Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Sunday Comments ( 05 - 11 - 14 )

re:  The Cryan' Shames:  
I most certainly enjoyed reading Gary Theroux's commentary on the Cryan' Shames' version of "Sugar & Spice."  I agree that Tony Hatch's song and the other Searchers' works are terrific, but Gary and I truly have the exact same thoughts about how the energy level of the Shames' version is much higher and better sounding than the originators' version. 
With this high praise, what better time for you all to relive 1968's "A Scratch in the Sky," the Shames' second album.  It has just been re-released from original master tapes in original mono form by Now Sounds out of England.  Steve Stanley at Now Sounds has produced a series of great CD reissues for 10 years or so and, due to demand and love for the original mono mix of this album, Now Sounds has turned this into an 18 song expanded edition!  If you never liked the ringing bell in the middle of "It Could Be We're in Love" on the LP, the single version with its original different mix is added here.  Several of the songs sound markedly different than their stereo LP counterpart mix.  "Scratch" is my fave Shames LP.
New liner notes in a 16 page booklet beautifully illustrated accompany this new release!  Lead singer, Tom Doody, adds new memories to the notes as well!  Lots of great photos (including original back and front LP art work) add to the attraction as well.  I was able to provide some assistance as well and the Shames website gets a nice plug in the booklet as well!  You can find more info at the label site:  http://
In the liners (well written by Scott Shindler), Tom Doody explains how they really got into writing and recording original songs after doing their first REALLY big show at McCormick Place in Chicago with the Byrds and We Five.  Altho, the notes make it seem to have happened in 1967, this show was actually on a Saturday, November 6, 1965.  Most likely, the band was still the Travelers at that point.  I did not know the Shames (Travelers) appeared on this bill when helping Christopher Hjort with his daily chronicle book of the Byrds titled "So You Want to be a Rock 'N' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day 1965-1973."  IF you are a Byrds fan, you really NEED to own this fascinating book.  I did a lot of work on this book and you can even find a photo of WLS' Art Roberts with the Byrds backstage on the page following the info about the Nov. 6 concert.  Below is a synopsis of the apparent Shames' epic event.
The show was one of the Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tour events at McCormick Place, starting at 8:30 with Dick Clark on hand to emcee.  5000 fans were there and there were opening acts (including apparently, the Travelers) and then at 8:30 came (in order) Bo Diddley, the Byrds, the Raiders and the We Five closed the show.  I have attached an interview done impromptu by WCFL's Jim Stagg with headlining We Five for partial broadcast later on the Jim Stagg "Staggline" interview segments of his afternoon shows.  Despite the interview being plagued by comments from the stage set up hands, it is fun and interesting.  Certainly, Tom Doody must have been taken by all of the bands.  The Raiders and Byrds would be label mates in just a year, with the Shames covering a Byrds tune on their first album.  In the interview, you will hear them plug the new We Five single, "Let's Get Together" which would be a modest hit, but later become a top 10 anthem of the love generation in 1969 for the Youngbloods.  Of course, the Shames ALSO covered the song in 1969 for their "Synthesis" album!  Certainly, Tom Doody and the rest must have been blown away by this show.  The New Colony Six performed with the Byrds also on March 4, 1966, at the Orpheum Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin.  On March 6, the Byrds performed in Chicago at the Civic Opera House with local Little Boy Blues, Ricochettes and Shadows of Knight.  For the particulars, go find this great book! ... AFTER you buy the Shames CD!

And lastly, how about this headline to promote the CD?!!!  "The Oklahoman" newspaper, on May 1st last week, used the title of the Cryan Shames third single from 1967 as a headline as a commentary on the NBA star, Kevin Durant, being "Mr. Unreliable."  Durant fans were not a bit happy with James Fairs' label for their star player.  It caused a lot of heat for the newspaper who later issued a public apology!
Clark Besch

Hi Kent,
Herewith my comment on Gary Theroux's comments:

I'm pleased to have Gary's wise words on 'Sugar And Spice' and The Cryan' Shames. I only said I thought the lyrics of 'Sugar And Spice' were 'the most basic' but, if I'm to be honest, the whole song is quite basic. Substitute the word 'simple' for 'basic', however, and you have an important ingredient in the creation of an early 60's pop song - and that's what it is.
I really do like the Cryan' Shames version. It's an excellent record. Most of all I think it has an easier tempo than the Searchers. Gary is not far off the mark in his comments on the original, however, although it never would have been an international hit if it really was 'uninspired like a routine demo'. That's a bit harsh. I think.
The truth is, so huge was the success of 'Sweets For My Sweet', that with the constraints on their time I had great trouble getting the boys into the studio for the follow-up and, unlike 'Sweets For My Sweet' which The Searchers had been performing and refining for months before we cut that single, 'Sugar And Spice' was created from almost nothing in one very long day.
The boys were tired and thought they should have been on holiday but, instead, this grumpy lot were hustled into the studio. There were also some serious personality clashes to cope with. I won't go into details but before The Searchers recorded their next single ('Needles And Pins') Mike Pender had taken over as lead singer from Tony Jackson and Frank Allen had replaced Tony on Bass. It's never easy recording a band when three members aren't talking to the fourth.

re:  More From Tony Hatch / Look For A Star:  
>>>I always did like the song LOOK FOR A STAR.  Years ago it was classified, I believe, as the first song to hit the charts that was featured in a horror movie. There were three versions of the song out at the time which you know but I always liked Garry Miles' version best.  (Larry Neal)  
>>>Joel Whitburn's book lists FIVE charted versions of "Look For A Star", the biggest hit going to Garry Miles.  (This was one of those where you have to wonder if they intentionally changed an artist's name to add confusion into the mix ... the version by Garry Mills charted at #26 at the same time.  Confused record buyers probably weren't sure WHICH record to buy!)  Billy Vaughn, Deane Hawley and Nicky Como also had chart hits with this record.  (kk)  
In 1958 (two years earlier), The Five Blobs charted with the theme from "The Blob", but it was not as big of a hit as "Look For A Star".  
Garry Mills' Imperial release was the original version of the Mark Anthony (Tony Hatch) song and the one that is heard in "Circus Of Horrors".  The Garry Miles version was actually done by a vocalist named Buzz Cason, who told me "We not only covered the record, we covered the artist's name!" Buzz' Liberty version has a chorus on the bridge, rather than horns in the original. Dean Hawley's Dore and Nicky Comos' Laurie cover versions kept the horns. Billy Vaughn's Dot version has an organ on the break.
Ed Salamon 

Hi Kent,
I couldn't resist a comment on LOOK FOR A STAR - my first hit ever and written under the name of Mark Anthony. Being only 19 at the time I was absolutely thrilled when the song also became an international smash. There's a good story behind it, as well. (Got time?)
I joined Top Rank Records in '58 / '59 as a junior record producer but my wonderful mentor, Dick Rowe, apparently saw potential in me and pushed every opportunity my way.
Top Rank was owned by the Rank Organisation which was a British film producer and cinema owner. It also owned a music publishing company called Filmusic, run by Harold Shampan. Dick told him I wrote songs so Harold asked me to write a song which he could pitch to a new film being produced by Rank. The film was FOLLOW A STAR, starring UK comedy actor Norman Wisdom. I wrote FOLLOW A STAR but Norman rejected the song as he wanted to write his own - something he had done before. Harold wasn't put off. Another film was being made by Anglo-Amalgamated (a
Rank affiliate) and they needed a song. We changed the title from FOLLOW A STAR to LOOK FOR A STAR and the song became a major feature in the film.
When Harold told me the title of the film I was, to say the least, a little worried. How could LOOK FOR A STAR (a tender love song) possibly work in a film called CIRCUS OF HORRORS? On the Rank label we already had teenage singer Garry Mills and Garry recorded the song for the film soundtrack. The film was a hit in the UK and so was Garry's record. I'm sure Top Rank had distribution difficulties in America so London Records quickly jumped on the bandwagon, put session singer Buzz Cason in the studio, made an identical copy of the Garry Mills record and released it as Garry Miles. I didn't know there were 5 covers of the song but I do love the instrumental version by The Billy Vaughan Orchestra.
PS. Norman's own song (FOLLOW A STAR) was never a hit!
Tony Hatch   
During our Chicago visit a couple of years ago, Tony Hatch told me that back then a songwriter could copyright their work under a maximum of three different names.  As such, in addition to his stellar work with Petula Clark (all shown as Tony Hatch), he also used the pseudonyms "Mark Anthony" (for "Look For A Star" and "Fred Nightingale" for "Sugar And Spice". 

It is a bit funny to think that a beautiful love song such as "Look For A Star" would be used in the film "Circus Of Horrors" ... but for whatever reason, it worked!  ("The Blob" was pure camp ... used as the opening credits to the film, one had to wonder if they were taking themselves seriously or if this was, instead, a SPOOF on horror movies. By the way, "The Blob" was ALSO one of Burt Bacharach's very first charted hits, too!)  kk

re:  The Girl Groups:
I know I'm coming across as an old harridan here, Kent, but I just can't believe that anybody with any knowledge of the history of popular music would only choose 11 girl groups from the '60s for that list (and one of the songs is 'Love Child'??)  If the moron who came up with this list had done any research at all, would he not have seen the wisdom in substituting at least one of the (very) late-comers and include in his Top 40 Girl Groups (supposedly of All-Time) at least one example from the '50s, such as the Bobbettes' 'Mr. Lee' (#1 R&B) or the Chantels' 'Maybe' (#2 R&B).  GRRRR!!!
The list came from Billboard Magazine ... and apparently their criteria was any girl-driven group of the rock era ... and it wasn't a popularity contest ... the rankings were determined by actual chart-position earned in their publication.  That being said, it's hard to imagine that anyone out there believed "the girl group sound" extended much beyond the '60's ... the two have seemed to be forever linked ... but clearly the genre has continued (although I don't know that any of the latter day acts would say they classify themselves that way.)  I was just shocked by how small a percentage OUR girl groups held on the list.  (Maybe we need to come up with a Girl Group List of our own, 1955 - 1975 (???)  Only then half the songs will most likely belong to The Supremes!  (kk) 

Perhaps the FH readership should compile their version of the top 40 Girl Group Songs to correct the deficiencies and omissions of the Billboard Magazine list (how shallow a list pandering to the newer generations!)  No Crystals, Shangri-Las, Ronnettes, or Chantels?!! Shameful!

re:  On The Radio:
Hi Kent.
Here are the details for my special IRS104 show on Top Shelf Oldies:
Tune in to Top Shelf Oldies ( on Wednesday, May 14, 8 - 9 p.m. ET, for a special edition of Randy on the Radio. On this show, I'll be featuring songs from this year's IRS104 ("It Really Shoulda been a Top 10 hit") countdown. During the show, I'll announce the details of how a lucky listener, chosen at random, can win a 4-CD set containing all 104 songs from this year's countdown. For those who are not able to listen to the live stream, the show will be archived at The deadline for entering the drawing (via email) will be one week from the original broadcast -- Wednesday, May 21 -- at 10:00 p.m. ET.– Randy Price
Another GREAT list of tunes this year so this should make for a VERY interesting show.  (LOTS of songs that you know and love ... that radio just doesn't play anymore ... plus many that never got the respect the deserved in the first place back in the day!)  Be sure to tune in.  (Hey, Rich, I'd love a copy of that Top 104 on CD!!!)  kk  

re:  Paul McCartney Tickets: 
Got this from FH Reader Dave Barry ... actually, as I understand it, Macca pushed for this as well ... in fact, I think he may have even been the one who first suggested it, having closed down the original Shea Stadium and all.  Certainly a historically landmark occasion, in light of The Beatles final "official" last live performance ... an incredible 48 years ago!!!  (kk) 

(04-24) 08:56 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Paul McCartney will headline the final concert at Candlestick Park in August, the former Beatle and San Francisco officials said Thursday, ending a back-and-forth drama that had the city competing against the 49ers for the right to play host to the music legend.
"Putting the rumor mill to rest, Paul has confirmed that he will indeed return to San Francisco Aug. 14 to play Farewell to Candlestick: The Final Concert," a statement on McCartney's website said. City officials later confirmed the news.
"We just kept pushing and were persistent and drove the deal down the field," said Phil Ginsberg, director of the city Recreation and Park Department, which operates Candlestick.
Tickets will go on sale May 5. It was not immediately known how much they will cost.
Mayor Ed Lee personally invited McCartney to close the Stick when the former Beatle played at the Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park last year.
The idea was to say goodbye to the ballpark where the Beatles played their final paid concert in 1966.
McCartney's representatives and the city had been talking since Lee made the offer, and City Hall was convinced that the show was all but a done deal.
It all changed, however, when McCartney's envoys, including his worldwide concert promoter, Barrie Marshall, toured Candlestick last month and let slip that they had just visited the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium as part of negotiations with the Niners for an opening concert there in early August.
It was a blindside hit that had city officials feeling betrayed.
Team executives insisted to San Francisco officials that they had been approached about hosting a McCartney show by Live Nation, the national promoter that has a financial stake in Sir Paul's management company.
With the 49ers decamping for the South Bay, Candlestick is being torn down to make room for a development that will include residences, retail stores and offices. On Wednesday, the city said 49ers legend Joe Montana would re-create his Super Bowl XIX showdown with fellow Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino in a flag-football game at the Stick on July 12.  

As for how much tickets will cost, check out Clark Besch's email below ...  

Looks like Lincoln is the place to be on Abbey Road!  We got good seats at $168.  My friend, Bob in Albany area, and all my Chicago friends will need to fork out the bucks big time! 
Candlestick Park Show On Paul McCartney's Out There! Tour
Is Most Expensive Concert This Summer
The average price for Paul McCartney tickets in San Francisco is currently $892 on the secondary market. That price is 156.6% above the $347.60 average across the 16 scheduled stops on the Out There! tour. Plenty of significance regarding both McCartney and the venue have added to the value on the secondary market. It will be the last event at Candlestick Park before the historic venue is demolished. The stadium is also the place of the last full concert from The Beatles on August 29, 1966, which is also last time McCartney played at Candlestick. 
At its current average price, the concert is 105.4% above the average price for the San Francisco 49ers’ final regular season game at Candlestick on a Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons. It’s also 64.5% more expensive than the first home game on the 49ers schedule at the new Levi’s Stadium. 
McCartney last played in San Francisco a year ago at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, when he spoke with San Francisco mayor Ed Lee about playing the venue’s final show. For the other stops on the tour, McCartney is visiting some cities and venues he hasn’t played in some time or hasn’t played at all. He last played in Chicago for a two-show run at Wrigley Field in 2011 and the July 9 concert at the United Center has a secondary market average price of $462.78, the second most expensive stop on the tour. McCartney hasn’t played in Pittsburgh since opening the Consol Energy Center in 2010, but his return has an average price of $410.86 and a get-in price of $118. 
Ticket demand has also been high in places McCartney has never played. The second most expensive average price on the tour is at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York at $425.02, 22.2% above the tour average. In Jacksonville, the June 22 show has sold out for McCartney’s first full performance in the city at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The closest Jacksonville had gotten previously to a full McCartney concert was his halftime performance during Super Bowl XXXIX. 
During his run of 15 US shows throughout 2013, McCartney sold out every one of them and he’s on pace to sell out every one of his 19 upcoming dates this summer. 
Clark Besch
McCartney was asked recently why his ticket prices are so expensive, alluding to the fact that he certainly doesn't need the money.  Macca replied that he has people who go out to see what the biggest acts touring charge for their shows ... how long they perform ... what kind of spectacle they provide on stage ... then looks at all of the expenses of traveling all over the world to do this type of show (my guess is that his tour entourage is well over a hundred people with set-up crews, etc.) and he then prices his tickets accordingly to provide a fair market value for his show.  (Obviously the artists never reap the benefits of the "after market" ticket sales.)  In that he's sold out every single show he's done ... and some record-breaking and near-record-breaking audience capacities ... I'd say that everything probably looks copacetic in his mind!  (If you've never seen him, you won't be disappointed.  There is a certain electricity that runs through every member of the audience the moment he takes the stage.  There are very few artists out there who can render that type of a universal response.  I mean he IS, after all, Paul-frickin'-McCartney!!!)  And let's face it ... Candlestick Park holds a MAJOR historic link ... it looms MEGA large in Beatles folklore ... who WOULDN'T want to see that show?!?!?  (kk)  

re:  This And That:
>>>The group the Casuals was mentioned in your Baby Boomer Legends concert review. Was this the same group that did SO TOUGH back in 1958? I know they had a followup on Backbeat records but can't think of the title now. I am told sometimes they were known as the ORIGINAL CASUALS.  (Larry Neal)
>>>Joel Whitburn's book shows "So Tough" as being by The Original Casuals, stating that the first pressings of the record showed the band as simply The Casuals.  It doesn't list any other charted records by the band.  (kk)

These were two unrelated groups. The Casuals on Backbeat were from Dallas. The Nashville Casuals had already had a local hit with "My Love Song For You" (on Nu Sound, then Dot) a year earlier, so Backbeat changed the name of the Dallas group to the Original Casuals when they found out.
Ed Salamon  

And, speaking of the Baby Boomer Legends Concert ...  

With only 300 seats, this thing sold out instantly so we weren't able to be there. They could have packed a venue five or six times the size. Thanks to Ed for the review.
David Lewis  

>>>Thought you might get a kick out of this ... it really does sound like a new Lennon / McCartney composition.   (Woody)  
The mash-up is “Imagine” and “Band on the Run,” put together by Go Home Productions, one of the best of that ilk. Very well – and almost seamlessly – done. 
Country Paul Payton   

Just to clarify a point made on the Cruisin Series featured last week.  The B. Mitchell Reed 1963 original album WAS the original selected choice for the series when it was originally done in 1970.  The Joey Reynolds 1963 WKBW version was done in the late 1990's by the current owner of Increase Records and I was commissioned to do liner notes at that time.  The tape that I have was not complete, as the end was cut off due to the length of the cassette.  The reason it was not released was that it was not affordable by late 1990's standards to license the songs for use, which was quite affordable at the time of the original series started in 1970.  
Got this from FH Reader Alex Valdez ...  

Jimi would've approved  
Shoot!  I thought he was talking about our article!!!  (kk) Click here: Forgotten Hits - Jimi Hendrix

Is anybody out there still watching "Glee"?  They did a pretty clever version of Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight" last week, turning it into a dog adoption shelter piece ... not bad!  (kk)

re:  50 Years Ago This Weekend:  
Your reporting that 50 years ago this weekend Jan & Dean had the #1 song(s) in Chicago with the double-sider "Dead Man's Curve" and "The New Girl in School" reminded me of a fact that Forgotten Hits readers might enjoy:  To get a #1 hit, sometimes you have to back up and try again. 
That was the case with "The New Girl in School," which started out as a song called "When Summer Comes Gonna Hustle You" by Jan & Dean, abetted by the Beach Boys.  When record company executives tsk-tsked the phrase "Hustle You," Jan & Dean changed it to "When Summer Comes Get a Chance With You."   Same melody, utterly different theme.
Here's a link:
For that matter, the hit version of "Dead Man's Curve" was not the original either. That appeared on the 1963 LP "Drag City," minus the car-crash sound effects and the harp (and with a couple of lyrics changes and a slightly different melody). Here's a link:

Henry McNulty
Old Saybrook, Connecticut

A World Without Love - What a classic example of two good performances; one entrenched in the past (Bobby Rydell's late 50's / early 60's arrangement) and one heralding a new wave crashing on the shore (Peter & Gordon's version hinting at things to come).
Not just a new song; a new sound.

re:  The Saturday Surveys:
Hey Kent,
It was great to see that New Colony Six entry (I Confess) atop the WENE chart in May of 1966. One correction though. That survey is referenced just above as being from New York City, when actually it's from upstate Endicott-Binghamton. Same state - different world.
As an aside cosmic connection, I believe 1430 WENE, or that market, was Johnny Donovan's radio home before he made it big in New York City. I met him when he was working at WOR-FM doing overnights and remember him talking about his Binghamton days, although it's all a bit fuzzy.

Oops – there’s a 185-mile problem: WENE’s survey (5/10/14 dispatch) is not from New York City but from upstate in Endicott, NY, serving the Binghamton market. Still at 1430 AM, the former Top 40 outlet is now all sports. 
Interesting discovery: "Georgianna" by The Princetons. Turns out it was written by Don Ciccone of The Critters, and there is apparently a lineage between both groups. Others more knowledgeable than I can cite it in detail. Incidentally, my new band, Rob Carlson & Benefit Street, recorded the only other song I know by that name on our debut CD, which I have attached for your listening enjoyment. Feel free to pass it along on the list. It is a new song co-written by Rob and me, but it does have some late ‘60s / early ‘70s vibes to it. Feel free to check us out further on Bandcamp, CD Baby and elsewhere. 
Best to all, 
Country Paul Payton  
The Princetons' version of "Georgianna", a Top Ten Hit here in Chicago, was indeed a cover of The Critters tune.  (We featured both ages ago in Forgotten Hits ... along with a brief update on the band.  Unfortunately an exclusive interview with a couple of original Princetons is now apparently lost forever due to the great computer crash of 2012.)  kk

>>>Look who's topping the chart (for at least the second week in a row) in New York City this week in 1966!  (kk)
New York City? WENE was in Endicott, NY, which is a loooong way from New York City. Sad to say, "I Confess" never made the surveys of either WABC or WMCA in New York City.
– Randy Price
OK, OK, I get it ... I'm a bit off my mark!  (lol)  Most folks lump Cheap Trick (Rockford, IL) and REO Speedwagon (Champaign, IL) in as Chicago bands, too, despite a similar distance from "home base".  Still pretty cool to see The New Colony Six topping a chart nearly a thousand miles away (give or take a couple hundred miles) ... and several months AFTER it peaked at #2 here at home.  (kk)

Speaking of which ... 
You will notice the date I Confess by the NC6, makes the chart at #1 is a full four months later than its Chicago debut. By this week in 1966, their follow up single, I Lie Awake had been getting airplay for nine weeks at WLS.
Makes you wonder how much bigger this song could have been nationally had ALL the sales and airplay occurred at the same time. (Also lends significant credence as to why The New Colony Six were asked to headline Cave Stomp in New York a few years back!)  kk
Exactly. You and I have talked about this before and you've discussed it in FH. The same thing has happened with many other groups in Chicago and elsewhere. Check out that KACY chart you printed last week. I have a couple dozen of their surveys from the about a month before, during, and after the Summer Of Love. There are a number of MAJOR hits that debuted there, a couple months before becoming national hits.