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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Canadian Club: Listen to the Sweet Songs of These Sixties Snowbirds!

In the early 60s, at the height of the American teen pop and
girl group craze, two talented young Canadian singers went unnoticed.

When you listen to the wonderful recordings made
by Sandy Selsie and Pat Hervey you'll wonder
how they managed to slip through the cracks.

The girls had a lot in common. They both grew up
in the Toronto area. Both made the rounds of
 amateur talent contests and performed
on Canadian radio and television.

Both young women appeared on the Canadian
country music television program Country Hoedown
which regularly featured budding star Gordon Lightfoot.
Both performed on Hi Time, an all Canadian talent show,
an early 60s Canadian Idol, if you will. Both girls landed
contracts with major record labels, Sandy with Columbia
and Pat with RCA Victor. Both made great recordings
but few Americans knew about them.

Enough small talk! It's time to sit back 
and enjoy the exciting performances 
of these Canadian thrushes!


While on a family vacation in Nashville,
Sandy Selsie auditioned for Columbia
Records. Her gorgeous voice got her
signed on the spot to a five year
recording contract.

Sandy's first single was released in the spring
of 1962.  "A Date With Loneliness" penetrated
the top 20 on the Canadian chart and earned the
15 year old the nickname of Canada's Brenda Lee.
Listen to Sandy sing and you'll know why.

 "A Date With Loneliness" - Sandy Selsie 
 (May 1962, uncharted) 

Written in August 1962 by R&B veteran
Don Covay, "Don't Destroy Me" is a country
style ballad that instantly brings to mind
Brenda Lee's top 5 hit from earlier
that year, "Break It to Me Gently."

The single with Sandy Selsie's dramatic
version of "Don't Destroy Me" was
released in May 1963.

 "Don't Destroy Me" - Sandy Selsie 
 (May 1963, uncharted) 

Sandy's next single, "When Jimmy Comes Home,"
was released in November 1963 a couple of weeks
before the assassination of President Kennedy.

On this one, Sandy's vocal style reminds me of
Connie Francis. Listen and you might agree that
this was the best "Jimmy" record to come out of
the teen pop years.

 "When Jimmy Comes Home" - Sandy Selsie 
 (November 1963, uncharted) 


They called her "the girl next door."

Pat Hervey was another young and gifted
but little known Canadian songstress.

In the summer of 1962 Pat's single,
"Mister Heartache," a catchy record
with a rock 'n' roll beat, remained
uncharted in America but hit #14
on the Canadian chart.

 "Mister Heartache" - Pat Hervey 
 (July 1962, uncharted) 

Pat Hervey was as versatile as she was talented.

Listen to her dynamic vocals on this 1963 release,
a country style record entitled "Tears of Misery."

 "Tears of Misery" - Pat Hervey 
 (1963, uncharted) 

Pat shifts gears again in a song from her self titled
album.  Her voice packs a punch and bursts
with Go-Go Power as she sings "Pain,"
a Northern Soul song better known
in America as performed by
R&B great Mitty Collier.

 "Pain" - Pat Hervey 
 (Recorded in April 1964, 
 track from 1965 self titled album) 

I love how Pat belts out this next song with a growl
in her voice. If you're fast becoming a fan of Pat
"I Wouldn't Blame You." Join the Canadian club!

 "I Wouldn't Blame You" - Pat Hervey 
 (July 1963, uncharted) 

In case you haven't noticed, there are two more
things Sandy Selsie and Pat Hervey have in common.

Both young women produced records far superior
to the weak, bland, pop pabulum churned out
by some of the American girl pop
singers of the period.

Yet, for some reason, the recordings made by
Sandy and Pat, many of which are now available
on the compilations displayed in this post,
did not catch on in the United States.
 In fact, not a single one even got as far
as the Billboard Bubbling Under chart!

Shady's Law, which states that a record's
chart performance has absolutely nothing
to do with quality, was drafted with artists
like Sandy Selsie and Pat Hervey in mind.

Have a Shady day!


  1. How I've missed your musical "pearls" while I was on my blogging break! This got me right back into it, and I loved them all. Sandy and Pat certainly had the chops- it's too bad they didn't make it into a larger arena. As always, an enjoyable, entertaining, and highly informative post, my friend!

    1. Hi, Shelly! There's nothing I like better than uncovering and dusting off lost gems, and I'm glad you agree that these shine.

      In the late 50s, teen idol Paul Anka became the first major Canadian hit maker of the rock 'n' roll era. During the 60s, Canadian recording artists tried to establish careers in the U.S. because it offered better media exposure and opportunity for longevity. Some were able to attract attention here and some were not. You can tell by the quality of the recordings in this post that success had more to do with luck and industry connections than anything else.

      Thank you very much for coming by, dear friend Shelly. I missed your thoughtful comments while you were on break. Have a super week ahead!

  2. Hi there Shadikins. Gosh, where did you find these two songbirds for us?! You are right, in that first song I thought that Sandy sounded exactly like Little Miss Dynamite herself, Brenda Lee! Then again, she certainly had the sound of Connie Francis about her as well. It does seem strange that both girls didn't find a wider fame. I certainly enjoyed their renderings today. Thank you once again for finding something new for us to listen to and appreciate. What would we do without you my friend?! Good to see Shelly back with us today :)

    1. Hallo hallo hallo, dear Thisisme! Yessum, it's good to have Shelly back on the blog after such a long break. It's also wonderful to have you here today.

      I'm glad you agree that Sandy sounded like Brenda Lee and Connie Francis. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed all the sweet tweets from these Canadian snowbirds. Finding these rare recordings on CD is possible, but there are drawbacks. Companies that compile obscure material for release on compact disc often use vinyl records as a source instead of the master record company tapes. Therefore, the sound quality is compromised.

      Thank you very much for coming to see me, dear friend Thisisme. Good night to you and have a marvelous week ahead!

  3. Sandy's voice is beautiful and recalls another era. I loved Gordon Lightfoot when I was a youngster.


    1. Hi, JJ! I'm delighted to see you, dear friend! I'm digging girl pop and girl groups this year and was excited to discover these two Canadian girls in my research. Yessum, Gordon Lightfoot along with Joni Mitchell, the Guess Who, Paul Anka, David Clayton-Thomas (lead singer of Blood, Sweat & Tears) and other Canadian singers, songwriters and musicians, achieved widespread success in the U.S. while the two talented thrushes featured in this post languished in obscurity. It doesn't seem fair.

      By the way, I met David Clayton-Thomas down here in Largo in 1985 when I went back stage after a solo concert performance of his. Nice guy, and humble.

      Love and hugs, dear Janie. Thanks for your comment and have a great week ahead!

    2. We saw the re-formed The Guess Who perform some years ago. They were wonderful, but the only person from the original group was the drummer.

    3. Cool, Janie! I fell for the group big time when they were still called Chad Allan and the Expressions. They knocked me out with "Shakin' All Over" and I bought their album along with the single.

      Thanks for popping in again, dear friend Janie. Enjoy the rest of your day and week!

  4. So Canada is famous for more than bacon and maple syrup? (Just kidding, don't get your mukaluks in a bunch!) These young women did have talent. Maybe because their voices were so similar to Francis/Lee that they didn't get the chance they so deserved. I think it's all about timing and luck in the entertainment business. I enjoyed "Mr. Heartache" the best in this group and, because you mentioned him, I was a big Gordon Lightfoot fan. In the deep dark recesses of my basement I have a big container of vinyl that needs to be opened. He's in there along with some other favs! Thanks for introducing us to these lovely ladies today! Always an education here!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Thanks for coming to my platter party! I'm glad you enjoyed the songs of these snowbirds. I am also a fan of their Canadian contemporary Gordon Lightfoot. If You Could Read My Mind you wouldn't wait for Sundown or the Early Morning Rain. You'd beat a Carefree Highway to the basement, dig out your vinyl and find a Song For a Winter's Night, a Beautiful one.

      I'm glad you received an education here this evening, dear friend YaYa. Your diploma's in the mail! Thanks for coming and have a great week! (Eddy, too!)

  5. Yes, Shady, Sandy Selsie sounds so similar to Brenda Lee. My favorite tune was "Pain" by Pat Hervey. To me, she sounds like today's hit singer, Duffy (with her hit "Mercy"). I wonder why these girls were overlooked? They both had wonderful voices and the sound of that era.

    1. Hi, Toni! You brought up the primary point of this post. These two young Canadian women both started releasing records in 1962 when girl groups and girl pop soloists were becoming extremely popular in the U.S. Records made by Sandy and Pat were as good as or better than records made by their female counterparts in the U.S. Sandy and Pat both recorded for major record labels. Why didn't they receive adequate promotion from their Goliath record companies? It's a mystery why none of the fine recordings in this post even reached the Bubbling Under chart. Shady's Law strikes again!

      Thank you very much for spending some time with Shady, dear friend Toni. Good night and have a great week ahead!

  6. Count me in on the Brenda Lee sound for Sandy...however, I sensed a tad bit of 'Leslie Gore' in her Jimmie song. I liked this lady...her song choices were good. It's a shame she didn't make it to the states. I think she would have been right up there with Brenda Lee and her group.

    I do like Pat Hervey's spunk and pop sense, but, the instrumentals didn't do her justice. Maybe that is one reason she didn't fly up the charts. She clearly had the strong vocals, 'I wouldn't Blame You' is good, I just don't get moved by the instrumentals.

    Sorry I'm late, Shady. The weekend went by too fast, we only had Scootie for Saturday night, but he was fun.

    Love that Shady law..sometimes we have gotten away from the definition of quality in a song, by trying to keep a name alive! Thank you for reminding us of the reality of what good quality is!

    So glad to see you again, and you just keep serving them up! Have a great evening Shady! ♫

    1. Howdy, Suzanne! Thanks for checking in and checking out these two little known Canadian singers. I'm glad you liked what you heard for the most part. That "Jimmy" song is a great one, with the same commercial appeal as a Lesley Gore recording. It could have been and should have been a hit.

      I get a kick out of all the songs from that era that had a Jimmy, a Johnny or a Bobby in the title. Seems every Tom, Dick and Harry was named Jimmy, Johnny or Bobby back then! :)

      Speaking of "good quality," I'd say you and I have a good quality friendship, kiddo. Thank you very much for rendering your opinion of this music selection. My posts are spaced closer together during this part of the year because I have important birthdays and death dates to acknowledge. Thanks for staying on your toes and coming over in time.

      Good night and have a wonderful Tuesday, dear friend Suzanne!

  7. All of these were new to me! But that's what I love about your blog - I find new things to like all the time!

    1. Hi, karen! Thanks for coming, dear friend. I'm glad you found this post educational. I hope you also found it entertaining and enjoyed a tune or two from these obscure Canadian warblers.

      Thanks again for your visit and comment, dear karen, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed these singers and songs. It's nice to know they are from my home country. I liked Sandy's voice better than Pat's, but she was great and full of life. My favorite of her's is 'I Wouldn't Blame You.' Interesting to hear a song about a girl cheating on a boy! Most songs of that time were the other way around.

    Sandy does sound like Brenda Lee or Patsy Cline. My favorite of her songs was 'Date with Loneliness.' Hope you are having a great day, Tom. Love and hugs.

    1. Love and hugs right back at ya, dear Belle! I was hoping you'd see my post featuring these talented but little known Canadian songbirds.

      If I had to choose one girl's vocals over the other I think I'd agree with you and pick Sandy's. Ironically, her body of work is harder to find. Pat Hervey has a CD out called The Girl Next Door which contains all of her songs whereas you need to search for Sandy's here and there on various artists compilations.

      I am so pleased to see you, dear friend Belle. I hope 2014 is treating you right. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting and enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. Sandy and Pat have just got themselves a new fan! I loved the songs Shady and since reading this post I've looked them up on Spotify. I can't believe they've been overlooked - they have such beautiful voices. Thanks for introducing me to them!

    1. I'm just now finding your comment months later, Sarah. It's nice to know my posts inspire you to do further digging. Thank you for being a great friend!

  10. Pat Hervey appeared on numerous national music variety shows in Canada throughout the sixties and into the seventies and had her own summer tv series in 1969 on the CBC television network. She recorded some great ballads like A Mother's Love, Sea Breeze, and I'll Count Every Hour in addition to pop songs like Peaceful and soul tunes like Pain. Later in her career Pat began singing jazz and often performed with her husband Canadian jazz guitarist Oliver Gannon. She is one of Canada's all time great female singers capable of performing many styles of music !

    1. Thank you very much for contributing these additional facts about Pat Hervey. I hope you'll continue to visit SDM&M in the future. Have a great weekend, my friend!


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