Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Oldies - Oh Ronnie by Kal's Kids

Buying and selling old vinyl records can be a lucrative venture. But sometimes you screw up and miss a golden opportunity. It happened to me with this record.

Kal's Kids were from Allentown, Pennsylvania. They took first place on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour on television which earned them a recording contract with the local Vernon label. A local evening disc jockey on WSCR Radio, singer, songwriter and record producer who called himself Frantic Freddie (a.k.a. Freddie Frederick, Fred Milander, and Fred Mylander) took an interest in the group. Freddie became the group's producer, arranger, and co-wrote both sides of their first single with a guy named Craig Kastelnick. They only made this one record as Kal's Kids. When they were picked up by Date Records in 1968, their name was changed The Young Ideas. They cut one record on Date 1614, with the songs Barney Buss and Melody. Apparently they also cut a few more singles on the Swan and Jeree labels as The Young Ideas, not to be confused with The Young Idea, a group from England. This led them to ABC Records where they cut Candy Street and Be My Baby on ABC 11067 in 1968. After being dropped by ABC, the group financed their own album in 1970 which they called The Young Ideas on Young Ideas DRP-5822. The group published another album called Through The Years on Century DRP-5822 in 1979. The original group consisted of Ronnie Hassinger on vocals, guitar and keyboards, Harry O on drums and vocals, Ron Russell on keyboards, bass and rhythm guitar, and Alan Gaumer on trumpet, keyboards and vocals. The lineup changed over time, but founding members Ronnie Hassinger, Harry O, and Ron Russell, stayed for the entire ride.

I sold this record for $30 to another record dealer from Pennsylvania. He was a guy I admired because of his incredible knowledge of obscure records and bands, particularly those who came from Ohio and Pennsylvania. I should have known this record would end up being worth a lot more. In fact, copies of this rare single have surfaced on eBay, generating intense bidding wars between collectors, ultimately selling for $350-400. Oops.

My favorite side of this single is this Teener called Oh Ronnie by Kal's Kids on Vernon 967 from 1967:




But the Northern Soul collectors are really after the flip side, a track called Long Lonely Broken Hearted:




Here's their follow-up record, Barney Buss by The Young Ideas on Date 1614 from 1968:



Just for fun, here are a couple of songs that became local hits for Frantic Freddie Frederick, who has become a legend in the Lehigh Valley. Freddie Frederick got his start in 1963 at WHOL-AM in Allentown. From there he moved to WKAP-AM, also in Allentown. Then he went to WSCR-AM in Scranton where he worked the 6-10pm shift and worked with Kal's Kids. He got back to the Lehigh Valley on WEEX-AM/FM in Easton where he did morning drive. He's still working, with his son Freddie Junior, as an entertainer for weddings and parties in the Allentown area.

Here's Charmaine by Freddie Milander And The Colors on Gordon Street Records from 1966:



And here's another Teener called Some Day by Fred Milander on Center City 701 from 1966:



Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Or, to put it more colorfully, sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. The loss I took on this record was more than made up by the big gains I made on many others. The moral of the story is: If you're going to be a record dealer, you'd better know as much as you can about a record before you sell it to someone! Price guides are available in most bookstores, but they're notoriously inaccurate. You're better off researching the value of a record by searching for it on auction sites like eBay. If you find one that had multiple bidders and closed for a very high price, you've probably got yourself a nugget of gold. Speaking of gold, you can hear over 125,000 Golden Oldies on MusicMaster Oldies, some worth many thousands of dollars, some worth maybe a quarter. As you listen, see if you can pick out the gold nuggets!

4 comments:

  1. Today I heard from a former member of Kal's Kids, Richard D. Samar. Here's some current news about the band. This past weekend, he attended a funeral for the father of another original member of Kal's Kids/Young Ideas. It was a reunion that brought Richard back together with three other band members, Craig Kastelnik, Lenny Martucci, and drummer Billy Fasching. Billy's older brother, Tony Fasching, was another founding member, but unfortunately he passed away a few years ago. They all brought little bags with them stuffed with newspaper articles, photographs, and other such band memorabilia collected over the years. They sat together at a table and shared these things with each other. Richard mentioned that the original members each have an original demo pressing of Long Lonely Broken Hearted b/w Oh Ronnie that was made for them at the Virtue Recording Studios located at 1618 N. Broad Street. The label on these 45 RPM demo discs was hand-written, most likely by Frank Virtue himself. Thanks very much for the update, Richard. If you guys ever do offer one of those demo pressings for sale, I suggest you start the bidding at a very high price! But if I were you, I'd hold on to them. They're a piece of history, for sure. But for you guys, they have sentimental value that is truly priceless.

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  2. Joe,
    Thanks to you for publishing this information about Kal's Kids and posting the soundclips, I was able to win a nice VG+ copy with a label stain on ebay for $150 from a German collector this summer. Not a perfect copy, but nice enough for the price.
    Do you know who sang lead on each side of the record? I assume perhaps different lead singers. I would love to have that information as I like both sides of this record. I like "Oh Ronnie" like you do for the teen side and I also like some of that East L.A. soul sound, which the flip side "Long Lonely Broken Hearted" appeals to. So it is a double sider for me.
    Bob Pegg
    Tacoma,Washington

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    1. I don't know who sang lead on either side. If I get another chance, I'll try to find out! Good to hear from you again, Bob!

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    2. The lead singer of Kal'a Kids was Craig Kastelnik. He is still playing. He can be found at WWW.KatoDuo.com. for a listing of where you can go to hear him....




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