Friday, November 18, 2016

The Friday Flash

It was mentioned in today's FH that Leon Russell was a member of the house band on the weekly tv show " Shindig", that band being a group called the Shindogs. I don't know how many records that the Shindogs put out but the only one they made that charted here in OKC was the song WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE on Viva Records in 1966. It does say on the record that Leon Russell produced it. I believe this record charted nationally as well.  
"Who Do You Think You Are" was The Shindogs' only charted hit.  It peaked at #91 in 1966.  Leon had QUITE the illustrious career ... everything from Shindig to The Wrecking Crew, to major concert events like the Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour and The Concert For Bangla Desh ... to a few solo hits of his own to stand beside some of the excellent, timeless music he wrote that was recorded by others.  Thanks again to Steve Sarley for his excellent tribute piece.   

And also to Luciano Bilotti, who just sent us these awesome shots of Leon performing at The Arcada Theatre last October ...

Your feature concerning Leon Russell was nothing short of excellent and first-rate.  It reminded me of a YouTube video I had watched that I really thought captured the essence of his lifetime works and the friendships and respect he had garnered over his lengthy career.  I am sure Leon Russell is very complimented and playing a rousing encore of "Cry Me A River" with Joe Cocker and some of his Mad Dogs & Englishmen."  Reading the Condolences and Compliments from his legendary fellow-musicians was really superb.  Again Kent, thank-you for a truly fine tribute to one of America's finest musicians.
Tim Kiley

A request / reminder from Beatles Historian / Author Bruce Spizer ...

Hi Kent - 
Just following up on my request for images of KRLA and KJR (Seattle) charts from the summer of 1967 that list Beatles songs from Sgt. Pepper. This would be for June, July and possibly August of 1967.  I know that KRLA had “A Day In The Life” at number 2 behind the Doors “Light My Fire” for two weeks in July 1967, based on the one chart image (low rez) I came across.  
Hopefully someone out there in your circle has some charts.  Please let me know if any of your followers that specialize in local radio charts have any of these charts. Or you can put me in touch with them if that is easier.  As always, your assistance is appreciated.
Bruce Spizer
P.S. Unfortunately KRLA Beat magazine stopped including the KRLA Top 40 charts around May 1967, so I cannot get the information and images that way.
We ran this request a few weeks back and never got a response from anyone ... I even did a bit of searching on my own but couldn't come up with anything online.
With all the chart collectors on our list, is anybody able to help with these?  Please let me know if you might have some high-quality scans to share.  Thank you!  (kk) 

Speaking of The Beatles, one of our readers sent in this list of the Best and Worst Beatles albums, ranked in order from Worst To Best.  (I immediately have to disagree ... their #11 choice, "Beatles For Sale", is one of my all-time favorites by them.  Here in The States, of course, these tracks were spread out over TWO LP's (in typical Capitol Records fashion), "Beatles '65" and "Beatles VI" ... but I literally played the grooves off of "Beatles '65" when it came out.  I not only remember my mom coming in my bedroom to tell me to STOP playing that album again and again, but I also remember cleaning off strips of vinyl from my needle as the album disintegrated right before my very eyes, causing such a high-pitched whining sound that it brought my mother running!  (lol)
To check out the COMPLETE list, click here:

FH Reader Bob Merlis just sent us this awesome piece on The O'Jays ... so we just had to share.
(Sure Bob, rub it in ... you KNOW how much I want to see these guys for New Year's Eve!!!  Thanks a LOT!!!  lol)  Seriously, 'tho, these guys deserve every accolade they receive ... and they're STILL sounding great today.  (kk)

2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the release of two of The O’Jays best known, most enduring hits, the themes of which are a reflection of humankind’s continuing conflict between good and evil, love and hate.  The recordings of “Back Stabbers” and “Love Train” coincided with the legendary group’s signing to Philadelphia International Records and the start of a relationship with the production team of Gamble and Huff.  “Back Stabbers,” in fact, went all the way to #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart and to #3 on the Hot 100 (pop) while  “Love Train” went to #1 on both the R&B and Hot 100. The group’s accomplishments, in terms of chart and sales achievements, include the fact that they’ve gone on to have 15 RIAA-certified Gold or Platinum records. Their resume includes 6 Top 10 Pop Singles and 3 Top 10 Pop Albums.  Their presence on the R&B charts is even more resonant and includes 7 #1 R&B singles among their 24 Top 20 R&B hits.  Four of their releases went to #1 on the R&B album chart that has hosted 15 O’Jays albums in the Top 10. 
Last year, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of “Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette),” their first significant chart breakthrough, which climbed halfway up the pop charts in 1965 and next year will mark the 50th anniversary of “I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I was Today)” which was the first of their top 10 status on the R&B Chart singles.  
The O’Jays are more than the sum of their chart achievements but, rather, a reflection of a lifetime of dedication, artistic excellence and friendship.  The group, in fact, dates back many years before the time of their great commercial success.  The first record credited to The O’Jays to appear on the Billboard chart was “Lonely Drifter,” charting in September, 1963, on the very same day that “She Loves You” by the Beatles was released.  The group actually started recording for King Records (as the Mascots) in 1961, the year John F. Kennedy was inaugurated. They trace their origin to that day, almost 60 years ago, when the group first got together while attending Canton, Ohio’s McKinley High School. The two founding and continuing members, Eddie Levert and Walter Williams actually first met when they were 7 and 6 years old, respectively, and recently took time to reflect on the path they’ve taken to international stardom for the better part of seven decades.  
Eddie Levert observed, “Kids who were brought up on our music have reared their kids on our music.” He recollected, “When the O’Jays formed, there were originally five members and then it ended up as a three and that’s when success started.  The magic was there.. we had found the formula. There was a spiritual bonding and we were able to grab the brass ring.  It was the result of the intervention of a higher power.”  
Walter Williams’s start in music began in the children’s choir of Canton’s St. Mark’s Baptist Church where his father was pastor. He looked up to the R&B giants of the day -- Little Anthony & The Imperials, Drifters, Frankie Lyman & The Teenagers, the Platters – and remembers how he thought, “They’re having a wonderful time, making money, meeting beautiful women.” Later, he reveals, “I grew to find out that it’s a job.”  He notes that before success, he “had to learn a lot about the business.” The key was in having a partner in Eddie Levert “ who loved it as much as I did and we were determined to make this thing work.”    
And work they did, first just locally and regionally.  “We played Canton, Cleveland and Buffalo,” Eddie remembers, “but we couldn’t go beyond that without a big record.  We kind of just muddled along until ‘I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow’ made it possible for us to go to the east coast where we’d do three shows from Monday to Thursday and four or five on weekends.  There was totally commitment from very early on.”   
Walter characterizes the early part of The O’Jays’ career as “Entertainment College,” offering,  “We learned as we went along and we didn’t get great grades at first, so to speak.  We rehearsed ceaselessly and made song selection a priority.  When we joined Philadelphia International, we’d go thorough 100 songs and winnow that down to 20 and then down to 12 or 15 to consider for an album. Once a song was chosen we’d learn it and perform it in the studio and that was part of the process.  You learn what you had to do to make a hit record.”  He cited the role of the late Cholly Atkins, the legendary Tony Award-winning choreographer, who worked with the O’Jays and many other R&B greats including The Temptations, Four Tops, Supremes and Gladys Knight & The Pips played a key role in the group’s artistic development.  “We had hit records and with the moves he taught us we had a hit act.”   
Just the same, Eddie cautions, “You have to be more than the record. You have to be personalities and find a way of interpreting a great song in a way the audience will never forget, you have to come up with that ‘it factor,’ something you can only feel.   We ended up in the right place at the right time but it’s really about timing and judgment, especially in our business.”  
Walter Williams, Eddie Levert and “new” O’Jay Eric Nolan Grant  -- who will have been with the group for 23 years in 20017 -- continue to tour and record and are looking forward to carrying on the group’s tradition of inspired showmanship in the future. Walter noted that the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (by Justin Timberlake) generated new focus on the group.  “The word got out and we were recognized for doing what we’ve always done.  Audiences grew and became more diverse and we just love seeing fans bringing their kids to our show. It’s all been a terrific blessing for us. “  
With numerous career milestones to their credit, the O’Jays continue to perform and spread their message of love and hope. They are a constant reflection of the indomitability of the human spirit.

I really enjoyed the Micky Dolenz cd review -- and I agree 200%!
David Salidor
Thanks, David ... that means a lot. I always worry when I write something that could be construed as negative involving something so close to both of our hearts ... but my really wasn't meant to be negative at all - in fact, I've probably already listened to this six times! There's just no gold to be found in them thar hills ... but as a lifetime fan, I enjoy it!  Just trying to let folks know what to expect as, although I've been familiar with this material since it first came out, most of them likely are not.  (The one that keeps growing on me is "Alicia" ... I always thought that one was pretty strange ... but it's really a pretty clever tune.)  kk

Petula Clark, Tony Hatch … and Jackie Trent ...
You’re so right to give a nod to the great Tony Hatch when discussing the recording career of Petula Clark. However, much less attention is given to the role of Tony’s song-writing partner at the time, Jackie Trent. (The couple married in 1966.)  
Jackie and Tony wrote many of Petula’s big hits – “Who Am I”, “Don’t Sleep In The Subway”, “Color My World”, “The Other Man’s Grass (Is Always Greener)”, etc. Jackie was also a successful UK recording artist in her own right but one who didn’t participate in the British Invasion. She had a huge UK hit in 1965 with a Pet Clark-styled song, written by Tony, “Where Are You Now”. You simply couldn’t escape it in 1965 UK and with its whimsical feel, why would you have wanted to? There’s a CD version here on You Tube:  
There was a US cover by none other than Eydie Gorme. Eydie’s Columbia recordings have not been issued on CD but there is a vinyl version here:  
Mike Edwards

I loved your Petula Clark hits list you posted today. Looks like she covered a lot of songs back in the fifties that were hits here in the USA by other artists.
I did happen to notice one you didn't list. It made our local survey, though briefly.
Are you familiar with her 1963 song THE ROAD on Laurie Records?
I went online and apparently it got some airplay in various markets here in the country but not enough to generate sells nationally.
Larry Neal
Nope, never heard this one ... but the melody seems to be a note-for-note rip-off of another American classic, doesn't it???  (kk)

From FH Reader Tom Cuddy ...

TOMMY JAMES: Work Continues on New Album 
Expect a mix of new songs and fresh takes on some past classics. 
Tommy James says working on his upcoming album is "a great experience." 
The rock veteran known for "Crimson and Clover" and "Mony Mony" says it's the first time in his career that he can experiment without record company people breathing down his neck to finish an album on deadline. 
He expects the still-untitled project to out at the beginning of 2017. It will a combination of new songs and fresh arrangements on past classics. A standout is a new version of "Draggin' the Line" with guests Steve van Zandt and rapper Tone-Z
Look for Tommy James in episodes four and eight of the George Martin-produced mini-series Soundbreaking, which began airing Monday
night on many PBS stations.
We're supposed to get an exclusive "sneak peek" of one of Tommy's new tracks ... just waiting for the go-ahead to run it.  Can't wait to hear the whole CD!
(How popular is Tommy James in Chicago?  They're already selling tickets for next year's September show at The Arcada!!!  He sells out there every time ... and it's always a great show.)
I've been disappointed with "Soundbreaking" ... and I was SO looking forward to this.  It just seems very disjointed to me ... kind of jumping around all over the place.  Granted there's been some pretty cool, seldom (or never!) seen footage ... but so far I've found it to be more filler than thriller.  (One of my favorite spots so far was the short Cat Stevens piece in Episode 2.  I've never been a huge Cat Stevens fan but I enjoyed this very much.)
Speaking of which, did any of you happen to catch the Dan Rather / Carly Simon interview that ran this week?  Now THAT was pretty interesting (in a weird sort of way.)  This is the one where Carly reveals that she wrote her big hit "Anticipation" waiting for Cat Stevens to show up for dinner at her house.  (I can only assume that ketchup was being served.)  She also tips her hand a little bit regarding her deep love for former husband James Taylor, who apparently has pretty much disappeared from the lives of Carly and their children.  Sad.  Check it out if you get the chance ... Frannie liked it enough to order Carly's biography!  (kk)

Lou Christie sent us a list of upcoming shows ... hopefully some of our readers will get a chance to check these out ... ALWAYS a great time in concert!

Here's a list of some of my upcoming concert appearances. I'll be crisscrossing the country in the next couple of months and I hope you'll be able to stop by!
12/03/16 - Villa Roma - Catskills, NY
12/14/16 - Heinz Hall - Pittsburgh, PA
1/15/17 -Mohegan Sun Casino Arena - Uncasville, CT
2/02/17 - Barbara B Mann Centre - Ft Meyers, FL
2/04/17 - Peabody Auditorium - Daytona Beach, FL
2/11/17 - Sunrise Theater - Ft Pierce, FL 
2/18/17 - American Music Theater - Lancaster, PA
3/12/17 - Tilles Center CW Post College- Greenvale, NY
4/22/17 -California Theater - San Bernadino, CA

Lou also sent a reminder about his new "It Should Have Been A Hit" website ... be sure to check it out here: 

Be sure to visit my new website, "Lou Christie says, It Should Have Been A Hit" and listen to favorite records that I think should have been a hit but, for whatever reason, never made it to the Top Ten Charts.  Hear my comments, listen for yourself, and vote on whether you think the song should have been a hit. You can go back and listen to my earlier selections as well. There is a new songs every few weeks. My next selection will go up after Thanksgiving and will usher in the Holiday Season!

It's Official: Dick Clark Productions Sells to China's Wanda Group | Hollywood Reporter
Kent ...
Yes, there's been quite a bit of buzz about this these past few weeks.  Not sure exactly what it means, however.
It seems in the short term that this just gives them a foothold in the Hollywood Television Industry ... but hopefully long term it also means that some of this vintage material that Clark was involved with will start to see the light of day again, either by way of television specials or home video releases ... there's a goldmine of music contained in all these tapes ... and I'm sure everybody on our list would LOVE to see them again.  Guess we'll just all have to stay tuned and find out what the plan is.  (kk)

Sad to hear about the passing of guitar whiz Al Caiola ... got this from Scott Shannon ...

Al Caiola, a guitar virtuoso who recorded with music legends since the 1950s — and who performed at the Glen Rock Inn into his tenth decade — died last Wednesday at a nursing home in Allendale.  Mr. Caiola, formerly of Oradell, was 96.
If there is a song you love or an artist you revere, Al Caiola was in the background — and both the song and the artist were the better for it. He collaborated with Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand, Elvis Presley and Glen Campbell, Paul Anka and Perry Como, Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis. He toured for a quarter of a century with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. He played on Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” Neil Sedaka’s “Calendar Girl,” Rosemary Clooney’s “Come On a My House,” Bobby Darin’s “Mac the Knife” and Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” 
The guitarist had hits of his own. His version of the iconic theme song from TV’s “Bonanza” reached No. 19 on the Billboard chart in 1961. The same year, his version of the theme from the classic movie western “The Magnificent Seven” topped out at No. 35.
“Al worked with every artist you could think of,” said another eminent North Jersey guitarist, Lou Pallo. “He could play jazz; he could play rock; he could play country. He could play anything.” 
Tony Motolla, editor of Jersey Jazz, the journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society, said versatility was truly the key to Mr. Caiola’s prolific career. 
“He had the ability to play all different styles on demand and was a great sight reader,” said Motolla, whose late father, also named Tony Motolla, had a guitar career that paralleled Mr. Caiola’s. 
“Al was a very player with a great harmonic touch,” Motolla added. “His was a distinctive voice.” 
Alexander Caiola, a barber’s son from Jersey City, led Marine bands stateside and saw combat in World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima. He joined the CBS Orchestra in 1946, working on shows hosted by Ed Sullivan, Arthur Godfrey, Jackie Gleason and Steve Allen, broadcasting pioneers all. He stayed at the network for a decade before striking out on his own. He worked constantly. 
In the 2009 book “Conversations with Great Jazz and Studio Guitarists,” Mr. Caiola reflected on the great vocalists with whom he shared a studio. A late-night session with a young Barbra Streisand stuck in his memory. 
“The producer told us that this girl was really something, and pretty kooky in the way she dresses,” he said. “She was working in the Village. She came in and sang, “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” very slow, and “Happy Days Are Here Again,” very slow. We were all astounded at the way she sang. And look at her now.” 
For a studio musician at the pinnacle, Mr. Caiola was modest to a fault. “He never boasted — that wasn’t the kind of person he was. He was just like everyone else,” said Arlene Rosenberg, whose Elmwood Park agency, Shelly Productions, booked Mr. Caioli’s gigs at the Glen Rock Inn. Mr. Caioli typically performed as a duo with the bassist Jerry Bruno. 
“Al played his heart out at the Glen Rock Inn,” Rosenberg said. “If you never saw him play, you missed out.” 
Several years ago, Mr. Caiola joined two contemporaries, Pallo and Bucky Pizzarelli, and two younger musicians, Frank Vignola and Gary Mazzaroppi, as the Jersey Guitar Mafia. They cut a CD and performed regionally. 
Mr. Caiola is survived by his wife of 69 years, Rosalie; two children, Alexander Caiola Jr. and Sandra Ayres; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Arrangements were by William G. Basralian Funeral Home, Oradell. 
Jerry Lembo
Jerry Lembo Entertainment Group

Help spread the Holiday cheer.  Don't forget to add Ian Lloyd's mysterious Christmas theme:
"Everybody's Happy 'Cause It's Christmas Time"  ...
Now Radio Ready for your Holiday playlist.
MDR & Ian Lloyd [aka 'Brother Louie']

Speaking of Christmas Music, I finally saw the "Happiness Is" / Amazon commercial that Paul Evans was telling us about a week ago or so.  Congratulations again on some great song placement, Paul!  (kk)

Just catching up with the blog, something I don't have time for every day sadly, and got around to your reply to my first message on this new online station for Chicago's Me-TV-FM.
There was just one thing which I asked (but didn't hear back from) AccuRadio about: Maria Muldaur's wonderful hit "Midnight At The Oasis" was played on another trip there by me, but it was apparently a re-recording Muldaur made years later, though still labeled in AccuRadio's player as being the original from Reprise Records first published 1974. (The guitar lines on this remake are noticeably different from the original.)
It happens from time to time ... and I've even supplied copies of the original recordings to the station to try and help them sort out their library to remove all of these glitches and remakes.  Funny, though, I never noticed it on "Midnight At The Oasis", which I've heard them play several times ... but hopefully Rick O'Dell will see this and make the swap.  (Truthfully, it was never one of my favorites ... so I may have been only half-listening and missed it ... but we'll certainly ask them to check it out.)
Yesterday the live station celebrated Gordon Lightfoot's birthday by featuring his music (known and obscure) throughout the day ... but then again nearly EVERY day is Gordon Lightfoot's birthday on Me-TV-FM, as he's one of their current most overplayed artists, featuring a catalog of probably three times as many tunes as the number of hits he actually had!  (lol - just HAD to get that dig in there again, Rick!!!)  kk

The Chicago Cubs are STILL the media darlings since winning The World Series for the first time in 108 years.  And now Billboard is reporting that the 1984 Steve Goodman song "Go Cubs Go" (played relentlessly throughout the season and post-season) just made their Top Downloads and Streaming Charts for the first time ever.  (Sadly, Goodman passed away later that same year and never saw his song achieve the cult status its had here in Chicago ever since.)
According to a recently published Chicago Tribune report, "Go Cubs Go" debuted on The Billboard Pop Digital Song Sales Chart at #21 and on the Billboard Digital Song Sales Chart at #49 for the week ending November 19th.  The song also received 15,000 downloads and 2.5 million US streams (mostly from YouTube clicks) in the week that ended November 3rd.  (The Cubs won The World Series on November 2nd.)