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

Monday, February 29, 2016

How Sarah Got Her Groove Back!

Welcome to

How Sarah

Got Her Groove Back...

the latest post in my series

Version Sacrifice!

I introduced Sarah Collins in Version Sacrifice 2.

NADV 1502031AM1 Sarah Collins. Picture : Adrian Murray (1502031AM1)

She's the mum of two in Yorkshire, England,
who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor,
bounced back to health and became a sensation
on YouTube posting shot-at-home videos of
 herself singing covers of American originals.

Sarah also appears at clubs in England and other
parts of Europe fronting the band Keep The Faith.
So captivated am I by Sarah, by her touching
story and by her singing, that I began this
new series in which she will compete
against herself. That's right, Sarah is
running unopposed. Listen to the
two original recordings along with
the two covers by Sarah and let me
know in your comment which of
Sarah's performances you prefer.
Sarah's all set to sing so let this
one woman Version Sacrifice begin!


Stax Records ruled Memphis but the Hi Records
mill cranked out its share of excellent, silky smooth
soul recordings that featured solo singers backed by
the Hi Rhythm Section and The Memphis Horns.
The most successful Hi artist was Al Green.
Al's label mates included recording artist
and producer Willie Mitchell, the bluesy
southern R&B/soul man O.V. Wright
and St. Louis R&B thrush Ann Peebles.

Ann achieved the biggest hit of her career with
"I Can't Stand the Rain," a song she co-wrote.
Dripping with drama, Ann's record cracked
the top 40 on the Pop Singles chart and
made a run at the top 5 R&B in the fall
of 1973. "I Can't Stand the Rain"
starts out sounding like a
coffee commercial!

 "I Can't Stand the Rain" - Ann Peebles 
 (November 1973, highest chart position 
 #38 Hot 100/#6 R&B

Ann Peebles is ineligible.
Do not vote for her... or else!


Beatle John Lennon loved
"I Can't Stand the Rain,"
and is quoted as saying,
"It's the best song ever."
English songbird Sarah Collins must be fond of "...the Rain," too, because she posted her homemade cover of the song on YouTube.

 "I Can't Stand the Rain" 
 Sarah Collins cover 


In December 1968/January '69, Marvin Gaye's
version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"
became Motown's biggest hit single to date.
A few months later, Marvin's follow-up single,
"Too Busy Thinking About My Baby," originally
waxed by the Temptations and released on their
1966 album Gettin' Ready, cracked the top 5.

 "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" 
 Marvin Gaye  (June 1969, h.c.p. #4) 

Marvin Gaye is ineligible.
Do not vote for him... or else!


Now here's Sarah Collins and her
convincing cover of Marvin Gaye's
"Too Busy Thinking About My Baby."

 "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" 
 Sarah Collins cover 

It's time for you to vote.

You listened to both originals 

and both covers by Sarah Collins.

Which cover gets your vote,

Sarah's version of 

"I Can't Stand the Rain"

or Sarah's rendition of

"Too Busy Thinking About My Baby"?


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.

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Remembering Helen



The following song, performed by the late
Natalie Cole and her father Nat, reminds
me of a very special person, the first lady
of the Shady Dell...Helen Ettline.

Unforgettable, Helen.

That's what you are!
We love you and miss you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pop Goes the Millennium: Rising Female Stars Who Put the "POW" in Girl Power!



"I was a boomer with blinders!"

Silly me. I used to believe that all great
music was produced in the 20th century.
(see above) Boy Girl was I wrong!

A few years ago I got curious and decided
to explore the diversity of music being
produced in the 21st century. To the
delight of many readers (ha!) I got
into hard rock and heavy metal,
but I continued to avoid pop,
hip hop and rap because I kept
telling myself I didn't like it.
How could I know for sure
if I didn't give those styles
a chance? When I took time
to investigate I discovered
that there are many great
young singers on today's
pop music scene.

I want to atone for the mistake
I made of neglecting pop for so
many years and do it in a big way.
Today I begin a 12-part series
on pop, pop rock and pop rap
of the 2010s and the talented
female recording artists who
perform in those styles.

Many of the young women you will
meet in this year long series are closely
identified with today's ubiquitous hip hop
culture. As you listen to them sing you
will get an education in the linguistics
of hip hop. You will hear its influence
in their diction, in their use of street
slang and in the way they enunciate,
including the practice of dropping
consonants. ("Counting" becomes
"coun-in" (no "t" sound and no "g").
The song lyrics, the manner in
which they are sung and the
images contained in the videos
are all in accordance with hip hop
sensibilities - cool, street smart
and tough - the direct opposite
of vanilla and white-bread.

With millions of followers on You/Tube,
the rising stars you will meet in this series
sing original songs along with covers of
hits by other artists. I promise that you
will see many exciting performances
in the months ahead. Now, without
further delay, I proudly present
the first group of Generation Y
and Generation Z wonder women!


Meet singer, dancer, actress and model
Ashlund Jade. This young lady from Utah
mesmerizes me with her vocal talent and
dance routines. Ashlund has modern pop
down to a science - the glottal fry, the
the confident attitude, the choreography,
and the sophisticated, slickly produced
videos that fans of the genre
have come to expect.

In the spring of 2015, barely 12 years of age,
Ashlund sang and danced her way into our
hearts when she covered "Uptown Funk"
by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars,
Record of the Year winner at this year's
Grammy Awards. The performance by
Ashlund and her dance troupe must
be seen to be believed. Watch and
listen as this little uptown girl
takes it downtown!

"Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson feat.
Bruno Mars cover by Ashlund Jade
(May 2015)

Now let's turn back the clock and watch Ashlund's
very first You/Tube cover song, "Cool Kids," the
Echosmith hit. Eleven year old Ashlund's version
got more than a million views in 3 months!

"Cool Kids" - Echosmith cover
by Ashlund Jade (Nov. 2014)


Seems like only yesterday that I watched
Casper Meets Wendy a hundred times with
my granddaughter, a toddler in the late 90s.
My granddaughter is a college woman now
and child movie star Hilary Duff is all grown
up, too. She continues to appear in movies and
TV shows and is a successful recording artist.

In mid 2014 Hilary Duff released the single
"All About You." The following year the song
showed up as a bonus track on the Japan Edition
of Breathe In. Breathe Out. - Hilary's 5th studio
album and the first in 8 years. "All About You"
pleased critics. Time Magazine's Nolan Feeney
praised the single for having the "kind of rowdy
punch" needed for Hilary to effectively stage
a comeback. I agree. Hilary gets my vote as
comeback artist of the decade!

"All About You' - Hilary Duff
(Sept. 2014, h.c.p. #20 Australia
#38 US Mainstream Top 40
from June 2015 album
Breathe In. Breathe Out.)


Remember when Kiss destroyed Anaheim?

In the new millennium, the California community
has been rocked by Jessica (Jessie) Eden Malakouti.
In the mid 2000s Jessie formed an edgy girl band
called Shut Up Stella. In 2010 the singer released
records as Jessie and the Toy Boys. In 2013 Jessie
took the recurring role of Dusky on the Llanview,
Pennsylvania-based TV soap One Life To Live.

Signed to Virgin Records, Jessie changed
her name to Eden xo and in August 2014
released her debut single " Too Cool To
Dance." I think Eden xo looks and sounds
a lot like Madonna in her "Like a Virgin"
period. See if you agree.

"Too Cool To Dance" - Eden XO
(Aug./Sept. 2014, highest chart pos.#14
US Hot Dance Club/#31 US Pop)


Now here's another number by young Ashlund.
In the fall of 2015 Ashlund released this cool
cover of "Sledgehammer," a Top 40 hit by the
Miami-based X Factor girl group Fifth Harmony.

Fifth Harmony cover by
Ashlund Jade (Oct./Nov. 2015)

In addition to her singing, dancing and
modeling, Ashlund Jade is pursuing an
acting career in Los Angeles. At age 11
Ash appeared in the movie Galyntine
and the miniseries The Red Tent.

Let's wrap up the post with one more
command performance by Ashlund.
Listen for the melismatic division of
syllables into two or more parts.
"Car" becomes "ca-ar-r" and "miles"
is pronounced "mi-yels" as Ashlund
covers "Love Me Like You," the hit
by the British girl group Little Mix.

"Love Me Like You" - Little Mix
cover by Ashlund Jade (Jan. 2016)

Just call me "Jaded" because I am
completely sold on Ashlund Jade.

All my life I have been drawn to soulful artists.
Ashlund's got soul and my attention is riveted
whenever she performs.

Ashland, who just turned 13 yesterday,
is a star on the rise and I look forward
to following the trajectory to its zenith.


Stay tuned. You will meet more
talented young pop artists in part 2
of the series coming soon!

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feathers Are Flying as Austin Powers Introduces... Five Zany Brit Birds! :)

 Allow myself to introduce........myself. 

 I'm Austin Powers...super secret spy, 

 international man of mystery, bon vivant, 

 swinging playboy and irresistible babe magnet. 

 London is my home, shag is my bag, 

 planet earth is my playground and 

 danger is my middle name, baby. 

This year I'm planning a traditional
Valentine's Day... going to bed early
so that I can make it home before
the rooster crows.

 Oh come on now. I saw you crack a smile 

 just then, pussycat, admit it - Yeah! 

Mr. Knight is off doing something shady
and he invited me back to emcee the annual
Valentine's dance here at SDMM, the most
shagadelic station in the nation. The place
is packed to the rafters with blokes and
birds so let's get the party started.
Dellions & Dellettes, I bring you
my V-Day Brit bird hen party
featuring five of the greatest
girl pop singers in the UK.
By the way, you can learn
more about this gaggle
of geese in my new book




When it came to recording covers of American
soul and girl group hits, the late, great English
singer and songwriter Jackie Trent had a gift.
Jackie's renditions often rivaled the originals.
Listen to the powerful punch Jackie delivers
as she sings "Reach Out," the song made
famous by Motown's Four Tops.

 "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" - Jackie Trent 
 (from 1967 album Once More With Feeling


Mally Page, Jackie Trent's younger sister,
was part of the English quartet Two of Each.

As a solo artist Mally recorded the Tony Hatch
composition "Life And Soul Of The Party"
and released it on a single in
the spring of 1966.

 "Life and Soul of the Party" 
 Mally Page (May 1966) 


One-off, no-hit-wonder mystery girl Sarah Jane
has been compared to Marianne Faithful in terms
of vocal quality and singing style.

In 1966 Sarah Jane released a dramatic version
of "Listen People," the song that became a top 5
U.S. hit for Herman's Hermits that same year.
Don't look now but Sarah's sensational slab
just might be the definitive version!

 "Listen People" - Sarah Jane 
 (May 1966) 


Liverpool thrush Simone Jackson had a brush with
greatness when she was backed by the Beatles
 in September 1962 at the Cavern Club, a bill
that also included future British Invasion
act Freddie and the Dreamers.

Simone released only three singles in her career.
One of them was "Pop Pop Pop-Pie," a cover of
a dance record that became a top 40 Halloween
hit in 1962 for the Philly girl group the Sherrys.

 "Pop Pop Pop-Pie" - Simone Jackson 
 (October 1962) 


Welsh songbird Tawny Reed was only in her teens
when she released two of the best Northern Soul
singles of the Sixties, "Needle in a Haystack" and
"You Can't Take It Away."

"Needle" was released in the U.S. on Red Bird,
earning Tawny the distinction of being only Brit
girl to have a single issued on the legendary U.S.
girl group imprint. It's shocking that neither of
Tawny's soulful sizzlers became a hit. Here's
"Needle in a Haystack," a barn burner that
rivals the Motown Velvelettes' original!

 "Needle in a Haystack" - Tawny Reed 
 (October 1965 UK/November 1965 U.S.) 

 I hope these super sounds put you in 

  a shagadelic mood, baby. Oh behave! 

 This is Austin Powers... 

 international man of mystery 

 (and music history)... 

 saying ciao for now. 

 Let's do it again real soon, baby... 

 You know you want to... YEAH! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Much, Much More to Make You Misty: Part 2 of My 50th Anniversary Salute to Our Home Boys, The Magnificent Men!

1966 was a breakthrough year for  

The Magnificent Men.

Central Pennsylvania's white soul group followed the
release of their hit Dell two-fer "Peace of Mind" b/w
"All Your Lovin's Gone to My Head" with another
double dose of soul.

On September 10, 1966, the band led by Dave Bupp
and Adrian "Buddy" King performed both sides
of their latest single on DJ Robin Seymour's
Bandstand style, Detroit-based television
show Swingin' Time.

Later in the Seymour show, Bupp's boys were back.

They lip-synced the fab flip, "I've Got News."

Around the same time that the Magnificent Men
released the doublesider "Maybe Maybe Baby"
b/w "I've Got News," their long awaited first
Capitol album hit the street. I vividly recall
the impact that long play record made on
 the youth of the Susquehanna Valley.

 As a teenager, there 
 were three coming- 
 of-age milestones 
 that I couldn't wait 
 to reach: 

 * getting my driver's 

 * owning my first car 

 * gettin' over to the 
  Disc-O-Rama and 
 buying my first 
 Mag Men album. 

Well okay, my first kiss belongs on that
list somewhere, but you get the picture.


 A fact of life, a fundamental part of growing up 
 in Central PA, was a love of the Magnificent Men. 

Already soulfully inclined, (no arm twisting required),
Dell rats were all the more receptive to what the
Mag Men were puttin' down because the Men
were a homegrown act with roots
in York and "The Burg."

On that first album and the two that followed,
the Magnificent Men performed original songs
written by Bupp and King along with covers
of rhythm and blues, soul, crossover country
and pop and jazz standards.

The Mag Men didn't just cover other artists.
They interpreted the material and
made it uniquely their own.

In the new millennium, millions more people
were exposed to the version of "Stormy Weather"
recorded by the Magnificent Men.

"Stormy Weather" by the Mag Men was used in the soundtrack of the 2003 Sylvester Stallone crime drama Shade,
a movie about
card sharks.

Dang... I wish
they would have
called it Shady!

The Magnificent Men gave some of us our first
exposure to the recorded works of soul and
R&B artists like the Artistics, Gloria Lynne,
Shorty Long and the Vibrations.

The Mag Men waxed a faithful rendition of "Misty,"
the Erroll Garner jazz standard of the mid 50s
that was recorded and placed on the chart by
the Vibrations in October/November 1965.

With its lush string arrangement and sappy,
overstated romantic lyrics, "Misty" is a
throwback - an old fashioned ballad
light years away from cool.

Yet the Rodentia Intelligentsia were always
eager to give props where they were due.
They immortalized songs like "Misty"
because they reminded them of their
heritage, the kind of music the first
generation of Dell rats listened and
danced to back in the 50s. "Misty"
recalls a bygone era when ladies
and gentlemen roamed the earth
wearing hats and gloves, reciting
simple poems and believing with all
their hearts that love lasts forever.

In addition to introducing us to artists that
were new to us, the Mag Men gave us a deeper
appreciation of artists we already knew including
Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, Arthur Conley,
Joe Tex, the Temps, the Tops, the Pips
and Smokey Robinson.

As much as any teacher, preacher, statesman
or diplomat, the Magnificent Men helped white
Americans and black Americans to understand,
accept and appreciate one other. In the mid
and late 60s, the most turbulent period of
the African-American Civil Rights Movement,
the music of the Mag Men helped to ease
tension and unite a divided nation.
Mister, we could use a few more
Magnificent Men today.



 Thanks, guys! 

Have a Shady day!