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, May 28, 2013

It's a Fairy Tale Ending as Shady Names the Winner: The Band Of The Year!


 First Annual Shady Awards! 






In Parts 1,2 and 3 of this series I announced the  
nominees and winners in the following categories:

 New (to me) Band of the Year 


 Video of the Year  


 Song of the Year  


Now it's time for me to name the greatest band in the land. 
Without further ado I will introduce the nominees 
in our last and most important category.





 "Get It On" (1988) 


 "Charisma" (1979)  


 "Long Stick Goes Boom" (1982)  


 "Beauty" (1997) 


 "Princess of the Dawn" (1983)  


 "The Dungeons Are Calling" (1985)  


 "Dead Man's Road" (1990) 


 "It's Not Love" (1985) 


 "T.N.T." (1976)  


 "Cold Blood" (1988) 



 GOES TO..... 

(pregnant pause while envelope opens)


Why? Because Cinderella rules!

I met Cinderella in 1986 when the band came to the
Tampa music television station where I worked and we
interviewed them on our hard rock/heavy metal program
that was modeled after MTV's Headbanger's Ball.
The only Cinderella songs I remembered from my
encounters with the band were "Nobody's Fool,"
"Shake Me," "Gypsy Road" and "Night Songs."

 "Night Songs" (1986) 

For a long time I was also under the mistaken impression
that Cinderella was primarily a glam act. When I stocked
up on Cinderella tunage in 2012, I discovered much more
grit than glam, a stepmother lode of excellent material
produced by the Philly area band, much of it written
by growling voiced lead singer Tom Keifer. Cinderella's
Aerosmith/Rolling Stones influenced blues rock anthems
are timeless classics.  Their power ballads which include
"Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" and
"Coming Home," both penned by Keifer, are raw, intense
and jam packed with feeling. Best of all, they tell the truth.

In this series you have already heard some of Cinderella's
greatest recordings. Please listen to a couple more that
I consider to be among the very best of Cinderella.

 "Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin' Apart at the Seams" (1988) 

 "The More Things Change" (1990) 

 That concludes my Cinderella story and 



 Next week in this time slot 

 host Marlin Perkins stalks the 

 elusive Tasmanian wombat on  

 Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. 

Have a Shady day!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cruisin' 1956 with Rockin' Robin!

 It's time to go Cruisin' and 

 rockin' with the Robin! 

 The year is 1956 and 

 DJ Robin Seymour rules 

 the metro Detroit market. 

 Robin Seymour 

 WKMH, Dearborn, MI 

As always I selected my favorite song from
this Cruisin' volume, cherry picked a few other
popular songs from the same year and created
a party atmosphere with vintage illustrations.

 Let's stop spinning our wheels and 

 start spinning some platters! 


I had the pleasure of meeting Fred Parris and
the Five Satins in the 1970s when the group
appeared at a club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Their signature song "In the Still of the Nite"
enjoyed an impressive 19 week run on the pop
chart in the summer and fall of 1956 but only
reached #24. The record charted two more
times, once in January 1960 and again in
January 1961, and went on to become one of
the best known and most requested doo-wop
classics. "Still of the Nite" was also one of
Helen Ettline's favorites and played frequently
on her restaurant jukebox at the Shady Dell.

 "In the Still of the Nite" - The Five Satins 
 (November 1956,  highest chart position #24 
 #3 R&B Singles chart) 

 Time to pause for a word from our  

 sponsor: Bardahl auto engine additive.

At age six my favorite article of clothing
was one that my older brother bought me,
a T-shirt with the Bardahl logo on it.

Along with the logo were the four bad guys
featured in the product's 1950s ad campaign:




In 1956 one of the records I found in the stack
of 45s that belonged to my brother reflected
America's penchant for sick jokes and
gallows humor. It was a wacky novelty
record by Nervous Norvus (Jimmy Drake).

Of all the records I encountered as a child
in that basement game room, I probably
played "Transfusion" most often. I loved
the speed demon theme, the car crash
sound fx and outrageous lyrics that
included the following:

 Slip the blood to me, Bud. 

 Shoot the juice to me, Bruce. 

 Put a gallon in me, Allen. 

Many radio stations banned "Transfusion" because
it made light of motor vehicle accidents. You'd
never suspect it from listening to the record
but Jimmy Drake was very shy, so much so
that he turned down an offer to perform his
crash hit on The Ed Sullivan Show!
Why so nervous, Norvus?

 "Transfusion" - Nervous Norvus 
 (July 1956, highest chart  position #13) 

"Transfusion" was still riding high on the chart when
Drake put a second novelty ditty into the top 30.
It's another 45 my brother owned: "Ape Call."

 "Ape Call" - Nervous Norvus 
 (September 1956. highest  chart position #28) 


When my parents played their records and filled
our home with the sound of music it was usually
something along the lines of Eddie Fisher's
"Oh! My Pa-Pa."

 "Oh! My Pa-Pa" - Eddie Fisher 
 (December 1953, highest chart position #1) 

By age six I had listened to "Pa-Pa"
a hundred times or more. When I couldn't
take it any more I snapped, banged my
head and chanted:





Lo and behold, I didn't have to give up on
Eddie Fisher to satisfy my childhood craving
for more exciting music. I was shocked when
"Dungaree Doll" turned up in the stack of
45s in the basement.

"Dungaree Doll" was one of the few attempts by
Eddie Fisher to appeal to teenage record buyers.

"Dungaree Doll" cracked the top 10 and I played
it often, satisfying my growing hunger for the
newfangled type of music called rock 'n' roll.

 "Dungaree Doll" - Eddie Fisher 
 (February 1956, highest  chart position #7 ) 


For Thisisme and my other friends across the pond
here's English pop singer Dickie Bennett with
his rendition of "Dungaree Doll."

 "Dungaree Doll" - Dickie Bennett (1956) 


Let's wind up our 1956 Cruisin' salute with
two more relics from my parents' collection,
both of which were popular during the
Christmas holiday season.

 Question: What kind of song could zoom 
 to #1 and stay on the Billboard chart for 
 16 weeks in the mid 1950s? 

 Answer: This kind! 

 "Singing the Blues" - Guy Mitchell 
 (December 1956, highest chart position #1) 


 Question: What kind of song could zoom 
 to #1 and stay on the Billboard chart for 
 half a year (26 weeks) in the mid 1950s? 

 Answer: This kind! 

 "Green Door" - Jim Lowe 
 (December 1956, highest chart position #1) 



Yes, it was common in the mid 50s for a
record to remain high on the chart for months
at a time, and a smash hit could be anything
from a big band instrumental to a Tin Pan Alley
standard to a nonsensical novelty number.
That soon changed. In the months that followed,
music made by the young for the young took
hold and began to dominate the record chart.
Groups like Danny & the Juniors celebrated
the revolution taking place in popular music.

 "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay" - Danny and the Juniors 
 (April 1958, highest chart position #19) 

 Don't miss the next thrill packed 

 episode of Cruisin' coming soon! 

Have a Shady day!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kicks Are Afoot as Dell Rats Toe the Line & Chase the Blues Without Any Shoes!


In the spring and summer of 1966, records made
by black artists and records made by white artists
emulating black acts converged on the Shady Dell.
It was an unprecedented explosion of soul inside
the barn's jukebox. Records by the Magnificent Men,
Temptations, Four Tops, Sam & Dave and James Brown
were played heavily by soul hungry Dell rats.

Robert Parker is remembered as
a one-hit-wonder,
but at the Dell
his catchy record
gained a foothold
and became one of the most popular
songs of the year.

Parker kicked off the summer soul sweepstakes 
in May and he did so without any shoes.

Whenever Parker's “Barefootin’" started playing,
Dell rats came a runnin’ by the dozen. Dellettes
in particular wasted no time getting into the
spirit of the proceedings, obeying Parker's
command to “Take off your shoes!”

 "Barefootin'" - Robert Parker 
 (June 1966, highest chart 
 position #7 Hot 100, #2 R&B) 

Dellions danced barefoot in the barn and outside on
the concrete terrace. No matter where they did it,
"Barefootin'" galvanized the group. It was the kind
of novelty record that spread joy and laughter
throughout the Dell for months on end.

The boss B, "Let's Go, Baby (Where the Action is)"
was equally if not more popular with deejays and
dancers in England's Northern Soul clubs.
The two best things about these Robert Parker
videos are the black go-go dancers, a very rare
sight in the 60s, and boy can these girls dance!

 "Let's Go Baby (Where the Action is)" - Robert Parker 
(June 1966, uncharted B side of "Barefootin'") 


I met Peter Noone circa 1991 when he came to
the Tampa television station where I worked.
Peter was in town to perform in a concert and
we taped promotional interviews with him.
The former lead singer of Herman's Hermits
still had his boyish looks and ear to ear grin.

A quarter century earlier the mild mannered,
good-natured, mother-approved Brit band won
me over and became international stars with
their first hit, "I'm Into Something Good,"
a cover of a Goffin-King song originally
recorded by Cookies member Earl-Jean.

 "I'm Into Something Good" - Herman's Hermits 
 (Nov. 1964, highest chart position #13 US/#1 UK, 
 scene from 1965 movie Go Go Mania aka Pop Gear

Herman's Hermits were still going strong in
1966 when "Listen People" became their fifth
American single to reach the top 5.

Herman's Hermits performed "Listen People" 
in When the Boys Meet the Girls, a 1965
musical comedy starring Connie Francis.

 "Listen People" - Herman's Hermits 
 (March 1966, highest chart position #3, 
 scene from October 1965 movie 
 When the Boys Meet the Girls


Dennis Yost and his vocal group the Classics IV
knocked me out with "Spooky." Some say Dennis
took his music in the wrong direction when he
lost his blue-eyed soul and adopted a softer,
mellower pop style in subsequent releases.
Be that as it may, the group's single "Stormy"
became a top 5 hit at Christmas 1968.

 "Stormy" - Classics IV 
 (December 1968, highest chart position #5) 


Now here's a sensational cover of "Stormy"
recorded at the start of 1969 by Diana Ross
and the Supremes. This little known recording
remained unreleased, locked in the vault until
1987 when it showed up on the Supremes
album Never-Before-Released Masters.
This one's my Pick to Click - a great yet
seldom heard gem by Diana Ross and
her superstar Motown girl group.

 "Stormy" - The Supremes 
 (January 1969, unreleased) 



It's time for the Swan song of today's post.
Swan, a Philly based record label distributed by
Cameo-Parkway, cranked out 45rpm singles aimed at
the teenage market. Swan was home to Freddy Cannon
and Mickey Lee Lane, two of my favorite artists.

Some Swan 45s were released with "Don't drop out"
printed on the label. Shucks, my featured Swan single
is too cool for school. "That's Life (That's Tough)"
is a rad relic performed by a one-hit-wonder
group called Gabriel and the Angels.

Utilizing a clever call-and-response hook,
"That's Life (That's Tough)" climbed the 
chart during the Christmas season of 
1962 and brushed the top 50.

 "That's Life (That's Tough) - Gabriel & the Angels 
 (December 1962, highest chart position #51) 




 It's a breakfast 
 cereal made of 
 whole grain oats 
 introduced in 1961 
 and distributed by 
 the Quaker Oats 



Have a Shady day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Helen Ettline - Mother of All Dell Rats

 Shady Dell owner Helen Ettline 

 didn't have any children of her own. 

 In a way we were all her kids 

 and she was our mom. 
 Helen and John clearly loved kids. 

 Why else would they have put up with 

 the aggravation all those years? 

 The Ettlines believed in kids. 

 They enjoyed counseling and helping kids. 

Helen always greeted me
with a warm smile and
a twinkle in her eye.
 She was an attentive listener.
 When I had good news to share
or a funny tale to tell, Helen
made me feel special by
calling John over and urging me
to repeat my story for his benefit.
 Helen made me feel like family.
She made me feel like I belonged.
Helen Ettline was a very special lady.

 In observance of Mother's Day 

 I picked out a video that 

 I think Helen would enjoy. 

 Helen, this is for you. 

 Happy Mother's Day, Helen! 

 We love you and miss you! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Divine Secrets of the Shoop Shoop Rama Lama Ding Dong Sisterhood




 It's certainly one of the greatest 

 song titles in rock and roll history. 


The Clinger Sisters, who later called themselves
The Clingers, were fore-
runners of The Partridge Family. As children, the Mormon sisters from Utah appeared along with the Osmonds on The Andy Williams Show and became regulars for three seasons on The Danny Kaye Show.

In the decades that followed The Clinger Sisters performed many types of music including country, mainstream rock, garage-punk and, most recently, Christian.

I'd like you to witness
two fantastic Clinger Sisters performances. Let's begin with their
mid 60s appearance on the popular teen music and dance showcase Hollywood A Go-Go.
In this groovy clip the girls perform that song with the outrageous title, a single they released the previous summer at the height of the British Invasion.

 "Shoop Shoop De Doop Rama Lama Ding Dong 
 Yeah Yeah Yeah" - The Clinger Sisters 
 (released September 1964, live appearance on 
 April 24, 1965 episode of Hollywood A-Go-Go

Four years later, having transformed into a serious
girl band known as The Clingers, the sisters appeared
on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

The Clingers played a rockin' rendition of the
Easybeats' song "Gonna Have a Good Time."

 "Gonna Have a Good Time" - The Clingers 
 (1969 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Debra Clinger, the sister act's bass player,

established a career as an actress in the 1970s.

Debra co-starred
with Priscilla (Three's Company) Barnes in The American Girls,
a late 70s TV series patterned after the hit Charlie's Angels.

Debra also co-starred with David Naughton and
Michael J. Fox in the 1980 movie Midnight Madness.

Lead singer Peggy Clinger became a songwriter
but tragically passed away in the 70s.


"It Hurts to Be Sixteen" is a song co-written by
Neil Sedaka and clearly derived from one of his
biggest hits, "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen."

The song was first offered to the Chiffons but the
version waxed by that girl group in 1963 remained
unreleased until 1970 when it appeared on their
album My Secret Love.

 "It Hurts to Be Sixteen" - The Chiffons 
 (recorded in 1963, released in 1970 
 on album My Secret Love


That Chiffons' recording of "It Hurts to Be Sixteen"
remained locked in the vault gathering dust, but
three other artists simultaneously released their
own versions of the song in the summer of 1963.

A single by pop singer Andrea Carroll
stopped just shy of the top 40.

 "It Hurts to Be Sixteen" - Andrea Carroll 
 (August 1963, highest chart position #45) 


An unremarkable version of "Sixteen" was released
by an artist named Lana Jean and failed to chart.

The third version, by Barbara Chandler, never climbed
higher than the Bubbling Under chart but it's the one
I like best. With her little girl voice Barbara sounds
like a Neil Sedaka 45 being played at 78rpm!

 "It Hurts to Be Sixteen" - Barbara Chandler 
 (August 1963, highest chart position #114) 


Now I want you to hear three nearly identical versions
of another song. Not to be confused with the R&B hit
by Gladys Knight and the Pips, "Every Beat of My Heart"
is a song penned and produced by West Coast music vet
Al Hazan with a dramatic arrangement by Jack Nitzsche.

Listen first to the version of the song that was recorded
by Cindy Malone in August 1963, released as a Capitol
single a month later and failed to make the chart.

 "Every Beat of My Heart" - Cindy Malone 
 (September 1963, uncharted) 


"Every Beat of My Heart" was written by Al Hazan
for his girlfriend, Marilee Summers.

Summers, a well known West Coast actress, model and
talent agent, recorded a demo of the song that was used
to produce the record released by Cindy Malone. When
I listen to "Every Beat of My Heart" I get the same
eerie, creepy sensation I experience whenever I hear
"Look For a Star," the tender ballad used so effectively
to heighten terror and suspense in Circus of Horrors.

 "Every Beat of My Heart"  
 Marilee Summers (1963, unreleased demo) 


Now listen to my favorite recording of the song,
this one a demo by The Starr Sisters.

The sweet, breathy vocals and Nitzsche's atmospheric
production remind me of The Paris Sisters and also
bring to mind David Lynch and the disturbingly
beautiful voice of Julee Cruise on the soundtrack
of Twin Peaks. Note that this production has an
added sound effect, the clinking sound made by
Sonny Bono striking an empty Coke bottle with a key!

 "Every Beat of My Heart" - The Starr Sisters 
 (1963, unreleased demo) 


Finally, here are the singing Austin Sisters with
a great girl group rock n' roll single from 1958.
To me this sounds like the kind of record
the late Annette Funicello could have made
with a little more fire in her belly. Don't miss
the wailin' instrumental break in the middle!

 "It Happened at the Hop" - The Austin Sisters 
 (1958, uncharted) 


 Singing sibs, soul sisters 

 and girl pop soloists. 

 Some are long forgotten. 

 All are worth remembering. 

Have a Shady day!