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

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sparring Partners: Float Like a Butterfly - Sting Like a Bee... an Evil Bumble Bee!

It has happened again!

Last summer, the night before I published a post
that featured Frank Gifford, the football great
turned sportscaster passed away.

This weekend, just before it was time to
for me to publish this post with a boxing
theme and using Muhammad Ali's famous
quote "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,"
the boxing legend died. I had this post and
the Frank Gifford post finished, saved and
scheduled to run on specific dates months
in advance. The timing of both deaths is
an uncanny coincidence. I submit this
post to you hoping that it will serve
the dual purpose of entertaining
you and paying tribute to
Muhammad Ali.

Welcome to

Sparring Partners!

It's the latest wrinkle in my series


Sparring Partners presents two pairs of recordings.
Each pair includes a well known hit along with a
"sparring partner," a less well known recording
of the song. Your mission, Jim...should you
decide to accept it... is to vote for the
"sparring partner" that you prefer.
(As always, should you or any of
 your I.M. Force be caught or killed,
the Secretary will disavow any
knowledge of your actions.)

The contestants are waiting
in the wings and ready to perform.
Let the Version Sacrifice commence!



If you ever came down with a bad case of the
Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu,
you were no doubt listening to something by
Huey (Piano) Smith and his band the Clowns,
key figures of the New Orleans R&B scene
in the 50s. "Don't You Just Know It," Huey's
biggest hit and signature song, made the
top 10 on the pop chart and top 5
on the R&B survey.

 "Don't You Just Known It" 
 Huey (Piano) Smith and The Clowns 
 (April 1958, highest chart pos. #9 Pop/#4 R&B

Huey Smith is not in the contest.
Do not vote for him... or else!




From Huey "Piano" Smith we switch to
Jimmy "Handy Man" Jones and Little Eva
the "Loco-Motion" diva. Jones is the soulful
pop singer who achieved back-to-back
top 5 million sellers in 1960 with
"Handy Man" and "Good Timin',"
the latter reaching #1 on
the UK's R&B chart.

In the mid 60s, Jones was signed by FGG,
the writing and producing team of Feldman,
Goldstein and Gottehrer. FGG also grabbed
Little Eva whose career had unfortunately
stalled within a year of achieving fame
with her 1962 hit "The Loco-Motion."
Jimmy and Eva teamed up in the
studio to wax a nifty cover of
Piano Smith's boogie woogie
classic. It was released as
a single by Jimmy Jones
with Eva uncredited.

 "Don't You Just Know It" 
 Jimmy Jones and Little Eva 
 (June 1966, uncharted) 



Here's a reminder that British Invasion acts
routinely combed the catalogs of American
blues, soul and R&B artists and covered
their recordings, often with greater success.

One such case involves brash and sassy R&B thrush
LaVern Baker. The song "Bumble Bee" was written
by Baker along with Leroy Fullylove, waxed by
LaVern and released on her 1960 album Saved.

 "Bumble Bee" - Lavern Baker 
 (from 1960 album Saved


Five years later the Searchers, the popular
UK Merseybeat band that covered material
by American artists including the Drifters,
Jackie DeShannon, the Orlons and the
Clovers, scored a hit in the U.S. with a
reworking of LaVern's "Bumble Bee."

 "Bumble Bee" - The Searchers 
 (April 1965, highest chart pos. #21) 

The Searchers are not in the contest.
Do not vote for them... or else!

Alrighty then, you heard the two better known,
more successful records by Huey Piano Smith
and the Searchers. You also heard from their
less successful "sparring partners." Which
sparring partner or partners did you like
more? Your choices in the contest are:

 "Don't You Just Know It" 

 Jimmy Jones & Little Eva 


 "Bumble Bee" 

 LaVern Baker. 


Stay tuned for my follow-up post 7 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!


  1. Kathryn AndersonJune 5, 2016 at 4:17 AM

    You saw the look of shock on my face when you told me the title of your scheduled post immediately following Ali’s death-- That is another incredible coincidence!

    I liked the first song-- and I didn’t like the second-- because of the bell sound which I thought was a little annoying. The song by Jimmy Jones and Little Eva is more fun— it has a good beat— and it is a good dance record. I am giving my vote to contestant #1-- Don’t You Just Know It.

    1. Hi, Kathryn!

      Thanks for listening and voting in my latest Version Sacrifice - "Sparring Partners." Yessum, the moment I read the headlines about Ali's death my eyes popped and I thought to myself, "Not again!" It certainly is another bizarre coincidence.

      It's interesting that you don't like the bell sound on LaVern Baker's record. (I can't stand it when heavy metal bands use the ukulele or kazoo :) I don't know much about musical instruments, but is sounds like a xylophone was also used in that recording. The bell sound reminds me of the bell that ends each round in boxing - another coincidence!

      That Jimmy Jones/Little Eva record had little chance of reviving either artist's career. First of all, and strangely, Little Eva wasn't even credited. Secondly, the single was released in the summer of 1966 when popular music was moving away from old time rock 'n' roll and embracing garage rock and other harder and heavier music styles. Third, the 45 was released by Cameo-Parkway, a record company in dire financial straits that went out of business a year later.

      Thank you again for visiting and voting, Kathryn. Have a great week!

  2. Think I would pick Jimmy Jones this time.
    That is really eerie you had this post and the one on Gifford ready to go. What are the odds? It's like the John Madden football game curse.

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for coming to my Sunday edition of the Version Sacrifice, good buddy!

      I would love to know the odds of two prominent people passing away on the eve of me featuring them in their respective posts. It certainly is a creepy. In addition, Gifford and Ali shared a common link - their long time association with sportscasting icon Howard Cosell.

      Okay, Alex, I got you down for the Jimmy Jones/Little Eva record. Thank you very much for voting and have an excellent week ahead!

  3. Hi, Shady; This certainly is an eerie coincidence, especially so since it happened twice! May the Champ R.I.P.

    The first song seems somewhat familiar, but not the second one. In any case, I'm choosing LaVerne Baker. I liked the vocals and the tune a bit better. Cheers!

    1. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

      Thank you very much for coming down to play Version Sacrifice with me, dear friend.

      Yessum, I was startled when Ali died and I suddenly remembered the title and theme I used when I wrote and scheduled this post many months ago.

      I'm pretty sure nobody ever accused LaVern Baker of having a girly voice. :) I will record your vote for her in this contest. Please stay tuned for next Sunday's post in which I will reveal my preference and declare a VerSac "soul survivor."

      Thank you again for your cheery visit, comment and vote, dear friend Debbie. Have a super week ahead!

  4. First off, please give me two weeks notice before featuring ME in a post...

    First song: I know this isn't the vote, but the original wins here. The Jones/Eva version sounds too much like the Newbeats. I like bread and butter, but I HATED Bread and Butter.

    Second song: like the first the original is more lively... but the cover is more to my taste.

    Vote: Searchers, handily. Though the Clowns still had the best tune on the board.

    Forewarning: while I am not doing a post on you, the 6D on next week's Time Machine will briefly graze Village Of The Giants...

    1. Hi, Chris!

      Thank you very much for coming over and taking part in the latest edition of Version Sacrifice, good buddy!

      Two weeks notice? Heck, that's no problem at all. My 3-part salute to Chris Martin isn't scheduled until the eve of the November election. :)

      I didn't particularly like the Newbeats biggest hit "Bread and Butter," but I loved several of their other singles. "Evil Eva" is probably my fave.

      Hey good buddy, I need to throw the red flag and step off a 5 yard penalty for "illegal procedure." The Searchers are not eligible for your vote. I'm sorry if I confused you. In this contest, "sparring partners" does not refer to the cover versions. It refers to the two less well known and less successful records, one of them a cover and one of them an original. Therefore, you may vote for Jimmy Jones/Little Eva or you may vote for LaVern Baker. You have a whole week to return and revise your vote, so don't panic.

      I think I know where you're going with that Village of the Giants reference. I look forward to the Time Machine touching down in Dollywood. :)

      Thanks again, good buddy Chris, and have a Scrappy week ahead!

    2. Sorry, I didn't notice we switched directions at halftime. In that case, Lavern Baker still wins easily over Jones/Eva. Used to it being the second guy and didn't pay attention to what you CLEARLY SAID at the end of the post.

      And if I tell you the VOG reference starts with a Frank Sinatra tribute, do you still know where we're going? (Maybe so... but how we GET there....)

    3. Hi, Chris!

      Thanks for revising your vote, good buddy. LaVern Baker it is.

      As far as the VOG thing, I'm stumped but excited. Is Nancy involved? I can't wait to see what you cooked up. Can you move the publishing day of Time Machine to.... today... RIGHT NOW? :)

      Thanks again for being my good sport "sparring partner," Chris. Have a Scrappy week!

  5. Happy Sunday, Shady!

    There's nothing like odd coincidences to remind us of the wily whims of fate, huh?

    I liked the Searchers version of "Bumble Bee'. I almost expected to hear the crack of a whip in the background ;-) But I know, they weren't the contender. So I'm going with Jimmy Jones. I always liked little Eva, and the song has a distinct 'sock hop' feel.
    Have a relaxing week my friend!

    1. Hi, dear Diedre!

      Thank you very much for joining me for this special Sunday edition of the Version Sacrifice - "Sparring Partners." I know that you are a lover of paranormal phenomena. Are you hoping that I won't feature you in a post anytime soon? :)

      Nearly a year ago when I put this post together, I decided to use "Bumble Bee" because, in the spring of '65, The Searchers' cover was played often on my local radio station in Central PA, but I hadn't heard either version of the song in almost 50 years. I didn't even know that the Jimmy Jones/Little Eva recording existed until last year. I agree that the record by Jimmy and Eva has a rock 'n' roll sock hop feel.

      I will add your vote for "Don't You Just Know It" to the running total. Please check back one week from today to find out which version survived the sacrifice.

      Thank you again for casting your vote, dear friend Diedre. I wish you a safe and happy week ahead! (We are in the path of a tropical storm over here!)

    2. Ha! I expect you enjoy your popularity, my friend. So, no. The thought of you featuring a dusty old ghost-chaser from Arizona had never occurred to me.
      You have, however, inspired my next post in which I will certainly provide your link for this one - long as you don't mind ;-)
      Gads, I saw that storm on the weather channel. Hope it's nothing like what Texas has experienced. Fingers crossed it will just be a summer rain and blow over quickly.

    3. Hi, dear Diedre!

      Thank you very much for returning to the scene of the grime. :) I would be flattered and grateful to have you mention my name and blog on your wonderful site. Thank you in advance!

      The lights have been flickering here but so far we haven't completely lost power. Squall lines have been pushing through our area since yesterday and we are expecting up to 7 inches of rain from this system. I think Colin is expected to speed up this evening, allowing our weather to settle down in the days ahead. I know that people in Texas have been stricken with flooding and lives have been lost there. It's very sad.

      Thank you for the kind thoughts, dear friend Diedre!

  6. Hi Shady,

    Lavern Baker all the way! I just love her version, it speaks to me. :)

    I'm still shocked about Muhammad Ali. :\

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thank you very much for participating in my latest Version Sacrifice, dear friend!

      I'm glad you found something to like in this post, namely LaVern Baker and her original of "Bumble Bee."

      Yessum, 2016 has taken a heavy toll on rock stars and other celebrities, more so than in years past, it seems.

      Thank you again for voicing your choice, dear friend JM, and have a fabulous week ahead!

  7. Wouldn't you just know it...I'm voting for "Don't you just know it"..Jimmy Jones and Little Eva...liked it the best! (no deep dark reason why, just liked the sound!) Muhammad Ali's death was a shocker but he certainly had a very famous and wild life in many ways. He'll never be forgotten and will always be #1 in boxing. Weird coincidence about the posting. If I ever get famous please feel free to never blog about me..just sayin...Have a great week! I know there are lots of storms in Florida right now so take care!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa!

      Thank you very much for coming down and exercising your right to vote in my Version Sacrifice, dear friend!

      Remember how the kids on American Bandstand who played "Rate-A-Record" would say "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it."? For whatever reason, I am pleased that you found one of the tunes in this post to your liking. I will add your vote for Jimmy & Eva to the running tally. Please check back one week from today to find out which platter more people preferred. So far the horses are running neck and neck.

      It's too late! You are already a celebrity and a super star in my book, dear YaYa, but I will resist the urge to tell the world about you for as long as possible. :)

      Yessum, a tropical storm warning has been issued for my area and we have had several heavy bands of rain pass over us this evening. Tomorrow might be a real mess. I hope we don't have our power knocked out.

      Thank you once again for joining the fun and for casting your vote. Have a wonderful week, dear friend YaYa!

  8. Ali was a great one! Lavern Baker gets my vote but it was close.

    1. AOK, Mike!

      As you know from keeping track on your blog, this year has taken a tremendous toll of famous people, Ali being the latest.

      I will put you down for LaVern Baker. Thanks for voting in my VerSac, good buddy Mike!

  9. First, I must say R.I.P. Muhammad Ali. I've really been enjoying the last couple days with all the documentaries and news stories about his life. He certainly was a colorful guy.

    As for the two sparring songs, my pick is the first one, "Don't You Just Know It". I liked the bass in the beginning and the singing duo, although both songs were rather silly.

    I think you have a little esp., Shady! This post was another knockout! Keep up the great writing!

    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, Toni!

      Thank you very much for dropping by to play Version Sacrifice, dear friend!

      Yessum, after this second eerie coincidence, I am beginning to feel like Shawn Spencer from Psych and think that I might have esp.

      I'm happy to know that you found a Pick To Click in my latest music contest. I will enter your vote for "Don't You Just Know It" and I thank you very much for participating. Check back this Sunday when the soul survivor will be revealed.

      Thanks again for making time for a visit and for your excellent comment and vote, dear friend Toni!

  10. What an amazing coincidence that this happened again with your post -- Frank Gifford and Mohammad Ali?? Wow! That's crazy. Almost eerie...

    As for your battle: it was no question for me: I started toe-tapping immediately to Don't You Just Know It. Please give my vote to Jimmy Jones and Little Eva.
    Fun Version Sacrifice!

    Happy Monday Shady. Hope you have a spectacular week!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele!

      How are you, dear friend? Thank you for coming over to play VerSac with me this week. Yessum, it was a creepy coincidence when Ali died just prior to this post's publish date.

      I'm glad you found a tune to your liking. I will record your vote for Jimmy & Eva. Please check back starting Sunday to find out how your vote figured into the outcome.

      I hope you and your folks are all well and in good spirits. I am hunkered down in the middle of tropical storm Colin but so far it isn't too bad.

      Have a wonderful week, dear friend Michele!

    2. Did Colin make landfall yet? I hadn't seen the news yesterday or today. I hope you stay safe and sustain no damage. Will keep some good thoughts for all of you there...

    3. Hi, dearie!

      I think Colin is scheduled to make landfall this evening well north of us, but we are on the "business side" of the system which means we could get 5 to 7 inches of rain before the storm moves out of our region.

      Thanks for the well wishes, dear friend Michele!

  11. That's spooky, Shady.
    The world lost a wonderful humanitarian.

    1. Hi, Sandra!

      I agree. Ali was a great humanitarian, larger than life, and a symbol of our time.

      You are I were discussing Little Eva last week. As you see, Eva is in my music contest this week. She and Jimmy Jones are competing against LaVern Baker. If you would like to vote and tell me which recording you prefer and why, you have until Saturday night to do so.

      Thank you, dear friend!

  12. PIANO SMITH ALL THE WAY!! love that beat, that groove.
    and how ironic and special that an instance like described in this post has happened again! Sure makes for a great story!

    1. Hi, dear Abigail!

      I am very happy to see you, dear friend! Thank you very much for joining the fun as two pugilistic platters ("sparring partners") compete against each other in Version Sacrifice.

      I'm sorry but can't count your vote for Piano Smith because that version is not in the contest. You may vote for the cover of the Piano Smith song by Jimmy Jones & Little Eva or you may vote for "Bumble Bee" by LaVern Baker. Please let me know. The voting period lasts until Saturday night so you still have plenty of time to decide.

      You should have seen the stunned look on Mrs. Shady's face when I told her about this second creepy scheduling coincidence. She immediately warned me not to schedule a post devoted to her. :)

      I hope you don't mind coming back and changing your vote, dear friend. Thank you again for visiting. I hope you and Daisy are doing fine. I am riding out tropical storm Colin over here. God bless!

  13. Seriously, what's it with this year? Legends are leaving us. Although I'm not a fan, it's like shocking still to hear about someone the world looks up to is gone.

    1. Hi, Lux!

      Thank you very much for your comment. One by one, the heroes and legends that baby boomers knew and loved are departing this world. This year's harvest seems bigger than ever before.

      Thank you again for visiting, dear friend Luxie, and enjoy the rest of your week around the world!

  14. Hey Shadester!! That is very creepy that you have had that happen twice so far on posts of people who passed away. I suspect a third incident will occur because don't they always say things happen in 3's?
    My vote goes to Jimmy and Eva in this sparring.
    When I was younger in elementary school, my best friend was a boy my age named Freddy. ( My dad dated his mom too). Anyway, he was always quoting Muhummad Ali and was always jumping around acting like he was boxing. The weird thing was that I had a dinner planned with his mom last night and I told her how much I immediately thought of Freddy when Ali passed.
    Have a great week and hope you didn't get any damage from Colin.
    I've been a funk and don't feel like posting on my own blog this week.

    1. Hi, Holli!

      Thank you for dropping by and taking part in my latest Version Sacrifice - "Sparring Partners." I am very happy to see you, dear friend!

      Thanks for your concern about storm damage from Colin. We actually had a power outage the morning after but it only lasted an hour or so. That was the extent of it in our vicinity. I didn't see any major flooding or wind damage other than small tree branches littering the ground.

      I think lots of boys imitated the words, attitude and boxing style of Mahammad Ali. I have always been fascinated with his patented "rope-a-dope" strategy, conserving energy and taking blows in the early rounds and letting the opponent "punch himself out," then taking the fight to the opponent in the later rounds and winning.

      Okay then, I will enter your vote for Jimmy and Eva in the VerSac, the soul survivor to be announced this Sunday. Thank you again for your visit and cheery comment and for exercising your constitutional right to vote. :)

      Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Holli!

  15. Tom, cool music! Both songs I sorta remember, if I stretch my imagination, which actually hurt my brain. Exercising that muscle on occasion leaves me exhausted. :) Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, deciding on a "sparring partner(s)" singing two better known artists' songs. I'm going to give my vote to Jimmy Jones & Little Eva. I liked the music intro and the vocals best between the two contenders. LaVern Baker's vocals were a bit too squeaky for me to enjoy. Thanks for the re-introduction of two retro tunes. Have a tunetastic week, my friend!

    PS: I meant to say, what a weird coincidence with the timing of your posts relating to Gifford and Ali. That sort of thing kinda gives me the willies!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you very much for coming by, dear friend. I appreciate it!

      Yessum, it gave me the willies, too, when I learned about this second coincidental death on the eve of one of my blog posts. Think of how Frank Gifford and Muhammad Ali are related. Both had long standing relationships with Howard Cosell. Both remained popular and in the spotlight long after their sports careers ended.

      Thank you for voting and explaining the reasons why you preferred the recording by Jimmy Jones and Little Eva. I will add your vote to the hermetically sealed ballot box. The votes will be tabulated after the polls close Saturday night and the results will be posted Sunday morning.

      Thank you again for coming over and for casting your vote, dear friend Cathy. I hope the rest of your week goes well. God bless!

  16. Once again, I must apologize for being so late. Sorry. Anyway, quite an interesting battle of the.... errr version sacrifice. Both songs and their sparring partners were fun to listen to. As for who I prefer, I will have to go with Jimmy Jones and Little Eva.

    1. Hey, Jeffrey!

      Thank you very much for making it over here before the polls close, good buddy. Every vote counts and yours is appreciated!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the tuneage in this week's contest and I will add your vote for Eva and Jimmy to the running total. Please check back beginning Sunday to find out which tune became the soul survivor of the Version Sacrifice.

      Thanks again, good buddy Jeffrey, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  17. My vote goes to Jimmy Jones and Little Eva. I enjoyed watching the video of Huey and his Clowns. They did indeed look like clowns. I was amused that one member faced a different direction when they were singing.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Hi, Sherry!

      How are you, dear friend? Thank you very much for popping in to vote before the doors of the polling place are padlocked.

      I'm happy to know you dig at least two of the four recordings in this post, namely the two versions of "Don't You Just Know It." In the video, Huey Smith faces his group The Clowns so that they can perform their "call-and-response" style song.

      Thank you again for joining the fun, dear friend Sherry. The results post is this Sunday and I hope to see you then. In the meantime have a wonderful weekend, too!






  19. My husband was crazy about Ali when he first came on the scene and he still admires him very much. My husband's father and step-father were both boxers in Canada and did very well. They were both veterans of WWII also, very tough men.

    I admired Ali for not going to Vietnam. I hated that war. I hate all wars unless there is a mighty good reason to help people.

    Well, now to the songs. I remember Huey Smith's version of "Don't You Just Know It?" very well. I liked his voice better than Jimmy Jones' but loved the musical background on Jimmy's. So, Jimmy and Little Eva get my vote.

    Didn't care for the Bumble Bee song and didn't recognize it until The Searchers sang it. Yep, I remember it. Lol I loved the Searchers singing so much that I remember liking the song! Funny, huh?
    Thanks for the belated fun. I'm a little overwhelmed lately, but happy even so.

    1. Hi, Belle!

      Thank you for taking a look at this post, dear friend. I'm sorry you missed the voting deadline. It was nice of you to come by and read, listen and express a preference. It doesn't surprise me that you recognized and liked "Bumble Bee" when you heard the version by the Searchers. LaVern Baker's original was released as a single at Halloween 1960 and barely cracked the top 50, while the Searchers cover, released five years later, brushed the top 20. English bands like the Beatles and the Searchers were able to turn underachieving American R&B recordings into hits by giving them an updated Merseybeat treatment, a style that, as you recall, was wildly popular on both sides of the Atlantic.

      Thank you for sharing thoughts about Muhammad Ali. I admired him, too, and was very sad to read all of the hateful comments about him posted beneath news articles announcing his death. It's a sign of the times that so many people choose to hate when it feel so much better to love. I am still reeling from the back-to-back shootings that took place in Orlando this weekend, the latest incident the deadliest shooting massacre in U.S. history.

      Thank you again for making time for a visit, dear friend Belle. I pray that your loved ones recover quickly and completely from their bout with illness and that you experience some much needed peace of mind in the week ahead.

      God bless!


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