Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Sunday Comments ( 06 - 08 - 14 )

re:  California Chrome:  
Your comments about my reaction to "California Chrome" and Tommy's song about "Chrome" were a summation of where the record business is in the 21st century.  Everything is packaged. Everything is done by computer. So many stations "outsource."
Good Lord, in today's environment would the young Rolling Stones have to fight like hell to get air play ... and just where would their songs get tossed into rotation?
Chet Coppock

It's all over ... California Chrome did NOT win Racing's Triple Crown today at the Belmont.  The Chicago Tribune reports: 
California Chrome failed in his bid to join racing royalty on Saturday, and his disappointed co-owner said winning horse Tonalist's owner had taken "the coward's way" by not running the first two Triple Crown races.  The chestnut colt, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, finished fourth at the Belmont behind 9-1 shot Tonalist, who did not run the opening two races of the series.  
So Tommy's "Winners Version" will NOT be coming out after all.  Too bad ... still cool to hear something so timely, topical and contemporary!  (kk)     

Kent ...  
I love the Tommy Roe song. Can't stop playing it.  
Yesterday, they drew the Post Positions for the Belmont.  California Chrome is #2.   
Back in 1973, when Secretariat won the Triple Crown, he had Post Position #2 in the Belmont Stakes. You think that its a sign of things to come?  
Even if California Chrome loses, I'd like to hear Tommy Roe's winning version of "California Chrome."  
Frank B.  

LOTS of buzz about the race ... and hopefully Tommy's song, too ... SO cool to get this from Tommy Roe himself ... 

Kent, You are too much ... what a great email blast! Thank you, thank you, thank you!    
Chicago loves you and I love you.  
If he wins on Saturday I will shoot you the winning version right after the race.  
Let's put our bets down for "California Chrome."  
Rock on,  

Speaking of Tommy Roe, he'll be appearing at The Cavern in Liverpool where he'll be headlining "International Beatles Week" in Liverpool on August 26th.  
Tommy Roe wrote and recorded more Top 10 songs than any other American solo artist during the 60s ... and in 1963, The Beatles opened him on their famed UK tour.  Then, when The Beatles came over to The United States in 1964, they asked Tommy to open for them at their first US concert at the Washington DC Coliseum on February 11, 1964.  
Fifty years later ... on February 11, 2014, Tommy headlined YESTERDAY AND TODAY - The 50th Anniversary Concert of the Washington, DC Show. His latest album, Devils Soul Pile, gained three stars in MOJO MAGAZINE.

re:  Concert Reviews:   

Thanks, Kent, for the kind words. I think the folks all went home happy ... well, at least I hit my notes ... mostly!  And it really does make me proud deep down that I can play all alone for an audience. Not everybody can do that, so that's a cool deal.  
One good thing that's happening is that my Agent and Manager are getting great bookings for me as a solo, and gigs with the whole band … every time I do a good show somewhere major I gain a bit of ground back.  
I'm sorry we didn't at least sit down for a minute backstage but I was exhausted.   
Be well, and thanks …  
Burton L Cummings

Wow - great review.  We had an fantastic time at this awesome venue.  Hope to catch up with you again at the show in November ... which will be with the full band, by the way.
Sam Boyd
Looking forward to it.  This was our first trip to The City Winery which IS an excellent place to see an intimate show like this.  GREAT response from the very enthusiastic crowd, too, many of whom were there both nights.  It's a very nice place ... a bit "preppy" perhaps, but they bring in an eclectic group of artists to perform there ... and I can certainly see them inviting Burton back again.  (kk)

In the interest of accurate reporting, you should not say that he performs everything in the original keys of the recordings.  Generally, everything's done lower now. 
A couple examples:  
These Eyes    then: and now:  

Sour Suite, then: and now:   
Stand Tall, then: and now:  
I know you're intent on reporting the facts correctly. 

Truly enjoyed your review on Burton Cummings. I admire a guy who's willing to go on stage solo and do a show that he's comfortable performing.  I would have loved to do have heard him to, "Clap for the Wolfman."
It was very clear, kk, by your "report card' on Burton that this guy touched your heart and soul. Hey, I'm 66 and now working on my third book along with my other broadcast work.  Man, it's great to be alive.
66 is the new, shall we say, 46? Gotta see Burton at Ron Onesti's Arcada.
Chet Coppock
You will NOT be disappointed ... great show every time!  (kk)

Saw the Guess Who twice in the last 15 years and they sounded great. Burton made it a point to say 'we play our own instruments and sing". And it shows. 
He pointed out in concert how artists recording today really don't have a clue (or the talent) to do what groups like The Guess Who did back in the day ... laying down most of this stuff "live" in the studio ... you had to really know how to play and sing in order to capture the magic ... and The Guess Who managed to do that for many, many years.  By the same token, it takes a lot of balls to get up there all by yourself with just a piano and play some of these songs for a room full of people ... but again he stressed that we were hearing the material much the way he first composed it at home ... just him at the piano, working out the mechanics of the song.  A VERY special night of music, to be sure.  (kk)

I can't believe that the two Herman's Hermits songs you posted are the Favorites of my son and daughter.  Is my home wired? 
FYI since you are not connected to Facebook:  pieces of your reviews are floating around on artists sites.  Jay and the Americans have posted most of your review on their FB.  Fans have posted all of your review on Peter's FB site. Shelley J Sweet-Tufano  
As it should be, I guess ... anything to get the word out ... although what would have been MUCH cooler would be if they simply posted links TO the site ... because anybody reading about Jay and the Americans and/or Herman's Hermits would absolutely LOVE Forgotten Hits!!!  (kk)   

GAH!!!! No Milk Today is currently my favorite Herman's Hermits song. I'm SO BUMMED I had to miss it! 

OK, try putting THAT in the chorus of 'Travelin' Light'.  That WAS the chorus 'written' by Peter Noone for last night's performance at The Musikfest Café at Arts ... you get the idea?! 
Let's start with Steel Stacks.  I am always thrilled, amazed, and energized when unused man-made properties are converted into something newly useful ... preferably, an arts center.  The former Bethlehem Steel Company, former producers of a vast supply of steel and steel products is being / has been converted into a multiplex performing arts center.  I do not know the future plans (this is where ya'll jump in and tell me and the rest of FH readers what the plans actually are) may be, but so far I could see an indoor restaurant and performing stage (Musikfest Café), an outdoor performing stage, a mini-stage on the outdoor patio, and a movie cineplex.  All three performing stages were used last night.  Just a note (b flat) to visitors to this center:  there will be times when both the outdoor and indoor stages will be in use simultaneously.  To the management:  this was not a good idea.  I will try not to mention this again in this review, BUT it just may come up again, as the FREE concert outside starring The Smithereens, conflicted with the PAID concert inside.  Just as it is difficult to enjoy two different sound systems playing together in your home, it is distracting (to performers and audience) to have two live concerts going on at the same time.  Maybe it's an up-dated version of Battle of the Bands. 
The opening act was The Large FlowerHeads.  As you may have figured out, a 60's cover group.  They opened with 'Midnight Confessions' ... immediately tearing me up.  The woman across from us was asked to help out with a stage stunt involving panties being thrown on stage while the FlowerHeads were singing 'Delilah'.  When she came back, I informed her that anything that happened during Herman's Hermits would now appear tame.  They were much fun and an appropriate opening. 
Knowing that you (Kent) will be going to see Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone THIS weekend, I just wanted to beat you to the review.  But because that is the case, I will make my review brief so that you can expand as fully as you wish.  The Hermits are Amazing musicians.  That may be the only thing I am not sure the newbies in the audience realized.  I am not putting down anyone else.  I am just saying that the artistry of Vance Brescia, Dave Ferrara, Rich Spina and Billy Sullivan is second to none ... or only to Noone.  The result is what the people see and hear, and THAT is the goal.  Peter's performance, backed by his Hermits makes listening to The Smithereens between songs tolerable.  It makes the annoyance of a cameraman in the way, or a wait-staff that has not learned how to serve their guests without blocking the show endurable.  (They need lessons from the staff in The Wolf Den) I promised brief so that Kent, you could go for length, but I literally danced my way back to the parking lot under the changing colors displayed on the STEEL STACKS IN BETHLEHEM, PA last night. 
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

"Travelin' Light" is one of those great, over-looked Herman's Hermits songs that always sounds good in concert ... but you're right ... changing the words to fit THIS venue WAS a mouthful! 
Always a great show, no matter where he performs ... and yes, his band is smokin', too! (I know Vance regularly reads Forgotten Hits and I would have loved the chance to finally say hello in person after exchanging emails for so many years!)

Freakin' perfect!  Thank you for the beautiful review of the Monkees show in Indiana ... just brilliant!  Great, great review!

I guess Micky was saving himself for the more important show. Given all the songs you described, was it a five hour concert??
They played for two hours and ten minutes straight through  - no breaks and pretty much non-stop music - VERY little talking. A lot of time spent on Headquarters and Head material - and very heavy emphasis on Mike's tunes ... so not your typical Monkees show ... even if you've seen them as many times as I have!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
I saw your review of The Monkees at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville on and then I read the rest on your blog. Sounds like it was an amazing show!! I saw them in Detroit on Friday - they were amazing there too. 
Just wondering, how does one go about getting a backstage show pass? I've always wanted to meet the Monkees so badly but never had the chance. How much time did you get to talk with them after the show? Did you get to see Peter too?
Thanks, Marilyn (better known as iluvmonkees on and tumblr)
As mentioned in my review, I've seen various incarnations of The Monkees close to fifty times over the years ... but have never had a backstage pass before. Normally, the guys will come out for sort of a "meet and greet" after the show, sign autographs and pose for a few pictures ... but they elected not to do that at the Star Plaza show.
As I understand it, I was one of only two people invited backstage for the "after show" ... a chance to meet The Monkees ... so it wasn't your typical "hundred people backstage / can't say more than hello" scenario, which is usually the case.  Prior to showing up at the theater I had NO idea I had backstage access ... it was a wild and crazy surprise when I picked up my tickets at the window, comp'd by Micky's PR Guy David Salidor, an avid Forgotten Hits reader.  (As such, we're often the very first source to break new Micky news as it happens!!!)  So thanks again, David, for this VERY pleasant surprise!
Peter wasn't there ... don't know if he left early or just hadn't come down yet.  Also being a life-long fan, I tried my best not to gush but did get a chance to visit briefly with both Micky and Mike.  (Micky's wife Donna took the two photos you saw on the Forgotten Hits website.)  Never one to over-stay my welcome, we just chatted for a bit and then I took off.  All in all, a very pleasant experience.
As to how to get passes, I haven't got a clue ... like I said, first time for me!  (A know a number of fans were VERY disappointed in that they had bought "VIP Tickets" to the concert, which they assumed got them backstage access afterwards ... but apparently it did not ... security told them that unless they had a pass like mine, they were NOT getting backstage to meet The Monkees.)  kk

I just got home a few hours ago after seeing the Monkees in Milwaukee on Sunday night.  I read where you were going to see them.  How did you like it? 
I was impressed with Mike Nesmith and how many songs they played that featured him.  Peter Tork was impressive as he played lead guitar, keyboards, bass, and banjo. Mike Nesmith got a standing ovation for 'What Am I Doing Hanging Around' and seemed surprised.  They also sang my favorite Monkees flipside, 'Words'.   
Of all of the great songs they played, I woke up this morning with Auntie Grizelda playing in my
Micky Dolenz sang well and is always a showstopper with his songs.  The band included his sister CoCo and Christian Nesmith and they were very good.
It is amazing that all three gentlemen are either in their late 60's or early 70's and still can sing well and dance a bit.  They featured shots of the Monkees TV program all night long while playing the song from that particular episode. 
I felt that they played too many songs from the 'Head' movie and soundtrack, which other than
'Porpoise Song'  I never liked that well.  The only other negative for me was the fact that they didn't talk to the crowd very much ... Dolenz a couple of times, and Tork once or twice, but Nesmith not at all. 
Overall it was a great show and I would go back again if I had the chance!  Now I have to sip come coffee and try to sound lively on the air!
Phil Nee - WRCO
As you'll see in my Star Plaza / Indiana concert review on Wednesday, I felt much the same way about the show as you did ... but I, too, would go back and see it again in a minute!  Thanks, Phil!  (kk)

I was able to attend the Star Plaza Monkees concert last Saturday.  It really was great seeing the three remaining members of the group!
Upon seeing them come out onto the stage, it was met with some great excitement!  My hope was that they would play some of their greatest hits from Headquarters and many of their albums. They didn't disappoint.
'Though Michael's and Peter's voice had trouble hitting many of the notes, they were still quite engaging and really seemed to love the crowd of adoring fans.  Micky actually seemed to have much more energy than he did at the Arcada show I also attended.  He seemed much happier to have his fellow "mates" with him and it showed in his body language and his overall appearance.
Some of the songs that most people would know (if they followed the Monkees back then) were:
Opened up with - Last Train to Clarksville
Papa Gene's Blues
Sweet Young Thing
I'm a Believer
I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone
You Told Me
Sunny Girlfriend
You Just May Be The One
Mary, Mary
The Girl That I Knew Somewhere
Shades of Gray
Randy Scouse Git
For Pete's Sake
No Time
Porpoise Song (played on an episode of Mad Men)
What Am I Doin' Hanging Round (written by Michael Martin Murphey) of Wildfire fame
Daydream Believer
Listen to the Band
Their encore was Pleasant Valley Sunday !
Summary ... I was surprised that they ever mentioned the name Davy Jones ... it's like they all knew he probably was the face of the Monkees.  Not sure why, but the fact that they never muttered his name or any indication that he is still missed to this day was weird ... I actually thought it would have been GREAT to have someone do either - I Wanna Be Free or I'll Be True to You in honor of Davy ... neither song seems hard to do.... -:)
Mike's songs were a joy to hear. Peter Tork did a GREAT job on Shades of Gray, which was originally partly sung by Davy Jones.  Peter really enjoyed playing with the crowd and his instruments. Mike really just stayed back and played his guitar with little fanfare.
They did quite a few songs that I had not heard of and wasn't sure of the names ...?  It was also wonderful to see Micky sitting at the drums doing what we all remember him doing ... so it was even more exciting when he brought out a HUGE drum (we all knew which song he was about to do) and didn't disappoint with his untimely - Randy Scouse Git ... without a doubt, when it came time for Micky to sing his songs, he stepped it up a notch.
They played so many old show highlights on a back drop of a screen, but the audio was quite hard to hear. It brought back so many memories of all those little song skits that had.  It brought us all back to their attempt at comedy, and oh yeah ... they could sing and play as well!
I was able to snag the guitar pick thrown out by Christian Nesmith, who played guitar with the band. In all, they didn't disappoint their fans and were all happy to be there.
Bob Morrow
You bring up several good points in your review, Bob, some of which we touched on in our own assessment.
It's really cool to see The Monkees' music become "accepted" in other media all these years later ... the use of "Porpoise Song" in "Mad Men", for example ... or "Goin' Down" being featured in the films "American Hustle" as well as the remake of the "Straw Dogs" movie.  That's because some of the people that are making these movies and television shows today grew up listening to ... and falling in love with ... this great music ... so they're finding ways to use and incorporate it into their current work, thus making it contemporary again.  (Kinda like when "Breaking Bad" featured the Badfinger hit "Baby Blue" in its final episode ... and so many people downloaded it that it charted again!)  This is why I have no problem with belaboring the point that this music will NEVER die ... it's timeless, classic music that will continue to be enjoyed and discovered by each coming generation.
The songs you "didn't recognize" most likely came from the "Head" soundtrack.  As stated in my review, I don't know why the guys seem so intent on hammering it home as to what a great and revolutionary film this was ... it wasn't!  I've tried to connect with it for forty years now ... and I  just can't make it happen.  They wanted to change their image ... the television show was over ... and they wanted to be taken seriously as artists.  THAT didn't happen either.  It wasn't until years later when the TV show started airing again ... and new kids started discovering all this great pop music that was included on their first four or five albums ... that The Monkees became popular again.  Anything these did post-"Birds / Bees" ... and, quite honestly, post-"Pisces / Aquarius" just wasn't all that good!
Speaking of Davy songs not done, how about "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"?  That was a #1 Hit completely left off the set list.  I think starting off with a clip of Davy singing "Daydream Believer" would have been cool ... then have each of the other three join in, wrapping it up in time to see Davy do his little shing-a-ling dance there at the end of the video clip ... but the performance executed exactly as it was worked emotionally for me.  I truly don't get the idea of not mentioning him by name on stage, however ... or saying a few words about their fallen comrade.  It just didn't feel right to me. 
The other three toured for YEARS without Mike ... but still acknowledged him during every show, playing a couple of songs or letting the audience know how he was doing ... sometimes even bringing a life-size cardboard cut-out of Nesmith out on stage with them when they did one of his tunes.  But Mike missed those shows by CHOICE ... Davy, on the other hand, would have LOVED to be out there again as the original foursome ... he had no say in the matter.  And if you're going to run a clip, why "Daddy's Song", a tune virtually NOBODY knows!?!?  Why not "She Hangs Out" or something totally associated with Davy like "I Wanna Be Free" or "Girl" from The Brady Bunch, a song he slipped into his set every single night.  It just didn't make sense to me.  (Although, having said all that, I also know that any and every configuration of The Monkees since 1967 has probably spent more time NOT getting along with each other than getting along ... they're forever joined by what they collectively went through ... and because it's a MUCH bigger pay day for a Monkees concert than for any solo gig any of them can drum up ... but that's not to say it was always necessarily their first choice!)  At least it seemed like they were having fun up there and enjoying each other's company.  Maybe the loss of Davy Jones and Peter Tork's recent bout with cancer has driven home the point of cherishing the moments you had ... and have together.  (kk)

My name is Greg Favata and several years ago when I was with a band called The Renditions, we had the opportunity to open up a show for Davy Jones in West Chicago, IL.  (We performed pop music of the 60’s and 70’s so I guess the village of West Chicago thought we’d be a good fit to go on first before Davy and his band took the stage.)
The location was Reed - Keppler Park and the date was Friday, July 10th, 2009.  It rained like crazy that day ... poured all morning and afternoon ... but I called the village a few times that day and they said that they were keeping a watchful eye on the Doppler radar. They assured me we should come out and they were right. It wound up being sunny, very hot and very humid that afternoon and evening.
When we arrived, it was a case of “hurry up and wait”. Davy was there as his band tested their gear and began to run through some of the songs from the show. Davy had his own trailer, popped out occasionally to see how things were progressing, and eventually joined his band onstage to run through some numbers from the show and get levels, etc. Davy looks quite good for his age (which I believe was 63 at the time), but he’s no taller in person than he appears on TV (lol). He ran through several numbers during the sound check, including “Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow” and “When Love Comes Knockin’ at Your Door”. It was a nice sized band, featuring very skilled players. All the standard instruments, (bass, lead guitar, keys and drums), along with two brass players, one of which doubled on percussion.
Of course, all members of our band had watched the Monkees TV show growing up and that made this a very special event for us. Kristi, our female singer, especially had a crush on Davy and, with her being a bit younger, saw the show in the late 70’s for the first time. She didn’t realize at the time she was watching reruns and would send fan letters to Davy without any addresses on the envelopes (just marked “Davy Jones”) requesting he respond and send an autographed photo as well. She never quite knew why he never answered (lol).  
Right before we did our sound check, Davy made it all up to her by walking up to Kristi and striking up a conversation with her. Just small talk, but it meant a lot to her. Of course, our set up and sound check wound up being of the very rushed variety. We set up our gear in front of theirs (it was a big stage) and didn’t get up there to set up until 5:40 PM with a 6:00 PM scheduled start time! The gentleman who was there to introduce us started to do so at 6 PM sharp. I leaned over to him and informed him, “We haven’t even checked our mikes yet to see if they work!” He gave us a couple more minutes until we were satisfied everything was at least functioning and we plunged into our 90 minute set. We did our show (Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, etc.) and we had a relatively sparse crowd for the size of the area. In fairness, it was 6 PM on a Friday and it had rained all day. We were hoping to glom on to a little more of Davy’s audience (lol). When we finished up, we hurriedly got our gear offstage so Davy’s band could start. He came back from dinner after our show (he apologized for not seeing us), and was meeting with 20 people who had paid for VIP passes backstage. We tried to get a picture with him but were told by the village we couldn’t. Most of us in the band hung backstage anyway and as Davy was getting finished up signing vinyl albums and posing for pictures with these fans, we asked him if we could have a picture with him anyway. He couldn’t have been nicer and said, “Absolutely!” He guided us over to a spot next to the stage and after one shot was taken, he said, “Let’s get one more just in case.” Very cool of him! His demeanor was very easygoing and casual. He definitely came across as a good guy.
His show was very good and he played several numbers to satisfy almost any fan of his.
Introduced by a band mate as “The world’s greatest tambourine player”, he performed not just songs on which he sang lead in the Monkees but some of Micky and Mike’s songs as well. He performed “I’m a Believer”, “Mary, Mary”, “Papa Gene’s Blues” and “Goin’ Down”. Of course, songs on which he originally sang lead were more featured in the show. These included, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”, “Valleri”, “I Wanna Be Free” and “Daydream Believer”. He also did a killer version of “She Hangs Out”, “Consider Yourself” from his role as the Artful Dodger in “Oliver” and, as a tribute to the  music his folks played around his home as he was growing up, “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”. He also told a lot of funny stories about the Monkees TV show, kidding about his original bandmates’ current ages, and generally staying in the self-deprecating mode. I’d say he drew about 6-8,000 people for the evening’s show (a few more than we had at 6 PM – lol). All in all, it was a very memorable evening for our entire band.
The picture I’ve included is, from left to right:  bassist Neal Carpenter, vocalist Kristi Alsip, Yours Truly (lead guitar), Davy Jones and drummer John Radowski.
Greg Favata

I swear Micky's busier than ever!  Every time you turn around he's got something else booked and on the fire!  (We recently told you about "Rockers On Broadway" ... and now he's doing "Comedy Is Hard" ... while still making solo appearances and wrapping up this summer's tour with The Monkees!!!  (Maybe Micky Dolenz is the NEW "Hardest Working Man In Show Business"!!!  lol)

New York – Actor, writer, director, performer MICKY DOLENZ (of The Monkees) has been confirmed for the lead role in Mike Reiss’ new play Comedy Is Hard! , premiering Wednesday, September 24, at The Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, Connecticut.
Dolenz, who just began a tour with The Monkees last week, has delighted audiences with his performances in such theatrical productions as the Elton John/Tim Rice  production of Aida; Grease; Pippin’;  A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum; and, most recently Hairspray in the West End playing Wilbur Turnblad.
Reiss' play is set in a home for retired actors and the play takes an affectionate look at the relationship and rivalry between a retired stand-up comedian and a classical actress.
A renaissance-artist of the highest order, Dolenz has continued his recording career as well, most recently with a solo album entitled Remember, released last year. He’s also participated heavily in the several Broadway charities; most notably for Rockers On Broadway. In fact, he was just announced as recipient for their yearly award; to be presented in November.
Said Dolenz, “The opportunity to originate this role in Mike’s new play is terrific. I am ready to un-leash my inner-comedian.”
Reiss, the acclaimed writer of I’m Connecticut and writer and producer for the animated series The Simpsons; also created the animated series The Critic. He’s also written the webtoon Queer Duck and worked on the screenplays for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; The Simpsons: The Movies; and, My Life In Ruins.

And check THIS out ... he's even got his own Family Furniture Business!  
Click here: Micky Dolenz Monkees Furniture Business - YouTube

A few weeks ago we sent some lucky Forgotten Hits Readers to The Arcada Theatre to see Micky Dolenz with The Cowsills ... a GREAT show by all accounts.
After the show, they did a brief Q&A with the audience ... which has since been posted in its entirety on YouTube.  Here's the link:  
Click here: Micky Dolenz, Cowsills Q and A - YouTube
Sounds like a really fun time.  I hated to miss this one!  (kk)

And, speaking of shows at The Arcada Theatre, I just got this clip of The New Colony Six doing their big hit "I Will Always Think About You" the night they opened for Paul Revere and the Raiders ... in fact, you even get Ray Graffia, Jr., telling the audience the story about how the bands first met each other in California back in 1965!  (kk)

And, speaking of The New Colony Six ...

>>>I am  standing in a bank in Cleveland, Ohio. They have Muzak playing I Confess by the New Colony Six.  Does not get better than this!  (Clay)
>>>How cool is that, Kent?  Please thank Clay for sending his note and extend even more kudos for his recognition of “I Confess” AND knowing it was New Colony Six performing it!  Clearly, Clay is quite the connoisseur of quirky music, or perhaps grew up in Chicago.  I heard “I Will Always Think About You” a few weeks ago during brunch at the Cary Diner and hear something of ours at least every 2nd or 3rd time we visit a Portillo’s, so Dick must be a fan or the programmers who put together his song lists must be, eh?  (Ray Graffia, Jr.)
>>>Actually, I hear your stuff quite often at Portillo's, too!  Clay worked for a number of distributors back in the day and regularly processed orders for New Colony Six singles as they were being released in the '60's!  A VERY knowledgeable guy ... with (OBVIOUSLY) very good taste in music! (kk)  
Kent -  
Please thank Ray Graffia for his kind words.  Centaur (and) Sentar were both distributed by the company that I started working for in 1966 and 1967 in Buffalo - Best and Gold Distributors.  They were the BIG distributor in the Buffalo area and Centar 1201 (I Confess) was part of the USA label group from Chicago.  The Sentar part was distributed by Cameo Parkway nationally and we distributed that one, too!  I still have my original promo 45 of "I Love You So Much" by the NC6 which not only is a favorite of mine, but, once again, on Muzak at my bank, while doing bank deposits I heard "I Love You So Much" yesterday.  Someone from Chicagoland must be working at Muzak and knows their stuff as it really freaks out my bank tellers that I know what these songs are!   
That's amazing ... here in Chicago ... where both those records reached the #2 spot on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey ... you'd don't hear them at all.  Chicagoland Radio has COMPLETELY abandoned all of their links to the past ... a real shame (and crime against nature) knowing the legacy and impact this music had on us here back in the day.
The New Colony Six had EIGHT Top Ten Hits on our Chicagoland Surveys:  "I Confess" (#2, 1966); "Love You So Much" (#2, 1967); "You're Gonna Be Mine" (#8, 1967); "I Will Always Think About You" (#1, 1968); "Can't You See Me Cry" (#10, 1968); "Things I'd Like To Say" (#2, 1969); "I Could Never Lie To You" (#7, 1969) and "Roll On" (#10, 1971) ... but (other than within the context of a specialty program like Bob Stroud's "Rock And Roll Roots"), radio here doesn't play a single one of them!  And that's just WRONG!!!  (kk)    

Which ALWAYS brings us back to ...

re:  Radio Today:
>>>I really enjoy the Saturday Surveys. Being a long-time radio guy I especially like seeing what was hitting the charts in other areas of the country. I also like seeing what regional songs were hits and how they varied in different parts of the country. In NYC many doo-wop and group harmony songs hit the charts, for example, and these same songs rarely hit the charts in Oklahoma, for instance (no offense, Larry!)  Danny
In today's comments (Sunday), reader Danny was correct about the great majority of group harmony and doo-wop records not making the local survey here in OKC. No offense was taken. I can honestly say that the only type of doo-wop-group harmony records that were played and made the survey
were the following: THERE'S A MOON OUT TONIGHT, RAMA LAMA DING DONG, WHISPERING BELL, COME GO WITH ME, TONIGHT (COULD BE THE NIGHT).  These, of course, were all also major hits nationally.
The hundreds of other doo-wop and group harmony records that didn't make our survey here,
I have managed to listen to through the years on other out of state stations, maybe certain "oldies" albums, etc. So even if a doo-wop or group harmony record didn't chart here in OKC, I am familiar with them. I have also tried to familiarize myself with the doo-wop and group harmony records that were big and prevalent back in the Eastern portion of the country.
For the past week and a half I have been listening to Sirius XM (50's  on 5 or 60's on 6) in my car radio since it was activated about a week ago. It will be deactivated tomorrow. In a previous e-mail to you, I will go back to my car radio being off since I really didn't miss anything but the same old same old.
The whole idea of Sirius / XM was to offer something OTHER than what you're force-fed everywhere else ... especially since you're PAYING for this service.  As such, listeners should have SOME say regarding what they pay to hear.  Instead, playlists just seem to be getting tighter and tighter.  Even Lou Simon, one of the big-wig over at Sirius / XM (and a Forgotten Hits reader) told me that their '60's station now means music recorded between 1964 and 1969 (unless it's within the context of some special programming, like one of his countdown shows.)  I think over time we have redefined these eras ... "The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll" is music released between 1955 and 1963, before The British Invasion.  Some artists (like The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons) spill over to cover The Swinging' '60's.  (1964 - 1969)  1970 began the next era (after the split of The Beatles), ushering in the singer / songwriter era and then ultimately evolving into the disco era.  MOST music oldies connoisseurs will tell you that disco has NO place in the oldies format ... but even a disco-hating old fart like me has come to appreciate this music today ... not so much as a cultural phenomenon ... but more as really good dance music with catchy hooks.  I can sit through "YMCA" today ... this was NOT the case back in the '70's and '80's!  (kk)

Some random thoughts off the Sunday Comments section:
•  Put me down as pro-Saturday Surveys!  Like I say on my every other Wednesday Night Oldies Show (aka "The Vinyl Arkhives on -- next show 6/11 @ 9 PM MT) when I do a countdown of a random radio station's survey from that very day (1955 - 1979), I always say to my audience, "Let's see what was popular in this town, compare it to the Billboard Hot 100 charts and then see how many of these the commercial stations still play (to death) today ... The answer to the last part of that statement is 'Not Many'".
• Which brings me to my other point.  If only the old... er, CLASSIC HITS stations would just follow the Billboard charts from exactly the same week of the calendar they are in today ... BOOM, there is their playlist! 
Here's more to ponder ...
-- If a station is playing music that spans 1965 - 1979 (15 years) = 150 weeks of Hot 100 charts = 1500 possible songs to play (not counting the "Bubbling Under" songs or Regional / Local-only hits) each week.
-- If the station averages 15 songs an hour, they could at most play approximately 2,520 songs based off of the 1500 "eligible" Hot 100 songs per week = every song only gets played approximately 1.68 times per week.
-- If said station would only play the songs that made it into the Top 40 positions of the day, then you still have a weekly pool of +/- 600 songs, which means each Top 40 song theoretically would only be played four times a WEEK (not four times a DAY).  Either way, its a playlist that is a helluva lot bigger than most stations today.
-- In cases where some of the Top 40 / Hot 100 hits are outdated or "dog" songs (Feelings, You Light Up My Life, Lawrence Welk, etc.) you can always play those songs maybe only ONCE a week, in the best suitable daypart (remember dayparting???), and give some other songs more favored by that specific market (not by a corporate suit hundreds or thousands of miles away) a few more spins in that given week.  Remember these songs will be in regular rotation for only at most a few months each year before other songs take their place.
-- In Summary:  If a classic hits or (dare we say it) "Oldies" station would ever follow this formula, any station will still be playing a currently-overplayed song two or three times each day, but look at all the surprises and freshness the station will have as the weeks and months roll on.  Remember, the TOP 40 or HOT 100 songs for any given week were based on how many people BOUGHT the song!!!  If it was anywhere on the survey, I can probably guarantee that at least one of your listeners remembers the song!  If not, then I predict that at least a handful of people will hear the song for the first time and actually like it!
Sorry for the lengthy comment ... I was on a roll and I can easily talk at length about the sorry state of today's radio.  BTW, if you are a GM or CO, and would like me to help get this type of station format started on a currently lifeless oldies or classic hits station, call me with a serious $$ offer and we'll talk!!! (Not holding my breath, though, sigh ...)
Uncle T. Jay
I've been pushing for this for years ... but your math's off a little bit ... 15 years of Top 100 charts = 780 weeks of potential hits to feature!!!  The possibilities are almost limitless!
I, too, like the idea of featuring music that was programmed together AT THE TIME ... to show how well they played together ... as well as show the progression of music during this fertile time in music.
Fact is, a LOT of these songs are "dogs" ... and will not play well today.  But I'll betcha I could EASILY find 6000 - 10,000 that would ... how on earth can ANY self-respecting radio station limit itself to 200-300?!?!?
Recent examples:  "I've Told Every Little Star" ... we heard it in an HBO / TV Movie and now my 18 year daughter will ASK me to play it because it's so damn catchy ... you can't help but feel good when it comes on.
"Papa Loves Mambo" ... by Perry Como for Chrissakes!!!  Who would have EVER thought that this little ditty from 1954 ... SIXTY YEARS AGO!!! ... could still perk up your ears and make you want to sing along ... but it happens each and every time it comes on ... I've watched kids completely stop what they're doing to listen to this track, featured in several different films and commercials of late.
I've seen the same thing happened with "Mr. Sandman", another suddenly "hip" song to play again.  I can easily throw in another 2000 off the top of my head. 
Think any kid growing up today going through the same emotions (mentally and physically that WE all did when WE were kids growing up) couldn't relate to something like "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" or "End Of The World"?  Now granted, these lyrics are nowhere near as romantic as today's music ... where they have to bleep out a few words from every sentence because it's all about "stickin' it in your booty" ... but it's a start ... and a damn good, fresh start at that!
Pull together a radio station that has a library of more than 35 CD's and I say the sky's the limit!!! (kk)

REMINDER:  Last week we reported that Ron Riley had to bow out of a scheduled appearance downtown with his old WLS Beatles nemesis Clark Weber due to health issues back home in Baltimore ... but earlier in the week it looked like he may be able to attend after all.  Naturally, all of our spirits perked up with the news ... but today ... apparently now official ... is that Ron is NOT going to be able to attend.  Too bad ... the prospect of reuniting these two Chicago Broadcasting Legends, long known for their "scripted" on-air radio feud in the mid- '60's, had all the ear-markings of a hit!  Instead, Clark Weber will have to handle this appearance (June 24th at The Hard Rock Cafe in Downtown Chicago, celebrating a Ringo Starr Art Exhibit) alone.  (Although don't be surprised if another WLS vet steps in to help move things along!  Stay tuned for more details!)
Speaking of details, many of them are still a bit sketchy ... but once we get the full itinerary, we'll be happy to pass it along.  What we DO know for sure is this:  Ringo's Art Exhibit runs the entire week (June 23 - June 29) at The Hard Rock Cafe ... and the art exhibit itself is free ... (but you can probably expect to pay about $12 for a hamburger if you decide to hang around for dinner afterwards!  Lol)  Ringo and his All-Starr Band then cap off the week-long activities with a performance that weekend (June 28th) at The Chicago Theater.  Again, stay tuned to these pages as more details develop.  It would be great to see some Forgotten Hits Readers (and long-time WLS Radio Fans) down there for this event.  (kk)
UPDATE:  Be listening for brand new promo spots running on WLS-FM announcing this appearance.  And (hopefully by phone) for an interview by Bob Sirott featuring both Clark Weber and Ron Riley about this VERY special time in radio, fifty years ago!  Meanwhile, WLS-AM and FM announced this week that they are moving their sales offices to The Merchandise Mart to join fellow Cumulus stations The Loop and WKQX.  (kk)

Hi Kent ...
Just to let you know that I believe that after the new 4 Seasons movie, "Jersey Boys,"  makes its debut in movie theaters on June 20th that there may be a revival of " vintage" oldies music.  The Broadway show was a big success and I think the movie will be as well.  I am anxiously waiting to see it.  Their music could catch on like "wild fire" and lead to a burst of "I remember that song" music playing again. (Hopefully!)  
You will be pleased to know that on several commercials in the NY area the ad men on Madison Avenue have revived some great oldies - they are the following:
AT&T Business - "Wouldn't It Be Nice" - the tune is in the background without singing;
A local juvenile cancer treatment center has a lovely three part harmony piece sung by school age children:  "In My Room";
Bobby Caldwell's "What You Wont Do for Love," from 1978 has been used in a Mitsubishi Outlander commercial;
And recently I saw another Verizon commercial called "20th Century Boy" by Marc Bolan of T-Rex. Verizon is good about using rock 'n roll in their ads. 
So Kent, there is hope to bring back the oldies!!!   
Yes, we hear the oldies featured in television ads all the time ... but isn't it a shame that THESE are thinking creatively and outside the box while radio ... the media that is SUPPOSED to be setting the trends and bringing us these memories ... continues to fall flat on its collective face, failing time and time again to live up to its responsibilities?  (kk)

Good response to The Loop's first "Lost Classics" feature ... so this weekend they're featuring them throughout the weekend.  You can listen live here:

re:  New Releases:
Check out this new CD by some old friends! 
It's The Buckinghams ... and their brand new Flashback CD
Mastering by Larry Millas of Ides!!  Rocky of Shames there, too!
-- Clark Besch

[flashback-front]  [flashback-back] 

Rediscover the 60s all over again, as we share a song scrapbook almost 50 years in the making. Our musical journey began in 1965, in opening moments of our generation — The Beatles, the British Invasion, and U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s own Camelot belonged to us.
Starting from Chicago, we captured styles of The Beatles and the British Invasion in our look and style, as we appeared on WGN-TV’s “All Time Hits.” When our big break came to record at the legendary Chess Studios for Chicago’s USA Records, our first singles reflected those same influences. We were young, impressionable, anxious to succeed, and we worked hard to learn fast.
“I’ll Go Crazy” (James Brown), “I’ve Been Wrong” (The Hollies), “I Call Your Name” (The Beatles), “You Make Me Feel Good” (The Zombies), and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (Lloyd Price, Elvis) — those songs were “who we were” on stage. Here now for you are those songs, which marked our entry onto Chicago’s WLS and WCFL radio playlists.
With the #1 success of “Kind of a Drag,” we graduated to national artist spotlight, recording for Columbia. In 1967 we were named Billboard’s “Most Listened to Band in America” on the strength of our newly minted signature, “Pop / Rock Horn Sound.”
Think back to those days again as you again enjoy “Don’t You Care,” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song,” “Susan,” and “You Misunderstand Me,” that we recorded for Fuel in 2008, hear also our “Back in Love Again,” also new just for you. Young men went to war as these songs were on the radio. Teenage girls hoped their guys would return home and waited for them, as these songs were on the radio. The Buckinghams brought “home” across the miles for many.
Remember those days now. Life was simple. Being together with those you loved was all you needed to live. Now, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let the music transport you. Glide back in your mind to precious times left behind. Join us, won’t you?
PRODUCED BY Carl Giammarese
VOCALS:  Carl Giammarese, Nick Fortuna, Dave Zane
GUITAR:  Carl Giammarese, Dave Zane
BASS:  Nick Fortuna
KEYBOARDS:  Bruce Soboroff
DRUMS:  Rocky Penn, Tom Scheckel
TRUMPET:  Carlo Isabelli, Steve Frost
TROMBONE:  Chuck Morgan
SAX:  Kevin Flanagan, Jim Kaczmarek
LINER NOTES:  Dawn Lee Wakefield
RECORDED AT 24 / 7 Studios
ENGINEERING / MIXING:  Carl Giammarese
MASTERING:  Larry Millas, World Stage Studio, Burr Ridge, IL 
Audio CD  (June 17, 2014)
Label:  Fuel 2000
-- submitted by Clark Besch 

Psychedelic Music Legends The Electric Prunes Release New Live CD 'WaS'
Los Angeles, CA - Electric Prunes fans are buzzing with excitement about the release of a new CD of unreleased live material titled 'WaS'! Featuring 15 slamming cuts to keep you up at night! American psychedelic rock group The Electric Prunes first achieved international attention in the late 1960s. The band performed their 1966 hit song “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” on American Bandstand, and were also recognized for the song “Kyrie Eleison”, which was featured on the 'Easy Rider' soundtrack. After a period in which they had little control over their music, they disbanded for several years. In 1999, much to the delight of their fans worldwide, The Electric Prunes reformed, and resumed recording and touring!
And now an interplanetary message from James Lowe of the Electric Prunes ...
“The Electric Prunes invite you, our closest friends, to a new adventure! WaS. That WaS the Electric Prunes! It has been a long journey here and we have waited till the planetary alignment was correct for a new release. The lunar eclipse signaled the start of something, tho no one is sure exactly what? We offer WaS as the saucer to fast forward you to the cosmic finish.
There is a fine line between 'IS' and 'WAS'. If what you did is more important than what you are doing, you WAS. One moment you is and then you was. Somehow 1967 doesn't seem much different from today; tastes change but I think people are always on the lookout for some fresh ideas from the 'is' that makes them remember the 'was'.
Mark Tulin and I were collecting ideas and songs for our last adventure when he went through the door. I am not sure he is really gone because I hear his voice as clearly as if he were standing beside me. Usually, Mark and I would send each other song ideas back and forth until we had the rough story line and music in hand, then we would meet and pound everything into submission. This CD is a collection of those final ideas and messages between us and that is all we set out to present here; but a funny thing happened on the way to the recording studio. A new idea emerged behind a gig in Tokyo in an unusual snowstorm, and then someone sneezed on a girl in the subway, and a frozen winter chilled the planet; suddenly there were new thoughts, fresh ideas and new places to sketch our story in song. Everyone in the band felt it. Like a blast of energy. The 'was' became 'is'.
The Electric Prunes have always been a little on the outside. Maybe it was the name? Maybe the music? In all, we have released eight actual album offerings from the band (there are a few pretenders from the record company that we discount). Our legitimate recordings represent our thinking and, in some cases, lack of thinking. We were never mainstream enough to fret over what went on the records; witnessed by some of the goofy cuts we have released, we were just happy to be able to record our thoughts. It seems fitting that we release this 9th offering with the same abandon. This is a garage band and is not meant to be taken seriously. The music here is from all layers of the band from 1966 to 2014. This is a cool album, maybe the last we will ask you to support. But we do hope you will post it on the web and dance to it in the moonlight on 11! There is even a music video by the band for TOKYO floating around! Please bring your friends because the band wants to go out and play live one more time and we need you for that. Tell your local club to invite us. We will come ... We WaS but we still Is ...”
The 15-track CD features a throwback version of “Smokestack Lightning” from 2000 that was the band's reunion call-to-arms with Ken Williams on lead guitar, Quint back up on drums, Mark Tulin on bass and an occasional harmonica by James Lowe. Original noise! There is also a live version of “Bullet Thru The Backseat” from a night in Bristol England featuring Williams, Lowe, Tulin, Dooley, more original fare.
That leaves 13 original new songs to be explored. “Earwash” for the initiated!
'WaS' - Track List
1) Smokestack Lightning
3) Beauty Queen
4) Like Getting High
5) The Girl Who Crashed My Dream
6) Frozen Winter
7) Circles
8) Between The Cracks
9) Blue Sky / Red Dress
10) Love Fade Away
11) Bullet Thru The Backseat
12) Adoration Stuck
13) Hollywood Hype
14) Don't Sneeze On Me
15) Oh My My
James Lowe – vocals, guitar, harmonica, autoharp
Mark Tullin – vocals, bass, guitar, organ, piano
Steve Kara – guitar, vocals
Jay Dean – guitar, vocals
Ken Eros – guitar, ebow, mellotron
Ken Williams – guitar
Cameron Lowe - organ
Walter Garces – drums
Joe Dooley – drums
Bubu Bop – drums
Quint - drums
Check out the new Electric Prunes video for “Tokyo”:  
For more information:

Hi Kent and All -
Enjoying the 50 Years Ago This Week notes you are putting up.  Our band The Fifth Estate, then playing under our earlier name The D-Men, were right there playing at that time and in the middle of all this. So I thought I would mention that we also had our first record released THIS WEEK 50 years ago, on VEEP / United Artists. 
I'm sending a copy of it -  Don't You Know - which a couple of weeks later beat out The Dave Clark 5 AND The Animals on the biggest radio show from NYC at the time - The Murray The K Swinging Soiree!  On 1010 WINS.  Sending The Murray The K clip we have as well.
This track, along with all our early singles as The D-Men and some of our 1964-65 rock and roll, is being released this month, some songs for the first time, and as a brand NEW BIG 12" slice of black plastic vinyl! Just as it should have been 50 years ago. So anyone interested get your turntables ready for our "I Wanna Shout!" album.  It's the 60s all over again and a lot of it may be completely NEW and fresh to most. It's leaving the pressing plant this coming week.  It also has a great big full four-page written and photo insert with all kinds of previously not known info about the band and also a lot of pertinent info about what was happening then musically during that period. More specifics about this and our other upcoming releases will be up on the band website shortly.
Apparently there are a lot of vinyl albums being pressed once again, which to us is just immensely tremendous as this is "precisely" the way this music was meant to be presented and listened to.  But the sudden numbers is slowing down the release process slightly. 
We will have more definite dates up on our website as soon as we know them. But real SOON anyway!

re:  The Saturday Surveys:  
I noticed from your notes today on the M. O. R. chart that the file was named "WERE"  If so, it is from WERE 1300 here in Cleveland, the home for legendary radio personalites such as Bill Randle and Tommy Edwards.  Also, the KRLA chart from 1965 has an interesting sidelight:  the names such as Record Merch, Merit, Hart, Modern, Pep, and others refer to which distribution company in LA handled the respective label.  LA was a huge dist. market for the record business, and at the time between major label's branch operations such as Columbia, Capitol, Decca. RCA Victor, Liberty, there were about 8-10 additional distribution companies competing for space on the KRLA chart.

Oh my Kent,
That has to be my favorite installment of The Saturday Surveys to date.
I had totally forgotten the song "Laurie" even existed and then when I started playing it ... the lyrics just poured out of my mouth. So cool! The 1956 chart just made me miss my Parents. They used to sing many of those songs ... love Vic Damone. Put me down for a yes for the continuation of The Saturday Surveys.

I was so glad to see you gave some love to the Sonny Charles classic, "Black Pearl".
Sonny's vocal is so passionate, so urgent ... while his message about his "Woman answering to no one" resonated with a boom during a time when racial strife was still very much a part of the
changing American climate.
I know Phil Spector gives us all the creeps, but his "Wall of Sound" concepts, which made songs by the Ronettes, Crystals, The Righteous Brothers and Sonny, so explosively unique has never been duplicated. And never will be.
"Black Pearl" is just a beautiful and exceptionally emotional song ... that once again couldn't get the time of day in today's world of music.
What the hell is that? Its a gosh darn shame - no more- no less.
Chet Coppock