Dell Rat Ron Shearer's back to play
stax 'o wax at the greatest lil station
'n the nation, SDMM. In today's post
Ron's spinning some nifty nuggets
recorded by male artists and I'm
answering with a few of my favorite
solo female and girl group sounds.
Verstehen sie das?
With that I'll
exit stage left
and say Ron...
be my guest!
THE MAD LADS
Shady, The Mad Lads were
a young doo-wop vocal
group that recorded for
Stax/Volt, the record
company that developed
the Memphis Sound; yet
they were classified as a
Philly Sound group. The
Mad Lads' first record
"The Sidewalk Surf" b/w
"Surf Jerk" was released
on the parent Stax label
in 1964 and didn't chart.
Don't think I ever heard it.
The Mad Lads' first hit,
"Don't Have to Shop
Around," an answer song to "Shop Around" by the Miracles,
was released the following year on the Volt subsidiary.
"Don't Have to Shop Around" - Mad Lads
(November 1965, highest chart position
The Mad Lads followed-up in 1966 with "I Want Someone"
which in my opinion is just as good if not better than
"Don't Have to Shop Around."
"I Want Someone" - Mad Lads
(March 1966, highest chart position
Another one of my favorites by the Mad Lads, their fourth
record, was "I Want a Girl," another sweet ballad.
"I Want A Girl" (August 1966,
highest chart position #16 R&B)
Ron, you done went
and souled out on us!
Please permit me to
step in for a moment.
I don't remember hearing it at the Dell, but the Mad Lads' record "Don't Have to Shop Around" was played at the very first party that I attended as a freshman at Penn State.
I might add that the Mad Lads had a string of hits on the R&B side of the ledger, but unlike Motown artists who had
no difficulty crossing over, the Lads' singles were not commercial enough to perform well on the pop chart.
Okay, Ron, now that we met your
Lads... it's time to meet my lassies.
It was surreal that night in 1984 when I worked side by side with the Chiffons, the great girl group of the early and mid 60s. Hired by a Tampa Bay promoter, I served as stage manager for an oldies concert that brought together in the same show Freddy Cannon, the Coasters, the Earls and the Chiffons with special guest appearances by original members of the Flamingos and the Tokens, plus Mr. "Birds and the Bees" himself, Jewel Akens! Earlier that day I sat with Jewel in the empty auditorium and watched the Chiffons rehearse. One of the gals had broken her leg and was in a cast and on crutches. She was quite a trouper because the show and the Chiffons went on as scheduled that evening.
We're all familiar with the Chiffons' three big hits, "He's So Fine," "One Fine Day" and "Sweet Talkin' Guy" and I'm sure you've heard them a million times. I'd like you to hear two seldom heard killer covers by the Chiffons, beginning with
a bitchin' renditchin' of Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" that could have been a hit for the Bronx based girl group.
"It's My Party" - Chiffons (track from
1963 album One Fine Day)
Now, listen to the Chiffons' handling of "My Boyfriend's Back," a song that became a smash hit for the Angels. Released as a single, the Chiffons record lasted just one week on the Bubbling Under survey. That's hard to believe and a terrible injustice (see Shady's Law) because this sensational power platter deserved the top 40!
"My Boyfriend's Back" - Chiffons
(December 1966, highest chart
Ron, it's your turn to do the guy thing.
Shady, you mentioned the Tokens in your Chiffons intro.
In addition to making recordings of their own the Tokens
also produced records for the Chiffons and the Happenings.
Let me begin my final segment with the Brooklyn doo-wop
group's first hit on Warwick records, "Tonight I Fell In Love."
"Tonight I Fell in Love" - Tokens
(June 1961, highest chart position #15)
Up next is my favorite Tokens song off the album The Lion
Sleeps Tonight. It's my favorite version of "The Wreck of
the John B," maybe since it was the first one I heard (a lot).
The traditional West Indies folk song was recorded by
several artists including the Weavers, the Kingston Trio and
Johnny Cash. The title was changed to "Sloop John B" and
became a top 5 hit in 1966 for the Beach Boys. I hope you
enjoy the Tokens' version of "The Wreck of the John B."
"The Wreck of the John B." - Tokens
(December 1961, from album The Lion
The sequel to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is called "B'wa Nina"
which means "Pretty Girl". I don't remember if WSBA played
it but Dick Clark did. I fell in love with it more than "Lion".
"B'wa Nina" - Tokens (March 1962,
highest chart position #55)
My turn, Ron. It always impresses me when a country artist crosses over and achieves a hit on the pop chart. Georgia peach Brenda Lee appealed to a wide audience by branching out into pop, rockabilly and rock 'n" roll while remaining faithful to her country roots. She racked up 37 US chart hits during the 60s, ranking her in the top 5 in that category right behind Elvis, the Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis. In December of 1959 Brenda Lee released "Sweet Nothin's," a song that was partly sung, partly spoken and partly whispered. Brenda's record hopped on the Billboard Hot 100 two days after Christmas and spent an astounding 24 weeks (nearly half a year) on the chart, reaching its pinnacle in the top 5 the following April!
"Sweet Nothin's" - Brenda Lee
(April 1960, highest chart position #4)
Brenda Lee's name, albeit with a different spelling, is currently enjoying renewed popularity thanks to its use in the hit TNT crime drama The Closer. Series star Kyra Sedgwick plays Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Georgia police detective transplanted to Los Angeles where she heads LAPD's fictional Major Crimes Division.
It would be a major crime for me not to include sultry sixties songstress Nancy Sinatra among Shady's ladies. Surrounded by leggy, boot wearing go go dancers, Nancy sizzled in the original promotional film made for "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," the Lee Hazlewood penned million seller that made Nancy a star. A modern remix using the original promo clip launches the boomer classic into the stratosphere!
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
(BSB Remix) - Nancy Sinatra
(April 1966, highest chart position #1)
Thanks for the music and
memories, Dell Rat Ron!
As always I had a swell time
playing tag team with you.
We'll be seeing you in your
next feature coming soon!
Have a Shady day!