Friday, July 31, 2015

The Friday Flash

re: Radio News Of Note:
More comments about Chicago's new radio station sensation ... and a few OTHER radio comments as well ...

Neil Sabin, I owe ya one, pal. 87.7 ME-FM has won me over. Any station that ships out "Tough of Grey" and "Sail on Sailor" back to back earns my trust. Please forgive me for previous transgressions.
Why is it every time I see a Dead Head I feel like screaming, "Get a Life." Of course, I say the same thing about most soccer fans.
Chicago's majestic "Beginnings" off their Chicago Transit Authority album resonates as much with me today as it did 45 years ago. It may well be inch for inch and pound for pound the best overall rock song of the 70's with horns that are overwhelming. However, I know people who will argue that it's not even the 4th or 5th best song on the album. 

Chet Coppock 

Bob form Bolingbrook ...
It was such a nice surprise to hear Forever Autumn by the Moody Blues on Monday at around 9:10 am on Me-TV-FM. I actually have the album and soundtrack from War of the Worlds (I believe it's a collectors' item and quite rare) where some of the songs are narrated by Richard Burton. Nice change of pace and music format.
Have you and Forgotten Hits ever done a piece on this double album? The story and all is interesting. My grandfather, who has since passed away, recalled packing their belongings up for fear of being taken by these aliens. 


Big story out of Chicago this week was that John Records Landecker is leaving WLS-FM. Not "retirement", he says ... and he wasn't fired ... he's simply leaving of his own free will to pursue other interests (whatever they may be).  
According to Robert Feder's column, this is the first time Landecker has ever VOLUNTARILY left a radio station without having another job lined up. He told Feder: “I’m not leaving 94.7 WLS with the intention of going on another radio station at all,” he said. “If I do somewhere, fine. If I don’t, fine. But if I do, it’s definitely going to be on my terms 100 percent.”  

Landecker was quoted as saying that, even though he made his mark in a VERY big way in the '70's, the music of the '70's and '80's (and now even some of the '90's now playing on WLS-FM) was never his favorite ... that he would prefer playing '60's music ... meaning that he won’t miss is the music he’s been playing night after night: “I graduated from high school in 1965. All I really want to hear is the ’60s.  I’ve had it with the ’70s, the ’80s, now and all that. I don’t want to hear any of that stuff anymore. In about 10 years, maybe I’ll want to hear it again.” 
(That's kinda how I feel about "Jack And Diane"!!! - kk)

Will John be back on the radio anytime soon? Only time will tell. He seems happy to be hanging things up on his own terms ... and maybe he just wants to "enjoy life" for a little while ... (his daughter Amy stars on the popular new Amazon television series "Transparent" ... and a visit to the
west coast to visit with her fall into his immediate plans) ... but don't be surprised if we still hear his voice from time to time. John left that part of his future pretty vague ... but also open for any number of possibilities. (A Podcast perhaps???)  

Meanwhile, you can pick up a copy of his excellent biography here ...  

Spring for the deluxe edition with the bonus CD offering radio highlights from his illustrious career!   (kk)

John Landecker isn't the only WLS-FM name making radio headlines this past week ... Program Director Jan Jeffries has departed the station (and is off to Washington, DC) ... and, according to Chicagoland Radio and Media headlines this morning, new on-again / off-again morning man Jack
Diamond is also out the door. (I wonder if anyone will notice ... he has spent more time OFF the air than on the air over the past year!) It'll be interesting to see what direction the station takes once newly named Program Director Brian Thomas takes over the reigns. Stay tuned!  (kk)     

Talk about WLS big-wigs, you'll find a WHOLE bunch of them in this vintage clip I received from Chuck Buell last week ...

Somebody just brought to my attention this old TV Video Clip of all us On-Air Guys at WLS in 1972 being interviewed. Check the Guy at the Far Left! Is he rockin' the 70s Image or what?! And be sure to listen to his astute comments later in the interview about why there are no "Girl" Disk Jockeys!
1972 WLS On Air Guys

re: I've Often Heard It Said That Most Instrumentals Are Simply Too Good For Words:   

The list we ran the other day, supplied by Bill Oakley, has a few of our readers buzzing (in "Which Came First ... The Chicken Or The Egg" fashion) about some well-know instrumental hits and their vocal counterparts. (For me, I've RARELY heard a vocal version of an established instrumental hit that made me think the vocal arrangement SHOULD have been the one to make it ... but, as we see here SO often in Forgotten Hits, to each his own.)   

Anyway, here's more from Bill ... and one of his new constituents ...   

Just got through reading Sunday's FH. While I was reading it, I went through the first half of Bill Oakey's list of instrumentals-vocal songs. Needless to say, I didn't know that most of these vocal versions existed.  
In 1961, Conway Twitty recorded C'EST SI BON on MGM and it did quite well here in OKC. Billy Vaughn had an instrumental version of that same tune, but I don't think either charted nationally.  
I probably played some twenty songs from the first half of the list to see what the vocals sounded like. I didn't play them all the way through, however, maybe no more than half the length of the song.    

Here's more from Bill ...  

Hello Kent, 
Thanks so much for publishing the list of instrumentals with vocal versions. And thanks to the readers  who have suggested new titles to add.  
With regard to the many entries on the list that were recorded first as hit vocals, I established a criteria that the instrumental version had to be released as a 45 rpm single in order to be included.  Otherwise, you are quite correct that the “Muzak” album cuts would number into the thousands.  
There are a small number of exceptions to that criteria. I did include a few jazz standards that were not released as singles. I did that because very few jazz hits got played on Top 40 AM radio, and I felt  like the vocal versions by folks like Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, etc., were quite interesting to listen to. There are also a few movie and TV instrumental themes that may not have been released as singles.  
Here are a few more to add to the original list:  
312. ’Til Tomorrow - Oscar Peterson Trio. Vocal by The Four Aces, Eileen Rodgers 
313. Theme From The Wild Angels - Davie Allan & The Arrows. Vocal by The Visitors 
314. Tuxedo Junction - Ray Anthony / Earl Bostic. Vocal by Ella Fitzgerald, Frankie Avalon 
315. Theme From The Thomas Crown Affair (The Windmills Of Your Mind) - Michael Legrand / Arthur Lyman. Vocal by Dusty Springfield, Noel Harrison and many others 
316. Midnight Oil - Charlie Blackwell. Vocal by Dickie Pride
317. Soul Finger - The Bar-Kays. Vocal (Soulfinger) by Oscar Hamod & The Majestics 
318. Angela Mia - Ralph Flanagan. Vocal by The Crew Cuts 319. Straight, No Chaser - Thelonious Monk. Vocal by Gene McDaniels and Vocal (Get It Straight) by Carmen McRae 
320. Theme From The V.I.P.’s - Bill Evans. Vocal (The Willow) by Roy Hamilton 
321. A Night In Tunisia - The Modern Jazz Quartet. Vocal by Ella Fitzgerald and Vocal (Love Was Just An Interlude) by Anita O’Day 
322. Theme From Rio Conchos - The London Symphony Orchestra. Vocal by Johnny Desmond 
323. America - Arthur Lyman Group / Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. Vocal by Trini Lopez 
324. 55 Days At Peking - Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen. Vocal by The Brothers Four 
325. Velvet Waters - The Megatrons. Vocal by Bruce Gillespie, Tony Worsley, Jimmy Little Dickens

re:  This And That:   
Thanks for the heads up on the Zombies tickets.  I got 17th row, just left of center.  Four of the five original members will be together to play for this special show.  Out of all the shows you let us know about, this may be the one that will be the most important. I first saw the Zombies live at the Abbey Pub in Chicago a long time back, when they first reformed.  After the show I was able to meet Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent and they were two of the nicest people I ever met.  Don't miss this concert!  It will be one of the best 60s shows you have ever seen.  (Bill Mulvy)
If you check out my website ... ... I've had Colin Blunstone on the show  four times, Rod Argent twice.  Also, members of Moody Blues and, recently,  Gunnar Nelson. 
Regards - 
Geoff Dorsett
Radio Presenter
The Soft Rock Show  |  Kick Up the '80s  |  Supersonic '70s  |  Solid Gold '60s  |  All Our Yesterplays
Hey Kent,  
What a great summer for concerts!   I just learned that in December Darlene Love is bringing a Christmas show to the Genesee Theatre.  If by any chance you get tickets for that, remember us if you can ... would love to see her.   Since we missed out on our free tickets to Engelbert recently, this
would make a great substitute.  In the meantime,  enjoy the music this summer. 
We loved loved loved loved Air Supply in Elk Grove Village this week.  They blew us away ... what a great surprise! The man sitting next to me has seen them 25 times and made the concert all the more fun with his passion and enthusiasm.  
I don't know if we'll have access to any Darlene Love tickets ... but we'll see what happens.  Ronnie Spector is also expected to bring her Christmas Show back to The Arcada Theatre, too ... so stay tuned!  (Ron Onesti already has holiday shows lined up featuring Felix Cavaliere's Rascals, The Ides Of March, The Lettermen and Michael McDonald.  Check out the website for more details.) kk  
We went to go see Christopher Cross and Air Supply in Elk Grove Village this past Tuesday night.  
Yes, it was hot.   
Yes, it was crowded.  
But Air Supply COMPLETELY blew us away ... what a great show!  
Incredible to think that they have been together for 40 years already ... and their voices sound as fresh as ever.  Hope you got to see this fantastic show.  
Actually, no, we missed the entire Elk Grove Village Concert Series this year ... and this was one of the ones I really wanted to see.  (Tuesday Night we were at the Graham Nash show at The Arcada ... which was ALSO an incredible show ... but it would have been nice to see both of these incredible '80's artists.) 
I've seen Christopher Cross before ... (he's coming to The Arcada in November, too) ... but have never seen Air Supply.  Based on these two glowing reviews, I'm going to have to make it a point to get to one of their concerts next time around!  (When they played The Arcada a few months back we couldn't go due to other plans that evening.)  kk 
Dear Kent; 
Random thoughts of a kid who always wanted to be a full blown rocker: 
Whispers growing in volume: Isn’t Ronnie Onesti planning a bigger, bolder "Chicago High School Rock Party" than the blast he had for Marty Grebb a while back. Yes, he is. I don't know how a rematch could possibly top the show we saw several months ago. However, if anybody can make that kind of magic, it's Ronnie.  
Jimy Sohns is guesting with me at the VIP party to kickoff the national Sports Collectors show at the Stephens Center on Wednesday. How many copies did G-L-O-R-I-A actually sell - 6-7 million? 
Who is the greater female vocalist: Barbra Streisand or Aretha Franklin?  I'll hang up and wait for the answer.
Who is the most overrated female vocalist in rock history? Madonna by knockout. She makes Tom  
Waits sound like John Lennon. 
Chet Coppock
author: Buffone - Monster of the Midway  
>>>The times, they have a-changed ... and not necessarily for the better.  (kk)   
Yes, Kent's seems to be a "sign of the times" as Petula Clark used to sing. Now in this "enlightened age" it's more about life style choices and the corresponding radio station that reflects that choice.  Many times it's about what the dj or sponsors want to play rather than what the audience wants to hear. I think you are right that the surveys are useless because the people they survey are not thoughtful about their music and just think off the top of their heads. It may be a random sample of listeners who are surveyed but us fans of good music and "forgotten hits" are particular listeners with interesting taste and know that there are better selections to hear. 
>>>I would have expected (this is my opinion, of course), to have  him sing at least one of the two following songs, his 1961 recordings HALFWAY TO PARADISE   (Larry) 
He's sung them when I've seen him in concert!!!
Eileen (his #1 fan)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Our Recent Reviews

I'm not naive enough to believe that Tony Orlando doesn't have some 'enhancements' to improve his appearance, but Wikipedia tells us he is 71, and he looks FABULOUS.  WTG on keeping it in the middle of the road, Mr. Orlando!  And WTG to you, Kent, on keeping up with all the concerts!
I've got to tell you that Tony looks GREAT!!!  Very distinguished looking and still in great shape both physically and vocally.  (kk)
After reading your review of Tony Orlando, if I had been able to go to it, I would have expected (this is my opinion, of course), to have  him sing at least one of the two following songs, his 1961 recordings HALFWAY TO PARADISE and BLESS YOU. Always did like those two songs. Upon finishing your review, I thought of another Tony Orlando song, a song called DING DONG, released in 1959. However, from what I know and understand, this song was done by another singer by the name of Tony Orlando. Quite a coincidence to have two singers in the early days recording under the name of Tony Orlando. 
I don't know that Tony EVER reaches back that far!  But it was that early career that made Bobby Darin take Tony under his wing.  Over the long haul, (and following very much in Bobby's footsteps) Tony was able to establish a CAREER in show-business.  With the tremendous success of Dawn (hit records, sold out shows, a popular television series) Tony at one point had it all.  And then, as so often happens, drugs stepped in and blew it all to bits.
Tony's biography "Halfway To Paradise" is a GREAT read ... and Tony is VERY sincere when he thanks each and every one of his fans for "still being here".  Check it out if you get the chance!  (kk)

Thanks for your review of the Graham Nash concert.  My wife and I have tickets to see him on August 8th at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA.  I'm sure what you told us is pretty much what we'll see.  
I read his autobiography and it was truly fascinating.  It's a must read for any fan of his. 
Here's my review on my blog ... 
I've had your really fine blog listed on my rolling sidebar for a long time now.  Whenever you post something new, you jump to the top of the list. 
Charlie Ricci 
Thanks, Charlie!  Since we post nearly every single day, I appreciate the referrals!  (Happy to plug your website as well!)
I'm looking forward to reading Graham's bio.  You will TOTALLY enjoy his in concert presentation ... very laid back and very entertaining.  (kk)

Speaking of Graham's show in Philadelphia on August 8th ... 

My dad CHARLIE GRACIE will meet with GRAHAM NASH in Philadelphia August 8th to present him with a signed copy of his autobiography:  ROCK & ROLL'S HIDDEN GIANT: THE STORY of ROCK PIONEER, CHARLIE GRACIE (Alfred Music Press).  GRAHAM contributed comments to the Foreword! Will be sharing pics with your readers Kent!
Charlie, Jr.
Sounds like Graham can return the favor by presenting Charlie with a signed copy of HIS book!  (lol)  Anxious to read BOTH of these bios!  (kk)

Hi Kent - 
Enjoyed your reviews on Graham Nash and Tony Orlando.  
I met Tony back in 1961 at WLS with Dick Biondi when he was just a teenager promoting his song "Half Way to Paradise". It was quite an experience for me because my best girl friend and I  had nothing to do one day, so we took the old bluebird bus downtown to make a "crash" visit to WLS!! 
Were you aware that Tony wrote the New Colony Six tune, "I'm Just Waitin' Anticipatin' for Her to Show Up"? It was on their second album "Colonization".    
Kudos for Ron Onesti and all the GREAT entertainment he is bringing to the Chicagoland area!! And Thanks to you Kent, for keeping us informed on upcoming shows and summer fests.   
It was that New Colony Six song that I had hoped to talk with Tony about on Sunday but unfortunately we never had the opportunity to do so.  Tony also had a hand in writing the Barry Manilow hit "Could It Be Magic" ... but Orlando's name was wiped off the record's credits when it became a hit.  (Manilow had recorded an earlier disco version of the tune with his band Featherbed that failed and, when "Could It Be Magic" was first released as a solo record in the slowed-down, somewhat classical format most familiar to us, it failed, too.  Then, after the Top Ten success of "Mandy" and "It's A Miracle", Clive Davis (for whom Tony used to work) and Arista Records re-released it AGAIN ... and this time, thanks to Barry's newfound popularity, the record was hit ... but by now Tony's cowriting credit had been removed from the label ... and replaced with the name Adrianna Anderson.  (Equally as strange ... the original Featherbed single showed Orlando as the producer, too.  The solo version, like all of Manilow's early releases, were produced by Ron Dante.) Again, please read Tony's bio for all the details.  (kk)

A couple of Graham Nash concert shots, courtesy of our FH / Arcada Buddy Luciano Bilotti ...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Graham Nash

Unlike, I suspect, a good number of you reading this review this morning, I had never seen Crosby, Stills, Nash OR Young live in concert before ... in any context or configuration there of.  (I had the chance to see them back in 1970 on what would ultimately become the Four Way Street tour but took a pass.  And seeing them perform "their second gig" 35 times in the film "Woodstock" doesn't really count.)

It's not that I didn't enjoy their music ... for the most part, I did.  It was more a case of being able to only relate to the music of Graham Nash ... HE was the one I connected to musically ... and I just never felt up to spending a couple of hours with the other three.  As such, I've got to tell you that it was a REAL treat to see him perform in a solo setting last night at The Arcada Theatre.  (As Graham himself described it on stage, "Playing in a setting like this, I don't have to do any of Crosby's songs ... or any of Stephen's songs ... or any of Neil's songs ... instead I can play whatever the fuck I want.")    

And that he did.  In what can only be best described as a "career retrospective", Nash took us through his amazing catalog of music, performing two one-hour sets, accompanied by guitarist (and harmonizing vocalist) Shane Fontayne.  Lest any of you out there think for even a moment that this stripped down duo couldn't possibly pay fitting tribute to this music, let me assure you that together they presented a formidable showcase on stage.  Fontayne is a seasoned veteran, having performed lead guitar duties for the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Sting and, more recently Crosby, Stills and Nash, filling in all the gaps to perfection.  (Graham told us during the show that he and Shane spent some time together after the last CSN Tour wrapped up and wrote twenty brand new songs ... then booked studio time and recorded them all in eight days ... so we can all look forward to a brand new Graham Nash solo album in the not-so-distant future.)

They kicked off the show with a couple of Hollies tunes ... "Bus Stop" and "King Midas In Reverse" ... the only visits of the evening with Graham's earliest past success.  The rest of the evening was sprinkled with offerings from Nash's solo works, some of the new material and the bulk of his contributions to the success of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Graham Nash is an excellent story-teller and entertained us throughout the evening with little anecdotes regarding some of his best-known and best-loved music:

Shopping with Joni Mitchell in Los Angeles where she spotted a beautiful vase in the window of a small shop and just HAD to have it.  And then, upon returning home, in the most innocent of conversations, Graham suggesting: "I'll light the fire while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today."  

Observing that while putting together a set like the one he performed Tuesday night just how much GREAT music they had accomplished over such a short period of time ... and how much MORE great music there might have been had they not all been "fucked up so much of the time" ... leading directly into the big CSN Hit "Wasted On The Way".

Telling of the time CSNY were flying out of a Canadian airport and Crosby, Stills and Young all made it through security without a hitch ... yet Graham was the one who was stopped and taken aside by the "Immigration Man".  

Talking about spending time with a drug dealer in Miami, killing time before he had to catch a flight back to California, only to be challenged "You're supposed to be this great songwriter ... I'll bet you can't write a song right now before you go" ... only to create "Just a song before I go ... to whom it may concern" ... and several other very moving behind-the-scenes looks into his whole creative process.  (Truth be told nearly ALL of Graham's stories, entertaining as they may be, involved a significant amount of drug use ... clearly a HUGE part of his life throughout the years.  He has a new autobiography out called "Wild Tales" ... also the title of one of his solo albums ... which I can't wait to read, knowing full well that throughout every chapter I will be constantly asking myself "How can he possibly remember ANY of this if he was THAT fucked up at the time?!?!?"  Regardless, Frannie bought an autographed copy ... and, having now personally experiencing just what an entertaining story teller he really is, I can't wait to read it!)

In addition to the songs previously mentioned, Graham (who was in EXCELLENT voice throughout the night, by the way) also performed his classics "Chicago", "Simple Man", "Military Madness", "I Used To Be A King", "Marrakesh Express" and, as an encore, The Beatles' "Blackbird" (with Shane Fontayne taking the lead vocal and guitar part) and "Teach Your Children", which inspired a full-house, PACKED house sing-along.

All in all, two hours of musical magic with a musical legend.  Two-time Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee Graham Nash put on the perfect show Tuesday Night and I am SO glad that we had the chance to see it.

There were only nine stops booked on the US leg of this tour ... a short jaunt to be sure ... and one of them happened to be The Arcada Theatre ... yet another HUGE feather in the cap of Ron Onesti, who is the guy making things happen here in Chicago.  (A few other shows have since been added, most of which have quickly sold out.  More info on Graham's website:   

I cannot help but beam with pride as great artists like Graham Nash and, a couple of nights earlier, Tony Orlando, not only grace the stage of The Arcada Theatre but publicly rave about what a beautiful theater it truly is ... and how happy they are for having the chance to perform here.  SO many great shows coming up ... and new ones being added all the time.  Be sure to check The Arcada Website and pick up tickets from a few of your favorites!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TONY ORLANDO - Live at The Arcada Theatre

>>>It's a big week for concerts here this week in Chicago ... we've already got FOUR shows lined up!!!  Sunday we're off to see Tony Orlando at The Arcada Theatre.  We saw Tony several years ago and it was one of the best shows I've seen.  He had a KILLER band at the time that just blew me away.  Hoping for a similar experience this time around.  (Would love to talk to Tony, too, before or after the show if it's possible.)  Then, on Tuesday Night it's back to The Arcada to see Graham Nash.  Graham has only scheduled NINE stops on the US leg of his current tour ... and The Arcada is one of them ... so this should be a VERY special evening of music.  (I've been a lifetime fans of Graham's work with The Hollies, Crosby, Stills and Nash and all of his solo ventures ... but have never seen him perform live before ... so this will be a real kick for me!)  On Thursday we'll be catching The Chicago Experience (who lit up the stage at The Arcada during The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert a few months ago) will be performing an outdoor show in Rosemont.  We missed them the last time around as we were out of town so I am REALLY looking forward to experiencing the COMPLETE Chicago Experience this Thursday Night!  And then on Friday it's another outdoor concert as Daryl Hall and John Oates light up the stage at RiverEdge Park in Aurora.  Frannie and I have been Hall and Oates fans FOREVER ... and have both seen them several times in the past ... but never together ... so this should be a very special night for us as well.  (Now if we can just keep it under 90-degrees and push the rain off until the weekend!!!)  kk    

You have all those concerts this week?  I expect reviews of every one!  And Kent.....this means 'war'.  Off to my own concert! 

Well, here's the first ... Tony Orlando at The Arcada Theatre on Sunday, July 26th!  

Tony took his show and turned it upside down at The Arcada Theatre Sunday Night.  

For years his big show-stopper has been his tribute to all the veterans who have defended America over the years, having them rise and take applause from the rest of the audience along with a heartfelt thank you for their courage and their service.  It has been a big part of Tony's show for many, many years now ... and always draws a powerful, emotional response from the audience ... so it came as a bit of a surprise when he started his show with this feature Sunday Night.  Unfortunately, few from the somewhat sparse crowd responded so it played out with a little bit less impact than it would in a larger auditorium of fans ... yet this was still was a very moving part of the show.  

Orlando next launched into his biggest and best known hit, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree", which became an anthem for soldiers returning home from overseas (despite its original lyrical content geared around a man returning home from prison.)  

BOTH of these selections came as a bit of a shock being used so early in the proceedings.  As I mentioned before, these have always been two of Tony's biggest show-stoppers.  He then talked a little bit about how Dawn first got started and put together a short medley of their first two chart-topping hits, "Candida" and the very similar sounding "Knock Three Times".  These were followed by two of my Tony Orlando Favorites, "(Say Has Anybody Seen) My Sweet Gypsy Rose" and "He Don't Love You", Orlando's last #1 Record, a remake of the Jerry Butler tune "He Will Break Your Heart".  

And then that was it ... the Tony Orlando / Dawn hit parade drew to a close after just five brief flings with the past ... a bit surprising because in all, between his stint with Dawn, his early teenage years as a solo artist and his one-off Top 40 Hit "Make Believe" by Wind, Orlando has managed to hit The National Top 40 seventeen times.  To only feature five of this hits did seem to cheat the audience a little bit.  

The thing his, he's so damn likeable it was hard to complain ... so instead of hearing the hits we came expecting to hear, we were instead treated to cover versions of songs by other artists like Ben E. King, The Beatles, James Taylor and others ... not that he didn't do ALL of this music justice ... there was just a bit of a "monotone" feel to it all, with little in the way of "highs" and "lows".  (Tony's medley of James Taylor's "Fire And Rain" and Prince's "Purple Rain" was pretty powerful, however, especially knowing the low end of Tony's career, clearly spelled out in his biography, "Halfway To Paradise", one of the best rock bios I've ever read ... and highly recommended.  Hey, you can pick up a used copy RIGHT NOW for a penny!!!)  

As before, it is Tony's incredible back-up band that steals the show ... and Tony has never had a problem with stepping out of the spotlight in order to showcase this incredible group of musicians.   

These guys have been with him now for the past 12-18 years and are a stellar group of musicians in their own right, covering all genres of music in perfect style.  (It's not too often that you'll see a group of musicians this versatile and tight to pull off back-to-back songs by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, followed by a spot-on, kick-ass version of "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin!) 

This is all the more amazing as Tony tells us that the band's ring leader, Kerry Cole, who sings as well as plays guitar and keyboard and has been with Tony now for eighteen years, had a stroke four years ago ... yet he never missed a beat on stage Sunday Night and is one of the most talented and entertaining musicians we've ever seen.   

Brother Tracy Cole wails on guitar and the band is filled out by newbie (12 years onboard) Jim Shelton on bass, Tony's brother David Orlando on keyboards ("I used to change his diapers," Tony pointed out!) and the incomparable Toni Wine (who has worked with Tony in one capacity or another for the past 54 years!) also on keyboards and background vocals.  (Toni did take the spotlight for a minute to sing her signature song "Groovy Kind Of Love", a #1 Record for both The Mindbenders and Phil Collins!)  [Editor's Note:  Once again EVERY website I checked this morning listed the wrong man on drums ... so unfortunately I can't share his name with you today.  SIX websites cited Michael Jackson as Tony's drummer ... but Michael Jackson is WHITE ... and Tony's drummer Sunday Night was most DEFINITELY of a darker complexion!!!]  (See back row)

The group is booked solid throughout the end of the year, playing lots of casinos and show lounges ... and this is, quite honestly, how they come off ... very much a "show lounge" type of act ... just not necessarily the "main lounge".  

We last reviewed their show back in 2006.  (Despite hours of searching I could not find that review ... probably lost forever as part of our most recent computer crash.)  

Because I went into that show without any preconceived expectations, I was blown away by the talent of Tony's band ... and his graciousness to allow them to take center stage for a good portion of the show.  Knowing that coming into Sunday Night's performance, I had higher expectations as to what I would witness on stage ... but wasn't really sure how many of those original members we saw nine years ago might still be with him.  Turns out they ALL were ... and I swear there where times where it felt like the exact same schtick was being presented, nearly word for word, all these years later.  That's got to make a band feel somewhat stagnant yet, on their own, these musicians really did shine.   

Overall ranking:  5 out of 10.  (I guarantee you there were dozens and dozens of audience members who would have given this concert a perfect score ... perhaps one of the most telling comments I heard as we were leaving came from a gentleman sitting behind me who told his group, "Thank you for dragging me along to this thing ... it was actually really good"!!!   

We weren't dragged ... we WANTED to go ... I guess I just expected a bit more "updating" to the routine ... and a few  more legitimate Tony Orlando hits along the way.  (kk)   

The Tony Orlando Hit List:  
When you see a list of this size, it's incredible that he only featured FIVE of these tracks during the course of a two-hour show!   

1961 - Halfway To Paradise  (#17) 
1961- Bless You  (#11)   

1969- Make Believe  (#17)   

1970 - Candida  (#1) 
1970 - Knock Three Times  (#1) 
1971 - I Play And Sing  (#20) 
1971 - Summer Sand  (#19) 
1971 - What Are You Doing Sunday  (#26) 
1973 - Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree  (#1) 1973 - Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose  (#3) 1973 - Who's In The Strawberry Patch With Sally  (#13) 
1974 - Steppin' Out (#7) 
1974 - Look In My Eyes, Pretty Woman  (#11) 
1975 - He Don't Love You  (#1) 
1975 - Mornin' Beautiful  (#14) 
1975 - You're All I Need To Get By  (#34) 
1976 - Cupid  (#21)  

TONIGHT:  Graham Nash at The Arcada Theatre!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

50 Year Flashback - July 27th, 1965

Major chart action on this week's KDKA Chart, too ...

The Beach Boys leap from #14 to #1 with "California Girls" ... and The Righteous Brothers are right behind them, climbing from #11 to #2 with "Unchained Melody" / "Hung On You".

The Beatles debut at #10 with their latest, "Help!"  And Billy Joe Royal seems to have a hit on his hands as "Down In The Boondocks" jumps from #37 to #25.  Bob Dylan's scoring well with "Like A Rolling Stone", too ... up to #36 from #49.

And check out "You Were On My Mind" by We Five ... #1 a week ago in Texas ... yet just first debuting on this "Tri-State Area" chart from KDKA!  (Although based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, KDKA's 50-Watt Signal could be heard as far as Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, New York and the Canadian province of Ontario ... and that was just during the day.  At night that signal would reach nearly the entire eastern half of North America!)