CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
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
HELLO STRANGER ..... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On the Record: The First Choice for the Last Dance..."Goodnight My Love"

52 years ago today, this was rockin’ you!

By 1967, the music on the Dell jukebox was changing, just as it was on the radio. Sweet soul harmony was being replaced by attitude-driven funk. Simple love songs were being crowded out by serious, self conscious, introspective message music, protest and social awareness anthems, garage rock, acid rock, psych, prog, synth, hard rock and heavy metal. Much of this music was excellent yet, for my money, most of the fun was gone from music. By the end of the 1960s, the record industry tried to popularize kinder, gentler forms of music with sunshine pop, bubblegum, nursery rhyme pop and Jesus rock.

Eventually, many people declared "none of the above!" and there began a backlash against all of the current musical trends. An oldies revival took root and swept the nation. Longing to once again fill my life with silly love songs, I joined the counterrevolution. My rudder turned and my listening habits changed dramatically. “Goodnight My Love” by Jesse Belvin is the one song most responsible for getting me hooked all over again on oldies but goodies.

I vaguely remember hearing "Goodnight My Love" as a child, but I forgot all about it until it turned up on one of the Art Laboe oldies compilations that I purchased. The song quickly became one of my all time favorites.

Released during the Christmas-New Year holiday season of 1956, “Goodnight My Love” became a standard for years to come at sock hops - rolled out as the last song of the evening – the all-important last dance. At holiday parties from the mid 50s through the mid 60s, “Goodnight My Love” was as much a part of the tradition as tinsel, champagne and noisemakers.


"Goodnight My Love” is a ballad of awesome beauty, tenderness and sincerity. (Gansta rap was still light years away, as was the notion of turning pop songs into vehicles of hate and weapons of mass destruction!)

"Goodnight My Love" still gives me chills and leaves me misty-eyed every time I hear it. Listen now to one of the finest recordings to come out of the 1950s:




"Goodnight My Love" became the biggest hit of Jesse Belvin's career, but as fate would have it, he had little time left to build on his success. Just three years later, at age 27, Jesse and his wife were killed in a car crash, one of many such tragedies in the history of rock 'n roll.



Was “Goodnight My Love” a Dell song?
There's no doubt in my mind.



I want to thank you
for your support
and encouragement
these past six months.
I'm gonna do my best
to keep you thinking
and smiling in 2009.

Together, we will
reach back,
grab those memories,
and bring 'em back alive.



Never grow up...never grow old!

Have a Shady day and a very Shady New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell Part 11 (#100 to #91)

Alright, no more foolin' around. Time to get serious. Time to roll out the private stock and maximize the awe and shock. Time to start counting down the 100 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell!

There are actually 12 songs on this week’s list. That's because, in a couple of cases, two songs were tied for the same position. You’ll see what I mean and why I did that in a moment. Here are this week’s lyric clues. Name those tunes!

What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away

Those children’s hearts will break
If I don’t make this trip

Will you let me hold you? (Clocking in at 1:41 this James Brown side is the shortest song in the Dell’s Top 200. Recorded live in Tampa, FL, the blistering vocal and instrumental workout consists mainly of JB repeatedly shouting the title, ad-libbing, and screaming.)

I bought you a new coat and a $20 hat

And when we take a stroll
Tonight if it's cold
We'll cuddle up close

A little bit now a little bit later a little bit in between
A little bit now a little bit later a little bit in between
A little bit now, baby you know what I mean

It’s been two years since I last saw you, now
Somethin’ tells me you ain’t been true

(The next tune is a Stax/Volt instrumental that was covered nicely by the Mag Men. Hint: rhymes with chili dog.)

Floating on a sea of shattered dreams
To an isle of tears and woe.

Saint or sinner calls and always finds him there

I said put your hands up now, baby, baby
Let your backbone bend

(end of clues)


Remember the grading scale:

All 10 right – Congratulations! You’ve been appointed dean of the College of Musical Knowledge

7-9 right – Licensed lyric lover

4-6 right - Lyrically challenged

1-3 right – Sign up for remedial classes at the School of Rock

0 right – You just dance and hum along!


Now, here are this week's 10 Shady Dell countdown songs:

100. "Jingle Bell Rock"/"Captain Santa Claus" - Bobby Helms (every Christmas season ’57 thru ’66)



99. "Tell Me That You Love Me" - James Brown (October '66)

98. "B Side Blues" - Righteous Brothers (March '66)

97. "I'm A Happy Man" - Jive Five (August '65)

96. "Baby Let Me Bang Your Box" - Bangers (circa early 1965)and/or Doug Clark & The Hot Nuts (circa November '66)



95. "Cheating" - Animals (June '66)

94. "Philly Dog" - Mar-Keys (March '66)

93. "Washed Ashore (On A Lonely Island In The Sea)" - Platters (July '67)

92. "He" - Righteous Brothers (June '66)

91. "Karate Boogaloo" - Emperors (July '67)

Do you have a Shady Dell Top Tunes list of your own that you would like to share? I'd love to see it, especially if it covers a different period of Dell history. It doesn't have to contain 200 songs; even a Top 10 would be interesting and instructive. Submit your Dell's Greatest Hits list in the form of a comment and I'll get it posted.

Have a Shady day!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Cheer Year After Year - "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms

"Jingle Bell Rock"/"Captain Santa Claus" by Bobby Helms (December 1957)

This 45 is one of the many two-siders to enjoy popularity at the Shady Dell. Both sides were enduring seasonal favorites. "Jingle Bell Rock" first became a nationwide hit at Christmas time in 1957. Every December thereafter, the song would magically show up on the Dell’s dance hall jukebox just in time to help engender a festive holiday mood.



You might think that the Dell's inner circle would have avoided this old countrified Christmas classic, dismissing it as square. Instead, the gang eagerly got into the spirit of the proceedings and made it their own.

The record’s B-side, a nursery school ditty entitled "Captain Santa Claus," produced an extraordinary response at the Dell. The beginning of the song consists of a series of bizarre and instantly recognizable sound effects. Naming that tune in seconds flat, the crowd would erupt in gleeful, childlike laughter.

Jubilant rats would leap to their feet, head out on the dance floor, and skip around the room hand-in-hand like merry little elves. At the Dell, even the coolest kids were capable of letting their hair down on occasion and acting silly, particularly during Christmas break when Bobby Helms was serenading us.





The popularity of these two perennial holiday classics allows me to once again make the point that Dell rats of the 60s seemed to welcome the opportunity to embrace the music of the past and preserve the traditions of their 50s predecessors.





Have
yourself
a
Shady
little
Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Battle of the Banned: The Toppers Meet the Bangers and the Hot Nuts!

---------------------------------

"Listen, honey... 

they're playing our song!" 

You have no right to call yourslf a Dell rat if you don't remember Doug Clark & the Hot Nuts and their nasty
novelty number, "Baby Let Me Bang Your Box."

"Baby Let Me Bang Your Box, Part 1" 
- Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts 
(November 1966) 



Actually, the dirty ditty has been recorded several times and I intend to give you more bang for your buck!
A rhythm and blues group called the Toppers waxed the original version of the rowdy party song in 1954.

"Baby Let Me Bang Your Box" 
- The Toppers (1954) 



The Bangers, another R&B group, came out with their own version early in 1965. It was released on Tulsa, Oklahoma's R&B Records.


"Baby Let Me Bang Your Box, Part 1" 
- The Bangers (March 1965) 



In 1966, Doug Clark & The Hot Nuts released yet another rendition of “Baby Let Me Bang Your Box.”

Although the song is ostensibly about a guy at a party who asks the female host if he can play her piano...the lyrics, like the title, are overtly and hilariously suggestive.

Regardless of who recorded the song, radio stations considered it too hot to handle and banned it from their play lists. As a result “…Bang Your Box” was kept off the national record charts.

However, the song was a sensation at private parties and juke joints including the Shady Dell where both the Bangers version and the one released by the Hot Nuts played hard and heavy on the barn’s jukebox.


The Doug Clark version of “…Bang Your Box” was a musical mainstay in the Dell dance hall in November and December of ’66. A version of the song appeared that year on the Hot Nuts’ Summer Session album, released appropriately on the Gross record label. The 45 release, which is a different mix of the song, came out on the Jubilee imprint.

As might be expected, the guys all loved this raunchy party platter as well as the outrageous group that recorded it. Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts were wildly popular on the east coast fraternity circuit. They are credited as the inspiration for the fictional singing group Otis Day & the Knights in the movie Animal House.

Early on in their career, Doug Clark & the Hot Nuts were crowned the “kings of gross out lyrics.” They enhanced their reputation by appearing on stage at frat parties clad only in velvet athletic supporters!

Fuggetabout Janet...

these crazy cats invented


the wardrobe malfunction! 

"Roly Poly" - Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts 
(from 1963 album On Campus) 




Have a Shady day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Headline News - December 1963: Act of Congress Releases Records, Wins Widespread Popular Support!

Translation: Records on the Congress label sold like hot cakes, thanks to Shirley Ellis, the label's top recording act. (Sorry about that, Chief!)

Shirley's first big hit, "The Nitty Gritty" was the kind of sonic tonic grief-stricken Americans needed to begin the healing process in the weeks following the JFK assassination. Like the controversial "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen, a record that was on the charts at the same time, "The Nitty Gritty" contained lyrics that were wide open to interpretation. The important thing, however, is that both songs served as a much needed distraction and helped lift us out of the doldrums.

"The Nitty Gritty," a rip-it-up, go-go style dance number, had the wind at its back as it steadily climbed the charts during December and reached its zenith at the start of 1964, giving the long-haired British invaders a run for their money.



One year later, in December 1964...

...Shirley had her second hit on the charts with “The Name Game,” a good-natured novelty record that challenged listeners to make a rhyme out of anybody’s name.



In the spring of 1965...

...a couple of months after "The Name Game" faded off the charts, Shirley Ellis struck again with "The Clapping Song," another entertaining recording in the novelty pop soul vein.



As much as I love deep soul, Motown, and southern r&b...

...I also thoroughly enjoy feel good pop soul like these songs by Shirley Ellis.

Other favorites in the same category include:


"Puppy Love"
by Barbara Lewis
(January 1964)

“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)”
by Betty Everett
(March 1964)

“The Birds
and the Bees”
by Jewel Akens
(January 1965)



Every time I hear songs like those they lift my spirits; no heavy messages, no social commentary, no political protests, no put-downs...just lighthearted fun that continues to bring out the kid in me and you. Imagine...music that actually allows you to forget your troubles for a while instead of focusing on them...now there's a concept!

Once more around the park, shall we?

Del Del Bo Bel
Bonana Fanna Fo Fel
Fee Fy Mo Mel...
Del!

Have a Shady day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell Part 10 (#110 to #101)

Seems like a mighty long time since the last Dell song countdown, so let's get right to it. We start by remembering some of the players that secured positions on the reserve squad.

Bubbling Under
The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell

241. "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane (July '67)
235. "Expressway To Your Heart" – Soul Survivors (September ’67)
233. "You Can't Hurry Love" - Supremes (August '66)
226. "Get On Up" - Esquires (August '67)
219. "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby" - ? (Question Mark) & Mysterians (April '67)
209. "Baby You're A Rich Man" - Beatles (August '67)


It's time to
reveal the final
group of songs
before we break
into the awesome
Shady Dell Top 100.
Here are the clues
to identifying these
strong contenders:



I think I love you
But I wanna know for sure

I've waited too long
To love you, to hold you in my arms

Like steam from a coffee pot

All around, people looking half dead

Once again you'll be mine

I still think we can do it

In the daytime I’m alright
But I need your love, need your love at night

been away too long, I can't stand the pain

again and again and again and again

(Shake it baby up) Come on an
(Shake it baby up) Come on an

When my way was dark and troubles were near

(end of clues)

Remember the grading scale:

All 10 right – Congratulations! You’ve been appointed dean of the College of Musical Knowledge

7-9 right – Licensed lyric lover

4-6 right - Lyrically challenged

1-3 right – Sign up for remedial classes at the School of Rock

0 right – You just dance and hum along!

Now, here are this week's 10 Shady Dell countdown songs:


110. "Wild Thing" - Troggs (July '66)

109. "Time Won't Let Me" - Outsiders (March '66)

108. "Fading Away" - Temptations (March '66)

107. "Summer In The City" - Lovin' Spoonful (July '66)

106. "Woman" - Peter & Gordon (February '66)

105. "Baby, I'm Lonely" - Intruders (September '67)

104. "Nineteen Days" - Dave Clark Five (November '66)

103. "Come On Let's Go" - McCoys (May '66)

102. "Say I Am (What I Am)" - Tommy James & The Shondells (August '66)

101. "You're My Everything" - Temptations (August '67)

Do you have a Shady Dell Top Tunes list of your own that you would like to share? I'd love to see it, especially if it covers a different period of Dell history. It doesn't have to contain 200 songs; even a Top 10 would be interesting and instructive. Submit your Dell's Greatest Hits list in the form of a comment and I'll get it posted.

Have a Shady day!