Friday, January 2, 2009

Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues

One of the surprise Top Ten Hits of 1972 came from Spokane, Washington, born singer / songwriter Danny O'Keefe. His Big Hit, Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues, was ALL over the radio the fall of that year.
It had all the makings of a hit country song: a slight drawl to the semi-sung / semi-spoken vocal, a nice, laid-back, story-telling lyric (with just the right amount of pain and heartache), a stripped down musical arrangement, a softly moaning harmonica wailing in the background ... for God's sake, the man even whistled!!! ... but it tanked on the country charts ... and instead, crossed over to become an unlikely pop hit, eventually peaking at #9 on The Billboard Pop Singles Chart in The Fall of 1972. (For the record, this song was later covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson to Dwight Yoakam to Waylon Jennings to Chet Atkins to Charlie Rich, despite the fact that country radio refused to initially embrace it.)

Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues didn't sound like anything else on the radio at the time ... and we loved it!!! (And so did a whole lotta other people ... the song was a smash ... yet you hardly ever hear it on the radio anymore today ... and that's a shame. Thankfully, a number of the deejays on the list are now featuring our Forgotten Hits Fridays selections as part of their programming ... so folks will have a chance to hear this great track again this week and, hopefully, call in to request it again and again.)

Although O'Keefe never again hit the pop charts as a singer, many of the songs he's written were recorded over the years by a number of other artists, including Jackson Browne (The Road), Judy Collins (Angel Spread Your Wings), Leo Sayer (Magdalena), John Denver (Along For The Ride), Jimmy Buffett (Souvenirs), Sheena Easton (Next To You) and Alan Jackson (Anywhere On Earth You Are).

He co-wrote Well, Well, Well with Bob Dylan, which was later recorded by Bonnie Raitt, David Lindley, Maria Muldaur and The Blind Boys Of Alabama.

O'Keefe's musical career got its start in the mid-'60's when Danny was signed to the Jerden Label by Jerry Dennon, the same guy who discovered The Kingsmen and released their #1 Smash Louie Louie. When nothing happened there, O'Keefe moved through a series of record labels without much success.

Thanks to a connection made with Charlie Greene and Brian Stone, (who had previously helped guide the careers of The Buffalo Springfield, Sonny and Cher, Iron Butterfly and Bob Lind), O'Keefe was given the opportunity to audition over the phone with Atlantic Records President Ahmet Ertegun, who signed him to his Cotillion label. Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues was released in September of 1972 and peaked at #9 on The Billboard Chart dated November 4, 1972.

Danny is still recording new material today and also making live appearances from time to time. You can read all the latest Danny O'Keefe news right here: Click here: Danny O'Keefe

In fact, he has a new CD available for purchase right now titled "In Time" ... and you can check out four of the tracks on his MySpace Page:
Click here: - Danny O Keefe - Washington - Folk Rock -

Kent -
Thanks for your interest and help ... and for featuring my song in Forgotten Hits. Much appreciated!
Danny O'Keefe

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Did You See Her Eyes

The One Hit Wonder Band The Illusion was formed in 1967 when the members of several of Long Island, New York's local bands merged together to form a new entity.

The brand new quintet included former doo-wop singer John Vinci on Lead Vocals, who, at the time, was fronting a very "1956-sounding" band called The 5 Illusions, Chuck Alder (on Bass) and Mike Maniscalco (on Guitar) from another local group called The Dell Sonics, Drummer Mike Ricciardella from yet another local area band named The Creations and free-lancing Lead Guitarist Rich Cerniglia who, by the age of 15, had already been backing up artists like Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Temptations, The Ronettes and The Shirelles when they came through town for local appearances. Once the new line-up was set, they dropped the "5" (and the "s") from Vinci's band's name and became known simply as The Illusion.

In yet another example of just how tough it is to make it in the music business, the group was taken under the wing of Detroit Rocker Mitch Ryder, who wrote and produced their very first single. It bombed, never charting at all. He next took them on tour with him as his opening act. Still nothing.

Then in 1968 they hooked up with legendary songwriter Jeff Barry, who signed them to his new Steed Record Label. He even wrote their first hit song, Did You See Her Eyes, which went on to peak at #30 on The National Charts, made The Top Ten here in Chicago, and reportedly went all the way to #1 on some of the local New York radio stations the following year. It seemed that The Illusion were finally on their way.

Perhaps it was an ill-advised ad campaign for their new self-titled album that turned off any potential new fans ... it certainly turned off this one ... when the ad referred to The Illusion as "the biggest thing since The Beatles" ... fact is, they never reached The Top 40 again ... and, by 1972, the band had split up for good.

Along the way, however, they toured as the opening act for The Who, The Allman Brothers Band, Chicago and Sly and the Family Stone and, in 1970, even opened for Jimi Hendrix at The Boston Garden, which was one of Jimi's final gigs, shortly before his untimely death.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

April Wine

Although they've pretty much always been considered a Canadian Band, April Wine actually formed in Nova Scotia back in 1969. After relocating to Montreal, Canada, the following year, the group first burst on the U.S. scene in 1972 with their Top 40 Hit You Could Have Been A Lady. (#27, Cash Box; #32 Billboard; and a #7 Hit here in Chicago! Their website says it topped the charts in Canada ... but my CHUM Book shows it peaking at #6.)

They wouldn't have their next U.S. Top 40 Hit for seven years, when Roller went to #34 in Billboard in 1979. In 1981, they cracked The American Top 20 for the first (and last) time with their biggest hit, the power ballad Just Between You And Me, which went all the way to #9 here in Chi-Town!

The group line-up at the time of their break-through single consisted of Lead Vocalist and Guitarist Myles Goodwyn, Guitarist David Henman and his brother Ritchie Henman on drums, and Bassist Jimmy Clench (who had just recently replaced their cousin, Jimmy Henman, and would later go on to perform with Canadian Rock Sensations Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Loverboy.) Over the years, the band's line up changed a number of times, at one point even expanding to a sextet ... later members included Bassists Steve Lang and Breen LeBoeuf. Guitarists Brian Greenway, Gary Moffet, Steve Seagal and Carl Dixon and former Mashmakhan member Jerry Mercer on the Drums.

Ironically, their 1972 break-through hit was actually a cover of a song written and first recorded by the British band Hot Chocolate, who wouldn't hit the charts here Stateside for another three years!

Two other "personal favorite" tracks previously featured in Forgotten Hits include their slowed down version of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" classic Tell Me Why and the banned-for-obvious-reasons If You See Kay.

Goodwyn, who retains the legal rights to the band's name, has reformed the group a number of times over the past several years ... in fact, you can check out all of their most current tour information here:
Click here: April Wine - Tour Dates

DIDJAKNOW???: In 1977, a concert was announced at The El Mocambo Club in Toronto, Canada, featuring April Wine as the headliners. Their warm-up band that evening was to be an unknown rock group called The Cochroaches. However, the whole event was a ruse ... The Cochroaches were, in fact, The Rolling Stones, who recorded their Love You Live album there that night! (April Wine's release, the Live At The El Mocambo Club LP, didn't fare quite as well!!! lol) The gamble paid off, however ... April Wine would go on to tour as the opening act for The Stones, Rush, Journey, Styx and Nazareth into the early '80's.

THIS JUST IN: From Ron Smith's web page: Myles Goodwin, the 60 year-old lead singer of April Wine, was hospitalized Friday (November 28) after collapsing at the Montreal airport and striking his head. The group was on its way to a concert in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they were to have reunited with two other original members.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Remembering Delaney Bramlett

Delaney Bramlett, the singer and songwriter best remembered for his work with former wife Bonnie and with Eric Clapton, died Saturday in a Los Angeles hospital from complications from gall bladder surgery. He was 69. Born in 1939 in rural Mississippi, he served in the Navy and paid his dues upon his return in Los Angeles clubs -- even recording demos ofpotential Elvis Presley songs for songwriter Ben Weisman. His contacts paid off as he joined several other musicians as the Shindogs on the ABC-TV show "Shindig", which is when he met firey Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell. The two soon married and began touring as Delaney and Bonnie. Eric Clapton was impressed enough to ask the couple to open for his group Blind Faith in 1969. When Eric's group disbanded he actually joined Delaney and Bonnie "and Friends" in the studio and on tour (as well as recording Delaney's composition, "Let It Rain"). Other "friends"included Dave Mason, Duane Allman, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge and several members of Eric's Derek & the Dominos. Early songs like "Comin' Home" (#84-1970), "Soul Shake" (#43-1970) and "Free The People" (#75-1970) showed more promise on FM radio, but "Never Ending Song Of Love" (#13) and "Only You Know And I Know" (#20) in 1971 established the duo as major stars. Unfortunately, their relationship was stormy, at best, and ended when Bonnie walked out and Delaney gave up touring to raise their two children. Two more songs by them charted -- "Move 'Em Out" (#59-1972) and "Where There's A Will There's A Way" (#99-1972) beforeDelaney and Bonnie became just a memory. Delaney concentrated on songwriting early on, but eventually returned to recording, however without the success he had known earlier. Ironically, his most-successful composition was a song he wrote with Leon Rusell about Bonnie -- "Superstar (a #2 hit for the Carpenters). Their daughter Bekka followed in his footsteps, singing at one time with Fleetwood Mac.
-- Ron Smith

Never Ending Song Of Love was a #1 Smash here in Chicago ... yet today it's another Forgotten Hit that virtually never gets played on the radio. (Their Top 20 version of Dave Mason's Only You Know And I Know, which hit #6 here in Chi-Town, is another one you never hear!) Tagging along with his buddy, Eric Clapton, George Harrison performed with the band for a short while, too, after The Beatles split up. We've got both of Delaney and Bonnie's biggest hits here for you here today!

Kent Kotal

Musician, Songwriter. A rhythm guitarist and vocalist, he was half of the husband and wife music duo Delaney and Bonnie. They are best known for the hits "Never Ending Song of Love" (1971) and "Only You Know And I Know" (1971). In addition, they are remembered for the many artists with whom they performed and recorded with such as Eric Clapton, Rita Coolidge, Duane Allman, Dave Mason and George Harrison. One of the results from their association with such artists was the noteworthy album "Delaney and Bonnie and Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton" (1970). Born in Mississippi, Bramlett established himself as a topnotch songwriter during the 1960s. Among the hits he co-wrote are Eric Clapton's "Let It Rain" (1970) and The Carpenters' "Superstar" (1971), which has since been covered by many other artists. He died from complications after gallbladder surgery.

A songwriter, recording artist and producer, Delaney Bramlett influenced and made measurable contributions to the careers of many notable recording stars, including Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Billy Preston, John Lennon, Elvin Bishop and Duane Allman. With wife Bonnie, their biggest hit, “Never Ending Song of Love” was one of most popular songs of the early 70’s and was recorded by more than 100 artists. At 69 years of age, Delaney Bramlett died Saturday, December 27th in Los Angeles as a result of complications from gallbladder surgery.
-- John Rook

Regarding Delaney Bramlett's passing, i was deeply saddened to learn of his death, as i had recently discovered some of his early solo records for GNP-Crescendo (i will admit that i never cared for any of the Delaney and Bonnie records, but i do own one because it was given to me as a gift from a friend, and i never get rid of gifts). I'm attaching one of the early records, Better Man Than Me, which could've been a hit certainly sounds like one to me!
-- Tom Diehl

This is a picture appearing in Clapton's autobiography.
David Lewis

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Forgotten Hits Twin Spin: Featuring A 2-Fer From The Association

L.A.'s The Association are pretty well represented on oldies radio today thanks to four of their Top Ten National Hits ... Along Comes Mary (#7, 1966); Cherish (#1, 1966); Windy (#1, 1967) and Never My Love (#1, 1967) are all part of regular oldies rotation.

When we put together our recent True Oldies Channel / Forgotten Hits / Twin Spin Weekend, we included their other Top Ten Hit, Everything That Touches You (#10, 1968) as the "forgotten half" of the featured pair ... but that still left a couple of great tracks on the shelf.

One of my personal favorites is 1968's #23 Hit Time For Livin' ... a nice up-tempo tune that rarely (if ever) gets played.

I've also always been partial to No Fair At All, a #51 ballad from early 1967 that made The Top 20 here in Chicago. To my ears, this one ranks right up their with the best of their other Soft Rock Tracks ... yet it just never received the national chart success that I felt it deserved.

Other seldom-heard Top 40 Hits include Pandora's Golden Heebie-Jeebies (#26, 1966 ... and off the radio for good reason ... it's awful!!! In fact, The Turtles once called this the worst follow-up to a #1 Record in music history!!!) and Six Man Band (#29, 1968). By 1969, the big hits had stopped ... Goodbye Columbus (title track from the Ali McGraw / Richard Benjamin Movie); Names, Tags, Numbers And Labels and an early '80's "comeback" attempt, Dreamer, all fell short of The National Top 50.

Another list favorite seems to be Requiem For The Masses, the B-Side of Never My Love ... the almost chorale-like chant that scored enough of your votes as a Favorite, Forgotten B-Side to rank at #52 on our Top 200 List.

(Visit to view the complete list!)

The Association are back out on the road again right now with most of the original members intact. A show we attended last summer proved that those impeccable harmonies we fell in love with on their records could most likely be attributed more to studio wizardry than any sense of "live" vocal talent ... there were actually cringe-inducing moments during one of the very few shows I've ever left early!!!

But tracks as good as No Fair At All and Time For Livin' certainly deserve a spin at least once in a while ... so today they're being featured as our very own Forgotten Hits Twin Spin!!!