Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lotsa Lou ... And More Reviews!

When it comes to prayer, I used to reply, "I don't do weather." Meaning I thought it should just take its course.  Then I realized:  If I don't ask, how will God know?  So, now I ask.  I do believe that God answers with "No" at times, but I have seen an increase in weather-related "answer to prayer" since I started asking.  And now it looks like you have a weather "break-through" for tonight.  Glad to see that it finally worked out!  In this case, the third time's the charm.  I say to my students, "two heads are better than one to figure it out.  Team Up!"  Enjoyed the review ... and so did Lou ... as soon as I notified Lightning Strikes, he twittered your review!
Lou said he really enjoyed meeting and talking to you the other night and he loves your site.  The Lightning Strikes site noticed that your favorite Lou Christie song is 'Beyond the Blue Horizon'.  They said they get more email about that recording than any other Lou has done. 
That really sucks about Jay and the Americans ... I have seen them give outstanding and upstanding shows.  However, even in ours and their heydays, our music heroes got sick, over-partied, struggled through personal issues, etc. ... and come up with some bad reviews.  I truly think they are more diligent now in creating a memorable event for EACH concert, and alas, this cannot always happen.  As kids, we never thought about the fact of what would happen as our idols got older.  I'm amazed to see them, well into their 70's, still charming the stage.   
"Beyond The Blue Horizon" has ALWAYS been my favorite ... even in the pre-"Rain Man" days!  (I remember being shocked when I heard it in the film because I didn't think anybody else even KNEW about this song!!!  It didn't perform very well on the charts and deserved a FAR better fate than it got.  They really should have re-released it to ride on the coat-tails of the film's success.)  The arrangement is just outstanding.  You can barely hear Lou whispering the lyrics on the first verse and then it just continues to build throughout into the tremendous crescendo at the end.  I absolutely LOVE it!  
As for Jay and the Americans, I was truly disappointed ... I was so anxious for Frannie to hear them as they completely blew me away the year before when they opened for Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone ... so I absolutely know they are capable of putting on a killer show.  Probably just an off night ... and perhaps more due to the outdoor venue and sound conditions as The Bronx Wanderers were also really weak on Friday Night ... but blew the doors off on Sunday after they closed the Lou Christie show. (kk)  

Just to clarify the numbers, back in the day when WLS banned RHAPSODY IN THE RAIN and was instrumental in getting it banned from all the ABC radio stations, that meant only seven stations altogether, and I believe only one other station was top 40 at that time, namely WABC. As I recall, WXYZ in Detroit was well into the process of switching to MOR in that time frame. They're a maybe for making it three stations total if my memory is off, albeit those were three huge markets. 
The upshot is Gene Taylor's Gestapo tactics that yanked EVE OF DESTRUCTION, BALLAD IF JOHN AND YOKO, FRIDAY ON MY MIND, and so many other hits, including of course RHAPSODY IN THE RAIN, from the WLS playlist did damage to Lou's sales and career ... and no doubt many other stations were influenced by WLS' decision, thus taking the totally unfair ban beyond three key markets. 
WLS was a great station in its day, but they could be the Fun Police when they felt like flexing muscle. 
Bill Fortune
Gene Taylor's comments gained momentum when they were picked up by Time Magazine, thus prompting other stations outside the ABC umbrella to ban the song as well.  The re-recorded version was rushed to radio stations as soon as possible but by then most of the damage had already been done, thus stopping the record at #16.  (Here in Chicago, WCFL capitalized on the fact that WLS wasn't playing it ... and it ultimately peaked at #14 here.  (kk)

I enjoyed your assessment of the Lou Christie concert you attended over the weekend, and I especially enjoyed the photos you took. From what you said and wrote, Lou mentioned that his GYPSY CRIED went to #1. Through the years there have been some concerts I have attended in which said artist or group commented on a particular song they were going to sing or just sang, making it to #1. Probably the average concert fan doesn't remember if the song went to #1, only that it was a big hit as we know it today. Probably went to #1 in the artists' or groups' mind. To be honest with you his recording of BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON, I am not familiar with. If memory serves me right, his RHAPSODY IN THE RAIN was pulled about two weeks after it was being played here in OKC. TWO FACES HAVE I has got to be my all time favorite of Lou's. Every so often when I hear that song, I am reminded of an incident in school when I was talking to a friend of mine about that song. I mentioned that the song was number one with a guy by the name of Robert Louis Stevenson. The friend never got the connection. 
Several years ago (back when The True Oldies Channel was still running here in Chicago) Scott Shannon read a news story about a woman in India who gave birth to a baby with two heads.  I called him immediately and told him that he had just missed the PERFECT opportunity to play "Two Faces Have I" on the station ... to which he replied "You are one sick puppy."  lol  (kk)   

It was great seeing you Friday night in Addison for the Italian fest.  I’m only bummed that I didn’t return Sunday night to see what sounded like a great concert!  I, too, agree that Jay and the Americans were way off Friday night.  I have seen them before and LOVED them.  Something was missing Friday night.  I also have to say that one thing for me put a big damper on Friday’s Bronx Wanderer’s show.  After Jay and the Americans were done, the crowd was subjected to over an hour of preparation, organization, and sound checks by the Bronx Wanderers.  I know the bands need time to set up, but this group subjects us to “Check Check Check” way too long.  I saw quite a few people leaving.  They just got tired of waiting.  There must be a way to speed up the process a bit.  I’ve seen the Bronx Wanderers quite a few times, and it has happened each time.  Consequently they had to cut short their show because of the curfew.  I hate to complain, though, as the summer outdoor concerts are the best bargain in town!!    I’m glad you finally got to see Lou, and I, too, would love to see him at the Arcada.  Hope it happens.  
I know Ron's been trying to book him for a long time ... and I know that they discussed a return engagement ... so let's continue to hope for the best.  Meanwhile I'm just glad that I finally got the chance to see him after all these years!  (kk) 

Kent - 
The concert was great but too short. But some Lou is better them no Lou. Wish he did some of his songs for the encore (Painter,Trapeze or Shake Hands). What a great voice for his age!
Mike DeMartino
Pretty much exactly one hour ... but good from start to finish.  (I still can't get over how good the band was with just an hour of rehearsal.  Lou's Drummer and Musical Director Ron Wilson agreed that they were one of the best "pick-up bands" he'd ever worked with.)
Honestly, I think Lou may have been running out of gas by the end of the show ... but I was happy to see him hold it to an hour and give a solid performance throughout.  (kk)  

I got to meet Lou Christie at a meet and greet prior to a concert a couple of years ago and he was certainly one of the nicest entertainers I've ever had the pleasure to meet. I had a couple of 45's with me for him to sign and he graciously signed all of them, including "Shake Hands And Walk Away Crying" (which I never knew even charted, though it's long been a huge favorite of mine). Lou mentioned to me that his sister is singing background vocals on it. 
I've seen the Bronx Wanderers twice in concert and they were fantastic both times. I can't remember for certain, but I believe it was Stu Weiss who introduced me to their music when he was still on Topshelf Oldies.  
I've seen Jay III and The Americans once, and they were good.  
I've seen some artists I felt should "hang it up", but I admire them for wanting to still be pleasing to their fans, who come to see them and relive the memories, not necessarily to expect them to sound exactly like they did 50 years ago. One example is Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners ... always a fantastic show no matter what, but sometimes Jimmy's voice is not very strong and other times he sounds better than I've ever heard him (such as the last time I saw them).  
By the time he forcibly retired, Bobby Vee's voice was all but gone, but he was still putting out music that his fans loved and I admire him for that. I know he would've gladly kept on performing but that unfortunately was not the case. He loved meeting and chatting with his fans, as many artists do ... and I admire any artist who is willing to spend time meeting fans and signing autographs and taking pictures, because I know that's got to be physically hard on all of them, but they get to bring an extra added bit of pleasure to their fans that way.
Tom Diehl
So many of the performers I've met recently seem SO much more appreciative of their fans today.  Back in the day when they were in the eye of the hurricane, socializing with the fans was virtually impossible (and, in many cases, downright dangerous!)  But today as they look back at what really provided them with a life-long career, I think they have come to appreciate the fans that much more.
Some will sign, some won't.  I remember several years ago a discussion here in Forgotten Hits where artists were signing items but then DATING them ... because far too many "fans" were then taking these signed items and turning around and selling them on eBay trying to collect big bucks.  Others will sign just about anything.  (If you look at that one picture of me and Lou that ran the other day, you'll see the marker right in his hand!)
A FH Reader told me he once went to see Bobby Rydell and brought about 15 albums with him to the show for Bobby to sign.  MOST folks in line were probably pissed ... why is this guy over-doing it and taking advantage of Bobby's time ... surely ONE album would have been enough ... but Bobby, good sport that he is, told the reader "If you bought 'em all, I'll sign 'em all"!!!
I've seen some of these lines last for up to two hours after the concert ... and probably would have left rather than sit through all of that.  In that respect, some of these artists are EXCEPTIONALLY gracious, especially when some belligerent fans tell them "You wouldn't HAVE a career if it weren't for people like me."  Get over it ... nobody owes anybody anything!!! (kk)
 (photo by Frannie Kotal)

After seeing the Lou Christie show on Sunday, Frannie went to YouTube looking for more clips ... and let me tell you, you're going to find a WIDE range of assortment here, encompassing ALL of the good, the bad and the ugly!  (lol)  We were especially partial to this appearance Lou made on The Midnite Special back in 1974, possibly to promote his new release (which most likely would have been "Beyond The Blue Horizon" at the time) ... but also performing the biggest hit of his career.  (kk)

     Hi Kent,  
     Always good to see the great Lou Christie getting a  mention.  So good to know also that he’s still hitting the notes. Here are a couple of Lou’s songs from the 70s that you might like to share:    
   1.  The Neil Sedaka - Howard Greenfield song, “Sing Me Sing Me”, which Lou cut for Buddah in 1972. This was arranged by Lew Warburton who wrote arrangements for the Fortunes and Edison Lighthouse in the 70s. He also helped revive the Drifters’ career by arranging a string of UK hits for the group. Lou’s producer here, Biddu, produced a lot of good disco stuff in the 70s, including Tina Charles’  "I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)" in 1976.  Neil Sedaka’s version of “Sing Me” appeared on his 1976 album, “Steppin’ Out”.    
2.  The Tony Romeo song, “Summer Days” on Slipped Disc in 1976. The late Tony Romeo also arranged and produced this one for Lou. It was originally recorded by the Partridge Family on their “Sound Magazine” album in 1971. Tony Romeo had written Lou’s big hit, “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” in 1969. He also worked with Lou on his albums, “Paint America Love” and a self-titled one on Three Brothers Records, both in the early 70s.  Lou certainly branched out musically, working with some of the best arrangers and producers over the years.     
Switching continents to Australia, Lou’s “Two Faces Have I” reached #20 in that country in 1963. That position was topped by a local band, Ol’ 55, who took the song to #15 in 1980. Ol’ 55 formed in the mid-70s along the lines of Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids in the US and Showaddywaddy in the UK. They did originals along with great covers. Ol’ 55’s 1976 album, “Take It Easy, Greasy” peaked at #3 in Australia. Segue to 1980 and Ol 55’s album “The Vault” featured some more covers such as “Good Timin’”, “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” and “Vacation”. There was also a version of Lou’s “Two Faces Have I” and a sticker on the cover stating this. “Two Faces Have I” was a Top-20 hit for the group and, hopefully, a little earner for Lou (as composer) from the Great Southern Land.   
Best wishes, 
Mike Edwards


Wow, I totally love the "Summer Days" track!  That's one that should have been a hit for sure!  (It went to #89 in Record World ... and didn't chart in Billboard at all!)  kk

Don't miss tomorrow night's '70's Pop Fest at The Arcada Theatre ... check out this line-up:
Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
Tim Corwin, original drummer of The Ohio Express
Frank Jeckell, original guitarist of The 1910 Fruitgum Company  
Elliot Lurie, original lead singer of Looking Glass
and Kyle Vincent, latter day member of The Bay City Rollers 
Now that's a rockin' line-up ... especially when you consider that Ron Onesti has also booked Bret Michaels, Quiet Riot and Blue Oyster Cult for his CineFest next weekend!!! 
Check out THIS hit list:
# 1 - Billy Don't Be A Hero - Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods (#1)
# 2 - Saturday Night - The Bay City Rollers  (#1)
# 3 - Brandy - Looking Glass  (#1)
# 4 - Simon Says - The 1910 Fruitgum Company  (#1)
# 5 - 1, 2, 3 Red Light - The 1910 Fruitgum Company (#3)
# 6 - Indian Giver - The 1910 Fruitgum Company  (#3)
# 7 - Yummy Yummy Yummy - The Ohio Express  (#4)
# 8 - Money Honey - The Bay City Rollers  (#7)
# 9 - You Made Me Believe In Magic - The Bay City Rollers  (#7)
#10 - Chewy Chewy - The Ohio Express  (#8)
#11 - I Only Want To Be With You - The Bay City Rollers  (#8)
#12 - Who Do You Think You Are - Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods  (#13)
#13 - Down At Lulu's - The Ohio Express (#19)
#14 - The Way I Feel Tonight - The Bay City Rollers  (#19)
#15 - Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne - Looking Glass  (#22)
#16 - Beg, Borrow and Steal - The Ohio Express  (#23)
#17 - Mercy - The Ohio Express - The Ohio Express  (#26)
#18 - Goody Goody Gumdrops - The 1910 Fruitgum Company  (#28)
#19 - Rock And Roll Love Letter - The Bay City Rollers  (#28)
#20 - Special Delivery - The 1910 Fruitgum Company  (#28)