Sunday, September 30, 2018


I am..... Dracula!

You might remember my band, The Twilights,
and our monster hit "Transylvania 6-5000."
It was big in our neck of the woods.
Tonight... as the full moon rises...
command  invite you to join me
as I introduce another fang-tastic
groupTo my delight... all of its
members share a blood bond. 


(On second thought... don't.)

I'm Jesse Pinkman, and I don't mean no disrespect,
pops, but Mr. Knight and I are partners, see, and
we got this. We're running the show and we
don't need any help from the likes of you,
so flap your wings and take off!

Now here's Mr. Knight to introduce
this super cool band!

Thanks, Jesse. This is a coming of age
story about The Cristeas - five young
siblings, three brothers & two sisters,
who live in the Los Angeles area.
Like the Partridge Family, Cowsills,
Donny and Marie and The Osmond
Brothers, the Cristeas are a musical
family. The sibs are members of a
rock band that 's riding a tidal wave
of popularity across the country.
Their father manages the band
and produces their recordings. 

We begin our journey with a video from April 2013. The children
were all in their places with sun-shiny faces, looking very much
like they were posing for a family portrait. Sweetness and
innocence were the order of the day as they performed
a cover of "Stay," an international hit by
Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko. 

"Stay" - Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko
cover by The Cristeas (April 2013)

Fast forward to December 2014. The Cristeas still looked and sounded
squeaky clean as they sent us a Christmas greeting in the form of a
song entitled  "Ho Hey," a cover of the 2012 worldwide hit by
the American folk rock band The Lumineers.

"Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
cover by The Cristeas (Dec. 2014)

 L I L I A C 

With the passing of time comes change. It is now September 2015.
The band of brothers and sisters has a new name, Liliac, and a new look,
sound and attitude. A metamorphosis is underway. Clearly the cute kids
are becoming real rockers as they do the Troggs' monster "Wild Thing."

 "Wild Thing" - The Troggs 
 cover by The Cristeas/Liliac 
 (September 2015) 

Pair-mit me to interrupt you, Mr. Knight.

You have conveniently
left out one very
important part of
the story, one very
interesting fact.
You failed to mention
that the Cristea family
has its roots in the
old country!


I told you before,
Grandpa Munster,
Mr. Knight and I are
handling this post.

We don't need you chimin' in every two seconds.
So why don't you just dry up and blow away?


It's okay, Jesse. Calm down. Now that
Dracula has let the bat out of the bag,
so to speak, it's time for readers to know
the whole story. Liliac, the Cristea kids,
these adorable poppers turned rockers,
are the children of Florin Cristea, who
grew up in Transylvania, Romania, not
far from Castle Dracula. Florin came to
America where he met and married Nineta,
also born in Romania. The couple settled
in Southern California to raise a family.
The rest, as you are seeing and hearing
in this post, is rock history. Now let's
continue to follow the timeline. 

Two more years pass. It is December 2017, and the Transylvanian transformation is
complete. Now one of the great up-and-coming bands in rock, Liliac erases all doubts
about their cred with a cover of Metallica's classic "Enter Sandman." Keep your eyes
and ears on the act's hottest attractions, the three oldest children, all in their teens.
Watch and listen as Samuel shreds on lead guitar, Aby kicks butt on drums and
younger sister Melody, absolutely KILLS on lead vocals and bass guitar.
Melody says she was first influenced to sing rock by one of my favorites,
Ronnie James Dio, the late, great frontman of Elf, Rainbow, Sabbath, Dio,
and Heaven & Hell. As you are about to hear, Melody does a superb job of
channeling Dio and other legendary masters of metal including, in this
performance, Metallica's James Hetfield. I have to be honest. When I
watched this video for the first time, I thought that I was listening
to the Metallica recording with the Cristea kids doing a fantastic
lip sync. Imagine how astonished I was to realize that this
amazing sound was actually produced by the Liliac band.
Behold the rock resurrection, the rock reincarnation.
They are fierce. They are bold. They are mighty.
They are... Liliac!

 "Enter Sandman" - Metallica 
 cover by Liliac (Dec. 2017) 

Few groups can match the musicianship, spirit and grandeur of an act like Iron Maiden,
one of the pioneer bands of the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the 70s
and 80s. Liliac proves their metal mettle in a video that dropped two weeks ago.
As you will see the two youngest members of the band, Ethan on rhythm guitar
and Justin on keyboards, are now coming into their own as rock showmen.
Witness another spectacular performance by a band that's for real,
a band that is making believers out of hardcore metal heads
and, week by week, winning new fans all over the world.
Feel the unbridled excitement as Liliac performs
Iron Maiden's "The Trooper."

 "The Trooper" - Iron Maiden 
 cover by Liliac (Sept. 2018) 

Marty Balin, the primary founder of
Jefferson Airplane, died three days
ago here in Tampa. One day later,
Liliac released their cover of the
Airplane's first and best known
hit, one of the most important
songs to come out of the 1960s
West Coast counterculture scene.
The Cristeas do the song justice
and honor the memory of rock
pioneer Marty Balin. I think
you will find every reason
to love Liliac's version of
"Somebody To Love!" 

 "Somebody To Love" 
 - Jefferson Airplane 
 cover by Liliac (Sept. 2018) 

Liliac has a dream...
to change the world one song at a time.

If anyone can do it... they can!

Dawn will soon break.
I think I'll grab a bite before bed.
I could go for a Bloody Mary.

Fangs for being here tonight.
I hope you enjoyed the post.
(It's much more pleasant than a stake.)
I'd like to have you for dinner
sometime soon. Until then, I will
satisfy my craving with Adam's apple.

Yeah whatever,
Uncle Fester.
Knock yourself out.

Meanwhile, find out
what's cookin' on
my hit TV show

Breaking Bad

now screaming streaming on Netflix!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Geator Gold - Vol. 1: The Paragons Meet The Jesters!


...and the cow was returned to its rightful owner.

And that's the latest from S-P-M-M news...
fast, up-to-the-minute, completely fake
and proud of it. Now stand by for


on the station that's #1 for music and fun - S-P-M-M!


"Gravy (With Some Cyanide)" - John Zacherle
(from 1962 album Monster Mash)

Greetings and salutations! I am the Geator with the Heater. I am the Boss
with the Big Hot Sauce, and you're tuned to S-P-M-M, the station that's #1
for music and fun. Welcome to my first bombastic show - a special Halloween
edition of Geator Gold. Kicking it off and setting the mood was Philadelphia's
own TV ghost host, John Zacherle, and his novelty record "Gravy (With Some
Cyanide)," a parody of the song "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)," a hit single
by another of Philly's Phinest, Miss Dee Dee Sharp. Now let's check out the
teen kings and queens on my good friend Dick Clark's American Bandstand.


They're dancing to the sound of a fantastic, bombastic Philly group.
These are The Orlons and their monster hit-- "South Street!"

"South Street" - The Orlons (Mar./Apr. 1963,
highest chart pos. #3 Hot 100/#4 R&B)

Up next, here are two Chicago teenagers, Barbara Livsey
and Mary-Francis Hayes, who performed together as
The Du-ettes. From the late 50s through mid 60s,
the girls released half a dozen singles, none of
which made the chart.


Here on Geator Gold we don't play 'em from the chart -
we play 'em from the heart - and here's a lost treasure
that's a fave at Memories in Margate and my other
record hops, a red hot platter I spin time and again.
Gimme a big strong line and start the stomp as
The Du-ettes sing- "Please Forgive Me!"

"Please Forgive Me" - Du-ettes
(July 1964, uncharted)

Now for some Fiction and Fact from The Geator's Almanac: When you talk about 50s doo-wop, New York was home to many fine groups. The Jesters and The Paragons were two of the best. The Jesters came from the street corners of Harlem and the Paragons from the street corners of Brooklyn. Both groups recorded for the label founded by Paul Winley whose brother Harold was the bass man of another great doo-wop group The Clovers.


First let's hear from The Jesters, discovered by Paul Winley on amateur
night at The Apollo. Arranged by Davey Clowney aka Dave "Baby" Cortez,
this is The Jesters' first release, a doo-wop classic called-- "So Strange."

"So Strange" - The Jesters
(July 1957, uncharted)


The Jesters brother group, The Paragons, should
not be confused with The Paradons, a California
doowop act that had a hit with "Diamonds And
Pearls." Here are The Paragons with their first
record, another great ballad-- "Florence."

"Florence" - The Paragons
(March 1957, uncharted)

You're listening to Geator Gold on S-P-M-M radio and yours truly Jerry Blavat, The Geator with the Heater. Now here's one that I am willing to bet you haven't heard very often. In fact, this might be the very first time. It's a different version of the familiar song "Hitch Hike" which was a top 30 hit for Marvin Gaye in 1963. Marvin's Motown label mates, Martha and The Vandellas, sang background vocals on that single and in 1965 covered the song on their album Dance Party.


I wanna see everybody out on the floor 'cause here they are...
Martha Reeves and the fabulous Vandellas, with solid Geator Gold,
a monumental girl group remake of-- "Hitch Hike!"

"Hitch Hike" - Martha And The Vandellas
(from Apr. 1965 album Dance Party)


And as all good things must come to an end, so has my first show, a special Halloween
edition of Geator Gold. Don't touch that dial because Shady Green is coming up
on the flipside of news to take you on a ride in his Wayback Machine here on
S-P-M-M, the station that's #1 for music and fun. I'll see you next time and,
until then, this is the Geator with the Heater, the Boss with the Hot Sauce,
reminding you to keep on rockin', 'cause you only rock once! Bye y'all!

"Mope-itty Mope" - Boss-Tones
(1961, uncharted)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How Sarah Got Her Groove Back: Two Can Have a Party and Rock Steady... Then Comes the Clean Up Woman!

Welcome to volume 2 of my series
How Sarah Got Her Groove Back!

NADV 1502031AM1 Sarah Collins. Picture : Adrian Murray (1502031AM1)

Sarah Collins, as you recall, is the mum of two in Yorkshire, England,
who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor, bounced back to health
and became a sensation on YouTube in recent years with shot-at-home
videos in which she sings covers of Northern Soul favorites.

Sarah also appears at clubs in England and other parts of
Europe fronting the Northern Soul band Keep The Faith.

So captivated am I by Sarah's touching story
and soulful singing that I created this series
to showcase her covers along with the originals.


In 1968 the Motown duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell brushed the
top 5 on the pop chart and achieved a #1 hit on the R&B survey with
"You're All I Need To Get By." The flip side of that single is another
Marvin & Tammi duet entitled "Two Can Have a Party." The song
was originally recorded in 1966 as a Tammi Terrell solo. Marvin's
vocal track was dubbed in later to form the duet for their single.
Here's Tammi's original solo version of "Two Can Have a Party."

"Two Can Have a Party" -  Tammi Terrell (1966)


Now here is Sarah Collins and her karaoke style cover
of Tammi Terrell's "Two Can Have a Party."

"Two Can Have a Party" 
Tammi Terrell cover by Sarah Collins


Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams along with New York
singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters, penned "Rock Steady" for California
roots-rocker Bonnie Raitt. Bryan and Bonnie performed the song as a
duet on her Road Tested tour and 1995 live album of the same name.

"Rock Steady" - Bonnie Raitt & Bryan Adams (live)
(Nov. 1995, highest chart pos. #73 Hot 100/#7 Canada


Now listen to Sarah Collins doing her cover of "Rock Steady."

"Rock Steady" 
Bonnie Raitt cover by Sarah Collins


Miami R&B singer/songwriter Betty Wright is best known for her
million selling single "Clean Up Woman" which brushed the top 5
on the pop chart and reached #2 on the R&B survey in January 1972.

"Clean Up Woman" - Betty Wright
(Jan. 1972, highest chart pos. #6 Hot 100/#2 R&B)


Now once again here is Sarah Collins performing
her soulful version of "Clean Up Woman."

"Clean Up Woman" 
Betty Wright cover by Sarah Collins

I hope you enjoyed the originals

along with these killer kovers

by my good English friend

Sarah Collins.

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Echoes of the Spectorian Era, Vol. 14: I Wake Up Crying Because I Can't Kick the Wall-of-Sound Habit!

 Welcome to Vol. 14 of my series 

 covering the Sound of Spector... 

 the great Wall-of-Sound 

 recordings of the 60s! 


The song "I Wonder" was recorded by Phil Spector's girl group
The Crystals and released as a single in the U.K. It was also waxed
by Spector's Ronettes and released as an album track.

When it comes to the version of "I Wonder" released as a single by
The Butterflys (aka Butterflies), a girl group once called the Buttons
and made up of two former Crystals, wonder is all one can do.

In the fall of 1964, the Butterflys made a run at the top 50 with "Good Night Baby."
Some believe their follow-up, "I Wonder," was merely the overdubbed voice of
Ellie Greenwich, the Brill Building vet who wrote the song and provided
female vocals for another group, the Rainbows. I wonder if it really
matters.  The sound's the thing and the Butterflys' version of
"I Wonder," the only one released as a single in the
U.S., is girl group nirvana!

 "I Wonder" - The Butterflys 
 (Jan. 1965, highest chart pos. #117) 


In 1962 Gene Pitney had a doublesided hit with "Only Love Can Break a Heart"
backed with "If I Didn't Have a Dime (To Play the Jukebox)"

Here's a Spectoresque cover of that fab flip arranged by Jack Nitzsche and
performed by R&B/doo-wop vet Jerome Evans and his group The Furys.

 "If I Didn't Have a Dime" - The Furys 
 (September 1964, uncharted) 


I introduced Maureen Gray in vol. 2 of Echoes. As you might recall, Maureen
was the young singing sensation discovered by John Madara of the East Coast
songwriting/producing team of Madara & White. Maureen was only age 12
when she boldly marched into Madara's Philadelphia record store and told
him she could sing.  Madara signed the confident girl to a recording
contract.  Over the two years that followed Madara wrote and
produced more than a dozen of Maureen's recordings.

Here's a great one I'm posting for the first time. The moment you hear those
clacking castanets you'll know that this recording, which included budding
Philly Sound giant Leon Huff on keyboards, is an excellent example of the
East Coast Wall-Of-Sound that imitated Spector's West Coast production
style. Here is so young Maureen Gray with the flip side of "So Young,"
the splendidly Spectorian "There Is a Boy."

 "There Is a Boy" - Maureen Gray 
 (Jan. 1962, B side of "So Young") 


Now here's a drama drenched Wall of Soundalike ballad
by Tom Jones that'll hit you like a ton of bricks!

It's the Welshman's powerful interpretation of the Burt Bacharach -
Hal David song "I Wake Up Crying," a top 20 R&B hit
for Chuck Jackson in 1961.

Awaken to Spectorian Splendor
with Mr. Tom Jones!

 "I Wake Up Crying" - Tom Jones 
 (from Dec. 1967 album 13 Smash Hits


Now here are Nino Tempo & April Stevens, the Grammy Award winning duo
from Niagara Falls that you met in vol. 4 of this series. The exciting brother-sister
act captured lightning in a bottle with the recording you are about to hear.

As the pictures above and below indicate, Nino & April emerged from
the deep end of the gene pool. They had the right look, the right sound
and the talent to become top recording artists.

When the family moved from Niagara Falls to California, Nino, a musical
prodigy, landed gigs as a session musician and worked under Phil Spector
as a member of The Wrecking Crew. Nino signed a recording contract
and began making records singing duets with his sister Carol who
went by the name April Stevens.

Nino wrote songs for the pair to record including "The Habit of Lovin' You Baby"
which the sibs waxed at the end of 1966. "Habit" was given the Spectorian studio
treatment and the single hit the street at the start of 1967. Unfortunately "Habit"
went to waste because it was released as the B side of "You'll Be Needing Me
Baby" which only Bubbled Under and never climbed above #133 on the chart.
What a shame! I hope you will agree that this killer B coulda been a killer A!

 "The Habit of Lovin' You Baby" - Nino Tempo & April Stevens 
 (Jan. 1967, B side  of "You'll Be Needing Me Baby") 


Georgia born, country influenced pop singer Billy Joe Royal is best known for his hits
"Down in the Boondocks," "I Knew You When" and "Cherry Hill Park." In 1965 Royal
recorded the Joe South song "I've Got To Be Somebody." By Christmas Billy Joe's
Spectoresque single was climbing toward the top 40, helped along by this stirring
blue-eyed soul performance on the teen music TV show Shindig.

 "I've Got To Be Somebody" - Billy Joe Royal 
 (Dec. 1965/Jan. 1966, highest chart pos. #38, 
 live perf. on Nov. 6, 1965 ep. of Shindig


Gotta love those New York girl groups. Mary Aiese, stage name Reparata,
and her Brooklyn trio of Catholic school girls called the Delrons, made a name
for themselves in the U.S. and the UK doing what mid 60s girl groups
 did best, singing songs about the pain of teenage love.

Reparata considers the group's RCA recording sessions to be their best work,
and she points to the single "I'm Nobody's Baby Now," written by Jeff Barry
and performed in the style of the Shangri-Las, as her favorite. Mine too!

 "I'm Nobody's Baby Now" - Reparata & the Delrons 
 (April 1966, uncharted) 

 I hope you enjoyed my 

 Echoes 14 platter party. 

 Stay tuned for more 

 splendid Spectorian sounds 

 coming your way in volume 15! 

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dell Rat Tom's Jukebox Giants - Volume 1: Hold On!

...and the cow was returned to its rightful owner.

And that's the latest from S-P-M-M news...
fast, up-to-the-minute, completely fake
and proud of it. Now stand by for


on the station that's #1 for music and fun - S-P-M-M!


"This Old Heart Of Mine" - The Isley Brothers
(Mar. 1966, highest chart pos. #12 Hot 100/#6 R&B)

The Isleys starting us off with a monster hit from my
Shady Dell years, "This Old Heart Of Mine," ranked #20 on
my exclusive survey of The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell.

Hello and welcome to Jukebox Giants!
I'm your host Dell Rat Tom...

an alumnus of the famous and infamous Shady Dell hangout for teenagers
located on the south side of York, Pennsylvania. I am thrilled to be here
and proud to be a member of "The Shady Bunch," the DJ staff on the
all new S-P-M-M radio. On Jukebox Giants I will play the greatest
hits of the Shady Dell, the songs I came to know and love in the
mid and late 60s, the span of years during which I regularly
attended the Dell. Some of these records will be familiar
because they were national hits. Others will be new to
you because they are "Dell songs" - forgotten B sides
and records made by little known artists. Many of
these obscure recordings were elevated to mega-hit
status by the Rodentia Intelligentsia - the Dell rat gang -
the fastidious young men and women who knew the latest
dances and "voted" for danceworthy records by dropping
their dimes and quarters into the slot and playing them
on the jukebox. As you will hear on today's show
and future blogcasts, those kids were savvy.
They had radar for cool.

Without a doubt, the Central Pennsylvania blue-eyed
soul band The Magnificent Men were the #1 act at the
Shady Dell, and you are about to hear one of their best
recordings, a version of a popular French song written
by Charles Trenet. Translated into English, the title asks
"What Remains of Our  Love?" For American listeners
the words were rewritten by composer and lyricist
Albert Beach and the the title of the song became
"I Wish You Love." 

The song was introduced in the U.S. in 1957 by Keely Smith,
the Grammy Award winning singer who died at the end of last
year at age 89. Early in 1964 jazz singer Gloria Lynne reached
the top 30 on the R&B chart with a version of the song. Now
let's listen to a cover that's an absolute killer. In my opinion
this is Buddy King's finest vocal performance among many.


Here they are - Buddy, Dave Bupp and the Mag Men-- "I Wish You Love."

"I Wish You Love" - The Magnificent Men
(from 1967 album The Magnificent Men)

The Magnificent Men there with a great version of "I Wish You Love."

In the Dell popularity sweepstakes, this next act wasn't
far behind the Mag Men. They're The Emperors, another
hot band from the Susquehanna Valley, Harrisburg to
be exact. These cool cats laid down a wailin' pound
of sound, a mix of garage funk, R&B and Soul. Their
first single, "Karate," released in December 1966,
was their biggest hit. "Karate" reached the top 30
on the national R&B chart, chopped through
almost half the rungs on the pop ladder
and was a regional smash. 

"Karate" played on the Dell jukebox several times every night
through the Christmas season of '66 and the early months of '67.
In 1971 Carlos Santana waxed a cover of "Karate" using the
same melody with different lyrics. Santana's single,
"Everybody's Everything," brushed the top 10.


Dell rats know that the Emperors original is still the greatest.
Here they are, The Emperors of Harrisburg, with a record
that ruled at the Shady Dell-- "Karate!"

"Karate" - The Emperor's (Dec. 1966, Jan. 1967,
highest chart pos. #55 Hot 100/#30 R&B)

The Emperors with "Karate," #25 on my survey of
The Shady Dell's Greatest Hits of the mid 60s.

Hey, if you're just tuning in, I'm Dell Rat Tom and you're
listening to Jukebox Giants on S-P-M-M radio. Speaking
of giants of the jukebox, The Temptations were another
group of towering titans at the Dell, and I've got one of
their best. Written by Smokey Robinson and Pete Moore
of the Miracles and produced by Smokey, this mid-tempo
Motown sound has it all - strong lyrics that resonate,
sweet soul harmony and tasteful orchestration.


This one was hot on the jukebox when I first arrived at the Dell as a
15 year old newbie. Here they are, The Temptations, with one of the
smoothest soul songs ever recorded. At #71 on the Shady Dell
hit parade-- "Since I Lost My Baby."

"Since I Lost My Baby" - The Temptations
(Aug./Sept. 1965, highest chart pos. #17 Hot 100)

Motown's top male group, The Temptations, with another
Jukebox Giant - the mellow favorite "Since I Lost My Baby."

Up next is a top 40 hit by The Strangeloves...
the fake Australian band created by New York
record producers Feldman, Goldstein and
Gottehrer, the guys best known for their hit
"I Want Candy." Although it wasn't as big as
"Candy" nationally, my next featured single
was a regional hit, one that I like more for
two reasons, first because I played drums
and dug the big beat sound, and second
because of the song's theme and lyrics.

 My buddies and I made up our own set of naughty words and sang
them whenever the record played at the Dell or across the hill at
Bud's Drive-In, another popular hangout for teens.


Here now is one of the coolest and sassiest sounds of the Sixties--
F-G-G aka The Strangeloves and-- "Cara-Lin."

"Cara-Lin" - The Strangeloves
(Sept. 1965, highest chart pos. #39 Hot 100)

That was "Cara Lin" - #84 on my list of The 200 Greatest Hits of The Shady Dell,
and this is Dell Rat Tom with Jukebox Giants here on S-P-M-M Radio,
where all the cool oldies go to play.

Now here's a memory maker from Shady Dell The College
Years, the four year period when I was out of town atten-
ding an institute of high and yearning. It's Detroit soul
man Edwin Starr with what I call a killer bee (killer B)
 - the fab flip side of his 1968 single "I Am The Man
For You Baby." This 45 is an example of a "double-
sider" or a "two-fer" because you get two great
songs for the price of one. Dell rats always
checked out the B sides of records for
hidden gold and many Dell hits
were born that way.


This side features the dramatic pounding of "war" drums.
From the spring of '68, Edwin Starr-- "My Weakness Is You."

"My Weakness Is You" - Edwin Starr
(May 1968, uncharted B side of
"I Am The Man For You Baby"
which Bubbled Under at #112)

Edwin Starr and "My Weakness Is You," a fab flip side
popular at the Dell during my freshman year at college.

Gosh, time's up for this edition of Jukebox Giants. Thanks for tuning in.
I invite you to join me next time for more of the Shady Dell's greatest hits
on S-P-M-M - the station that's number one for music and fun.


Now this is Dell Rat Tom reminding you to make
every day a holiday and every night a Shady Dell night.
Hold on, it's Sam & Dave with Dell song #15. Bye bye!

"Hold On! I'm A Comin'" - Sam And Dave
(May, June, July 1966, highest chart pos.
#21 Hot 100, #1 R&B)