Monday, January 31, 2011

New Oldies - Good Bye Angel by Billy Hall

The Glenn label, a product of Mar-Vel Records, was run by a guy named Harry Glenn. He was born in 1917 in Bald Knob, Indiana, the son of a couple of poor farmers who had eight kids.  His love of poetry led him into the music business. His deal was to track down obscure local Country, Western Swing, and Rockabilly singers, record them, and then sell their records out of the back of his Rambler.  He drove that old car from one radio station to another, pushing his records on the dee jays. He even had a big speaker mounted on the car so he could let the whole countryside hear the songs while he drove past. Glenn managed to release over 140 recordings between 1949 and 1965, never giving up his day job as a welder!  He built his recording studio in Hammond, Indiana, just over the state line from Chicago. It was a steel town in the shadow of stinky Gary, Indiana, with a large working class population, many of whom were transplanted from southern states. Harry Glenn discovered Billy Hall, a country singer,  mainly, who had moved up from Metropolis, Illinois, and the two of them put together a string of singles. Billy wrote a lot of the songs himself, including this one, Good Bye Angel. But this is not a Country or Rockabilly song. This one can only be classified as a Teener, and a darn good one!

Now beyond what I've just told you, I don't know anything else about Billy Hall.  I have no idea what happened to him after Harry Glenn called it quits with his record company. If you know any of that stuff, man I wish you'd tell me!  This kid would have been a big star, given the right promotion and exposure. That's not to say that old Harry didn't give it his best.

New Oldies - The Greatest Hits You've Never Heard is a radio format I've been perfecting for years. If you're interested in more information about it, or you'd like to give it a try on your radio station or HD channel, please drop me an e-mail. I guarantee you it's not what you think.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Oldies - Rari by The Standells

Back in the days of double-sided vinyl singles, you always got two songs for the price of one. A lot of record companies tried to put a bad song on the flip side of the hit single, probably to save the better songs for future hit singles. But when a band is really good, they don't make bad songs! The Standells, a garage rock band from Los Angeles, did not make bad songs. So, if you happen to own a copy of their biggest hit, Dirty Water on Tower 185 from 1966, all you need to do is flip it over and play the other side to find today's sample of New Oldies - The Greatest Hits You've Never Heard!

Larry Tamblyn (organ) and Tony Valentino (guitar) formed the Standells back in 1962. They picked up a lead vocalist named Dick Dodd, who also played drums, and added Gary Lane to play bass. Larry is the brother of actor Russ Tamblyn, and the uncle of Amber Tamblyn from Joan Of Arcadia. Dick Dodd was a former Mouseketeer and drummer for a surf rock group called The Bel-Airs who had a hit with a song called Mr. Moto on Arvee 5034 in 1963. The Standells played mostly covers of California surf music until they hooked up with producer Ed Cobb, who helped them evolve into that garage rock sound that is captured so well in Dirty Water, singing about Boston's dirty River Charles.

Rari is an intense and sexy song about a girl who just drives men crazy with her exotic dancing. It was written by producer Ed Cobb, and arranged by the legendary Lincoln Mayorga. Here are the lyrics, just in case you want to sing along!

Rari, they warned me not to fall for an island girl,
'Cause when they dance they dance for all to see,
Drivin' men crazy like you're drivin' me.

Rari, you torment me with sleepless nights,
Yeah-yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Dreaming of a way to hold you tight, yeah,
Rari, come on and dance with me,
Dance with me, dance with me, dance with me,
Dance for your baby, yeah.

I can remember the night,
When I first saw you,
Your heavenly body,
A-dancin' in the spotlight, yeah,
The drum began to play,
And every eye dared not stray,
Cause what man would want,
To miss, the chance,
Of watching, a beautiful girl, like, you,
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance,
dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance,

Ah Rari,
They warned me not to fall for an island girl, yeah,
'Cause when they dance they dance for all to see, yeah,
Drivin' men crazy like you're drivin' me,
Ah, you're drivin' me, you're drivin', drivin', you're drivin' me crazy, now Rari,
Aw, stop it baby,
Aw, don't tease me,
Oh, Rari,
Aw, don't do it baby,
Aw, you got to stop it, yeah,
Rari, Rari, Rari, Rari,
Ah, I want you baby,
Aw, stop it baby,
I love you, yeah I do,
Oh, oh, oh, Rari.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Oldies - It's Raining by Irma Thomas

Irma Lee is the Soul Queen of New Orleans. She's 69 years young now and still out there performing. Way back in 1962 she hooked up with producer Allen Toussaint and cut this record on Minit 653.

She became Irma Thomas when she married her second husband.  She'd already been married twice and had four kids when she cut this record.  She was only 19 years old at the time!  Irma started out singing in a Baptist church choir in her home town of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, when she was 13. She worked as a waitress in New Orleans and sang part-time with bandleader Tommy Ridgley. Tommy helped get her career started with a record deal on the local Ron label. Her first single was called (You Can Have My Husband But) Don't Mess With My Man, released in 1960. That song reached #22 on the Billboard charts. But, for some strange reason, this song, It's Raining, did not chart at all.

After that first hit record, she got picked up by Minit Records, then later Chess Records. She ended up in California for a while where she did a few more singles on smaller local labels. After that, she moved back to New Orleans and opened her own club called The Lion's Den.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina forced her club out of business.  Her Live! Simply The Best album on Rounder Records earned her a Grammy nomination in 1991. She's also released a bunch of traditional gospel albums and more secular recordings. She also got a Grammy nomination in 1999 for her Sing It! album. She was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007, the same year she was invited to sing on a tribute album to Fats Domino called Goin' Home. Irma sang I Just Can't Get New Orleans Off My Mind in a duet with Marcia Ball. That's an excellent CD that I recommend you buy right away!

One of these days I'd love to meet Irma Thomas and tell her how much I enjoy her music.  I hope you like it half as much as I do!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Oldies - We Could Have Lots Of Fun by Larry Hovis

Yes, that's right. Larry Hovis. Sgt. Andrew Carter, the guy from Hogan's Heroes who loved to blow stuff up. Long before he played that role, he sang this song, on Capitol 3873 from 1958...

Larry Hovis was born on February 20, 1936 in a small town in Washington, but grew up in Houston, Texas. He started singing at a very young age, appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (the American Idol of the day). While attending the University of Houston in the mid-1950's, Larry sang in local nightclubs. He even wrote some of his own songs! He found his way into some local theater productions. People started to notice that he was a pretty good actor! He moved to New York City in 1959 and begn working at the Shubert Theatre in a musical revue called From A To Z. He moved to Hollywood California in 1963 and tried his hand at some stand-up comedy while attempting to break into television. A year later, Andy Griffith's manager discovered Larry and offered him a job. He played Private Larry Gotschalk on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., then showed up on the Andy Griffith Show as Gilley Walker, a guy with a really strange car that Goober would repeatedly tear apart and reassemble. He landed the job on the cast of Hogan's Heroes in 1965. In the series, he was sometimes mentioned that he was part Native American of the Sioux tribe. Actually, he was part Indian, but from the Yakama Tribe instead.

After Hogan's Heroes, Larry worked as a celebrity contestant on some TV game shows, toured in the live musical version of Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, and ended up teaching drama at Southwest Texas State University, which is now called Texas State University-San Marcos. Larry fell ill with cancer of the esophagus and passed away on September 9, 2003 at the age of 67. He was living in Austin at the time.

We all miss you, Carter!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Oldies - Across The Moon by Kitt 'N' Kory

Beyond the tiny review I found in a Billboard Magazine from February 15, 1960, I haven't been able to find any information about these kids -- but their music speaks for itself...

This record was produced by Morty Craft, a veteran A&R man who had worked for MGM, Mercury, and ABC-Paramount in the 1940's and 1950's. In 1959, he went to work for a Canadian company called United Telefilm as the head of their subsidiary label, Warwick Records. With a background as a musician, and leader of radio orchestras and dance bands, he had the musical chops to record a lot of material himself. Despite his best efforts, though, Warwick Records went bankrupt just a few years later. It probably didn't help that he seemed to be obsessed with the music of the distant past (like me), which led him to release a tribute to Al Jolson as his first album on the new label.  If he's still around, Morty would be 90 years old now. I've heard rumors that he's been recently spotted at conga music concerts in New York City. I'd sure like the opportunity to speak with him. One of the other young kids he worked with and recorded while at Warwick was a talented teener from Queens who went by the name Jerry Landis at the time. You know that kid as Paul Simon!

So if you know anything at all about Kitt 'N' Kory, or anything else about this record, or you can hook me up with Morty Craft, please shoot me an e-mail

New Oldies - The Greatest Hits You've Never Heard is actually a radio format that I've been working on for years.  If you'd like to know more about it, please contact me.  I love to explain how it works!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Oldies - The Prom by Del Shannon

You don't need to look for obscure artists to find buried treasure from the 1960's.  Some of the biggest stars had really great flip sides and album cuts that were more than strong enough to become huge commercial hits, given the right promotion.  In fact, some of these artists were cranking out so many great songs that they simply didn't need for all of them to appear on singles or hit the charts.

Here's a great example.  This is one of those "teenage angst" songs that were so popular back in the 1950's and 1960's. One of the first of these songs was probably Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots by The Cheers (featuring future TV game show host, Bert Convy).  The theme became even more popular in the 1960's with songs like Teen Angel by Mark Dinning and Tell Laura I Love Her by Ray Peterson.

This teenage death tune comes to us from Del Shannon. This song, The Prom, was never issued on a single, only as a track on his debut album, Runaway With Del Shannon [Big Top 1303 from 1961].

Del Shannon was born Charles Weedon Westover in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was into Country music as a teenager, listening to folks like Hank Williams, Hank Snow, and Lefty Frizzell. He played in a band while stationed in Germany after being drafted into the Army in 1954. When he got back to Battle Creek, he took a job driving a truck for a furniture factory, and then sold carpeting. He worked part-time as a guitar player for a band at the Hi-Lo Club. When the lead singer of that group, Doug DeMott, was fired, Del took over the band, calling himself Charlie Johnson, and renaming the group The Big Little Show Band. A dee jay in Ann Arbor named Ollie McLaughlin heard the band and took some of their demo recordings to a talent agency in Detroit. Del and his keyboardist, Max Crook, were signed to the Big Top label in 1960. That's when he came up with the name Del Shannon, a twisted combination of Cadillac Coupe de Ville and the name of one of his friends.

You may not know this, but Del Shannon was more popular in England than he was in the USA. He was the first American to record a John Lennon-Paul McCartney song, too, when he covered From Me To You. His version of that song actually charted in the USA before we knew anything about The Beatles!  Here's another interesting fact you may not have known. Del Shannon discovered Bob Seger and produced some demo recordings for him, which he passed on to Dick Clark who hooked him up with Cameo Records in Philadelphia.  He also discovered Country singer Johnny Carver. 

Ironically, Del Shannon's own life ended tragically when he committed suicide, shooting himself with a .22 caliber rifle at his home in Santa Clarita, California, on February 8, 1990. He had been suffering from depression for many years. At the time, he had become a member of the Traveling Wilburys following the death of Roy Orbison. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Oldies - Prince Of Dreams by Family Tree

I listen to a lot of records that were made in the 1960's.  By far, most of them were never played on the radio, kids didn't flock to the record stores to buy them, and most of them for good reason. But out of the hundreds of thousands of songs that were recorded, it's only logical that some really great songs were made that ended up being overlooked by the radio stations. Maybe they didn't get enough promotion. Maybe they were just ahead of their time, or obsolete by the time they were made. Whatever the reason, hunting through obscure records from the 1960's can be a bit like digging in a gold mine. Every so often, you find a nugget of pure gold.

This San Francisco group was the product of Bob Segarini, a native of Stocton, California, who had moved to Los Angeles to work with a local band called The Ratz, a group that also featured Gary Duncan, who later went on to form Quicksilver Messenger Service!  Bob handled guitar, keyboards and vocals for Family Tree, while Bill Whittington played bass guitar. Bill had previously been a member of a group called The Brogues. There was also Mike Olsen on keyboards and Newman Davis on drums. They all got together late in 1965 and started working out some tunes. By the summer of the following year, they managed to get a contract with Mira Records to release this their first single (Mira 228). Backed with a tune called Live Your Own Life, this song, Prince Of Dreams, became a minor hit around northern California over the next several months. The group recorded several more songs for Mira with the hopes they would put out an album, but that never happened.

Please listen to Prince Of Dreams while you read the rest of the story...

After seeing the group's modest success, RCA Records decided to give them a shot. Mike Olsen and Newman Davis left the group, replaced by Mike Dure on guitar and Van Slatter on drums.  You may have heard of Mike Olsen, under the name Lee Michaels. Yeah, he was that guy who had a big hit with "Do You Know What I Mean."

Their second single featured Do You Have The Time b/w Keepin' A Secret. By this time the lineup had changed a bit more. Bill "Kootch" Troachim was now handling the bass guitar, while Jim Decocq was brought in to play keyboards.  Now they managed to get that album out in 1968, calling it Miss Butters (RCA LSP-3955). Most of the tunes were written by Bob Segarini. This interesting concept album was clearly influenced heavily by The Beatles, and featured orchestral arrangements by George Tipton. It was produced by Rick Harrard. George and Rick were also working on another project at the time, Harry Nilsson's album called Aerial Ballet. Nilsson helped out with one of the Family Tree songs called Butters Lament, while some of the session musicians on Nilsson's album sat in on the Family Tree recordings.  The resulting album was excellent, but for some strange reason it failed to become a commercial success.  As a matter of fact, Elton John has listed Miss Butters in his top-20 favorites, and credits Family Tree as having a great influence on his own career!

The guys put out one more single for RCA in 1968, He Spins Around b/w She Had To Fly (RCA 47-9671), before RCA called it quits in 1969. The guys made one more single for Paula Records, Electric Kangaroo b/w Terry Tommy, in 1970. They broke up soon afterward.

Bob Segarini moved to Canada where he became an extremely popular musician, sometimes called the Nick Lowe of Canada.  Later, he ended up spinning records as a disc jockey on 1050 CHUM, then later on Q107 in Toronto. You might know him as The Iceman. He's also done some work on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

By the way, I've literally got thousands of great songs from the 1960's that never became hits.  I've put together a format called New Oldies that is available for use on your radio station. E-mail me if you're interested!

Of course, you can hear all the Family Tree tunes on MusicMaster Oldies!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Oldies - Dreamland by Dore Alpert

If you told anyone the story behind this record, they might think you were making it all up. Listen to the tune while I tell you the rest of the story...

Do you know this guy? His parents were Jewish immigrants. His father, Louis, came from the part of Russia that is now the Ukraine. He was a tailor, but he had a talent for playing the mandolin. His mother, Tillie, was the daughter of a Romanian immigrant who taught herself to play violin at a very early age. His older brother David was a talented young drummer. As for "Dore" Alpert, he began taking trumpet lessons when he was eight years old. He got pretty good at it, too. He played at school dances as a teenager. In 1952, he joined the Army after graduating from Fairfax High School. He tried his hand at acting, but eventually decided to go for a career in music. While attending the University of Southern California, he became a member of the USC Trojan Marching Band. He's credited as one of the trumpet players in the movie The Ten Commandments. He appeared in a movie in 1962 called Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation, playing a solo in a dance band. In 1957, he teamed up with Rob Weerts and became a songwriter for Keen Records, writing songs like Baby Talk by Jan And Dean, Wonderful World by Sam Cooke, and Alley-Oop by The Hollywood Argyles (and Dante And The Evergreens). In addition to playing trumpet, he also had a very nice singing voice, which landed him a contract with RCA Records. Instead of using his real name, he called himself Dore Alpert. He and his friend Jerry Moss started a record company together called Carnival Records. Since that name was already trademarked by someone else, they decided to use their initials to rename the company, A&M Records. Dore's real name, you see, was Herbert. You know him as Herb Alpert. One day Herb was down in Tijuana watching a bullfight. The brass fanfare that announced each new event and the excitement of the cheering crowds inspired him to express that emotional experience through music. He overdubbed crowd cheering sound effects and his own trumpet playing using a small recording studio he'd built in his garage. This song became The Lonely Bull, and Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass was born. The group became extremely popular and he sold a lot of records. In 1964, the demand for live appearances by The Tijuana Brass grew. Herb needed to put together a road band. You may not believe this, but NONE of the members were Hispanic. John Pisano played electric guitar, Lou Pagani took care of the piano, Nick Ceroli hit the drums, Pat Senatore played bass guitar, Tonni Kalash played trumpet, Bob Edmondson played trombone, and Herb led the group on trumpet and vocals. Bill Dana (aka Jose Jimenez) choreographed their moves and comic routines. Together, they became one of the highest paid live acts at the time. Herb's long-time friend, Julius Wechter, started out playing marimba for the band, eventually launching his own career as the Baja Marimba Band.

But if we go all the way back to his days at RCA in 1961, we find this single that he recorded under the name Dore Alpert. The song is called Dreamland, recorded on RCA 7918 and written by Shari Sheeley. It's another of the Greatest Hits You've Never Heard!

You can hear thousands of great undiscovered oldies on MusicMaster Oldies!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Oldies - Teenagers In Love by Woody Thorne

When you first hear this song, it might sound like one of those really bad American Idol auditions to you. But if you're like most people, it'll grow on you very quickly. Here's the thing: Nobody knows who this cat was. Now, if you happen to know, PLEASE tell me! In fact, if you know ANY of these people, let me know. They might be able to tell us something about Woody Thorne. First, there's the guy who wrote the song, William Rosenbauer. Then there are the producers, Rene Hall and Nat Goodman. Finally, there's Gene Norman, owner of GNP Crescendo Records (the GN in GNP), who released Teenagers In Love. Gene was a dee jay on KFWB in Los Angeles in 1947. I have serious doubts that any of these folks are still alive today, but as Chuck Berry once said, you never can tell. Please tell ME what you think of this New Oldie. You can hear LOTS of New Oldies on MusicMaster Oldies.

Just in case you feel like singing along...

Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

A boy, a girl, in love, by choice,
A date, a dance, that made, this song.

Bom, bom, bom, bom
Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

When they walk, down the street, hands together,
With each wish, with each hope, to be together,
You know, you know, they're just two teenagers in love.

Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

With each vow, with each laugh, meant for each other,
With each hug, with each kiss, to last forever,
You know, you know, they're just two teenagers in love.

Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

Say, say
Their love was meant to be 'cause,
Love, love,
That's all they need cause only,
Love, love,
That's what's, in their hearts.

Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Bom, bom, bom, bom
Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

With each vow, with each laugh, meant for each other,
With each hug, with each kiss, to last forever,
You know, you know, they're just two teenagers in love.

Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

New Oldies - The Greatest Hits You've Never Heard!

I'm going to start posting one song each day that was completely overlooked by the charts back in the 1960's. You tell me if these should have been hits. This one is very interesting. I'll explain while you listen...

Jamie Hurt And The Mariteens were from Huntsville, Alabama. Jerry Smith played keyboards and Ray Brand played guitar. But the lead singer, Jamie, is actually a young Roger Murrah, who went on to be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995. He's written songs for people like Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, Al Jarreau, and Alabama. Here's a list of the number ONE songs he's written:

"Southern Rains" — Mel Tillis (1981)
"Life's Highway" — Steve Wariner (1986)
"Hearts Aren't Made to Break" — Lee Greenwood (1986)
"It Takes a Little Rain" — Oak Ridge Boys (1987)
"This Crazy Love" — Oak Ridge Boys (1987)
"High Cotton" — Alabama (1989}
"Southern Star" — Alabama (1990)
"Don't Rock the Jukebox" — Alan Jackson (1991)
"I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)" — Alabama (1992)
"If I Could Make a Living" — Clay Walker (1994)

And now you know, the rest of the story...

Hear this song and many more like this on MusicMaster Oldies: