CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
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
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Peanut Scramble: Celebrating My Six Year Blogiversary With a Sunday Snap!


Shady Dell Music & Memories

is 6 years old today!

To celebrate I am carrying on

the tradition of my dear friend

Thisisme at Southhamsdarling

and posting a Sunday Snap.

I realize I am violating the Sunday Snaps rules
by including text, but I wanted to explain what
you are seeing in the picture below. Taken in
the summer of 1952, it shows two year old
Shady Del Knight (standing right rear) and five
of my cousins participating in a peanut scramble.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Similar to an Easter egg hunt, a peanut scramble was
a game for children.  Peanuts were scattered on the
ground across a small area and kids scrambled
to gather them.  I suppose the winner, the kid
who collected the most goober peas, won a
prize, probably more of the same. I remember
taking part in peanut scrambles at my church's
Sunday school picnics held in the summer-
time at White Oaks Park ("The Oaks").
This picture, however, was taken
at a family reunion.

Did you ever participate in a peanut scramble?


Dear friend, I want to thank you for supporting Shady Dell Music & Memories. Whether you have been following me for years, months, weeks or days, you are very important to me and I value your friendship. Stick around for more fun
and more great music and memories coming up in year seven!


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY I AM

TAKING A BREAK FROM BLOGGING

TO SEE THE U.S.A. IN MY CHEVROLET.

I WILL BE AWAY AND OUT OF TOUCH

FOR THREE WEEKS OR MORE.  

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I WILL

NOT BE ABLE TO VISIT OR COMMENT

ON YOUR BLOG UNTIL I GET BACK.

I LOOK FORWARD TO CATCHING UP

WITH YOU AT YOUR PLACE AND MINE

WHEN I RETURN NEXT MONTH.

THANK YOU, DEAR FRIEND!

Have a Shady day!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Puffin' With Pickettywitch Polly Brown!


 P I C K E T T Y W I T C H 


The late 60s/early 70s English pop group Pickettywitch
was led by Polly Brown (also Browne), a witchy woman
who sang sunshine pop laced with a little bit o' soul.


No one seems certain where the name Pickettywitch
came from. Some say it was the name of a village
in Cornwall through which Polly and her sister once
passed.  (Cool! Maybe she also spent some time
in Portwenn and met Doc Martin and Louisa!)
Others think the band's name came from a
tavern called the Picketty Witch Inn
located in Yeovil, Somerset.


The origin of the band's name isn't as important as the
great music they produced. Blonde beauty Polly Brown
usually sounded like she was singing with a head cold,
but it was that distinctive nasal quality that set her
apart, endeared listeners and invited comparisons
to America's sultry soul siren Dionne Warwick.

 "Days I Remember" - Pickettywitch 
 (from 1970 album Pickettywitch




Songwriter/producer Gerry Shury described Polly Brown
as "a cross between Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick."
I hear Diana in some of Polly's recordings but my
favorite songs by Pickettywitch are the ones
in which Polly channels Dionne Warwick.
"Days I Remember" is one example
and "There He Goes" is another.

 "There He Goes" - Pickettywitch 
 (from 1970 album Pickettywitch, 
 released on single February 1971 as 
 B side of "Waldo P. Emerson Jones") 




The Pickettywitch band's breakthrough record
and biggest hit was "That Same Old Feeling."


The song was previously recorded and released on a 1968
album by Britain's integrated soul band The Foundations.
Early in 1970, the Pickettywitch version of "That Same
Old Feeling" was released on a single, vaulted to
#5 on the UK chart (#67/#40 U.S.) and led
to regular appearances on Top of the Pops.

 "That Same Old Feeling" - Pickettywitch 
 (February 1970, highest chart position #5 UK 
 June/July 1970, highest chart position 
 #67 U.S. Hot 100/#40 Cash Box  
 Live on Top of the Pops




That same year, Pickettywitch landed two more
of their singles on the UK chart. The delightfully
infectious "(It's Like a) Sad Old Kinda Movie"
cracked the top 20.

 "(It's Like a) Sad Old Kinda Movie" - Pickettywitch 
 (June 1970, highest chart position #16 UK 
 Live on Top of the Pops





The next Pickettywitch single "Baby, I Won't Let
You Down" penetrated the top 30 later that year.

 "Baby, I Won't Let You Down" - Pickettywitch 
 (November 1970, highest chart position #27 UK) 




The last Pickettywitch single with Polly Brown on lead vocal
was the early 1972 release "Number Wonderful" backed
with an even better B, "Point of No Return."

 "Point of No Return" - Pickettywitch 
 (February 1972, B side of "Number Wonderful") 





 S W E E T  D R E A M S 


When Pickettywitch failed to catch on in America and
started to sputter at home in England, it was time for
Polly Brown to move on to other projects.


In 1974 Polly teamed up with Tony Jackson to form a
duo called Sweet Dreams.  The pair had an international
hit with a worthy cover of the ABBA's "Honey Honey."

 "Honey Honey" - Sweet Dreams 
 (August 1974, highest chart position #68 U.S. 
 #10 UK/#14 Ireland/#42 Germany 
 Live on Top of the Pops 





 P O L L Y  B R O W N  

 ( B R O W N E ) 


The following year, as a solo act, Polly scored a much bigger
hit in America with her signature song, the thumping,
pre-disco dance favorite "Up In a Puff of Smoke."

 "Up in a Puff of Smoke" - Polly Brown 
 (September 1974, highest chart position #43 UK 
 March 1975, highest chart position 
 #16 U.S. Hot 100, #3 Disco







The proof's in the puffin' and in the grooves of these pleasing platters. You are a very good witch indeed, Polly Brown!

Have a Shady day!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Echoes of the Spectorian Era, Volume 4 I'm All Strung Out Over You, Phil Baby!


 Welcome to Part 4 of Echoes

 the series that puts Spector 

 in the spotlight along with 

 producers who imitated 

 his Wall of Sound


 THE DARNELLS 

 (MARVELETTES) 


 MOTOWN MEETS SPECTOR! 

In 1963, lead singer Gladys Horton and her
Motown girl group the Marvelettes recorded
the Holland–Dozier–Holland song "Too Hurt
to Cry, Too Much in Love to Say Goodbye,"
backed by session singers The Andantes.
It was an attempt by H-D-H to imitate Phil
Spector and his Wall-of-Sound which became
popular the year before on singles released
by the Crystals. This Marvelettes single
was released as by the Darnells and
sounded a lot like the Crystals
hit "Then He Kissed Me."


I have a theory about long, cumbersome song titles.
In most cases records with long titles don't perform
as well as those with short, catchy titles.  The only
other way to explain why this great Marvelettes
release performed so poorly is the curse of the
Kennedy assassination, a phenomenon that sank
many fine recordings. "Too Hurt to Cry" had the
misfortune of being released in October 1963
and landing on the Bubbling Under chart the
day after JFK was killed. It never made it out
the Bubbling Under basement. When you hear
this groovy great, you'll know it was hitworthy!

 "Too Hurt to Cry, Too Much in Love to Say Goodbye" 
 The Darnells (Nov. 1963, highest chart pos. #117) 





 THE CRYSTALS 

If you're confused about the Marvelettes making
records as the Darnells and sounding like the
Crystals, now hear this. It's Darlene Love and
her girl group the Blossoms, Phil Spector's
heavily used West Coast session vocalists,
singing the Barry Mann - Cynthia Weil
song "He's Sure the Boy I Love," a
single released by Spector and
credited to the Crystals!


Spector did the same thing with the Gene Pitney
penned "He's a Rebel," the Crystals biggest hit.
Darlene and the Blossoms recorded the song
but it was released as a Crystals record. Why
did Phil Spector do that? Because he could. :)
Here's a better answer. The East Coast based
Crystals were busy touring and unavailable for
West Coast studio work. Spector recognized
a hot song in "Rebel," learned that Vikki Carr
was getting ready to record it and saw the
chance to beat her to it and score another
Crystals hit. Spector called upon his secret
weapons, Darlene Love and the Blossoms,
had them cut the vocal track and marketed
the single as the latest from the Crystals.
Raising the specter of more deception from
Spector, here, in name only, are the Crystals!

 "He's Sure the Boy I Love" - The Crystals 
 (February 1963, highest chart position #11) 






 NINO TEMPO 

 AND APRIL STEVENS 


Nino Tempo was a member of Phil Spector's group
of studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew.
Nino and his sister April Stevens recorded duets
and had early 60s hits with "Deep Purple,"
"Whispering" and "Stardust."


In late summer of 1966 the duo came storming back
with their greatest career recording, the Spectorian,
self composed "All Strung Out." The song was
originally offered to the Righteous Brothers
and seemed ideal for Bill and Bobby, but for
some reason they passed on it. Nino and April
recorded it themselves but had problems getting
the right sound and feel. They enlisted studio
vet Bones Howe to fix it in the mix and he did,
creating a Wall of Sound masterpiece.


In this rare color clip from August 1966,
April and Nino performed their new single on
The Lloyd Thaxton Show. Music journalist
Richie Unterberger calls "All Strung Out" the duo's
"greatest triumph" and "one of the greatest
Phil Spector-inspired productions of all time".

 "All Strung Out" 
 Nino Tempo and April Stevens 
 (Sept./Oct. 1966, highest chart pos. #26 
 Live on The Lloyd Thaxton Show August 18, 1966) 





 BARRY MANN 


As a recording artist, Barry Mann, one half of
the Brill Building husband and wife songwriting
team of Mann and Weil, was a one-hit-wonder.
Lucky for us Barry and Cynthia focused on their
writing. One of the greatest Mann-Weil songs
was "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" which
they recorded as a demo intended for the
Righteous Brothers. Instead Red Bird
urged Mann to release it himself.


Eric Burdon and the Animals beat Mann to the
punch and gained a top 20 hit in the U.S. and
top 5 UK. "We Gotta Get Out of this Place"
was a song for many occasions. It worked
at grad night dances and it was embraced
by homesick soldiers in Vietnam.


The Animals got the glory but Barry Mann's
original version is a monster that bowls you
over with a thundering Wall-of-Sound!

  "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" - Barry Mann 
 (August 1965, released 2005 on CD compilation 
 Before They Were Hits or We Did It First!!!! Vol. 3





 THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS 

The Righteous Brothers' single "Ebb Tide" was
hot in the Shady in December 1965 when I was
still a Dell newbie. The powerful ballad played
on the jukebox several times a night all winter
long, earning it the #80 position on my list of
The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell.


Written in 1953, "Ebb Tide" has been recorded by
many artists including Frank Sinatra, the Platters
and Lenny Welch, but the version released by
the Righteous Brothers was most successful.
Listen to one of the Dell's most popular
slow dances of the mid 60s, "Ebb Tide."

 "Ebb Tide" - The Righteous Brothers 
 (December 1965, highest chart position #5) 





 GLENN YARBROUGH 

Folk music flourished in America in the late 50s
and early 60s. Folk songs recorded by acts like the
Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary became hits.


The 1963/64 TV series Hootenanny showcased folk
music acts with commercial appeal. They included
the Limeliters, a folk trio with Glenn Yarbrough
as lead singer. When the Limeliters broke up
Glenn embarked upon a solo recording career
and entered the pop arena.


Glenn's biggest hit was the theme song of the 1965
Steve McQueen-Lee Remick movie Baby the Rain
Must Fall, but he achieved Spectorian splendor
that year with another single. In this exciting clip,
Glenn puts the Gazzarri gals through their paces
as he sings "It's Gonna Be Fine."

 "It's Gonna Be Fine" - Glenn Yarbrough 
 (June 1965, highest chart position #54 
 Live on Hollywood A Go-Go, July 31, 1965) 





 I hope Echoes Volume 4 got your 

 blood pumpin' and feet tappin'. 

 In Part 5 we will once again 


 try to achieve that elusive 


 high, that state of ecstasy 


 called Spectorian Splendor. 

 I hope you'll join me! 

Have a Shady day!