Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Helping Out Our Readers

You last posting mentions the great GENE PITNEY ... and he was great. Had a terriff set of pips, but
of all of his songs, I only have one 45 ... then got a CD because one particular song is on it.
It is weird, in dancing or roller skating, the slowest song played can have more "ADRENELINE" than some of the faster ones.
The ONLY song by Pitney I dug was "Mecca".
"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", weirdly enough, never PICKED UP till the drumming at the end.
Your post says that "Not only did Pitney have many hits of his own, but he also wrote many BIG hits for many other artists."
I think if you look into it, Pitney, for some reason, only wrote for other artists. Check the credits ... I don't believe he wrote ANY of the songs HE cut himself.
Robert Black
This is true ... while some of the biggest hits of the '60's came from the pen of Gene Pitney (we mentioned "Hello Mary Lou" by Ricky Nelson, "He's A Rebel" by The Crystals and "Rubber Ball" by Bobby Vee), he rarely had a hand in writing any of his own hit material. Shortly before he died, I caught an EXCELLENT interview with Gene Pitney on XM 60s Radio ... he was sharp as a tack, quick-witted and just full of fun ... one of the best interviews I've heard. (And from what I hear from some of the artists who toured with him back in the day, he was also quite the prankster back then, always keeping the acts in stitches on the long bus and car rides from stop to stop. With SO many hits it's hard to believe that radio rarely plays any of them ... and with such a distinctive voice, you knew a Gene Pitney song the moment it came on the radio. (Although I have also admitted being fooled ... when I first heard "Black Is Black" by Los Bravos, I thought it was the greatest recording Gene Pitney ever made. I was shocked to find out that that wasn't him singing. Listen to it again with that thought in mind and see if you don't agree!) kk

>>>The controversy continues ... in the liner notes for the Donovan retrospective CD "Donovan: Troubador - The Definitive Collection, 1964 - 1976), Brian Hogg writes of the "Hurdy Gurdy Man" session: "A Top 5 Hit in the U.S. and U.K., this ostensibly acoustic song, complete with the singer's highly distinctive, tremulous intonation, was then treated to layers of wailing guitar work, courtesy of Jimmy Page and Allan Holdsworth. Clem Clatini supplied the pounding drums, although John Bonham later claimed that he, too, contributed to the session. As the single was arranged by John Paul Jones, it provided an early focal pont for three future members of Led Zeppelin, who often used the same contrast between wooden and electric instruments." (kk)

First of all, it is Clem Cattini not Clatini. Since IMHO, The Tornados were the foremost instrumental group in the early 60's, I followed everything they did back then. Clem was the leader of the Tornados and holds the distinction of being the leader for most appearances on UK #1 singles.
Bonham may have been on the session but it would feel like Clem was the one banging on the tubs. Maybe Noone can clarify.
By the way, for Peter: you can sing the chorus "It's like a Yellow Balloon" right over the top of "Mrs. Brown you've got a lovely daughter". I always wondered where our song composer got the feel for Yellow Balloon. Pretty clever and hardly recognizable poach.
Having spent hours driving the Mindbenders around when they came to Tucson, I picked Eric Stewart's brain clean. He told me about a guy named Jimmy Page who was the top guy in the UK. I hadn't heard of him and neither did anyone else in my state in 1965. So when a discussion came up about players I would proudly name drop him and everyone would look at me like I was on acid. Needless to say years later I was known as the Edgar Cayce of Rock n Roll when the Zep made the scene. Anyway enough rambling
Alex "Yellow Balloon" Valdez
For the record, I knew it was Clem Cattini ... I was simply quoting the liner notes of the Donovan CD, which refers to him as "Clatini" several times!!! (Seems Clem did quite a few Donovan sessions back in the day!) One more "authorative source" getting it wrong for all future generations. (Makes you wonder if they got this wrong, how much of the other session credits are correct ... leading up again to the question "So who REALLY played the guitar part on 'Hurdy Gurdy Man'?" lol)
The Tornadoes were the first British group to score a #1 Record on the American Charts when "Telstar" blasted off to the top spot in 1962, one of the most often-repeated trivia questions of the rock era I suppose (because everybody else is going to guess that it was The Beatles.)
I never noticed any similarity between "Yellow Balloon" and "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter" before ... and just played them back-to-back right now and still don't really hear it ... but maybe some of the other readers will so I've included them both here today. (Two great '60's songs anyway so let's give 'em a spin!) kk


Hi Kent,
A small sidelight to the Troy Shondell item. Chuck Velvet was an artist from Rockford, IL, who is covered in my second Wisconsin book because of his release on the Milwaukee USA label. Velvet had later releases under his real name, Chuck Wadley, produced by Shondell. Also, an old Milwaukee friend of mine worked with Shondell for a while. Coincidently, he just recently posted something about it:
>>>We had just quit Troy Shondell and formed this group when he (Troy) left to go to Nashville to record. This was the 2nd time he did that, and left us without gigs/pay. So we split.
Don't know if I've mentioned that I've been working on a new album. It's completed and I just picked up the CD's yesterday. I'll be doing a mass mailing shortly.

Hi Kent -
Thanks so much for all the information about Troy Shondell!
"This Time" is in my personal Top Ten Greatest Hits. Would you know if Troy played the keyboards on the record? It added so much to the record. Like you said, another record you NEVER hear played.
Looking forward to the results of the Garage Band Contest!!!
Keep up the great work ...
ps - Could you post a photo of Troy, then and now????
I found a booking contact for Troy Shondell and asked them to fill us in on his latest activities but never heard anything back. Here are two fairly recent "before and after" pics (circa 2008) ... my understanding is that he still performs from time to time. (Shondell also recorded as Gary Shelton, a play on his real name, Gary Schelton and actually hit Billboard's Country Singles charts a few times in the '80's.)

In addition to these photos, we also found a pretty cool (albeit it not entirely accurate) bio of Shondell here: Click here: Troy Shondell ... although his record may have broke on WJJD, it did NOT top the chart for "an unprecedented sixteen weeks", no matter WHAT this article says! ("This Time", on the Goldcrest Label, spent exactly two weeks at #1 on both the WLS Silver Dollar Survey and what USED to be called the WJJD Chart in 1961 ... but by then the station had already switched over to country and western music, so the chart was renamed "Top Tunes Of Greater Chicagoland".)
My latest goal on the Garage Band Series was for it to start running October 1st ... figured that'd make for a great kick-off date ... but I'm still not close to putting it all back together ... and there's been so much OTHER news lately that I'm finding it hard to get back to ... all I can promise at this time is that it WILL run ... eventually! (kk)

First -- I love your site! I'm a very young 1st generation hippie, so you're introducing me to some bands I'm enjoying for the very first time.
Second -- I'm a beat poet & I'm looking for rare recordings to buy (MP3 / MMP4 preferably) of instrumental 60s & 70s psychedelic music so I can introduce a new generation to some forgotten gold.
Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks so much!!
Muses Marrero
Welcome to our music!!! Glad you're lovin' it! Psychedelic Instrumentals? That might be a tough one ... but I'll betcha some of our readers will have some great suggestions.
You've probably already seen our Psychedelic Music Series on the website ... it is the most-viewed page we have (with now over individual page views). In fact, it ties in nicely with the 5th Grade Essay piece we just did ... in reverse. In this case, we asked our readers to write a definition of psychedelic music that a nine year old could understand ... and we got some GREAT responses.
You can check the whole thing out here:
Speaking of instrumentals, we also got THIS email last week ...

Am I the only one that liked or remembers "Alley Cat"; forgot who did it or even what it sounds like, just remember liking it. Getting too old!!!
Roger Forsman
Nope, haven't forgotten this one at all ... one of MY favorites as well. "Alley Cat" was a #6 Hit for Bent Fabric in 1962 and is one of those great instrumentals that stays with you your whole life. (Some FINE piano-playing on this one!) While Bent Fabric sounds more like a group name, it's actually the name of the artist, Copenhagen-born Bent Fabricius-Bjerre, who released "Alley Cat" in Denmark under its original title "Omkring et Flygel", which translates as "Around The Piano" in English. In addition to his Bent Fabric stage name, Fabricius-Bjerre also composed music under the name Frank Bjorn, which is how this tune was copyrighted. Incredibly, as big as it was, this one didn't make EITHER of our All-Time Biggest or All-Time Favorite Instrumental Lists. Still worth a spin today here in Forgotten Hits, however! (kk)

According to ARSA, No Time For Tears by Sam Hawkins hit #29 in Jacksonville in June 1960.
Mark the Shark
As I said, most likely a regional hit. Funny 'though that it played in Oklahoma City, too ... and in the Connecticut area as well ... yet never made the national charts. Probably the same old story ... just not enough airplay and momentum at the same time ... big in one region but then off the charts just as it was catching on somewhere else. (kk) 

Kent ...
About that Sam Hawkins record “No Time For Tears” ... it now is officially a charted hit: 5/2/60 #115 on Music Vendor’s “Beat Of The Week”. It will be in our upcoming “101-150” book!
Joel Whitburn
The idea of having SO many new chart titles to draw from is amazing! (Even Billboard didn't have fifty "bubbling under" positions ... just think what these new books will do for the on-going research of the pop music charts of the rock era! Can't wait to see it!) kk

Just when I think I've found every song I ever heard, I recall another one ... and I can't find any reference to this one anywhere. It may be self-explanatory, but I'll explain it anyway in case it will help someone to recall the song and tell me (PLEASE!) who sang it, where I can find it ... ANYTHING.
It is something of a Cinderella story which meant something to me as I was still a child when it came out in the mid to late 50s, as I recall. A guy goes to a party and meets a girl named Mary Smith, who apparently has a midnight curfew, so she just slipped away at midnight without giving him any information about herself. The next morning he tries to call her by going thru the phone book searching for every Mary Smith listing and dialing it and singing ...
"Hello, hello ...
Are you the Mary Smith I was dancing with
Last night at Peggy's party was the first time that I met her
At 12 o'clock she disappeared and I just can't forget her
Hello, hello ... "
I doubt I'll even have a prayer of finding it if one of your readers doesn't know it as they have done twice recently in the past for me and so many times for others. Again, I ask (even beg) anyone who recalls it to let me know whatever they can recall of it. If I had to guess, I'd say Ames Brothers, Vic Damone, Brothers Four ... that sound. Just take a little minute.
Thanx once again for whatever help you may have for me.
Have at it readers! (kk)

I can't remember if I've asked this here before, but if I haven't that's good.
I'm wondering if anyone has seen a complete list of the queues for the Wrecking Crew movie?
I've looked on the WWW but haven't been able to find one.
And one final thing, is your Christmas tune still up on Youtube?
I couldn't find that either.
I sent your inquiry about the complete song selection featured in The Wrecking Crew documentary to Denny Tedesco, producer of the film, but never got anything back. Maybe he'll see this hear and shoot me off a list. All I can tell you is that it's wall to wall great music.
As for "Lonely Christmas", yes, it's still up on YouTube ... with a whopping 136 views as of this morning!!!
Hi guys,
I am looking for a tough one here. I am looking for a true stereo recording of Anthony Newley's "This Time the Dreams On Me." It was on the album "Love is a Now & Then Thing". Every song on this stereo album was issued on Cd a few years ago, but THIS song was mono and the liner notes said that the stereo mix tapes had been destroyed by a fire. I have heard the original stereo mix might have made it to an original DJ or stock copy of the album or possibly an import from England. Does ANYONE out there have this song in true stereo? Many thanks!
Clark Besch
Happy to put this one out there, Clark. (Clark has treated us to SO many delights over the years ... the least we can do is try and help him find this rare stereo track.) Drop me a line if you've got something and I'll make sure to pass it along ... and feature it here in our next "Helping Out Our Readers" segment! (kk)

>>>Jerry Collins played trombone with Chase in '72 - '73, yet he lived here in Nashville. In fact, he lived next door to the young lady who became my wife. She was a high-school student who did some babysitting for Jerry and his wife, taking care of their daughter Marcie from time to time. We've searched high and low for Jerry and can't locate him anywhere. My gal would love to catch up with little Marcie, who would now be in her 40s. I have seen Jerry's name listed on numerous jazz LPs from the 60s, before he hooked up with Bill Chase. It seems that Jerry was playing other gigs here in Nashville - perhaps at Opryland - when he wasn't touring with Chase. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
(David Lewis)
Hey Kent,
I just read in FH that David Lewis was trying to find out about the whereabouts of trombonist, Jerry Collins, a onetime member of Chase. I may be wrong about this, but the horn section of Chase consisted ONLY of four trumpets ... no sax ... no trombone, just screaming trumpets! Bill Chase basically "relocated" the trumpet section of a big band jazz group to a driving rock band.
I really don't know if he, at any time, added other instruments to his group, but this is the first time I've ever heard of it. The four trumpet configuration made the band totally unique among the other bands with horns. If he did change the lineup, I sure would like to hear some live recordings, someday.
-- John LaPuzza
You actually may be on to something here, John. According to Wikipedia (which is a source I NEVER use as a reference ... but in THIS case seems to have their facts in order),the personnel on the first three Chase albums was as follows:  

1st Album: CHASE (1971)

  • Bill Chase - trumpet
  • Ted Piercefield - trumpet, lead vocal on "Handbags and Gladrags" and "Boys and Girls Together"

  • Alan Ware - trumpet

  • Jerry Van Blair - trumpet, lead vocal on "Hello Groceries"

  • Phil Porter - keyboards

  • Dennis Johnson - bass guitar, vocals

  • b. Lucian Gondran - guitar, vocals

  • b. Jay Mitthauer - percussion
  • b. Terrance Richard Marinan - lead vocals except as noted above

  • 2nd Album: ENNEA (1972)

  • Ted Piercefield - Trumpet, vocals on "Night"

  • Alan Ware - Trumpet

  • Jerry Van Blair - Trumpet, flugelhorn

  • Gary Smith - drums except as noted below

  • Dennis Johnson - bass guitar

  • Phil Porter - Hammond B-3 organ

  • Angel South - guitar

  • G. G. Shinn - vocals

  • Jay Burrid - drums on "So Many People," "Night," "Woman Of The Dark"

  • Terry Richards - vocals on "So Many People"

  • Not only is Jerry Collins not listed on ANY of these LPs, but neither is a trombonist! You may want to double check your facts (and wife's memory) on this one, David ... perhaps she is confusing Chase with another "horn band" of this era (???) It was, after all, a pretty horny-time in rock and roll music! (Or he worked with the band between projects ... because he does not seem to have appeared on any of the albums they released during this time period. Wikipedia describes the time period between albums two and three as "an extended hiatus" but doesn't really say whether the band continued to perform during this timeframe or not.) I talked with several people "in the know" about the local Chicago Music Scene, circa the early '70's and came up empty regarding any knowledge of Jerry Collins ... and these are "people who know people" in this regard. I then spoke with some of the members of a local band here called August, too, which has a couple of former Chase members on board. They, too, did not know Jerry or of his whereabouts. (August is an AMAZING band, by the way ... if you get the chance to check them out, do yourself a favor and do so ... GREAT show!) Is it possible she's confusing Chase with another group? (kk)

    We heard from a couple of British DJ's on the list who are putting together a pretty sophisticated and unusual road trip ... to say the least! I'll let them tell you about it!

    Hi Kent
    Love your newsletters!
    I wondered if you can help or start a "new thread" on your newsletter
    My colleague Paul Peters does a great radio show from UK but it goes worldwide called " Fabulous 50/s radio show". He is sad as I am about the change in radio in UK and USA where great stations and presenters have been fired.
    He also is planning a massive road trip in summer 2013 to travel ROUTE 66 ... but the difference is
    he intends to visit famous stations and presenters / jocks that are on that route.
    Can you let him use your newsletter to help locate those stations and DJ'S? Any advice would be great from the American experts.
    Already the Govenor of Illinois has offered to drive him the first few miles in a London BUS!!!
    Through this e-mail i am connecting you guys.
    Thanks in advance
    Geoff Dorsett

    Geoff Dorsett "Solid Gold Sixties" is on 65 radio stations in 11 countries ...
    If you are a radio station or listener interested in receiving this show please contact
    I have interviewed 770 big stars on my radio show. Photos and audio are available on the website:

    What a cool idea! They are going to pass through some interesting radio markets along the way, including a stop that'll bring you right through Chicago (not far, actually, from where I grew up ... Route 66 crosses Harlem and then picks up again enroute to California!) Be sure to let us know when you're in the area as we'd love to hop on the bus and say hello! (kk)

    Then this from Paul:

    Hello Kent,
    Thanks so much for your email, which has been sent onto me by my old mate and fellow d.j. Geoff Dorsett.
    Over the past few weeks Geoff has told me so much about you, and your wonderful web site. I have in fact only had time to take a quick glance at it, but what I have read is very interesting and has been useful to me for my shows.
    Geoff, and his dear wife Diane, came over to the farm yesterday and we spent most of the day talking about music and radio. Geoff has been in radio for just about ever, and I started out in November 1965, when at the age of just 16, I left home to become an offshore pirate d.j. Have a look at this web site, which will give you some more information about pirate radio and me.
    Well, I see that Geoff has told you about our planned Route 66 Radio Tour of 2013. This all started when another Geoff, Geoff Kemp, who is my business partner and co host of a show that we have been presenting on Forest FM for almost six years, the 'Fabulous 50's Radio Show' and I decided that we'd very much like to 'do' Route 66 before we 'Pop Our Clog's' (die) and I just happened to mention this to Bish the president at WRLR in Round Lake Heights, in Illinois, which can't be too far from you. Bish thought that it was a wonderful idea and said that WRLR would very much like to help us on our way. First off it it was going to be them sending us out of the City of Chicago on an old Red London Bus, but this idea soon grew into a full radio tour. You see, I told Bish that my big dream as a kid was to visit, and maybe work on, a real American Radio station. I'd seen them at the kids Saturday morning pictures, the little white 1930's building with some call sign letters on the front and a big mast at the back, painted red and white. Just a dream then, but a dream that I could make come true now.
    We should have been making the trip this summer, but Geoff (Kemp) and I were in the middle of a business deal, to rent out one of our stores to another company, and this dragged on for more years than we expected. So the plans where put on hold until next June.
    We are very much hoping that we can still find some interesting people to talk with as we the many miles along Route 66. People that were in radio and the music business in the 50's, 60's and maybe 70's. We plan to send in daily reports to WRLR and Forest FM, and we have also been asked if we'd report in live, on a Saturday evening, to Dave Cash's BBC radio show in the south of England. We have been offered the FREE loan of satalight equipment to beam our live reports back to Chicago and Forest in the U.K., the daily morning show for WRLR and of cause our FAB 50's and Swinging 60's shows will also be beamed back from wherever we may be along the 2000 plus mile long route.
    Kent, I'm copying this letter to Bish and to Steve Saville, our boss at Forest FM here in England, and also to Geoff Dorsett so that they keep abreast of what we are doing. I do so hope that you can get involved in some way with our project, as we need all the help that we can get.
    Oh, by the way, we are now looking into the possibility of adding a few more States to the Journey, by going that little bit further and starting from Detroit, the home of the U.S. motor industry, and following the old US 12 into the Chicago area.
    Thanks again for your nice email.
    All the very best,
    Paul Peters
    P.S. I've attached a copy of an email that Bish sent out to interesting parties about 6 months ago. This will give you more of an idea of what we want to do.
    This is a VERY cool and novel idea for radio and my guess is we've got enough "vintage" deejays on the list to make this pretty exciting! (Unfortunately, you're not going to find a lot of isolated buildings with the broadcast tower and the big call letters on front anymore ... most of the radio stations here are tucked away on the upper floors of very large buildings downtown ... but along your route my guess is you're going to find quite a bit of what you're looking for ... and some pretty interesting folks and stories along the way, too! You may not catch Wolfman Jack broadcasting out of a shack in Mexico but I still think this will make for some very different and unique radio ... and my guess is that some of the jocks on the list would LOVE to take part in this adventure. (And, as I said before, I'd love to "hop on the bus" for a bit, too, and meet one of the original Pirate Radio DJ's ... and I mean REAL Pirate Radio, not the movie!!! lol) Meanwhile I think you'll enjoy stops at landmarks like Chess Records here in Chicago and the Motown Museum in Detroit ... and live, remote broadcasts from these locations should provide some pretty inspired radio.
    I've copied the initial letter send 'round to some of the stations in the hopes that we can all help circulate this amongst not only our own readers but other deejays you folks come in contact with. We've got several months to pull this all together so let's see what we can come up with.
    You can email me at forgottenhits@aol.com ... Paul Peters at paul.peters@live.com or WRLR Radio at studio@wrlr.fm ... let's see what we can put together between us! (kk)

    Dear Route 66 Enthusiast,
    We would not even think of starting out on our Route 66 Radio Tour 2013 without putting out a call to your organization and talking to you first. Let me explain.
    Two community radio stations, WRLR 98.3 FM (here in the U.S. in the Chicago metropolitan area) and Forest FM 92.3 (located in the U.K.) are teaming up, and are in the early stages of planning, for a road trip on the historic Route 66 next summer, with a tentative kickoff June 6, 2013, from Chicago. The tour is expected to take about four weeks to reach its end in California.
    The trip will include visits to local radio stations along the route, including interviews with broadcasters of old, and live broadcasts of the weekly "The Fabulous 50s" radio show from tourist sites, and the occasional man on the street reports from stops on the 2500 plus mile trip. The show and its producers / hosts (Paul Peters and Geoff Kemp) hail from the U.K. WRLR and other stations carry their program in the U.S., and it also airs in other parts of the world.
    The purpose of the tour is to highlight the role local radio stations have had through the decades, and still do, in small communities strung along such an iconic roadway.
    We realized that it would just make sense to tap into the extensive knowledge and resources of your organization, given your dedication to all that is Route 66. The tour will be an opportune time to promote the existence and destination of many Route 66 associations, museums, and tourist destinations -- including the local radio history along the route. We welcome your input and assistance to ensure we do not miss important highlights as we travel Route 66 through seven states.
    If you would be interested in exploring the details and / or be part of the tour, please contact us at Route 66 Radio Tour 2013, P.O. Box 98, Round Lake, IL 60073 or at studio@wrlr.fm.
    Bish Krywko, President / Founder
    WRLF Radio 98.3 FM (U.S.)