Thursday, March 4, 2010

Helping Out Our Readers

Here's another batch of our "Helping Out Our Readers" feature!!!

I'm hoping you can help me find a record. It is a 45 that was recorded by Frankie Gracie & The Plastics between 1968 and 1970. Side A is "In the Beginning" and Side B is "Ain't Coming Back". I think it was released on GMC Records. It got some play on underground stations on the East Coast, but I don't think it was ever comercially released. I've seen the group several times. They are originally from Philadelphia, but worked all along the East Coast (from Maine to Florida) as Frankie Gracie & The Soul Brothers. They were a really hot group, and drew crowds wherever they appeared. This group was very big in Washington, DC. (Bennie's Rebel Room, Hay Loft, and the Rands). A picture of the group is attached. Would appreciate any help you can give me in locating this record. Thanks very much! (Mary Ann)

>>>Other than point you in the direction of the usual places (eBay ... ... we really don't get involved in the record-finding business anymore ... but I'll run your request just in case one of the record collectors on the list can help you out! (kk)
>>>Since I wrote to you, I googled Frankie Gracie & the Plastics, and the name came up on the EGGMAN website. I contacted him, and he said he had the 45 RPM but had just sold it recently. He said he had the "A" side (Love ... in the Beginning) on one of his show tapes (show #170 - Feb, 2008). He burned a copy for me, but I am still trying to find the original record so I could also have the "B" side (Ain't Coming Back). He thought it had a unique psychedelic sound. If I am not mistaken, I think the record label was GMC Records based in New York City. If you would be interested in hearing this song, I'd be happy to send you a copy. Thanks, Kent!! (Mary Ann)
After your inquiry ran on our website, I received this email from Charlie Gracie, Jr. ... son of the great Cameo / Parkway early rocker Charlie Gracie ... and, apparently NEPHEW of the Frankie Gracie you've been looking for. Check this out!!! (kk)
Hello Kent!

Charlie Gracie Jr., here!
Just saw that request for more info on FRANKIE GRACIE and the PLASTICS.
Well ... Frank is the brother of CHARLIE GRACIE, my father ... and their younger brother, BOB GRACIE was also in that group. They toured on the East Coast and in the Middle West for a few years in the late 60s with groups like the SOUL SURVIVORS. Both of my uncles were blessed with musical talent as well. Frank became my dad's bass player for many years and still gets up on stage with my dad from time to time to jam. What your reader wrote was true ... my uncles did have a unique, sort of psychedelic sound at that time -- so en vogue during that era.
Charlie Gracie, Jr.
P.S. My dad was one of the headliners performing in CLEAR LAKE, IOWA as part of the BUDDY HOLLY WINTER DANCE PARTY -- and he had two big shows here in Pennsylvania: THE CAMEO-PARKWAY REUNION with DEE DEE SHARP, THE TYMES and THE ORLONS at Cannstatter's Ballroom on Feb. 13th and the BIG VALENTINES SOLID GOLD CONCERT at the Keswick Theater with THE CADILLACS, THE MARCELS, LA LA BROOKS (lead singer of the Crystals) AND CHARLES THOMAS' DRIFTERS on Feb. 14th. Hope that some of your readers were able to make it out to one of these show!
Charlie Jr.
FEBRUARY 4-7, 2010: The Dean of Philly Rockers: CHARLIE GRACIE returned to the SURF BALLROOM in CLEARLAKE, IOWA to co-star with LESLEY GORE, THE ORIGINAL CRICKETS, DICKEY LEE, FREDDY CANNON, TOMMY ALLSUP, THE ORLONS, THE DRIFTERS, BILL MEDLEY and more at THE ANNUAL WINTER DANCE PARTY, site of the last concert given by BUDDY HOLLY, RITCHIE VALENS and the BIG BOPPER, the night before that infamous plane crash in 1959!


I heard Scott Shannon state the other day on The True Oldies Channel that the Tornadoes' Telstar is the first British song to ever reach no. 1 on the U.S. charts.Could you tell us what British song first charted on Billboard without hitting no. 1? I'd be very interested to know.
Thank you,
Fred Rhian
Lafayette, CA 94549
The Tornadoes have always been singled out for beating The Beatles to #1 here in America. Confining ourselves strictly to The Rock Era (which, in this case, locks us into the period of 1955 - 1962, BEFORE "Telstar" hit the top spot on the charts), I can come up with a couple of pretty good candidates for the first British Pop Chart Hits on our shores.
British Skiffle King Lonnie Donegan reached #8 with his version of "Rock Island Line" way back in 1956 here in The States. Donegan seems to be the artist most-often singled out as inspiring the whole British skiffle craze, which launched the rock and roll craze that begat The British Invasion. (How is it possible that THIS guy is not in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?!?!? Talk about your MAJOR "Early Influences"!!!)
Donegan and Elvis pretty much turned Great Britain's teenagers on their ears back in 1956, inspiring HUNDREDS of bands to pick up a banjo, guitar, washboard or tea chest (prior to graduating to bass guitar, drums and keyboards) and having a go that this hot new sound. Donegan hit The U.S. Top Five a few years later with the novelty hit "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On The Bedpost Overnight)". In between a few other British acts hit our charts as well.
In 1957, Liverpool-born Russ Hamilton hit #7 in Billboard with "Rainbow". A year later, 14 year old Laurie London (that's a GUY, by the way) reached #1 on Billboard's DeeJay Chart with his version of "He's Got The Whole World (In His Hands)" ... but the record OFFICIALLY stopped at #2 on The Top 100 Chart ... so he just missed the distinction of having the very first British #1 Record on the American Charts.
Frankie Vaughn (ALSO born in Liverpool) hit #22 with a long-Forgotten Hit called "Judy" in 1958. It would be his only U.S. Hit ... but back home in Jolly Ol' England he reached The British Top 40 an incredible THIRTY times!!!
Even British Superstar Cliff Richard (second only to Elvis in the Biggest Solo Male Artist Category) first hit The U.S. Charts in 1959 with "Living Doll", a #30 Billboard Hit. Before his big '70's comeback (with hits like "Devil Woman", "We Don't Talk Anymore", "Dreaming", "A Little In Love" and his big duet with Olivia Newton-John, "Suddenly"), Cliff also found minor success here with the hits "Lucky Lips" (#62, 1963), "It's All In The Game" (#25, 1964), "I Only Have Eyes For You" (#109, 1964) and "Bachelor Boy" (#99, 1964). By comparison, Richard hit The British Chart 105 times between 1958 and 1990. During that same timeframe, Elvis had 128 hits on the British Chart.
Crooner Matt Monro had a couple of U.S. Top 40 Hits, the first of which, "My Kind Of Girl" reached #18 in 1961. ('s Ron Smith tells me he's currently reading a biography on Matt Monro.) And finally, The Springfields (featuring a young Dusty Springfield and her brother Tom ... two years before Dusty's solo career took off) had a Top 20 Smash with their version of "Silver Threads And Golden Needles".
So the REAL answer to your question as to which British Artists first made an impact on The U.S. Charts prior to The Beatles and The Tornadoes is ... quite a few!!! History has been rewritten in such a way as to make it appear that The Beatles kicked off the whole revolution ... and, as to massive impact, this may be true ... but, as you can see, several OTHER artists found a receptive audience here, too, prior to The Fab Four first landing on our shores back in 1964.

Hey GREAT SITE!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!
I'm only 18 and I am listening to The Capes Of Good Hope. I know Joel Cory and I have a lot of info on this band. Dick Toops has sadly past on ... but Joel Cory said to me he has not seen Mike Horn Bob Jacobsen or Yogi Landem since 1967. Do you know what ever happened to the other three members or know if they're alive?Have a good one!
Jordan Morris
I don't personally know ... but somebody on the list might! Maybe we'll hear something from either Dean Milano (who just put together that recent book on the Chicago Music scene of the '60's and '70's) or Guy Arnston, who's still deep at work on his "coffee-table" book spotlighting The History Of Chicago Rock! Both are Forgotten Hits List Members and regular contributors to our column ... and are amongst the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to The Chicago Rock Scene! If you search this website, you'll see that we just ran a feature recently on The Capes Of Good Hope and featured a couple of their tracks as well. In the meantime, as soon as we know more, you'll find it here! Thanks, Jordan! (kk)

Hi ...
I used to hit the clubs in suburban Chicago in the 60's, listening to the Flock, the Mauds and Saturday's Children. Any idea whatever happened to some of those guys, especially Fred Glickstein and Ron Karpman with the Flock?
Craig Sanford, MD
Tulsa, OK
I put your query to our same two "go-to" guys, Guy Arnston, former Editor and Publisher of The Illinois Entertainer and Dean Milano, author of the new book "The Chicago Music Scene", where ALL of the groups you mentioned are profiled. So imagine my surprise when the first update I received back came from Fred Glickstein himself!!!
O.K., I've got lots of stuff to send you. First, Danny Lake on WLS-FM is going to play one of Flock's early singles called "Take Me Back" (1967) Tonight!!! Tune in 94.7 FM now or stream live at:
That's one of my ABSOLUTE favorites!!! We were at Bob Stroud's Rock And Roll Roots CD Release Party a few years ago when this track FINALLY made it on to the CD ... actually, The New Colony Six performed a pretty credible version of it that day.
Send me what you can .. the fans'll LOVE it!!! (kk)
Here's a link to the new Flock Web Page. Give it a chance to load. Each time you click on a pic just scroll down to see the enlarged pic. Read the comments below the pics. Make a comment or two yourself! Enjoy!
The following CDs are also available:
There are a few more on "Bob Stroud's Rock 'n Roll Roots" CDs and I'll send that info soon, if you need it.
Freddy G.
Thanks, Freddy! I know The Flock appeared a couple of years ago with "Take Me Back" on one of Bob's "Rock And Roll Roots" CDs ... and there's a track on THIS year's CD, too ... "Can't You See (That I Really Love Her)". A limited number of CDs are still available at Chicagoland Borders Book Stores (for all our our transplanted Chicagoans out there who remember this great music from the late '60's!) kk

By the way, Freddy and I exchanged a number of emails once we made contact ... look for a follow-up feature (along with a brief interview) ... coming soon to a Forgotten Hits Website near you!!! (kk)

Meanshile, Jimy Rogers is still fronting a revamped line-up of The Mauds and they appear regularly around the Chicagoland area ... and put on one heck of a show ... pure dynamite. They've also released several CDs these past few years ... you can check out their website here for more details: Click here: The Mauds®

In fact, here are this weekend's appearances:

Join us This Weekend!
Penny Road Pub
This Friday, March 5
545 Penny Rd, Barrington
9:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Chord on Blues
This Saturday, March 6
106 S. 1st Ave St. Charles

10:00 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
BLUE ROAD and THE MAUDS feature Jimy Rogers on vocals, Gary Gand on guitar, Joan Gand on keys, Joel Treadwell on drums, Steve Nevets on bass and vocals.
Special guests ... always!

See our websites for more photos, videos, full calendar:

I'm a huge Bobby Darin fan and a fan of your site. I would love to get your Bobby Darin articles you referenced on Sunday, February 28, 2010, but nothing happens when I enter then in the search block. Can you send it to me?
Thanks so much.

We just haven't had the time to post our Bobby Darin Series on the website yet. When it first ran, it was a full month-long piece ... and condensing it down to website length has been challenging to say the least. But a number of Darin fans have been asking for it ... so we'll get it up there sooner or later! Check back from time to time ... meanwhile, you can count on an announcement once we finally get it posted! Thank you for your patience. (kk)