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Mo' Music Monday: Blues Cruise with Uncle Al

Posted on October 19, 2020 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Good Afternoon Ginchers,

It's Mo' Music Monday ... the Blues Cruise with Uncle Al!  I will be the first to say that 2020 has not been one of my favorite years.  This covid crisis has taken a serious toll on small business, live music, people's sanity and public gatherings.  There have been some who have tried very hard to keep people together during this quarantine and lockdown, one example is YaJagoff, John & Rachael.  They came up with some really cool ways to have live entertainement during this struggle with our parking lot comedy shows and the Dueling Pianos.  I have heard nothing but great feedback of how this has helped many overcome some of the frustration with lockdown.  So now the year is coming to an end and it will soon be too cold to continue the ourdoors fun ... Oooop, not yet!  My dear friend and great DJ, Uncle Al, called me and said let's have one more fun Saturday before it gets too cold.  This coming Saturday will be nice, only going down to the 50's ... he said "Let's do a Blues Cruise!"  Well, I love the idea and so we will move forward.  This coming Saturday, October 24th at 6:00 P.M. Uncle Al will set up his DJ booth and we will open the parking lot to vintage and antique cars.  It's a night of Blues, Rhythm n' Blues, Oldies but Goodies under the stars.  Bring your old car one more time before you put it away for the winter, bring your folding chairs and coolers, bring your favorite dancing partner and party, old school style in my parking lot with music by Uncle Al.  No charge, no fee's just bring a good attitude and mingle with old friends ... no politics, no covid talk, no anger ... just some rpockin' fun!  We will honor social distancing for those who have some doubts about getting together.  The party start at 6:00 and will go until around 9:00 ... If you have an old car we will display it by the DJ booth if not, there is plenty of parking to park and come join the festivities.  I hope you can join us for an old school night of music, cool cars and cool people!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stray healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Tune In Tuesday: Homerun Heard Round The World!

Posted on October 13, 2020 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Good Afternoon Ginchers,

Time for Tune in Tuesday ... and the Homerun heard round the world!  Sixty years ago today, the greatest homerun in baseball history took place ... Game 7 of the World Series ... Underdog Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Powerhouse New York Yankees.  New York had Mantle and Marris ... Pittsburgh had Bill Mazeroski and a team full of heroes like Robert Clemente, Hal Smith, Bob Friend, Elroy Face, Harvey Haddix, Dick Groat, Bill Verdon, Bob Skinner, Smokey Burgess ... and the list goes on.  Bottom of the ninth second baseman Bill Mazeroski, known for his skills as an infielder with soft hands, steps to the plate and hits the most famous, game winning homerun in Baseball History!  Well, today thanks to our friends Ya Jagoff, John Chamberlin and Rachael Rennebeck, a podcast took place at the Bill Mazeroski Monument at PNC Park.  The guests were Greg Brown, announcer for the Pirates, Steve Blass, Pitrching hero and major player in the 1971 World Series, and myself, Johnny Angel, friend and fan of the great Maz!  It was a beautiful day and the stories were fantastic.  Steve told inside tidbits of how great and important Maz is and Greg told his views of the historic day.  I, as usual, talked about my love of the game and the heroes of the sport.  You can watch the podcast by going to the YaJagoff Facebook page.  A small crowd gathered and it was like going back in history 60 years.  I immediately forgot about the ugly goings on in today's world and found some moments of pure happiness.  I went back to being a kid again listening to the Pirates on the radio with Bob Prince painting the Picture.  Words of joy as taught to us by Bob Prince like "A Bug on the Rug", Maz and his Hoover (Double Play)", "Kiss it goodbye" and of coarse the golden phrase of the Bucco's ... "We had 'em All the way ... Beat 'em Bucs"!  It's amazing that a man, a true example of a common Pittsburgher, a humble man that played the game for what it was ... a game ... a man that never looked for fame but a man that showed the importance of the fundamentals of Baseball and the joys  of the great American Past Time, is still celebrated and loved by so many.  What a day today ... haven't felt this good in a long time ... THANKS MAZ ... you're the Greatest!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Mo' Music Monday: Melvin "Blue" Franklin ... Temptations!

Posted on October 12, 2020 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Good afternoon Ginchers,

Let's take a minute to zoom in on Mo' Music Monday ... Melvin "Blue" Franklin ... Temptation!  As many of you already know from my radio shows and personal interviews, my all time favorite vocal group is the Temptations.  My favorite make up of the Temptations is the original Fab Five with Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kenricks and David Ruffin.  My favorite Temptation of all time through all of the changes and re-building is the one and only, Blue, Melvin Franklin.  He is the co-founder of the Temptations, is one of the all time greatest Bass Voices in modern music and by far the friendliest man I ever met.  Melvin was sort of the spokesman for the group but was more laid back and appreciated smaller crowds where he could just relax and be hjimself.  I remember one concert that we were on with the Temptations and we were back stage mid afternoon before the concert was to begin.  Bubba and I were sitting and talking with Levi Stubbs when Melvin walked by and joined us.  The conversation went on for some time but the amazing part of this experience was the conversation.  Just four guys who loved music and what they do, sitting and talking like old friends feeding the squirrels on a park bench.  No egos or star treatment, no crying out for their privacy ... just men talking and enjoing each others company.  It was at this time that I saw the real Blue, not the superstar on stage but the deep kindness of a man who enjoyed his life.  Blue was born David Melvin English on October 12, 1942 in Montgomery, Alabama but grew up in Detroit, Michigan and took his step fathers last name as his stage name ... Melvin Franklin.  He was given the nickname "Blue"by his friends.  Melvin sang in many groups before becoming the Temptations including the Voice Masters with Lamont Dozier and David Ruffin.  He also performed with Richard Street at this time who was with the Magestics and Monitors before becoming a Temptation.  In 1958 Melvin's classmate, Otis Williams, invited him to sing with his group Otis Williams and the Siberians and not long after that formed a group with Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks called the Elgins.  In 1961 they were signed with Motown as a new group called the Temptations.  If you want more info on the roots of the group check out the movie "The Temptations" filmed here in Pittsburgh or stop down my museum and check out the original script that Otis gave me when I helped find some locations that resembled Detroit for the movie.  We lost the great Melvin Franklin in February of 1995.  He will remain in my memories forever as the kind, fantastic, always smiling Bassman of the greatest soul group ever ... the Temptations.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny



No School Saturday: Dreams of the Caribbean!

Posted on October 10, 2020 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Time once again for No School Saturday and ... dreaming of the Caribbean!  As a boy growing up on the Northside of Pittsburgh I dreamed of Ocean voyages, the palm trees the Blue waters of the exotic Islands ... I even listened to Martin Denny and his tropical paradise cool music.  So when I became a young man I couldn't believe that our music (Johnny Angel and the Halos) would take us to these tropical paradises we only dreamed of.  The Cruises ... along with our friends at MAC Travel and 3WS we began a yearly event that took us, our friends and guests to several different tropical paradises in the Caribbean, resorts, beautiful islands ... we climbed Done's River Falls (Spelling?), ate fresh cooked fish from the ocean at tableside village restaurants, drank exotic potions, danced in thatched hut clubs, swam with the dolphins, snorkeled in beautiful crystal waters with colored fish I had only scene in expensive fish tanks.  We performed in the main showrooms of the ship and even took some of our favorite friends with us to perform like the great Eddie Holman, Fred Johnson of the Marcels and Chuck Blasko of the Vogues.  We felt like some of the bands in the beach movies playing music on the beach and even sang a cappella DooWop under the brightest stars one had ever seen.  I had to pinch myself when we heard that the Captain of the ship wanted to meet us in person ... since he caught one of our shows in the showroom.  Our troop was massive, hundreds of friends from the 'Burgh traveling the Ocean with Johnny Angel and the Halos ... we literally took over the ship.  We had a person from the crusie ship that was assigned to follow us (the band) wherever we went.  They knew that we would break out into song at any given minute and the crowds would gather.  They actually had portable bars that would spring up at their command when we started singing and it became an instant party!  We made so many lifelong friends while hosting the Cruisses and many still talk about the wonderful times we had.  With all of today's troubles in the world I doubt that we will ever be able to do this again ... but with all of the ugliness going on in this big world nothing can erase the memories we have from our voyages!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny

Feature Friday: Haircuts!

Posted on October 9, 2020 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's Feature Friday ... Haircuts!  Yes haircuts, hairstyles for men during six decades of what is hip!  One thing about this ugly Covid pandemic/quarantine/social distancing/lack of mixing it up with our friends is the change I have gone through with my hair.  There was a time when I wouldn't be caught dead without my hair looking primo.  What happened?  Here is a quick history:  it all started out in the 1950's with a crew cut, clean easy to manage and as I got a little older and went to school it turned into a Detroit with a box in the back.  As I became a teen the Detroit turned into a D.A. (Ducks Asset) with a box in the back until the music business and certain friends in the band voted for me to retire my Hoodlum look for a more peaceful, more hippy like, longer hair that was becoming the fashion for the time.  So I grew my hair and even had a friend of ours give me a perm to have a giant red Fro!  When it parted in the middle I looked like Ronald McDonalds lost brother..  Once that faze started to die out I immediately went back to my comfort zone ... the D.A with a large pompador ... it soon became my trademark ... until some health issues and then Covid hit.  I went back to a crew-cut, tired of wasting so much time with my comb and brush, my front an back mirrors and of coarse the pump hairspray.  I also realized just how much I love hats!  Life is sooo much easier now, windows down when I drive, I like convertibles all of a sudden, all rides at the amuzement park are now on my pick list ... the train was getting a bit boring.  I started to remenisce ... I have only had two barbers in my life (in almost 70 years) there was Varsity Barbershop with Dom & Jimmy Guerra and Seven Minute Sam who is my current barber and one of the best.  I remember one year while working with my friends at 3WS radio, they ran a contest for charity.  They posted several hairstyles on their website each week of me with wild hair-dooo's and people would vote for which one my new hairstyle should be.  The winning hairstyle would be my new look for our next concert at Summer Oldies Celebration at 3 Rivers Stadium.  Not one of my favorite contests!  We all change over time and different things become more important.  Now I could care less what style of hair is hip, I like bering free and crazy sooo, I'm back to where it all started ... a crew cut!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Throw Back Thursday: What an Impression ... Fred Cash!

Posted on October 8, 2020 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's Throw Back Thursday ... what an Impression ... Fred Cash!  Today is the birthday of Fred Cash of the Impressions, born October 8, 1940 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Fred Cash began singing at the early age of twelve when he and his older neighbor friend, Sam Gooden (16 at the time) sang at Sam's Church as the Southland Jubilee Singers.  At the age of fourteen Fred began singing in nightclubs with Sam and three others (Arthur Brooks, Emanuel and Catherine Thomas) as the Four Roosters and a Chick.  In 1957, the group decided to move up to Chicago but Fred's Mom wouldn't let him go.  The new group with Sam Gooden, the Brooks Brothers and a young Jerry Butler, who also asked Curtis Mayfield to join them, made the trek to Chicago and called themselves the Impressions.  They recorded their first record on the Vee Jay Label in 1958 ... "For Your Precious Love" and a few more records and soon  (1959) Jerry Butler left the group to strike out on his own.  Curtis and Sam Gooden went back to Chatanooga to try to recruit Fred and in 1960 the three made the trip to New York as a trio to record for ABC-Paramount Records and released their record "Gypsy Woman in 1961 and the rest is Soul Music History as the Impressions went on a hit record spree.  The Impressions Music was a major part of the civil rights movement of the sixties.  Who doesn't remember "Keep On Pushing", "We're A Winner" and "People Get Ready".  Their music became some of the best known soul records of the sixties with even more hits like "It's Alright", "The Womans' Got Soul" and "I'm So Proud".  A few Years ago we (Johnny Angel and the Halos) produced a show at Heinz Hall and had the pleasure of working with Sam Gooden and Fred Cash.  Their harmonies and the richness of their voices were still some of the best I have ever heard.  They also have a young lead singer who took the place of Curtis Mayfield and if you close your eyes one would swear it was the Impressions of the sixties.  As always when performing with my heroes of song from childhood, I had the pleasure of talking at length with Fred and Sam and was able to catch the passion they have for the music during our conversation.  They saw the changes in music, they experienced the culture changes in America and they were part of American History and I cheerish the time I spent with these two music Icons.  What an Impression ... Happy Birthday Sam ... and, thanks for the memories!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Wa'sup Wednesday: Ya Jagoff!

Posted on October 7, 2020 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Want to know Wa'sup Wednesday?  Ya Jagoff!  Best in the 'Burgh!  It's me, Johnny Angel the Dinosaur, the guy who is lost in the 50's, lives life as if it were still 1962 ... talking about high tech, social media and the new way of the world!  That new way of the world is social media, the survival kit of the 2020's.  I have learned how to communicate through this media but, it wasn't an easy task.  The credit goes to my daughter Rachael Rennebeck and my dear friend John Chamberlin of Ya Jagoff!  Voted today the Best of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh's City Paper!  They are fun, they are zany, they are witty, they are educational, they are helpful  but most of all ... they are the best!  Before the Covid restrictions, Ya Jagoff was known for their fun Pixburgh approach to life and you could see them at every event in the 'Burgh.  SInce the covid pandemic they have become helpful warriors to many.  They can be seen helping at charitable events, the food bank, the helping hand for out of work musicians and comedians, a driving force for what is right and hearts bigger than the city itself!   In addition to writing a killer blog, producing a killer podcast and on air celebrities ... they are brilliant when it comes to Marketing and new, fresh ideas.  The key to their success is their attitudes and persona ... they always seem to be happy.  No matter what you throw at them, they make it look easy.  I want them to know how proud I am of them and how happy I am for their Best in the 'Burgh award ... they definately deserve it!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Tune in Tuesday: "Till Death do us Part!"

Posted on October 7, 2020 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Good day Ginchers,

Time for Tune In Tuesday ... "Till Death Do Us Part!"  Today is a very special day in my life, it's my 48th Wedding Anniversary, 48 years ago today I married the love of my life, my soul mate, the little girl who lived across the street from me growing up.  I was her family's paper boy and loved delivering her papers just to get a glimps of the girl of my dreams and I knew in my heart that one day I would marry her.  We have been through so much as a couple, some good some bad.  We traveled the world together and met some of the most wonderful and interesting people.  I do have some regret in our relationship and sometimes wish I could have held my tongue or handled certain incidents differently but the one thing that always stuck in my head was our vows ... "To Love and Cheerish, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, rich or poor, to honor and respect,  till death do us part!"  These are not just a bunch of words that one says at a service, this is actually a way of life.  My bride has given me two beautiful, upstanding and respectable children.  Our Children have given us six beautiful and talented grandchildren.  Our family is the most important gift in our lives.  I am blessed with some friends that have stuck with me since childhood and I treasure those friendships but there is one friendship that I work on everyday, one that words cannot describe ... the friendship of a life long companion.  Physically, we are not the same people that made those vows 48 years ago but the love I have for her is stronger today than it has ever been.  I thank the good Lord for looking after her and allowing me to spend the rest of my days with the girl of my dreams.  I Love You Moosch!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Mo' Music Monday: The Chantels and Happy Birthday Arlene Smith!

Posted on October 5, 2020 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Good afternoon Ginchers,

It's time for Mo' Music Monday and the Chantels ... with a special Happy Birthday to Arlene Smith.  One of the great girl groups of the 50's was the Chantels.  They formed in the early 1950's while attending St. Anthony of Padua School in the Bronx.  The original group consisted of Arlene Smith (Lead Singer), Sonia Goring, Renee Minus, Jackie Landry and Lois Harris.  The girls were influenced by Classical music and Latin rhythms.  Arlene was actually classically trained and performed at Carnegie Music Hall at the age of 12.  In 1957 the girls were discovered by Richard Barrett (lead singer of the Valentines) and were signed to the End Record Label.  Their first single was "He's Gone" written by Arlene Smith.  Their second single was the classic "Maybe" and sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold record.  Over the years the group went through many changes and labels.  They are a staple in girl group records and vocals of the 50's and early 60's with so many memorable songs like; "The Plea", "Every Night", "I Love You So", "Summer's Love", "Goodbye To Love" and the classic "Look In My Eyes".  The Chantels were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002 and made a run for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 but didn't make it due to a lack of votes, which is another beef I have with the R&R Hall of Fame ... the Chantels were a building block for female groups and deserve a place in DooWop and Rock/Soul music and especially in the Hall of Fame.  Well, they finally received the votes required for elegibility and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.  Today is the birthday of Arlene Smith born in the Bronx in 1941.  Arlene is a beautiful person with an amazing voice and filled with musical talent, it was such a pleasure meeting and talking with her.  Happy Birthday Arlene and thanks for the memories.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


No School Saturday: Dueling Pianos ... an Evening of Fun!

Posted on October 3, 2020 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's No School Saturday ... and I have a good plan for those of you who love Saturdays and miss the good old days of going out for some Saturday Night FUN!  Dueling Pianos ... under the stars ... with friends ... with two great musicians and friends ... Hermie And Harry!  Where?  When? How can I be part of this?  OK, slow down Jack and give some details.  Two of my favorite musicians and friends are Hermie Granati and Harry Levicky ... I have been blessed to work with both but more importantly have been blessed to have both as dear friends.  Tonight at 7:00 they will be performing their Dueling Pianos at my Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Museum, in the parking lot under the stars.  Our friends at Rohrich Automotive and Ya Jagoff podcasts have been sponsoring live Comedy Events in our parking lot and it has prooved to be the primo night of the week.  With that said, we are having some live music tonight before it gets too cold to be outdoors.  Here's how it works, you get yourself a ticket by going on line to yajagoff.com, you get some friends to do the same.  You wear your hoodie or light jacket, bring a lawn chair and a cooler (make sure there is something in it) and come down for some good, old fashion Rock and Roll.  You can dance, sing along or just absorb the wonderful music.  Personally I go back a long way with both of these guys.  Hermie is part of the Granati Brothers Band who recorded and toured Nationally.  He is a member of the Jaggerz and works with me in the Paul Martino All Star Jam Band.  Harry Levicky and I went to College together and Harry was in the great touring band called the "Shades of Time", he was with Cooper & Ross and a member of Johnny Angel and the Halos.  As an entertainer, I didn't get much time off to see other bands but when I did, I tried to catch my two favorite groups... the Jaggerz or the Shades of Time ... it was always a guarantee that I would have a grreat time.  Soooo, tonight at 7:00 I get to have the pleasure one more time when Hermie and Harry do their magic.  I hope to sit in with them ... may even bring a percussion instrument ... join us tonight at 7!   Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny



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