In 1972 a crack Dell Rat unit
was sent to prison by the
Unific Court of Love for a
crime they didn't commit...
(DEATH BY DISCO).
These men promptly escaped
from a maximum security
stockade to the York, PA
underground. Today, still
wanted by the government,
they survive as soldiers
of soul and revivers of
rock ‘n roll.
If you have a problem
(with hip hop divas and gangsta rap)...
if no one else can help
and if you can find them
maybe you can hire...
"Heavy, heavy stuff!" Those were the words uttered by top 40 radio legend Dr. Don Rose of Quixie in Dixie WQXI Atlanta in the 1967 volume of Cruisin'. Rose had just finished playing "Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)" a recording that explored the painful consequences of a forbidden interracial romance between a white girl and a black boy. "Society's Child" was performed by precocious sixteen year old folk-
singer Janis Ian who had written the racially charged song
at the tender age of thirteen!
Young Janis Ian turned in this memorable performance of her controversial song on The Smothers Brothers Show.
"Society's Child (Baby, I've Been Thinking)" - Janis Ian
(July 1967, highest chart position #14)
In 1975 Janis Ian gave America another reality check with the autobiographical "At Seventeen," a song that examined adolescent cruelty and the plight of those among us who are not perfect and popular. "At Seventeen" went top 5 on the pop singles chart, #1 Adult Contemporary, and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female.
"At Seventeen" - Janis Ian (September 1975, highest chart
position #3 Hot 100, #1 Adult Contemporary, #1 Cash Box)
In the late 1950s and early 60s Americans were crazy about Western movies, Western TV programs and Western themed pop recordings. Hit records like "Along Came Jones" by the Coasters (1959), "Running Bear' by Johnny Preston (1959/60) and "Mr. Custer" by Larry Verne (1960) are examples. In 1958 the Los Angeles doo-wop group called the Olympics launched its career with the novelty hit "Western Movies." The next single by the Olympics, "Dance With the Teacher," sold modestly, but the group had found a new niche. From then on the Olympics became known primarily for dance records which included "Hully Gully," "Shimmy Like Kate," "Dance by the Light of the Moon," "The Bounce," "Dancin' Holiday" and "Baby Do the Philly Dog." The Olympics also recorded the original "Good Lovin'" which was covered with enormous success by the Young Rascals. "I'll Do a Little Bit More" is
a great Olympics record, yet it remained uncharted. The following video includes the original recording along with a tribute to Mirwood Records, one of the great R&B labels
of the 60s. Mirwood was home to the Olympics along with Jackie Lee who had a hit with "The Duck" and Bob and Earl, best known for "Harlem Shuffle." (Jackie Lee, whose real name was Earl Lee Nelson, was "Earl" in Bob and Earl.) Please watch the clip and experience the pure excitement that was Mirwood Records!
"I'll Do a Little Bit More" - Olympics (February 1967,
The HUB (Hetzel Union Building) was a student union headquarters on the campus of Penn State University.
In addition to a
movie theater and conference rooms, the HUB housed a canteen that was
a popular meeting spot for students, professors and visitors. It was a fun place to have lunch, chat with friends, study, or simply kill time between classes. The HUB was truly a hub of activity.
No substitute for my dear old alma mater the Shady Dell, the HUB nevertheless offered a similar environment. It was crowded, noisy, and had a jukebox. There are two songs in particular that I remember hearing quite often at the HUB during my freshman year: "How Can I Be Sure" by the Rascals and "Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" by Manfred Mann. Those two songs remind me of my first few months of college, the excitement of living away from home for the first time, beginning a new chapter of my life as a student at a major university, exposed on a daily basis to a diversity of people, ideas and experiences. At Penn State I felt like I was part of something big and important. I felt alive and free, just as I had two years earlier the first time that I crossed the threshold of the Shady Dell.
With the success of "Mighty Quinn," a Bob Dylan composition, Manfred Mann established itself as a thinking man’s band rather than simply a Brit beat pop combo. It was somewhat ironic because the band had already been lacing its albums with intricate, complex, non-pop material for years.
"Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)" - Manfred Mann
(May 1968, highest chart position #10)
Only two things you done
need to know, fool...
Ain't Hannibal or nobody else
gonna get me up in no
AIR - O - PLANE!!! .....
and the D-Team plays
the best music!
AND THE BROWNS
It was a family affair with Memphis soul songbird Barbara Brown. Like many other black recording acts of the 1950s and early 60s, Barbara, her sisters and brother started out in gospel and made the easy transition to gospel-tinged secular soul. In 1966 the group recorded two of my favorite deep soul ballads. "I Don't Want to Have to Wait" was released as a single but failed to chart. As Shady's Law teaches us, chart performance has absolutely nothing to do with quality. This record sizzles!
"I Don't Want to Have to Wait" - Barbara and the Browns
The same recording session that produced "I Don't Want to Have to Wait" yielded another excellent track, "To Know I Can't Touch." This lost soul treasure by Barbara and her kin remained unissued for years until soul scholars in the UK pulled it from the vaults and added it to modern compilations of rare soul released on vinyl and compact disc. The urgency in Barbara's voice mixed with the sublime horn section gives me chills and fever!
"To Know I Can't Touch" - Barbara and the Browns
Barbara Brown went on to produce more great soul sounds as a solo artist. Her body of work went almost unnoticed at the time but is highly regarded by music historians today. Barbara passed away last year.
Cleveland Rocks! Well, in this case Drew Carey's favorite city power pops, thanks to lead singer Eric Carmen who, along with his band, are credited for pioneering the pop rock style of music. The guys were influenced by the Beatles and other British invaders and their look and sound reflected it. Carmen went on to a successful soft rock solo career but I liked him better when he was rocking a little harder with the Raspberries. The band's biggest hit was "Go All the Way," a single that cracked the top 5 on Billboard and Cash Box in the fall of 1972 and sold well over a million copies.
"Go All the Way" - Raspberries (September 1972,
highest chart position #5 Billboard, #4 Cash Box)
Don't miss the next thrill-packed episode
of The D-Team, coming soon!
I love it
Have a Shady day!