 
 the same thing about books, 
 and old Gus down at the 
 fire station says the same 
 thing about people. 
 I guess it's true, but when 
 it comes to guys like 
 Eddie and Lumpy, what 
 you see is pretty much 
 what you get. 

Have a Shady day!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Will Your Favorite Song Match Mine and Be Named Song of the Year? Find Out Now in Part 3 of The Shady Awards!


Welcome back to Part 3 of The Shadys, my first annual awards ceremony in which I name the videos, songs and bands that burned a hole in my soul the previous year. As noted at the start of the series, I was in a metal mood in 2012. Therefore, the entries for Song of the Year are all performed by hard rock and heavy metal bands. In a field dominated by magnificent power ballads which of these
worthy contenders will take top honors? Let's find out!




 "I Still Love You" - Kiss (1982) 

 "Gutter Ballet" - Savatage (1989) 

 "Send Me An Angel" - Scorpions (1991) 

 "What Love Can Be" Kingdom Come (1988) 

 "Too High to Fly" - Dokken (1995) 

 "Don't Close Your Eyes" - Kix (1988) 

 "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" 
  Cinderella (1988) 

 "New Tatoo" - Motley Crue (2000) 

 "Screaming in the Night" - Krokus (1983) 

 "Reason to Live" - Kiss (1987) 

 "Coming Home" - Cinderella (1988) 

 "Still Loving You" - Scorpions (1984) 



 GOES TO..... 

(pregnant pause while envelope opens)

 "Send Me An Angel"  

  by The Scorpions! 

Why? Because it's an instant classic, one of the
most beautiful melodic power ballads ever recorded!
Klaus Meine's vocals literally bring tears to my eyes.

The Scorpions, a fine German band, were nearly 20 years
into their career when they blew me away with their metal
anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane." Shallow Hal that I am,
I remained oblivious to the band's outstanding body of
work until last year when I loaded up on their tunes.
I quickly discovered that the Scorpions' power ballads
are even better than their rockers and two of their best
are featured in today's Song of the Year competition.


The First Annual Shady Awards culminates in a few weeks when I announce the grand champion. Will your favorite be declared Band of the Year? (Well..... not if your favorite happens to be Les Brown and His Band of Renown!)

Have a Shady day!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spare me the barbs, Major!... Let me remind you that I am a man of science, not a beast of burden! Oh, the pain.....





 My sensors 


 that this 

 blog is 

 coming to 

 an end! 

 Nonsense, Ninny! 


 I am not mistaken, Doctor Smith. 


 you bellicose bumpkin, 

 you pompous pipsqueak, 

 you rusty Rasputin, 

 you frightful

 fractious frump! 

 A silly goose you are indeed, sir... 

 to think that Commander Knight 

 would abort our mission now that 

 we are so close to finding........... 


 It is affirmative.  

 My circuits are all intact 

 and working properly. 

 In this operating condition 

 I am never wrong. 

 This is the last post on 

 Shady Dell Music & Memories. 

 Rubbish! Balderdash! 

 Bite your tin-plated tongue 

 you bubble-headed booby... 

 you ferrous Frankenstein... 

 you roly-poly rowdy... 

 you traitorous transistorized toad!  

 I've had quite enough of your 

 constant cackling cacophony, 

 you nefarious nincompoop! 


 the pain... 

 the pain! 

 YOU are the pain, Doctor Smith! 

 Your blind ignorance has overloaded 

 my circuits.  To avoid a meltdown 

 I must now switch to safe mode 

 and speak no more. 

 Best idea you've had all day, 

 you deplorable


 you lugubrious


 you lily-livered


 you pusillanimous pinhead! 

 Silence becomes you, booby. 

 As you will soon see 

 your preposterous premonition 

 is nothing more than 

 muddled motorized malfeasance! 

 All is well... 


 Never fear..... 

 Smith is here!