Sunday, May 8, 2011

OMG!!! A Second Sunday Post?!?!?!?

Yep ... we got SO many comments between last night and this morning that we had to run a SECOND Posting today!!!  
(Next week is already committed to being our  
so we had to run this stuff NOW in order to have ANY sense of timely fashion!!!)

So ... today ... please enjoy a SECOND HELPING of FORGOTTEN HITS ...
Courtesy of  Yours Truly ... and our over-zealous readers!!!  Read on:

re:  A DOUBLE DOSE?!?!?:
Because we posted right before midnight last night, we missed a couple of late-coming comments that normally would have made our Sunday Comments Page.  Since a couple of these are timely (especially the Mothers' Day track), we've updated today's posting with these Late Additions!

Being Mother's Day today, is it appropriate to send in this early single by Dick Biondi? 
Yes, it is some good syrup for waffles, but that's about it. 
50 years later, it's hard to believe Dick Biondi is still doing radio.  He always did lots of memory stuff in the 60's when it came to holidays on the air.  Not sure this one got played much, and deservingly so.  He wrote it, too.  Yes, it's a sad story, but I have it on good authority that his mom was only upstairs looking down at him as he was forced to write how nice his mom was by his dad after he did something bad.  That not studying part making him a failure?  50 years later, he's still a star!  I think I recognize Al Kooper on the organ too! 
Clark Besch

Now THIS is a show we'd love to see ... we're BIG fans of Russell Thompkins, Jr.!  (kk)
Last weekend a “70s Soul Show” invaded New York’s historic Westbury Music Fair, headlined by Russell Thompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics, the Manhattans, the Delfonics and Ray, Goodman and Brown.
Let’s get right to the highlight of the show!  Russell Thompkins, who just turned 60, sounds amazing.  Just like he did when he sang lead vocals on all of the Thom Bell produced Stylistics hits.  In fact, the audience gave him multiple standing ovations after discovering he can still sing those Philly soul hits in the original key.  Russell’s falsetto was flawless as he delivered “Betcha By Golly, Wow” (which is his favorite), “You Are Everything,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “Rockin’ Roll Baby,” “Break Up To Make Up,” “Stop, Look and Listen to Your Heart,” “I’m Stone In Love With You,” “You’ll Never Get To Heaven” and more. 
Russell left the Stylistics 10 years ago when he was having vocal problems.  A few years later he put together a group of his favorite Philly musicians and singers and christened them the New Stylistics.  And to insure his performances sound as close to the record as possible, he travels with a brass section.  
Russell recently returned from the U.K. where he was part of a “Soul Spectacular” tour, which included: Peabo Bryson, Lamont Dozier, Ashford & Simpson, Billy Paul, the Tymes, Freda Payne, Dorothy Moore, Eddie Floyd, Kim Weston, Archie Bell, Martha Reeves, Brenda Holloway, Dee Dee Sharp, Candi Staton, Eddie Holman, Percy Sledge and the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards.  I only wish they would bring that tour to the states!  
A couple of years ago in Hollywood, record company whiz Clive Davis was hosting his annual pre-Grammy party, and he asked Russell to fly in to perform with Alicia Keys on "People Make the World Go Round.”
Currently Russell is filming a cameo in a new movie being shot by actor/director Charles S. Dutton on the streets of Philly called  “Must Be the Music.”   He has a speaking role in the film and performs one of the Stylistics classics as well.  The movie centers around Dutton’s character, a record mogul, as ruthless as he is successful, who ends up missing. 
The Delfonics, led by one of the group’s two original singers, William Hart, put smiles on the faces of their many fans as they soulfully rendered “La La Means I Love” and “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time.”  Although William is a charismatic showman, who appears to give his best on stage, his falsetto has lost some of it’s upper range.  
Ray, Goodman and Brown were the Moments in 1970 before they changed their name.  That year they scored the huge radio hit, “Love On A Two Way Street.”  Sadly, two of the trio’s members have passed: Harry Ray and Al Goodman.  Billy Brown has surrounded himself with new members and they gave the audience a memorable version of their 1980 chart topper “Special Lady.”  
The Manhattans, from New Jersey were crowd pleasers!  The current line-up consists of two members who were with them when they had their biggest hits (vocalist Gerald Alston & bass singer Blue Lovett).  The R&B group’s 20 minute set was well received, and as expected, it included their two biggest hits “Kiss and Say Goodbye” and “Shining Star.”  
New York, NY
GREAT review, Tom ... we've seen the OTHER version of The Stylistics before and they just can't hold a candle to Russell's incredible vocal chops.  (kk)

Here's a photo Tom sent in of Russell Thompkins, Jr., with a concert fan:

 Backstage at Westbury Music Fair, original Stylistics lead singer,
Russell Thompkins Jr., with a fan, Laura Markowitz.


Hey Kent,
I think ticket prices depend on the venue. I saw them in Atlanta and I thought they were high two tickets were way over $100 . This year we get this show at good ticket prices.
Now this sounds like an EXCELLENT show!!!  Stop by and tell Barry, Dennis and Sonny "hello" from Forgotten Hits ... they're all devoted readers!  (And be sure to tell Mitch Ryder about the neat piece we just did on his connection to our local band, The Chicago Loop!)  kk

DVR alert!  Some of the key players from this month's upcoming Experience Hendrix Tour are going to preview their Jimi Hendrix-style version of "All Along The Watchtower" on Lopez Tonight on Monday.  "G.Lo" welcomes Jonny Lang, Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Chris Layton of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble, Mato Nanji of Indigenous and Sacred Steel's Chuck Campbell to his TBS talker that airs at 12 midnight / 11 PM Central.  Check out what's sure to be a blazing performance from an all-star group that could have only come together to celebrate the legacy of Jimi Hendrix.


May 20 - Las Vegas, NV — Hilton Theatre, Las Vegas Hilton

May 21 - Dana Point, CA — Doheny Blues Festival 
May 23 - Mesa, AZ — Mesa Arts Center

May 24 - Tucson, AZ — AVA Amphitheatre, Casino del Sol

May 26 - Santa Rosa, CA — Wells Fargo Performing Arts Center

May 27 - Reno, NV — Grand Theatre, Grand Sierra Resort & Casino

May 28 - Santa Cruz, CA — Santa Cruz Blues Festival

May 29 - Avila Beach, CA — Avila Beach Blues Festival    
We heard Dave The Rave talking about the passing of Tom King, founder of The Outsiders, who scored four quick Top 40 Hits back in the mid-'60's.  (In fact, Dave even played a PRE-Outsiders track by King, followed up by Sonny Geraci and Climax's version of "Rock And Roll Heaven", recently featured in Forgotten Hits!)

Sad to hear of Tom's passing ... here's a quick blurb from Ron Smith's website ... along with a letter from Eric Carmen, as published in Bob Lefsetz's email (as submitted by FH Reader Fred Vail):

Tom King, founder of the Outsiders and writer of "Time Won't Let Me" (with his brother-in-law, Chet Kelley), died Saturday (April 23) in a nursing home in suburban Cleveland at the age of 68. He had suffered from congestive heart failure plus had two strokes and heart attacks in recent years. Tom formed the Starfires with Sonny Geraci and four others in the mid-'60s, but was forced to give way to Sonny as lead singer after suffering a bout of tonsillitis. The group changed its name to the Outsiders after signing with Capitol Records in 1965 (leaving behind a local label owned by Tom's uncle). "Time Won't Let Me" reached #5 in 1966, followed by "Girl In Love" (#21 - 1966), "Respectable"
(#16 - 1966) and "Help Me Girl" (#37 - 1966). They "bubbled-under" a couple of times in 1967 and 1968, but by 1970 Tom was fronting his Outsiders while Sonny created his own, soon to be re-named Climax. Tom continued performing with his version of the group over the remaining years. He and "Time Won't Let Me" have been honored by publishing organization BMI for over a million airings of the song on radio.
-- Ron Smith
I'm sure someone has sent you the latest Bob Lefsetz e-mail by now -- or you're a regular reader -- but just in case ... here's a letter he received from Raspberries founder Eric Carmen.
Fred / Nashville
When I was in high school in Lyndhurst, Ohio, there was a place called the Chagrin Armory, where the up and coming bands would play. It was basically just a huge, empty concrete warehouse, with terrible acoustics, but it could probably hold 1500 people.
I heard The Outsiders were going to be playing there, and a couple of my friends and I decided to venture out from the protective cocoon of Lyndhurst to the wilds of Chagrin and check them out.
I had heard "Time Won't Let Me" on the radio, and, as a card carrying Mod, had turned my nose up at it. It had horns (yuch!) and organ (blech!) and it seemed to me the lead singer, Sonny Geraci, was a touch flat for the whole song, but, in the spirit of adventure, we ventured out anyway.
They blew me completely away.
They were wearing matching navy blue blazers and white pants. Their hair was long, but not too long. I looked up at the stage, and instead of seeing the "greasers" I had expected to see, they were really pretty cool.
Then they started to play.
By the time they got to "Time Won't Let Me" I was a bonafide fan. Everything sounded just like the record, only better, and Sonny Geraci turned out to be a fantastic frontman.
I don't think I knew which one Tom King was, at the time. It was really all about Sonny, and the horns, but I knew Tom was the guy who wrote the song.
It was years before I learned that Jimmy Fox played drums on the album (a lot of that time they credited MY drummer, Jim Bonfanti) but, I've got to say, all these years later, that record still holds a special place in my heart. It's that "moment in time" kind of record, that takes you back to exactly where you were when you first heard it.
It was painful reading about how Tom was screwed out of his record and writing royalties for $500, but most of us have been there.
All I can say is, that song, and The Outsiders, were an inspiration to me at a time when inspiration was everything.
I still see Sonny around town. He's still gigging, and he looks great and sounds better than ever.
Thanks Tom (and Sonny), for a memorable night, and a record that will live forever.
I'm not familiar with Bob's emails ... but it sounds like something we'd like to be part of. (Likewise, I think he might enjoy Forgotten Hits!)  Please pass along my info and ask him to sign me up!  Thanks, Fred!  (kk)

Here's a link to Bob Lefsetz's music newsletter: Click here: Lefsetz Letter

A few other recent losses as reported on Ron Smith's site:
Nigel Pickering, guitarist, vocalist and founding member of Spanky & Our Gang, died of liver cancer Thursday (May 5) in St. Augustine, Florida. He was 81. Born in 1929 in Pontiac, Michigan, Nigel originally performed in a Milwaukee group called the Westernaires in the fifties, then moved on to a trio with Ken Hodges called the Folksters. After their breakup, Nigel and Ken joined forces with Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane, honing the act that eventually became Spanky & Our Gang at a Chicago nightclub where Spanky worked. Signed to local Mercury Records, the group scored three top 40 hits off their debut album ("Spanky And Our Gang") in 1967 -- "Sunday Will Never Be The Same" (#9), "Making Every Minute Count" (#31) and "Lazy Day" (#14) and two more off their second album ("Like To Get To Know You") in 1968 -- "Sunday Mornin'" (#30) and "Like To Get To Know You" (#17). But "Give A Damn," despite being used by the New York Urban Coalition to promote racial harmony, was banned by many stations for its use of profanity and three subsequent singles from a third album never made the top 85 nationally. Lead guitarist Malcolm Hale's death in late 1968 and Spanky's marriage and resulting pregnancy eventually caused the group to disband. Nigel recorded three solo albums and even acted in low-budget films. He also ran restaurants in Spain (he signed away all his royalties to open it) and in California. He was married five times (at one point to two women at the same time since he couldn't track down one wife to divorce her). At his 81st birthday party, where he sang for the last time with Spanky, he was fatalistic about the future -- "I'll ride the waves of Providence, hoping for the best but expecting the worst."
-- Ron Smith

It's been learned that Jim Dickson, original manager of the Byrds and later the Flying Burrito Brothers, died April 19 in Costa Mesa, California at the age of 80. In later years, Jim gave up music to become a competitive sailor.
-- Ron Smith

On a happier note, congratulations to Paul McCartney, who announced last week that he was getting married again!  (Didn't you learn ANYTHING from the last one?!?!?  lol)

And for those on the list who may have just asked "WHO?!?!?", then you've just GOT to watch this clip, submitted by FH Regular Frank B:

Kent ...
I found this hard to believe till I watched the video.
Frank B.

>>>I always liked the Chicago Loop's song which you mentioned. I believe the song itself was originally recorded some years earlier by the Coasters.  (Larry)
>>>I don't know about that ... it looks like Bob Crewe had a hand in writing and producing this track for his own DynoVoice record label ... so I always figured it to be a "new" song at the time. (kk)
Your reader was correct about "She Comes To Me" by Chicago Loop. It was
originally a Coasters 45
A little further checking shows that The Coasters released "(When She Wants Good Lovin') My Baby Comes To Me" as the B-Side to their 1957 single "Idol With The Golden Head", a low-charting hit.  Thanks, Ken.  (kk)

Larry Neal, who first pointed this out to us, also confirmed this (with the 45 in hand!!!)  kk
According to my information, and I held the record in my hand a few minutes
ago, the Chicago Loop's song in question was written by Leiber-Stoller in 1957, recorded by the Coasters. It was the flip side of IDOL WITH THE GOLDEN HEAD ... which, ironically enough, I got out a few nights ago and played it. I happened to remember it for one reason or another.
Confirmed ... and we're trying to find a copy.  (Couldn't do it in time to feature on tonight's posting ... but I'm sure it'll be here by next time around!)  kk


It is nice to know that someone else feels like I do about Facebook. My children and grandchildren and brothers and sisters and friends and everyone I know are as addicted to Facebook as they are to their cell phones. I don't understand wanting to share every little detail of every little moment in your life with the world. Maybe it is somehow their 15 minutes of fame. But then again ... maybe my letters to Forgotten Hits are my 15 minutes of fame?
LOVED the film "The Social Network" ... GREAT job depicting the behind-the-scenes stuff involved with launching Facebook ... but have absolutely NO desire to participate.  (Honestly, I've had some personal experiences with a few family members that didn't turn out well ... pretty much turned me off to that whole scene completely.)
However, because the majority of the world DOES participate, I OK'd a Forgotten Hits Fan Page in the hopes that we might draw more artists ... and more readers ... to the list.  The more participation the better.  (That way you can use your fifteen minutes of fame any way you like!!!)  kk

Our FH Buddy Randy Price (who has helped us out with SO many projects over the years) is doing a special radio show this week ... check it out if you can:
My once-monthly internet show Randy On The Radio is on this Wednesday (May 11) at 8:00 p.m. ET on Top Shelf Oldies ( I'll be featuring a number of records that finished in Rich Appel's I.R.S. Top 104 for this year on Wednesday's show.
– Randy
VERY Cool!  (Rich is a FH Reader as well ... and it's quite a list this year!  Can't wait to hear your show!)  kk

>>>Never ever heard of this group until today. Have they been discussed in FH?  (David )
>>>Not to the best of my recollection.  One very minor chart hit ("It's Not Easy" went to #95 in 1968) ... but kinda cool to see that they did one of my Monkees' favorites, "Shades Of Gray"!  (kk)

My favorite Will-O-Bees track is The World I Used To Know ... should've gotten at least some chart action somewhere.
Tom Diehl

Actually, I probably best remember this song from a Smothers Brothers performance!  Good tune ... and a MUCH better recording than the other two mentioned above!  It was Jimmie Rodgers who had the best-known version of this song ... but I find both The Will-O-Bees AND The Smothers Brothers versions infinitely superior!  (kk)

re:  MARGO:
>>>Are you familiar with a song called "Margo" by The Browns  (RCA Victor  47-7755). The quite maudlin song is about a dead bride who returns every 9th of May.  Might be worth mentioning in your forgotten hits of that date. 
(Chris Astle)
The Browns' recording of MARGO made our top 40 radio stations' survey back in 1960.


If I didn't already love Burton Cummings I most certainly would now after reading the portion of his blog you posted. Refreshingly honest.

Louis Prima's 1959 recording of HEY BA-BA-RE-BOP (Dot) made our local top 40 radio stations' survey.  You also mentioned another song by Louis Jordon, I believe, and the song he recorded IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN'T.  I always did like Buster Browns' version of that from 1960, his followup to FANNIE MAE. To me, Buster Brown's version undoubtedly was the number one song at the time with every English teacher. I just love it.
Larry Neal

>>>Just read this in my newspaper. A suburban Chicago man was busted for keeping an alligator that he used as a chick magnet.  I was wondering if this was a common practice in your neighborhood ? LoL !!  All these years I thought it was fast cars.  (Frank B.)
>>>His name wasn't Sonny Crockett by chance, was it??? (kk)
Kent ...
I saw your picture. You're a handsome man.
I was wondering if you had to resort to the Alligator Technique to meet Frannie ? LoL !!
Frank B.
No, I think she was WAY more interested in my big ten inch ... record of the man that sings the blues, the man that sings the blues ... yeah, she just loves my big ten inch record of her favorite blues!  (kk)