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, August 25, 2017

Truly Yours, Shady ("The U.S. Male")




The Detroit Spinners were one of the top
soul groups of the 70s with a long string
of hits on the Atlantic label that included
"I'll Be Around" and "Rubberband Man."

"Rubberband Man" is a great song, a fun song,
but it would be a streeetch for me to say that all
great Spinners recordings were made in the 70s.
In fact, my favorite Spinners record was waxed
in the mid 60s when the group was still on the
roster at Motown. “Truly Yours” was a top 20
hit on the pop chart and a jukebox giant at
the Shady Dell, ranked high on my list
of the Dell's 200 Greatest Hits.

"Truly Yours" - The Spinners
(June 1966, highest chart pos.
#111 Pop/#16 R&B)


If you haven't guessed by now, this is a post post.
All of these songs have to do with writing, sending
or receiving letters, and I ain't talkin' about email.
When these songs were popular, people relied
on "snail mail." They put pen to paper, wrote
letters and dropped them into a metal box
for the mailman to pick-up. Don't believe
me? Think I'm making this up? Google it!
One of the first letter songs that came to
mind for use this post is "The Letter,"
the debut single and biggest hit by
the Memphis blue-eyed soul band
The Box Tops. When the record
starts playing you'll see the kids
on American Bandstand flock to
the floor giving us a glimpse of
the fashions and dance steps
that were "in" at the time.  

"The Letter" - The Box Tops
(Sept. 1967, highest chart pos. #1,
video from American Bandstand)


It has been less than a year since the death of
Bobby Vee, the one time teen idol who gave us
many excellent pop, rock 'n' roll and rockabilly
recordings. In keeping with our letter theme,
here's a fun Bobby Vee ditty entitled "A Letter
From Betty." (Could it be Betty Anderson of
Father Knows Best?)  Released as the flip side
of "Be True To Yourself," "A Letter From Betty"
charted in the summer of 1963.  The song's
scenario is familiar. Betty, an old flame,
the love of his life, sends Mr. Vee
a dreaded "Dear Bobby" letter.

"A Letter From Betty" - Bobby Vee
(July 1963, highest chart pos. #85,
B side of "Be True To Yourself")


A decade before Rare Earth became Motown's
first major hit making act consisting of all white
members, there were The Valadiers, the first
white group signed to Berry Gordy's label.
The Valadiers were the ones who wrote
and first recorded "Greetings (This Is
Uncle Sam)." Released in 1961, the
single made only a slight dent in the
pop chart. In 1966, a black Motown
group called The Monitors covered
the song with greater success, their
version coming close to the top 20
on the R&B Singles chart. Listen
 now to the seldom heard
Valadiers original.

"Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam)"
The Valadiers (Nov./Dec. 1961,
highest chart pos. #89)


Singer-turned-actress Ketty Lester almost
wound up as TV's Julia, the role eventually
landed by Diahann Carroll. For five seasons
Ketty was a main cast member on Little House
On The Prairie. Earlier, during her career as a
traditional pop and R&B vocalist, Ketty scored
her biggest hit with a cover of "Love Letters,"
the title song of a 1945 film starring Jennifer
Jones and Joseph Cotten successfully recorded
that year by Dick Haymes. I love the drop-dead
slow pace of Ketty's ballad, her intimate vocals
and perfect diction. Released in 1962, Ketty's
updated version of "Love Letters" was a top 5
hit on the pop chart and went all the way
to #2 on the R&B chart.

"Love Letters" - Ketty Lester (Apr. 1962,
highest chart pos. #5 Hot 100/#2 R&B,
from 1962 album Love Letters)


Here's one of the many examples of the A side of
a record being eclipsed by the killer bee. Released
near the end of 1967 by the veteran R&B group
The Dells, "O-O, I Love You" is the A side of
of a single backed with the up tempo song
"There Is." "O-O" brushed the R&B top 20,
but radio stations and listeners liked
"There Is" even more and the fab flip
brushed the top 10. Listen now to my
next featured letter song, The Dells
singing another soft and tender
ballad with a letter theme -
"O-O, I Love You."

"O-O, I Love You" - The Dells
(Dec. 1967 & Jan. 1968, highest
chart pos. #61 Hot 100/#22 R&B,
from 1968 album There Is)


Of course, no post devoted to letter songs
would be complete without this one,
the debut single and #1 smash hit by
Motown's marvelous Marvelettes,
a song covered by The Beatles -
"Please Mr. Postman."

"Please Mr. Postman" - The Marvelettes
(Nov. & Dec. 1961, highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100/#1 R&Bfrom Nov. 1961
album Please Mr. Postman)


And finally, "Sealed With a Kiss" by Brian Hyland,
a 1962 cover of a song originally recorded in 1960
by the Tennessee barbershop quartet The Four Voices.
As Brian performs his hit on what I believe to be a
1966 episode of American Bandstand, notice the
demeanor of the teenagers in the studio audience.
The images speak volumes about the sweetness,
the shyness and the natural reticence of most
teens back then. Being on television was a big
deal, much more than it is today. Did you hear
in that Dells' song I played earlier the words
"Because we're shy when we're young"?
Not so anymore! YouTube and other
forms of social media are turning
many of today's young people
into brazen exhibitionists.

To corroborate the statements above,
I posted a few of the comments I found
beneath this video on YouTube:

"1950's thru 1970's outclass 95% of songs/
videos today due to the disgusting/potty mouth/
racist/thug/criminal/sexual pervert/acts
rap lyrics of today."

"I'm 67 and the song takes me right back to the
early sixties, with fabulous halycon days and my
teen hormones coursing thru me. And all the girls
(well. most of them!) looked like Princesses."

"The entertainer wore a suit, and the audience
is dressed so nicely, really conservatively,
and I don't notice anyone with tattos.
What happened to those days...."

(food for thought as you watch, listen
and remember "the way we were.")

"Sealed With a Kiss" - Brian Hyland
(July 1962, highest chart pos. #3,
from 1962 album Sealed With a Kiss,
1966 appearance on American Bandstand)

That's my letter post...

signed, sealed and delivered. :)

Have a Shady day!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Riley's Rave 2 Offers a Profound Quote: "Art is Love Made Public" - Sense8



I'm the Icelandic DJ who rocks the clubs of London
on the sci-fi television series Sense8. Welcome to
Riley's Rave #2, an underground experience that
only you and a few other close friends know
about. Say the password "CODE BLUE"
and the burly bouncer will wave you
through the door. Once inside you can
rock till you drop as I play the hottest
and coolest electronic dance beats
from artists around the world.

* CAUTION: Use this post only as directed.
These tracks are meant to be played LOUD,
so be sure to crank it up to 10. No wimping out!
Listen to my playlist only if you are ready to
 party. If you attempt to listen at work you
will most likely become intoxicated by the
booming bass lines, cancel that important
business meeting and wind up getting fired.
I accept no responsibility if that happens!

* Beware: This isn't your grandmother's disco.
This is an adult swim. Some of these songs
and videos might be unsuitable for children.

Break away now from your humdrum life.
Sneak out of the house, beat it over to my
second rave and immerse yourself in the
frenetic international club sound that is
uniting the youth of the world.



- Nicki Minaj

Icelandic DJ living in London

You met Canadian singer Nelly Furtado
in 2016 when she performed at club Verdant,
a competing dance venue belonging to the
Arrowheads who hosted Thea's Rave. Nelly
is with us tonight to sing "Night Is Young,"
 not to be confused with the Nicki Minaj song
"The Night Is Still Young." This one by Nelly
was produced for her Greatest Hits album
released in 2010. The video was shot in
Downtown Toronto and features Nelly's
fans cycling, dancing and partying.
The night is still young. Click at
the 2:12 point of the video
and let the fun begin!

"Night Is Young" (BunHeaD Remix)
Nelly Furtado (Oct. 2010, highest chart
pos. #20 Canada/#10 Belgium/#7 Slovakia,
from 2010 album The Best of Nelly Furtado)

AT 2:12 MARK!
(Riley's "Cold Intro" to Rave)

Kickboxer, Seoul

I am Sun. I rise to the occasion
 whenever one of my sensate friends
 needs help. Now meet Cheryl Ann Tweedy,
better known as Cheryl Cole and best known
simply as Cheryl. The English singer, dancer
and television personality got her start in
2002 as a member of the English-Irish
pop girl group Girls Aloud.  In 2012,
as a solo artist, Cheryl released
"Call My Name," a single from
her second studio album
A Million Lights"Call
My Name" was a major hit,
 soaring to #1 in the UK,
Ireland, Scotland and Poland.

"Call My Name" - Cheryl
(June 2012 single from
album A Million Lights)

(Riley's Crossfade/Mix Point)

Police officer, Chicago

As Riley crossfades into the next record,
you will again be listening to Cheryl Cole,
this time as a member of Girls Aloud.
Following a three year hiatus during
which Cheryl and other members of
the group pursued solo projects,
Girls Aloud reunited in 2012 to
celebrate their 10th anniversary.
"Something New," a single from the
album Ten released that year, became
the official song for Children in Need,
a BBC charity established to benefit
disabled children. "Something New"
was a hit, peaking at #2 on the
UK and Scotland charts.

"Something New" (The Alias Remix,
Matt Nevin Video Edit) - Girls Aloud
(Nov./Dec. 2012 single from album Ten)

(Riley's Crossfade/Mix Point)

Hindu pharmacist, Mumbai

I am Kala, no stranger to out of body experiences,
and tonight you shall have one. Riley's Rave now
presents the sound of Grammy Award winning
performance artist Lady Gaga and a video for the
song made by a group of talented, ambitious and
passionate young Dutch filmmakers, dancers,
fashion artists and actors. As you watch, you
will swear it is Lady Gaga in  the video...
but it is not her.  The lip sync and dance
routine is performed by a Lady Gaga
imitator named Lizalo Galama. Let us
 shift this rave into high gear, Click at
the 1:47 mark of the video, turn up
the volume and "Dance in the Dark!"

"Dance in the Dark" - Lady Gaga
(Nov. 2009 highest chart pos. #9
US Dance/Electronic Digital,
#6 Slovakia, #9 Hungary,
#10 Czech Republic, from
EP The Fame Monster)

AT 1:47 MARK!
(Riley's Crossfade/Mix Point)

I am Wolfgang. I am a fighter. I will protect you.
Tonight's rave playlist includes not one, but two
Lady Gaga impersonators. Meet Amanda Seiler,
a South Florida filmmaker and Gaga fan who
put together another terrific custom video,
this time using the song "Electric Chapel,"
an electronic rock and pop metal single
from Lady Gaga's #1 charting studio
album Born This Way. Meet me, baby.
Meet me in "Electric Chapel!"

"Electric Chapel" - Lady Gaga
Video cover by Amanda Seiler
(May 2011, #23 U.S. Dance/
Electronic Digital Songs,
from album Born This Way)

(Riley's Crossfade/Mix Point)

Gay actor, Mexico City

I am Lito. I love Pitbull. He has tenacity.
He has machismo. The Miami-based rapper
is nicknamed Mr. Worldwide because he
has performed around the world and has
broken down barriers that separate people.
Pitbull reminds us that there is room in this
 country and this world for all kinds of people,
that life is just a party and we are all invited,
and that there is no time to hate when you
are making love and having fun. "Fun" is
the name of the game in this music video
inspired by Miami Vice and starring
Pitbull and Chris Brown.

"Fun" (Noodles Remix)
Pitbull ft. Chris Brown
(April 2015, highest chart pos.
#30 U.S. Billboard Rap Songs,
from Nov. 2014 album Globalization)

AT 1:22 MARK!
(Riley's Crossfade/Mix Point)

Matatu driver, Nairobi

I am Capheus aka Van Damn.
In Riley's Rave #1,introduced you
to Serebro, the edgy female dance-pop,
electro-pop and nu-Disco girl trio from
Russia. Serebro's double platinum album
Mama Lover got the group noticed around
the world. Serebro maintains a sexy image
and the video for "Gun," their second single
from the album, offers provocative proof.
Search for the 47 second mark
and fire when ready!

"Gun" Serebro
(Sept. 2012, highest chart pos. #23 Italy,
#66 U.S. Dance Club Play, single from
June 2012 album Mama Lover)

(Riley's Crossfade/Mix Point)

trans woman hacktivist 
& blogger, San Francisco

My name is Nomi - not Michael - Nomi.
Demi freakin' Lovato is in the house tonight.
The Los Angeles based singer, songwriter,
actress and model lists Christina Aguilera
and Kelly Clarkson as her biggest influences.
In 2014 Demi teamed up with English singer,
songwriter, rapper and model Cher Lloyd
and released an empowerment manifesto
that topped the U.S. dance chart. Hands
in the air like you "Really Don't Care."

"Really Don't Care"
(Fabio Codato 2k15 Remix,
ReVision by VJ Anonymous)
Demi Lovato ft. Cher Lloyd
(May 2014, highest chart pos.
#1 U.S. Dance Club Songs,
from May 2013 album Demi)

AT 2:46 MARK!
(Riley's Crossfade/Mix Point)

I never worry, life is a journey

I just wanna enjoy the ride

What is the hurry? It's pretty early

It's okay, we'll take our time

The night is still young

And so are we

- Nicki Minaj

If you have any sense at all...'ll join us for our next rave.

See you soon!

Monday, August 14, 2017

This Friday's in Jeopardy!

Shawn Spencer, you control the board. Please select a category and amount.

Alex, I'll take Potpourri for 100.

The answer is...

A Debbie Harry look-alike, she often
shares her feelings with friends.
(DING) Shawn...

I feel a great disturbance in the Force,
as if someone... or something...
is trying to contact me.

My inner eye has 20-20 vision
and my future's so bright
I gotta wear shades. 

I see a house, a house of stone...
A lonely house, 'cause now you're gone.
Seven rooms, that's all it is,
Seven rooms of gloom!

Please hurry with your response, Shawn. Don't let the buzzer sound.

Who is pro wrestling legend Gorgeous George?

NO... no... not what we were looking for. (DING)

Gus, can you take it?

Who is Julianne Hough of
Dancing With the Stars?

No, I'm sorry. That is incorrect.

The correct

question is....










Monday, August 7, 2017

Shady Train - Ep. 4: Jungle Boogie!


Shady Train...

the hippest trip in America!

60 nonstop minutes across the

tracks of your mind into the

exciting world of Soul!

And now, here's your host...

Don Cornelius!

Hi there and welcome aboard. You're right on time for a beautiful trip on the Shady Train, and if the sight and sound of soul is your pleasure and what you treasure, you can bet your bottom we got 'em, baby.

Since they first informed us a few years back
that "La La" actually means "I love you," three
handsome and talented young men have virtually
cornered the market on songs of love. They boast
a string of hits that seems to have no end. Out of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the mighty-- Delfonics! 

"Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)"
The Delfonics (Feb./Mar. 1970,
highest chart pos. #10 Hot 100,
/#3 R&B, from Feb. 1970
album The Delfonics)

And things are lookin' fine on the Shady Train line.
The gang's gettin' that stuff tuff enough with a
groove that makes you wanna move
real smooth. It's Jackie Moore--
"This Time Baby!"

"This Time Baby" - Jackie Moore
(Aug. 1979, highest chart pos. #1 Disco,
#24 R&B, from 1979 album I'm on My Way)

AT 3:04 MARK!

Now let's welcome aboard the big train a talented young R&B vocalist from New York. In 1983 she sang lead for producer John Robie's electro-funk band C-Bank on their top 5 club hit "One More Shot." Now out on her own, her latest single on the Atlantic label is perched at the top of the dance chart. The song is entitled "Bad Habits" and she is-- Jenny Burton!

"Bad Habits" - Jenny Burton
(Mar. 1985, highest chart pos.
#19 R&B/#101 Bubbling Under,
from 1985 album Jenny Burton)


And the Shady Train Gang's sho 'nuff diggin' C-Bank. Here's a tune that features the lead vocals of Whisper. It's a lowdown ditty from the big city called-- "Tonight!"

"Tonight" - C-Bank
single from Mar. 1997 album
C-Bank's Greatest Hits)

AT 1:15 MARK!

And our funky friends Kool and the Gang are runnin' down a slick sound that's one of the baddest things around. It's called-- Jungle Boogie!"

"Jungle Boogie" - Kool and the Gang
(Jan./Feb. 1974, highest chart pos.
#4 Hot 100/#2 R&B, from Sept. 1973
album Wild and Peaceful)

Now meet and greet a mixed race band from London that has been part of the UK's thriving soul and disco scene since the late 60s. The funky group has charted at least one hit every year from 1970 to 1984 including this 1978 single which is certified Gold in the U.S. The song is entitled "Every 1's a Winner" and they are-- Hot Chocolate!

"Every 1's a Winner" - Hot Chocolate
(Dec. 1978/Jan. 1979, highest chart pos.
#6 Hot 100/#7 R&B, from Apr. 1978
album Every 1's a Winner

We are both proud and excited to have with us what I can only describe as the current rage of the contemporary music world, and deservedly so because, I kid you not, they are as beautiful and talented as their latest single, "Jump (For My Love)," is successful. Let's have a great welcome, gang, for, in our opinion, the most remarkable group of female entertainers in the business. You know them as the fabulous-- Pointer Sisters!

"Jump (For My Love)" - The Pointer Sisters
(June/July 1984, highest chart pos. #3 Hot 100,
#2 R&B, from Nov. 1983 album Break Out)

That oughta hold you for a while. We hope you'll get into it with us again next time, and you can bet your last money, it's gonna be a stone gas, honey. I'm Don Cornelius, and as always
in parting, we wish you love...peace...and soul!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Jackie's Back Dispensing Sound Advice: "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"



The Kentucky born, Illinois raised singer
and songwriter started making records
as a teenager in the mid 1950s.

Jackie wrote and recorded many excellent sides
in a variety of music categories. Hard to believe
that it took until 1963 for Jackie to get one of
her records into the Hot 100. Early that year
she made a dent in the chart with "Faded
Love," a cover of a 1950 western swing
hit by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.

"Faded Love" - Jackie DeShannon 
(Feb. 1963, highest chart pos. #97)

In May of '63 Jackie inched her way
a little farther up the Billboard ladder
with "Needles and Pins," a Sonny Bono
& Jack Nitzsche composition that was
later covered with much greater success
(#13) by the English group The Searchers.
Many consider Jackie's version definitive.

"Needles and Pins" - Jackie DeShannon 
(May 1963, highest chart pos. #84)

The Searchers also gained a top 40 hit covering
another of Jackie DeShannon's original songs.
"When You Walk in the Room" was written
and first recorded by Jackie in 1963 and
released one day after the assassination
of President John F. Kennedy, an event
that hindered the progress of many
great records attempting to climb
the chart in the weeks that followed.

The success of Jackie's record was also impeded
because "When You Walk In The Room" was  
released as the B side of  "Till You Say You'll 
Be Mine," a song that failed to catch on and
remained uncharted. "When You Walk In
 The Room" finally attracted attention two
months after the single hit the street, but
it lasted only one pathetic week on the
chart at #99 before vanishing. It's a
doggone shame whenever a record
this good goes to waste!

"When You Walk In The Room" 
Jackie DeShannon (Jan. 1964,
highest chart pos. #99)

In November of 1964 Jackie struck out
again with a 45 that had a more exciting
song on the B side. That fab flip, entitled
"It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)," was
also released on Jackie's compilation LP
Breakin' It Up On the Beatles Tour!
The song covers an oft recorded R&B
standard that was originally a top 5 hit
on the black chart in 1955 for Louis
Brooks and His Hi-Toppers with
lead vocalist Earl Gaines. Jackie D
rips it up on this go-go style dance
floor filler, an uncharted side that
woulda been, coulda been and
shoulda been a hit!

"It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)" 
Jackie DeShannon (Nov. 1964,
uncharted B side of "He's Got the
Whole World in His Hands")

In the summer of 1965, after nearly a
decade of making great records with
limited success, Jackie broke into the
top 10 with the Bacharach - David
composition "What the World
Needs Now Is Love."

"What the World Needs Now Is Love"
Jackie DeShannon (July 1965,
highest chart position #7)

In the fall of that year, Jackie landed her
next single on the chart, another lovely
Bacharach - David song entitled
"A Lifetime of Loneliness."

"A Lifetime of Loneliness"
Jackie DeShannon (Oct. 1965,
highest chart pos. #66, live perf
performance on Nov. 29, 1965,
episode of Hullabaloo) 

"What the World Needs Now Is Love"
is Jackie DeShannon's signature song,
but the biggest hit of her career came
in 1969 when she recorded a song she
co-wrote with her brother Randy Myers
along with Jimmy Holiday. Delivering
a message similar to that of "What The
World Needs Now," Jackie's single "Put
A Little Love In Your Heart" was released
at a time when idealistic songs about peace,
love and goodwill were becoming major hits.
They included "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In"
by the Fifth Dimension (#1), "Get Together"
by the Youngbloods (#5), "He Ain't Heavy,
He's My Brother" by The Hollies (#7) and
"Give Peace a Chance" by Plastic Ono Band
(#14), all of them released that same year-
1969. Here now is Jackie DeShannon at
the peak of her recording career with the
plea "Put a Little Love in Your Heart."

"Put A Little Love In Your Heart"
Jackie DeShannon (Aug. 1969,
highest chart pos. #4)

There's much more to Jackie DeShannon
than I ever realized. Beautiful, warm and
gifted, Jackie wrote and recorded songs
that ran the gamut from country & western,
rockabilly and gospel to rock 'n' roll and
shouting rhythm and blues. Jackie sings
with her whole heart and soul. She has
made many great contributions to
the soundtrack of our youth.

In 2010 Jackie DeShannon was inducted
into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Millions of fans consider Jackie
to be a national treasure
and I heartily agree.

 I hope you enjoyed 

 your double shot of JD. 

 What does the world need now?  

 More like Jackie DeShannon! 

Have a Shady day!