Friday, June 19, 2009

More On Our "Local Heroes"

>>>A good writer and reporter publishes both sides of a story ... why haven't you interviewed or written about the other Chicago music originals ... like Jim Peterik, Nick Fortuna, Carl Giammarese ... Ronnie Rice is not an original New Colony Sixer ... he joined after the early releases (Democracy Fading)
Hi Kent -
I have enjoyed your E-mag and check it out every time it shows up on my screen. Seems Democracy Fading may have a point, even though he seems a bit overboard about how you report the Chicago Band Scene from the old days. I watch and see how well you cover all the great bands from the Sixties and you do a great job doing it.
Yes, Democracy Fading, you are correct ... Ronnie Rice was not an original member of the NC6 ... but I was.
It was a fantastic time of my life and an experience that anyone would love to have happen to them.
So, to give you some insight from the lost and gone Craig Kemp of The New Colony Six, just know this ... the early days of this band were very exciting and an experience I will never forget. These days I reminisce about all the good things that I enjoyed about those days ... concerts at the Arie Crown ... traveling on the road around the midwest ... and I still have 8mm film of the band when we went to California in 1965. Yes, Ronnie was a replacement ... a replacement for me ... but you know Ronnie and I are friends and what it is, is what it is.
Ronnie made a fantastic addition to the band and made them what they are today.
So, Democracy Fading, it would be good if you get ALL the facts together before you criticize Kent about his reporting. He is the best at this and YOU, sir, need to read more often.
Craig Kemp - The New Colony Six
Thanks, Craig ... I really appreciate that. The New Colony Six were really TWO bands in one ... and successful in BOTH genres of music. They were one of the pioneer "Garage Bands" from the mid-'60's and early classics like "I Confess", "Love You So Much", "You're Gonna Be Mine", "Cadillac" and "I Lie Awake" dominated the Chicago charts during this era and helped pave the way for some of our OTHER local bands (like The Cryan' Shames and The Buckinghams and The Ides Of March) to earn some airplay on our AM giants, WLS and WCFL. This early incarnation of the band is STILL being recognized today, as witnessed by The New Colony Six's recent invitation to perform at Cave Stomp in New York a couple of years ago ... in fact, it is their earliest material that has most often seen the light of day via CD reissues that are capturing the hearts of brand new garage band fans today. When Ronnie Rice joined the band, they took on a whole new persona, scoring their biggest national hits with ballads like "I Will Always Think About You", "Things I'd Like To Say", "I Want You To Know" and "I Could Never Lie To You" ... not to mention "Can't You See Me Cry", a tune written by NC6 founder Ray Graffia, Jr. It was THIS genre of music that earned them their greatest national attention, including television appearances and tours with artists like The Beach Boys. (I suppose on a much grander scale there are music cynics out there who will criticize the Michael McDonald era of The Doobie Brothers and the addition of Joe Walsh to The Eagles as not being true to the original focus of these bands ... but the statistics bear out the fact that, regardless of any personal opinion, THESE were the most successful records either of those bands ever made, too!) We've been very fortunate that many of our Local Heroes continue to perform and entertain us here during the summer months ... we can still go out to see The New Colony Six or Ronnie Rice solo if we choose ... we can go see The Buckinghams or check out Dennis Tufano at one of his solo gigs ... we can go see The Cryan' Shames with original lead singer Tom Doody ... or enjoy a special guest appearance by Bob Stroud on lead vocals. The Ides Of March (with all of their original members intact) sound better TODAY than they did when their records were peaking on the charts ... and Forgotten Hits has always been VERY loyal to these artists who won our hearts over so many years ago ... NOT simply because they were local Chicago talent ... but, as I've said COUNTLESS times over the years, because their music stands up against the BEST music being released at this time. So thank you, Craig, for taking the time to write. (Now when can we get together and check out those 1965 / 8mm California "home movies"?!?!? lol) kk

Kent -
I discovered your column a few months ago and it gives me great joy to read it.
A few weeks ago you mentioned how it would be so great to have all the 60's Chicago groups appearing on one stage.
It did happened quite a few years ago (my memory is hazy but I would guess about 10-15 years) at Holiday Star Plaza. The show had the Ides of March, Shadows of Knight, Cryan' Shames, Ronnie Rice (but not the NC Six) but the real coup was getting Dennis Tufano (first time he appeared in ages!!! ... and I know he has recently surfaced last year back performing again) and catch this the AMERICAN BREED (I BELIEVE IT WAS ALL THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS). It was a great show to say the least!!
A couple of comments: I thought this would be the start of shows maybe every year as the place was packed. But I guess it was not meant to be. Also, I contacted the person at the time who run the Taste of Chicago for the city about having something like this, but never received a response.
What a shame the city does not care about its own stars I had to go Indiana to see a show of this magnitude.
Mike De Martino
President of the Lovejoy Music Club
A show like this would be a GREAT annual attraction. (Even I personally have never seen The American Breed perform live ... didn't think Gary did that anymore. I met him AGES ago at his Pumpkin Records Recording Studio ... this was even before he started working with Styx on their albums!) It would be awesome to see a TRUE "Chicago Gold" Concert featuring ALL of the artists of this era ... or, better yet (as I suggested before), do a TRUE Chicagoland Tribute and film it for all posterity by building a Soundstage Program around appearances by ALL of these artists together on the same bill ... give everybody a chance to come up and do three or four songs and record the thing for generations to come to enjoy. Get somebody like Stroud to host the thing ... put ALL the egos and personal frustrations aside for one night ... and just go out there and have fun one more time as a way of saying "Thank You" to all the Chicagoland Fans who have supported these acts for some 40 years now. It's a sure-fire hit if we can just pull it all together ... plus it'll give folks around the country to see just how much good music came out of our fine city back in the '60's. (kk)

How about devoting some time about Jim Lounsbury (the Dick Clark of Chicago Rock and Roll). Wonder what happened to some of the "regular dancers" he had on his Record Hop Show???
Keep up the great work!
I can honestly say that I never watched this program!!! But maybe somebody out there on the list would have an interest in putting a little something together??? (kk)

Here's one tune each from the two different eras that define The New Colony Six.
First, from 1966, their very garage-sounding "I Lie Awake", which "bubbled under" in Billboard at #111 ... but went all the way to #19 here in Chicago. This is the one that Ray Graffia, Jr. told us (during our exclusive Forgotten Hits / New Colony Six series a couple of years ago) was based on Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue", which some of the band members had just been studying in school. (You may ALSO recognize those opening notes from all of the United Airlines commercials that have been running these past few years!) And then one of their great, over-looked ballads, "Can't You See Me Cry", from 1968. This one rose to #52 on the national charts but made Chicago's Top Ten. It was released right in between the band's two biggest national hits, "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say". It certainly deserved a better fate ... and still sounds great today. A perfect example of the diversity offered by these Chicagoland Local Heroes.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Short Dose of "Helping Out Our Readers"

Boy does your copy of Loop De Loop need to be upgraded! Leave it to the Diamond record collector to set you on the path to the perfect copy!
Trivia: Those are the Bobbettes (of Mr. Lee fame) on background vocals! They had several releases on Diamond records around the same time. Also sending you their Diamond release, Sandman.
Tom Diehl

Actually, David Lewis sent that clip in with his comment so I just used his copy ... but thanks for the upgrade ... and the trivia lesson! (kk)

You will, of course, remember the hit "Betty Davis' Eyes." One day, while listening to the local college station, WCWM, Williamsburg, VA, I heard a parody called "Marty Feldman's Eyes." I was unable to call the station, and I never heard the record again anywhere. But it was unforgettable. Do you know who recorded "Marty Feldman's Eyes?"
Chris Astle
Sure do ... "Marty Feldman Eyes" was a clever novelty parody done by comedian Bruce "Baby Man" Baum. Although it never officially charted, it did get a bit of airplay for a few weeks back in the early '80's ... and was a regular feature on Dr. Demento's program, too! (Naturally, we've got it to share with you again today!!!) kk

I logged onto Hit Parade Radio to hear Larry Lujack but he was nowhere to be found. Do you know in what time slot he appears? I miss hearing him!
Steve Davidson
Lujack won't officially be on the air until September ... right now they're just getting the stream up and running in the hopes of lining up radio stations around the country to carry the programming. Stay tuned to these pages and we'll keep you posted as things develop further. (kk)

Wow! It's already been three years since Paul McCartney was 64!!!
We told you yesterday in our Leftovers Page about Macca's upcoming concerts at Citi-Field in New York City next month. Now comes word of another one of those awesome Liverpool Tours offers. Sounds like they've secured some of the highest price tickets for Paul McCartney's Saturday Night Show at Citi-Field. (July 18th)
They've packaged it together with a New York City Walking Tour of Beatles Sites, one night's deluxe hotel accomodations and a souvenir gift. Their note reads:
Along with the premium concert tickets to Paul's historic return to the NY Mets' (new) baseball field, you will also get to see many famous sights related to Beatles history including: Strawberry Fields and the Imagine mosaic in Central Park, the Dakota, Plaza Hotel, Ed Sullivan Theater, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Manny's Music, former U.S. Apple offices & much more.
You will follow in the Beatles' Manhattan footsteps! Visit the places that link Paul, John, George & Ringo with the Big Apple! This 2 1/2 hr tour is professionally guided, and is filled with historic & fun important Beatles facts along this long and winding road walking tour. There are also trivia questions and prizes along the way, so plan on spending a few Fab Four Fun hours in New York City. For

further information, email
Sounds like a blast! (Heck, I'll bet scalper ticket prices are going for two to three times what these guys want for the entire tour package!!!) Meals and transportation are not included ... and there are only 20 spaces available ... but if this sounds like Macca Mecca to you, drop them an email for all the details. (kk)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Assorted News and Comments

Bob Bogle, original lead guitarist and co-founder of the Ventures, died Sunday (June 14) in a Vancouver, Washington hospital, where he had been admitted after falling ill over the weekend. He was 75. Bob had been suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Bob was working in construction in 1958 when he met Don Wilson at a Seattle car dealership where Don worked.The two began to play music together, soon adding Nokie Edwards and Howie Johnson (replaced on drums by Mel Taylor after Howie's serious 1962 auto accident). An unsuccessful first vocal single on tiny Blue Horizon Records led to an all-instrumental sound that quickly yielded a #2 hit in 1960 -- "Walk - Don't Run" (re-made later as the #8 hit "Walk - Don't Run '64"). The Ventures became known for their "surf" sound that gave us the top 40 hits "Perfidia" (#15 - 1960), "Ram-Bunk-Shush" (#29 - 1961), "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" (#35 - 1964) and "Hawaii Five-O" (#4 - 1969). They also appeared 38 times on the album charts and, all told, have sold over 110 million albums wordwide. The group was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame last year, though Bob was too ill to attend.
-- Ron Smith

I have for the longest period of time wondered about whatever became of Barbara Evans, the lady who recorded "Souvenirs." That record, though it only Bubbled Under in Billboard, is one of the most beloved recordings of the late 50s by a solo female artistBarbara Evans has been #1 on the Top 100 of my Record Page with "Souvenirs" (1959) for the past several weeks and in our top ten for almost as long with "Charlie Wasn't There" (1961). There are 231 records currently on my page that are "eligible for charting" (my records are not) and "Souvenirs" has continued to beat all the others in terms of listenership. Other than the titles of several of Barbara's recordings, there is no information on the web about her. I found out some very sad news yesterday from her son. He informed me that Barbara passed away in April of 2000. The "Jersey Girls" (Denise and Bernadette) and I are planning on doing a special tribute to Barbara and her music in the near future.Those of you who wish to listen to "Souvenirs" and "Charlie Wasn't There" can do so by visiting my Record Page.
Ronnie Allen

Dean Torrence was the first celebrity I looked up after moving to L.A. in 1973. I remember driving up to his office on Sunset (Kittyhawk Graphics) in my little blue Pinto with the California custom license plate SURF C-T. Although he had no idea I was coming or who I was, he could not have been more gracious – inviting me in, chatting for a few hours and even giving me a copy of the rare Jan & Dean LP “Save For A Rainy Day” he produced independently after Jan’s accident (an album later stolen from me while I was working at KRLA). I’ve always been a big Jan & Dean fan and was with them quite a few times, including the night their “Dead Man’s Curve” TV movie debuted. Long after Dean has closed Kittyhawk Graphics down, I, as the Music & Entertainment Editor at Reader’s Digest, became the last person to hire him to create an album cover – which, as you’d expect, was excellent. You can see it on the Jan & Dean website. Please enter my name in the drawing for a copy of the book “When I Get To Surf City."
Gary Theroux

Will do ... and if you have gotten YOUR entry in yet, NOW is the time to do so ... seems kinda fitting if we draw the winners over The Fourth Of July Weekend, doesn't it?!?!? Just drop me an email and we'll add YOUR name to the list ... and have author Bob Greene pick the winners in just a couple of weeks! (kk)

and, speaking of Bob Greene ...


One of the things that got me through two four-and-a-half hour flights back and forth to San Francisco last week was reading Bob's 1993 book "All Summer Long", the tale about the reunion of three high school friends who decide to take one last summer's journey across the United States in the hopes of perhaps rediscovering their youth. (If there's such a thing as "coming of age" ... TWICE ... this is probably it!!!) I can't even begin to tell you how many parallels to my OWN youth and "shared memories" Bob relates along the way ... although supposedly a work of fiction, there's no question that many of his own recollections must have slipped out between the covers ... if Forgotten Hits has taught us anything over these past ten years, it's the amazing fact that so many of us were experiencing the EXACT same feelings across the nation at exactly the same time ... and, despite being literally THOUSANDS of miles apart and COMPLETE strangers to one another at the time, we all still have these memories in common to share all these years later. It's one of those jolts that reminds you about a far more innocent time (as well as why a TV Show like "The Wonder Years" hit such a strong chord with me way back when) ... if you grew up in the '60's, you'll live reminiscing as you watch these characters "coming of age" for the second time in their lives. I believe the book is now out of print, but I found my copy for a couple of bucks (in paperback) at There must be at least a dozen musical references contained here that fit PERFECTLY in our Forgotten Hits Forum ... maybe I'll find a way to relate a few of them in these pages somewhere down the line. Highly recommended ... in fact, I'd go so far as to say that reading it is the next best thing to having a good time. (kk)

And thanks again to The Rip Chords for donating copies of their latest CD, "Cobra Beach", to two lucky Forgotten Hits Winners!!!
Hi Kent,
I received my Rip Chords CD today. I love it. Many thanks to the Rip Chords and to you.

Kent ...
You were kind enough to send me The Rip Chords new CD, "Cobra Beach." The least I could do is review it for you. All of the songs are good. My favorites are "Beast Of The East," " Hello Summer," "Cobra Beach," & "Lights Out," from 1959 is an oldie but a goodie. It will be a great
addition to my Summer CD Collection.
Frank B.
Forgotten Hits Readers can order their own copy of the new Rip Chords CD through Mitch Schecter tells me that it will also be available soon on I-Tunes, Rhapsody Music and Yahoo Music as well as other online Download sites. (With all that's been going on here lately, I haven't even had a chance to listen to MY copy yet!!! Hoping to be able to do that this week.) kk

Forgotten Hits Subscribers received the latest edition of our "Leftovers Page" (#53!!!) by email this morning. Here is some of the music discussed and featured in that newsletter. Didn't receive YOUR copy?!?!? Then Get On The List!!! Just drop me an email ( and ask me to Put You On The List!

The Last Waltz by Engelbert Humperdinck

Rings by Cymarron

Turning Japanese by The Vapors

Let It Be Me by Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell

Runaway (The "Crime Story" Version) by Del Shannon