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"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, November 16, 2014

History Lesson: What You Don't Know About Castro Might Surprise You!

 I'm Shady Del Knight 

 and I've got proof 

 that old school COOL! 


Bernadette Castro, former politician and one of
America's leading businesswomen, is CEO of
Castro Convertibles, the New York based
convertible furniture company founded
by her father in the 1930s.

As a little girl in the late 40s and 50s, Bernadette
earned the title of most televised child in America
starring in a long running series of live commercials
for Castro Convertibles. Watch little Bernadette
do her thing in the first 90 seconds this film.

I'll have more interesting facts about
Bernadette Castro at the end of the post.
You can bed on it.


Yvette Marie Stevens is a multiple Grammy Award
winning singer and songwriter whose career has
spanned more than four decades. You might know
her better as Chaka Khan.  Chaka was lead singer
of Rufus, the Chicago funk band that had a top 5
hit in 1974 with "Tell Me Something Good."

The act became known as Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
and continued a string of hits into the 80s. In 1978,
Chaka Khan began releasing solo recordings while
continuing to front Rufus. In the spring of 1981
Chaka topped the Soul Singles chart with the
smooth urban club hit "What Cha' Gonna Do
For Me," title track of her latest album.

 "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me" - Chaka Khan 
 (May 1981, highest chart pos. #1 Hot Soul Singles 
 from April 1981 album What Cha' Gonna Do For Me


Rick Nelson's career took a pounding when the Beatles
and other British invaders clogged the U.S. chart with
 their records. Like many other American rock 'n' roll,
rockabilly and pop artists, Rick adjusted to the new
normal by making a transition into country music.
Rick became a pioneer of the evolving genre
of country-rock fusion.

In 1966, Rick released Bright Lights & Country Music,
a pure country album that consisting mainly of covers.
The album contained one original song written by
Rick, the autobiographical "You Just Can't Quit."
Released as a single the same month as the
album, "You Just Can't Quit" bubbled under
for five weeks before disappearing. Rick's
dry spell was a sign of the times but the
song's message is one of determination
and hope for better times ahead.

 "You Just Can't Quit" - Rick Nelson 
 (June 1966, highest chart position #108 
 from album Bright Lights & Country Music


In 1965 Guyana born Londoner Eddy Grant formed a funky
R&B rock group called the Equals. Eddy wrote, sang and
played lead guitar on their big hit "Baby, Come Back"
which topped the UK chart in the summer of 1968.
The beat/rock 'n' roll single also hit #1 in Belgium,
reached the top 10 in several other European
countries and cracked the top 40 stateside.

 "Baby, Come Back" - The Equals 
 (September 1968, highest chart position #32) 


As a solo artist in 1983, Eddy Grant had one of the
biggest hits of the year in America with the single
"Electric Avenue." The song's lyrics refer to the
Brixton Riot, a bloody two day clash between
police and members of the African-Caribbean
community in South London in April of 1981.
At the time I didn't give much thought to the
lyrics or their meaning. All that mattered to
me was the dance rhythm and the refreshingly
different, totally electrifying reggae rock sound.

 "Electric Avenue" - Eddy Grant 
 (June 1983, highest chart position 
 #2 Hot 100/#2 UK in 1982

Now let's learn more about Bernadette Castro,
CEO of Castro Convertibles.

As you might have guessed, Bernadette had a
singing career. In the mid 60s she made some
groovy girl group style records. One of her
singles, "His Lips Get In The Way," landed
on the Bubbling Under chart in the fall of
1964. Shady says this pleasing platter
deserved a top 40 finish!

 "His Lips Get in the Way" - Bernadette Castro 
 (Sept./Oct. 1964, highest chart position #123) 

A few months later, at the start of '65, Bernadette
gave us another genre classic, one with a highly
contagious melody that'll get stuck in your
noggin for eons, "A Girl in Love Forgives."

 "A Girl in Love Forgives" - Bernadette Castro 
 (January 1965, uncharted) 

 Join me next time 

 for more proof 

 that old school COOL! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Hahaha! I was all set to learn something new about the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Bay of Pigs. You threw one of your patented curve balls. This is a great song selection. As usual most are new to me. I wasn't around in the late 40s and don't remember Bernadette Castro doing those live commercials and appearing on Milton Berle's show. I enjoyed her two records and agree they both should have been hits. I never heard that country tune by Rick Nelson but I loved it. I remember "Electric Avenue" but didn't know about Eddy Grant's group the Equals. Thanks for all the great sounds and new information!

    1. Hello and good morning, dear Kathryn! You aren't the only one who doesn't remember little Bernadette Castro and her famous live television commercials. Bernadette has 5 years on me and she was probably finished with her string of TV appearances by the time I was old enough to know what was going on. However, I do have early memories of watching Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater with my parents who loved the comedy legend. IMO Bernadette Castro's singles are better than many other girl pop and girl group singles that became hits. She was robbed and so were radio listeners and record buyers who never had the chance to hear her sing,

      I could listen to Rick Nelson all day and never get tired of him. Rick performed rock 'n' roll, rock-a-billy, R&B, teen pop ballads and country rock fusion - all with authority and mastery. His tragic early death was an incalculable loss to popular music.

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Kathryn, and have a great week!

  2. Hello Shady,
    Well, I never heard of Castro Convertible (but I did hear of a "hideaway bed")! I did listen to Bernadette's songs at the end and really DID enjoy them both! My fav, "his lips get in the way"! Its was fun to watch those old clips, too!
    Ok, so now you're talking (my kinda music). I love MANY of Chaka Khan's hits! I can remember (when I was 14) LOVING, "Tell me something good"!!! I actually bought that "45" and listened and sung to it all the time. I didn't spend that .99 too often unless I absolutely loved a song!!!! I still have a cassette tape of me singing along with Chaka to that song!!!
    I also loved Eddy Grants , Electric Ave. and that reggae /techo sound--fun to do the "robot" to. How interesting to read about his past--I thought he was a one hit wonder! Once again, enjoyed this post!
    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, dear Toni! It's great to see you again, my friend. "Hideaway bed" (and "rollaway bed") are also a familiar terms from my childhood. Truthfully, I never heard of Bernadette Castro or Castro Convertibles specifically until I read Bernadette's bio. She had guts to appear all those times on live TV (starting at age 4) and demonstrating how to open and close that bed her daddy made. I'm glad you liked her teen pop records. They were as good as any other hit girl group records of the period and better than most.

      As a "child of the 80s" I knew you'd remember Chaka and Eddy Grant. I wish I could hear you singing along to Rufus on that old tape. "Tell Me Something Good" beings back memories of my trip to Myrtle Beach that year and hearing the song played on the radio down there many many times.

      I'm delighted to have you over, dear friend Toni. Thanks for making time for me and have a safe and happy week ahead!

  3. Good day, dear Shady!

    Castro was totally to me - I have one question: does everyone own the convertible bed if you buy it? Any tie in to communism or socialism that I can imply? No...dern.

    Chaka Khan WAS Rufus, as far as I'm concerned. Did anyone look at anyone else when she fronted the band? That voice was spectacular. Not all that crazy about her polictics, but who cares?

    My all time favorite of CK was "Tell Me Somethin' Good." Disco owes her a debt of gratitude!

    Rick(y) Nelson was a favorite of mine, too - "Garden Party" was a decent song that took him up the charts, too. Gone to soon.

    Your thoughts on NELSON the band of his twin sons?

    Hubzam calls - how dare he - I have to serve lunch. See, they can't use a fork without me...

    1. Hello, dear Cherdo! Thank you for coming to my garden (variety) blog party, dear friend! :) To be honest I don't think I ever listened to the music made by Nelson, the band formed by Rick's twin sons. Do you like them? Do you remember his daughter Tracy co-starring as a nun in Father Dowling Mysteries, the TV series that starred Tom Bosley, "Mr. C" on Happy Days? Do you believe everything Fonzie tells you about reverse mortgages? (Oops, I'm playing my favorite game Six Degrees again!)

      I don't know the answer to your Castro question. All I know is that you should never smoke Cuban cigars in bed. :)

      Of all the music genres I present here on SDMM, funk is probably least represented because I'm not a big funk fan. For instance I like the early recordings of James Brown better than his later work and George Clinton's Parliaments soul group better than his Parliament funk band. My personal collection does not include anything by Rufus or by Chaka Khan. Yet, this particular recording of hers triggered a fond memory of a nightclub I frequented in the early 80s. It was the kind of place where "everybody knows your name." I went there with friends after work. I felt at home there like I did at the Dell. I was friends with the DJ, loved the sound system and his play lists. I hadn't heard this Chaka record since those clubbing days and so I decided to include it in this mix.

      Thank you very much for coming by, dear friend Cherdo. I shall see you on the Flipside tomorrow. Have a great week!

  4. Does this post have a theme I'm missing? Are all the performers tied together in some way? Is it like Magnolia? I've never heard of Castro Convertibles, but the information about the commercials is great. I love her voice. I was never too fond of Chaka Khan, but she had a powerful voice. I liked Ricky Nelson way back when. He was such a cutie as a teenager on Ozzie and Harriet. Do you remember the beautiful blonde on the Tic-Tac breath mint commercials? She was Ricky's ex-wife, and Mark Harmon's sister.


    1. Hi, dear Janie Junebug! Thank you very much for coming, my special friend!

      You wrote:

      << Does this post have a theme I'm missing? Are all the performers tied together in some way? >>

      No, dear friend. The majority of my posts are a mixed bag, a variety of music styles scattered across different decades. In theory I eventually offer recordings to suit every taste and if you don't find a something you like this week, there's always next week, next month, next year, next century and so on. :)

      Little known fact: I was Ricky Nelson's stunt double in Rio Bravo. See... you learn something new every time you visit SDMM!

      It seems like everybody in the world can be linked together by playing Six Degrees. (See my reply to Cherdo for a sample thread.) Sweetie, I never forget a beautiful blonde, but I think you named the wrong Harmon sister as the Tic-Tac girl. I looked it up in my Funk and Wagnalls and it says that KELLY Harmon was the Tic-Tac girl, not her sister Kris Harmon who was married to Rick Nelson. Kelly and Kris are indeed the sisters of Mark Harmon who was once married to Napoleon Bonaparte.

      I'm glad you enjoyed learning about Bernadette Castro and her magic beds and agree that she made some groovy girl group records that woulda been, coulda been and shoulda been hits.

      Thank you again, dear Janie, for your visit and your generous comments. I'll be chatting with you again soon here, there and everywhere. Take care, dearie!

    2. I THOUGHT that was you in Rio Bravo. I've been watching it everyday for months. I'm shocked by the Harmon sisters. I read many times that the pretty blonde was Kris. I remember the movie about Ricky and Kris getting married when they're young. They go to bed in separate bunk beds. Before you know it, they're crowded into one bunk bed. I don't know why. Damn Kris Harmon. Damn tic-tacs.

    3. Hello again, Janie Junebug! Yessum, that was my torso taking the place of Ricky's in Rio Bravo. I also performed all the dance sequences for Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.

      I don't know a lot about Tic-Tacs, dear Janie, but you are a genuine Lifesaver! Thank you very much for coming over and stay warm way up there in the frozen north country of Jacksonville.

  5. I never knew about Castro beds but having a "pull-out" sofa was something we did have...and they and all sleeper sofas are not comfortable! (But who wants guests to stay for long anyway?) Her voice was much smoother than the beds! I think this song by Ricky had a similar theme to "Garden Party"...trying to be himself at that time instead of the "old Ricky". But he didn't give up until his sad passing. Chaka Khan was never a fav of mine and I don't recall the Equals. However, Electric Avenue is a classic and I didn't know the meaning of the song until tonight so thanks for helping me learn some new things today! Stay comfy down south as the temps here have fallen and we're suppose to get 3-5in. of snow tonight. Yep, it's here....sob.

    1. Hi, dear YaYa! May I assume you were crying and not CURSING when you wrote "sob"? (LOL) Or was it a little of both? :)

      I am very happy to see you, dear friend. I agree with you that I never got a good night's sleep on a pull-out sofa bed. A bed of nails would probably be more comfortable than most of them, but then again maybe the Castro was and is the Cadillac of convertible beds. Ever try one?

      I like Rick Nelson's autobiographical songs and serious approach to his craft. I will never forget the feeling that swept over me that New Year's Day when I woke up to news reports of his death the night before in a plane crash.

      I'm glad you enjoyed learning the back story behind "Electric Avenue." The cool reggae sound and irresistible dance beat masked serious message music.

      Ashland is forecast to get 3 to 5 inches of snow tonight? Looks like you're gonna have to close your swimming pool for the season, dear friend! :) Please bundle up, stay warm and have a wonderful week ahead, and thank you again for spending some time in the Shady!

  6. oooh! convertibles! that caught my eye right away. i always though it sounded terribly romantic to go cruising along Route 66 with the top down and the wind blowing through mine and Daisy's hair. especially with a good song blaring like "Bright Lights and Country Music." i know you didn't include that song with this post, but it's one i'm quite familiar with, so when i read that, the song was stuck in my head once again. (side note: if you have a minute, here's one of my favorite bluegrass/country ladies covering Whisperin' Bill's version - ).
    I found it interesting what you wrote in the pharagraph above Ricky Nelson's song about the rock/country genre taking a hit after the rise of more progressive rock groups. that's actually something i've been thinking a lot about recently. i think that song goes well with those times.
    once again, you're cranked out another great post, Shady. one that, despite many other reader's younger age, can still relate to and gain from.
    -Abigail and Daisy.

    1. Hi, Abigail & Daisy! Are you keeping warm out there in Kansas? We're in for the coldest snap of the season starting tomorrow.

      I'm delighted to see you and to know that you were inspired by this post. I watched Rhonda's video and love her uncluttered, straightforward, no nonsense singing and guitar playing. Thanks for sharing it with me! I knew you'd have something to say about Rick Nelson and I urge you to watch all of his great performances on YouTube including excellent vintage clips from his family's TV series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. I just finished watching all available episodes of the series on NetFlix and was dismayed to find that Ricky's musical performances were edited out of them. That's why it's such a blessing to find them preserved on YouTube. Several of Rick's recordings tell the story of his life, the trials, tribulations and loneliness of a singing star's life on the road, the damage fame can do to personal relationships and the fickle nature of the music business and of audiences. These include "Travelin' Man," "Teen Age Idol" and "Garden Party" in addition to the song featured in this post.

      Thank you ever so much for being a superb friend, dear Abigail, and for your comments here today. You and Daisy have a wonderful week !

    2. RICKY'S SONGS HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM OZZIE AND HARRIET? Oi, what a world, what a world. I'm melting.

    3. Yessum, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Every time the gang would race to the bandstand to hear Rick sing there'd be an abrupt edit and next thing you know Ozzie is standing in the garage shooting the breeze with his neighbor Thorny - no Ricky singing performances! I looked it up on Wiki and this explains why:

      << Most of the pre-1964 episodes of the television series are in the public domain in the United States, except for the musical performances of Ricky Nelson included in the episodes (these are the exclusive and sole property of The Rick Nelson Company, LLC). >>

      The good news is that Rick's son headed a project to digitize all 435 episodes of the series, commercials and all, and it is set to be released on DVD next month! Will you buy it for me, pretty please?

    4. i'm glad you liked it, Shady! Rhonda, as i have mentioned is one of my favorite ladies. You hit the nail right on the head by calling her style 'straightforward and uncluttered'. she has a very strong voice and i just love it when she belts out those lyrics. (if you have another minute, here's my current favorite video by her:

      i have to chime in with Janie's surprise and disbelief over that sad state of affairs. how frustrating it must have been for you watching those episodes as well. i think that would drive daisy and i crazy!
      i've noticed that sometimes when Monkees episodes are being played on tv, the performances or songs are not as same as the originals. they use the same songs over and over and sometimes cut out some of the episode to insert modern day commercials. how lucky we are that work is being done to preserve original episodes of things. i feel blessed that someone has taken the time to upload the correct version of the show on youtube, and that Ricky's son is sort of doing the same! what great ideas!
      also, i wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday. i hope you had a wonderful day!

    5. Hi again, dear Abigail! I just now found this wonderful follow-up comment of yours. Please forgive me for not always remembering to check my back pages.

      I played that second Rhonda Vincent video and once again thoroughly enjoyed her performance along with her group of fine musicians, The Rage. People like Rhonda and The Rage (and you) are preserving traditional roots music and it does my heart good to know that they are among your influences. Too many young people are influenced by music that promotes hate, violence, drinking, drugs, greed and promiscuous behavior. You are very wise for steering clear of all that rubbish because in time it can only bring you down. Continue to live clean and live right and you will be thanking yourself when you are my age.

      Old TV series like The Monkees and Ozzie & Harriet that had music performances embedded in them are today, in syndication, subject to all kinds of alteration and editing. I wish you could hop into a time machine and go back and experience everything exactly as I did at your age. (I was 17 in 1967.) You would have made an ideal 60s teenager and I know you would have fit right in and had a ball.

      Thank you again for the sweet birthday wishes, dear Abigail. Your comments mean the world to me and so does this special friendship we have cultivated.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Abigail! God bless!

  7. I never knew that Eddy Grant was part of the Equals! I remember Electric Avenue from the early 2000's so it must have been re-released - it reminds me of summer holidays!

    1. Hi, dear Sarah! Thank you for popping over. I was hoping you'd catch these two classics by Guaya born Londoner Eddy Grant. Isn't that an interesting story of how bloody rioting was the inspiration for his international hit "Electric Avenue"? That record was a big club hit here in the U.S. and is major memory maker from my bachelor years in the 80s.

      I'm glad you learned a little something and had some fun during your visit, dear friend Sarah. Please take good care of yourself and enjoy the rest of your week!

  8. Much to my delight this post showed up in my email on the one I don't use as much. I had tried both to see if I could get the darn follow by email to work for your blog. I hope it keeps working. I don't care where it shows up. :):)

    I learned a lot. I vaguely remember my folks watching Milton Berle on an small old black and white TV when I was like 4 or 5 years old, I think. Didn't remember the convertible couches, though.

    I watched The Nelsons, Donna Reed, Father Knows Best, etc...but my favorite was Leave It To Beaver. I didn't get a radio until about 1961 when I was ten, so before that all I heard was what my mother liked...Andy Williams, Mitch Miller and I remember her playing an album called Fever and Smoke on repeat--LOL!

    Sadly, all those songs like "A Girl In Love Forgives" got me into a series of unhealthy relationships. We were raised to be taken advantage of. I am so glad times have changed so much for women. ;)

    1. Hello hello hello, dear Rita! I am elated to have you back over for a visit and I hope you will keep my blog on speed dial from now on. :)

      This is a sensational comment from you, dear friend. I watched Milton Berle's Texaco -sponsored show every week with my parents but don't remember little Bernadette doing her live commercials. Maybe her segments only aired in the New York area where the company was based.

      You and I had similar viewing habits back then. I was a regular viewer of Ozzie & Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, and Leave It To Beaver. Beaver was also my favorite because it was heartwarming and always left me with a positive feeling and a life lesson learned. I can't think of any popular series today that offers as good a tutorial on parenting.

      I also agree with you that the lyrics to many popular songs of the 50s and 60s sent the wrong message to girls about how to deal with boys who cheat and mistreat them. Times have indeed changed!

      Thank you again for thinking of me, dear Rita, and for your kind visit and excellent comment. Enjoy the rest of your week. God bless!

  9. Hey Shady Del,

    A quirky post you have here! How dinky the young lass was able to deftly pull that bed down like a true professional :) perhaps she had some tuition LOL - born to entertain. Yes Electric Avenue a funky song - do you like 'Don't Look Back,' Mick Jagger and Peter Tosh, who had an unfortunate death so in some ways, the song while uplifting too has a
    tragic side - any thoughts about that Shady Del.

    It's interesting to read about potential snow in parts of the US as here we are heading into mid 30 degree temperature so pull out the swimmers and ramp up the air conditioning :) Thinking about snow is enough to bring on chillblains, so keep safe to all your readers, cheers Allie-Millie

    1. Hello, dear Allie-Millie! Thank you very much for coming up from Australia, dear friend!

      Precocious little Bernadette Castro was poised and brimming with confidence as she showed the world how to operate her father's convertible beds on live television. At age 30 I was still learning how to wave bye-bye.

      I'm almost ashamed to admit that I had never before seen that video of Mick Jagger - Peter Tosh performing a delightful Jamaican Reggae version of the Temptations hit "Don't Look Back" re-titled "Walk (And Don't Look Back)." I enjoyed it immensely! Thank you for letting me know about it!

      Yessum, it has been quite cold in much of the USA this past week including here in Central Florida where the mercury dipped into the upper 30s (F) two nights ago and low 40s this morning, A nice warm-up begins today, so says the weatherman.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend Allie-Millie, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOM ANDERSON, (aka, Shady Del Knight)!!!! November 20 is a special day!

    1. Who??? What???

      Well, hello, dear Anonymous! My oh my, you really get around. I have seen your name on many blogs over the years. :)

      Thank you very much for the birthday wishes. I reached a milestone today - age 39. I can't wait to find out what my 40s bring! :)

  11. As much as i loved the Beatles, I also thought Ricky Nelson was terrific and loved his songs. Record producers are not always right. People can like all types of music. I would listen to my parent's Andy Williams album for hours singing along. "Can't Get Used to Losing You," was a favorite. I still love listening to Ricky. The lyrics to his song made me feel sad for him. I hope he knew many people still loved his music.

    I absolutely loved watching the clip on Bernadette. She was a cutie. I don't remember seeing those commercials in California either. I enjoyed seeing Carson and Berle too. I would have bought that song, "A Girl in Love Forgives."

    I know so little 80's music. I've never heard Chaka Khan before but she has a great voice. Don't remember The Equals or Eddy Grant, but I do remember 'Baby Come Back' a song I have always liked.

    This was a fun collection of songs; some I knew, some I didn't. Thanks, dear friend and Happy Birthday.

    1. Hi, dear Belle! Thanks for coming over to Shady school and letting me teach you a history lesson about Castro. Sweet little Bernadette had loads of confidence and courage to demonstrate that convertible bed on live television night after night, year after year. I'm all thumbs! I was delighted to find that rare video on YouTube to help me introduce the girl pop records Bernadette made around the age of 20.

      I agree with you about Rick Nelson and the fact that there is an audience for all types of music, not just the kind that is currently "hot" and "in." I think Rick's music is timeless. Everything he performed from rock 'n' roll to rock-a-billy, R&B, teen pop, country and country rock fusion, was rendered soulfully from deep in his heart. Rick made performing appear effortless but he never phoned it in. He was one of the all time greats and I still miss him. Did you see that next month the entire Ozzie & Harriet TV series will be released on DVD, remastered and containing all of Rick's musical numbers and even original embedded commercials?

      "Can't Get Used To Losing You" is also my favorite recording by Andy Williams.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts about this week's song selection, dear friend Belle. I'm glad you had fun and learned a thing or two. Please take care of yourself and stay tuned for another post ripped from history's headlines coming two days from now on Monday morning. God bless!

  12. Oops...too early. It's an hour and a half of Monday and that's not Monday enough.

    Good night.

    1. My goodness, dear Cherdo! What were you doing up so late again? Were you and Janie Junebug engaged in mischief? I think we should forget about Three's Company and remake The Witches of Eastwick. (I wannabe Cher!)

      Thank you for thinking of me, dear friend!

      God bless!


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