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

Friday, May 30, 2014

Just Let It Happen, Baby - Part 2 of Our Stroll Down Memory Lane With Chi Chi!

Welcome to Part 2 of my

exclusive interview with

Carole Devine aka Chi Chi!

This talented songstress started out as lead singer
of the Tams aka the Hippies, the Philadelphia vocal group that gave us the evocative doo-wop hit "Memory Lane." Chi Chi went on to become an exciting and versatile
solo artist. I am very proud to bring you Chi Chi's story and her music.

S.D. KNIGHT: Hello again, Chi Chi. Before we pick up the
timeline of your career, could you tell us which artists or
recordings influenced you most?

 CHI CHI: Frankie Lymon and 
 the Teenagers influenced my 
 singing. I tried to imitate his 
 style while growing up. I met 
 him finally in a show at the 
 State Theatre put on by 
 Jerry Blavat. Frankie told 
 me he really liked our song 
 "Memory Lane." I told him 
 how much he influenced 
 my singing. 

S.D. KNIGHT: Did you perform in any major rock 'n' roll shows or tours either with your vocal group or later on as a soloist?

 CHI CHI: From what I can recall as a group, we didn't do 
 much in the way of shows, appearances, etc. As I said 
 in the previous segment, our record was taken off the 
 radio when the Payola scandal broke and we never got 
 the chance. Any and all shows, appearances, etc. were 
 done by me later and the studio placed two guys with me. 

 I worked with Jerry Blavat,
 Hy Lit, Cousin Brucie in 

 New York on the Hudson 
 River, a show in Buffalo... 

 ...I also worked with 
 Murray the K and did 
 The Grady and Hurst
down at the 

 New Jersey shore... 

S.D. KNIGHT: Let me stop you there, Chi Chi, and give the readers some background on Philadelphia broadcast pioneers Joe Grady and Ed Hurst. The pair hosted a popular radio show called The 950 Club on WPEN. The show, which ran from the mid 40s to the mid 50s, was the first to feature teenagers dancing to records live on the air.

As such, The 950 Club was the predecessor of Bandstand.
In 1958, Ed Hurst began hosting Summertime on the Pier, later called The Steel Pier Show, a long running TV dance show that originated from Atlantic City's famous Steel Pier.

S.D. KNIGHT: Alright, Chi Chi, let's continue our stroll down memory lane. You met and shared a stage with some of the biggest recording stars of the 60s. Can you name a few?

 CHI CHI: I can't recall which show it was, but I remember 
 at the airport, over the loudspeaker, came the voice re- 
 questing that The Animals, The Lovin' Spoonful, Chi Chi 
 and I can't recall who else, please come to such and such 
 place to be taken by limousine to a hotel. I got a kick out 
 of that! We obviously were performing, but I don't think 
 we were performing at the same place at the same time. 

1960'S CHI CHI

 I have done shows with the Chiffons, Dee Dee Sharp, 
 the Orlons, Freda Payne, Jimmy Soul, the Dovells, the 
 Duprees, the latest Platters group, Darlene Love, the 
 Soul Survivors (two of them), Kenny Vance & the 
 Planatones, The Angels... 

S.D. KNIGHT: You have a funny story about the Angels.

 CHI CHI: Yes! We shared a dressing room and they were 
 so sweet and friendly. We hit it off right away. 

 Anyway, they said, "Chi Chi, wanna 
 hear our new song coming out?" 
 and I said, "Sure." Well, they start 
 singing, "My Boyfriend's Back." 
 I'm thinking, "It's really cute, but 
 I don't think it will make it!!!!" 
 Hahaha, don't ever ask me what 
 I think will be a hit. I obviously 
 don't have a clue!!! 

S.D. KNIGHT: I hear ya! There's a new band from Liverpool -
four mop tops - John, Paul, George and Whatshisname.
I predict they'll fizzle. :)   Okay, Chi Chi... it's time for
us to reveal more of your fine recordings.

In Part 1 we listened to the first of Chi Chi's solo sides
for Red Bird Records, the sophisticated, refreshingly
different girl group sound "I Know He Loves Me" as by
Chi-Chi McCauley. That Red Bird single turned out to
be a dynamite double-sider with outstanding recordings
back-to-back. The B side is a feel good song that's as
fresh today as it was 50 years ago!

"Memory Lane Without You" is another song penned by
Howard Boggess. "Boggie," as you recall, was Chi Chi's
long time friend and a member of her group.  He shares
composing credit with another member, Jack Felker, for
the original "Memory Lane."  "Memory Lane Without You"
picks up where "Memory Lane" left off. Its catchy melody
and brisk up-tempo arrangement breathe new life into the
wistful ballad about faded teenage romance. I know you
will enjoy this delightful piece of ear candy, an evergreen
that recalls the carefree endless summers of our youth.

 "Memory Lane Without You" 
 Chi-Chi McCauley 
 (June 1964) 

In 1966, solo singer Carole Devine signed with Kapp Records,
shortened her stage name to Chi Chi, and ascended to what
many consider to be the pinnacle of her career.

Chi Chi's Kapp recordings are exquisite vocal performances.
The productions are prime examples of the grand, majestic,
reverberant Wall-of-Soundalikes I've been bringing you this
year in my series Echoes of the Spectorian Era.

In the booklet that accompanies the girl group compilation
Chapel of Love, Nick Patrick and Malcolm Baumgart wrote
the following about Chi Chi: "The young singer, now minus
her surname, reemerged in 1966 with a brace of highly
sophisticated slabs of uptown pop in a sumptuous
Randazzo meets Bacharach style.”

“If You’re Gonna Love Me,” the first of Chi Chi's Kapp
singles, has producing credits that include Hy Mizrahi,
one of the founders of Kama Sutra Productions, and
Chi Chi's friend and singing partner "Boggie" Boggess.
Listen to Chi Chi's bold, powerful voice enveloped in
a Wall of Sound on a magnificent opus that reminds
me of a Jack Nitzsche arrangement.

 "If You're Gonna Love Me" - Chi Chi 
 (Released circa November 1966) 

Chi Chi's follow-up single for Kapp is yet another doublesider.

First, here's the B side, "Somewhere There's Someone,"
a buttery smooth bossa nova recording that rivals those
of Astrud Gilberto and Eydie Gormé.

 "Somewhere There's Someone" - Chi Chi 
 (Released circa Dec. 1966/Jan. 1967 
 B side of "Just Let It Happen") 

S.D. KNIGHT: Chi Chi, our interview is nearly at an end and
I have a question for you. Of all the recordings you made in your singing career, which is your favorite and why?

 CHI CHI: "Just Let It Happen" on Kapp records was and 
 is my favorite because I had never seen such a production! 
 It was done in Columbia Studios in New York. There were 
 so many musicians there I thought that Frank Sinatra was 
 coming to record and that they were not all there for me! 

S.D. KNIGHT: I'm with you, Chi Chi. I genuinely love all of these featured recordings made by you and your group...
but your favorite, "Just Let It Happen," is also my favorite and now it's time to play it. The readers might recall that
I posted a version of this Chip Taylor - Trade Martin song performed by the Arbors in Volume 1 of Echoes.

Chi Chi's version of the song, the A side of her second Kapp
single produced by Kama Sutra's Hy Mizrahi, casts a magic
spell over me whenever I hear it. Chi Chi beckons us near
with her soft, smooth, seductive voice. Suddenly its full
power and passion are unleashed and we soar with her to
the heavens - an incomparable listening experience. Here
now is her masterpiece, arguably the greatest recording
of Chi Chi's career - "Just Let It Happen."

 "Just Let It Happen" - Chi Chi 
 (Released circa December 1966/January 1967) 

S.D. KNIGHT: Chi Chi, your voice absolutely mesmerizes me. I don't know of many vocalists who could perform so many different types of songs so convincingly, with flair, credibility and authority the way you do.

 CHI CHI: Thanks. I just sing what I feel. Some songs make 
 you cry, feel pain, loss internally. My voice projects that. 

S.D. KNIGHT: A lifelong resident of the Delaware Valley,
you are still performing live shows in the area, aren't you?

 CHI CHI: Yes, I do some shows 
 when asked, usually the oldies type 
 (Jerry Blavat at the Kimmel Center 
 in Center City, Pa.) and I sing at a 
 a local club called Casa Cafe in 
 Warrington, Pa. once a month. 

S.D. KNIGHT: More good news. In addition to your current live appearances, you've been back in the studio working on a new set of recordings, correct?

 CHI CHI: Yes! People are always asking me if I have a CD 
 so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm collaborating with some 
 gentlemen with whom I've worked in the recent past 
 and we are planning to put out a CD of our group hit  
 "Memory Lane" and other songs. Recently I went to 
 the studio and recorded "Memory Lane" and "At Last." 
 I am very excited! 

S.D. KNIGHT: Chi Chi, before I let you go, let me ask you this. You have had a distinguished career as a singer and recording artist. What has is meant to you and how would you like to be remembered?

 CHI CHI: I never dreamed this would be so much a part 
 of my life. I have been blessed beyond belief! I still get 
 "chills" and so very touched that people remember our 
 song "Memory Lane" and applaud whenever and wher- 
 ever I sing today. I still have to pinch myself to believe it! 
 The people make me want to do this until they tire of me. 
 I've gotten so much more from this than I ever thought 
 possible. could die tomorrow and say, "Wow, they liked 
 our song and it brought back happy memories for them." 
 I would like them to remember me and our group as being 
 totally grateful to them and their kindness. 

Thank you very much, dear Chi Chi, for the opportunity to get to know you, learn about your life and music and for the honor of having you as a friend. You are a wonderful singer and one of the few to make classic recordings in three different music categories: doo-wop, girl group
and Spectorian Wall-Of-Sound.

You, Carole Devine aka Chi Chi,

are the pride of Roxborough High

and truly one of Philly's Phinest.

Memory Lane without you...

just wouldn't be the same!

Have a Shady day!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Take A Stroll Down Memory Lane With Chi Chi - My Exclusive Interview, Pt. 1

My friends... it gives me

great pleasure to introduce my

Person of Interest

... this year's big interview!

The sweet, charming and talented lady you are about
to meet was lead singer of the vocal group that gave us
the time honored Philadelphia doo-wop hit "Memory Lane."

 "Memory Lane" - The Hippies 
 (April 1963, highest chart position #63) 

This could be considered a bonus edition of my Echoes series because my gifted guest went on to become a solo artist and made some of the greatest girl group and Spectorian Wall-of-Sound recordings of the Sixties.
I am proud to present my exclusive two part interview with a good friend and one
of Philly's Phinest, Chi Chi!

S.D. KNIGHT: Welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories,
Chi Chi. I am thrilled to meet you!

 CHI CHI: Hello, Shady! It was very exciting to hear from 
 you and find out what you do. I still get pins and needles 
 whenever I'm told someone has an interest in our group, 
 the Tams/Hippies! 

S.D. KNIGHT: Your popular vocal group actually underwent
a series of name changes over the years from the Impalas to
the Stereos, the Tams and finally the Hippies, and you have
used several different names personally and professionally
including Carole Varleta, Carole Devine, Chi-Chi McCauley
and Chi Chi. Can you sort it out for us?

 CHI CHI: Carole Devine is my name. My husband, Tom 
 Devine, died 16 yrs. ago. Varleta was my maiden name. 
 My father was Filipino. My mother Scotch and Welsh. 

 Chi Chi is my nickname, given me 
 by my father. My family and close 
 friends have always called me that. 
 Jerry Blavat started calling me 
 Chi Chi and the name "stuck" 
 with the public. 

S.D. KNIGHT: Your group started out in 1956 or '57 as the
Impalas. Who were the members and how did you meet?

 CHI CHI: The members of our singing group consisted 
 originally of four. Howard Boggess aka Boggie (who wrote 
 "Memory Lane"), Jack Felker, Nancy Orth and myself. 
 We were all raised in a home for children. Later we 
 added a friend of mine from school, Cookie, who 
 added so much to our group. 


S.D. KNIGHT: Why the name Impalas for your group?
Whose idea was it?

 CHI CHI: I don't know how we picked the name. 
 Maybe it was Boggie and/or Jack. I know Nancy and 
 I didn't. I know we won 1st place in a talent show at 
 our school, Roxborough High School, and used the 
 name then. I was either 14 or 15 at the time. 

S.D. KNIGHT: Like a gazillion other American teenagers,
you and your friends decided to put together a singing
group.  How did that come about?

 CHI CHI: Nancy & I were playing the piano and singing 
 in the back room of the gym and Boggie and Jack heard us 
 while playing basketball and came in. We sang some songs 
 together (harmonizing) and after a while Boggie said, "I'm 
 gonna write a song for us." We laughed and said, "Sure, 
 you do that and we'll sing it." Shortly after that, he came 
 back with his song called, "Memory Lane." We sang that 
 song in the Talent Show! 

S.D. KNIGHT: How did you and the other group members
dress for stage performances? Did you have costumes?

 CHI CHI: Our outfit consisted of a gold sweater and 
 navy blue skirt for the girls, and gold sweaters and navy 
 or black pants for the boys. That was it.  Bud Brees, 
 our manager, purchased them for us. It was later 
 deducted from our royalties, I was told. 

S.D. KNIGHT: The name of your group was changed from
the Impalas to the Stereos for the release of “Memory Lane”
and "Teenage Kids” in 1959. Who made that decision?

 CHI CHI: That would again be Bud Brees, a local DJ who 
 heard us sing when our prize from the talent show was 
 a summer gig at the Germantown Y. Bud was the celebrity 
 DJ there. This was not his type of music, but I think he felt 
 he had a winner in us, and wanted to be our agent. 

S.D. KNIGHT:  Did Bud Brees scrap the name Impalas because another vocal group with the same name emerged that year and had a hit with "Sorry
(I Ran All the Way Home)"?

 CHI CHI: Yes the name change came because of the 
 other Impalas group having had their hit. 

S.D. KNIGHT: “Memory Lane” backed with ”Teenage Kids”
was re-released that same
year with your group now
called the Tams. Was that
also Bud Brees' doing?

 CHI CHI: Yes, Bud Brees came up with the name 
 "The Tams." The Mink label was Bud's collaboration 
 with Russ Faith, a song writer. 

The Tams released two sides of a Swan single in 1960
and two more on Heritage in 1961.

The Heritage record was recorded by Chi Chi, Boggie and two
other male singers who were not part of the original group.

In 1962, an alternate version of “Memory Lane" was waxed
by the group and released on Parkway as by the Tams.

In 1963, Chi Chi's vocal group underwent yet another name
change. “Memory Lane” was released again on Parkway, this
time as by the Hippies. A new name was needed because the
name "The Tams" was already being used by a black group
that specialized in Carolina Shag Beach Music which included
their top 10 hit "What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)."

S.D. Knight: Who came up with the group name The Hippies?

 CHI CHI: I'm not sure who picked "The Hippies" - us or 
 the record company. I think it might have been us. That 
 name was around at the time and I know we liked it and 
 used it in our everyday language. 

S.D. KNIGHT: Your Cameo-Parkway label mates, the Orlons,
were reaching the top 5 around that time singing the words
"Where do all the hippies meet...South Street. South Street."

 CHI CHI: Right, it became a cool name and could be 
 associated with kids our age. 

S.D. KNIGHT: "Memory Lane" spent five weeks on the chart
and peaked at #63. I am not alone in thinking the doo-wop
gem deserved to be a bigger hit. You cite a specific reason
why the record was not more successful, an event that
made headlines and affected the careers of rock 'n' roll
luminaries like Alan Freed and Dick Clark.

 CHI CHI: Yes, I believe the Payola Scandal was happening 
 at the time and all records that were getting air play were 
 taken off the air. Ours was one of these.

S.D. KNIGHT: Cameo-Parkway released "Memory Lane" in the
spring of 1963. Beginning the following year the once mighty
label went into a steep decline on its way to financial ruin.
Factors leading to the downturn included the British Invasion
and American Bandstand leaving Philadelphia that year and
relocating to Los Angeles. However, there was a silver lining
for your group and your record. It was given a new lease on
life by our friend The Geator With the Heater.

 CHI CHI: That's correct.  When I heard Jerry Blavat play 
 our song on a local radio station some three years later, 
 I called and asked how they obtained our record. Jerry 
 called me back later that day and said Cameo Parkway 
 had gone out of business and that he heard the record, 
 liked it and played it at his hops and it was getting good 
 feedback. I got "chills" when I heard it on the radio! 

"Memory Lane" by the Tams was included on a Jerry Blavat
doo-wop oldies compilation album released by Lost-Nite.

At the time the self proclaimed Boss With the Hot Sauce
was a partner in that popular oldies reissue company.

Now let's listen to "Teenage Kids," the B side of the original
Mink single by Chi Chi and her Stereos/Tams group. Cameo-
Parkway obviously had faith in "Teenage Kids" because the
label re-released the recording as the A side of a separate
single as by The Tams.

 "Teenage Kids" - The Tams 
 (April 1963) 

In the mid 60s, Chi Chi blossomed into a fine and quite
versatile solo recording artist. Working with Kama Sutra
Productions in 1964, she waxed two sides of a single for
Red Bird, a leading producer of the 60s girl group sound
and home to the Dixie Cups and Shangri-Las. Both sides
of Chi Chi's single were written and produced by Frank
Bendinelli and Leroy Lovett of Ben-Lee Music. The artist
name appeared on the label as Chi Chi McCauley.

S.D. KNIGHT: Chi Chi, before we listen to the first of your
Red Bird recordings, would you please explain where the
name "McCauley" came from?

 CHI CHI: McCauley, which was misspelled on records 
 and should have been spelled Macauley, was my name 
 from my first marriage. I forget who it was at Red Bird 
 that decided it would be "cute" to put Chi Chi and 
 McCauley together when I recorded. I had no idea they 
 were going to do that! Cha Cha O'Brien was a character 
 on Surfside 6 in the early 60s, and so the folks at the 
 record company thought they'd be doing that same sort 
 of thing. It worked for her, maybe it would work for me. 

S.D. KNIGHT: I'm saving the fab flip of your Red Bird single
for Part 2, Chi Chi, so right now let's listen to the fantastic
A side made by Chi Chi McCauley and the Ben-Lee team -
"I Know He Loves Me."

 "I Know He Loves Me" - Chi-Chi McCauley 
 (June 1964) 

Coming up in my next post...

you'll hear more of Chi Chi's great recordings and find out which rock 'n' roll stars and broadcast legends she met
and worked with along the way. Stay tuned for more stories and more sensational sounds from my very special guest, Chi Chi, in part 2!

Have a Shady day!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Coming Soon - Person of Interest 2014

 You'll never find us... 

 but victim or perpetrator 

 if your number's up... 

 we'll find you

 You always have numbers for me, Harold. 

  Now I've got some for you...  


---- 2    (EXCITING POSTS) 

--------   (GREAT SONGS) 

----------- 1,000  (MEMORIES) 

 This person  
 of interest, 
 Mr. Reese... it by   
 any chance   
 Miss Shaw?   

 Guess again, Harold. 

 ...Miss Groves? 

  Not even close.  

 Patience, Finch....  



 of interest 

 will be 



  It will happen on  

 Shady Dell Music & Memories  

  Friday, May 23.   

 The 23rd of May? 

 That's one week from now! 

 This calls for round the clock 

 surveillance, Mr. Reese. 

 Better get Detective Fusco 

 over there...and FAST! 

Coming in my next post,

Friday, May 23, 2014...



...the start of an exclusive

2-part interview with one of

my favorite recording artists

...up close and personal.

I hope you'll join us.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

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. 

 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!