Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Some of Your Mid-Week Commets

Wow!  Lots of immediate response and comments to yesterday’s Tuesday This And That Page!  Please remember to check the Forgotten Hits Website every day for new postings.  We’ll get something up there as often as we can.

First, the good news …

>>>You should be here!!!  (Next one for sure!)  Here’s Chubby Checker and I setting sail with Gary Puckett, Peter Rivera (Rare Earth), The Lettermen, The Box Tops, Lovin’ Spoonful and The Raiders. Kent, let’s work on getting you and some (or all) of your readers on our Alaskan cruise in September (great band lineup for that one, too!) or NEXT year’s Caribbean cruise!  (Tommy Scheckel … but you can call me Cap’n Slappy when we’re on the high seas!)
>>>We really should put together some type of Forgotten Hits Cruise after all these years.  (Of course, I no sooner type this than hear about an Alaskan earthquake that is now expected to cause a tsunami!!!)  Safe travels, my friend … let us know you’re ok!  (kk)
Wow, didn’t hear about that! We’re in the Caribbean, the Alaska cruise is in September. Thanks for checking on us!

Coming Soon:  CHUCK NEGRON: Expanded Memoir   
Eleven new chapters will cover the two decades since his book was first published
It's not unusual for a celebrity to update a memoir with a new chapter or two, 10 to 15 years after it was first published. But for the new edition of Three Dog Nightmare, Chuck Negron has gone above and beyond: the new edition has 11 additional chapters and more than 100 more photographs. 
He tells us that being 25 years sober, instead of five when the book was first published, gave him a different perspective.
Updating the book also gave him a chance to reflect on the passing of two of his Three Dog Night bandmates.
Two chapters in Chuck Negron's expanded memoir will deal with his late bandates Cory Wells and Jimmy Greenspoon.
"And I was very fortunate, Cory and I had made our peace, through his email and my email. We both said we were sorry. I hadn't spoken to him -- but we were writing. And I was sending music to him and he was telling me what he was doing. We made, you know, our peace. And so I wrote a chapter about him. And then, I wrote a chapter about Jimmy Greenspoon, who I loved -- who was my best man at my wedding."
Chuck didn't add a chapter on his old band's other surviving frontman, Danny Hutton, as the two remain completely estranged.
While the updated Three Dog Nightmare will be released on March 13th, fans who buy the book now from Chuck's website will receive their signed copies immediately, without waiting until March.
- Tom Cuddy
Now this I’ve gotta get!  Without question, Chuck’s book is one of the BEST rock and roll biographies I’ve ever read … in fact, I think I’ve read it three times!!!  (I’ve also recommended it countless times here over the years … and have heard from several Forgotten Hits Readers who have picked up a copy and read the book and loved it as well.)  So it’ll be nice to revisit it once again.
I’m not so sure about the whole “making peace with Cory Wells” thing … Cory’s death was so sudden and unexpected … but I seem to remember Chuck getting his jabs in on BOTH of the other two-thirds of Three Dog Night right up until the end.
Having seen Two Dog Night and Chuck several times now over the past dozen years or so, I’ve gotta say that Cory and Chuck maintained ever bit of their vocal power all these years later ... they’ve been nothing short of amazing in concert.  (What the heck did Danny Hutton really do for this band anyway?  And how does HE get to continue to perform under the Three Dog Night name as just the one guy whose voice isn’t instantaneously recognizable?!?!)
There was a time when there wasn’t another act bigger than Three Dog Night on the planet … it’s a shame they were never ever to reconcile and put their differences behind them … I’ve always said a full reunion would have sold out 20,000 seat stadiums around the world if they just could have held it together.  Too bad … but I can’t wait to read the new expanded edition of Chuck’s book.  (kk)
Order your copy here:
Chuck will be part of the 2018 Happy Together Tour, too.  If you haven’t had the chance to see him, check it out!  (kk)

>>>Neil Diamond (celebrating his 77th Birthday on Wednesday, the 24th) announced an end to touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  He hopes to stay active by continuing to write and record.  (kk) 
Needless to say, I am dismayed at the news that one of the greatest songwriters / performers of my generation is having to curtail his activities due to illness.
Through his music, Neil brought untold joy to countless fans and to the world in general.
I wish you all the best, Neil, and a remain a "Believer" in everything you do.
Micky Dolenz

>>>South African Jazz Master Hugh Masekela, who topped the pop charts with “Grazing In The Grass” back in 1968, has passed away yesterday from prostate cancer.  (kk)
I was sad to learn of the passing of Hugh Masekela.
I last saw him a few years ago at a memorial tribute I worked on honoring Elmer Valentine, owner of the Whisky a Go Go. Hugh graciously attended the event.
I have some archive quotes from interviews I conducted with former Hugh Masekela bassist, Henry Franklin and Chris Hillman of the Byrds you might want to check out and read.
Hugh Masekela was signed to UNI / MCA Records by visionary A&R man Russ Regan. Russ was at the "Grazin' in the Grass" recording session in Hollywood at Gold Star studios. 
In a couple of my earlier books I cited the relationship of Hugh and Russ that yielded some terrific recordings.
Seek out the live album cut at the Whisky a Go Go. A milestone moment for world beat music genre.  
Harvey Kubernik

This from an interview by Harvey Kubernik with bassist Henry Franklin. 2012:   

“Hugh saw me play at Memory Lane in 1967 when I was with Willie Bobo. Masekela was in the audience, ‘Oh man, I need a bass player. I want you.’   
He had already cut ‘The Americazation of Oogla Boogla.’ We worked around town. And, then Monterey was my first festival.  And Hugh for the Monterey date added the guitar player, Bruce Langhorne.
We arrived the day of the festival. It was wonderful. I had never encountered ‘the flower children.’ Hugh was a great bandleader and nothing but fun.
We stayed for the whole festival. I got to see Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin. You got to remember, we were basically jazz artists,
I was a young dedicated jazz artist … my father was a band leader in South Central Los Angeles, so it wasn’t my thing at the time, because I hardly knew who these people were.
I knew Lou Rawls. Hendrix’s set was out there as far as I was concerned. I learned a lot about him later on.  You know, at the time, I’m a young jazz guy who listened to KBCA-FA. I met Otis. He was great and destined for stardom. He had that fire. He was amazing.
I saw a good show, my friend. I saw a little bit of Janis, and she was nothing but energy. I learned a lot about her later in life.
The feeling of the whole place was that everyone loved everyone. I was amazed.
The world was different then. They loved us at Monterey. Big Black [percussionist] was a bad mama jamma and Big Black played ferocious. It wasn’t necessary loud but very tasteful. The jazz people weren’t treated as step-children for once. That was wonderful. That changed a lot of my thinking from then on. A great, great sound system. After Monterey we got to do other sorts of bookings.” 

And this from Chris Hillman of the Byrds to Harvey Kubernik: 

CHRIS HILLMAN: Roger [McGuinn] and I wrote “So You Want to Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star” at my house in Laurel Canyon in late 1966. He lived over the canyon, and I called him up.  [I said,] “I got a song,” and asked him to come over. Part of the bridge to that song was influenced from his working with Miriam Makeba. Hugh Masekela would later play trumpet on that recording session. 
I really started writing songs after Crosby and I were on a Hugh Masekela session that he was doing with this South African gal, Letta Mbulu. A wonder singer. All the musicians were South African, with the exception of [percussionist] Big Black. I played bass on a demo session. Such warm, loving people. There was a great piano player named Cecil Bernard. Very inspirational.

>>>I'm not sure the Genesee calendar is quite correct. Dennis Diken, of the Smithereens will be touring w/ Dave Davies. Former Smithereens front man, Pat Dinizio, passed away in late 2017.  What a great band they were.  (Ted Gstalder)
>>>They’re still showing it as “The Smithereens” in their ad so I wondered about that, too, after the passing of Dinizio.  So now I’m wondering if each artist is performing separately with their own band or if they “share” a band and perform together (?)  Hopefully somebody on the list is going to the show and can fill us in!
Thanks, Ted!  (kk)
Just to clarify, I got the info about Dennis Diken touring with Dave Davies from the Smithereens website. It's possible the entire band would have toured prior to Dinizio's untimely passing.
We told you last week about how Chicago’s Drummer and Lead Singer Bassist both quit as the band was supposed to begin its seven week residency in Las Vegas … with a full US tour behind it.  (I believe the exact comment we received was “talk about leaving a band in the lurch!”)
Well Chicago seems to have rebounded immediately … and issued this official statement earlier this week …

As many of you have already heard, our long-time drummer Tris Imboden has resigned. For nearly thirty years Tris has shared his tremendous talent, and indeed his life, with Chicago. We are fortunate to have known him and grateful to have shared the stage with him these many years. He has been a great friend and band mate and we’ll miss his enthusiasm and contagious smile. We wish Tris and Mary a lifetime of happiness together.
Walfredo Reyes Jr. has been touring with Chicago for many years as percussionist, but as most of you already know, he is also an accomplished drummer. Walfredo has been fusing the two disciplines of drummer and percussionist since his teen-age years and has toured and/or recorded with an impressive number of artists including Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood and Smokey Robinson, just to name a few. We are thrilled that he will be taking over on drums as we continue our 2018 tour.
We are also saying goodbye to our newest band mate Jeff Coffey, talented bassist and vocalist. While Jeff was only with us for a short time, we are grateful for his considerable contributions and his dedication. We wish him continued success with his solo career and in all his professional endeavors.
The rigors of touring are immense. Now, in our 51st consecutive year of touring, we understand the toll it takes on families, the birthdays and milestones that are missed and the strain of being away from loved ones for weeks at a time. Chicago routinely plays over 100 events a year. When you add in travel days, band members are away from home for over 150 days a year. It is a difficult life, but also one filled with tremendous rewards. We look forward to sharing those rewards as we welcome new members to the band.
Many of you are already familiar with Canadian Neil Donell who has been enthusiastically received as a guest vocalist with Chicago on occasion, we now welcome him as an official band member taking over lead tenor vocals. On bass we will be joined by Brett Simons who has toured and recorded with musical icons such as Brian Wilson, Fiona Apple and Melissa Etheridge. We will be posting more about these new members in the weeks and months to come, and hope you will embrace them with the same love and support you have for all present and former Chicago band members.
– Chicago, the band
Despite all of the band member changes Chicago has gone through over the years, Walfredo Reyes, Jr. is only the THIRD official drummer to perform with the group, following leaving Tris Imboden and original drummer Danny Seraphine (who was one of the original founders of the band … and who we saw over the weekend as a surprise guest at Jim Peterik’s World Stage show in Naperville … review still to come … send me pix, Jim!!!)
Original members Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane and Jimmy Pankow remain part of the group (and Walt Parazaider retains his member status but no longer tours with the band.)  The idea that they’ve toured consistently for 51 years is incredible … and the audience is still there to support them each and every night.  And they have FINALLY been recognized by the boneheads who run The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with a LONG overdue induction.  My guess is that this will be just another seamless transition for the band.  (kk)

>>>I've been told there is a song called 'Heartache' that Roger Cook had a hand in writing. I don't know who performed it, but I wonder if you can confirm its existence. I've scoured the web for an answer but no luck.  Thanks.  (Darren)
>>>Anybody able to help with this one?  (kk)
As for Roger Cook writing a song called "Heartache," how about this from Forgotten Hits 9 years ago?
>>>1970 - Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway are awarded The "Best Radio Jingle Of The Year" award for "In Between The Heartaches and The Crying,"performed in a Coca Cola ad campaign by Ray Charles.
Clark Besch
Man, I LOVE it when that happens!!! (lol)  I can’t tell you how many times I’ll go to search for the answer to something only to find that it’s something that we’ve covered in Forgotten Hits over our past eighteen years of service!  Thanks, Clark!  (kk)

Are you diggin’ our new Saturday Surveys Series?
Every Saturday we run a chart from a different state showing the biggest hits around the country from exactly fifty years ago.  It’s our 1968 Fifty Year Flashback and it’s already a big success.  During the course of the year we will show a different chart from all fifty states …
And today (thanks to Forgotten Hits Reader Jack Levin) one from Australia!

I have a few oddball 1968 surveys left.
This one is from Sydney Australia.

Interesting how the Mary Hopkin single at #2 shows as "Apple Records" but The Beatles' record topping the chart still shows as Parlophone!  (When it was, in fact, Apple's first single release ... and the launch of their new record label.)
I like the two-sided Monkees hit, too ... a big jumper from #21 to #5 ... with one side from their upcoming and as yet unreleased new album "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd." and the other side ("Mary Mary") from their now ten month old "More Of The Monkees" LP.
The Don Fardon version of "Indian Reservation" is also a Top Ten Hit.  We've featured that one a number of times over the years in Forgotten Hits.  (It scored big in Chicago, too.)
All in all it looks like they were listening to much of the same music Down Under that we were listening to here in The US.  (kk)