It's time to salute two more volumes of the Cruisin' series, those fabulous simulated radio broadcasts featuring some of the greatest top 40 deejays of the 50's and 60's. As always, I'll pick my favorite song from each album and then add a couple more groovy greats from the same year.
Today, let's cruise up to KJR in Seattle and back down to WQXI Atlanta, better known as "Quixie in Dixie!"
Pat O'Day - KJR, Seattle
"Walk Away Renee" - Left Banke
The Left Banke's intricate harmonies and baroque, melancholy Bach rock style drew comparisons to groups
like the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Zombies.
The Left Banke's follow-up release is my Pick to Click. The hauntingly beautiful "Pretty Ballerina" reached #15 on Billboard and #12 on Cash Box in early March 1967.
"Walk Away Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina" were written by Left Banke pianist Michael Brown.
Brown penned these and several other songs as a way of expressing his unrequited love for Renee Fladen-Kamm, a striking blonde who at the time was the girlfriend of group bassist Tom Finn.
"Daydream" - Lovin' Spoonful (March 1966)
The month of March in Central Pennsylvania can be cold and blustery, but whenever I listened to “Daydream,” I imagined myself out there havin’ fun in that warm California sun. "Daydream," performed by John Sebastian’s west coast folk-rock band the Lovin’ Spoonful, was one of those Shady Dell songs that prompted me and my Dell buddies to memorize the lyrics and sing along. The song’s laid back philosophy fired my imagination. I pictured myself escaping reality - getting lost in a daydream perhaps, as the song suggested, for a thousand years! Stuck in school for three more months before summer vacation would arrive, I relished a song like “Daydream," with lyrics that included I’m blowin’ the day to take a walk in the sun and fall on my face on somebody’s new-mowed lawn.
Ranked at #82 on my 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell, ”Daydream” kept Dell dancers shuffling across the floor from late winter through the spring of 1966.
From mid July through September of that year, the Spoonful’s “Summer In The City” (#107) was hotter than a match head.
Strange as it seems, Dell rats were wild about cats! "Nashville Cats," that is!
With an impressive string of high-charting folk-rock and pop singles released during the mid 60's, the Lovin’ Spoonful was one American band that provided stiff competition for the Beatles, the Stones, and other UK acts.
Dr. Don Rose - WQXI, Atlanta
"Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" - Royal Guardsmen
(December 1966/January 1967)
Christmas 1966 was particularly lively in the Shady Dell barn. For the 10th year in a row, Dell rats were dancing a jig in childlike glee whenever Bobby Helms' nursery rhyme ditty "Captain Santa Claus" played on the jukebox.
During that same holiday season the Royal Guardsmen, six Florida guys who got the idea for their name from the British Invasion, inspired even more dance floor high jinks with "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron," a novelty record about a pair
of World War I flying aces.
In addition to being popular at the Dell, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" was a huge hit nationally. It skyrocketed toward the top of the Billboard chart only to be trapped for several weeks in the #2 spot by the meteoric Monkees and their latest hit "I'm a Believer." Even so, "Snoopy" was a long lasting hit record, staying hot on the chart until February 1967.
"Baby, I'm Lonely" - Intruders (September 1967)
Best known for their top 10 hit "Cowboys to Girls," the Intruders were a Philly soul group that produced some excellent recordings for the songwriting/producing team
of Gamble-Huff, developers and curators of the ice cool Sound of Philadelphia.
"Baby, I'm Lonely" featured the Intruders' sweet, innocent, sincere, no nonsense vocal style, one that I liked so much more than the sly, slick and wicked approach. The song showed up in the Dell jukebox in mid September 1967 which turned out to be my very last week as a Dell rat regular. Days later I left York to serve a four year stretch at an institute of higher learning in State College, PA.
"Baby, I'm Lonely" was the killer bee on the flip side of another great Philly soul recording by the Intruders,
"A Love That's Real."
Dell dancers packed the floor whenever this shuffle tempo favorite played on the barn box.
Cruisin' '68, '69, and '70 are still ahead and coming soon so stick around!
Have a Shady day!