Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Weekend Comments

And it's a big one this week ... so take your time!    

One-hit wonder Iron Butterfly has the distinction of being the only such act to be featured in two different episodes of the 2 1/2 minute daily feature version of "The History of Rock 'n' Roll."   I made the exception for them simply because of my Iron Butterfly audio interview -- which has to rank as one of the all-time most ludicrous.  (I could only include little bits of it in the two produced episodes, but you'll get the idea.)  The group was reportedly quite "pharmaceutically enhanced" when they cut "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," which was intended to be titled "In The Garden Of Eden."  Incredibly, some members actually wandered out of the studio while the track was being cut (!) -- resulting in the long drum solo.  While the tapes continued to record, the engineer had to go out in the hall and coax the errant band members back in to the studio to finish up the song!  That's why the track runs so long.  In 1970, former member Mike Pinera returned as the leader of another one-hit wonder, Blues Image, famed for their million-seller "Ride Captain Ride." 
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"

kk …
Have you ever heard this version?

I have not … pretty frickin’ funny ‘tho!!! (kk) 

From Clark Besch ... 

I sent my In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida commentary to some that don't read FH all the time and here are their comments:

My brother Bill answered:
I always liked the guttural hut, hut growls, I think Warren Zevon must have also!  I would think Spirit with their big bass drums were also related musically.  How about My Woman From Tokyo, long version?  The cold ending is great and the fact it is a live performance.

Doug LeGrand wrote:
I had always figured the long LP chart run was the resilience of that classic LP long version since the single had a less-than-impressive peak.  I imagined a lot of headbangers and hippies alike were memorized by this epic movement.  Probably influenced Rare Earth to dedicate an LP side to "Get Ready" about a year later.
My confession is that many years ago when I heard or read somewhere about the intended lyrics being "In the garden of Eden," that stuck in my mind.  So much so that ever since then I actually sing those lyrics when listening to the song!  So who knows.  Maybe it would have been a rock anthem either way?   

My brother Roger wrote:
I will have to listen again.  I remember this playing almost constantly by someone in our college dorm hallway -- probably the almost always stoned hippie down the hall! I actually got sick of it for a while but now have not heard it for so long that I think I would like it but probably not my ears at the full volume we used to pound it at!

My friend Richard wrote: 

Bruce, drummer for Professor Morrison's Lollipop wrote:

At the end of our run as PML with me still drumming, a typical set would have Sunshine, Hangin' On, Purple Haze, Fire and IGDV. It was such fun to play that stuff and we were really good at it. Sure takes me back.  We played it similar, not exact, with pretty long guitar and B3 leads -- but nowhere near 17 minutes.

FH'er Michael Thom wrote a VERY cool synopsis of things: 
So many great observations here!  You’re right that the long version of IAGDV changed everything.  Here, the first FM station to play rock was KXLS, at 92.5 (now the home of KOMA).  For weeks on end, the long IAGDV was a mandatory play on KXLS every night, either during the 10:00 or 11:00 hour.  The DJ frequently announced that no one needed to call in to request it because he would play it, and he always did.
As far as I know, the 45 got virtually no airplay here.  I don’t remember ever hearing it on KOMA or WKY.
As for the LP, well, yes, I DID play the first side.  A lot.  Maybe 40/60 compared to Side 2.  I loved Side 1 as well, and thought “Most Anything You Want” would have been a great single, with “Flowers and Beads” not far behind.  But I think many people who bought the LP didn’t venture to the first side much, if at all, just as you said.
Since most if not all of the Atlantic session tapes were destroyed in a fire circa 1974, there are no IB outtakes to be had apart from whatever Ingle or Bushy might have retained, and their long-time war with Atlantic means they probably would not give Atlantic anything they might have to release anyway.
As to the "Crimson & Clover" reference, you are right that the long version of C&C was cut into the single master.  In fact, the 8-track master of the middle section of the long version was pasted into the 8-track master for the single, which caused the multi-track of the second instrumental section of the 45 version to be lost forever.  This made it impossible to create a stereo mix of the 45 version of C&C, until someone realized that for the Italian version, done before the long version, the song had been mixed into stereo for the Italian 45.  Circa 1996, someone on behalf of Dick Bartley edited into the long version stereo mix the missing instrumental section from the 45 version, taken from the Italian 45.  The stereo balancing in the pasted section is a little different, but it’s a more than acceptable “fix” to get a true stereo version of the 45, which appeared on one of Bartley’s various artists CDs.
I confirmed the pasting in to the 8-track master of the long version middle section with TJ when I interviewed him in 1991 for the Rhino 2-fer reissue of “C&C” / ”Cellophane Symphony,” for which I wrote the liner notes and explained how that happened.
Rhino owns all of the Roulette tapes and has every TJ master.  They quickly realized what had happened with the C&C master tape when they attempted to come up with a stereo version of the 45.  Realizing they couldn’t, and not knowing about the stereo mix on the Italian 45, they tried to create a stereo 45 mix earlier by pasting in the first instrumental section from the stereo long version into the place where the missing 45 section should be.  The drums are different in the second section on the 45, so they looped the pasted first section a little to try to make it sound like the missing 45 section.  It’s not awful, but it’s definitely not the original 45 version. 

Typically, the trend has always been to edit the single out of the much longer LP track … this is the way it has been done 99% of the time, especially in this day and age.  But in the case of "Crimson And Clover," the single came first … and then, to offer a more FM-sounding extended track, the longer version was built AROUND the single after the fact.  (I wasn’t sure if it was Tommy James and the Shondells or the record company or radio itself that wanted to put something out a bit more “contemporary” in the vein of all these other long, extended LP tracks that seemed to be the flavor of the day ... but Tommy confirms the sequence of events below, as recounted in his EXCELLENT, Must Read book “Me, The Mob And The Music.”  Bottom line is that, as such, they came up with all the additional fills and solos after the fact trying to “stretch” the track.
I, for one, never liked it … and I still don’t … “Crimson And Clover” is just a PERFECT single.  The fact that WLS taped it off Tommy’s demo without him knowing it and then aired it immediately after he left the studio and was on his way to the airport (where he heard it in the car after leaving the station) forced Roulette to release the single “as is,” much to Tommy’s chagrin.  I say most of that anger was sour grapes at having been duped (literally!), especially by a reputable radio station that had given him SO much support over the years … Tommy would have SEVEN #1 Hits on the WLS Chart over the years!
I would also say it was a blessing in disguise.  Any further tampering with this track would have potentially stripped it of some of its magic … because that’s exactly what it was ... and that’s EXACTLY what happened when they tried to extend it … all of the unique charm of the original was lost.
Honestly, I’ve never heard ANYTHING like it, before or since … a truly perfect single.  (And I’ll take that over the LP track anytime!)  kk 

TOMMY JAMES:  We had been asked, by FM radio, to make a long version of “Crimson And Clover” for the album.  They thought it would be a cool thing to do and I agreed.  The Shondells and I went into the studio and, because of the history of the record, we had to make a long version out of the short version.  It is usually done the other way around.  I had to take pieces of the track and stitch them together to make a six minute version from a three minute version. 

James goes on to explain that when the did the original single recording, they sped the tape up ever so slightly to get a better sound for AM radio.  (This, too, was a fairly common practice at the time … and then more than a few radio stations would ALSO speed it up again to make THEIR station sound just a little bit hipper than the competition … and, in some cases, make it possible to sneak in an extra song or two into the programming each hour, drawing more listeners in the process.)
Although there was a new piece of equipment available called the variable-frequency oscillator, that is NOT what was used when mastering “Crimson And Clover.”  Instead, James explains, the Bell Sound Studio Engineer did it “the old-fashioned way” … but taking a little piece of Scotch tape and wrapping it around the capstan of the tape recorder.  It gave you the same effect but was not as precise as the oscillator would have been.  (To use Tommy’s example, if your normal current was 60, you could set the oscillator to speed things up to 61 or 62 … if you used the “tape on the capstan” method, you never got a perfect number.  Instead you’d get “61.3 or something like that.”) So when they tried to add the new sections to the now sped-up master, it never quite synched up properly.  After repeated tries at doing so, they finally just gave up.  Again, Tommy picks up the story … 

TOMMY JAMES:  When we glued it all together, there was a difference in tape speed we could not account for.  The only way I could synchronize it perfectly was if I went back to the drawing board and started the entire process over again.  So we said the hell with it, no one will ever notice, and we glued the new tape we made into the old master tape.  So for thirty years, every time the long version came on the radio I always heard the drop in tone and it drove me crazy. 

To Michael Thom’s point, Tommy goes on to say … 

TOMMY JAMES:  When Rhino Records bought the masters from Roulette in the late eighties, Bill Inglot, the engineer, finally fixed it digitally. 

Definitely one of my favorite tracks from 1969 (or any other year for that matter) …

Speaking of which … 

A television classic was born in 1969 when The Brady Bunch premiered on ABC.  (How THIS, of all shows, has maintained a faithful audience for fifty years is WAY beyond the scope of MY wildest imagination … but hey, creator Sherwood Schwartz enjoyed a similar experience with Gilligan’s Island … so what the hell do I know?!?!)
The show was about a “blended family” … and the Brady home was designed by dad Mike Brady (played by Robert Reed) … and, although the majority of the show was shot on a Hollywood stage set, the exteriors showed a real home in Los Angeles that became iconic in itself.
When that home went up for sale last year, it was purchased by HGTV (for a reported $3 million) … and what they intend to do with it is a complete renovation to restore it back to the way it looked in the ‘70’s … as well as add a 2000 square foot addition to the home.
It’ll all be televised this September in celebration of the show’s 50th Anniversary … and, helping them do it, are all six original Brady kids who “grew up” in that home way back when.
That’s right … the entire cast of kids will be on hand to help out with the refurbishing … Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia), Christopher Knight (Peter), Even Plumb (Jan), Susan Olsen (Cindy) and Mike Lookinland (Bobby).
The show has never really left the air … and countless TV movies and specials (plus a couple of very entertaining movie parodies) have kept audiences coming back for more for decades now.  (How can you not turn in to see just how awful this is?!?!  I mean, you KNOW it’s going to be a complete trainwreck … but that’ll be half the fun of watching it!!!)  No word yet if this remodeling project has cleaned LA out of shag carpeting.  (kk) 

Kent baby,
The 60’s was a colossal era of energy, emergence and experimentation. The decade gave us the Fab Four, the Beach Boys, the Yardbirds, Cream, the Velvet Underground,  Janis and Hendrix. It was a staggering window.
By comparison, the 70’s put me to sleep. Yes, there was some spark but the decade was dominated by the Osmonds, Andy Gibb, David Cassidy and the sleepy melodies of James Taylor.  Need I say more?  
Chet Coppock 
I’m not sure yet if we’ll expand our Fifty Year Flashback into the ‘70’s or not … I’m inclined to maybe go thru 1971, since that’s the year I graduated from High School … which means we’ll be having our 50th High School Reunion in 2021 (and maybe Forgotten Hits can help supply the theme) … but I just haven’t decided yet.
That being said, I have been told more time than I can count that all good music ended in 1972.  (Then again, I have ALSO been told that rock and roll music went to hell after the death of Buddy Holly and Elvis going into the Army … and that The Beatles and The British Invasion ruined rock and roll music forever … and, of course, that Disco was the worst thing that ever happened to music … meaning that NO legitimate oldies station should EVER play a song released after 1975.)
And don’t even get me started on Rap!!!
This “fad” that single-handedly destroyed music and all sense of melody has now been around for forty years … and I don’t see it going anywhere any time soon.
We’ll see … I can find some good in nearly every year of music (although 1973 and 1974 are among the hardest for me to do so!)  kk 

Hi Kent,
Man, once again, an awesome read, my friend. There is so much great info that I never knew about. Great job.
I so appreciate the kind words and the chart showing "Baby Let's Wait" bustin' in at 34 ... that really awakened my last good brain cell ... lol! 
A couple of the Royal Guardsmen guys are rustling up some posters, etc., and I'll shoot 'em to ya as soon as I get them. Again, thanks, Kent. Looking forward to the next installment.  
Blessings, Bro -

After turning over the concert arena to Shelley Sweet-Tufano this past week, I should also note that I went to see Skip Griparis do his one-man show at The Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Height, IL, last Sunday.

The whole concept was to present “The History Of Rock And Roll,” which he did in a fairly accurate manner.  (Kinda hard to do much when you’re only one guy up there all by yourself … how do you represent the sound of doo-wop and the groups of The British Invasion?  But I will say that he gave it a noble effort.)

Honestly, it felt like Skip was still working out the bugs during some of Sunday’s performance … almost like the show is still in the “rehearsal” stage, fine-tuning it along the way to see what works best and what doesn’t.  And, if I’m being totally honest, it played almost as if it were being presented in an old people’s home, both in presentation and in structure.  As such, the audience (most of whom were probably a good 15-20 years older than me) really seemed to enjoy and appreciate it … but this one’s not quite “ready for prime time.”

Don’t get me wrong … we have praised several other artists over the years for sharing their gifts with those in nursing and retirement homes … Vance Brescia and Veeder Van Dorn immediately come to mind … and, if he isn’t already doing so, this may be something that Skip would like to consider as a means to truly entertain a captive and appreciative audience … but in the context of one man theater to a paying crowd, this one fell a little bit short for me … but that doesn’t mean that, with a little bit of tweaking, it doesn’t have potential.

Skip’s a likeable enough guy … and an engaging performer … at times looking a bit like a cross between Jay Leno and Ronnie Rice.  (In fact, if you read our month-long profile of The New Colony Six several years ago, it’s almost as if Skip had a copy of the list that Ronnie kept in his back pocket all those years ago of the favorite rock and roll songs he wanted to learn and perform on stage.  Both guys … good friends, by the way … sort of present their act as “human juke boxes,” encouraging the audience to get in on the fun by singing and clapping along.  At this stage of the game, however, Ronnie’s got HIS act down considerably tighter than Skip seemed to have the other night, having had DECADES to hone it.

The other connection, of course, is that both were lead singers of The New Colony Six, Skip being the last one to front the group prior to them closing up shop around 1974.  (Prior to performing their #1 Chicagoland Hit “I Will Always Think About You” as part of his extended encore, he tells the audience that he “replaced Ronnie Rice as the lead singer of The New Colony Six, who apparently left the band to go eat” … without question, his funniest line of the night.  Skip said later that that was one of Ronnie’s favorite jokes … and Rice has become such an institution here in this town that everybody everywhere gets it!)

In addition to his stint with The New Colony Six, Graparis played guitar for Olivia Newton-John for four years, did a successful stand-up comedy act and starred in the motion pictures “Major League” and “Major League II,” playing the color-commentary guy in the booth with Bob Uecker.

His show has the right idea, even if it is, at best, an overwhelming task … I mean, really … how does ANYBODY present The History Of Rock And Roll in under two hours???  I’m going on twenty years here and have still barely just scratched the surface! … but I believe it would play better … and be better served … with a few more musicians joining him on stage.  He’s a great guitarist and vocalist … he just needs a little support up there … and a better continuity flow.  (kk) 

I have to admit that Me-TV-FM kind of surprised me the other day … I’m hearing much more uptempo “rockers” of late … and it REALLY beefs up the listening experience.  But the one that REALLY surprised me was hearing “Badge” ... by Cream … on Me-TV-FM!!!  (Wow!  Now that’s a first for me.)  During the course of that same fifteen minute set they also played “Games People Play” by The Alan Parsons Project and “Missing You,” one of the "rockier" songs by Dan Fogelberg, as well as a couple of other tracks whose names escape me at the moment but are definitely things you’d expect to hear more often on a Classic Rock station than on Me-TV-FM!  I think it makes for a much more enjoyable listening experience than just the pace of your typical easy-listening tempo.  (Don't get me wrong ... Me has always played uptempo tunes as part of the mix ... and it's a GREAT mix ... but CREAM?!?!? ... on Me-TV-FM?!?!?  This one blew me away!!!  
(If you can believe it, they even played “Stairway To Heaven”!!!
OK … so it was the Neil Sedaka song … but still … I couldn’t help but see the humor in including it in the same mix!)
They are always adding new songs so every week you’re bound to hear a few more surprises.  (kk)

Speaking of Classic Rock …

Ultimate Classic Rock ran a GREAT article the other day spotlighting the 17 Most Awkward and Embarrassing Moments at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremonies.  Naturally, the acceptance speeches took up most of the list.  (My immediate reaction was, “So, where do you think Mike Love will place on this list?!?!”) 
And yep, sure enough, there he is right up at the top!  It’s all worth reading again … as is Bob Dylan’s reference to Love in his acceptance speech later that same night.
You can check it all out right here … this is priceless reading!  
And, as we’ve told you before, another really fun sport is Googling “Mike Love Is …” to see what’ll come up.  (This list was HYSTERICAL … but I just tried it again now and, short of “Mike Love Is Kind Of An Asshole,” found nothing NEAR the volume of comments that have been posted there in the past.)
Oh well … still a fun way to kill and hour if you’re ever just bored sitting around.  (That being said, I will also say again that Love’s autobiography, released a couple of years ago, makes you look at things from a whole new light.  He really DID get screwed around by his family and has every right to be bitter about more than a few things. It’s another great read … highly recommended … (and FAR more entertaining than EITHER of Brian Wilson’s autobiographies!)

On the downside of radio, I couldn’t have been more disappointed in the Sirius / XM Elvis Channel on what would have been The King’s 84th Birthday this past Tuesday.
I made it a point to listen the entire time I was in the car that day and I swear it was almost as if they were going out of their way to play the WORST possible tracks to represent The King’s catalog … HORRIBLE live versions that NEVER would have made the cut in commercial releases when Elvis was still alive.  (Now, of course, they’ve been releasing EVERYTHING … sometimes as many as twenty takes of the same song … remixes and updated versions .. the Royal Philharmonic tracks … and horrible live performances that don’t do The King justice in ANY sense but instead present him to be an awful performer in concert … which simply wasn’t the case.
That being said, between my commutes to and from work … and a half hour in the car at lunch time … I probably listened for a total of 2 ½ hours … and IN those 2 ½ hours I heard “Kentucky Rain” THREE TIMES!!!
WHY?!?!  Between all of the releases I’ve described above … PLUS all of his regular releases throughout his career … including a hit catalog of well over 100 charted singles … there must be literally THOUSANDS of Elvis recordings that could have been aired … so why would there EVER be a reason to play “Kentucky Rain” three times in the course of a ten hour window?
Honesty, I’ve found The Elvis Channel to be disappointing overall.  Once one of my main “go-to” presets, it is now been demoted to “preset button #15” out of fifteen possible choices … and rarely, if ever, do I leave it on when I do go thru my constant button-pushing routine.  There is SO much more they could be done to present The King in a better light … ESPECIALLY on his birthday.
Focus on the hits that day … show the world the incredible career and library of music he created.
Think about it … as of this year, Elvis has now been gone for as long as he was with us … his 84th year … died at 42, 42 years ago.  It seems impossible, doesn’t it?  (kk) 

And, speaking of Elvis, watch for a brand new Elvis Tribute Television Special on NBC on February 17th.
Blake Shelton will host the event … and a companion CD release will also be available.  (Other guests include everybody from Adam Lambert to Mac Davis to John Fogerty to Shawn Mendes to Jennifer Lopez to Darius Rucker to Ed Sheeran, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and more.)  This should be a fun one!  (kk)

This was a nice email I received from Ray Graffia, Jr., founding member of The New Colony Six, the other day after we posted a notice about their upcoming fundraiser for Easter Seals to be held March 23rd at The Anthenaeum Theatre in Chicago.
Organizer Rocky Colletti (who we’ve worked with before on another fund-raising venture at The Arcada Theatre) has invited me to co-host the event … which might be a bit of fun … and, as Ray says, it’s all for a good cause … so we hope to see a few of you out there for this very special event.  (In fact, we just may have a pair of tickets to give away … so stay tuned!!!)  kk 

I know you do not "do" Facebook, but here's what I just posted on Robert's Facebook page regarding the upcoming fundraiser for Easter Seals …
Blessed to be a part of the program, Robert, and found this (see attachment) when checking the Forgotten Hits blogsite ( today.
Guess we held our own back in the '60s, eh? By the way, many, many, many thanks to Kent Kotal, FH's ringmaster, for the continuing support of all of us who had our times in the sun 50+ years ago and have been "resurrected" following the WTTW Soundstage TV Special, Cornerstones of Rock, which has led to repeated SELL-OUTS of venues throughout the area over the past couple years or so. Amazing gifts through music since 1964 when we started NC6, through '66 when we asked Ronnie to join the band, through the super successes mid to late '60s and early '70s, through the slowdown and essentially the disappearance of the band in the mid-'70s, through the return to the stage in a mini concert to support Ronnie's solo act in 1988, and the continuation thereafter to once again make music, play concerts to packed houses, enjoy a resurgence in popularity, and be given the opportunity to relive the days of our youth through continuation of concert appearances - whether as the full NC6, as part of Cornerstones of Rock, or individual iterations like the Easter Seals program in March. Final note --- the Colony's Bruce Mattey will also be joining Ronnie and me at the Athenaeum to add one more voice and a second guitar to those festivities. Come on over and support a wonderful cause ... see you there!
I attached both sides of the WLS 1-6-69 chart, too … I just had to show folks the source of the kudos given to the band through listeners' support and their votes at WLS.  Never knew that had happened exactly 50 years ago today until you posted it, so danke schoen!  
New Year's blessings to you, Frannie, Paige, and all those FH followers who cannot wait for each new posting!    
Scroll back to our very first Sunday Survey post from this year (January 6th) to see the chart Ray is referring to.  It shows The New Colony Six being named as Chicago’s favorite local band.  (At the time this chart was first published, The New Colony Six had already had TEN Top 40 Hits on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey … SIX of which made The Top Ten … with three of those reaching #2 plus a #1 Record for “I Will Always Think About You.”  Yes … they were a band to contend with … and the real deal!
You'll also find more information about the Easter Seals fundraiser in our most recent comments pages. 

And don't forget ... you'll find a brand new WLS Survey every Sunday this year in Forgotten Hits.  It's all part of our 1969 Fifty Year Flashback! (kk) 

I meant to send you this picture. You missed it during your nickel tour of Benton.


We’ll have to go back some time … and hit Metropolis again, too, when we have more time.  
We never actually stopped in Benton … in fact I didn't even know we were anywhere near it! ... just drove by and saw the giant George Harrison sign on the highway so I knew immediately where we were.

We cover some of George’s visit to his sister Louise in our “Who Played The Very First Beatles Record In America” article nearly twenty years ago (check out Part 3) … but I know there’s also a book and dvd available. 

Louise and her brother were on the outs for a while prior to George’s death in 2001 … not sure if they ever patched things up or not … but I know she has appeared at a number of these Beatlefests over the past 40 years.  (kk)

A bit of press last week surrounding Olivia Newton-John who, one of the tabloids said, was virtually on her death bed, just trying to live long enough to see her daughter get married.  (One report said she was “clinging to life” with just weeks to live.)
Livy stepped up and used the old adage “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” and even published a photo of herself today stating that she is in good health.
Yes, she is battling cancer for the third time … but Olivia has proven herself to be quite the survivor … and quite the fighter.
Our very best to her during this recent set back.  We had the chance to see her perform after her last cancer episode a couple of years ago at The Genesee Theatre and she absolutely blew us away … one of the best concerts we’ve ever seen.
So hang in there, Olivia … we love ya!  (kk) 

Oates without Hall.
John Oates was on Scott Shannon’s morning show the other day … 
John Oates is performing at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston next Sunday Night (January 13th).  The show is a near sell-out so if you’re interested in snagging tickets, you’d better move quick!  More information here: 

And, speaking of shows coming to Chicago, this one sounds pretty interesting … 

In February 2019, the legendary Procol Harum will return to North America in support of their latest album Novum (Eagle Rock Entertainment). The band will perform at various City Winery locations in major markets, allowing attendees an up-close-and-personal experience. 
“We haven’t visited the USA since July, 2014, and this has enabled us to have the new material from our studio album PLUS favorites and rarities from the past 50 years,” states founder / songwriter / lead singer / pianist Gary Brooker. “It’s a long time, but Procol is always current (or timeless). See you in the wine bar- mine’s a large one!“ 
Released in 2017, Novum – the band’s 13th album - was unveiled in conjunction with Procol Harum’s 50th Anniversary. As stated by Goldmine Magazine, the album “perfectly captures their classic sound … it demonstrates that the Procol Harum sound is still well etched in the musical firmament.” Rich in the band’s distinctive instrumentation and Gary Brooker’s emotive vocals, it exudes the classic sound that led the band to sell over 10 million copies of their hit single “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” which now sits in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame’s newly formed “Singles” category.  
Procol Harum will perform at the following locations:
2/17 – Atlanta, GA – City Winery Atlanta
2/18 – Nashville, TN – City Winery Nashville
2/20 – Chicago, IL – City Winery Chicago
2/21 – Chicago, IL – City Winery Chicago
2/23 – Washington, DC – City Winery Washington DC
2/25 – New York, NY – City Winery NYC
2/26 – New York, NY – City Winery NYC
2/27 – New York, NY – City Winery NYC
2/28 – Westbury, NY – NYCB Theatre at Westbury
3/1 – Ridgefield, CT – The Ridgefield Playhouse
3/3 – Collingswood, NJ – Scottish Rite Auditorium
3/4 – Boston, MA – City Winery Boston
3/5 – Boston, MA – City Winery Boston 
We’re still hoping to catch one of their Chicago City Winery appearances … but both are near sell-outs at this point.  Still, it WOULD be awesome to hear what these guys sound like live … I mean other than “Conquistador” from 1972!!!  (kk) 

Speaking of great concerts we're looking forward to, tonight we’ve got Jim Peterik’s World Stage Concert, featuring The Ides Of March, David Pack (former lead singer of Ambrosia) and a host of others (including, I’m told, a VERY special surprise guest!)  Gary Wright was supposed to be part of this show as well but has taken ill.  Jim tells me that they’ll still play “Dream Weaver” in his honor … and even stream the performance to him!  (Now that’s pretty cool!) 

A brand new Tina Turner musical is coming to Broadway this year …
Harvey Kubernik fills us in on all the details:  

And here’s news about another cult favorite being give the deluxe reissue treatment …  

New PledgeMusic Campaign For “200 Motels” by Frank Zappa & Tony Palmer Box Set - CD & DVD with Extras & Exclusives!

“200 Motels” is a 1971 American-British musical surrealist film co-written and directed by Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer and starring The Mothers of Invention, Theodore Bikel and Ringo Starr.
Gonzo Mulitimedia is releasing a limited edition box set of “200 Motels” - CD & DVD with Extras & Exclusives! The film DVD is mastered from Tony Palmer's original 2-inch masters. This is for the first time these masters have ever being used. The second disc contains extra concert material specially edited by “200 Motels” original director Tony Palmer. 

In “200 Motels,” the film attempts to portray the craziness of life on the road as a rock musician. While on tour, The Mothers of Invention go crazy in the small fictional town of Centerville (“a real nice place to raise your kids up”), wander around, and get beaten up in “Redneck Eats,” a cowboy bar. In a cartoon interlude passed off as a “dental hygiene movie,” bassist “Jeff,” tired of playing what he refers to as “Zappa’s comedy music,” is persuaded by his bad conscience to quit the group, as did his real-life counterpart Jeff Simmons, who was fired for insubordination before the film began shooting. Simmons was replaced by Martin Lickert (who was Ringo's chauffeur) for the film. 

The Orchestra was the Royal Philharmonic, including the great classical guitarist John Williams, and was conducted by Elgar Howarth, who went on to become one of Britain's most distinguished conductors. And the choreography was devised by Gillian Lynne, who went on to 'invent' the Lloyd-Webber musical “Cats”. She always said that “200 Motels” was the inspiration for much that she later incorporated into “Cats”. 

It was also the first film ever to be shot on 2-inch analogue videotape and successfully transferred to celluloid. “Star Wars” was only just around the corner.

The Cast
Frank Zappa as himself
The Mothers of Invention as themselves
Theodore Bikel as Rance Muhammitz, the narrator / Master of Ceremonies
Ringo Starr as Larry the Dwarf, dressed as Frank Zappa
Keith Moon as the hot nun
Howard Kaylan as himself
Mark Volman as himself
Ian Underwood as himself
Ruth Underwood as herself
Don Preston as himself
Jimmy Carl Black as Lonesome Cowboy Burt
Euclid James 'Motorhead' Sherwood as himself,
Aynsley Dunbar as himself
George Duke as himself
Jim Pons as himself (uncredited)
Pamela Des Barres as the interviewer
Martin Lickert as “Jeff”
Janet Neville-Ferguson as Groupie #1
Lucy Offerall as Groupie #2
Dick Barber as Chunga – The Vacuum Cleaner
Judy Gridley as the chorus leader
For more information:

Hi Kent,
Happy New Year!
I’m looking for a song I heard on the radio in the mid-sixties. It’s by a guy who says that there are so many songs about John that he thinks he’s going to change his name to John. I don’t know the title or the artist.
Do you know the song?
Boy, I sure don’t … but let’s put it out to the readers to see if they can help you out!  (kk) 

A friend has asked me about a song called Spiral, or Let's do the Spiral. There's a few on You Tube called Spiral, but she says it's an early 60s tune.
Again, nothing immediately comes to mind for me on this one … so we’ll throw it out to the bleachers and see what comes back.  (kk)

Friday, January 11, 2019

My New Year's Music Resolution - 2019

I have decided to appreciate and celebrate the music of our lives to a fuller extent this year.

That means no more complaining about who is or isn't in which band ...

Let's face it ...

At this point in time, more than half of our musical heroes are gone ... 

And that's just the cold, hard facts.

So many of these great artists have passed on that it has simply become IMPOSSIBLE to truly recreate the line-ups and sounds that we all grew up loving and listening to.  

So from now on if the group is paying a high-quality, respective tribute to the music and memory of those original artists, then they're all-right in my book.  Because really, that's what we want to hear ... that's why we go to these shows ... to recapture that incredible feeling one more time.

Over the past couple of years, we have even gone so far as to name some of these tribute artists to our Best Concerts Of The Year lists.


Because they're THAT good.

Groups like The Chicago Experience, The Orchestra and The Fab Four have absolutely nailed the sounds of these artists ... and faithfully reproduce this music live on stage.  There is no question as to their own love of the music ... and the utmost respect they have for these artists.

Now I know that there are some of you out there who will fight me on this.

For example, from some past conversations I've had with Billy J. Kramer, I know that he has absolutely NO interest in ever seeing a Beatles cover band ... because he has seen the real thing ... and was intimately involved with their early success.  And I get that.  I can respect Billy's decision not to go.

But in the scheme of things, how many people ever really got the chance to see the real thing?  How many people actually saw The Beatles?  (Any how many of those who did HEARD anything they played???)

And let's face it ... they played their last live concert in 1966 ... and "getting the band back together again" isn't a real possibility anymore at this point in time ... it's just never gonna happen.  Yet their music lives on ... and people want to hear it.  So why not go and appreciate the joy this music gives you ... and see it presented in its highest fashion?  

There is nothing that I can say that will chance your stance if this is the way that you feel ... like I said, I get it.  But by the same token, we have to respect the people who come for the "theater" of it all through these recreations.

I can only tell you that The Fab Four faithfully and respectfully present this music live on stage in ways The Beatles never even had the opportunity to do so.  No one will ever recreate the same magic as the original ... it just isn't possible ... so to hold that against an artist really isn't a fair assessment either.  But I can assure you that this show is well worth the visit.

The same can be said of some of our other tribute favorites, The Chicago Experience and The Orchestra.

I've gone on record stating that I have seen The Chicago Experience perform the music of Chicago better than the actual group Chicago does in concert.  This is because bring a youthful excitement and appreciation with them to the stage every time they take it. 

Likewise, The Orchestra.  We saw Jeff Lynne's ELO last year ... and named it Concert Of The Year.  But Jeff Lynne didn't tour The States for 35 years ... and I have never seen ANYBODY better at producing this music live on stage than The Orchestra, all former members of some incarnation of ELO.  And they present it in such a respectful and professional manner that the entire listening experience is pure perfection.

Then there are groups out there like The Grass Roots and Paul Revere's Raiders, neither of which contain a single original member anymore ... yet they continue to draw audiences in with their faithful reproductions of this material.  (We've heard from any number of readers over the years who argue "Yeah, but it ain't the real thing.")

So what's the real thing?  Some of the members of these bands have been performing this music for DECADES now.  They have BECOME the real thing.  (And if you don't believe me, YOU try telling Ron Foos that after 40+ years in a Raiders uniform, he's not really a Raider!!!)

And see, that's another thing ... some of these band members have been together longer than the originals ever were.  (A notable exception to this rule is The Ides Of March, who still perform with all four original members that started out in a Berwyn basement some 55 years ago!)  

MOST of the groups of the '60's burned out in less than five or six years ... and even then band members came and went on a regular basis.  

And think about this for a minute ...  

How many of these popular group members from the '60's can you identify on a "first name basis" other than John, Paul, George and Ringo?

Tommy James still has his Shondells ... Gary Puckett still has his Union Gap ... Eric Burdon still has his Animals ... Frankie Valli still has his Four Seasons ... and Peter Noone still has his Hermits.  NONE of these current back-up musicians were part of the original bands that we grew up with ... but I'll tell you what ... nearly ALL of them perform the music better today than the original bands did several decades ago.

So from now on, I'm going to go see the artists whose music I admire without any reservations ... simply for the experience of sitting back and enjoying the music I love best.

Now does that mean that I'll take in The Little River Band when they play The Arcada Theatre again on May 4th?

Yeah, I think I probably will ... because I want to experience their music with this new mind-set.  Simply put, I just want to sit back and enjoy the music ... for the pure pleasure of hearing it.  And I just happen to LOVE the music of The Little River Band ... and Ambrosia ... and The Atlanta Rhythm Section ... etc, etc, etc.

What I WON'T tolerate is any band disrespecting this music that is so sacred to us ... and those bands will be called out in our pages ... as will any other groups out there trying to deceive the public with false advertising as to who they really are and what people will actually see and hear after shelling out their hard-earned money to attend their concert.  (But other than that, I guess you can say that I've mellowed in my old age.  lol)

I am looking forward to seeing many more great shows in 2019 ... and reporting our experiences back to you in these pages.  

It's all about the music ... in Forgotten Hits.
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits 

One final afterthought ...

We ALL know how New Year's Resolutions go ... but I will do my very best to uphold my end of the bargain here ... 

If I slip along the way, I apologize ... but it probably just means that some artist didn't hold up THEIR end of the deal (and really pissed me off!)  Lol

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Guest Concert Review #3

The concert I didn't see and more ...

I wasn’t going to include this piece at all, but it is the only way I have of bringing attention to this.  

I have back-to-back concerts the middle of November. I am excited about a weekend away and a day off from school on Monday. I head out to Patchogue, Long Island, for a “Night of Doo Wop” with Lou Christie, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, The Toys, Manhattan Skyline and The Capris. The problem in Patchogue is there is no parking. I circle for an hour and am half hoping to grab a parking spot as someone leaves. However, so are at least 20 other cars. We move through four municipal lots and metered parking spaces. The show has now started and I am still driving around. 

After missing a half hour of the show, and realizing this is not going to have a happy ending, I head back to the hotel. I am crushed! I found out later that the same thing happened to others ... no show for them either. The worst thing I heard was that the performers had the same issue. They had to be dropped off at the stage door and then someone else, usually their merchandise people had to drive around looking for parking. Two staff members made it in at the intermission. 

This now eliminates Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts as a venue I can support. We have spent much time and money in the Northeast repairing and re-establishing these theatres so that these fantastic performances can continue in beautiful historic surroundings. I am sorry to forthcoming performers I planned to see here. I cannot buy tickets, pay for hotels and gas and just turn around scared and defeated. Now I know better.  

The Buckinghams at Daryl’s    

The next morning I head off the Island to Pawling, NY, where The Buckinghams are appearing at Daryl’s House. I love Daryl’s House! Not the show. I don’t have cable. I love the dinner club Daryl’s House. The food is gourmet, but not showy and the shows are close up and personal. Besides which I am having dinner with Marty Sanders of Jay and the Americans. Dave Zane, lead guitarist of The Buckinghams also plays with Jay and the Americans, and Marty lives close enough to come see him. Apparently Marty goes to Daryl’s quite a bit. I enjoy the drive to Pawling. I enjoy the town atmosphere which is reminiscent of my own upbringing and still I say to Daryl, “WHY PAWLING?” 

Dinner listening to Marty’s stories and enjoying the company of two others at the table makes this a winning night. Of course, all I could talk about was Forgotten Hits. (smirk!) Actually, we covered many topics but they all somehow linked to music. The other couple did not know who Marty was so when he mentioned something about “his group”, they naively asked, “Oh, who is your group?” It seemed like a forever pause until he said quietly, “Jay and the Americans”. “YOU’RE KIDDING ME!!” an obvious, shocked reaction. He just looked at her, and I responded, “No. He’s not kidding.” 

The Bucks came on the stage which was so close to us I could have gotten in their way trying to stand up. WOW! What a show! The video camera was running and a side screen showed a very flattering angle and bright lighting. As in person, the camera gave the impression this was a concert in someone’s home. The Buckinghams are “courting the audience” in this up close and personal setting. I am curious as to whether the performers here are enjoying this intimacy or whether they prefer a large theatre with distance between them and the audience. But as Carl sings ‘Worst That Could Happen’ while standing next to the table and looking at me, it was hard to stifle the girlish giggles that I felt. Each of The Bucks had leads in songs and tributes to the “Sorta Happy Tour” (which Carl and Nick are joining again this year) intertwine with the great hits of the Chicago sound that marked The Buckinghams. Ending was difficult, good-byes expressed sincere joys spent together and then … I’m gone.  

Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone and the end    

My last concert this year includes a return to The Wolf Den for Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone. A friend of mine and Beatle DJ, Ken Michaels, had planned on coming but didn’t make it. Of course he figured he knew what the content of the concert had been so when I told him about the added Christmas songs and Vance wearing an elf suit even tho’ this was technically not a Christmas show, his reaction was, “Now THAT was a show I would have liked to see, and I missed it.” Well, I watched it from the outside looking in. I was to have a seat inside the Den but when I arrived, my seat had been given to someone else. There was no way I could have gotten there sooner. School ended and I took off, arriving around 5:00 pm. The line to get in to the Wolf Den was longer than the available, non-reserved seats. I met a friend at the slots and we parked ourselves around the corral to stand. OK! A new way to view a concert! The people outside the Den watching are free to be who they really are. Which means dancing, flirting, asking questions, yelling at the stage in anonymity, and just being joyful. I counted 29 song titles in this hour and a quarter set. Herman’s Hermits hits, songs not as often sung (Jezebel, Bus Stop, Dream On), Christmas songs (Oh Holy Night, The Sex Pistols' version of Jingle Bells, Rudolph) and cover songs all filled the casino and wafted out to us listening on the edge. The sound was much clearer than I would have thought, and except for my feet falling asleep and my needing to shift my legs, it is worth doing again. There were many tender musical moments and for me, it was a perfect end to my 2018 concerts. December was enough for me to handle. I will begin again in 2019, and who knows just what will happen. It is a new year! 
-- Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

Daryl's House sounds absolutely amazing ... would LOVE to be able to see a show there some day!

I asked Carl Giammarese to share a few words about it as well ... our East Coast Readers would do well to check this place out!  (And please report back when you do!)  kk   

Hi Kent, 
I will say we enjoyed playing there very much. We were coming from playing an Englewood NJ, concert with Peter Noone at the Bergen PAC. Once you get out of New Jersey and past New York City, it becomes very scenic and beautiful passing through parts of Connecticut and getting to up state New York. 
Darryl’s Place is kind of rustic and maybe holds 100 people at the tables in front of the stage, and maybe another 80 at the bar. We are always excited to play to an intimate and enthusiastic audience. It’s always fun to see an audience so up close with such a great response. They really knew the Buckinghams and our music, and showed their appreciation. Like I’ve said so many times before, we are so blessed to have such loyal fans all over the country. A great evening ... the only thing that could have made it better would have been if Darryl Hall would have shown up and sat in with us. Great fun! 
Carl Giammarese 
The Buckinghams