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, June 25, 2013

I Got a Line On The Spirit of '69

 I have come to the conclusion that 

 1969 was one of my better years. 

 It was also a great year for music.  

In the winter, spring and fall of 1969 I was at
Penn State living in an apartment off campus
with three other guys. My major? Partying!
The picture below was taken at
a frat party I attended.

That's me, lower left, at the
bottom of the ladder. Don't ask.

During the summer of '69 I was back home in York
with my girlfriend, going to the Dell at night, and by
day working for a construction company. Life was
good and so was the music on the radio. In this
two part series I'd like to share with you a few
songs that revive the spirit of '69.


When someone mentions the Los Angeles band Spirit,
the first thing I think of is Mr. Skin, Ed Cassidy, the
older guy with the shaved head who played drums.
Cassidy, who died last December at age 89, was
twenty years older than other band members which
included his stepson, band leader Randy California,
and singer and percussionist Jay Ferguson who had
solo hits in the late 70s with "Thunder Island" and
"Shakedown Cruise." With a mixed generation lineup
performing an exciting blend of jazz, hard rock,
prog rock and psych, Spirit was one of the more
interesting bands of the late 60s. Released in
November of 1968, Spirit's high energy single
"I Got a Line on You" penetrated deep into
the top 40 by March 1969.

 "I Got a Line on You" - Spirit 
 (March 1969, highest chart position #25) 


The Texas psychedelic rock band Bubble Puppy
derived its name from Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy,
a fictitious children's tether-ball game described in
Aldous Huxley's futuristic novel Brave New World.

In 1969 Bubble Puppy scored a top 20 hit with
"Hot Smoke and Sasafrass." Note that the word
sassafras was incorrectly spelled sasafrass on
the 45rpm single but nobody seems to know
the reason why. As the story goes, the weird
song title was inspired by an episode of
The Beverly Hillbillies in which Granny
scolded Jethro, supposedly using the words
"Hot smoke and sassafras, Jethro, can't you
do anything right?" According to Wiki, that
quote was misheard by the songwriter, but
Wiki didn't provide the actual quote.
  Hot smoke and sassafras, Wiki!
I wanna know what Granny said!

Let's review then. The band's name, Bubble Puppy,
came from Bumble Puppy. The word sassafras
is spelled wrong and the title itself was possibly
taken from an incorrectly heard quote.
  Hmmm... Everybody sing along with me...

Don't bogart that joint, my friend. 

 Pass it over to me.

 "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" - Bubble Puppy 
 (March 1969, highest chart position #14) 

Bubble Puppy's "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" is one
of the greatest psychedelic rock nuggets of the 60s.
In recent years I started paying more attention to
the killer bee side and now it's my Pick to Click!

"Lonely," which can also be found on the band's
album A Gathering of Promises, has a progressive
rock sound that's vibrant and intellectually stimulating!

 "Lonely" - Bubble Puppy 
 (March 1969, uncharted B side 
 of "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass") 

Bubble Puppy proved to be a band of serious,
accomplished musicians and vocalists, yet they
ended up changing their name to Demian to
avoid being mistaken for one of the myriad
prefabricated Bubblegum acts of the era
such as The 1910 Fruitgum Company.



Creedence Clearwater Revival introduced a
refreshing new southern roots rock sound
described as a synthesis of rock-a-billy,
country, swamp pop and R&B. Lead singer
John Fogarty's compositions elucidated the
plight of the rural working class in America.
"Proud Mary," CCR's third charting single,
was the first one to really grab me.

 "Proud Mary" - Creedence Clearwater Revival 
 (March 1969, highest chart position #2) 

It didn't take long for me to flip the 45
and become equally enchanted with
the killer bee, "Born On The Bayou."

 "Born on the Bayou" - Creedence Clearwater Revival 
 (March 1969, uncharted B side of "Proud Mary") 

CCR's "Proud Mary" deserved to be #1 in the country.
The record whizzed up the Billboard chart but when it
reached #2 it got trapped for two weeks beneath "Dizzy,"
a dreadful ditty in the nursery rhyme vein recorded by
Tommy Roe. It was a sign of the times. Designed as an
antidote to provide listeners with fast, fast, fast relief
from an overdose of acid rock, hard rock and heavy metal,
wimpy, nonsensical songs were being thrown at the chart
like confetti, saturating the radio waves and hurting the
chances of many serious bands, groups and solo artists.

The kiddy rock plague notwithstanding, CCR
became the most successful four-piece
American rock ‘n roll band of all time,
scoring 9 consecutive Top 10 chart singles
in the U.S., 21 gold or platinum records
and sales of over 100 million worldwide!


Louisiana swamp rocker Tony Joe White sounded black.
The soulful singer, songwriter and guitarist penned and
recorded "Polk Salad Annie," a song that describes a
girl's life in the rural south. Polk (or poke) salad is made
from the poisonous leaves of pokeweed which need to
be boiled three times to remove the toxins. For a long
time poke salad was a staple of southern cuisine
despite physician warnings that boiling did not
completely leach the poison from the plant.

Tony Joe White's record got off to a very slow start,
taking nine months from release until it even reached
the Billboard chart. "Polk Salad Annie" first became
popular in Texas dance clubs. It stayed alive
long enough to catch on around the country
and become a top 10 hit, the biggest
of White's career.

 "Polk Salad Annie" - Tony Joe White 
 (August 1969, highest chart position #8) 

 Who is this girl 

 and what does 

 she have to do 

 with the price of 

 eggs in China? 

 Find out next 

 time in Part 2 of 

 The Spirit of '69! 

Have a Shady Day!


  1. I love the Texas slant of your post today! And I actually knew CCR. I am very interested to know the others today, and will be looking for more of their music.

    I liked Polk Salad Annie, too. I think Dolly Parton had a song about Polk Sallet (Polk Salad), a long time ago, although it may have been someone else.

    I remember the summer of 1969. I was 7, my sister was born, and we came through a big hurricane. Now I have other great reasons to think of 1969, thanks to you, my friend! Have a great week-

    1. Hi, Shelly! That's right, the Lone Star State is well represented in today's post with San Antonio's psychedelic rockers Bubble Puppy, the southern style swamp rock of California's CCR and Louisiana native Tony Joe White who broke in his "Polk Salad Annie" song in Texas clubs. I'm glad you got into the spirit of '69 with me, dear friend Shelly, and I hope you are back home in time to catch my part two which runs next week. Happy Tuesday to you!

  2. Great songs Shady! Thanks so much for the slice of 69. I really like the first song, except the floating head in the video was a bit distracting - but I assume they may have wanted this feature in their video?
    CCR was a staple in my house growing up along with Pink Floyd, but my favorite song from 1969 is China cat sunflower by the Grateful Dead - actually the whole Aoxomoxoa album is pretty good for me!

    1. Hi, dear Catherine! I'm very pleased that you knew and/or liked most of these sounds of '69. That Spirit video is a mess, isn't it? That clip is typical of the kind made in the late 60s for psychedelic rock and acid rock bands. Production facilities often went overboard and used too many special effects in an effort to set the mood and simulate a psychedelic experience. It rarely worked as well as intended. I am delighted to know you were raised on the likes of Creedence, Pink Floyd and the Dead. It's a pleasure learning more about you, dear friend, and I greatly appreciate you coming all the way from Australia to be here for part 1 of my salute to '69. I hope to see you back here for part 2 next week. World Time Clock says 10:30pm Sydney time and therefore I will say good night to you, dear Cat, and thanks again for being such a fine friend!

  3. Tom I didn't realise you were friends with the painter Hieronymus Bosch and that he took photos of parties in the 60s! ;) (I recognise the painting from Art History class!)

    I am intrigued as to who that lovely lady is!

    By any chance have you watched the season 6 finale of Mad Men yet? I'd love to know your thoughts when you do!

    Emma x

    1. Hi, Emma! Don't be a spoiler because I haven't yet seen the season 6 finale of Mad Men. As a matter of fact, I haven't seen any episodes of the new season because Mrs. Shady and I are waiting for it to show up on Hulu. We are swamped at the moment watching Doc Martin, Downton Abbey, Weeds, Black Books and several other programs on Hulu and NetFlix along with the new Anne Heche comedy Save Me, Major Crimes, the TNT sequel to The Closer, and the new international crime drama on NBC called Crossing Lines. I recommend all of the above if you haven't seen them. I can't wait to watch this new season of Mad Men and thanks for reminding me of it.

      LOL, I'm happy to know you got a smile or maybe even a laugh out of my "frat party" picture. That Hell Panel detail from the Bosch triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights was familiar to me for a different reason. It was used as the cover art for one of my favorite 60s albums, One Nation Underground by Tom Rapp's psychedelic art rock band Pearls Before Swine which I also highly recommend.

      I hope you'll stay tuned for part 2 so that you can learn the identity of the mystery girl. Hint: She's from your side of the pond.

      Thank you very much for delighting me with your visit, dear friend Emma, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  4. another great round up my friend. Love visiting your blog leaving some hugs for you!

    1. Thank you, Katie! Hugs to you in return!

  5. Good Evening, Dell Master...making my way over on a Wednesday, but, don't tell anyone, I took a sneak peek at work-if you see anyone surfing your territory on a Tuesday or Wednesday from Fort Worth, it could be me, lol! We can look, but we're not allowed to touch! The firm blocks us from working on, or commenting on blogs etc.

    Sooooo...loved Hot Smoke and Sassafrass! 'Bubble Puppy'? That song was great, but I didn't know the name of the group. I could swear I was one of the dancers on that video tho...just kidding! The instrumentals are fantastic on that one. I give it an A+ 44years later!

    And, oh my goodness! Polk Salad Annie-I think that's a most unappreciated song. Again, I didn't know the singer, but I just love that song, and you're right, he sounds black. Of course, Elvis performed the song at his concerts, and he did good too!

    Creedence is the greatest, but I remember poking fun and calling them hicks back in 1969, when I saw them open for Janis Joplin in Kansas City. I thought, "Why don't they get those hicks off the stage? How we change, eh? Turns out they really rock, don't they? Boy, I was eating my words later!!! I really appreciated Fogarty, still like his stuff. And, it's so sad that conflicts tear apart the greats!

    Well, I hope you and Mrs. Shady, and Toto(is that her name?) are faring well and staying cool. What a hot bucket we're having this evening. I'm so glad I got to see you today Shady. Keep 'em coming-you made my day...Bubble Buts (oops, I mean Puppies!)and all. See you soon♫

    1. Hello again, dear Suzanne, and thanks so much for coming! Do you mean to say that you are not allowed to BLAST my tunes at work? (LOL) I urge you to distribute a petition to get that ridiculous policy overturned! :)

      I'm glad you liked the Texas psychedelic rock band Bubble Puppy. Ever see that episode of Beverly Hillbillies? If so, please tell me what Granny said to Jethro! (LOL) The B side of "Hot Smoke" has become my favorite. "Lonely" is worth a listen all the way through.

      You're right. Elvis sang "Polk Salad Annie" as did Tom Jones, Johnny Cash and others.

      CCR's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" is my favorite by the Fogarty band and reminds me of my college days.

      Weatherwise, it's HOT! (LOL) What can I tell ya, it's Central Florida in late June - a steam bath. The good news is that I haven't seen any of those monster skeeters yet! (Yessum, my dog's name is Toto and she'll be 14 next month!)

      Thank you again for sharing music, smiles and laughs with me, dear friend Suzanne. Take care of yourself and I'll be chatting with you again soon!

    2. Oh...I almost forgot! Your Frat party picture-EW! And, you're at the bottom of that ladder? You look a little, hmmm...compromised? Haha! It is a very clever picture Shady!

    3. I'm glad you didn't ask what I was doing in my birthday suit at the bottom of that ladder! It's a long story! (LOL) The next morning I washed up on the beach at Waikiki! (LOL) I think I'm still nursing that hangover! :)

      Thanks for the encore visit, dear Suzanne. You're the greatest!

  6. I think my hubby had a very similar party in the early 70's at Bowling Green...I'm not saying he "streaked"..but I'm not saying he didn't either! '69 I was a sophomore in HS and remember a few of those tunes! I wasn't into hard rock but I loved my transistor radio and do remember "Polk Salad Annie" and sang along with it just now! Thanks! He looks like he could have been Elvis's little brother! for the identity of the lovely girl? Haven't a clue! Stay cool down there in Florida..we're having the same steam bath up here!

    1. Hi, YaYa! Seems like you guys went directly from winter to summer and skipped spring entirely. Don't you hate when that happens? Here in Florida we wish winter would last longer. Florida summer begins January 1st and ends December 31st. :)

      I actually attended parties (and threw some of my own) that closely resembled that vision of Hell rendered by Bosch! (LOL) Remember the song lyrics, "Be young... be foolish... be happy"?

      If your hubby streaked in the 70s there's a good chance he inspired Ray Stevens to record his hit 1974 novelty ditty.

      I agree that Tony Joe White had an Elvis thang goin' on. It's too bad he was a one-hit-wonder.

      Thank you very much for being here tonight, dear friend Yaya. C'mon back next Monday and learn the identity of the mystery girl!

  7. Thank you for sharing, I loved all of the tunes! (I must also admit, the only group I knew was CCR!)

    1. Hi, Anneka! I'm very happy to see you, my new friend! I'm also excited to know that you enjoyed all of these tunes, even the ones you never heard before. Keep in mind that most of the others who commented only knew one or two of these acts, and they are baby boomer age! Also please know that I am learning right along with you, constantly discovering music nuggets that I somehow missed during my youth. Thank you very much for coming over, dear friend Anneka, and have a safe and happy weekend, okay?

  8. I enjoyed the song Lonely but I think the Bubble Puppy look a bit scary!!

    Thanks for your comment and have a wonderful week-end in Florida, lucky you:)

    1. Hello, dear Katia/Katie! What a wonderful surprise to discover that you like "Lonely," the same recording I singled out as my favorite! Bubble Puppy might have been scary looking but they were an accomplished psychedelic, garage, acid rock and prog rock band and their album, A Gathering of Promises, is highly regarded among music critics.

      Lucky me? In Florida at the end of June? It's too hot and muggy. I think you are the lucky one, having the opportunity to travel to such interesting places throughout the year. Thank you very much for your visit and comments, dear friend Katia, and I hope to see you back here again soon!

    2. here in Italy we're having 6 months raining no-stop..! what a strange season everywhere!

      see you soon

    3. Oh NO! I hope there's not too much flooding! We are expecting up to 7 inches of rain over the next few days. Thank you for the tag, dear Katia. I always enjoy hearing from you, one of my oldest friends!

  9. WOOT! Spirit!!! WOOT! Creedence!!! Two of my favorites. I remember Polk Salad Annie too. "Polk....salad..." So bluesy. So southern. Never heard of the Bubble Puppy group. Meh... And Tommy Roe's "Dizzy?" That made me laugh. It WAS irritatingly popular, wasn't it? I had a laugh at the Spirit video - lipsynch much? I loved that group though. 1969 was a good year - I was 17 and life was good.

    1. Hi, karen! Life is good for me now that you came over for a visit. The party doesn't start until you get here. You crack me up with your "Meh..." (LOL) Your honesty is very refreshing and always welcome here. Even your bad reviews make me smile. I am very grateful to have you as a friend. Well hey, I'm happy you remembered Spirit because apparently you are the only one who does. Isn't it funny how production facilities tried to wow us with those primitive special effects which were state of the art at the time? I think it's great that you took time to read the text and agree with my assessment of "Dizzy." That Tommy Roe song actually made my head spin and made me throw up in my mouth a little when I listened to it. Seems like you and I both consider 1969 to be one of our best years. I hope you'll join me next week (Monday) for more music and memories from '69! Thank you for being such a great friend, dear karen, and have a safe and happy weekend!

  10. It was incredibly fascinating to hear about your experience in 1969 and I love how you incorporated music with the post. It was a great read (:

    1. Hi, Molly! Thank you very much for coming over for a look and a listen, my new friend! 1969 was a great year to be young and I wish you could have experienced everything that was going on back then. Imagine what your tour of San Francisco would have been like in the summer of '69! Thank you again for being a great friend, Molly, and I hope you'll return a few days from now for Part 2 of my salute to '69!

  11. Hi, Shady!

    That sure did look like a fun frat party. I always enjoy when you write about your youth and things you did. Can't imagine you being a party animal!!! I have never heard of those bands, except for CCR, of course! I really wish I could have heard Hot smoke and sasafrass but I couldn't get sound for some reason!!!! I do love Granny!!! So, just who IS that girl??? and what is the price of eggs in China---All a mystery to me!!!!

    1. Hi, Toni! As you can tell by the photograph, that was one of the TAMER parties I attended! (LOL) I played three games of Scrabble and was home in bed by 8:00! :) Shucks, it's no fun not having sound when you visit a music blog, is it? I hope you get that fixed soon and come back and listen to both of the rock nuggets by Bubble Puppy. Who is the mystery girl at the end of the post? I'm not going to be a spoiler but here's a hint. She's not Granny Clampett! (LOL) No, here are three real clues for you: England, Canada and L.A. Law. Let's see if you can guess the answer before Part 2 begins on Monday. To answer your question, the price of eggs in China is 20 Yuan per dozen! Thank you very much for coming over for a visit, dear friend Toni, and have a terrific weekend!

  12. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 29, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    1969 was a special year for us too! It was the end of my first year of teaching, I came down with mononucleosis and Bob proposed - 20 days before we got married. (No, it was not a shotgun - he was starting graduate school.). Shortly after we were married, I came down with mono and while I recovered, we watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. What a summer that was!

    We weren't familiar with Spirit or Bubble Puppy, but we know CCR. We heard a Creedence Clearwater Revival song playing ("Bad Moon Rising") in a department store while we picked out our first dinnerware. The record department was next to housewares, so after buying our dishes, we bought their album and also one of The Hollies'. ("Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress") We still listen to CCR CDs, and John Fogerty is one of Bob's favorite musicians. We just recently learned that he was prevented from performing for several years. I believe after he left the band, the producer said he couldn't play or sing in his signature style because that belonged to CCR, not him! How ridiculous was that?

    As I listened to the songs on this post, I couldn't help but wonder how singer/songwriters John Fogerty, Tony Joe White and Bob Dylan would fare today on "The Voice" or "American Idol". Their voices were, and are, distinctive and full of original personality and soul, but perhaps they would not be noticed because they don't fit the mold. How sad!

    Thanks for a fun post. We're looking forward to Part 2!

    1. Hi, Kathleen! Prying: Did mother Margaret approve of Bob? :) (You don't have to answer.) I know very well what it's like to have mono. I had it in the dead of winter my freshman year at Penn State. Those bitterly cold and windy mornings when I had to trudge in deep snow from East Halls to the center of campus for 8am classes... I didn't think I was gonna make it!

      I remember watching that 1969 moon walk, too. I was very upset that the network preempted My Mother The Car! :)

      The John Fogarty story is all too typical of what happens when original personnel of popular bands or vocal groups go their separate ways. Inevitably there is an ugly legal battle over who can us the band's name and other restrictions, proving once again that show business is just that, a business.

      There are so many talent and reality TV shows now that I can't even keep track of them all. More are premiering all the time. I guess this sort of programming started on radio with Major Bowes Amateur Hour and then on TV with Ted Mack's Amateur Hour. Remember Ed McMahon's Star Search? "...and the judges give Sinbad... THREE-AND-A-HALF STARS!!!" (Uh, whatever happened to Sinbad?)

      Thank you very much for your comments, dear friend Kathleen, and I hope you'll hustle back here Monday for more sounds of '69 in part 2!


You talkin' to me?