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 26, 2015

Farmer's Daughters Part 1: Hey Paula, Please Pass the Belgian Popcorn!

I'm Shecky Shady.

Ever hear the one about

the farmer's daughters

and the traveling salesman?


Tyler, Texas, native Barbara Mills has a famous
big brother - Larry Henley, falsetto lead singer
of the Newbeats. Although not as well known or as
commercially successful, Barbara is a fine vocalist.

In the mid 60s Barbara moved to Nashville and joined
Larry and the Newbeats on the roster of Hickory Records.
When you hear Barbara's mid tempo beat ballad "Try,"
you might agree that she sounds more like a sultry
soul sister from Memphis than your typical
Music City recording artist.

 "Try" - Barbara Mills 
 (June 1966, uncharted B side of  
 "Let's Make A Memory") 


At the start of 1963 two other Texans,
the teen pop duo of Paul and Paula,
topped the chart with "Hey Paula."
That year 4 more Paul and Paula
singles reached the Hot 100.

By the end of 1963 the world had changed and in 1964 the Beatles and the British Invasion were a big part of the new normal. The best Paul and Paula could do that year was Bubble Under with their swan song "We'll Never Break Up For Good." They kept their promise.
Paul (Ray Hildebrand) and Paula (Jill Jackson) reunite from time to time and perform at special events.

In 1964 Jill began a solo career and released excellent
singles on Frank Sinata's Reprise label including the three
featured here. Hard to believe none of them charted!
Listen now to Jill's pure, sweet voice as she sings the
ballad "All Over Again" released in the summer of '64.

 "All Over Again" - Jill Jackson 
 (August 1964, uncharted) 

The flip side of Jill's summer 1964 single is the
ear candy confection "Hey Handsome Boy."

 "Hey Handsome Boy" - Jill Jackson 
 (August 1964, B side of "All Over Again") 

Belgian Popcorn, anyone?

In the fall of '64 Jill Jackson released "Pixie Girl,"
a glorious single with a Popcorn beat. The term
Popcorn, as in Popcorn music, Popcorn Oldies
or Belgian Popcorn, refers to an underground
music scene of the 70s and 80s that began
in Belgium at a nightclub called Popcorn.
Patrons danced to slow and medium tempo
American and British records, most of them
obscure non-hits. Club deejays routinely 
adjusted the playing speed of the records
to make them fit the style of dancing that
was popular at the time. Now let's hear
Jill Jackson's Popcorn 45, "Pixie Girl."

 "Pixie Girl" - Jill Jackson 
 (November 1964, uncharted) 


Like countless other teenage singers, Mary Miller
hoped to become the next Brenda Lee or Lesley Gore.
In the mid 60s, Mary released four singles and was
invited to perform two of her songs on the music
TV series Shivaree. Unfortunately, the national
exposure was of little benefit because none of
Mary's records made the chart.

Let's listen to "Where's Johnny," the A side
of a single that Mary Miller released in 1965.
The song was co-written by Dick St. John
of the singing duo of Dick and Dee Dee.
This girl pop ditty should have finished
in the top 40 but instead...diddly-squat!

 "Where's Johnny" - Mary Miller 
 (February 1965, uncharted) 


Let's finish this edition of Farmer's Daughters with
"Double Crossin' Sweetie Pie," a single released in the
summer of 1961 on Monument Records by teenage
songstress Janice Ward, a resident of Silver Spring,
Maryland, a suburban community between Baltimore
and Washington. This fantastic girl pop sound deserved
to be a hit but missed the national chart and didn't even
Bubble Under. That didn't stop it from catching fire in
the Baltimore-D.C. area where both sides of the single
received heavy radio play. Listen now to Janice Ward's
beltway biggie, "Double Crossin' Sweetie Pie."

 "Double Crossin' Sweetie Pie"- Janice Ward 
 (July 1961, uncharted nationally 
 B side, "When A Girl Gives Her Heart (To A Boy)" 
 hit #1 in Baltimore on WITH and WWIN 
 and #6 in Washington D.C. on WPGC) 

I hope you enjoyed the one

about the farmer's daughters

and the traveling salesman.

Then there's the one about

the farmer's daughters

and the playboys. Remind

me to tell you that one

in volume 2 of this series.

It's coming soon!

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Skye's the Limit and Jessica's Da Bomb! "And This Week's BOTB Winner is..."

Hi... I'm Skye.

You know me as one of the stars of the popular
This is my second turn as Shady's guest host.
Shady has asked me to be a presenter at this
week's Battle of the Bands award ceremony.
What does Agents of S.H.A.D.Y. have to do
with BOTB, you ask? Absolutely nothing!
The real reason why Shady invited me back
is because he likes to look at me. Turns out
I am not the only one haunting Shady's
dreams.  It's a three-way tie between
me and two other Asian beauties...
actress Chloe Bennet, seen below...


...and Chinese pop singer Chloe Wang, seen below.


Before I announce the winner of this week's
Battle of the Bands, I will read a message
written by Shady Del Knight on the
back of a 5th Avenue wrapper.
The message reads:

Thanks, Skye, and thanks for subbing for me today. This week's BOTB match-up pitted two outstanding recordings against each other, Ramona King's "Run Johnny Run" which sounds a little like "When You Walk in the Room," and the Spandells' "The Boy Next Door" which copies the melody of "Foolish Little Girl" by the Shirelles. I had a very tough time deciding which of these smasheroos should get my vote. I got goose bumps listening to the glorious harmony produced by those Dimension Dolls, The Spandells. On the Ramona King record I appreciated the dynamic Spectorian Wall-of-Sound production. I also tend to favor up tempo numbers like Ramona's. Perhaps it all boils down to those famous words supposedly uttered way back when on American Bandstand, "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it." That's why, in the final analysis, I decided to vote for the Ramona King platter.

Okay, let's check the big board!



 (write-in vote) 


This was my second BOTB and the second time that
I was surprised by the outcome. Going into this week's
battle, I was worried that "Run Johnny Run" might
run away with a lopsided victory. Instead, it was
Johnny's archrival, "The Boy Next Door,"
who won by a comfortable margin.


After completing two BOTB contests I was curious
to determine which friends continued to vote the
same way I did. Turns out there are five friends
whose votes have matched mine: Mike Spain,
Rita, Dolorah, John Holton and Anne O'Leary.
How long can the six of us keep matching
each other? It will be fun to find out.


Due to family obligations involving a long car trip,
I will not be publishing a BOTB post on June 1.
However, I fully intend to visit your blog,
listen to your band battle and comment
a.s.a.p. after I return.  I will be getting
a late start so please understand if I
can't show up at your site until
June 2 or later.  I'll be back
with another BOTB post
on June 15.  Thanks!

Skye, back to you!

Congratulations to The Spandells and
their recording "The Boy Next Door,"
the winners of this week's
Battle of the Bands!

Thanks for voting and be sure
to return for Shady's next BOTB.
And remember.....

Skye's the limit!

Wait a minute!
Hold on to your horses there, sister!

I don't understand what all the fuss is about.
You might be rich and famous and have
good looks and good hair, but I got
news for you. There's a new girl
in town, fresh off the boat
and she's got something you don't.

And I challenge you to stretch a dollar
as far as I can!



If you haven't been following them,
Shady says you should be. This summer
why not do some serious binge-
watching and catch up?






Both shows get my vote

and deserve yours!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Battle of the Bands, Special Edition - "Hey, That Sounds Just Like..." (Vol. 1)

Welcome to Volume 1 of

Hey, That Sounds Just Like...

It's my latest post for Battle of the Bands,
the blog hop group established in 1956 by
my good buddy Stephen T. McCarthy at

Hey, That Sounds Just Like compares recordings of
different songs that happen to share a similar sound.
Some examples in this series sound almost exactly
alike, either by accident or accidentally on purpose.
Listen to the two sets of recordings in this post.
Each set includes a record or two by a well known
artist along with a sound-alike record made by
a less well known act. Please vote for the
better of the two sound-alike records.

Note: If you try to leave the polling place
without explaining why you voted the
way you did, a burly security guard
will wrestle you to the ground.

"Alright, let's get on it." The contestants
are waiting in the wings and ready to perform.
Let the Battle of the Bands commence!


Image courtesy Davie Gordon @
Ramona King is a little known artist who released
four uncharted singles on the Warner Bros. label
in the mid 60s. Her third 45, "Run Johnny Run,"
was arranged and produced in the style of
 Phil Spector and includes his girl group
The Blossoms as background singers.
"Run Johnny Run" sounds a lot like
 "When You Walk in the Room."

 "Run Johnny Run" - Ramona King 
 (July 1964, uncharted) 


The English Merseybeat band The Searchers
did a fine job of covering the original recordings
of American artists. In September of 1964
The Searchers penetrated the U.S. top 40
with their version of our featured song
"When You Walk in the Room."

 "When You Walk in the Room" - The Searchers 
 (November 1964, highest chart position #35


"When You Walk in the Room" was written
and first recorded in the fall of 1963 by
singer/songscribe Jackie DeShannon,
a production arranged by the multi-
talented Jack Nitzsche. Hard to
believe this great recording
stalled at #99 on the chart!

 "When You Walk in the Room" 
 Jackie DeShannon (January 1964, 
 highest chart position #99) 


Here's one of those so-called Dimension Dolls
ditties, this one by a girl group called the Spandells.
Their 1964 one-off single "The Boy Next Door"
borrows heavily from the Shirelles' hit
"Foolish Little Girl."

 "The Boy Next Door" - The Spandells 
 (December 1964, uncharted) 


Now that you've heard "The Boy Next Door" listen to
the 1963 original by the girls next door, the Shirelles.

 "Foolish Little Girl" - The Shirelles 
 (May 1963, highest chart position #4) 

Okay, it's time for you to vote.

Which is the better sounding

sound-alike, Ramona King's

"Run Johnny Run"

or The Spandells' record

"The Boy Next Door"?


Stay tuned for my follow-up post 6 days from now
in which I will cast my vote, count the ballots
(including hanging chad and dimpled chad)
and announce the winner.

After voting here today, please swing over
to Stephen's place where you will find links
to the other participating BOTB blogs.
Be a good friend and try to visit every
blog on the list. Find out how good it
feels to commit random acts of kindness.

Have a Shady day!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

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. 
 Clearly Helen and John 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! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

(Shady Nervously Fumbles With the Envelope) "And the BOTB Winner is..."


You know what that means. The rent's overdue. 
It's time to declare a winner in my very first
Battle of the Bands... brought to you by

and by Viagra...

One pill makes you larger.

Go ask Alice.

I will announce the winner in a moment...

but remember, ladies and gentlemen,
this is only an exhibition, so please...
no wagering!


My first Battle of the Bands was a wonderful experience
and it was full of surprises. People flocked to the polls
to vote for their favorite version of "Wasn't It You,"
a little known song composed by Carole King and
Gerry Goffin.  Voters had three choices, a version
recorded by UK singing star Petula Clark, one by
Peggy Lipton, the singing actress from The Mod
Squad, and a third by UK singer and mod fashion
icon Billie Davis. Going in, I expected the contest
to be a slam dunk for Petula Clark. I was afraid that
Peggy Lipton's understated approach to the material,
which I consider groovy, might not go over well and
that Peggy's placid platter might not get any votes.
I couldn't have been more wrong!


I like love Petula Clark but, to my ears, there wasn't
anything remarkable about her version of "Wasn't It You."
Pet sang the song well and I liked the arrangement,
but her performance was right down the middle,
a little too "correct" for my taste. Simply put,
Pet's rendition didn't make me feel anything.

In contrast I pricked up my ears the first time I heard
Peggy Lipton's super cool version of "Wasn't It You"
on the excellent girl group anthology Where the
Girls Are 5 from Ace Records UK. Subtlety
can be compelling and Peggy's low-key,
laid back vocal style appealed to me.
Her performance of the song seemed
right in character, as if sung by
Julie Barnes on Mod Squad
or Norma Jennings on
Twin Peaks. Peggy Lipton
has a high likability quotient.
She is popular with men and with
women. I believe Peggy's popularity as
an actress helped make people receptive to
her subdued singing style and garnered her a
substantial share of the votes in this contest.

My Pick To Click in my first Battle of the Bands,
the recording that got my vote, is the one by Billie Davis,
the singing style icon of the 60s Mod/Brit Beat generation.
We all have different sets of filters in our ears, listen for
different things and respond favorably to different stimuli.
I experience a visceral response when I listen to Billie.
Woman's got soul and, as a Dell rat and inveterate
soul fan, that is what I most appreciate about her.
I love the quality of Billie's voice, her diction,
her singing style and the mood engendered.
Billie's recording has it all - an interesting
arrangement punctuated by guitar riffs
and flourishes of oboe (or clarinet),
gospel-tinged background vocals
and a compelling performance by
the ultra hip UK songstress. I like
the way Billie handles the material,
rendering the song with more feeling
and passion than do the other women.
As I listen I can feel her struggling to
control her emotions and hold back
tears. The vibrato in her delivery
conveys pain, sadness, anger and
bitterness and gives more power
to the song's lyrics.

To sum it up, Billie's dramatic interpretation
of "Wasn't It You" is spot-on. Billie sells
the song and I'm sold on her. I joined
the Billie club and she got my vote!


Okay, I am holding in my sweaty hands
a hermetically sealed envelope. Inside
is the name of the winner of my first
Battle of the Bands. I will now open
the envelope and announce the winner.

(Shady nervously fumbles with the envelope)

And the winner is.....


for BEN-HUR!

Dang it, I knew I shouldn't have
worn this old suit.

The Battle of the Bands winner is...


Let's take a look at the tote board
and check the final results of the vote.




   (write-in vote for "That Mule, Old Rivers and Me") 

I was surprised and delighted by the
fairly even distribution of votes!

Thank you for reading, listening and voting. Be sure to tip your waitress on the way out and join me on the 15th for another fun-filled BYOB BOTB!

"The Guy Under the Seats"

Hello there, Shady. I hope you got your jollies hosting today's double Version Sacrifice. Tell me, Shady. How does it feel to play God and turn thumbs down on the one and only Petula Clark, a woman who has more talent in her little finger than you have in your entire body? How does it feel to dash the dreams of Peggy Lipton, the singing sweetheart from The Mod Squad? What goes around comes around, my compadre. One of these days, instant karma's gonna get you, gonna knock you off your feet, better get yourself together darlin'...Lincoln Hayes you're gonna meet. But until that day I'm gonna be right here making your life
.....a living HELL.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hey Get Your Battle of the Bands Here! Prepare To Witness a Version Sacrifice!

Welcome to


It's my first post for the Battle of the Bands
blog hop group established in 1956 by
my good buddy Stephen T. McCarthy at


BOTB parties are held on the 1st and 15th of the month.
(BYOB parties are held every Friday and Saturday night.)
Version Sacrifice might sound a little disturbing but
I assure you it's merely a friendly competition
that let's you be the judge.

Today, a member of The Mod Squad competes
for Team USA in a three-way spin-off against
a mod Brit pop queen and the #1 British
female singer in the U.S. during the 60s.
All three ladies waxed the same song.
Listen to all three versions, pick the
one you like best and cast your
vote when you comment.

Note: If you try to leave the polling place
without explaining why you voted the
way you did, a burly security guard
will wrestle you to the ground.

"Alright, let's get on it." The contestants
are waiting in the wings and ready to perform.
Let the Battle of the Bands commence!


Petula Clark was nicknamed The First Lady of the
British Invasion for racking up a string of successful
singles in the U.S. that began with the international
mega-hit "Downtown." Most of Pet's hit recordings
were supplied by the British composing team of
Tony Hatch and his partner/wife Jackie Trent
who, sadly, died in March of this year.

On her 1966 album I Couldn't Live Without Your Love,
Petula Clark deviated from the norm and recorded
"Wasn't It You," a Carole King - Gerry Goffin song
that has become one of my favorites penned by
those famous Brill Building songsmiths.

 "Wasn't It You" - Petula Clark  
 (from the 1966 album 
 I Couldn't Live Without Your Love


"Bad scene. Mama swung pretty good."

That notwithstanding, 60s flower child Julie Barnes
managed to free herself from her hooker mom and
hook up with the good guys as an undercover cop
on the hit TV series The Mod Squad. Who knew
she could sing? I was pleasantly surprised
the first time I heard Peggy's laid back
rendition of "Wasn't It You," a track
on her self titled 1968 album. This
cool cut is easily one of the best
of Peggy's recording career.

 "Wasn't It You" - Peggy Lipton 
 (from 1968 album Peggy Lipton ) 


After being seriously injured in a 1963 auto crash,
a mishap that broke her jaw and her momentum as
an up-and-coming UK singing star, mod fashionista
Billie Davis bounced back. In 1965-66 she made
 records with Keith Powell as the male-female duo
of Keith & Billie. In 1967 she reemerged as a solo
artist with a string of superb recordings that
included our featured song, "Wasn't It You,"
a gem that somehow missed the UK chart.

 "Wasn't It You" - Billie Davis 
 (June 1967, uncharted) 

The moment of truth has come.

Three artists, three different arrangements.

Two versions must be sacrificed.

Which lady recorded the best version

of "Wasn't It You"?


Stay tuned for my follow-up post 6 days from now
in which I will cast my vote, count the ballots
(including hanging chad and dimpled chad)
and announce the winner.

After voting here today, please swing over
to Stephen's place where you will find links
to the other participating BOTB blogs.
Be a good friend and try to visit every
blog on the list. Find out how good it
feels to commit random acts of kindness.

Have a Shady day!