Friday, March 26, 2021

Vinyl Gladiators Fight to the Finish!

 Welcome to 
Vinyl Gladiators, 
 another variation of my song cover 
 competition heretofore known as 
 Winning Hand... Version Sacrifice... 
 Today I present a lurid spectacle 
 staged solely for your amusement

Covers of popular songs will do battle today as you sit comfortably in your box seat
in the amphitheater eating grapes, getting a massage and having your feet washed.
The fate of these brave warriors rests in your hands. How many of them, if any,
 will survive the day? Let the squeamish be forewarned. Molten wax will
surely be spilled in the course of this gruesome contest!

 The combatants have 
 entered the ring. 
 Vinyl gladiators now 
 stand before you. 
 Allow me to introduce 
 them and... let the 
 games commence! 


Drifters lead singer Ben E. King co-wrote and originally recorded "Stand By Me,"
a secular love song inspired by the spiritual "Lord, Stand By Me." King intended
for the song to be recorded by The Drifters but they declined. In 1961, as a solo
artist, King waxed a version that reached #1 on the R&B chart and top 5 pop.

 "Stand By Me" - Ben E. King 
 (June 1961, highest chart pos. #1 R&B/#3 Cash Box/#4 Hot 100

Born in Beckley (WV) and raised in the Motor City, Dwight David "Spyder"
Turner sang with doo-wop groups and signed a recording contract with
 MGM. In late 1966, Spyder released a cover of "Stand By Me."

The recording is novelty in nature because Turner imitates Ben E. King
and other R&B and soul greats including Smokey Robinson, David Ruffin,
Chuck Jackson and Billy "Motormouth" Stewart. Spyder's take on the song
made the top 3 on the R&B chart and brushed the top 10 on the pop survey.

 "Stand By Me" - Spyder Turner  
 (Jan./Feb. 1967, highest chart pos. #3 R&B, 
 #11 Cash Box/#12 Hot 100) 

As a bonus, I'd like you to see and hear this very rare clip of Spyder Turner doing
his hit on Village Square, a weekly music TV show that originated from a studio
in Charleston, SC, and was syndicated across the country from 1965 to 1968. 

 "Stand By Me" - Spyder Turner  
 (perf. on TV show The Village Square, Charleston, SC) 


In February, 1975, John Lennon released a cover of "Stand By Me" on his sixth
solo studio album Rock 'n' Roll. The following month the song was released as
a single and reached the top 20 in the U.S. In April, John performed his latest
hit on the UK based TV music show The Old Grey Whistle Test.

 "Stand By Me" - John Lennon 
 (Apr./May 1975, highest chart pos. #20 Hot 100 & Cash Box
 perf. on Apr. 18, 1975, ep. of The Old Grey Whistle Test


That's right. Shady's come down with a case of scarlet fever,
because three exciting female rockers are about to join the
competition, each of them a ravishing redhead, each of
them covering an 80s hit. Let's meet the ladies now! 

 HALOCENE feat. 

I introduced this first fiery frontwoman
a few weeks ago in my special feature
 That Was Then - This Is Now. She's
Addie Nicole... lead singer of the
Phoenix, Arizona, band Halocene.
Once again, Addie is joined by
Canadian guitarist Cole Rolland as
they do a metal cover of Bon Jovi's
hit "You Give Love A Bad Name!" 

"You Give Love A Bad Name"
Bon Jovi  metal cover by
Cole Rolland & Halocene
(Feb. 2021) 


Now, from Eastern Europe, and also making a return visit to Shady's Place, here's that
zesty rising star from Romania, zinger Andreea Munteanu. On her popular YouTube
channel, versatile Andreea is part pop princess and part classic rocker. Andreea
shines as lead zinger of guitar wizard Andrei Cerbu's band The Iron Cross,
and in this performance Andreea & Andrei collaborate on a cover of
English popper Samantha Fox's 1986 synth-rock hit
"Touch Me (I Want Your Body)." 

"Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" - Samantha Fox
cover by Andreea Munteanu & Andrei Cerbu (Feb. 2021) 


The third sassy redhead is Daria Bahrin,
another Romanian singer discovered by
Andrei Cerbu. Daria fronts a band of
Andrei's called Shut Up & Kiss Me!
Enjoy this cookin' cover as sassy
Daria and her bandmates bring out
our animal instincts performing
Def Leppard's 1987 rock
anthem "Animal!"

"Animal" - Def Leppard cover
by Shut Up & Kiss Me! feat.
Daria Bahrin (Dec. 2020)

 Put down your 
 wine goblet... 
 slowly rise from 
 your throne... 
 face these vinyl 
 gladiators and 
 render your decision. 

 Which lucky cover gets thumbs up 
 and lives to play another day? 
 Which poor devils get the 
 dreaded thumbs down 
 and are reduced to 
 puddles of molten wax 
 on the Colosseum floor? 

 The decision is yours! 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Flaps Down, Winky!


Can you named the 1950s syndicated sci-fi television serial
pictured above?  Notice the three characters in white shirts
in the foreground. You get a closer look at them below.
What do those three actors have in common?



Rocky Jones Space Ranger was one of my
favorite TV sci-fi adventure serials of the 50s.

What do the three male stars of Rocky Jones have in common?

Sadly they all died young - by the age of 50.
Richard Crane (left) who starred as Rocky Jones, died at age 50.
Robert Lyden (center) who played Bobby, died at age 43.
Scotty Beckett (right) who played co-pilot Winky and
earlier in his career played Spanky McFarland's best
pal in the Our Gang comedies, died at the age of 38.

On February 23, 1954, when Rocky Jones was released, "Bell Bottom Blues"
was climbing the chart. Of course, I am not referring to the 1971 single
by Eric Clapton's band Derek and the Dominos, but I haven't heard
it in a while and this gives me an excuse to play it for you.

"Bell Bottom Blues" - Derek and the Dominos
(Mar. 1971, highest chart pos. #91 Hot 100)

The song of the same name to which I am referring was recorded by 50s
songstress Teresa Brewer. Teresa's "Bell Bottom Blues" single cracked
the top 20 in late February, 1954, the same week Rocky Jones debuted.

"Bell Bottom Blues" - Teresa Brewer
(Feb. 1954, highest chart pos. #14 Cash Box/#17 Hot 100)

Rocky Jones, Space Ranger didn't last very long. The final episode
of the series aired November 2, 1954. On that day, singing star
Rosemary Clooney, aunt of actor George Clooney, had the
most popular record in the land, topping the chart with
"Hey There," a show tune introduced by John Raitt
in the musical play The Pajama Game.

"Hey There" - Rosemary Clooney
(Sept./Oct./Nov. 1954, highest chart pos. #1 Hot 100 & Cash Box

Have a Shady day!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Shady Train - Episode 17: The Color of Success!

Shady Train...

the hippest trip in America!

Brought to you in part by...
Johnson Products Company
...makers of

Ultra Sheen...

Afro Sheen...

Ultra Sheen

Afro Sheen and Ultra Sheen...

The largest selling products
in the "Natural" world.

And now the host of
Shady Train...
Don Cornelius!

Hi there, you're right on time. Welcome aboard!
We'd like you to come on and groove with us
for the next 60 minutes, and we don't care
about your color or size. You see, we never
scrutinize. If you're black... you know you're
beautiful. If you're brown, yellow or white...
you're still outta sight, so let's get down on it! 

And we are super stoked to begin today's ride with three gorgeous and gifted
California bred ladies who gained national fame almost immediately after their
debut single was released, a song that features the voice of the trio's creator
and producer Barry White. As they join us to do their hit on the Uni label
entitled "Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love," a warm welcome
please, gang, for these extraordinary canaries-- Love Unlimited!

"Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love" - Love Unlimited
(May/June 1972, highest chart pos. #6 R&B/#7 Cash Box/#14 Hot 100)

And right now let's welcome back
aboard the big train the gentlemen
responsible for what certainly has
to be one of the biggest records
of the year - a song dedicated
to all you "Back Stabbers."
Let's make some big noise,
gang, for our good friends,
the fabulous-- O'Jays!

"Back Stabbers" - The O'Jays
(Aug./Sept. 1972, highest chart pos.
#1 R&B/#1 Cash Box/#3 Hot 100)

And here's a talented group that
performed on the sensational
Norman Whitfield produced
soundtrack from the hit film
Car Wash. As they join us to
do their latest single on the
Whitfield label entitled
"Is It Love You're After,"
song from the album
Rainbow Connection,
give it up good please,
gang, for-- Rose Royce! 

"Is It Love You're After" - Rose Royce
(October 1979, highest chart pos.
#31 R&B/#105 Bubbling Under)


"Everlasting Love" - Carl Carlton
(Oct./Nov. 1974, highest chart pos. #6 Hot 100/#9 Cash Box/#11 R&B)

And look out now, don't hurt yourself.
It's the Shady Train dancers, the Shady Train gang...

 They're comin' down the track and gettin' into a groove that sure nuff
makes you wanna move real smooth. It's the latest from Morris Day,
a little thing called-- the "Color Of Success!"

"Color of Success" - Morris Day
(Jan-Mar. 1986, highest chart pos. #15 R&B)

And here's a sound comin' out of Philly
that's a sho' 'nuff dilly. We are delighted
to welcome back a lovely and talented
singer who exploded onto the music
scene a few years ago with the disco
hit "Shame." Today she's back to do
a song entitled "Get Loose" - her
latest single on the RCA label and
the title track of her new album that's
currently topping the R&B chart.
A big time welcome, if you will,
for the incredible-- Evelyn King! 

"Get Loose" - Evelyn King
(Apr. 1983, highest chart pos. #61 R&B/#45 UK)

And our next guests are the talented
trio of Shady Train alumni responsible for the #1 charting hit "Second Time
Around." It is also their second time around appearing on our show. As
they join us to do "Make That Move,"
the latest single from their album
Three For Love on the SOLAR
label, let's hear it, gang,
for-- Shalamar! 

"Make That Move" - Shalamar
(May/June 1981, highest chart pos.
#60 Hot 100/#61 C-Box/#6 R&B)

And if that don't do it for
you nothing ever will.
We hope you'll get
into it with us again
next time when we
pop open another
six pack and toss in
an extra cool one
for good measure.

 You can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas,
honey. I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting,
we wish you love... peace... and soul!

"TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" - MFSB
(Theme from Soul Train feat. The Three Degrees)
(Mar./Apr. 1974, highest chart pos. #1 Hot 100 & Cash Box & R&B

Friday, March 12, 2021

Happy Birthday, John!

John Ettline was born 115 years ago
on the 12th day of March, 1906.

I learned from John's family
that he was a collector of
antiques. John purchased
many pieces from his
youngest brother Paul
who was an antiques
dealer. Paul Ettline
always spoke very
highly of John.

John Ettline was a handsome 
gentleman, a dapper dresser
and a great dancer. John was
ladies' man, a man's man
and very much his own man.

John loved music and dancing, and so it's easy to understand
why he was inspired to buy the Shady Dell and turn it into
an ice cream parlor and juke joint for teenagers.

To celebrate John's birthday this year I picked
three songs I think he would have enjoyed.


SDMM/SPMM frequent flyers
Nino Tempo and his singing sis
April Stevens are back, this
time to sing "I'm Confessin',"
an oft covered jazz and pop
standard first recorded by
Fats Waller in late 1929
and famously waxed by
Louis Armstrong in 1930.
A version by bandleader
Guy Lombardo reached
#2 in 1930. Other versions
 were released by Rudy
Vallee(1930), Perry Como
(1945) and Les Paul and
Mary Ford (1952). In 1963
the song was a #1 hit for
Frank Ifield in the UK.
Dean Martin covered the
song on his 1964 album
Dream With Dean.

That brings us back to the under-
rated duo of Nino Tempo and
April Stevens who released the
single "I'm Confessin' (That I
Love You)" in April of 1964.
Great as it is, their record
lasted only one week on
the chart. Adding insult
to injury, it came and
went on the second
lowest rung of
the ladder - #99!

"I'm Confessin'
(That I Love You)" - 
Nino Tempo & April Stevens
(Apr. 1964, highest chart
position #99 Hot 100)


I think John would appreciate this atypical release by The Drifters. In 1959
and 1960 Ben E. King's voice was most often heard on lead. From 1961 to 1963
it was the voice of Rudy Lewis you heard. This single features Charlie Thomas
on lead. The recording is also unusual because it doesn't feature a string section.
Instead, a prominent piano and bongo drums are used to produce a Cuban-style
cha-cha number. Soul singer and composer Jimmy Radcliffe sings backing
vocals along with four future female solo hit-makers - Cissy Houston,
Doris Troy, Dionne Warwick and her sister Dee Dee Warwick -
making this an all-star collaboration. Listen now to
"Sweets For My Sweet!"

"Sweets For My Sweet" - The Drifters
(Oct. 1961, highest chart pos. #10 R&B/#16 Hot 100 & Cash Box)


Again this year on his birthday, I think John will enjoy being
serenaded by America's sweetheart, Miss Shelley Fabares
aka Mary Stone, as she sings her sig song "Johnny Angel"
 on her hit TV series, the family friendly Donna Reed Show.

"Johnny Angel" - Shelley Fabares
 (Mar./Apr. 1962, highest chart pos. #1 Hot 100 & Cash Box



Saturday, March 6, 2021

That Was Then - This Is Now, Volume 7: The Jarring
Juxtaposition of Female Vocalists Past and Present!

                                             Image courtesy of AsylumCreations @ DeviantArt

 You've come a long way, baby... 

 and these jarring juxtapositions 

 offer indisputable proof! 

Welcome to Vol. 7 of my series

Jarring Juxtapositions:
That Was Then - This Is Now!

It is not my intention to pass judgement. (That's your job. :) This series
merely invites you to compare apples and oranges. Hard as it might
be for you to believe, I enjoy all of the female recording artists
you are about to see and hear. Join me on this jarring journey
back and forth through time as we compare the look,
the sound and the attitude of female singers
then... and now!


Today's Jarring Juxtaposition journey begins back then, in the early 70s, with multi-
award-winning country singing star Lynn Anderson. In 1967 Lynn began a series of
appearances on The Lawrence Welk Show.  Columbia took notice and awarded Lynn
a recording contract.  Lynn rose to national fame with her biggest hit, a cover of the
Joe South song "Rose Garden." In late 1970, Lynn's single spent five weeks at the
top of the Country chart, and in early 1971 the record reached #1 on Cash Box
and top 3 on Billboard. Lynn Anderson was only 67 when she took ill and
died in 2015. Let's turn back the clock to happier times and watch Lynn
on the TV show That Good Ole Nashville Music doing her signature
song "(I beg your pardon... I never promised you a) Rose Garden." 

"Rose Garden" aka "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden"
- Lynn Anderson (Dec. 1970/Jan. & Feb. '71, highest chart
pos. #1 Country/#1 Cash Box/#3 Hot 100


In stark contrast to Lynn Anderson is hard rocker Alexa Kabazie, lead zinger
of the San Francisco band Letters From The Fire. Alexa left the band in 2017,
but not before giving us this rock nugget, the first single released from their
debut studio album Worth the Pain. Here now are Letters From The Fire
with "Give In To Me" which went top 40 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

"Give In To Me" - Letters From The Fire
(May 2016, highest chart pos. #33 Mainstream Rock,
from Sept. 2016 album Worth the Pain)



Now let's go back to 1964, with The Supremes and "Come See About Me,"
their third single of five in a row to reach the top spot on the pop chart.
Two days after Christmas that year, Motown's premier act of the 60s
performed their latest hit on The Ed Sullivan Show, the first of
17 live appearances by The Supremes on the program. In this
extended remix clip you will see The Supremes dressed in
hot pink as they sang on Sullivan, and in black and white
 appearing on other music variety TV shows of the period.

"Come See About Me" (Extended Remix) - The Supremes
(Nov./Dec. 1964/Jan. 1965, highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100 & Cash Box/#3 R&B)


A far cry from Diana, Mary and Flo is Alecia "Mixi" Demner, lead zinger of
Stitched Up Heart, a Los Angeles based hard rock/metal band that toured
with the band you saw and heard earlier - Letters From The Fire. In 2016
Stitched Up Heart's debut album Never Alone reached the Top 10 on
the Heatseeker and Hard Rock charts. "Monster," the second
single released from the album, thrashed its way into the
top 30 on the Mainstream Rock survey.

"Monster" - Stitched Up Heart
(Apr./May 2016, highest chart pos. #27 Mainstream Rock,
from June 2016 album Never Alone)


It's safe to say Marie Osmond is a woman of many talents. She has hosted a popular
TV variety show and later a talk show with brother Donny. She is an actress who
has starred in Broadway shows, had her own TV sitcom, is a published author,
a doll designer and the pitchwoman for a weight loss program. Meanwhile,
I'm still learning how to wave bye-bye.  As a recording artist Marie sings
country and pop.  Here's a clip of Marie singing "Cry, Baby Cry," the B
side of her uncharted 1977 single "Please Tell Him That I Said Hello,"
on an early 1978 episode of The Donny & Marie Show.

"Cry, Baby Cry" - Marie Osmond
(late 1977, B side of "Please Tell Him That I Said Hello,"
perf. on Jan. 20, 1978 ep. of The Donny & Marie Show)


Now meet my #1 favorite female rocker of the 2020s - Addie Nicole - lead zinger
of the Phoenix, Arizona, band Halocene. I am 100% SOLD on Addie and her band.
In this performance, Addie and her guys are joined by three other female rock stars
who rose to fame on YouTube in recent years. They include Audra Miller of the
Erie, PA,  band First To Eleven, Violet Orlandi, an artist based in São Paulo,
Brazil, artist Lauren Babic of Toronto, Canada, plus a Toronto-based
male musician, guitarist Cole Rolland. Watch and listen as this
dream team of hot, young and talented rock performers
covers the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'."

"Don't Stop Believin'" - Journey cover by Halocene
ft. Audra Miller of First To Eleven, Violet Orlandi,
Lauren Babic and Cole Rolland (Dec. 2020)

Cry, baby, cry... and

tears will mend your heart.

Have a Shady day!