High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Farmer's Daughters Part 1: Hey Paula, Please Pass the Belgian Popcorn!

I'm Shecky Shady.

Ever hear the one about

the farmer's daughters

and the traveling salesman?


Tyler, Texas, native Barbara Mills has a famous
big brother - Larry Henley, falsetto lead singer
of the Newbeats. Although not as well known or as
commercially successful, Barbara is a fine vocalist.

In the mid 60s Barbara moved to Nashville and joined
Larry and the Newbeats on the roster of Hickory Records.
When you hear Barbara's mid tempo beat ballad "Try,"
you might agree that she sounds more like a sultry
soul sister from Memphis than your typical
Music City recording artist.

 "Try" - Barbara Mills 
 (June 1966, uncharted B side of  
 "Let's Make A Memory") 


At the start of 1963 two other Texans,
the teen pop duo of Paul and Paula,
topped the chart with "Hey Paula."
That year 4 more Paul and Paula
singles reached the Hot 100.

By the end of 1963 the world had changed and in 1964 the Beatles and the British Invasion were a big part of the new normal. The best Paul and Paula could do that year was Bubble Under with their swan song "We'll Never Break Up For Good." They kept their promise.
Paul (Ray Hildebrand) and Paula (Jill Jackson) reunite from time to time and perform at special events.

In 1964 Jill began a solo career and released excellent
singles on Frank Sinata's Reprise label including the three
featured here. Hard to believe none of them charted!
Listen now to Jill's pure, sweet voice as she sings the
ballad "All Over Again" released in the summer of '64.

 "All Over Again" - Jill Jackson 
 (August 1964, uncharted) 

The flip side of Jill's summer 1964 single is the
ear candy confection "Hey Handsome Boy."

 "Hey Handsome Boy" - Jill Jackson 
 (August 1964, B side of "All Over Again") 

Belgian Popcorn, anyone?

In the fall of '64 Jill Jackson released "Pixie Girl,"
a glorious single with a Popcorn beat. The term
Popcorn, as in Popcorn music, Popcorn Oldies
or Belgian Popcorn, refers to an underground
music scene of the 70s and 80s that began
in Belgium at a nightclub called Popcorn.
Patrons danced to slow and medium tempo
American and British records, most of them
obscure non-hits. Club deejays routinely 
adjusted the playing speed of the records
to make them fit the style of dancing that
was popular at the time. Now let's hear
Jill Jackson's Popcorn 45, "Pixie Girl."

 "Pixie Girl" - Jill Jackson 
 (November 1964, uncharted) 


Like countless other teenage singers, Mary Miller
hoped to become the next Brenda Lee or Lesley Gore.
In the mid 60s, Mary released four singles and was
invited to perform two of her songs on the music
TV series Shivaree. Unfortunately, the national
exposure was of little benefit because none of
Mary's records made the chart.

Let's listen to "Where's Johnny," the A side
of a single that Mary Miller released in 1965.
The song was co-written by Dick St. John
of the singing duo of Dick and Dee Dee.
This girl pop ditty should have finished
in the top 40 but instead...diddly-squat!

 "Where's Johnny" - Mary Miller 
 (February 1965, uncharted) 


Let's finish this edition of Farmer's Daughters with
"Double Crossin' Sweetie Pie," a single released in the
summer of 1961 on Monument Records by teenage
songstress Janice Ward, a resident of Silver Spring,
Maryland, a suburban community between Baltimore
and Washington. This fantastic girl pop sound deserved
to be a hit but missed the national chart and didn't even
Bubble Under. That didn't stop it from catching fire in
the Baltimore-D.C. area where both sides of the single
received heavy radio play. Listen now to Janice Ward's
beltway biggie, "Double Crossin' Sweetie Pie."

 "Double Crossin' Sweetie Pie"- Janice Ward 
 (July 1961, uncharted nationally 
 B side, "When A Girl Gives Her Heart (To A Boy)" 
 hit #1 in Baltimore on WITH and WWIN 
 and #6 in Washington D.C. on WPGC) 

I hope you enjoyed the one

about the farmer's daughters

and the traveling salesman.

Then there's the one about

the farmer's daughters

and the playboys. Remind

me to tell you that one

in volume 2 of this series.

It's coming soon!

Have a Shady day!