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, June 12, 2018

You've Met the Beatles, the Supremes, the Temptations (and the Fockers)..... Now Meet and Greet... the Dell Rats!

A year ago, when I ran a post featuring Dell Rat Ron,
it occurred to me that more than half of the people
who regularly comment on SDMM are new arrivals
and probably didn't know who he is. In the twelve
months since that post ran, a couple more people
have joined the club. With that in mind, I'd like
to take this opportunity to officially introduce
to my new friends and followers three great
guys - original Dell rats who for years have
generously shared their memories and
contributed lists of their favorite songs
to Shady Dell Music & Memories.

In today's post each of my old buddies will
be naming a favorite Dell song and I will
be playing a game of Six Degrees by
replying with an "answer song"
that is somehow related.


Ron Shearer and I went to the same high school,
were in the same graduating class and hung out
at the Dell together. Actually Ron started going
to the Dell two years before I did, when he was
only 14. Ron and I also attended Penn State
at the same time. Nobody loves soul music
more than Ron, and I think it is also safe
to say that no one has attended more
live soul shows across the country.

I hadn't seen nor heard from Ron in decades
when suddenly, out of the blue, shortly after
my one year blog anniversary in 2009,
Ron contacted me, having just seen
SDMM for the first time.

Ron wrote:

"I definitely like the nostalgia. Those pictures
on your year anniversary definitely made me
feel like I was walking up the steps from the
parking lot, etc." (FYI - SDMM had only
two or three followers at the time and my
anniversary post received ZERO comments.)

Ron surprised me by revealing that, over the
years, he had forgotten the term "Dell rat"
which was used in a disparaging context
by anti-Dell members of the community
to describe the group of regulars that
frequented the Ettlines' hangout - a
label that was proudly adopted by
the teenage patrons themselves.

"Keep up the good work on your blog," Ron
wrote. "John and Helen were special people.
They had a lot of love, for themselves, each
other, and countless of us. You really do a
fine job paying homage to the Ettlines and
the people they helped to grow up, as well
as helping us to look back and see where
we've come from and what's a part of us."



Ron told me his favorite Dell song is
"Island Of Love" by The Sheppards,
a Chicago vocal group that performed
a transitional style of R&B, creating
a bridge between 50s doo-wop and
60s soul. "Island Of Love" didn't
make the Billboard 100, only the
Bubbling Under chart, but Ron
says it was huge at the Dell!

 "Island Of Love" - The Sheppards 
 (Aug. 1959, highest chart pos. #109) 



Ron, I've got a closely related doo-wop goodie
for you. It's "Lover's Island," the lone hit single
by the California doo-wop group The Blue Jays.
I'm curious, good buddy. Do you think "Island
Of Love" and "Lover's Island" are the same
key...or not the same atoll? (Isle Google it!)

 "Lover's Island" - The Blue Jays 
 (Sept. 1961, highest chart pos. #31) 


Now meet original Dell rat Jerre Slaybaugh,
a friend who has been following Shady Dell
Music & Memories from its start in 2008.

Jerre Wrote:

"I got onto your site due to reading about the
Oaks reunion and the Oaks CD." (Shady's note:
The Oaks aka White Oaks Park, was another
York area hangout for teenagers. The Oaks
was the North York counterpart to the south
side's Shady Dell.) Jerre continued: "I'm
glad I stumbled on to the site. I spent
most of my Dell time from
1961 – 1965."

It's a small world after all, because Jerre also
attended Penn State and he and I even worked
at the same Weis Markets store location, only
at different time periods. "I graduated from
York High in 1961," wrote Jerre, "and went
to York College for 2 years. During 1961-63
I spent the majority of my free time at the Dell.
I worked at Weis Markets and many of my
friends from YJC (York Junior College)
and Weis hung at the Dell. I then went to
Penn State from 1964 - 65 and only got to
the Dell on holidays and over the summers.
Then I was in the USMC until 1969 and
missed out on those years."



Jerre's top Dell song is the religious deep soul
ballad "Human" by Tommy Hunt, formerly a
member of The Flamingos. Shortly after Hunt
left the classic doo-wop vocal group in 1960
he was approached by songwriter/producer
Luther Dixon who had Tommy record the
single "The Parade Of Broken Hearts."
Tommy's record didn't receive much
exposure on radio until New York DJ
Jocko Henderson accidentally played
the wrong side - "Human." Tommy's
churchy ballad took off and became
the biggest U.S. hit of his career.

 "Human" - Tommy Hunt 
 (Oct. 1961, highest chart pos. 
 #48 Hot 100/#5 R&B



Jerre, I've got a Six Degrees special for you.
He (The Creator) is also the inspiration of the
song "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay" recorded
by Gene McDaniels. Like "Human," "Clay"
was penned by Luther Dixon (along with
Kay Rogers and Bob Elgin) and charted
the same year as Tommy's record - 1961.

 "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay" 
 Gene McDaniels (May 1961, 
 highest chart position 
 #3 Hot 100/#11 R&B


Greg Gulden is an original Dell rat of the 60s
who apparently hung out there the same years
Ron and I were in attendance, but we simply
don't remember each other. Greg and I met
and became friends through the little blog
that could - Shady Dell Music & Memories.

Greg appears in the iconic photo above taken
in 2012 as he posed next to the Dell fireplace,
a spot to which every Dell rat gravitated on
cold winter nights when John Ettline built
a roaring blaze to keep us warm.

Greg wrote:

"Your Blog has helped me remember not only my
time at the Dell but also my time at York High and
my teen years growing up in York. During the 60's
the Dell was all about the music. Reading your
Blog takes me back to the best days of my life.
I loved John and Helen as much as you
could love two people."



"This song did not get a lot of play time at the
Dell," Greg explained, "because it was not a
great dance tune. When we talk about the
records on the Dell jukebox no one has
explained how they got there, I like to
think it is a part of that old Dell Magic.
This group came in under the radar and
went on to become a super group that still
sells out shows today. This is one the songs
that make up the soundtrack of my life. The
group is the Moody Blues and the song is

 "Go Now!" - The Moody Blues 
 (Apr. 1965, highest chart pos. #10, 
 perf. on UK TV show Top Of The Pops



Greg, my answer song is the original version
of "Go Now" waxed by Carolina R&B queen
Bessie Banks. Recorded in late 1963 a week
after the JFK assassination and released at
the start of 1964, Bessie's soulful single
got buried in the avalanche of records
released in America by the Beatles
and other British Invasion acts.
Bessie's fab 45 failed to chart -
didn't even Bubble Under!

 "Go Now" - Bessie Banks 
 (Jan. 1964, uncharted) 

Thank you, original Dell Rats Ron Shearer,
Jerre Slaybaugh and Greg Gulden, for being
faithful friends all these years and for your
valuable contributions to the blog created
with guys like you in mind, your home away
from home, Shady Dell Music & Memories!

Have a Shady day!


  1. Moody Blues were around for a while, weren't they?
    That is really awesome that all three guys reconnected due to your blog. I wonder how many more you will find in the coming years? Keep it up!

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for being the early bird again this week, good buddy!

      The Moody Blues have been active since 1964 and are still performing, making the prog rock band one of the longest lasting music acts ever.

      I am very happy to have this trio of original Dell rats contributing to the discussion and helping keep the music and memories alive.

      Thanks again for coming, good buddy Alex!

  2. Tom,

    I think it's so wonderful how you're able to bring together people from your youth with these common bonds, the Shady Dell and mewsic thanks to your blog presence. That's just grand!

    All of today's featured songs are new-to-me, except for The Moody Blues "Go Now" cover. These selections were either before my time or when I was way too little to remember. It did dawn on me that I was born at the end of the dodo-whomp era (1961).

    Thanks for sharing such classic mewsic from era we all like to relive or pretend to live in for as long as the song lasts. Have a great day, my friend!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you very much for coming over to sample some real oldies with me and three other original Dell rats, guys who were there and still care.

      I'm glad we were able to introduce you to some brand new old sounds today. Yessum, most of these recordings were made before your time. Quite frankly, I don't remember the first two or the last one, the original "Go Now," from back when they were released and on the radio. I came to know and love them in my twenties when I caught nostalgia fever and started collecting old vinyl.

      Thank you again for joining the fun, meeting the Dell rats and listening to their favorite songs, dear friend Cathy!

    2. Tom,

      I can relate to catching that nostalgia fever. I really dig the sounds of yesteryear. The talent was phenomenal! Have a grand weekend, my friend and thanks for voting in my mid-month BoTB!

    3. One more thing....I hope you have a lovely Father's Day!

  3. U talkin 2 me, friend Shady? … Thanx 4 talkin 2 me … Love, cat.

    1. Hi, cat!

      How are you, dear feline friend? Thanks for coming!

      Yessum, I talkin to U! Do you like this old tuneage brought to you by original Dell rats of the early and mid 60s? I hope so.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend cat!

    2. I like it here … purr … Love, cat,

  4. Thanks for introducing me to some of your fellow Dell Rats. All the music and artists are new to me except, of course, The Moody Blues.... though I've never heard this particular song. I always associate them with their iconic Days of Future Passed LP. (one I played over and over)

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      Thank you so much for coming by, dear friend. I'm happy to see you!

      I believe there is a significant difference in our ages, Kelly, and that makes a big difference in some of the music you remember. I came of age during the 50s and 60s. I suspect you were a decade or more behind me. "Go Now" was a British Invasion era cover that peaked in the spring of 1965. The iconic Days album of which you spoke was released in late 1967 but didn't become a top 3 hit in the U.S. until 1972. It was the same story with "Nights In White Satin," a song on the album. "Nights" was first released as a single in early 1968 and merely Bubbled Under at #103. When re-released in the summer of 1972 in conjunction with the album's skyrocketing popularity, "Nights" went to #2 on the Billboard chart and all the way to #1 on Cash Box.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend Kelly. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  5. Tom, I think Go Now was done before Justin Hayward and Graham Edge joined the Moody Blues. They took off after that. I managed to see them in concert at Hershey Park in a concert with Chicago. Not a big Chicago fan but really like Moody Blues. Of course I like Ron's song and your answer since they are part of my favorite doo wop. They both got playing time at the Disc o Rama. Every song Ron has ever mentioned are winners in my song list. You educated me again on the Bessie Banks selection. It does seem that Ron and I like quite a few one hit wonders or one hit almost wonders.


    1. Hi, Jerre!

      Thanks for dropping in to comment on this post, good buddy! I appreciate your input as I present you and the other original rats in an updated post revealing your favorite Dell songs.

      Seems like, over the years, you saw many great artists, groups and bands perform over at that Hershey Park venue. I'll bet Chicago and the Moodies drew quite a large crowd.

      You're right. Your ears match Ron's more often than they match mine. Maybe that's because Ron started sneaking under the tent when he was only 14 years old while I waited until I was nearly 16 to start going to the Dell. By the time I got there, traditional vocal group doo-wop was fading away and soul, funk and rock were the hottest platters in the box.

      I well remember the Disc O Rama. Mailman's was closer but every once in a while I went into town and shopped for records at the Disc. I also bought records and my stereo system at Sol Kessler's across from Sunny's Surplus. Remember that store?

      Thanks again for your loyal friendship, good buddy Jerre, and stay tuned for stunning surprises coming next month here on SDMM!

  6. Remember both stores. Sunny's Surplus as I recall was the only store you could purchase a Navy green canvas with fur collar winter coat that was almost as "in" as the Cuda. Bought my second record player with detachable speakers from Sol. Jerre

    1. Hi, Jerre!

      I remember you telling me about that coat available at the Surplus store. You must have purchased the same type of stereo I did at Sol Kessler's. It had detachable speakers and I thought for sure audio fidelity couldn't get any better than that. :)

      Thanks for popping back in to answer my question, good buddy Jerre. Stick with me for huge surprises coming in the weeks ahead!

  7. Oh The Moody Blues . . . Great Fabulous Wonderful !
    I do not know all the great history of the bands like your friends but I usually find one recording in your post that bring back memories.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Hi, Gayle!

      How are you, dear friend? Thanks for swinging over to sample the favorite Dell songs of Ron, Jerre and Greg, original Dell rats of the 50s and 60s. All it takes is one familiar old song to trigger a hundred memories. It makes me happy to know you found one in this post.

      Thanks again for coming by, dear friend Gayle. Please give Winston a hug and a smooch for me and enjoy the rest of your week!

  8. Shady!

    I'm glad your blog allowed you to reconnect with old friends. I like to think that is the positive of blogging.

    Thank you for this post - it was so nice to meet your old friends and acquaintances! I also loved the music you included- they are reminiscent of my past.

    Happy 10th anniversary! Have a wonderful day, dear friend!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thank you very much for dropping in, dear friend. I'm happy to see you!

      I can't help wondering if your dad remembers/likes any of these old Dell rat songs? You should show him the post and ask him.

      I agree, Jessica. In my ten years of blogging (the anniversary is next month) I have found it very rewarding to reunite with folks who shared the Shady Dell experience, guys who were there and still care. Through the years Ron, Jerre and Greg have helped me keep the Shady Dell music and memories alive and once again I thank them.

      Have a wonderful Wednesday, dear friend JM!

    2. Hi Shady,

      I will show dad tomorrow and see what he says. He probably does know these songs or at least heard them.

      An old friend from elementary school reconnected with me. She accidentally killed my pet chinchilla in 4th grade and we will see where it goes. This is one connection I'm not excited about. People say let bygones be bygones ,but she killed an animal I loved by not listening: that's extremely hard to let go.

      Have a great Friday!

    3. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thank you very much for coming over again this morning dear friend!

      Your dad might not even be old enough to remember these songs from the late 50s and early 60s, but it will be interesting to find out. I know you will make sure he has a happy Father's Day.

      I am very sorry to learn that an old school chum accidentally killed your chinchilla. That's a hard one to let go of. If she takes responsibility and expresses genuine remorse, then I think you will feel better about it if you open your heart and renew your friendship.

      Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friend JM!

  9. I love how much these 3 found your blog and connected due to being a Dell Rat. Your “adopted” mom & pop would be proud at how much all of you loved the dell. I am a huge lover of the Moody Blues who don’t look anything like they did just a few short years later but I do love the original Go Now which sounds so heart felt. I couldn’t listen to the first 2 but will try to find them on YouTube. I love the 2nd w music pieces and I can’t help but think of my hubby who is a huge animal lover and wonders about humans. This might not be the intention of the song but I think of this and your response is one I like because I feel the hope in that song.

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thank you very much for popping in to see me, dear friend. This is another great comment, too, and I appreciate it!

      When I first started this blog nearly ten years ago, I tailored the content to please original Dell rats like Ron, Jerre and Greg. I honestly thought more of the old Dell crowd would show up here and support the site, but it didn't turn out that way. "Just be thankful for what you got," the song goes, and I am indeed thankful for the new crop of Dell rats, people I have met over the last decade who have taken an interest in the Dell story and have come here each week to spend some time in the Shady. Like the original Dell, this blog has brought people together from all over the country and around the world, old and young, to learn, to teach, to share, to dance, sing, have fun and build genuine lasting friendships. That's what it is all about for me and I thank you very much for being part of it, BB. I can relate to your hubby because, sometimes, it is easier to love and understand an animal than a human.

      Thanks again for joining the fun, dear friend BB!

  10. Tom thanks once again for makeing this old Dell Rat immortal. The Dell will live on thur the years on the web. I know I've been away from the blog for a few years, my health has been going down hill ( dam lucky strikes). I love the Bessie Banks cut of Go Now. It's easy to see way the Moody Blues covered it. Only took over a half century for me to hear it. Thanks to Toni for letting me know you were doing this. Every time I go out S. George St. I make that right turn and go up the hill past the Dell house. The barn is long gone but the memories are still there. Thanks again my friend and take care. A Dell Rat Allways Greg

    1. Hi, Greg!

      I am pleased to welcome you back here to your home away from home, Shady Dell Music & Memories, good buddy! Thanks so much for being on hand to reunite in virtual reality with Dell rats Ron and Jerre.

      I am always interested to know which Dell songs left their mark on you guys. To me it is interesting that we all had our own set of filters at the Dell. There are some songs that made a big impression on you, but that I don't remember at all. "Go Now" is one of them. I must have just missed that one on the jukebox because it peaked in April of 1965 and I didn't show up at the Dell for the first time until the fall. The record was probably pulled from the lineup by then. I'm glad I was able to introduce you (and Jerre) to the Bessie Banks original.

      My mom smoked Luckies for many years, Greg. I wish you good health, my friend. Please take good care of yourself. If I have anything to say about it, you, Ron and Jerre will indeed be immortalized along with the Ettlines and Margaret Schneider. With that in mind, I urge you to report back here at the end of next month when I will be making the biggest announcement in the blog's ten year history.

      Thanks so much, Greg!

  11. Tom I know how why we missed each other. You said you first went to the Dell in the fall of 65. On June 25 of 65 I was on my way to the Dell on my motor bike and was hit by a car and was in the hospital for weeks. Spent my senior year at York High with a brace on my left leg. I made few visits to the Dell after that . My time at the Dell was ending and yours was beginning. A Dell Rat Allways Greg

    1. Hi again, good buddy!

      I always wondered about that. As I noted in the piece, you and I don't remember each other for some odd reason. When I asked Toni about it over the years, she couldn't tell me the years you attended. Now I have a better understanding. I'm sorry you had an accident that derailed your Dell "career," and I'm sorry we missed the chance to become friends back then. It was much the same with Jerre. He was finishing up his Dell stint when I started going, so I missed him, too. I will be re-running your old Vespa story at some point in the future, Greg, so please stay tuned.

      Thanks again for returning to fill me in and for your ongoing support, Greg!

  12. It is always nice to meet people unless the person is a homicidal maniac

    1. Hi, Jo-Anne!

      How are you, my dear Australian friend? I am happy to have you over to meet the Dell rats!

      Good one, Jo-Anne! That is the most quotable statement I've read in quite some time. :) I doubt that any of my old Dell buddies qualify as homicidal maniacs, but some of their favorite songs KILL!

      Thank you again for joining the fun, dear friend Jo-Anne!

  13. Hi Shady! Wow...just let me put the foot to the pedal! That Bessie Banks OWNS it doesn't she! I love the way the Moody Blues performed "Go Now". This song was always a winner for me with their strong, but soft vocals and instruments. It was like no other song around, and even though I did see them in concert once, like you and Greg said of their previous career, they came in, and, always seemed to be "under the radar". But Bessie's original recording was too fabulous! What an intense song! She was very powerful!

    It's nice to see your Dell Rat friends again, Shady! I'm glad to know they are still in touch and keep bringing the great memories your way.

    Ron lead us off with a softer side, and both groups were very good with their Lovers Island and Island of Love numbers. I like both of them.

    I have not heard of Tommy Hunt, but "Human" is a good, though sad song. Gene McDaniel's "100 lbs. of Clay was truly a popular one, played a lot on the radio. I also remember "Tower of Strength as a strong and powerful song.

    Thank you Shady for bringing these guys back. Any time with them is a great time! You all have some pretty strong connections that will last always!

    Sorry, I'm coming around late Shady, and it looks like I've missed a previous post of yours. I will try to get back over here tomorrow. Got back in town last night from Kansas City and I am pretty worn out. My sister and I made appearances at two of our reunions from school, and had a pretty good time. I spent some time with my mother, she was happy to see me. My Scootie is off at his mom's until the middle of July, and we're missing him a lot. I hope you are doing well and staying cool. Have a safe weekend, dear friend! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      I am so happy to be welcoming you back, dear friend! I've missed you and I am grateful that you came over to see this post even though you are exhausted from your long trip. That's very nice of you!

      I figured you'd find some tunes to your liking in this batch. I am especially thrilled to know that you appreciate the powerful, soulful vocal performance by Carolina R&B thrush Bessie Banks. Surely the assassination of JFK which happened a week before Bessie went to the studio and waxed the song, added to the deep soul feel. Then, as luck would have it, Bessie's record got lost in the shuffle at the start of 1964 when the entire civilized world turned-on to the sound of the Beatles and bands of the British Invasion. History has been kind to Bessie. Today her single is regarded by music critics and fans as a classic, the definitive version of "Go Now."

      You're right, Suzanne. Listening to Tommy Hunt's churchy ballad "Human" touches the soul and brings a tear to the eye. It's another R&B masterpiece and it ranks high on my own list of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell.

      The Dell rats all say "hello," Suzanne and they thank you for coming to sample their favorite sounds from the Dell.

      I'm happy to learn that you attended two reunions in KC and enjoyed seeing your mother and sister. I can imagine how much you must be missing Scootie by now, with a long way to go until he's back with you again. He is in my thoughts. The heat is on here in Florida. It's a steam bath and the air conditioner is putting in lots of overtime.

      Thank you again, Suzanne, for being such a sweet and faithful friend. Take care, enjoy the rest of your week, and I'll see you again soon!

  14. Hi Shady!
    This was fantastic! What a clever way to celebrate a reunion (of sorts). I hadn't heard 100 pounds of Clay in forever and was totally surprised to learn that the Moody Blues did "Go Now"!
    It's the first day of monsoon here and for once, the clouds seem likely to oblige. Add to that this awesome post and it looks like today is gonna be a good, good day, my friend! Thank you ;-)

    1. Hi, diedre!

      Wow, I am very happy to see you, dear friend! Thanks for coming over as I re-introduce for the benefit of my new followers, three original Dell rats who have been contributing music and memories to the blog for nearly ten years.

      I'm happy to know that you remember one of my song picks, "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay," and that you learned for the first time that the Moody Blues did the hit cover of Bessie Banks' "Go Now." My other Arizona friend, Gayle, posted pics of the monsoon clouds on her blog. I hope you get some moisture over there and that it puts out that nasty looking fire.

      I truly hope you are having a good, good day, dear friend diedre. Thanks again for joining the fun and have a wonderful weekend!

  15. Hey it's really nice to hear from some of your Dell Rat friends! It was fun to hear their favs that take them back to the Dell. I'm sure you can guess what my favorite is here before I even tell you.
    "Go Now" is an amazing song and it was very cool to hear the original version by Bessie Banks. I never heard of her before...unless you featured her here before and I just forgot. What a great voice! I'll have to look into her body of work.
    The Moody Blues sure do the song justice. Not surprising as that band is a class act. It was nice to see them performing it all those years ago. What staying power the Moody Blues have had all these years.

    I enjoyed the other songs as well. I really liked Gene McDaniels sound. And isn't it amazing how a mistake, one that if not had happened, might've kept Tommy Hunt's "Human" a B side forever. Instead that little mistake uncovered Hunt's biggest hit of his career. Now that sounds like some Divine intervention to me!

    Both "Island" songs ere great too. I don't know which one I prefer. They're both good.

    Happy Sunday...and Happy Father's Day. I'm heading over to check out your Father's Day tribute post to Shady Dell's father...

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Thank you so much for reporting in to read and listen to my two latest posts. I am very happy to see you, dear friend!

      Yessum, I could have guessed that the prog rock act would be your favorite in this batch, but I am thrilled to know you appreciate the original of "Go Now" by Bessie Banks. Surely the sadness Bessie felt one week after the JFK assassination affected her vocals as she laid them down in the studio one week later, creating a deep soul masterpiece that stands the test of time.

      I agree it seems like Divine intervention that boss jock Jocko accidentally played the wrong side of that Tommy Hunt platter. "Parade of Broken Hearts" is nowhere near as great a song as "Human," IMO, and I don't know why the record company weasels didn't realize that when they designated "Parade" as the push" side.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend Michele!

  16. With the exception of the Moody Blues "Go Now", I don't think I've heard any of these before, but they're all great. Musically, it must have been a great time to be a teenager.


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