Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff

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No School Saturday: "Stay ... just a little bit longer!"

Posted on September 26, 2020 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's No School Saturday and time to remenisce about a Saturday lodged in my Memory Banks!   "Stay" ... just a little bit longer ... what a song, what a group, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.  That great song charted today back in 1960 ... Oh, I remember it well.  "STAY", was the first record I bought with my own money.  It is the shortest song to reach number One, it appeared in one of my favorite movies "Shag", it is one of my favorite songs to perform, it is great to dance to, it was loved and recorded by so many others.  Here is a who's who of those who recorded it: Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, The Hollies, Little Joe and the Thrillers, The Dave Clark Five, Cyndi Lauper, Jan & Dean, Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne to name a few.  Younger people began to know the song as the "Load Out Song" or the Roadie song because of Jackson Browne.  Let's take a look at the song ... written by Maurice Williams of the Zodiacs when he was 15.  He was trying to convince his girl friend at the time to stay and not go home at 10:00 o'clock to meet her curfew.  The song was highlighted in two of my alltime favorite movies ... "Shag ... the movie" and "Dirty Dancing" .  Maurice Williams also wrote and recorded another alltime great record  ... "Little Darling" when he was a member of the Gladiolas and later became a monster hit for the Diamonds.  I had the pleasure of working with Maurice Williams, who is a humble gentleman with a wealth of information about the glory days of Rock n' Roll and Soul Music.  I remember interviewing him years later for my radio show ... I asked him the Question ... "How did it make you feel to hear the Diamonds version of your song become a hit?  I was expecting an answer of dissappointment that the Diamonds had the hit and he didn't ... but, Maurice came back with an answer that blew me away... he said, "I am thankful they recorded it ... I wrote it and it became a hit!"  The sincerity of this man just touched me in a way that many others have not ... he was truly a professional and a man who knew that he was part of music history.  I told Maurice a story about his song and my son.  As many of you know, my son Justin was my sound engineer from the time he was in his early teens and one night I/we (Johnny Angel and the Halos) did the song "Stay".  At the end of the night Justin said "Hey Dad I like that song by Jackson Browne that you did ... we call it the Roadie song".  Do you see how this song has LIFE?  I explained to Justin that it was Maurice Williams song.  Years later when we perfdormed with Maurice at Heinz Hall, I brought up the night Justin heard us do it and then pointed to the man himself ... "That is Maurice Williams ... that is the song "Stay" ... it's not just the roadie song ... it's a music classic!  Till tomorrow, STAY safe, STAY healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GDO Bless!

Johnny


Feature Friday: Ronnie Haig ... Don'cha Hear Me Callin' Baby!

Posted on September 25, 2020 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (1)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Are you ready for the week-end?  Well here is another edition of Feature Friday ... Ronnie Haig ... Don't cha Hear Me Callin' Baby?  If you are from the 'Burgh, if you ever listened to Mad Mike Metro, if you ever went to a West View Danceland Oldies Dance ... then you know Ronnie Haig and "Don't Cha Hear Me Callin' Baby!  Let's start with Ronnie and then get into Mad Mike's association.  Ronnie Haig was born Ron Hege in 1939, Indianapolis, Indiana.  He began playing guitar at 6 and in his late teens met a DooWop Vocal group called the 5 Stars.  He recorded with the 5 Stars at Note Records, playing guitar for them on "Pickin' On The Wrong Chicken".  They record company also recorded Ronnie doing a solo record called "Don't You Hear Me Calling Baby".  Somehow it was later released on the ABC- Paramount Label also.  It never made it on the National scene but it was a huge hit here in Pittsburgh, thanks to Mad Mike Metro.  Mad Mike, played the record on his WZUM radio show and especially at his dances ... the kids went wild over the record and loved the controversial lyrics.  Ronnie played with several groups during this period and played guitar on some of the Students records.  He was very well known in the Rock-a-billy and Country world and a relic in the old school rock and DooWop culture.  I remember the first time I met Ronnie, he was a funny, old school, laid back musician with a ton of stories.  I told Ronnie that I would love to have him come into Pittsburgh and do a show with us (Johnny Angel & the Halos), he said he would love to come back to Pittsburgh since Pittsburgh helped with his record.  Well, we put a show together at the Emerald Room Theater and we backed Ronnie in the show.  It was an informative, trip through the early days of Rock and Roll and Rock-a-billy music.  We especially enjoyed performing "Don't You Hear Me Calling Baby" with Him and sharing stories afterward with him and Mad Mike.  Ronnie gave me a record he recorded in honor of Porky Chedwick called Pork's Chop Boogie and several others he recorded later in his career.  Ronnie is among the many artists that should have had more hit records and his name should have been much bigger than it was throughout the music industry.  I miss the Emerald Room and the artists that we performed with over the years but one of my fondest memories of those days was singing back-up for Ronnie Haig on "Don't You Hear Me Calling Baby!"  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Throw Back Thursday: Birth of the Jimi Hendrix Experience!

Posted on September 24, 2020 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's Throw Back Thursday once again and today was the Birth of the Jimi Hendrix Experience!  Yep, today back in 1966 the Jimi Hendrix Experience was created with Jimi on guitar & voclas, Noel Redding on Bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums.  While performing as Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, Jimi was noticed by Keith Richards (of the Rolling Stones) girlfriend who introduced Jimi to Keith, who introduced Jimi to Chas Chandler who was leaving the group the "Animals" and was interested in managing and producing artists.  A new band was soon assembled with Mitch and Noel and became the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  This was actually mid stream for Jimi's music career.  Jimi began playing guitar when he was 15.  In 1961 he enlisted in the Army and had his father send him his guitar where he began to perfect his soulful style.  When discharged he began playing gigs on the Chitlin Circuit and soon was in the Isley Brothers band and then with Little Richard.  He recorded with the Isley Brothers (Testify 1 & 2), with Little Richard's Upsetters (I Don't Know What You Got) and with Don Covay (Mercy, Mercy).  In 1965 he made his first TV appearance on the show "Night Train" performing in Little Richards band and backing Buddy & Stacy on "Shotgun" (you can still find this appearance on You Tube).  Later that year Jimi joined Curtis Knight and the Squires Band and recorded "Would You Feel and Welcome Home".  Jimi even spent some time in Joey Dee's Starlighters.  Although Jimi was schooled in R&B , Blues and Soul music, he had a new concept up his sleeve ... Enter the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  Jimi soon became the highest paid performer after appearing at the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and the Isle of Wright Festival.  He is arguably the greatest Rock/Psychedelic Guitarist in the history of Rock music and one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time as proclaimed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Unfortunately we lost Jimi Hendrix when he was only 27 years old.  Imagine what he would have and could have accomplished had he lived a full life!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and GOD Bless!

Johnny


Wa'sup Wednesday: Ray Charles ... America!

Posted on September 23, 2020 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Time again for Wa'sup Wednesday ... "Ray Charles ... America!"  Before I address my opening statement, I want to say Happy Birthday to one of the greatest entertainers of all time ...born Ray Charles Robinson, September 23, 1930 in Albnany, Georgia ... often called "The Genius" but referred being called "Brother Ray' ... we all know him as Ray Charles.  Most of us have seen his movie and know about his struggles in live from his blindness to the racial prejudice he encountered to the battles with his record labels and his fight to overcome his drug addiction.  He has conquered so many music genres; Gospel, Country, Rhythm n' Blues, Standards, Rock n' Roll, POP, Jazz, Blues and even Patriotic.  He won 17 Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievemant Award, Rolling Stone ranked him #10 on their list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and #2 on thier list of the 100 Greatest Singers f all time.  Brother Ray was not a saint, he had his impurities like every human but he stood tall and answered his downfalls ... a true man.   The man knows and understands the meaning of strife.  Which brings me to his rendition of "America the Beautiful"  ... some critized him for altering the lyrics in the beginning ... I saw it as showing his genius.  Let me print his entrance verse:

Oh Beautiful for heroes proved, In Liberating Strife,

Who more than self, Our Country loved, And Mercy More than Life,

America, America, may God thy gold refine,

Till all success be nobleness, and every gain devined.

And then the great Ray Charles said "An you know when I was in school we used to sing it like this ... listen here!" and he proceeded to sing the words as written. 

This from a man who knew about strife, he experienced Social Injustice and racial prejudice, he fought for Civil Rights and conquered povertry and discrimination and with all the problems of the world decided to record a song like "America the Beautiful" and did it with such dignity and respect.  I/we had the honors of performing with the great Ray Charles and it took but a short minute for me to see the greatness and genius of this man.  Meeting Ray Charles made me think about our country ... is it perfect?   No, but there is no other place in the universe that allow the freedoms we have.  When I listen to Ray Charles Music ... I feel the love, the soul, the meaning of a song ... there will never be another Ray Charles.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny



Tune In Tuesday: Bob Mack ... Hanky Panky!

Posted on September 22, 2020 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Are you ready to Tune in Tuesday?  Welll then, how about a little flashback on Bob Mack and ... the Hanky Panky?  Some of my fondest memories of growing up in Pittsburgh during the 1960's were the Teen Dances, the music, going to the dances and performing at the dances.  We were so lucky to grow up in the 'Burgh and had so many great dance halls, teen dance halls in the area ... there was the White Elephant, the Lebanon Lodge, Teen Scene, Wildwood Lodge and so many more ... in fact one of our legendary DJ's and teen music show promoters of the era was Bob Mack who at one time built a Pittsburgh Area music empire with a string of fourteen teen clubs.  Bob booked National acts to come to the 'Burgh to perform at these clubs, he had a stable of jocks that played the music that us young rebels longed for.  In 1962 Bob started his own record label called Romac Records and later was involved with the Viscount Record label.  My favorite story of Bob Mack was his association with the song "Hanky Panky".  Bob Mack had a record store called "Tri State Records" and in 1966 he bought a record collection from a Notre Dame student.  In that collection was a record by the Shondells called Hanky Panky.  Bob liked the record and began playing it at his dances and soon other jocks picked it up and started to play it.  Due to the heavy responses for this record local radio stations began playing it and it soon became a hit in the 'Burgh.  Bob tried to find the owner of Snap Records to see if he could bring the Shondells to Pittsburgh but the record company had gone out of businesss.  The owner did put Bob in contact with the lead singer of the Shondells but the group had broken up.  Bob Mack brought Tommy Jackson (Soon to be Tommy James and the Shondells) to Pittsburgh to try to find a band to be the new Shondells.  Bob Mack took him to the Thunderbird Room in Greensburg where the Racontuers were playing ... Tommy loved the group, they hooked up, went to New York to meet with Roulette Records ... and the rest is Tommy James and the Shondells History.  Now there is a lot more story to be told... so I'll have to save it for another blog and get some more input from Mike Vale (original member of the Racontuers, member of the newly formed Shondells and co-writer of most of the Shondells hit records).  Bob Mack is one of the Pittsburgh Music Pioneers and promoters that helped make the 'Burgh a music pathway to stardom.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Mo' Music Monday: Shout! it's the modern craze!

Posted on September 21, 2020 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Good afternoon Ginchers,

It's Mo' Music Monday and on this very day in 1959 the Isley Brothers charted with the new modern craze ... SHOUT!  Who hasn't been to a wedding, dance, party or event with music that didn't dance to the song SHOUT?  A little bit softer now, a little softer now ... hey, ey, ey ey .... hey, ey, ey ey ... Shout, come on and ... Shout!  This phenom began in 1958 when the Isley Brothers closed their show at the Uptown Theater in Philly with a cover tune by Jackie Wilson called "Lonely Teardrops".  Lead singer Ronald Isley could see that his audience was standing and yelling with an un usual energy and decided to extend the end of the song by improvising with words of excitement like Shout ... you know you make me want to shout!  The response was so great that they ended their shows this way adding more energy and yell back screams.  It became such a signature that they decided to record it as a song.  The recording took place on July 29, 1959 produced by Hugo and Luigi and released on RCA Records shortly after that.  They used studio musicians and invited friends into the studio to get that live performance feel.  The song became a National hit and became a staple song for just about every live group that performed.  It was later re-released by Joey Dee and the Starlighters to become a hit once agin.  The dance craze extended across the Nation and world.  It was staple for famous clubbs like the Peppermint Lounge and later became one of the main scenes in the movie "Animal House" ... the famous Toga Party scene with Otis Day and the Knights ... oh yeah, "Otis My Man!"  When I Hear shout today I imediately think about John Belushi taking every one down to the floor with ... "A Little Bit Softer Now".  Shout was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and Rolling Stone Magazine ranked the song at number 118 on it's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time!  If you are ever at an event or party that needs an energy injection ... just pop on "SHOUT" and watch the energy rise ... it's a modern craze ... no, it's a modern phenomenon!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Soul Sunday: Ben E. King, Drifter to stardom!

Posted on September 20, 2020 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Welcome to Soul Sunday ... as you all know Sunday's are special to me and always have been since my days as a young man going to Sunday school, stopping at Aunt Kate's on the way home to have a morning breakfast of Kiska and eggs all the way through my adult life as a Husband and Father.  We try to carry out my wife's family tradition to this very day, the kids and grandkids join us for our Sunday, Italian dinner which always has pasta and sauce, meatballs, salad and Italian Bread but with a special side every week of Eggplant or Zucchini Parm, Veal Picatta with Bananna Peppers and Mushrooms, Chicken Milano, Stuffed hot peppers or Escarole and Beans.  It's a time to get together with your loved ones, talk about what is going on in their lives and appreciate the bonding of Family.  Then after we are finished and all cleaned up it's time for me to do my weekly "Heavenly Soul Show" on the radio which started out on WZUM, to WJAS to the Carolina Breeze and now my home on Jukinoldies.com.  Tonight I will be spotlighting an old friend who has a birthday this coming week ... the great Ben E. King (Benjamin Earl Nelson).  Ben was born in Henderson, North Carolina in late September, 1938.  He is known for his singing and song writing however, I see him also as a great man and all around good guy.  Ben started his career singing in church choirs and while in High School formed a DooWop group called the Four B's and they sometimes performed at the Apollo.  In 1958 he joined the Five Crowns and later that year was opening for the Drifters.  George Treadwell, Manager of the Drifters, was tired of the behavior of the group and fired them at the gig and hired the Five Crowns to be the new Drifters.  In 1959, Ben E. King recorded several Drifter classics as their new lead singer ... "There Goes My Baby", "Save The Last Dance For Me", "This Magic Moment and "I Count The Tears" ... this was known as the Ben E. King Era of the Drifters.  In 1960, Ben E. King broke away from the Drifters to start a solo career recording "Spanish Harlem" and his second solo single was co-written by Ben E. and Leiber & Stoller and has become a soul classic ... "Stand By Me!"  I had the pleasure of working with Ben E. King a few times and each time I got to know the man a little better.  He was a kind and soft spoken gentleman but when it came to music he was a take no prisoners performer.  I remember one conert we backed Ben and early in the afternoon he called for a sit down with me and the band to talk through his songs, laying them out in order and talking through how he wanted the show to flow ... a true professional.  A few years later we worked again with Ben E. King at the Montimurro's Supper Club and Ben asked me to join him on stage to sing a duet ,,, a moment I will always remember and cherrish.  Tonight I will be spotlighting Ben E. King on my radio show ... Johnny Angel's Heavenly Soul Show on jukinoldies.com ... live at 7:00 PM (EST) and the memories of working with the master will once again come alive.  The great Ben E. King ... from a Drifter to National Stardom ... what a man!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and GOD Bless!

Johnny 


Wa'sup Wednesday: The Movies ... what happened???

Posted on September 16, 2020 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Time once again for Wa'sup Wednesday ... what happened to the movies???  Here I go trippin' back to the good old days again when watching a movie was fun, exciting, made you use some of your imagination... I'l expand on that a little later.  I was channel and movie searching recently and saw so many movies that I didn't even know existed.  Luckily you can click on them and they give you some infoabout the flick and some even have a preview.  After about an hour of this I realized it was easier to go through my DVD collection and pull out a movie that I loved watching and probably watched two dozen times ... ones I never tire of.  I try to watch the newer movies but there is too much nudity, sex, violence to the extent of nightmare material, drugs, hate, and they leave absolutely nothing to the imagination.  I can't watch a new movie with my grandkids in fear that I might have to explain too much ... or they would have to explain to me ... very uncomfortable!  Let me give an example of some movies that I could watch over and over again: The Wizard of Oz, High Noon, Picnic, PT109, Good Neighbor Sam, Blackboard Jungle. American Hotwax and the classic of all classics ... "WHITE CHRISTMAS!"  If the Wizard of Oz was made today Dorothy would be high on acid and would take a trip to a land that was ... far out man. Do you remember when the Wizard of Oz came on every year when we were growing up and it was like an event.  Mom made the popcorn, dad even bought the good root beer,  "Dad's Old Fashioned Root Beer", you did your chores, took an early shower, put on your jammies and settled down for the flick ... all in front of the giant 12" black and white Philco TV.  Hell I didn't know the part where Dorthy landed in Oz was in color until I was married and bought our first color TV...far out man!   How about Blackboard Jungle if it were re-done today ... the rape scene would be the longest part of the flick, the school would have been shot up and the good guy killed off.  Good Neighbor Sam would definatley have a hot swinging scene with real nudity.  High Noon ... the sheriff would have taken a payoff, left town and the badguys woud have their way with his wife.  White Christmas ... nope I'm not even gonna go there ... they cannot ruin this movie for me .. no re-makes, no updating the content, no trashing a beautiful thing!  Instead, I'm just gonna watch it over, and over, and over, and over again.  Thank GOD for DVD players and discs... what will I do when mine breaks and can't get another one?  You thought you had me on this question didn't you ... I'll just pull out my super eight movie projector and show my old Laurel and Hardy and Bowery Boys films on the wall ... got'cha!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny 

Tune In Tuesday: 3WS Summer Oldies Concerts!

Posted on September 15, 2020 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Are you ready to Tune in Tuesday?  Let's go back 30 years ... Three Rivers Stadium, Saturday morning til night ... the annual 3WS Summer Oldies Celebration!  So let me set the stage... about two weeks ago while at my Ginchy store and museum, a young man, I would guess in his late thirties came up to me and asked if I would do a selfie picture with him for his Mother.  As we stood there he explained that going through my museum was like a trip back in time.  He told me from the time he was a little kid and into his early teens he would go to Three Rivers Stadium to take part in the 3WS Summer Oldies Celebration with his Mom.  He said,  "I never missed one ... I stood on that field for hours looking up at that huge stage with all the people performing that we listened to on 3WS.  He said I met you at a meet and greet when I was nine and now here I am standing in your museum reliving those golden days!"  Can you believe that it was 30 years ago?  I remember those days like it was yesterday ... we had to be at the Stadium at 8:00 in the morning, sound checks began at around 9:00, then we would rehearse any of the acts that we were backing up.  That took us up to about 4:00, dinner for all the musicians and acts was about 5:00.  We then watched as the stadium filled up, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, people covered the entire field and all the seats from dugout to dugout.  There were festivities in the parking lots, all the 3WS jocks participated, contests, bands outside as people came in and music, music, music.  The celebration went on into the night and then ended with Zambelli Fireworks!  It was a common occurance to be in the holding area talking with our favorite performers, Frankie Valli, The Four Tops, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Lou Christie, the Marvelettes and James Brown ... just to name a few.  Since I was part of the morning Zoo, I did a double duty by interviewing many of the artists for the station.  We even sang some a cappella from time to time on top of the 3WS trailor as people scatttered for a spot on the filed.  The day was truly a celebration of music and people ... it was America at it's finest!  I would go back to those golden days in a minute to have that feeling of unity and happiness!  One thing I know for sure is ... these days will live on in my mind forever and a day!  Till tommorw, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny 


Mo' Music Monday: Big Yellow Taxi ... Til it's gone!

Posted on September 14, 2020 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's Mo' Music Monday ... and, I'm Back ... Big Yellow Taxi ... Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got til it's gone?  A week ago I stopped writing my blogs because I thought it was a waste of time and nobody really read it anyway.  Boy, was I wrong ... I came to find out that a lot of friends looked forward to remeniscing about the good old days.  Hearing Join Mitchell's song "Big Yellow Taxi" sure did help!  The lyrics just took me somewhere that I haven't been for a while ... try these on "they paved paradise to put up a parking lot", they took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see them".  Well then I thought about my Ginchy Stuff and music museum and thought about all the joy it brings people who walk through and see things that were so inportant to us in our lives, music that was the sound track of every stage of our lives and faces we will never see again.  It was then that all this hit me ... we need to hold on to the things that made us happy!  Think about it: Drive-Ins, Soda Fountains, Roller skating rinks, Danceland, real TV shows, dances, transistor radios, Porky Chedwick  ... are you smiling when you read this ... I am just writing about it.  We may never see a rock concert again ... imagine that.  "Hey Farmer, Farmer, put away the DDT now ... give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees Please!"   I find myself feeding the birds and bunnies in my yard and giving apples to the baby deer and realizing that they have every right to run free and seeing them every night brings me pleasure.  What happens when we get so modernized that we don't see wild animals anymore.  Maybe it's my age or the fact that I lived a beautiful and happy life, I saw so much in my almost 70 years ... but, so many of the things I loved and enjoyed are disappearing ... call it progress if you will, I call it removing history.  Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got til it's gone .... I don't know about you, but I'm holding on to those treasures. If you care to join me, stop down my Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Music Museum ... it may do you some good to smile once again ... it sure helps me!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny 


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