Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Saturday Survey - August 4th

8-3-68 - KSDR - Watertown, South Dakota

Located near the Minnesota / South Dakota border and about 200 miles straight west of Minneapolis, Watertown has just over 20,000 people now and is 5th largest city in the state.  In 1968, this survey had almost ZERO oddball charters, but one such is the Troggs' follow-up to their big hit "Love Is All Around."  "You Can Cry If You Want to" is hardly a song I would have chosen for a follow-up to a big hit and others must have felt that way, too, here in the US, as it bombed totally here.  

Luckily, there were plenty of cool songs KSDR was featuring this week including the new New Colony 6 45 and our own 1910 Fruitgum Company at #1.  One song that I have always loved was a top 10 country and easy listening hit as well as a minor pop hit for Glen Campbell, "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife."  Is this song politically correct today?  I don't know, but it's a pretty song from a different age.
-- Clark Besch  

*Survey Courtesy of Frank Merrill

Here in Chicago, "Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife" charted by both Glen Campbell and Wayne Newton, with Glen's version peaking at #23 and Wayne's topping out at #37 ... both got a fair amount of airplay, however, and I will admit to liking this song, too.  (So it's one of my featured picks this week!)

Actually there are quite a few of my favorites on this short list of tunes ... personal favorites include "Sky Pilot" by Eric Burdon and the Animals (#2), "Turn Around, Look At Me" by The Vogues (#4), "Don't Take It So Hard" by Paul Revere and the Raiders (#6), "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams (#8), "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" by Status Quo (#13) and the whole "Plus 8", including their pick-hit of the week, "Do It Again," still one of my all-ime favorite Beach Boys songs.


7/30/68 – The Buffalo Springfield album “Last Time Around” is released
Also on this date … The Ventures record “Hawaii Five-O”

8/3 – 8/4 / 68 – The Newport Pop Festival is held in Orange County, California … 200.000 attend. Steppenwolf, Sonny and Cher, Tiny Tim, Jefferson Airplane, The Chambers Brothers and Country Joe and the Fish all appear.  (How’s THAT for an eclectic cast of characters?!?!?)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Wilmer and the Dukes

So this is how it started ...

Hey Guys,
I just found this and I never heard of these guys.  Apparently from Buffalo, they were a regional sensation in '66 - 7. Here is their biggest hit (which I don't think was ever played here or LA -- am I wrong?)
Gary Goldblatt 

Not played here. Maybe my friend Kent will be good enough to throw this out on his web site so we can find out more.
Mike DeMartino 

And it worked ... we heard from a few of you out there who were pleased to see Wilmer and the Dukes featured the other day in Forgotten Hits with their somewhat obscure 1968 hit "Give Me One More Chance."  (#65 in Record World, #78 in Cash Box and #80 in Billboard.)  Incredibly, it was a bigger hit in Canada where it peaked at #18 on the CHUM Chart (and was released as Wilmer Alexander and the Dukes).

We gave you the lowdown that the band hailed from Rochester, New York, and featured Wilmer Alexander on lead vocals and saxophone, brothers Ronnie and Monte Alberts on bass and drums (respectively), Doug Brown on guitar and Ralph Gillotte on keyboards.  (From what we've since been told, it sounds like they were actually from Geneva, NY.)

It was an odd mix in that Wilmer was black and all of the other band members were very soulful white guys.  

It sounds like they played the bar circuit for ages, eventually becoming the opening act for many of the major artists who came through the area.  (Tommy James and the Shondells, Wilson Pickett, The Association and Sly and the Family Stone among them.)

Their two charted US hits ("Living In The USA," a cover of the Steve Miller tune, peaked at #114 in Billboard in 1969) were both released on Aphrodisiac Records, for whom they also recorded one LP.

For years rumors have circulated that Wilmer and the Dukes were the inspiration for the fictional band Otis Day and the Knights from the hit movie "Animal House," who actually became a REAL band thanks to the success of their version of "Shout!" used in the film.  (kk)

Good Morning!
I was amazed and pleased to see Wilmer and the Dukes mentioned in your Forgotten Hits column. I saw this Rochester band several times in my early youth playing at several Western NY venues along with Donnie Potter and Bat McGrath and The Shades, all local popular bands. (Try listening to Donnie Potter singing Over The Rainbow!) Anyway, Wilmer and the Dukes had an lp / cd released on a slightly one-off label (Tetragammon???) which, of course, didn't do well nationally but made a little noise in Rochester. I still have my cd version and love the single "Give Me One More Chance." 
Thanks for shaking my memory tree about my musical days gone by. By the way, another Rochester band at this time was Black Sheep, with lead singer Lou Gramm(atico), later to form Foreigner. 
Thanks for all you do. 
Jim Hill

Wilmer and the Dukes were based in Geneva, New York.  "Give Me One More Chance" was issued in early April of 1968.  It made the Top 10 locally where I reside and recall hearing it over the transistor radio.  
Mike Markesich

Apparently "Give Me One More Chance" "borrowed" a little bit from Otis Redding's "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa" ... but it really is a GREAT song ... I've listened to it at least a dozen times now ... and this one should have been a much bigger hit than it was.  Surprisingly, it didn't chart at all on Billboard's R&B Chart!  (kk)

So glad to see Wilmer and the Dukes featured in Forgotten Hits.  They were one of our favorite bands to see back in the day and although they remained Rochester's best kept secret, never really doing much nationally, I remember waiting in lines around the block in order to get in to see them at some of the clubs where they were the headliners.
Thanks for rekindling another pleasant memory from my youth.

And this was a pleasant surprise ...

You'll find their song featured on my August 11th Saturday Survey Chart for KQV in Pittsburgh, PA.
Clark Besch
So we've got THAT to look forward to, too!  (kk)

Hi Kent -- 
Hope you are finding the time to occasionally escape from your busy schedule and have some fun this summer!
Wilmer Alexander, Jr. and the Dukes, i.e. Wilmer and the Dukes. What can I say other than they were an amazing live performing band. 
I was co-owner of the Rustix, their main competitor for bookings and for fans as well. The good thing was that there were so many clubs, bars and colleges to play that neither band ever was out of work. Both bands played very similar songs as soul and Motown were the songs most covered. Doug Brown, the guitar player for the Dukes was the writer of most of the originals that the Dukes performed including their chart hit, "Give Me One More Chance."  Because Wilmer was the sax player, the group that they most resembled was probably Junior Walker and the All-Stars -- other than the fact that the four "Dukes" were all white, but full of soul. 
Ralph "Duke" Gillotte was the keyboard and B-3 player, bandleader, and oldest member of the group.  (He was born July 13th, 1936.)  His nickname was where the name "Dukes" came from. The Albert brothers, Ron (drums) and Monte (bass), rounded out the five man band. Bob Eagan defected from the Rustix and became the bass player for the Dukes in 1965. 
The group was managed by Ebo Albert, Ronny and Monte's father. That didn't work for the Beach Boys but it seemed to for the "Dukes". I remember Ebo as somewhat scary! I sure wouldn't have wanted my father following me around to every night club I went to. Ebo didn't trust many so he collected the money at the door! 
People literally lined up to see the Dukes. Contrary to most things written about the group, they were from Geneva, NY, home of Hobart and Smith colleges, about a half hour east of Rochester, NY.  
Although the Dukes played there often, Buffalo, also mentioned as their home in various articles, is another hour-plus west of Rochester. That's where they were picked up and were signed to Aphrodasiac Records. They recorded one very good album and about four or five singles, one with a picture sleeve. They were active from 1961 to 1974. They had a successful reunion in 1988 to raise funds for Wilmer, who was quite ill. After this series of concerts, the remaining members began touring as the "Legendary Dukes" with Eric "Mitty" Moore taking over vocals and sax. "Duke" passed away in 1999. They continued until 2011, recording one album in 1994 on Forevermore Records, often hitting the Carolina Beach Music charts. 
I don't know who submitted it, but there is an excellent, thorough and factually correct history of Wilmer and the Dukes on Wikipedia. 
Sure wish I could send you some pictures but my "attach" feature is not working. For those who are curious, you can easily find pictures of them on the internet and songs on YouTube. They were a classy looking and great group for sure! 
Danny Guilfoyle
I have heard from several people who are having problems trying to attach files thru AOL ... looks like I got out of there just in time!
Thanks for your very thorough piece ... much appreciated.  I've also run links to the two other sources you recommended. 

Be sure to watch for Wilmer and the Dukes to pop up again on August 11th as part of our coast-to-coast Saturday Surveys charts.

Meanwhile, I've also posted a couple of great YouTube clips, including one for their cover of the Steve Miller tune.

Thanks, All!  (kk) 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thursday This And That

kk …
According to Ron Smith's book …
7/31/1966 = The first Cream concert is held in Windsor, England.
Don't ask me who's singing lead. L-o-L !!!

Hooray for Sir Paul ...
He's putting on a show for the crowd and he asked that no phones be out.  The least people could do was leave them OFF.  This obsession with selfies, pictures, and peering at your phone during a concert, ballgame, or other event staged in front of large crowds is reflective of the vast majority of people who are so self-absorbed. Quite pathetic, I say.  If a performer / speaker says snapping pix is okay, go at it.  If otherwise, RESPECT the wishes of the person. 
Mike Markesich  

Hi Kent, 
I’ve been looking at all the top 100 charts you’ve been posting lately and was wondering how many songs that enter the charts in the bottom 10 (position 91 - 100) ever make it to the top 10?
Has anyone ever researched this?
Nisswa, MN (summer)
Sun City AZ (winter)
My guess is … a whole bunch of 'em … but I don't have any hard statistics to back that up.  People research the charts from all sorts of angles so maybe somebody out there has a better handle on this than I do … it would be kind of interesting to see what percentage of "bottom 10" records eventually ended up as "top 10" records.  Anybody out there got any ideas on this one?  (kk)

I don't quite understand what Sirius XM and Billboard Magazine were going for with this week's special Hot 100 #1's special. 

The idea was to play EVERY #1 Record, chronologically in order, beginning with the August 4, 1958 debut chart (featuring Rick Nelson's "Poor Little Fool") right on up to this week's #1 Record by Drake.  And it was all supposed to air on Channel 3, beginning at Noon Eastern Time on Tuesday, July 31st, and running straight thru Sunday Night, August 5th.

I couldn't wait to hear this thing and, since I'm usually at work for about ten hours per day anyway, figured this would be the PERFECT opportunity to catch most of it.

But guess what … it wasn't available on streaming!!!  It came thru loud and clear once I was in the car but I could not listen to it on the computer … which makes absolutely NO sense at all.  (Did they really think people were going to drive around for 300 hours to listen to this thing?!?!)

So instead I listened when I could but missed the lion's share of the broadcast.  What a dumb idea to turn a GREAT idea into such a convoluted mess!

And, to add insult to injury, I swear some of the songs they played were not the original hit versions of these #1 Singles!  (Or, at the very least, poorly done remixes that greatly altered the listening experience for one looking so forward to hearing this special.)

All in all, a bust for me … and yet another Sirius XM disappointment.  I am SIRIUSly reconsidering renewing my subscription to this service.  With the new car equipped for Bluetooth streaming, I may just make Rewound Radio my permanent go-to selection.  (Unless, of course, I can ever get to the dealer to see if he can upgrade my software to pick up Me-TV-FM!!!  That opportunity may FINALLY present itself later this month when I’ve got a few days off from work.)  kk

Speaking of Sirius XM, we told you about the special Beach Boys Interview coming up on August 10th, moderated by Rob Reiner.

Well, they taped it last night (July 31st) at The Capitol Records Tower and, by all accounts, the surviving members had a great and very amicable time laying this down.  (It was the first time they had all been together in the same room since their 2012 50th Anniversary Tour which, as we all know, ended poorly when Mike Love and Bruce Johnston split to continue their own Beach Boys thing, leaving the possibility of a follow-up album to their very successful "That's Why God Made The Radio" in the dust.

I will definitely be listening on the 10th … let's just hope they don't find a way to fuck this up, too!  (kk)

And, speaking of The Beach Boys, Endless Summer Quarterly, the premier Beach Boys Magazine has just launched a new website so we wanted to tell you all about it …


Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine,
Bruce Johnston and David Marks
and the late Carl Wilson & Dennis Wilson
Now in its 31st year, The Beach Boys' publication of record, Endless Summer Quarterly [ESQ] magazine, has launched its new website. The launch marks the first time most of the magazine's back inventory is being offered online (dating back to 1993).

Endorsed by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks and many other integral figures in the band's history, ESQ continues its historic coverage of The Beach Boys with each quarterly edition of the magazine.
ESQ's new site also offers a SMiLE Shop. Love The Beach Boys' SMiLE music, or enjoy Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE? You've come to the right place. Interviews with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Van Dyke Parks, Al Jardine and Frank Holmes historically track the 1966-1967 origins of the music, recording sessions, lyrics and illustrations. ESQ also offers collectible CDs exclusive to readers of ESQ.

This is your chance and opportunity to take out a yearly subscription to be eligible to win collectible and autographed CDs, photos and LPs from The Beach Boys. SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
Sponsored by

Hmmm … with all this extra "bandwidth," maybe David Beard will finally find a place to run my Al Jardine concert review since there wasn't enough room to fit it into the regular magazine itself!!!  (kk)

David Crosby made a complete ass of himself again this past week … oh wait, that's not news … we've come to expect it … by launching a wave of tweets denouncing the music of ABBA as "dog poop," thus enraging fans of the group, back in the spotlight again with the new "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again" sequel film now in theaters and a virtual / hologram / avatar tour coming that will feature the first new ABBA music in over thirty years.

I don't quite understand it … neither Crosby, Stills and Nash nor The Byrds EVER had a single hit record with a song written by David Crosby.  Not a single one!  And this guy's flinging poop at ABBA, one of the most successful groups in music history?  What's up with that???

Some key phrases from the exchange:

"Utter complete pop dog poop ... not one decent song ever." - David Crosby

Another participant wrote:  "ABBA is to music as plastic fruit is to food," while another said "ABBA were 'an act,' not 'a band.' And like any 'act,' they were slick, glossy, non-threatening pop tarts who only wanted to 'entertain you.' There was zero substance. There's a place for such acts: Vegas. Atlantic City, Hell ... "

Defending the group, others who were shocked to see Crosby's lack of appreciation for one of the best-selling artists of all time wrote:

"Starting to doubt your sanity -- great production and melodies -- lighten up!"

Another wrote, "Surprised at your tweet. Thought you'd have a much wider appreciation of music. ABBA had many great songs."

"ABBA is about as deep as a birdbath"  - David Crosby

But then questioned one of David's own songs … 

"Deep? 'Almost cut my hair???"

"Fair enough," Crosby said. "Probably the dumbest song I wrote .... probably also the most popular ... that's what we're dealing with."
Ahhh, showbiz!!!  (kk)

Hey, Kent,

I just found this in my house.  ALMOST EXACTLY 50 years ago, July 13, 1968, from the iconic Tower Records store in California!  How many of you picked these up back then??
Clark Besch

Hi Kent,
Isn't it crazy how two people can hear the same song and have two different reactions? 
You mentioned that Sock It To Me, Santa reminded you of James Brown and to me, I instantly thought of Mitch Ryder and Devil with a Blue Dress. 
Incidentally, in case I haven't mentioned it lately, FH is always nothing less than amazing. Thanks for doing this for all of us.
My reference was to the more obvious "Santa's Got A Brand New Bag" bit … but yes, there is definitely a Mitch Ryder feel to it … perhaps that whole Detroit "non-Motown" thing … and maybe the fact that Ryder also had a hit with the song "Sock It To Me, Baby" has a little to do with it, too!  (kk)

Joe Marchese of The Second Disc tells us that a brand new Bobbie Gentry CD box set, collecting all of her recorded material for Capitol Records, will be released on September 21st.
It'll be a massive 8-disc collection, featuring over 75 previously unreleased tracks, including demos, live performances, alternate takes, tv appearances and more … but, once again, NOT the reported 8-minute version of her biggest and best known hit, "Ode To Billie Joe."

Again, if this much rare material was found in the vault, why not this much-talked about original version that has come up time and time again here in Forgotten Hits?
It just seems to lead to further (and, perhaps, more explicit) documentation that this track my not exist after all.  (kk)
More details can be found here:

Hi Kent,
I thought this was a good article about how Rock and Roll went from small ticket prices to high ticket prices.
In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I wrote to the author, Randy Lewis at The L.A. Times to tell him how I felt …
Hi Randy,
Great article.
It was great to see the whole evolution of ridiculous ticket prices in a very concise and fun to read piece. 
I remember when the Steel Wheels tour came through the Minneapolis / St. Paul area … tickets were around $30. A Friend of mine wanted to go but her boyfriend didn't, so she sold me her extra ticket for half the price. I wasn't a big enough Stones fan to pay the full price. 
I'm in a tribute band and we get $30 to $40 for a ticket and we squirm about it.
That still is a heck of a lot cheaper than the current Eagles prices, so I guess I won't feel too bad.
Thanks for a good read.
Bill Scherer
It looks like Randy has been on a roll with his looks back at the events of 1968 … there are links on this page to several other very interesting articles.  (Somebody should turn him on to our year-long 1967 series that we did in Forgotten Hits last year, recreating the year day-by-day … I think he’d get a real kick out of it!)
Thanks for sharing … I’m sure I’ll be back to read more of what he’s got coming.  (kk)