Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Oldies - Superman by The Clique


You probably already know the hit version of this song made by R.E.M. in 1986. It was the last song on their Fables Of The Reconstruction album. Michael Stipe didn't really love the song, so he sang backup on it and had bass player Mike Mills take the lead vocals. Ironically, this song became the most memorable track on that album. Believe it or not, the song did not appear on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it did climb to #17 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.

The song was written by Gary Zekley and Mitchell Bottler and produced by Don Gehman, who had previously worked with John Mellencamp. While on tour to promote the new album, Gary Zekley joined R.E.M. on stage when they performed his song on 21 October 1986 at the Northern Illinois University in De Kalb. You may have also heard the R.E.M. version of Superman on a couple of television shows. It was used in a CSI:NY episode, along with an episode of Lois And Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman. Of course, there's also the song called Superman by Lazlo Bane, an alternative rock group from Santa Monica, California, that was used as the theme for the Scrubs television show. That's a different song, I know. Maybe I can do a future blog post about the other songs that were made in the 1950's and 1960's that referenced The Man Of Steel. There were several of them!

Did you know that Superman was a cover of an original song made by The Clique, the group that brought us the #22 hit, Sugar On Sunday, back in 1969? Did you also know that Sugar On Sunday was also a cover of a song first recorded by Tommy James And The Shondells on their Crimson And Clover album. Tommy James actually produced The Clique's hit version of the song.

After the break-up of a group from Beaumont, Texas, called The Lavender Hour, a few of their members pulled a new band together, calling themselves The Clique. They were Jerry Cope on drums, Tommy Pena on bass, and Sid Templeton on guitar. They recorded a single on Cinema Records called Splash 1, a cover version of a single by Roky Erickson's 13th Floor Elevators. The Clique improved on the original by speeding up the tempo and adding a fuzz guitar. The record was picked up for national release by Scepter 12022. The record showed up on Billboard's Bubbling Under The Hot 100 at #113.

The Clique made a follow up single in 1968 called Gotta Get Away / Love Ain't Easy on Scepter 12212. After that song failed to chart, Scepter pulled the plug. The group was then picked up by White Whale Records, the label that was built around the success of The Turtles. It was there that the band hooked up with record producer Gary Zekley, who had once been a member of the group backing up Jan And Dean. The records he made with The Clique featured lead singer Randy Shaw backed up by professional session musicians from Los Angeles.

Here's the original version of Superman by The Clique on White Whale 312 from 1969:



Here's that first song from The Clique that became a Bubbling Under hit. This is Splash 1 on Cinema 001, later issued on Scepter 12202 in 1967:



Now let's go back even farther. This was the first release by the band that evolved into The Clique. This is I'm Sorry by The Lavender Hour on Tribe 8323 from 1967:



My favorite garage rock track from The Lavender Hour appeared on their second record. Here's I've Gotta Way With Girls by The Lavender Hour on Steffek 1929 from 1967:



To complicate things a bit, there were a couple of other groups known as The Clique. You'll hear all of them on MusicMaster Oldies, of course. One of them is from England. Another is from Australia. There's even another garage rock group from Champaign, Illinois, who called themselves The Cliques. The Cliques was also the name of a 1956 doo wop group lead by Jesse Belvin and Eugene Church. If you've heard of any other "Clique" groups, let me know. You can become an official member of the MusicMaster Oldies clique! I'm not playing the later cover versions of songs that originated in the 1950's and 1960's, but I am considering that. Maybe I'll come up with some kind of special feature that pairs the original with a modern remake. Who would love hearing that?

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Oldies - The Cat by The Sting Rays

This garage rock group comes from Rochester, Minnesota, just southeast of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The members included John Paulson on sax, Dave Spittell on guitar, John Spittell on bass and vocals, and Rob Thompson on drums. After a while, the lineup changed a bit. John Paulson's brother Tom took over the drums. Jim McBean replaced John Spittell on bass, and brothers Gene and Brian Peters were added on guitar, bass, and backing vocals.

This record was made by The Sting Rays in 1967. A year later, 15 year old sax player John Paulson left the band to join another local garage rock group called The Apostles. But his career path would eventually lead him to play a key role in the production of Oscar winning movie scores! You see, John went on to create software that is used by many music production houses in Hollywood, and as a learning tool for music teachers, college professors and professional composers all over the world.


John Paulson has always loved music. He enrolled in the University of Minnesota to play in that school's famous marching band. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in music education. He worked as a teacher for a year, then entered the prestigious Eastman School of Music in New York to earn his Master's degree. He came back to Minnesota to spend the next several years teaching music at the Wayzata Public Schools. He loved to teach kids about classical piano and Mozart, and his class in electronic composition was probably the first and only class teaching that subject at the high-school level. He could see how technology would soon transform the way music was being made and taught. He taught himself to write computer code in the 1980's when personal computers were just getting started. He worked on his software at home, while he and his wife raised their two children. In 1982, his software had grown into a side business, leading him to quit teaching to develop a company called Springboard Software to sell his software aimed at early childhood learning. He took Springboard public in the 1980's and left in 1990 to form another company. That company was founded around a product called Vivace. Eventually, the company name became MakeMusic and the product became known as SmartMusic. A subscription to this product gave teachers and students access to thousands of music titles and practice exercises.

I'm pretty sure I've found the same John Paulson who played with The Sting Rays, but I haven't confirmed this yet. If this is the same guy, he and I share extremely similar backgrounds. While he was developing music software on his kitchen table in the early 1980's, I was developing my own music scheduling software on my kitchen table. If my information is correct, John is only slightly older than me, and we both ended up running our own music-related software companies.

I knew none of this when I picked up my copy of The Cat, however. But I loved this song the first time I heard it. In fact, it's one of those rare songs that I find myself playing a couple more times when I first hear it, just because I appreciate it that much. I remember running off to fetch my kids to share it with them. I especially thought they'd like the cute lyrics about a cat that just keeps coming back. Believe it or not, I'd never heard that story before. But they had!


I was shocked to learn that this song was based on a very old song written in 1893 by a guy named Harry S. Miller. It started as a folk song and became a popular children's song. It was first recorded as a "race" record in April 1924 by Fiddlin' John Carson. It makes sense that John Paulson would turn this into a garage rock record, considering his fascination with music. The song is often used to teach children the concepts of rhythm and tempo, which are especially compelling when played in a minor key. It's usually sung in 2/4 time, with one weak beat followed by one strong beat. Considering this song's extensive history, I was a bit embarrassed to admit that I'd never heard about it before hearing this version. After all, I was supposed to be the music expert in the family! As it turns out, my kids know more about making music than I ever will. I'm basically a professional listener!

So let's get to it, shall we? Here's The Cat by The Sting Rays on Welhaven 8852 from 1967:



Since discovering this cute tune, I've made it my mission to find hundreds more like it. You'll hear them all on MusicMaster Oldies. If you think you know one that I've missed, by all means, share it with the class!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Oldies - Purr Kitty Purr by Sid King And The Five Strings

Ever wonder what records Buddy Holly listened to before he started making his own music? Here's one of them! If these guys weren't the first Rockabilly act, they were certainly one of the first. They were hailed by Billboard Magazine as the Top Ranked Show Band in 1956. These five cats from Dallas did shows with Pat Boone, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and even Elvis Presley. If I had a time machine, I'd hop in and take a trip first to the 1950's to catch some Western Swing at the WFAA Shindig, then to one of the Big D Jamboree rockabilly shows at the Sportatorium in Dallas. These days I have to get my Western Swing fix at the Station Inn on Monday Nights in Nashville. But where can you go for some good old fashioned Rockabilly? Somebody tell me, please!

Sidney Erwin was born in Denton, Texas in 1936. He had already formed a Western Swing group called the Western Melody Makers by the time he was 16. He got a record deal with Starday and cut a record called Who Put The Turtle In Myrtle's Girdle on Starday 146 in 1953. in 1956, Sid changed the name of his band to Sid King And The Five Strings and began cutting Rockabilly sides for Columbia Records.


This is one of my favorite Sid King records. Get your dancing shoes ready! Here's Purr Kitty Purr by Sid King And The Five Strings on Columbia 21489 from 1956.



From Western Swing to Rockabilly to Country and Western, you'll hear it all on MusicMaster Oldies! Y'all come back now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Oldies - Polar Bear by Nancy Carole with The Bel Chords

I know absolutely nothing about Nancy Carole. My hunch is that she turned out to be a law professor in New York City, but that's based on some really sketchy research data. I may be way off. But I'm still looking for her! If you know who she is, please let me know!


This is another cute teeny-bopper girl song that I know will drive my son crazy. I love this record. Maybe that's because my oldest daughter loves polar bears so much. Oh, by the way, many people have been concerned lately that climate changes might make the polar bears extinct. That's not at all true. The global polar bear population is five times bigger now than it was 50 years ago. But this song isn't about polar bears. It's about love.

Have a listen to Polar Bear by Nancy Carole backed up by The Bel Chords on UI 500 from 1963:



Don't let the oldies become extinct! Listen to MusicMaster Oldies as often as you can, and please tell all your friends. The oldies are depending on people like you for their survival!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Oldies - Never On Saturday by The Allan Sisters

My son insists that songs like this sound like fingernails on a blackboard to his ears. He's amazed when he meets my record collector friends who are huge fans of Teeners and Girl Groups. They, like me, can't get enough of this stuff.


The Allan Sisters are Coralie and Jackie Allan from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Jackie started singing when she was just seven years old. After her sister joined the act, they began doing shows in Alberta. They moved to Toronto in search of a recording contract. Jackie married a musical arranger from Country Hoedown on CBC Television named Art Snider.

They cut their first record in 1963, a song called Larry that made it up to #35 on the 1050 CHUM Top 50 in Toronto in early 1964. The record was first issued in Canada on Art Snider's Chateau label. This song, Never On Saturday, was the flip side of that single. This is Never On Saturday by The Allan Sisters on Shell 314 from 1963:



The girls landed a regular gig that lasted a decade singing on The Tommy Hunter Show, a musical variety show that aired across Canada on CBC Television. They left the show in March 1977 and went on tour across Canada. In 1983, the girls went their separate ways and stopped performing together, a move that disappointed many of their fans.

Coralie, who was married to a singer and guitar player named James "Jamie" Nolan until his death in 1987, did a couple of solo shows, but soon dropped out of the music scene to find work in the business world.

Sister Jackie went on to pursue a solo career singing country music as Jackie Allan And Tribute. You could hear her often at the Bar-K in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Coralie left the music business completely. Sadly, Jackie's solo career was cut short when was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away on Christmas Eve in 1985.

After Jackie's death, Coralie joined Splendid Entertainment and started singing at dinner shows and cabarets around Muskoka, Toronto, and even into the northeastern United States. She moved to North Vancouver in 2000 to take care of her daughter, Darcia Gayle Nolan, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter passed away in 2005.

Whether you like this kind of music or not, you're bound to hear hundreds of songs from the 1950's and 1960's that you will love, and that you've never heard before, when you listen to MusicMaster Oldies. Let me know if a particularly good one finds you!

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Oldies - I've Got It Bad by The War Lords


The War Lords were from somewhere around Chicago, probably south, like in the Champaign-Urbana area. This record came out in 1966 on Thor 810T-0759. This song was written by T Jacobs and J Popelka. The Flip side is a song called "Real Fine Lady" that is also very good (and available on compilation CD's). Both promo (white) and stock (red) copies were issued. Less than ten of these are known to still exist. If you find one, it's worth well over a thousand dollars.

Now you know everything I know about these guys! If you have any more information about them, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, why don't you hear something from them? Here's I've Got It Bad by The War Lords:



Hope you're enjoying the variety on MusicMaster Oldies! Stay tuned. There's even more cool stuff coming in 2012.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Oldies - I Don't Wanna Know by Bernadette Carroll

You've heard of the Jersey Boys, right? Get ready for the Jersey Girls - Sixties Style!


The year is 1959. The place is Linden, New Jersey. Bernadette Carroll auditions to become a member of a new girl group being put together by arranger Tom DeCillis. She gets the job, along with Barbara Allbut, Barbara's sister Jiggs (Phyllis), and Lynda Malzone. The new group is called The Starlets and their first record is PS I Love You released on Astro 202/203 in 1960. The song makes the Billboard Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart at #106. The Starlets went on to make a second record on Astro, without Bernadette. She left the group to launch a solo career. Her first solo record was My Heart Stood Still / Sweet Sugar Sweet on Julia 1106 in 1962, a label owned by Tom DeCillis.

Tom brought in Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi of the Four Seasons to make her next record, Nicky / All The Way Home I Cried, which was sold to Laurie Records and was released, credited to simply Bernadette, on Laurie 3217 in 1963. The backing singers on that record were actually a group from New Jersey who called themselves The Brooks Four, but also recorded as The Four Winds and The Teammates. Bernadette managed to score her first national hit with her next record, Party Girl on Laurie 3238 in 1964, written by Ernie Maresca and Lou Zerato, and featuring her full name on the artist credits. Party Girl went to #47 on the Billboard Hot 100, #55 on CashBox, but did much better in some regions, going to #8 in Chicago on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey. Flip that record over and you get this song, I Don't Wanna Know:



Bernadette had four more releases on Laurie, but none of them ever became chart hits. In 1964, a group called The Rhythm Ramblers recorded a tribute to her called Pretty Bernadette. The flip side of that rare record features another Bernadette track called Heavenly. If you find this one, on Cleopatra 5, it's probably the most collectible Bernadette record of all.

Even while she was trying to launch a solo career, Bernadette would team up with the Allbut sisters to work as union background singers for other artists. She also teamed up with Denise Ferri and Peggy Santiglia to sing background vocals for folks like Kitty Kallen, Patty Duke, Connie Francis, Bobby Hebb. You can even hear Bernadette and her friends singing in the background on some Frankie Valli hits, The Proud One, You're Ready Now, and Cry For Me. You'll also hear them singing background for several Lou Christie songs on MGM, including Lightning Strikes and Rhapsody In The Rain.

In 1968, Bernadette took over as lead singer for The Angels and recorded four songs with them on RCA 9612 and RCA 9681. She also spent that year touring with the group. She also toured with the folk group who called themselves The Serendipity Singers and are best known for their hit, Don't Let The Rain Come Down.

Speaking of the Angels, you all know their big hit, My Boyfriend's Back, right? Bernadette wasn't with the group when they made that record in 1963 on Smash 1834. The lead singer on that record was a former member of The Delicates, Peggy Santiglia, who had sung jingles for WINS Radio in New York and performed on Broadway. The other two girls in the group were none other than Bernadette's former singing partners with the Starlets, the Allbut sisters, Barbara and Phyllis (Jiggy). The Starlets had tried to get record producer Gerry Granahan to sign them with a major label. At first, he didn't go along with the idea. Phyllis went to college to become a teacher, and sister Barbara was accepted into the Julliard School to become an arranger. A short time later, Gerry Granahan had second thoughts. While listening to an audition the girls had sung for him, he realized they had hit potential and called them back into the studio to record. That song was 'Til, and it became the first hit for The Angels on Caprice 107 in 1962.

My Boyfriend's Back came several records later. It was released on Smash 1834 in 1963, with this strange song on the flip side. This is called (Love Me) Now and you may not believe what you're hearing when you play this side of the record! It sounds like someone drops a metal tray on the floor part-way through the song. After that, you start to hear someone throwing stuff all around the studio. It's not happening in time with the music, and it certainly doesn't sound like it belongs there. This is STILL a mystery to me. It's clearly NOT just a mistake they either didn't catch, or chose to ignore. This was clearly intentional! Give it a listen and see what you think.



It makes me wonder if anyone ever bothered to flip over My Boyfriend's Back to play the other side. Aside from the strange noises, it's not a bad example of the Jersey Girl Group Sound! I would have loved to ask producers Robert Feldman, Gerald Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer, or arranger Leroy Glover, what they could tell me about this unique and unusual recording!

I play them ALL on MusicMaster Oldies. Listen long enough and you'll hear everything that ever charted between 1955 and 1973, plus tens of thousands of records that either charted somewhere else in the world, or never charted at all. It's the ultimate oldies mix. If you have any friends who love the music from this era, please turn them on to this!

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Oldies - Optical Sound by The Human Expression

The cool thing about psychedelic music is that you can get high from it without using any drugs. The trick is being able to relax completely. That's the magic that makes music sound better when you're stoned. But you can get there through meditation instead, and it works exactly the same way. Don't ask me how I know this, just take my word for it!


Time for a dose of psychedelic sixties from a band called The Human Expression. These guys cut three records before breaking up following a poor choice of songs for their third single. This is from the group's second single, a solid slice of psych with a clever title, Optical Sound.

The group came from Westminster, California, just east of the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, just south of Long Beach, in the Los Angeles metro area. I could write a ton of stuff about this band, but you're much better off reading about them here on CDBaby.com where you can also buy their music. There's another good write-up about them on 60sGarageBands.com.

They made two versions of this song, one that appeared on promo copies of the single (white label), and another that was used on subsequent stock pressings (red and black label). If you find either one of these original singles, you might hold out for a couple grand if you decide to sell them. Most people don't sell them once they own one! I've heard that less than ten copies of this record have been found, but I don't know if that's counting the one I have in my collection! When you're checking out their other tracks, be sure to check out Every Night from their first single. It's my other favorite song from them!

Here's Optical Sound from The Human Expression on Accent 1226 from 1967:



If you're in the mood to get high on more psychedelic sixties music, I can fix you up. My stash is your stash. MusicMaster Oldies is the only drug you need! Don't bogart it, my friend. Share it with your friends, please!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Oldies - You're My Girl by Jimmy And The Spartans

Most pressings of this rare Teener have a typo on the label, spelling the title as "Your're My Girl." I don't know much about Jimmy And The Spartans. The lead singer sounds too young to even be in high school! They were probably from somewhere near Memphis, Tennessee. I believe that's the case because they recorded on the Satellite record label which was founded in a Memphis garage in 1957 by Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton. They moved the studios into an old movie theater, where the sloping floor contributed to their unique sound. In 1961, very shortly after this record was released, Satellite Records became Stax Records, and music history was about to change in a very big way. Although Jim and Estelle were both white, Stax Records helped launch the Southern Soul and Memphis Soul sounds.

Estelle and Jim

The house band was none other than Booker T And The MG's. This became the home of soul superstars like Otis Redding, Sam And Dave, Wilson Picket, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, and behind-the-scenes legends like Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn. They created a subsidiary label called Volt Records. Atlantic Records had first publishing rights to anything recorded on Satellite, then Stax. The Blues Brothers movie is basically a tribute to Stax Records and the sweet soul music they brought to life. The Stax sound was really born with the very NEXT record they released AFTER this one, Last Night by the Mar-Keys.

Here is You're My Girl by Jimmy And The Spartans on Satellite 106 from 1961:



If you know anything more about these kids, please let me know. In the meantime, there's an incredible archive of Teeners and Soul music waiting for you on MusicMaster Oldies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Oldies - Action Woman by The Litter and The Electras

Get ready for a Battle-of-the-Bands! We're going to let a couple of Minnesota garage rock groups from the 1960's play the same song for you, then you get to decide which one is better. You can also have fun trying to figure out which of these bands recorded the song first.

First up, from Ely, Minnesota, less than ten miles from the Canadian border, surrounded by national forests and several of Minnesota's famous 10,000 lakes, here are The Electras:


The Electras started at Ely Memorial High School in 1961 by a couple of new kids in town named Bill Bulinski and his younger brother Earl who had both been playing guitar for about four years and wanted to start a band. Bill put a help-wanted ad in the school newspaper looking for a bass player. A kid named Gary Omerza answered the ad first, but he didn't play bass. Instead, he was an accordion player! Nevertheless, he was invited to join. After adding upright bass player Fred Godec they started rehearsing. Their first gig was at John's Bar where they snuck in some uptempo songs between the polkas and waltzes. But they lost that job when a local priest didn't like the idea of teenagers hanging around in a bar.

Bill played lead guitar while brother Earl handled rhythm. They added Len Erickson on the drums, and a female singer named Kaye Spalj, and started practicing some songs by the Ventures, with Kaye singing some Brenda Lee tunes. In 1962, the group played in the cafeteria on Halloween at the John F. Kennedy Junior High School. The band evolved over the next few years. Jerry Fink replaced Len on the drums. In 1965, Tim Elfving joined as the band's lead singer. They hired a manager, Chuck Novak, and talked Gary into learning the Farfisa organ to replace his accordion so they could do some cool songs by Paul Revere And The Raiders and The Animals.

The band was ready to cut their first record. Chuck went to the Dove Recording Studio in St. Louis Park (on the west side of Minneapolis) to see Warren Kendrick, a local record producer and songwriter. Warren loved their sound and started writing some songs for them. They had their first local hit with a song called 'Bout My Love that briefly charted at #39 in Minneapolis on the WDGY Radio Top 40. Warren signed them to his own Scotty label and cut another record called This Week's Children which climbed to #12 on WDGY. They followed this up with Dirty Old Man which became a bigger hit around Minnesota and sold over 5000 copies in the area. But the end came quickly when Bill got drafted. In July 1966, he was in the Army and their manager, Chuck Novak, joined the Navy. They were both replaced by Harvey Korkk from Ely who booked the band and picked up the lead guitar.

Warren Kendrick started shopping around for a national distribution deal with a major record label. He rejected several offers because he wanted to retain publishing rights for the songs. Finally, he made a deal with Columbia Records. It was looking good for The Elektras from Ely, until they ran into more trouble. It turns out there was a prep school band from Aurora, Colorado called The Elektras who pressed 500 copies of a vanity album in 1961. That band, by the way, featured future Presidential candidate John Kerry on bass. For some reason, this prompted Warren to change the band's name to Twas Brillig without even telling them. In February 1967, Columbia released Dirty Old Man and This Week's Children by Twas Brillig on Date 1550, a subsidiary label. But the company didn't put much effort into promoting the record. When lead singer Tim Elfving got drafted, Columbia lost interest in the band and The Electras, aka Twas Brillig, were done.

Here is Action Woman by The Electras on Scotty 6720 from 1967:



This song was written by Warren Kendrick, the producer who took The Electras under his wing, published their first records on his own Scotty label, and got them signed with Columbia/Date. Warren was a high school math teacher in Minneapolis who got into the music business in 1965 when he and some friends cut a novelty record called Beer Bust Blues as The Scotsmen. Warren issued that record on his Scotty label and started looking for other bands to record. He was a creative musician who loved to mess around with the traditional chord progressions, which is quite apparent on this track in particular.


Warren also recorded a band from the Minneapolis area (Robbinsdale) called The Litter, featuring Jim Kane on bass and moog moog synthesizer, Tom Murray on drums, Dan Rinaldi on guitar and vocals, Bill Strandlof on lead guitar, and Denny Waite on organ and vocals. The Litter recorded Action Woman in January 1967.

Here's Action Woman by The Litter on Scotty 6710 from 1967:



The Litter made several singles and albums which sold well in the Minneapolis area, but never really broke out nationally. Warren Kendrick created a subsidiary label called Warick to issue some of their records. He continued recording, writing songs, and producing records into the early 1970's. He sold his four-track recording studio in 1971 and moved to Omaha where he became a computer technician and teacher.

So, which band wins? That's up to you to decide. That's the fun part of listening to these old records! You want more? All you have to do is fire up your Internet browser and listen to MusicMaster Oldies on Live365. It's also available on several Internet radios (I use a Logitech clock radio in my bedroom and kitchen, and a CC WiFi Radio from the C. Crane company at my office), as well as TiVo DVR and the Roku Internet TV receiver.

I'll leave you today with a little bit of fun stuff. Here's Beer Bust Blues by The Scotsmen from Minneapolis (featuring Warren Kendrick) on Scotty 1803 from 1965!



See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Oldies - Boofo Goes Where Santa Goes by Linn Sheldon

"If anybody calls, tell them Barnaby said hello. And tell them that I think you are the nicest person in the whole world... Just you."


Those were the words Linn Sheldon used to close his "Barnaby And Friends" children's show in Cleveland from 1957 to 1990. It was on Channel 3 for the first ten years and moved to Channel 43 in 1967. I was four years old when Barnaby first appeared, and I remember watching it fairly often. He started out as an elf with pointy ears and a straw hat who lived in a place called The Enchanted Forest. His show featured Popeye cartoons, which I really loved back then (and still do), and a character called Woodrow The Woodsman played by Clay Conroy (J. Clayton Conroy), who ended up with his own spin-off children's show.

I had the amazing pleasure of working with Linn Sheldon in my first radio job. I was the producer and engineer for a half-hour show he did every weekday afternoon on WSUM-AM in Parma, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. I helped build that radio station from the ground up in the spring of 1975. If you're interested, you can read more about my early radio background on Avast Ye, Pirate Radio Dead Ahead. If you check out WSUM Radio, now called WCCD-AM, on Wikipedia, you'll even see my "air" name, Joey James, listed as one of the disc jockeys who started that station. Linn's radio show was aimed at adults and it always featured an interesting story. Linn Sheldon had lots of interesting stories to tell! He also made a ton of personal appearances, mostly to cheer up sick children in hospitals around Cleveland.

Linn Richard Sheldon's own childhood was pretty rough. He was born in Norwalk, Ohio on 20 September 1919, and spent much of his youth either homeless or in foster care. He joined the Army during World War II, and became a nightclub entertainer. In 1948, he became one of Cleveland's pioneer television entertainers. Later in life he hosted a morning television talk show on WUAB Channel 43. He also made public his struggle with alcoholism when he sought treatment in 1975. He passed away on 23 April 2006. He was 86 years old.

Not many people know that Linn Sheldon made a Christmas record! It was released on Cosmic 707 in 1958. Here's Boofo Goes Where Santa Goes by Linn Sheldon:



And here's the flip side, Rabbits Have A Christmas by Linn Sheldon:



You'll hear these songs on MusicMaster Oldies every year around Christmas, along with a whole bunch of obscure Christmas songs, many of which you've probably never heard before.

"If anybody calls, tell them Barnaby said hello. And tell them that I think you are the nicest person in the whole world... Just you."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Oldies - Ole Father Time by Selvin Johannes

Nobody seems to know much about this guy even though this song has become really popular. You'll find it on compilation CDs and YouTube, but never with any information about the artist. I've done a bit of tracking and here's what I found. None of this is confirmed, but it's as accurate as possible given what I've had to work with. Needless to say, if you know anything about Selvin Johannes, or you ARE Selvin Johannes, please contact me!


I think this is a recent photo of Selvin. He was probably born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York, and may still be living there. This song was written by Winfield Scott in 1963, but it was covered in 1964 by two female singers, Millie Foster in New York City, and Helen Shapiro in London. It was the B-side of a cover of Fever that was a #38 UK chart hit for Helen Shapiro. This song was never a chart hit, which you will think is an amazing oversight when you hear it. Billboard Magazine reviewed this song on 8 June 1963, giving it the maximum rating of four stars. This makes it pretty clear that Selvin's version was the original.

That makes this record fall into many different categories on MusicMaster Oldies. It's considered valuable by collectors of Northern Soul, Teeners, and Belgian Popcorn. Not too many songs fall into ALL of those categories! It's also an Original Version, which simply means this was the first recording of a song that was covered by other singers. It has a bit of the "Wall Of Sound" production quality that was the signature sound of Phil Spector, even though probably he had nothing to do with this record.

So here we go with Ole Father Time by Selvin Johannes on Decca 31502 from 1963:



For the sake of being complete, here is the Helen Shapiro version on Columbia (UK) 7190 from late 1963, early 1964:



And finally, the Millie Foster version on TCF 4 from 1964:



And, for those of you who like to sing along, here are the lyrics!

When the clock begins to chime,
It is only Ole Father Time,
Warning us, it's getting late,
But Father Time is gonna have to wait.
For we can't rush a love like this,
With a single little goodnight kiss.
How can I let you say goodnight,
Until my arms have held you good and tight.

So let him wait (Father Time),
Oh let him wait a minute (Father Time),
So let him wait a second now (Father Time),
Oh what's his hurry?
Can't he see you're still, in my arms?
We don't care about him and his alarms.

He can tick, and he can tock,
Chasing seconds all around the clock.
Now he's gonna have to stand right still,
Until I kiss you and I get my fill.

So let him wait (Father Time),
Oh let him wait a minute (Father Time),
So let him wait a second now (Father Time),
Oh what's his hurry?
Let him wait!

(Repeat to the end)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Oldies - The Countryside by Jim Henson

Yeah, this is the same guy who created The Muppets, but he made this record many years earlier!

Aside from the history behind the artists, there's something very significant about this record for me, personally. Back when I was using last-minute "Sniper" bids on eBay to buy whatever records I wanted, something very strange happened. I put my usual $1777 bid on this record and expected to own it when the auction ended. I actually thought I'd win it for about ten dollars, since it's not listed as being that expensive in the record collecting price guides and nobody else seemed to be watching or bidding. When the auction was over, I was shocked to find that I had NOT won the record! It got sold to another bidder for $1778! Both of our bids came in within two seconds before the auction closed. That means that someone else was using the same Sniper strategy as me, and whoever it was used a higher bid than my "oh wow nobody will ever go this high" maximum. I was at first unhappy that I'd lost the auction, but then relieved that this other bidder didn't bid something just under me. I might have ended up buying this for well over a thousand dollars! I felt sorry for the guy who did win. But then something happened. The seller contacted me with a "Second Chance" offer. This can happen when the winning bidder backs out of the deal and the seller is allowed to offer it to the second-highest bidder, usually for the amount of that person's bid. He offered it to me for $1776, but I counter offered with $10 instead! We negotiated back and forth and I ended up getting it for under $100. Honestly, I don't really know how much it's worth. It's SO rare that it almost never appears for sale or auction anywhere.


Jim Henson was born on 24 September 1936 in Greenville, Mississippi. He was raised as a Christian Scientist in Leland, Mississippi. His family moved to the Washington DC area as a teenager. As a senior at Northwestern High School, Jim took a job with WTOP-TV creating puppets for the Junior Morning Show that aired every Saturday morning. He had thoughts of becoming a commercial artist, which was his major at the University of Maryland. In his freshman year, Jim was asked to create puppets for a five-minute show on WRC-TV called Sam And Friends. This was the beginning of The Muppets, even including an early prototype of Kermit The Frog! He asked classmate Jane Nebel to assist him. She would eventually become his wife! Jim made some good money from the work he'd done for television, so after graduation he took off for several months to travel around Europe and study the very artistic puppets created there. In 1959 he was back in America. He and Jane got married and had five children between 1960 and 1970. He developed The Muppets characters just AFTER making this strange novelty record. He was earning money making commercials for television. One such commercial, for Wilkins Coffee, featured a frog puppet named Wilkins, who evolved into Kermit. In 1963, Jim and his wife moved to New York City and Muppets Inc. was born.

Both sides of this record credit "With Frank Sinatra's Orchestra." But that's most likely a joke, since Frank didn't have his own orchestra and no orchestra is used on these tracks. Both sides were written by Jim Henson and published by B F Wood Music.

Here's Countryside by Jim Henson on Signature 12023 from 1960:



And here's the flip side, a song called Tick-Tock Sick. Toxic, get it?



And now you know a little bit more about the man behind The Muppets. Sadly, James Maury Henson died of a severe strep infection on the morning of 16 May 1990, just a week and a half after he began to experience symptoms. He was 53.

Thanks for the many requests, everyone! The ones you've suggested that I'm not already playing on MusicMaster Oldies are being tracked down right now. I'll get them on the air as soon as I can!

Here are some cool links with more information about Jim Henson and his Muppets:

http://geekscape.net/jim-henson-1936-1990-saying-goodbye-20-years-later.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Henson

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Oldies - I Need Your Lovin' by The Vikings

I'm sure you'll find many copies of this record laying around at secondhand shops and garage sales -- NOT! I think there are two of them known to exist, but I don't know if mine is the second or third.


The Vikings were three brothers and a friend from a very small town in Ohio called Champion, just north of Warren. That's between Cleveland and Youngstown, but closer to Youngstown. They recorded the two sides of this record at the WAM Records studio in Youngstown. WAM stands for "Words And Music" and it was a spin-off of the Dusi Music Center in Youngstown. This label became a legendary home for garage rock group collectors, much like the coveted Orlyn label out of Chicago, but they also recorded their fair share of polkas, gospel, and pop records. The operation was formed in 1962 by Bill Warner with the help of a disc jockey from WHOT Radio in Youngstown. It was built in a one-story wood frame building on the near south side of Youngstown. In 1967, the name was changed to United Audio and Gary Rhamy came on board after graduation from college as an engineer. He bought out the company in 1971, built a new facility, and changed the name once again to Peppermint Recordings.

This record was issued in 1965. Here's an example of the midwest's finest garage rock, I Need Your Lovin' by The Vikings!



Let me know if you have any requests, and keep listening to MusicMaster Oldies. Don't touch that dial!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Oldies - If You Fall For Me by Frank (Farmer Boy) Townsend

Most of the records I've posted so far are available somewhere. If you can't actually buy the original vinyl (which is true of most of them), you can at least get the songs on compilation CDs, or find the music on YouTube or Rhapsody. But not this one!

There's nothing particularly special about this record as far as the collectors are concerned. But, it does have a special meaning for me. When I was trying to collect every single record that ever hit the 1050 CHUM Top 50 charts between 1955 and 1971, this was the very LAST one I was able to find -- and that was no simple task! CHUM-AM was the top hit music station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada back in the 50's and 60's. Their music chart was thought to reflect the music sales all across Canada. If I could get a copy of this record, I'd own every single one that ever made it onto that chart. I finally found the original 45 offered for sale on eBay.

Back when I was snapping up bargains on eBay (when you still could), I was a very early expert "Sniper." For those of you who don't know, this means putting in a bid at the very last second before the auction closes, which doesn't give others enough time to bid against you. I was a sneaky sucker, too. First, I would never bid at all until the last second. Nobody knew that I was interested in a particular record until I'd already won it. Second, my last second bid was usually very VERY high. The way eBay works, you can bid a million dollars, but you win the item for some small increment over the previous bid. If a record (like this one) was posted with a starting bid of $5.00, and you bid $20.00, and nobody else bids on that record, you'd win it for $5.50. The overbid just allowed you to automatically beat someone who tried to out-bid you. For example, if I'd made that $20.00 bid, then someone else bid $10.00, I'd still be the winner of the auction. But that other bid would have driven my cost up from $5.50 to $10.50. See how it works? I'm sure a LOT of people know this trick now, so I wouldn't count on it working as well as it did for me.

Since I really wanted this particular record, I put my "standard high" bid of $1777.00 on it! I won it for about ten bucks. I think only one other person put in a bid. That just goes to show you how LITTLE demand there is for this record.

Now that seems strange to me, really. This isn't a terrible record, and it has a lot of historical value, especially to wrestling fans. This was somewhat of a novelty item. It was the only "hit" record ever made by "The Singing Wrestler" known by Canadian wrestling fans simply as "Farmer Boy" who appeared many times at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. He was also pretty well known in Minnesota where he was considered the top "babyface" wrestler behind Verne Gagne. Frank teamed up with Butch Levy to win the International tag titles from Stan Kowalski and Tiny Mills, also known as "Murder Inc." Frank was also an early masked gaijin star in Japan who called himself "Killer X." Gaigin (外人) is a Japanese term that refers to someone who isn't Japanese. Frank also teamed up with Don "Man Mountain" Campbell, who also went by the name Big Luke Brown.


But Frank Townsend was not a Canadian by birth. He was born in 1933 on an 80-acre farm in Camden, New Jersey. The family also owned a tobacco plantation in North Carolina that had belonged to the Townsend family since 1789. Frank went to school at nearby Haddenfield High. Of course he was on the wrestling team at school and won the state wrestling championship. When he was 18 he stood 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed over 200 pounds. He'd look down at his tiny mom and ask her, "Hey mom, where'd I get all this beef?" He also liked to sing, and joined the Haddenfield Choral Society. I have to assume that nobody made fun of him for that!

His mother wanted him to pursue a singing career, but his father advised him to go to college and become a civil engineer. Instead, Frank joined the U.S. Marines when he was 19. Stationed at Paris Island, Frank won several shooting competitions. He became a huge gun fan. He also participated, reluctantly, in some wrestling exhibitions. He never really enjoyed doing those. He was torn between being a singer or a wrestler, and his friends all told him he was good at both.

After three years in the Marines, he left the service and took his shot at a singing career. He cut two records for RCA Victor, this one, and another called Baby I've Got A Crush On You that the record company believed could be a hit. The records were issued in Canada on the Regency label. But Frank's wrestling pal, Buddy "Nature Boy" Rogers, convinced him to become a professional wrestler. Buddy said, "Boy, there are a million singers out there, but not very many wrestlers who can stand up in the ring and give the customers a song!" Frank would always regret passing up a career in music. Instead, he became Farmer Boy from North Carolina. He started out wrestling in Ohio, usually wearing a torn denim jacket smeared with dirt to enhance the farm boy image.

In a radio interview during his first year on the wrestling circuit he was asked if the sport was really all about acting. He didn't appreciate the question. He agreed that the guys put on a show for the audience, but, he said, "We've got to wrestle too! That's our job, isn't it?" The interviewer asked him if wrestling matches were fixed and Frank replied, "People are entitled to think what they want about wresting. They pay their money. They can think what they want." But he went on to say, "Well, the best man always wins a wrestling bout 99 times out of 100."

Frank Tunney was the big boxing and wrestling promoter who arranged all the matches in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. Tunney told Farmer Boy that he'd pay between $150 and $600 for each preliminary bout, and if he could make the grade he'd get 30% of the gate, plus bonuses. He could make $50,000 a year, which was huge money in 1956!

On his way to one of his first bouts at the Gardens, a couple of pretty girls asked him for an autograph. Then they asked him if he was going to sing. He said, "I might." They requested he sing Around The World from the movie, Around The World In Eighty Days. Sonja Hrynchak was Frank's girlfriend and he'd always leave a couple of tickets for her at the box office. He thought often about getting married to her. He saved most of the money he made, opting to buy a Ford instead of the Cadillac he really wanted. Most of the other wrestlers stayed at fancy hotels when they came to Toronto. But Frank stayed with some friends who lived on Martin Grove Road. He had to have his clothes tailor made, but he never paid a lot of money for them. His only real extravagance was a $50 pair of alligator shoes! Frank would only have a bit of soup before each bout, but he'd take Sonja out afterward for a big steak dinner.

Frank Townsend died too young. He was killed in a boating accident on 15 May 1965 at the age of 32.

To make a long story short (too late), here's Frank "Farmer Boy" Townsend singing If You Fall For Me from Regency 663 in 1957, a song that barely made it on the CHUM charts, peaking at #47 (it never made the charts anywhere else). This song was incorrectly listed on the CHUM Top 50 as "If I Fall For You" but this was the actual title:



And here's the flip side, Find A Love For Me:



I really didn't have time to write all this today, but I did it anyway. I'll try to keep these posts brief from now on! Hope you're enjoying all the music on MusicMaster Oldies!

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Oldies - Do I Love You (Deed I Do) by Frank Wilson

Considered the most collectible Northern Soul record in the world, only three copies of this song on the original Soul 35019 pressing are known to exist! But if you want to cash in on this, you have to find an original -- not a reissue. Good luck!

In the 1970's, Tom Dieperro, a music historian at Motown, was asked to research this record and received an original that had never been played. He met with a record producer and legendary Northern Soul dealer named Simon Soussan and gave him a pile of records to review, including this one. Simon recognized the potential of this record and began sending acetate copies to the UK clubs, changing the artist's name to Eddie Foster. This was a common practice for Simon when passing on yet-unknown Northern Soul discs. In this way, he could control any search for the original records.

It was a huge hit for the Northern Soul crowd, which raised curiosity about the artist's real name. They finally learned the truth in 1978 when Simon sold his collection to a musician from Weybridge in Surry named Les McCutcheon, who is often referred to as Les Mac. Northern Soul collectors did not place a high value on the record at first, which was standard practice for releases on the Motown label.

Les sold the record to a disc jockey named Jonathan Woodcliffe, who became one of the top collectors in the UK, and a Northern Soul record spinner as well. Jonathan then sold the record to Kev Roberts, who kept it in his collection for more than a decade. Kev, thinking the value of the record had topped out, sold it to Tim Brown, possibly the world's biggest Northern Soul dealer, for £3,000. Then Tim got an offer to buy the record for £15,000 from Kenny Burrell!

This single was scheduled for release by Motown Records just a couple of days before Christmas in 1965. Instead, the flip side, Sweeter As The Days Go By, was recorded by Marvin Gaye but never released. This song, Do I Love You (Deed I Do), was recorded by Chris Clark and issued on VIP 25034 in 1966. What would have been Frank Wilson's vocal debut was quietly stopped, and Frank even convinced Berry Gordy to destroy every copy that had already been pressed for promotional release. Frank Wilson made a nice career as a song writer and record producer. Today, some say he's working with a church somewhere in Northern California.

If you find a copy of the original record, let me know. I might give you a couple of bucks for it ;-)

Here's Do I Love You (Deed I Do) by Frank Wilson on Soul 35019 from 1965:



I've got many boxes full of Northern Soul treasures waiting to be added to the hundreds that you'll already hear on MusicMaster Oldies. Transferring music from vinyl to digital is a time-consuming process, but I consider it a labor of love (or, as they'd say in the UK, a labour of love).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Oldies - Queen Of The Starlight Dance by Larry And Mike

Why are so many great songs from the 1960's shrouded in mystery? I've been trying very hard to figure this one out, but I haven't learned much about it yet. I'll tell you what I do know - it's a really nice record!

This song was written by Lou Duhig and Ruby Berry, who also wrote songs for Bonnie Guitar, The Castells, Ronnie Deauville, Tony Wilde, and a folk group called The Moments out of Nashville, among others. Their biggest claim to fame, at least from what I can find, was the hit song Doll House first recorded by Donnie Brooks. Most of the songs they wrote were released on the Era label between 1957 and 1964. This could be one of their last major compositions.


The Picadilly record label was a subsidiary of Jerden out of Seattle, Washington, which was founded in 1960 by Jerry Dennon and Bonnie Guitar, and not to be confused with the Piccadilly label from England. Bonnie had previously founded another record company, Dolphin, which later became Dolton, and was the home of The Ventures. Era Records, however, was located in Hollywood, California. In 1957, Bonnie Guitar recorded a song called Frantic Party that had been written by Lou Duhig and Ruby Berry. That could explain how they ended up writing this song for Bonnie Guitar's Picadilly label. Bonnie released a lot of her records on the Dot label, which had been founded by Randy Wood in Gallatin, Tennessee, but moved to Los Angeles in 1956. Well, that's probably the connection between Seattle and Los Angeles, but it's all just speculation.

There's a chance, although unlikely, that "Larry" of Larry And Mike is actually Larry Verne, the guy from Minneapolis who had the hit novelty song, Mister Custer, on the Era label in 1960. If you listen to both records, you might hear some similarity in the voice, once you disregard the embellished southern accent on Mister Custer.

Anyway, here's Queen Of The Starlight Dance by Larry And Mike on Picadilly 500 from 1963:



If you actually know who Larry And Mike were, by all means, please let me know. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the musical treasures on MusicMaster Oldies and tell all your friends about it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Oldies - Get Off Of My Roof by Jerry And The Landslides

That song I posted yesterday either ripped off the Rolling Stones (without giving Mick Jagger and Keith Richard any composer credits), or the Rolling Stones ripped off that record when they wrote Satisfaction. The two records are far too similar to just be a coincidence. Somebody did something wrong, we just don't know who did what to whom. Today, I've got another Rolling Stones related item that is not anywhere near as mysterious. It's just fun!

For many years, this record was a complete mystery to me. But, thanks to the Internet, I've learned a lot about it now. If you live on the east coast, you may already know Jerry. His real name is Jay Worsham, and he played the spokesman on some very crazy TV commercials for The Bedding Barn.


Jay Worsham was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before graduating from high school, he moved to Arkansas, California, and then Connecticut. He has a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University.

Jay got started in broadcasting as a radio announcer. Later, he became a TV weatherman in Hartford, Connecticut. He had three kids with his first wife, and they liked to visit Disney World two or three times every year.

After a divorce, he married again and became a TV weatherman in Florida. Still doing zany commercials, he took a creative writing course at the local college and got hooked on writing. His first novel was a fantasy called The Knotted Sword which he tried to sell to the big publishing houses. His book was being rejected without even being read, and he's convinced that his "query letter" was the problem. If you're going to submit your book to a publisher, make sure the letter you send with it is very well written!

Jay gave up on writing novels for ten years. During this time he moved on from television to work as a reporter, editor, and columnist at a south Florida newspaper. After his daughter, Rebecca, was born in 1994 in Loxahatchee Groves, just west of Palm Beach, he wrote a second novel called Florida Freeze: A Rick Fortune Adventure. This time he decided to publish it himself.

Music was always a hobby for Jay. He learned to play the trumpet in high school. Later he took up the saxophone and piano. Jay recorded this song while he was working in a recording studio in New York City. It was in that studio where he had a chance to work on a recording session with Jimi Hendrix about a year before he became famous. The backing instrumental track was laid down by some unnamed musicians from Long Island which, supposedly, never actually met Jay!

Here's Get Off Of My Roof by Jerry And The Landslides on PPX 441 from 1965:



Merry Christmas everyone! I'm playing Christmas songs once or twice every hour on MusicMaster Oldies, just like they did on the radio back in those days. I think that's better than playing all Christmas music because it's a bigger treat when those songs are played. Hope you like it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Oldies - The World Ain't Changed by Warden And His Fugitives

This is yet another totally unknown garage rock group. All we know is that these guys are from San Bernardino, California. Do you know who they are?

When you listen to this song, you're sure to hear the similarity to Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. At first, you'll assume that these guys just ripped it off. But that's not how some people see it. Both songs were released in the summer of 1965. Which came first? Of course, the odds are this song copied the Stones and not the other way around. But can you be sure?


So, here we go with The World Ain't Changed by Warden And His Fugitives on Bing 302:



There are thousands more where this came from -- on MusicMaster Oldies!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank You Mike Hill

John Lennon once said that as a teenager, "Elvis was bigger than religion in my life." A friend of John's who also attended Dovedale School lived nearby and had this huge collection of American R&B records. John would go there often to have lunch. One day, his friend turned him on to something a bit different, a record he'd bought in Amsterdam. It was Little Richard singing Long Tall Sally, and John was really knocked out when he heard it. In his mind, he began to blend the sounds of early Elvis and Little Richard. The name of the kid who planted these seeds in John Lennon's incredible mind was Mike Hill.

That's all I can say today.







And the track that really knocked me out and made me an 11-year old Beatles fan...




We miss you, John.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Oldies - Tennessee Toddy by Marty Robbins

You know Marty Robbins, the multi-talented Country and Western singer who liked to do "story" songs like his big hit, El Paso, in 1960. He was born Martin David Robinson in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale in 1925. He had a rough childhood. His dad was an alcoholic who never held a steady job. His parents were divorced when he was only 12 years old, but not until they'd had ten kids. He joined the Navy when he was 17 and ended up in the Pacific during World War II. That's where he learned to play guitar and write songs. His Pacific travels also introduced him to Hawaiian music, which he would love for the rest of his life.

After the war, he returned to Phoenix where he hosted a Country music TV show. Little Jimmy Dickens made a guest appearance on his show, and then helped Marty get a recording contract with Columbia. He became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry shows in Nashville.

He married 18-year old Marizona Baldwin in 1948 and had two children, Ron and Janet, who had her own singing career. He wrote a song about Marizona called My Woman My Woman My Wife, which became one of his many hits, and won him a Grammy for the Best Country Song of 1970.

Marty also loved to drive race cars, and was a big fan of Dodge Chargers. In fact, he drove in 35 NASCAR races, including the Daytona 500 in 1973. He even drove the pace car in the 1967 Indy 500 race.

He even ventured into acting, playing himself in a racing movie, Hell On Wheels, in 1967, and then a musician in Honkytonk Man, the Clint Eastwood movie from 1982. He never got to watch himself in that film, however. He died of complications from heart surgery on December 8, 1982, exactly 29 years ago tomorrow. His widow passed away in 2001.

Let's dial the clock back a few years, though. Marty's first Country hit was a song called I'll Go It Alone from 1952, which went right to number one on the Country charts. His first pop hit, Singing The Blues, made it to #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. A year later, he'd have a #2 pop hit with the classic, A White Sport Coat.


This song, Tennessee Toddy, never made it on any of the charts. In fact, neither did the flip side, Mean Mama Blues. To put things in perspective, Elvis Presley had just been signed by RCA at this time, after recording his five singles on Sun Records in 1954 and 1955.

I think this is a great rockabilly song with some really clever lyrics. Give it a listen and you'll see what I mean. Here's Tennessee Toddy by Marty Robbins on Columbia 21477 from 1956.



I could keep posting great uncharted music like this for many years and never run out of material. You can hear them all on MusicMaster Oldies! Check it out sometime. I hope you like what you hear.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Oldies - The Story Of Bonnie by The Count Victors Featuring Danny Harrison

It's time for another Teener ballad! This one comes from Danny Harrison of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Bob, Terry, Freddy, and Danny


The group started out as The Teen Lords in 1961 and became the Count Victors when Danny Harrison came on board as lead singer. Danny is backed up by Bob Dixon on bass, Freddy Munro on the piano, and Terry Lathangue on drums.

This song was a big local hit in Peterborough, and managed to climb to #33 on the 1050 CHUM charts in Toronto. It was issued in the USA on Rust 5034 in 1961, but failed to make it on the Billboard Hot 100. You're more likely to find the Canadian release on Barry 3050, actually.

This song was written by Gary Hansler and Roy Bacon, guitarist and lead singer of the original Teen Lords band. Danny Harrison released lots of records in Canada, but only three of them charted, all peaking in the 30's. His other Canadian hits were Peepin' 'N Hidin' (Baby What You Want Me To Do) on Coral 62324 in 1962, and Blue Souvenirs on Coral 62411 in 1964. Peepin' 'N Hidin' was his only record to appear on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching only #91.

The Story Of Bonnie by The Count Victors Featuring Danny Harrison:



You can hear thousands of songs like this on MusicMaster Oldies. Tell your friends!