Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ray Herr ... and The Ides Of March


Today we present a short Chicago Rock Music History Lesson.
VERY special thanks to the late Jeff Lind, who wrote the INCREDIBLE series spotlighting "The History Of Chicago Rock" for The Illinois Entertainer back in the '70's and '80's, to Guy Arnston, Publisher of The Illinois Entertainer for allowing us to run this info on the web page today, and Clark Besch for sharing with us what just may be the RAREST of all of the songs recorded by The Ides Of March ... a Kapp Records release that I've certainly never heard before ... and a pretty good tune at that!
Read on!  (kk)

Hey Kent,
Here is some of the History of Chicago Rock, as penned by the late Jeff Lind, concerning the equally late Ray Herr:

The Ides Of March
"You Wouldn’t Listen” was written and sung by Jimmy Peterik with the others adding harmony vocals on top of a basic rhythm track. The song skyrocketed to #7 in Chicago, and made it as high as #42 nationally. It was an excellent start, but soon a lot of people learned that the group was not from England, but instead from Berwyn! Since it was “in” to be British at the time, the Ides found themselves out on their amps, so to speak. Their second single, “Roller Coaster,” was a tighter, more controlled song than their debut hit, yet it went nowhere, as did their next release, “Sha La La La Lee.” James Michael Peterik was still writing engaging tunes with catchy phrases and memorable melodies, but the public was not buying it. And for that matter, the disc jockeys had stopped playing the Ides. 1967 was the valley between the peaks for the Ides of March. 
Something was missing, as Peterik decided that it was time to diversify the sound, so he added trumpeter Steve Daniels from Lyons in early 1967. Other local groups were using horn accompaniments supplied by studio musicians, but the Ides were the first to incorporate horns into their own group. Their fifth Parrot release “Hole in My Soul” was a catchy Peterik-penned single with Daniels’ trumpet bleating out a Spanish-flavored lead. Yet, as far as the music world was concerned, tis was another bomb. 
At this time, Ray Herr, a folk singer from Arlington Heights who had been gigging with the Legends of Time, joined the Ides as lead singer and rhythm guitarist. This allowed Peterik to expand his scope on lead guitar. Herr’s first recorded effort with the group was “Girls Don’t Grow on Trees,” the flip side of “Hole n My Soul.” 
Parrot dropped the group, though they were quickly picked up by Kapp Records. The first release was “Nobody Loves Me: and highlighted Herr’s lead vocals. Ray’s voice had a whispering smoothness to it, whereas Peterik’s was developing a controlled growl. So Jim handled the up-tempo numbers while Herr took the lead on the ballads. Both were natural showmen,and they slowly began cramping each other’s style. Soon, the two could not get along. The group, however, struggled on, and worked from the professional vein to become a tight unit. 
In late 1969, Steve Daniels left, and horn men John Larsen and Chuck Soumar were added to the lineup. The musical accent moved towards driving brass arrangements, with a stronger emphasis on Peterik’s rough vocals. The group began to fall into the prototype horn band of the era (i.e. Blood, Sweat & Tears). The group left Kapp Records and was looking for another company that would let them record songs done in their new style.  Warner Brothers expressed an interest, and the Ides signed a pact in the early autumn of 1969. This signing was a contract of better things to come for the Ides, even though their first national release since “Roller Coaster” on the WB logo, called “One Woman Man,” was less than a spectacular hit. Yet it set a base for what was to come in the new decade, and set the stage for the big break. 
If ever there was a song that had all the ingredients to hit even before it was released, it was “Vehicle.” It had everything — a concrete constructed metaphor of lyrics by Peterik; a loud, thumping rhythm; a frantic guitar break; and energetic,  belting brass arrangement. In less than a month, “Vehicle” began its meteoric rise to the top of the charts — first #1 in Chicago, then #1 in the nation. It even reached the million-seller mark, and was a hit across the ocean, a development that was a first for a Chicago group, and rather ironic considering their initial British connection. 
Suddenly the Ides were catapulted into superstar status, and were the only Chicago group to be making it at the time. It was a roller coaster ride that they had never dreamed of, and included national tours, the recording of their first LP, and notoriety in major publications. The album Vehicle sold well, and their new single “Superman,” an esoteric version of “Vehicle,” resulted in a successful follow-up hit. 
However, there were several conflicts in the group at the time.  First, the rift between Peterik and Herr had grown out of proportion, causing Herr to leave to pursue a solo career. He later hooked up with guitarist Jeff Stevens, changed his name to Ray Scott, and moved into a country-folk vein. Herr spent a brief stint with Orphanage during that time. Ray Herr (Scott) is now with Calico, a C&W group featuring Cathy Betts, Jeff Stevens, John Wesley, and Tom Schonfeld.
-- From September 1975, Illinois Entertainer

Ray Scott
The career of singer / guitarist Ray Scott has taken on the characteristics of a carnival, complete with roller coaster rides, spook houses and barkers, with Ray himself taking the part of the wandering minstrel.
Concerning the roller coaster, Scott has risen to the heights of being very near to a successful breakthrough  as a recording star, only to see his hopes plummet to obscurity thanks to several unfortunate , although, not unusual circumstances. He has been a member of many musical aggregations during his 13 years as a performer, but his solo career has always been the sustaining factor for him, even more so today than it was in the beginning.
That beginning was a coffeehouse in the basement of the Recreation Park Fieldhouse in Arlington Heights. (Does anybody remember the Uptown Below?) Ray remembers, “Things were really primitive then. I recall one night in particular when I broke two strings on my guitar, and I didn’t have any spares with me. “  He continues, “This girl who was there let me use her $7.95 Kresge nylon string models. I had to tune all the strings up at least three octaves before you could hear the guitar over my voice! It was the closest I’ve ever come to performing an unaccompanied vocal solo!”
From these humble beginnings, Scott worked his way through the usual morass of garage punk bands that were present in the area in the middle 1960s. The first group he was in, he shared guitar duties with John Pavletich, who is now lead guitarist for the Cryan’ Shames.
Now, came short stints with the Legends of Time and the Jaguar.
Then, in 1967, Ray’s cousin, Mike Considine, told him that the Ides of March were looking for another vocalist to compliment Jim Peterik. Considine was managing the Ides at that time, and he felt that Ray’s soft, whispery vocals would be a perfect foil to Peterik’s controlled growl. Scott, who was then known as Ray Herr, jumped at the chance to become a member of an established rock group. (The Ides had already scored with one national hit, “You Wouldn’t Listen,” in 1966.) Scott spent four years with the Ides, and was part of the whirlwind ride in 1970 when the group topped the nation’s charts with “Vehicle” (Scott played bass on the recording). During those days, he either sang lead, or shared the vocal lead on songs like “Nobody Loves Me,” “Hole in My Soul,” “Time for Thinking” and others from  the Vehicle  album.
Scott left the band during the summer of 1970, and it was disheartening to him, but he continued to play solo. By 1971, he had hooked up with an outfit known as Orphanage, a group who cut some commercials as well as some demos for Epic Records. All the demo tunes had been written by Scott, including the classic and somewhat ironically titled “Easy Money,” a country-flavored tune that foreshadowed his later musical efforts in that genre.
The Orphanage deal never really got off the ground, but by this time, Scott was becoming a seasoned solo performer of country and country - rock songs. To add some diversity, he picked up Jeff Stephens, a veteran country performer, to play lead guitar. By 1972, Scott and Stephens, as they called themselves, began building a solid reputation as a country duo. They made a trip to Nashville and cut “Song Our Partner Sang,” an old Carl Davis tune, with the help of some of Nashville’s finest session men, including Grammy Award-winning harmonica player Charlie McCoy.
Ray recalls, somewhat bitterly, the events that followed shortly thereafter, “WJJD began playing the song on the air, and the audience response was enthusiastic. Then, some guy calls the station wanting to find out more about Scott and Stephens. The station checked into it and found out we were from Arlington Heights, and not from Nashville, and almost immediately stopped playing the record.” Scott continues, “It effectively cut off any chances of us recording again. We were reduced to playing bars and clubs.”
In early 1975, the twosome joined up with Stephens’ brother John and singer / songwriter Kathy Betts to form Calico. They eventually added a bass player and drummer to become one of the tightest country bands in the area. Ray occasionally sang, but his role was mainly one of providing instrumental support for Kathy.
The group’s manager, Mike Considine, had begun talks with several labels in Nashville, and demos were cut. It looked like Calico was on the verge, but public indifference to the band finally killed their chances of making it. Disillusioned, Ray left the band to do the thing he knew best, solo performing, and he is still doing it today.
In the manner of all wandering minstrels, he has a large collection of songs (a conservative estimate would be 300) in his repertoire, and he’s adding to them all the time. He is apt to do a full set of country tunes one night, and come back with a Jim Croce medley, or an Eagles medley, the next. Also in the tradition of the roving minstrel, he prefers the intimate atmosphere of a pub to the blaring cacophony of the concert hall. It helps him to establish a more friendly rapport with the audience. But Ray is more than just a singer; he is a consummate performer, and on any given night, he can and has doubled as a comedian. His wry sense of humor has brought laughter from such diverse audiences as those in attendance at the Country Music Inn in Wheeling to those at the Spot in Evanston.
Above all of those things, however, is a firm commitment by Scott to entertain the audience and to play what they want to hear. Because of this, he is able to invest a lot of warmth and sincerity into the songs that he sings.
Of course, there are hassles in the carnival world of Ray Scott. He has to deal with a lot of “barkers” — bar owners, booking agents, and other industry people. And then he has to deal with the spook house — constantly being chased by his musical past, especially his past with the Ides.
It is easy to see why he becomes weary and somewhat miffed when a club owner introduces him as “Ray Scott, formerly with the Ides of March,” or when some intoxicated customer yells in a request for one more chorus of “L.A. Goodbye.” Almost every artist in the business probably shares the feeling that if they are to grow and progress, they must build upon their musical past rather than remain in it, and with Ray, the feeling is no different. Still, it is tough to dodge ghosts all the time, and even the name change from Herr to Scott did not lead Ray completely out of the spook house.
If he had it to do all over again, Scott would probably do it the same way, as a wandering minstrel, roaming from club to pub, charming the ladies, and raising the spirits of the audience through  his own entertaining brand of music.
-- From August 1976, Illinois Entertainer

The Factory
The Uptown Below, a coffeehouse located in the basement of the Recreation Park field house in Arlington Heights, was the launching pad for the careers of many local musicians. Even years after they had left and gone on to better things, old folkies could still be seen jamming in “Wreck” Park, as it was lovingly called.  Many times, they would congregate to sing songs that they could not normally do within the framework of their then-current musical situations. Several of these sessions led to the formation of the Factory, a supergroup of sorts.
Ray Herr, singer and guitarist, remembers how  it all came together in 1969: “There were a bunch of us that liked to meet up in the park and play old rock & roll. We thought it might be fun to do it on record.” All were involved in other musical projects, so Factory was just a name that they took to record. Herr was with the Ides of March in 1969, and that band was beginning its ascent to the top. Drummer Bill Mooney was with another well-known area band, the Little Boy Blues, while bassist Rocky Hughes played for a band called Wild Honey. Marty Wallace was summoned in to play lead guitar, and Jeff Milne rounded out the band as lead singer.
Milne was a songwriter as well, having written “Give Your Mind Wings” for the Ides in addition to releasing his own record prior to the formation of the Factory. It was Milne’s idea to record Huey “Piano” Smith’s rock standard, “High Blood Pressure.” After waxing their frenetic, raving version of that classic, the group also worked up an original, “Lonely Path,” for the flip side.
After this, the guys smiled at each other, packed up their gear, and went about their own respective businesses. The song never became a hit, but they didn’t care; they had had a good time recording it, and that is the essence of rock & roll.
By the way, Ray Herr, now known as Ray Scott, was seen performing at the Ground Round in Hoffman Estates not too long ago. It’s no doubt better than playing in a factory.
High Blood Pressure/Lonely Path U.S.A. 922 1969
-- From August 1979, Illinois Entertainer

A typical Ides set during this period was more than just a re-hash of album music. The group also did a fine version of Buffalo Springfield’s “Bluebird,” which segued into an old rock & roll medley with Peterik ducktailing his hair in a parody of Elvis Presley. Other cover versions included Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” and BS&T’s “More and More.”
Peterik even wrote a song that lampooned another popular trend of the day‚ bubblegum music. After a mock-flamenco intro to “Julie Do Ya Love Me,” Jim went into his “Bit O’Honey” routine, sample lyric: “If you got one mouth, she lasts all day ... rumor has it that for a little bit o’ money, a little bit o’ honey goes a long, long way ...”
With an entertaining show such as this, the Ides knew that they were ready to take their show on the road. The itinerary included stops in both Florida and California, but the whole thing was almost aborted when Herr departed suddenly.
There are two versions to the story surrounding his departure. As Herr told me in 1970, “We were in Florida when I got my draft notice. I had to go back to Chicago to investigate my status with the draft board. The last thing on my mind was playing in a band. About a week later, I get a call from one of the guys saying that I’m kicked out of the band. I was pissed off!!”
Peterik tells it slightly differently. “Ray left us hanging in the middle of the tour. He just up and left without telling any of us. But, we found out that we could get by without him, so nobody ever really got back to him to say he was out for leaving; it was more or less assumed. There were a lot of hard feelings at this point, and it seemed like a better idea to let it pass.”
Ray Herr played some solo gigs following his 1970 exit from the Ides. By 1971, he was fronting a band called Orphanage, who also included guitarist Don Paveletich, later the lead guitarist for the Ides - Shames Union! Herr then teamed up with guitar picker Geoff Stevens to form Scott & Stevens. They went to Nashville in 1972 to record “Song Our Partner Sang” with Charlie McCoy and some of the other Nashville heavies of the group Area Code 615. The song did well until WJJD jocks discovered that the duo was local, at which time they stopped plugging the record.
Scott & Stevens later became Callico, which recorded some songs with Mike Considine, who tried to land a deal with MCA in Nashville, but  it fell through. Herr played solo again until 1978, when he became lead singer in the Ron Showboat Band (now Showboat). Herr is currently fronting a trio based in the Chicago suburbs, and as always, has a knack for total entertainment that harkens back to his Ides days.
-- From October 1980, Illinois Entertainer
submitted by Guy Arnston in Algonquin

When I met Jim Peterik in 2006, we spoke backstage and I asked him about the Ides' Kapp single, "Nobody Loves Me," and said I loved that song although he did not sing it. 
He corrected me and started singing the part he sang and I was thinking Ray Herr sang the main lead.  The song remains the only Ides 60's 45 not on CD and remains one of my faves (also, Jim P wrote it!).  It was great that Jim remembered it!  Anyway, I think Jim's music is amazing and his memory is too.  You might ask Jim if my memory is correct?? 
Clark Besch
Pretty song ... I've never heard this one before.  (And it's been stuck in my head for DAYS now!!!  lol)  
Maybe Jimbo will see this and fill us in on some of the details.  
Thanks, Clark.  (kk)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tying Up A Few Loose Ends

More mail than I can keep up with again this week ...
So here are a few loose ends to tide us over until our Sunday Comments Page! 

Just for kicks, I checked The60sShop mail over the weekend ... and found a couple hundred emails in there.  (I haven't used that address in YEARS!  And really only check it every great once in a while ... so if you're sending me stuff for posting on our Forgotten Hits Web Page, PLEASE use the email address instead ... especially if your notices are even the least bit "timely"!!!)
But I did find a few things in here worth mentioning, so here goes ...
First off, a VERY Happy Belated Birthday to our buddy Henry Gross ...
This would have been a GREAT party to attend ... had we only known about it in time to let our readers know ... and with SO many readers in the Nashville and Memphis area, I'll bet several of you would have loved to attend!
HENRY GROSS'S  60th Birthday Party celebration will be held on April 2nd, 8:00 till 11:00 PM at Blues City Cafe, Beale Street, Memphis TN.   He'll be partying and performing with bassist,  MIKE CHAPMAN, one of Nashville's finest! He hopes to see you there to share the fun and thank you for your support of his musical journey over the years.
Become a Henry Gross fan on Facebook ... Check out Henry's videos on Youtube ... And his Myspace page by following the links on the left..
Two new CD'sRight as Rain

And, if you're in the mood for cruisin' ...
Come twist the night away with me, Chubby Checker, on The Malt Shop Memories Cruise as we bring back this era in a way you've never experienced before! We are setting sail October 27-31, 2011, from Tampa, Florida to sunny Freeport, Grand Bahamas on the Carnival Inspiration.
You'll enjoy live on board performances by your favorite ’50s and ’60s artists:
The Beach Boys Chubby Checker & The Wildcats Little Anthony and The Imperials Jay Black, an American Original Shirley Alston Reeves, original lead singer of The Shirelles Jimmy Beaumont & The Skyliners Lou Christie Kenny Vance & The Planotones The Fireflies The Devotions The Del Rays Elvis Tribute Artist Gino Monopoli
Special Appearance by Shawn Klush ‘The Closest Thing to the King in Concert’
Hosted by Emcee Extraordinaire
Jerry Blavat ‘The Geator with the Heater’
But it doesn’t stop there:
  • Mix and mingle with the stars
  • Dance the night away at the Sock Hop, Beach Party and twist contest
  • Put on your blue suede shoes and enter the Elvis contest. Grand prize $2500
  • Relax with a cool drink in the hot tub or pool Indulge yourself with a spa treatment
  • Take a chance and roll the dice in our Vegas-style casino
  • And remember, all meals and concerts are free!
Don’t Miss the Boat! Reserve your spot on the Malt Shop Memories cruise today!

And, of course, we've been giving quite a bit of press to THIS one ... 

Here they come ... again ... hey, hey, it's The Monkees! 45 years after their groundbreaking show and hit singles first took televisions and record players by storm, we're proud to announce that original Monkees members Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork will be reuniting for their first live performances together in a decade! See An Evening with The Monkees - The 45th Anniversary Tour in a city near you:

An Evening with The Monkees - 
The 45th Anniversary Tour  -
North American Itinerary

Fri. June 3 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park
Sat. June 4 - Clearwater FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall
Sun. June 5 - Pompano Beach - Pompano Beach Amphitheater
Mon. June 6 - Jacksonville FL - Florida Theatre
Wed. June 8 - Glen Allen VA - Innsbrook Snagajob Pavilion
Thu. June 9 - Morristown NJ - Mayo Center
Fri. June 10 - Uncasville CT - Mohegan Sun Resort
Sat. June 11 - Niagara Falls, ONT - Fallsview Casino Resort
Sun. June 12 - Niagara Falls, ONT - Fallsview Casino Resort
Wed. June 15 - Lowell MA - Lowell Auditorium
Thu. June 16 - New York NY - Beacon Theatre
Fri. June 17 - Westbury NY - Theatre @ Westbury
Sat. June 18 - Atlantic City NJ - The Borgata
Sun. June 19 - Vienna, VA - Filene Center at Wolftrap
Mon. June 20 - Hershey PA - Hershey Theatre
Wed. June 22 - Pittsburgh PA - Stage AE
Thu. June 23 - Detroit MI - Fox Theatre
Fri. June 24 - Columbus OH - LC Lifestyle Pavilion
Sat. June 25 - Cincinnati OH - Aronoff Center
Sun. June 26 - Indianapolis IN - Murat Theatre
Tue. June 28 - South Bend IN - Morris Performing Arts Center
Wed. June 29 - Waukegan IL - Genesee Theatre
Thu. June 30 - Merrillville IN - Star Plaza Theatre
Fri. July 1 - Minneapolis MN - Minneapolis Zoo
Sat. July 2 - Minneapolis MN - Minneapolis Zoo
Sun. July 3 - Council Bluffs IA - Harrah's Casino
Tue. July 5 - Denver CO - Paramount Theatre
Fri. July 8 - Tacoma WA - Pantages Theater at Broadway Center
Sat. July 9 - Portland OR - Sleep Country Amphitheater
Sun. July 10 - Saratoga CA - Mountain Winery
Wed. July 13 - Bakersfield CA - Fox Theatre
Thu. July 14 - Santa Ynez CA - Chumash Casino
Fri. July 15 - Cabazon CA - Morongo Casino
Sat. July 16 - Los Angeles CA - The Greek Theatre
Plus you can catch Peter, Davy, and Micky on tour in the UK this spring:
May 12th - Liverpool - Echo Arena
May 14th - Manchester - Apollo
May 15th - Newcastle - City Hall
May 16th - Glasgow - Clyde Auditorium
May 19th - London - Royal Albert Hall
May 20th - Sheffield - City Hall
May 21st - Birmingham - NIA Academy
May 23rd - Plymouth - Pavillions
May 24th - Cardiff - CIA
May 25th - Nottingham - Royal Centre
More concert dates to be added.

Hi, Franke Previte here.
On May 24th, I am proud to say, that "The Best of the Franke and the Knockouts" will be released on Friday Records. You can go to your local store or order it on line.
Thanks for being a fan.
Franke's been busy this past year promoting the anniversary of "Dirty Dancing", for which he wrote a couple of the films big hit tunes.  Good to see that his work as a recording artist is finally being made public again.  Franke and the Knockouts scored three straight Top 30 Hits in 1981 and 1982 ... "Sweetheart" (their biggest, #10); "You're My Girl" (#27) and "Without You" (#22) ... it'll be nice to have clean, crisp copies of these again!  (kk)

Kent - 
In case you missed my interview Friday night with Peter Altschuler (the son of Murray the K0  --  it is on my website. It was really good.
They say that whenever you write something in anger, the smartest thing you can do is put it away for 24 hours before sending it ... and then re-read it the following day to see if you still feel the same way.  Too often, we react in anger and say or do some things that we can't take back or make amends for later.
Such was NOT the case in my recent rave-out against the powers that be over at WLS-FM ... I STILL feel that removing Scott Shannon from the station he brought back to life is a HUGE mistake.
However, lest I also be accused of "speaking out of both sides of my mouth", I should point out that in doing so, the station HAS addressed two of our biggest, on-going concerns in radio:
First of all, in a day and age where more and more on-air jobs are disappearing and being eliminated ... and SO much great talent is out of work ... we should commend WLS-FM for creating radio jobs for talented dee-jays.  A syndicated program like The True Oldies Channel, good as it is ... and as much as I enjoy it ... does, in fact, eliminate at least six or seven on-air jobs in every city it airs when it features only The Scott Shannon Program, 24 / 7.  So, in THAT regard, we should commend WLS-FM for doing their part in keeping the "live", immediate aspect of radio alive in The Windy City ... it's good for the long-suffering industry.
Secondly, they have also addressed another recent pet peeve / rave-out of mine regarding the use of the word "oldies".  I stated (several times in fact) that if you're going to play the music of the late '70's, '80's and even early '90's, that you really had absolutely NO business calling yourself an "oldies station".  So, removing The True Oldies moniker from their broadcast day was, without question, the right thing to do if this is now the music they are going to most concentrate on playing.  (Calling itself "Chicago's Greatest Hits of All-Time Station" still falls heavily in the false-advertising category, however, if you're going to limit yourself to such a narrow selection of music ... but that's a topic for another day.)
And finally, I have to admit that this new mix of music (most of which might not fall into the traditional category of "oldies") HAS brought about the opportunity to hear some "new" music that has been absent from the airwaves in quite some time ... in the '60's, '70's and '80's category ... so, to that extent, WLS-FM DOES seem intent on "shaking things up a bit" with their play list ... which is ALWAYS a good thing by Forgotten Hits standards.  Yes, you still hear all the stuff you expect to hear every single day ... but now it's mixed in with more and more "surprises" and, nearly every time I've switched over this past week, I've been pleasantly surprised by at least one "Wow!" factor song.
And, quite honestly, in hindsight, I guess I shouldn't really have been all that surprised in 94.7's format change.  A quick check of their recent timeline (spent trying to establish an "identity" here in Chicago) only makes this point that much clearer ...
Perhaps we should have considered this before we got TOO emotionally attached to ANYTHING pertaining to Chicago's 94.7 FM!  (Based on this WLS-FM timeline, provided by Scott Childers' "History of WLS Radio" Website, it looks like SOME sort of change was inevitable!!!  In fact, Scott's True Oldies format lasted longer than many of the OTHER attempts at capturing listeners for this station.
That being said, we know the oldies fans are a loyal bunch.  Leaving NO station in town focusing on the music of the '50's and '60's anymore, Chicago radio is PRIMED for the launch of a new, successful outlet for this music.  (Having two stations devoted to covering the late '70's, '80's and early '90's is fine ... and I'm sure I'll still switch over and listen from time to time ... but a station DEDICATED to playing the "REAL" Oldies would go over gang-busters here in Chi-Town ... especially right now.  (Is anybody listening???)  kk
Meanwhile, one positive comment in particular that we received after our most recent post / rave-out really meant a lot to me ...
Thanks, Kent. Your comment was very well written. Thanks for posting.
Rob Feder
Here's a bit more on Johnny Preston:   
Tom Cuddy

We turned quite a few Forgotten Hits Readers on to Bob Greene's 1964 diary "Be True To Your School" a few years back ... and it's always fascinating to see how someone captured their thoughts at an exact moment in time (rather than with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and often embellished and enhanced memories.)  Sounds like FH Reader Clark Besch as a few diary entries of his own to share with our readers ...
Ralph, I always enjoy your diaries of the 60's and I have included a few Chicago friends on this email.  For those unfamiliar with the legendary record store owner from Lubbock, Ralph DeWitt lived in Chicago in the 68 - 70 period and loves the Cryan Shames (like someone else you all know).  In his 1968 diary below, he had just moved to Chicago from San Antonio a few days earlier.  Thought you might enjoy this.
>>>1968- Chicago - Friday - Walked to school (Glenbard East). Bought my textbooks at the book store. Found out nobody up here wears white socks. I did and everybody made fun of me. "Hey, look at da kid wit da white socks!" The phone man came to our house, but didn't get the phone installed.
Ralph, I wore white socks and still do often.  Back in the 60's, I don't think anyone in Kansas did NOT wear white socks in the 60's!
Attached is a clip from me and my brothers' recordings from Dodge City, Kansas.  After you hear what we put up with to hear Chicago radio, you will appreciate how much I loved radio and how lucky I felt Ralph was to be moving to Chicago at this time!
The clip is from WCFL's Jim Stagg show late March, 1968. 
Highlights:  Too Much Talk - Paul Revere and the Raiders (to be on Stagg line interview later in week), ads for Allen Chevrolet, Meisterbrau, CFL VIP to be: Cryan Shames at the Blue Village!!  Then, Bits & Pieces (honcore, as CFL called oldies), Get Out Now - Tommy James and the Shondells.
You will note that it is probably around 5 PM Central time and the sun about to go down and for WCFL to switch its antenna power to a direction away from Dodge City.  Before this happens, you can see how hard it was to get CFL over KTOK in Oklahoma City.  You can even hear them playing a Bobby Vinton record and giving their calls, ruining my "Get Out Now" recording.  I was taping to get a copy of the song because I only bought favorites or ones I could buy in DC, so it was turning dismal at this point before the tower switch at end of clip when song disappears for a few seconds and then you can slightly hear it before I apparently gave up in disgust and stopped the tape.
Oddly enough, WLS and WCFL BOTH suffered in DC from Oklahoma City station.  WLS at 890 was same frequency as KBYE in OKC and CFL was at 1000 same as KTOK in OKC.  Not likely people from OKC heard WLS, but they had the great KOMA juggernaut and WKY as nice subs.  I got those perfect in DC, so maybe I did have more luck listening?
SO, don't take for granted how lucky you were to hear WLS and CFL in the clear back then as opposed to my luck in Kansas!!
>>>1969- Chicago - Saturday - Called in sick at work (KMart Foods) so I could visit with Joe Bernosky, who is staying with me for a few days, up from Belleville. We rode the motorbike. We drove around in my VW, drove over to a pizza place, had pizza. Joe played "Aquarius" on the jukebox.
Aquarius was #1 on WLS this week 69. 
Clark Besch
I believe it was 1955 when Ol' Tennessee Ernie had a tune issued that went gang busters.
"SIXTEEN TONS" ... The BIG BAD JOHN of the 50s
Somewhere in the 60s, I went to a friend's house to hear his stuff.  He couldn't tell me WHAT HE had, so we fired up the portable and went through several songs I knew and heard again for the first time in some years.  Then I saw the Sixteen Tons.  He said that this was a heavy rocker. I looked at him in a critical way.  SIXTEEN TONS ... a rocker?!?!
From the first note played, I knew this is NOT the same version I knew.  The flip side (I ordered a new copy a few days later and it, too, was the new issue) of this song is HICKTOWN.  Quite a story on that side, buuuuuut the new version of Sixteen Tons?  This version is on YOUTUBE.
Swingin' Shepherd Blues by Canada's Moe Koffman
Multiplication - Bobby Darin (from the movie "Come September").
Bobby Darin was also in a movie called CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D.  Does anyone remember the song he did in it?  Can't find that info on the internet ... who, where, etc.
One hit wonder for Sandie Shaw, and A VERY JOVIAL song, PUPPET ON A STRING ... different than Elvis' 45
On the SOUNDTRACK label, I paid $5 for this 45, one song per buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut the movie version of Jailhouse Rock izzz better that the 45 issue, yet, the 45 of TREAT ME NICE is better than the soundtrack. Flip of this 45 is Young and Beautiful
The LUMBERJACK by Hal Willis; Flowers on the Wall - Statler Brothers
An instrumental got air play for a length of time, then went away.  Couple of years or so later, it was getting played again, and this time caught on and the group shot to fame for some years.
Lonely Bull by Herb Alpert
WILD WEEKEND - the Rebels
What's interesting about getting used records is the name a pervious owner is on them and for some reason of the five or six I have, the previous owners were gals!
Golden Treasure issue of PONY TIME / LIMBO ROCK- Chubby Checker
BACHELOR BOY / THE NEXT TIME - Cliff Richard, a British pressing
HOPELESS- Andy Williams
LOVE IS BLUE -  Paul Mauriat
TOWN SQUARE- Floyd Crammer
SOFT WINDS / COMIN ON- Bill Black's Combo
ALMOST PERSUADED- Ben Colder, parody of the hit version
Ben Colder was an invented name by a famous TV and movie star who had one hit under his real name, and that singer was THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER by Sheb Wooley.
Your one "Newsletter" sounded like you were gonna be OFF THE AIR for a while, and I figured either that, or GONE, thus I sent you that note of appreciation and the picture with the idea that, if you liked it, YOU'D download it and print out a copy for yourself.
Am NOT complaining as to what was done, I just never expected THAT!
Robert Black; 
North York C; Ontario Canada
We're all about sharing memories here in Forgotten Hits, Robert ... thanks for sharing yours ... and enjoying and appreciating what we do!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
That Memory Lane website you posted is a spinoff of classmates dot com. A very interesting site that connects classmates, but it cost money and they bombard you with offers and teases. Today's kids all use Facebook or Twitter, classmates is aimed at us 'older', less technical folks with a little cash. They were investigated for online abuses. Caveat Emptor.
Sweet Dreams
Charlie Frase
Interesting ... I just did a quick span of the "home page" and it looked like some pretty interesting stuff for oldies fans ... but thanks for the tip!  (kk)
This site is great.
Google this:   CalfkillerOTR
They may re-direct you to Times past.  Go to it.  Has all kinds of radio / tv even Opry tv shows.
DJ Stu

Kent ...
Here's a sample of Gus Gossert's Show.
Frank B.
Some of the Doo-Wop fans on the list will probably enjoy this one!  (kk)
Go to web page, click on an artist, you will get lyrics & video.   Pretty cool.
Bob Jones
Ron & Kent ...
I thought you two might want to put in a bid for some of your favorite Chicago Players.
Frank B.
Gee, guess I should have hung on to some of my cards, eh?!?!?  (And think about all the kids who just stuck 'em in their bicycle spokes!!!)  kk
Kent ...
Have you seen this one yet ?
I think we should offer them recording contracts now ... before they get agents.
Frank B.
It's frickin' AMAZING!!!  (And why The Asians have passed us by in virtually every area!!!)  Fact is, look at these kids' faces ... the sense of pride in their accomplishment ... and the complete and utter JOY in what they're doing.  This is SO sadly lacking in most of our kids today.  (I know, I know ... spoken like a REAL Old Fart Grandpa!!!)  kk
It’s that time again friends!
Please Vote for Cool Scoops as BEST Ice Cream Shop on the Jersey Shore HOT LIST.
Every vote counts!
Go to the link below:
Type in cool scoops in the search area and please vote!
Paul Russo
Happy to cast our vote again ... we LOVE Cool Scoops!  (kk)

My favorite WLS-FM jock, Danny Lake and, from what I understand, a faithful reader and fan of Forgotten Hits, has some cool links on his WLS-FM website ... a neat little "Where Are They Now" feature ... you can check it out here  (kk):
Danny Lake's "Where Are They Now" feature
A few weeks back we told you about an experiment that R.I.P. Renfield was running regarding what five songs you simply cannot live without on your iPod.  We just received our first result ... and wondered if Gary had had any responses yet as well.  (In order for this experiment to be carried out properly, it would take several weeks to determine which songs you were eliminating and which ones would make your "final five" ... so it still may be a bit premature to find the answers ... after all, a guy like Joel Whitburn, with over 44,000 songs on HIS iPod, might NEVER be able to narrow it down to just five!!!  lol)  kk

I'm submitting my favorites now ... I cannot wait for the guy with the 45,000 plus to whittle his down.
I did the best I could. I managed to get mine down to ten but I found it was a matter of five weekday and five weekend ... so here they are in no particular order.
Badge ... Cream
I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down ... Paul Young
Soulful Strut ... Young-Holt Unlimited
One Headlight ... Wallflowers
Time for Living ... The Association
One Day In Your Life ... Michael Jackson
Takin' Somebody With Me When I Fall ... Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers
MacArthur Park ... Richard Harris
White Flag ... Dido
Spaceship Orion ... Ozark Mountain Daredevils
These ten songs were songs I never skip on my ipod.
So, there you have it. I would like to point out that the Larry Gatlin song is the closest I get to Country ... not a fan.
I haven't received any other responses so far ... but Stacee seems to have gotten the idea ... kinda like when I suggested that EVERYONE gets in the rock and roll hall of fame but then you have to vote OUT FIVE groups a year ... who'd really be left at the end of the day?
oh well ... I should have just asked what songs do you NEVER skip ... would have been less work for your readers!
I'm curious to see what other songs make the "final five" ... imagine building an iPod playlist of 200 songs out of what everybody else considers "the best of the best"!  (kk)
Our FH Buddy Artie Wayne has a few more interesting stories to share with our readers ... be sure to check them out via his website below!  (kk)
Kent ...
How ya' doin'?
Thought you and your readers might like to read about a few of my experiences with DAVID GEFFEN back in the day. - "The most powerful man in Hollywood and how he got that way!"
While I was searching for a picture of JACKIE DeSHANNON on the internet, to use in my forthcoming book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG”, I found one that I had taken in 1968 and happily discovered it was used as a cover on a recent CD of hers!
Artie Wayne
And, speaking of interesting books ...

Hi Kent,
I don't know if you know about LinDee or her book, but it's sounds like something your readers would like. 
I've never met her, except through e-mail, but she seems to have a real love for her subject ... it takes one to know one;-)
Take care,

Fuzzy Dice News, April 7, 2011
Hello Rock & Roll Radio DJs Fans!
Guess what?! You can now download a Kindle version of 
Blast from Your Past!  Rock And Roll DJ’s: the first five years (1954-1959) from Amazon!
I wasn’t going to just blurt it out, but I’m so excited for everyone to see that I really have been working on the book, and we’re getting closer to the full - throttle print edition. I gave up guesstimating a publication date – and you’ve all been so patient, but just know that it’s coming up. Thank you for hanging around and for the encouragement so many of you have offered.
FYI, the ebook is priced at only $3.99 as an introductory teaser to the series; come July 1st the price will increase to $4.99.
In the meantime, tell all your friends about the pre-print book teaser! Blast from Your Past! Rock & Roll Radio DJs: the First Five Years 1954-1959 is available now as a Kindle EBOOK. Remember, ebooks are still generally no-frills, basic formatting and poor quality images (and fewer images) than any print version can offer, but at least it’s something to whet your appetite for the good ol’ days. You’ll find fifteen fun and entertaining tales of your favorite DJs about their lives behind the microphone at a time when Rock & Roll was heating up the music world.
And btw, if you’re not aware, you don’t absolutely need a Kindle in order to purchase, download, and read ebooks – Kindle has an app for your PC or laptop – downloads are no-cost, quick and easy! If the link doesn’t work, just go to Amazon and type “Kindle for PC” in their search field.
You can download a sample of the first few pages if you want to know what you’re in for – but nearly as important, whether you buy it or not, please consider clicking on the "Like” (thumb’s up!) button. If you appreciate my efforts to offer a heartfelt tribute to you and wild-n-crazy guys and gals who kept us rocking, this will help further my DJ projects. And like with American Idol, the more who “Like” you (vote for you), the higher your favorite books rise to the top!
If you do purchase the ebook, please find a minute in your hectic day to write a review – again, Amazon counts on their customers to rank their products and books. (And some comments may end up as testimonials in the print version – if you don’t want to “go public” with your comments on Amazon, but wouldn’t mind being a testimonial contributor, feel free to write to me.)
Latest fun find for Rock & Roll Boomers: Remember Burma-Shave signs on your road trips? We even turned the radio down just to read them aloud.
-      And if you haven’t seen this site full of vintage radio surveys yet,,  you may remember the site’s owner, Ed Brouder – aka “The Man from Mars” – at WDRC / Hartford, CT (1970s). (His site’s a little tough on the ol’ eyes, but with these types of sites, I’ve found highlighting the text helps readability.)
Blast from Your Past! Rock & Roll Radio DJs: the First Five Years 1954-1959 [Kindle Edition]
LinDee Rochelle , Bill Gardner , Lonnie Napier

As always, please feel free to comment – catch ya on the flip side.
Rock on!

I don't know if you still wondered about the Sundazed deal with Curb but here is the final word on that.
Davie Allan
Our backyard (and into the back room and garage) was flooded in December from record rainfall and the nightmare continued with three months of construction. As bad as that has been, even more galling is the canceled deal between Curb and "Sundazed".
The following note came two days after we received a  revised bill on the rain repairs:
(From one of Curb's lawyers, regarding the deal to re-release all the 60's soundtracks of which I was a part on CD):
We received an email from Sundazed the other day that Sundazed will not be able to work with the economic model we proposed. They offered an alternative model, but such model will not work, as it does not cover the amount that Curb is required to pay out to royalty participants and leave something for Curb. Sundazed's decision came somewhat as a surprise to me as the model that Curb proposed was not questioned by Sundazed until just recently.
And then this from Bob "Sundazed" Irwin:
I simply cannot work with the Curb "model" without losing money on each and every release sold - their proposed royalty structure is far beyond anything that could be considered reality.  I had talked with them about this for over a year, so it should come at no surprise to them ...  And I worked extremely hard to propose an alternative (which also would have been extremely costly to us, but manageable), but they rejected that two weeks ago.  I absolutely cannot spend any more time on this - the math does not work, they will not accept my proposed terms, and I now have to let it go and move on to other things.
That's too bad ... I'm sure a number of our readers were looking forward to these releases, long out of print, including many of which never saw release in the CD format.  Keep us posted, Davie, if anything changes ... but, from the sounds of things, it looks like this is a pretty dead issue.  (Aren't SOME sales at SOME rate better than NO sales at a 0% royalty rate?!?!?  Some of this stuff just doesn't make sense anymore ... meanwhile, EVERYBODY loses.  I cannot help but wonder what "new" audience this music might have found had a workable agreement been reached.)  kk
And don't forget ... tomorrow is National Record Store Day ... independent record stores all over the country (and there really ARE quite a few of them left) ... will be celebrating with exclusive, indie releases, including some "limited collectors editions" by major stars like The Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen ... selling custom-made vinyl editions of material that WON'T be available in all of the major chain and "big box" stores!
You'll find all of the info here:
And can even search for a participating store near you!  Check it out!!!  (kk)