Scott Shannon has built one of The True Oldies Channel's most popular features around what he calls "The Remakes Weekend" ... in fact, there's another one coming up shortly that will feature some of the examples recently covered in Forgotten Hits.
One of the REAL shames in all of this is that some EXCELLENT recordings went virtually unnoticed in the process. Back in 1964, Shorty Long recorded the original version of a song called "Devil With A Blue Dress On" that failed miserably on the pop and soul charts ... in fact, it never charted at all ... and that's today's real shame.
Every time we've ever featured this track before in Forgotten Hits we've heard from readers who never even knew that it existed ... and were blown away by just how good it really was.
Some have speculated that this one failed because it didn't really have "The Motown Sound" that the label had become so identified with. There was more of a "bluesy" feel to this one ... and one thing that Motown stayed away from was The Blues ... they were creating popular music for "Young America" ... and that meant music that could be enjoyed by blacks and whites together ... quite honestly, there may not have been another label around that accomplished this goal better than Motown did in the '60's.
(Listening back to it now, I get the feeling that had they simply upped the tempo ever-so-slightly, Long's version would have had more of a "How Sweet It Is" feel to it ... and it just might have caught on. That being said, I have to admit that I absolutely LOVE what he did with the song just the way it is ... and Shorty's arrangement is all part of its charm.)However, "just the way it is" wasn't good enough ... and, as such, Shorty Long's version of "Devil With A Blue Dress On" was completely ignored ... and instead of being recognized as one of Motown's earliest innovators, Long's entire career was whittled down to the novelty track "Here Comes The Judge", a Top Ten Hit recorded a few years later, cashing in on a popular segment of the hit television series "Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In". When he drowned in 1969, it remained his ONLY Top 50 Pop Hit ... and that's a shame, too.
Fortunately, a wild, young future rocker by the name of Mitch Ryder heard the song while growing up in Detroit, probably one of the few cities in America that actually played the tune on the radio, and, even then, most likely out of loyalty to their local record label. In 1967, Ryder coupled the song with the Little Richard classic "Good Golly Miss Molly" and put together a rockin' medley that soared all the way to #4 on The Billboard Chart. It became his biggest hit ... and his signature tune ... and it's pretty much the ONLY way the rest of the world ever thought "Devil With A Blue Dress On" was SUPPOSED to sound. (Ironically, Ryder's follow-up hit, "Sock It To Me, Baby" was ALSO based on a popular "Laugh-In" skit!!!)
Today we feature the Shorty Long original ... let us know what you think ... and be sure to listen for this one to crop up on the next "Remakes Weekend" on The True Oldies Channel.
This just in from Scott Shannon:
THANKS TO YOU & THE FORGOTTEN HITS FANS, WE ARE ABLE TO EXPAND THE "ROCK & ROLL REMAKE WEEKEND" ... TO INCLUDE SEVERAL MORE GREAT ORIGINALS. WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE NEXT AIRING OF THE SPECIAL PROGRAM RIGHT HERE IN FORGOTTEN HITS!!
Now how cool is THAT?!?!? We'll keep you posted!