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, March 25, 2016

A Musical Challenge: My Life According To Guess Who... (No, the Artist is NOT The Guess Who. You actually need to guess who. Guess that's clear as mud.)

Here's a fun music challenge.

I first learned about it at The Doglady's Den.
My dear friend Debbie the Doglady created a post
in which she answered a set of questions about her
life using song names from a favorite band. My
dear friend Cathy at Curious as a Cathy created
her own variation on a theme by providing links
to the videos for each song in her post. For my
version I also drew inspiration from my dear
friend Diedre at Pensive Pens and chose to
use the song titles to inform a narrative.
I am also using Diedre's idea and
challenging you to guess the
artist before you get to the
end of my story.

If you are confused about how
this works, read this:

Without further ado, I hereby present

My Life According to...( ? )

No, it is not Question Mark & the Mysterians!


Are you a male or female?

"I'm Just a Lonely Boy"

Describe yourself:

"Busted." (as in broke)
"Don't You Know"?
I was "Born to Lose."

How do you feel?

"Feel So Bad" "Feelin' Sad."
"A Tear Fell," but I'm "Making Believe"
with "The Brightest Smile in Town"
and "I Don't Need No Doctor."

Describe where you currently live:

"Alone in the City,"
"Smack Dab in the Middle."
"Can Anyone Ask for More?"

If you could go anywhere,
where would you go?

"I'm Movin' On."
"I'm Gonna 'Hit The Road Jack' and
Move to the Outskirts of Town."
I've got "Georgia On My Mind."

Your favorite form of transportation:

"The Train" - "Chattanooga Choo-Choo."

Your best friend is:

"Black Coffee"

Your favorite color is:

"Greenback$" and "Blackjack."

What’s the weather like?



"I've Got News For You."
"Baby, It's Cold Outside"
and "The Snow is Falling"
in "St Pete Florida."
("That's a Lie")

Favorite time of day:

"I Didn't Know What Time It Was"
but it was "Late in the Evening."
"Night Time is the Right Time"
to "Mess Around."
(Favorite day? "Yesterday")

If your life was a TV show,
what would it be called?


What is life to you?

"Sticks and Stones,"
"But on the Other Hand, Baby,"
"I Chose to Sing the Blues," and
"Somebody Ought to Write
 a Book About It."

Your relationships:

"I've Had My Fun"
"In the Heat of the Night"
"Just For a Thrill" but, oh,
 it's "Crying Time" again.
"Misery is in My Heart" and
I'm "Walkin' and Talkin' (To Myself)."
"I'm Wonderin' and Wonderin'"
"Baby Won't You Please Come Home"?
"I Can't Stop Loving You." "Come Back."
"Baby Let Me Hear You Call My Name."
"I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now."
"It Shoulda Been Me." "I'm a Fool to Care."

Your fear:

"One Mint Julep"
(Haven't touched a drop in 24 years!)

What is the best advice you have to give?

"Tell the Truth."
"Don't Put All Your Dreams in One Basket."
"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'"
"Come Rain or Come Shine."

If you could change your name,
you would change it to:

"Ruby," "Mary Ann," "Eleanor Rigby,"
"Louise" "Hardhearted Hannah"
or "The Cincinnati Kid."

Thought for the day:

"You'll Never Miss the Water
(Until the Well Runs Dry)"

How you would like to die:

"Roly Poly," "Sitting on Top of the World"
and "Makin' Whoopee."

Your soul’s present condition:

"Together Again."

Your motto:

"We Can Make It." "Let the Good Times Roll"
and "Let's Have a Ball" "Laughin and Clownin"
"At the Club." (Shady Dell) Repeat it
back to me. "What'd I Say"?

And that, my friend, is

My Life According to


I'm betting this is one of the greatest Ray Charles
sides you've never heard. In the summer of 1958,
"You Be My Baby" went to waste as the forgotten
flip side of the uncharted (and rather boring) single
"My Bonnie." The decision makers goofed. They
could have pushed "Baby" instead of "Bonnie"
and scored a hit. Listen and see if you agree.

"You Be My Baby" - Ray Charles
(Aug. 1958, uncharted B side
of "My Bonnie")

How about you?

Would you like to take the

My Life According To...

Musical Challenge?

Have a Shady Day!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Music and Words Award #MWA

My dear friends

Michele at Angels Bark,

Debbie the Doglady at

The Doglady's Den, and

Cathy at Curious as a Cathy,

along with my good buddy

Jeffrey at J.A. Scott,  

recently gave me the

Music & Words Award!

Thank you very much, Michele, Debbie, Cathy
and Jeffrey!  This award is quite an honor
and I deeply appreciate your kindness.

The Music & Words Award was created by
music fan Andrea aka Miss Andi for the
purpose of acknowledging and bringing
together music loving bloggers from
all over the world and sharing info
about artists and music of all genres.

No one is obligated to accept the MWA,
but those who do are asked to
follow these five steps:

1.) Link back to the person who nominated you.
2.) Answer the questions with words AND music.
3.) Pass the award on to 5 bloggers who inspire
     you with their posts about music. Be sure to
     notify them about the award.
4.) Tag your post with #MWA for Music & Words
     Award so we can all find you down the line.
5.) Quote these 5 steps and display the award icon
     in your post and also on your sidebar if you wish.

THE Q & A:

Q1: What does music mean to you?

To me music is magic. Music is a miracle.
I learned to beat on drums but was never
very good at making music. Fortunately
I developed the capacity to appreciate
music that others make. Songs form the
soundtrack of my life. Each one triggers
memories of good times and bad. Some
music soothes and relaxes me. Some
music stimulates, inspires and
motivates me. Some music
tugs at my heartstrings.
My tastes in music are
eclectic to say the least.

Take for example this performance by
18 year old Deanna Durbin in the final
scene of her 1940 film It's a Date which
co-starred Kay Francis and Walter Pidgeon.
Deanna's glorious rendition of "Ave Maria,"
the masterpiece by Austrian composer
Franz Schubert, reduces me to tears.
Never in my life have I experienced
a performance more powerful or
more moving. Watch the whole
thing and let it get inside your
head, your heart and your soul.

"Ave Maria" - Deanna Durbin 
(scene from 1940 film It's a Date)

Close to the opposite end of the spectrum is one
of my favorite hard rock/blues rock recordings,
"Never in My Life," performed by Mountain,
a band from Long Island, NY, led by singer
and guitarist Leslie West and bassist/vocalist
Felix Pappalardi. These guys don't pussyfoot
around. They get right to the point!

When I wake up in the morning
You make me feel so good
Bringing me a shot of whisky
and a little bit of lovin' too

"Never In My Life" - Mountain
(from March 1970 album Climbing!)

Q2: What is your first music-related memory?

My very first music-related memory was
watching The Dinah Shore Show. The former
radio singing star's TV series made its debut
as I was turning two years of age and I
watched it every week with my parents.
Dinah's live show was sponsored by
Chevrolet and a highlight of every
broadcast (after 1952) was Dinah
singing the famous Chevy ad jingle
"See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet."

"See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet"
Dinah Shore (from a 1953 episode
of The Dinah Shore Show)

Q3: What was the first album you purchased yourself?

I credit my cousin with turning me on
to the sound of Johnny Rivers performing
live at the Whisky a Go Go niteclub on
the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

Johnny's live album
Here We a Go Go Again!
was the first LP I ever bought.

"Midnight Special" - Johnny Rivers
(Feb./Mar. 1965, highest chart position #20,
live on Mar. 9, 1965 episode of Hullabaloo)

Q4: What was the latest music you purchased?
(No online streaming or free downloads,
I’m talking about cash here!)

The latest music I purchased was the CD single
"Headlights," an international hit by German DJ
and producer Robin Schulz featuring the vocals
of California singer/songwriter Ilsey Juber.
Listen from the beginning to at least the
1:15 mark of the video and feel a wave
of ecstasy sweep over you!

"Headlights" - Robin Schulz feat. Ilsey
(Apr. 2015, h.c.p. #17 US Dance/Electronic,
#2 Australia and Austria, from
 Sept. 2015 album Sugar)

Q5: Which song did you listen to last?
(No cheating, come out with the dirty pleasures!)

(That Q5 question is verbatim from Miss Andi's
rule book.) Dirty pleasures? I've got them up the
ying yang, but the good news is I am no longer
listening to heavy metal to the exclusion of
nearly everything else. The bad news is I
am now into K-pop, house and gangsta rap.

The last song I listened to before finishing
this post is performed by another exciting
act that I recently discovered - Marian Hill.
Marian Hill is not the name of a solo singer.
It's the name of a Philadelphia duo made up
of vocalist Samantha Gongol and electronic
production artist Jeremy Lloyd. The name
Marian Hill comes from characters in the
musical The Music Man: Harold Hill and
Marian Paroo. Rolling Stone describes
Marian Hill's style as "fused R&B, elec-
tronica and saxophone-heavy jazz
influences." Speaking of sax-heavy,
listen as Samantha and Jeremy are
accompanied by the extraordinary
playing of sax man Steve Davit
as the trio performs "Got It," a
song from Marian Hill's 2015
EP Sway and the soundtrack
of the musical fantasy drama
film Jem and the Holograms.
Marian Hill: minimal sound -
maximum impact!

"Got It" - Marian Hill
 (from Feb. 2015 EP Sway &
soundtrack of Oct. 2015 movie
Jem and the Holograms)


"If you go looking for a friend,

you're going to find they're very scarce.

If you go out to be a friend,

you'll find them everywhere."

- Zig Ziglar

I adopted Zig Ziglar's philosophy eight years ago
when I started blogging. The bloggers I have come
to admire most make it clear that they share Zig's
philosophy. I am passing this award along to five
such people. These five love music and present
it on their blogs. They are also loyal, faithful
friends who show up for me. Any or all of
them might already have been chosen
for this award by other bloggers.
 Nevertheless, I like to give
credit where it is due and
I wish to acknowledge
them as well.

Here are my 5 nominees for
the Music and Words Award:

Sherry Ellis at Mama Diaries.
Music is Sherry's middle name.
 (Mine is Danger.) A well known and
respected author of children's books,
Sherry is also a professional musician
who plays and teaches violin, viola
 and piano. (Meanwhile, I'm still
learning how to wave bye-bye.)
Sherry has become one of my
most faithful friends, one who
reminds me there is a world
of great music beyond the
narrow scope of pop and
rock, and that some of
it is being made by
Sherry herself!

Chris Martin at Tilting at Windmills. 
Chris and I have built a great friendship
based on a mutual love of music and an
abundance of shared humor. Chris and
I enjoy introducing new and different
artists to each other. We are the kind
of guys who appreciate the stats and
trivia related to the music. I always
learn a lot when I hop into Chris's
Friday Time Machine.

My dear Texas friend Holli presents a selection
of her favorite songs in nearly every post. I like
the way she describes how her favorite artists
and songs make her feel. I have a genuine
connection with Holli and I always learn
something new from her posts. Holli is a
loyal friend, a valued friend, and I am
deeply grateful to have her support!

A gifted poet and photographer, Abigail is also
an accomplished musician. She plays banjo to
beat the band but her musical interests extend
beyond country and bluegrass. Abigail shares
my eclectic taste and enjoys visiting SDMM
and learning about all types of music, past
and present. A devoted friend and follower
since the age of 17, Abigail is an inspiration
and a treasure to me. Abigail richly deserves
all the recognition she is getting and I wish
to share this award with her.

Jessica has proven herself to be a great friend.
I admire her for thinking outside the box and
having an extremely wide range of interests
that go far beyond music to include writing,
poetry, travel, fine dining, cooking and an
endless series of educational experiences.
Jessica isn't afraid to post rap and rock,
and that makes her a kindred spirit.

Michele Truhlik, Debbie the Doglady,
Cathy Kennedy and Jeffrey Scott
would all be included on the above list
had they not already tagged me for
this award. All four are what I call
"full service bloggers" and "full
service friends." They connect
with me by blog and by email
and take a genuine interest
in who I am and what I am
doing. Their taste in music
is very similar to mine which
is always a plus. I couldn't ask
for better friends in the blogging
community than Michele, Debbie,
Cathy and Jeffrey. Thank you again,
all four of you, for bestowing
this special honor on me!

Have a Shady day!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Canadian Club, Vol. 2: This Quiet Kid From Toronto, Francesco Yates, Just Might Be the Next Michael Jackson!

My dear Canadian friend Belle Unruh

is celebrating her birthday today.

Happy birthday, Belle!

This post is for you.

In 2014, I presented volume 1 of Canadian Club
in which I introduced Sixties snowbirds
Sandie Selsie and Pat Hervey.

Today, I give you a talented young man
barely out of his teens - an up-and-coming
singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist
from Toronto, Canada. His name is
Francesco Yates.

Belle, who publishes the blog
Who is God? And by the way, who am I?
knows all about Hedley, the pop-rock band
based in her region of British Columbia. Next
month, Francesco Yates and another popular
Canadian singer/songwriter, Carly Rae Jepsen
of Mission, B.C., (also in Belle's neck of the
woods), will join Hedley as they kick off
their Hello World Tour in support of
the band's 6th studio album, Hello.


Francesco Yates got serious about making music
at age 11. At 16 Francesco signed with a major label.

In 2015, when Francesco turned 20, his
eponymous debut EP was released. I am
blown away by Francesco's voice, his
musicianship and his quiet demeanor.

At times Francesco sounds like Michael Jackson,
at least to my ears. Experience Francesco's debut
single, "Better To Be Loved," and see if you agree.

"Better To Be Loved"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Now here's Francesco Yates covering
"Can't Feel My Face," the #1 charting hit
by fellow Canadian artist The Weeknd.
Both Francesco and The Weeknd sound
like Michael Jackson on their respective
recordings. At the 42 second mark you
will hear a shout similar to the one on
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough,"
At 1:02 you will hear the vocal
style Michael used on "Billie Jean."

"Can't Feel My Face" 
(Aug. 2015, The Weeknd
cover by Francesco Yates)

There's mo Michael, mo Michael, mo Michael
in Francesco's voice as he performs "When I
Found You," a tender love ballad from his
self titled EP.  Be sure to listen
at the 1:00 spot!

"When I Found You"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Francesco seems to be singing under the influence
of Prince (think Under the Cherry Moon's "Kiss")
on "Change the Channel," another track found on
the EP. Be sure to click at the 1:05 mark because
that's when this thing gets surreal. Is it Prince?
Is it Michael? Is it Memorex?

"Change the Channel"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Francesco recalls another departed soul legend,
Marvin Gaye, on this cover of Marvin's hit
"What's Going On." This performance
gives me goose bumps!

"What's Going On"
(April 2015, Marvin Gaye
cover by Francesco Yates)

"Something Different," another fine ballad
from Francesco's debut 2015 EP, is an instant
blue-eyed soul, R&B and quiet storm classic!

"Something Different"
(from Sept. 2015 EP Francesco Yates)

Here's the kicker - "Sugar" - the chart topping
international hit single by German DJ Robin
Schulz featuring the vocals of Francesco Yates.

The recording samples Baby Bash's 2003 single
"Suga Suga." The "Sugar" video is must see.
The rogue cop in it makes the gang on
Reno 911 look normal!

"Sugar" - Robin Schulz Ft. Francesco Yates
(July 2015, h.c.p. #3 US Hot Dance/Electronic
#1 Germany, Austria, Czech Republic,
Hungary, Poland, Switzerland)

We'll never get Michael or Marvin back,
but talented young Francesco Yates is
helping to fill the void.

Francesco Yates isn't an impersonator.
He's an original - fresh, versatile and soulful.
Shady sez Francesco deserves to be a star.
I hope you enjoyed his performances.

Once again, I wish my

dear friend Belle a very

happy birthday!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, John!

John Ettline was born

110 years ago today on

the 12th of March, 1906.

John was a wise man. He shared

his wisdom with all of the Dell rats.

The following video offers the kind

of common sense advice that

John would have given us.

Now please listen to this timeless message

of hope as we remember our leader,

Mr. John Ettline.



Sunday, March 6, 2016

It's a Family Guy Affair! Sarah's Beside Herself as Brian and Stewie Name the Soul Survivor of Version Sacrifice!

 Hiya, folks!

 I'm Brian Griffin. 

 And this cute little shaver is my 
 pet human, Stewie (a little dog humor 
 there). You might remember our previous 
 hosting stint five years ago. Click 
 here to hop in Stewie's time machine 
 and revisit that post. 

 What's that smell? 

 This might sound indelicate, Brian, 
 but I need to ask. Did you roll in 
 something? Were you drinking out of 
 my Lil' Loo Potty again? 

 What's the matter, Stewie? You're not 
 your usual cheery self today.

 I'm depressed, Brian. Another year 
 has gone by and I'm still not any older. 
 I've been a freakin' one-year-old 
 since 1999! 

 Yeah right, we should all 
 have your problem. 

 No sympathy here, Stewie, so put a binky 
 in it and let's get down to business. 
 It's time for us to announce the winner 
 of Shady's latest Version Sacrifice, 
 titled How Sarah Got Her Groove Back. 

 As you recall it was a one woman race. 
 The incumbent, English songbird Sarah 
 Collins, ran unopposed, performing 
 covers of two soulful recordings 
 originally made by U.S. artists. 
 Sarah covered "I Can't Stand the Rain" 
 by Ann Peebles and "Too Busy Thinking 
 About My Baby" by Marvin Gaye. 

 I really like the fact that she's a 
 Brit babe, I really do. Brit babes rule. 
 Brit babes are hot. Just sayin'... 

 Readers were asked to vote for the 
 Sarah Collins cover they enjoyed more. 
 As you know, the rules state that 
 a winner cannot be declared until 
 Shady weighs in.  Shady left the 
 following message for me to read: 

In 2015 I discovered many exciting new artists including YouTube sensation Sarah Collins, the English mother who records herself at home singing brilliant covers of U.S. originals, most of them in the categories of R&B, Northern Soul, Motown and Memphis Soul. The Marvin Gaye single "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" was a major memory maker from my youth and Sarah did an excellent job of covering it. However, I am even more fond of Ann Peebles' Memphis soul and her signature song "I Can't Stand the Rain" which cracked the top 40.  Sarah Collins absolutely nailed her performance of "Rain," delivering a spot on imitation of Ann Peebles's earthy singing style. I can't stand having to choose between these two terrific performances but, when all was sung and done, I gave my vote to Sarah's cover of "I Can't Stand the Rain." Brian?... Stewie?...

 Thank you Shady. Your vote has been 
 added to the count and we can now name 
 the winner. I haven't been this excited 
 since the time listened to Andy Kaufman 
 read every word of The Great Gatsby

Chapter one. In my younger and more vulnerable years 
my father gave me some advice that I've been
turning over in my mind ever since.

 And the survivor of the 
 Version Sacrifice is... 

(Brian and Stewie shout in unison)


 "I Can't Stand the Rain" - 12 

 "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" - 8 

 "The Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun" - 1 
  Julie Brown (write-in vote) 

 Thanks for being here, folks. 
 We'll be seeing you... 

 unless you see us first... 

 on Family Guy. So long! 

 Next time bring candy, cheapskate!