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, October 26, 2014

I Dare You to Spend a Night in the Wax Museum With Hitchcock and His Birds!


 Good evening. 

 My name is Alfred Hitchcock. 


 Shady Del Knight,  The Man Who Knew Too Much
 is currently unable to fulfill his duties as blog host. 
 It seems he is experiencing a touch of  Vertigo. 
 That explains why  The Shady Vanishes.  In his 
 absence, Mr. Knight has asked me to serve as 
 master of ceremonies and entertain you 
 by playing phonograph records. 


 I am delighted to do so because it gives me the opportunity 
 to introduce  The Birds,  British female pop vocalists who 
 made some of the best girl group recordings of the 60s. 


 I say girl group because each of the solo artists you 
 are about to meet achieved greatness with the help of 
 The Breakaways, a girl trio of session singers whose 
 voices can be heard soaring above the lead vocals on 
 the recordings of Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Lulu 
 and Jimi Hendrix to name but a few. The Breakaways 
 were also great recording artists in their own right... 
 the bees knees as it were. Ready steady go... 
 it's time to  Dial M for Music. 


 THE BREAKAWAYS 

The Breakaways were among the busiest and
many consider them the best session singers
in the history of the British recording industry,
the UK equivalent of Phil Spector's Blossoms,
Motown's Andantes and New York's
Sweet Inspirations and Cookies.


The Breakaways started out as members of
The Vernons Girls, a 16-member girl group
 assembled in Liverpool in the 1950s as a
 clever, legal way to promote UK football
betting pools. Three of the Vernons Girls
broke away from the group and formed an
act called, quite rightly,  Mellow Yellow
 The Breakaways. The girls moved to
 London where they became known
for their work as backing vocalists
on some of the greatest UK
recordings of the 60s.


Following a personnel change in which original member
Betty Prescott left the group, the classic Breakaways
lineup was in place - (left to right above) Jean Ryder,
Margo Quantrell and Vicki Haseman. The Breakaways
entered the burgeoning Brit Beat sweepstakes with a
few releases of their own. Unfortunately none of their
singles went platinum or gold (or  Topaz ) but, in the
fickle recording industry, "That's How It Goes."

 "That's How It Goes" - The Breakaways 
 (March 1964) 




"He Doesn't Love Me," the B side of "That's How It Goes,"
was good enough to merit release as an A side.
Why neither side became a hit remains a
deep, dark, unfathomable mystery.

 "He Doesn't Love Me" - The Breakaways  
 (March 1964, B side of "That's How It Goes") 





 YVONNE PRENOSILOVA 


I now present Miss Yvonne Prenosilova, a teenage
Czech songbird who had a fondness for American
rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll and performed
covers of Brenda Lee songs. Yvonne won a
singing contest in her home city of Prague.
In England, backed by The Breakaways,
she released "When My Baby Cries,"
a beat ballad that will leave you
shaken and stirred or my
name isn't Alfred Hitchcock.

 "When My Baby Cries" - Yvonne Prenosilova 
 (February 1965) 





 JACKIE TRENT 


English composer Tony Hatch supplied songs and
produced and arranged recordings made by the
Breakaways and many other Brit pop acts.
Jackie Trent was the tunesmith's lyricist
partner, girlfriend and future wife.
When Jackie wasn't busy writing
songs for other artists, she was in
the studio making records of her
own including the northern soul
doublesider "You Baby" b/w
 "Send Her Away."

 "Send Her Away" - Jackie Trent 
 (January 1966, B side of "You Baby') 





 CILLA BLACK 


Cilla Black was one of the most successful English
female singers of the Sixties thanks to her talent,
poise, style, great song material and A-list record
producers. Cilla specialized in dramatic ballads
and you are about to witness history in the
making as she recorded one of the best
of her career, the Burt Bacharach -
Hal David composition "Alfie,
title track of the hit movie
starring Michael Caine.


Burt Bacharach himself charted the arrangement and
flew across the pond to play piano at the recording
session and conduct the 48 piece orchestra. In this
clip you will see The Breakaways providing back-
ground vocals. Burt Bacharach said he was
looking for magic that day. He got it. Cilla
Black stepped up to the microphone and
delivered a powerful vocal performance.
If this doesn't give you goose bumps,
you belong in the  Family Plot. 

 "Alfie" - Cilla Black  
 (Sept. 1966, highest chart pos. 
 #95 U.S./#9 UK in May 1966) 





 SANDRA BARRY 

The song "We Were Lovers (When the Party Began)"
was originally recorded in 1964 by the American
R&B/pop group the Exciters.


The following year British singer Sandra Barry,
accompanied by The Breakaways, covered the
Exciters' release but it failed to attract attention,
confined as it was to the B side of a poor selling
single. Today, Sandra's rendition is a favorite
with fans of British girl pop. Beware! Listening
to this fine recording could drive you  Psycho. 

 "We Were Lovers (When the Party Began)" - Sandra Barry 
 (January 1965, B side of "The End of the Line") 





 I hope you enjoyed the show.
 You will be happy to know 
 that I will be returning soon 
 with more sweet tweets of 
 The Birds Brit girls whose  
 pop records were enhanced 
 by The Breakaways. Til next 
 time this is Alfred Hitchcock 
 leaving you with a friendly 
 piece of advice. What ever you do, don't shower alone at the 
 Bates Motel. Use the buddy system.  Good evening and... 


 HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beyond the Valley of the Paper Dolls - 'Z-Man' Barzell's Killer Halloween Bash!



THIS IS MY HAPPENING

AND IT FREAKS ME OUT!


Ladies and gentlemen, an announcement if you please. 
There is a new girl group in the house, Their name?
The Shangri-Las. As the teen tycoon of rock I'd
like to hear them and I'm sure you would, too.
Here they are for your listening pleasure, the
myrmidons of melodrama, The Shangri-Las!

 "Sweet Sounds of Summer" 
 The Shangri-Las (January 1967 
 highest chart position #123) 




Languid Roxanne finds beauty,
that delicate pinch of feminine spice
with which she often flavors her interludes.


And now, a San Francisco garage band
made up of Diane, Sylvia, Rosemary
and Margaret Sandoval - a sister act
calling themselves The Girls!

 "Chico's Girl" 
 The Girls (1967, uncharted) 




Leave, Tandy darling? No! You have not yet
graced our gathering with a song. Come,
my dear Sharon, I must present you
to the faithful. Now!

 "Hold On" - Sharon Tandy 
 (October 1968) 





Hell, I ain't partied this hard in 15 years.
Wait'll I get home and tell Eula and Clara Belle.




AAAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
AAAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
AAAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!





And you, the infamous Ashley St. Ives,
what thou think of our fair minstrels,
The Feminine Complex?


Will you play them, as you do others,
like a game of hide and seek?

 "Hide and Seek" 
 The Feminine Complex (1969) 





Masters and mistresses, I'm so excited by what I've just heard
that I predict these magnific maidens, much like one of their
illustrious sisters before them, Carrie Nation, will crush
the musical barrier and rise like angels. You'll be superstars!

 "Daddy, You Gotta Let Him In" 
 The Satisfactions (May 1966, 
 group led by Jack Nitzshe's wife Gracia) 




Ah, look there, Lance Rocke!


Greek god and part-time actor.
See how well he performs?


The golden hair, the bedroom eyes, the firm young body.
These are the tools with which he plies his trade.
All are available for a price to those who beg,
"I want your love, Pussycat."

 "I Want Your Love" - The Pussycats 
 (May 1965, uncharted) 




You varlet! You serf! You knave!
How dare you cast aside my alabaster charms?
My capacious love? My undying troth?
Yes, I vow it! Ere this night does wane,
you will drink the black sperm of my vengeance.
You, Jungle Lad, shall be my play thing,
my puppet, my paper doll!

 "My Boyfriend's Back" 
 The Paper Dolls (1970) 




How now, Jungle Lad?
Why so helpless and why so frail?
Lo and behold.  My music hath
charms to soothe your savage breast.
Prepare to boldly go where no man has gone before
as I take you beyond the valley of the paper dolls!

 "Something Here in My Heart" 
 The Paper Dolls (1968) 




Poor poor Jungle Lad. The tables are turned
and you are the piteous object of my dalliance,
a groveling ant creeping across the malodorous moat!


Methinks you remind me of certain things, vassal -
another party with songs and revelry such as this -
coming soon to the SDMM blogspot. That fine day
the vorpal blade of my cutting edge humor will
once again go snickersnack! Again, Jungle Lad,
you will experience my razor sharp wit, finely
honed and keen like Excalibur, mightiest sword
of all time. Wrought by Woden, the god of time,
legendary blade of King Arthur.  Hurled into
the lake, it sprang forth again all shining
 and pure. And now, now it is wielded by
she who will eclipse all their deeds...
Arthur... Lancelot... and even
mighty Coeur de Leon - 

SUPERWOMAN!
(FADE TO BLACK)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Part 4: Honey, I Shrunk My Play List Down to That Cool Beach Boys Sound!


 IT'S TIME TO CONCLUDE 

 MY FOUR PART SERIES ON 

 THE HONEYS... 

 THE GIFTED GIRL GROUP 

 DISCOVERED AND DEVELOPED 

 BY BEACH BOY BRIAN WILSON. 

 TODAY YOU'LL HEAR MORE RARE 

 RECORDS MADE BY THE HONEYS 

 ALONG WITH THOSE OF OTHER 

 ARTISTS WHO CAPTURED THE 

 BEACH BOYS SOUND ON WAX! 

In the beginning, Brian Wilson splashed hot chocolate
on Marilyn Rovell's blouse. Spilled cocoa soon turned
into milk and The Honeys. Brian and Marilyn married
and their union produced Carnie and Wendy Wilson
who followed in their parents footsteps, became pop
singers and formed Wilson Phillips, a hit girl trio of
the 90s. In between a lot of great music happened.


The Honeys, a girl group act that consisted of
Marilyn Rovell, her sister Diane and their
cousin Ginger Blake, lent their voices to
surfing and hot rod recordings made by
other artists including the Beach Boys
and released records of their own.
No other girl group I can think
of made so many great yet
uncharted recordings.

 SPRING AKA

 AMERICAN SPRING 

The Honeys broke up in 1969 and a short time later
Diane and Marilyn began recording as Spring and
later as American Spring. In Part 3 you heard their
fall 1971 cover of Carole King's "Now That Every-
thing's Been Said." Now listen to "Shyin' Away,"
American Spring's third single which was
followed by a four year dormant period
for the recording duo.

 "Shyin' Away" - American Spring 
 (April 1973, uncharted) 




Waxed in the 1970s and locked in the vault
until the late 80s, "It's Like Heaven," written
by Brian Wilson, is a honey of a song and
one of the best by American Spring.

 "It's Like Heaven" - American Spring 
 (recorded October 1977, unreleased 
 until 1988 Spring reissue) 




"Slip On Through" was written by Dennis Wilson
for the Beach Boys' 1970 album Sunflower.


In 1977 American Spring recorded a version of
"Slip On Through" produced by Diane.  It remained
unreleased in America for 15 years. I'm glad it
finally managed to "Slip On Through."

 "Slip On Through" - American Spring 
 (recorded October 1977, unreleased in U.S. 
 until 1992 Capitol Collectors Series





 NINO TEMPO 


"Beach Boys Meet Phil Spector" describes "Boys Town,"
an April Stevens - Nino Tempo composition recorded
solo by Nino in 1967. The similarity to songs on the
Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album generated rumors
that Brian Wilson produced this obscure single
but it was actually produced by Nino himself
under the influence of Spectorian Splendor
and Wilsonesque Good Vibrations.

 "Boys Town (Where My Broken Hearted Buddies Go)" 
 Nino Tempo (1967, uncharted) 





 THE HONEYS 


In the late 70s long lost cousin Ginger Blake
returned to the studio and added her vocals
to several unreleased tracks laid down by
Marilyn and Diane under the supervision
of Brian Wilson, making the recordings
authentic Honeys nuggets. One of my
faves is (just like) "Romeo and Juliet,"
a cover of the 1964 Reflections hit.

 "Romeo & Juliet" - The Honeys 
 (recorded Feb./March 1979, unreleased in U.S. 
 until 1992 Capitol Collectors Series





 ALISON WONDER 


Now, let's hear a Beach Boys influenced single recorded
in England by Brit bird Alison Wonder. Her real name was
Cheryl St. Clair, later Cheryl Barrymore when she married
British comedian Michael Barrymore. This one starts out
sounding like the Four Seasons singing the Beach Boys'
"Don't Worry Baby." Alison Wonder's "Once More
With Feeling" missed the U.S. chart but it's
hot in the Shady here on SDMM!

 "Once More With Feeling" - Alison Wonder 
  (September 1970, uncharted) 





 THE HONEYS 

In 1983 The Honeys reunited and released
a comeback album entitled Ecstasy which
was yet another commercial disappointment.


Nevertheless, the Honeys had a new attitude
and rocked hard on the bitchin' track
"Girls Are Vicious."

 "Girls Are Vicious - The Honeys 
 (from 1983 album Ecstasy





 HONEY WAXING 

 PHILOSOPHICAL 

Like the Beach Boys with whom they had so much
in common, The Honeys captured in their recordings
the essence of Southern California's casual lifestyle.


The Honeys were one of the best kept secrets
in Sixties and Seventies girl group pop.
They made a slew of great records
but consistently missed the chart.


Now the secret's out! With the digital release
of all their great recordings in recent years,
the Honeys are finding an audience and
making many new fans around the world
including yours truly, Shady Del Knight.

Have a Shady day!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Can You Answer the Musical Question: Honey, What Makes Ginger Snap?


 WELCOME TO PART 3 

 OF MY TRIBUTE TO 

  THE HONEYS...  

 A TRIO OF SESSION SINGERS 

 DEVELOPED BY BRIAN WILSON 

 INTO ONE OF THE BEST 

 GIRL GROUPS OF THE 60S. 


In 1965 The Honeys laid down a demo of a
song written by Phil Sloan and Steve Barri,
one that had the ladies channeling the
whisper soft vocal style of Priscilla
and the Paris Sisters.

 "I Love You Much Too Much" - The Honeys 
 (Recorded 1965, released 2001) 





 GINGER 

 AND THE SNAPS 

That same year the Honeys transferred to
MGM Records and changed their stage name
to Ginger and the Snaps. Once again the girls
got a Connie Francis vibe going, this time
with the song "Growing Up is Hard to Do."
This one is Shady's Pick to Click!

 "Growing Up is Hard to Do" 
 Ginger and the Snaps 
 (Recorded 1965, released 2001) 




From the prolific pen of Tommy Boyce and
Bobby Hart came "Seven Days in September."
The intro on this one reminds me of the
Ronettes hit "Walking in the Rain."

 "Seven Days in September" 
 Ginger and the Snaps 
 (November 1965, uncharted) 





 THE HONEYS 

By 1969 the surf/car craze was ancient history.
Returning to Capitol, the reinvented girl trio
changed their name back to the Honeys.


That year the Honeys released a delightful
cover of the 1956 Patience and Prudence
hit "Tonight You Belong to Me."

 Pour a little sugar on it, Honeys! 

 "Tonight You Belong to Me" 
 The Honeys  (1969, uncharted) 





 SPRING AKA 

 AMERICAN SPRING 

In 1970 The Honeys broke up when Ginger Blake
left to pursue a solo singing career.  Sisters Marilyn
Wilson and Diane Rovell formed a recording duo
called Spring with Brian Wilson again serving as
 producer. Over the next two years Spring
released two singles and an album but
 failed to attract much interest
from record buyers.


In 1972 Marilyn and Diane were forced to
change their name to American Spring when
a UK band known as Spring threatened
legal action. My favorite American Spring
recording is their first single in which
they channel Carole King. "Now That
Everything's Been Said" is a cover of
a 1969 recording by The City, a trio
that included Carole King during
her transition from Brill Building
composer to 70s superstar.

 "Now That Everything's Been Said" 
 Spring aka American Spring 
 (October 1971, uncharted) 





 PAT BOONE 

I love it when recording artists deviate from the style
of music that made them famous, try something
completely new and different and get it right.


As you recently heard here on SDM&M, pop crooner
Pat Boone proved himself capable of waxing listenable
covers of R&B originals. He even shocked longtime fans
by releasing a heavy metal album. In the fall of 1964,
Pat hit the pop chart with a beachy keen ditty that
is greatly enhanced by the prominent backing
vocals of Beach Boy Bruce Johnston along
with Terry Melcher, the son of actress
Doris Day. Pat Boone and friends
created a breezy sound that will
remind you of the Beach Boys
hit "Don't Worry Baby."

 "Beach Girl" - Pat Boone 
 (October 1964, highest chart pos. #72) 





 THE RIP CHORDS 


In addition to releasing records as Bruce and Terry,
the aforementioned Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher
were members of the Rip Chords, the group that had
hits in 1964 with the custom car songs "Hey Little
Cobra" and "Three Window Coupe."  In 1965 the
 group released another great single but it failed
to chart. Terry Melcher co-wrote, produced
and sang lead on "Don't Be Scared" which
borrows the opening from Chuck Berry's
"Roll Over Beethoven" (also copied by
the Beach Boys on "Fun Fun Fun.")
The rest of "Don't Be Scared"
sounds like "Little Honda"
by the Hondells. Listen
now to a wheels genre
classic that should
have been a hit!

 "Don't Be Scared" - The Rip Chords 
 (February 1965, uncharted) 





 NO NEED TO SURF THE WEB! 

 MORE SWEET SOUNDS OF 

 THE HONEYS 

 ARE COMING UP IN THE 

 EXCITING PART 4 FINALE 

 HERE ON SDMM! 

Have a Shady day!