Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff

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Soul Sunday: Philly Soul; Heart of the Man

Posted on March 29, 2020 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Good Morning Ginchers,

Welcome to Soul Sunday and a little trip out to Philly to see the Heart of a Man.  Soul has many meanings to many people.  I always described it as a feeling you get when something touches you so deeply, it becomes part of you.  Take music for example, I hear music everyday and it helps me relate to different things like where I was when I first heard the tune, an old friend, a place we visited.  But then, I hear a song that just grabs me and takes me to a place where I have never been, a feeling I never felt and too deeply felt to explain to others ... it becomes part of me.  That my friend is my love for Soul Music.  But, that feeling goes even deeper when you get to meet, know, work with and become friends with the artist that recorded that particular song.  And then come to find that the same person who gave you that song is actually a salt of the earth, God fearing, straight up, loving person. ... enter the great Eddie Holman.  This man sweats Soul, delivers  his word and songs like an Angel straight from Heaven.  This man also has a heart of Gold.  I can never thank him enough for the friendship we have developed.  I have performed with Eddie, sung background for Eddie, traveled with Eddie, and had deep conversation with Eddie and will always be thankfull to him for his giving generousity to my family.  Not too long ago, my wife had a liver transplant and many of my friends in the business here in the 'Burgh donated their time to do a concert for the Liver Foundation.  Here is the Heart of the Man from Philly, Eddie heard about the event and came into Pittsburgh to perform with us and of coarse brought the house down.  Eddie gave the blessing at my daughters wedding and sang her a special song.  Eddie is without a doubt the meaning of SOUl to me.  He came into my families lives, he touched me so deeply that his friendship became part of me.  If you have the chance to catch Eddie in concert, do yourselves a favor and check it out.  He has been doing this for well over 50 years and still travels in Soul Shows to this very day.  I will say it one more time ... Eddie Holman is one of the greats!  But even greater is the friendship he gave me.  Til tomorrow ginchers, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor if you can ... and, GOD Bless!


No School Saturday: Learn to play Drums

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Hey Ginchers,

It's time for No School Saturday, which means no homework and free time!  Saturdays for me growing up started with doing my Saturday chores around the house, had to earn my keep.  It also meant time to play my drums, to practice, to hone my craft.  After watching movies like the Gene Krupa Story with Sal Mineo, I had a fire inside to create rhythms on anything, the kitchen table, the sink, the seats in my dads didn't matter when I felt the urge, I had to pound out a rhythm.  My first drum lessons happened on Saturdays, my Idol was a man that was a senior in High School, I was only in 7th grade.  He was a Football and Baaseball star, fast as the wind, had a great pompadore and D.A., was popular with the girls but first and foremsot, he was a bad ass drummer.  His name, Walt Zastawa, nasty Zast!  Walt took and interest in me and began to teach me the drums, it did not take long for me to adapt, it was a passion, a fire and soon I was ready to play in a band.  When I first started out playing in bands, Saturdays were all day rehearsal session days.  I remember when we, the early Cordells, would get together in Mrs. Lipps Dinning Room (Al K.C.'s Mom), she would push all the furniture to the side and we set up and practiced all day, we would take a break and walk down to West View Amusement park, do a few laps and then back to the rehearsal.  Mrs. Lipp would feed us and tolerate our teen attitudes and soon we developed into a bonifide band.  We entered the Tea Tournament at West View Park's Battle of the Bands.  It was here that I met a musician friend that our friendship would carry on even today, his name ... Pete Hewlet, his band ... Peter's Pipers... and yes, it was his band that held our egos in check, they won the Tea Tournament Battle of the bands.  I have fond memories of Saturday's growing up but especially the memories of my early days in music.  Rock n' Roll was changing, it was calling young teens to join and belong.  Hell, the Ventures, a popular instramental rock group, even put out albums called The Ventures teach guitar, the Ventures teach the Bass, learn how to play with the Ventures!  Whoa...I almost got carried away.  Well Ginchers, it's Saturday, I have to go do my chores so I can practice a little drums today.  Til tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy and help a neighbor when you can.  GOD Bless!


Feature Friday: A Star Is Born ... Beau

Posted on March 27, 2020 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Today is Feature Friday and we are gonna remenisce about a Star that was Born here in the 'Burgh ... Beau ... the great Jimmy Beaumont of the Skyliners.  How would I describe my friend Jimmy Beaumont ... kinda quiet, funny, friendly, humbled, serious when it came to music and singing, a harmony guy and one of the greatest lead singers of a group in the history of our music who would rather sing a bass part instead of the lead.  I had the pleasure of working with Jimmy and the Skyliners over my 50+ year career but more important to me than performing with him, I loved sitting around talking music and watching that grin he made when could see the true passion in his soul.  One fond memory I have of Jimmy was celebrating one of his birthdays when I was part of the Morning Zoo on 3WS.  The staff asked me if I knew what Jimmy's favorite meal was and I said, yep ... "He loves Stuffed Pork Chops".  So we invited Jimmy to celebrate his birthday with us live on the air, in the morning, so we could talk about his career.  We had a cake, and a lot of people cramed into the DJ booth ... and yes, we ate stuffed pork chops!  Jimmy Beaumont never acted like a National Artist, celebrity.  He always kept his humbled Pittsburgh attitude and was kind to anyone who approached him.  I mean here is aguy that appeared on Dick Clark's American Band Stand, sang at the Apollo, toured on the Caravan of stars, sang with some of the greatest, R&R Hall of Fame artists and yet when you saw him at a local bar drinking a beer, he was just Beau from Pittsburgh.  Jimmy's range was second to none and the control he had of his voice was unbelievable ... when he would sing, I was truly mesmerized.  As I have said so many times as I get older, I miss Jimmy B and the joys he gave to so many.  Once this ugly virus strain is over and you have a chance to get out, stop down my Music Museum and see the exhibits I have dedicated to the great Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners ... we can share our favorite Beau stories!  Til tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can and GOD Bless!



Throw Back Thursday: New Orleans Dynamo

Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Good morninbg Ginchers,

Today is Throw Back Thursday and we are going to trek back to a time when Rock n' Roll was in it's infancy.  The 1950's and Rock n' Roll go hand in hand and this music craze was sweeping the Nation.  You could see groups and artists from every corner of the United States recording and each had their own regional sound; I'm talking about L.A., St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Chicago, Detroit, Philly, New York, Pittsburgh and yes, New Orleans.  In fact, I want to focus on New Orleans and Rock n' Roll and the New Orleans Dynamo!  There were a lot of New Orleans rockers that came out of this area in the 1950's, I'm talking about Fats Domino, Huey "Piano" Smith and especially my old friend Frankie Ford.  I had the pleasure of working with Frankie many times and spent a lot of time sitting around a table breaking bread together and sipping some cocktails.  I miss most the stories and the humor of my dear friend and how Rock n' Roll happened for him.  Frankie was born in Gretna, Louisianna which was right across the Mississippi from New Orleans.  He made his stage debut at the early age of 5 and appeared on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in 1952.  In High School he joined a group called the Syncopators where he was spotted by Joe Caronna who took him to Ace Records.  At Ace records Frankie recorded a song written by and originally recorded by Huey "Piano" Smith called "Sea Cruise".  SInce Huey already had a record on the charts, they released Frankie's version of the song where it sold over a million copies and earned him a gold record ... this was the beginning of a long Rock n' Roll Career.  Frankie played himself in the movie "American Hotwax" and toured the circuit where I first met him.  As the years go by I treasure more and more the days gone by and cherrish the friendships I've made along the way.  When the quarantine and virus threat is over I look forward to seeing old friends at my Music Museum.  Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, look in on a neighbor and may God Bless!


Wa'sup Wednesday: Wa'sup with the Twist?

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Hey Ginchers,

It's Wa'sup Wednesday and I say "Wa'sup with the Twist?" ... The twist is a dance that was first released by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters in the 1950's but, became extremely popular and actually became a dance craze in the 1960's!  The man who gave a new twist to the Twist is Chubby Checker.  Let's talk about the re-birth of the Twist for a minute ... when the new craze began it went like wildfire,  There were twist towels, twist games, twist belts, sitcoms on TV were all doing the twist, kids did the twist and at weddings you even saw seniors doing the twist, I can still see my Bub doing the thist in the Kitchen!  I actually have a Twist exhibit at my Johnny Angel's Music Museum with the Twist belt, signed by Chubby Checker, and a Twist Towel.  Watching people do the twist has always been fun for me, the different styles that people adapted and the certain twist (no pun intended) some put on it.  But, the greatest version was actually watching the Chubster do it live in concert.  I had the pleasure of working with Chubby Checker and what a thrill to see the master do the twist.  Speaking of working with Chubby I remember one particular concert we did together and the Bossman, Porky Chedwick, was with me and he wanted to go visit Chubby.  Well, Chubby was chillin' in his luxury tour bus and didn't want to be disturbed at the time, getting ready for his performance.  I was afraid that if we waitied until after the show, Porky may miss him.  Soooo, I said to Porky, "let's give it a try".  We walked to the tour bus and there was a rather huge man guarding the door and I asked him if we could possibly see Chubby for just a minute and he replied Chubby is getting ready for his performance.  I said would you please just tell him that Johnny Angel and Porky Chedwick just wanted to say a quick hello and welcome.  The huge Man opened the door and said "Mr. Checker there is a Porky Chedwick and Johnny Angel here to see you" ... the voice from inside said "PORKY!, Let them in" .. Chubby hugged Porky and we spent about 15 minutes just chatting with the King of the Twist!  Sometimes, some of the best things in life are your memories!  Stay Safe Ginchers, Stay Healthy and lend a helping hand when you can.  Til tomorrow, God Bless!


Tune in Tuesday: Turned on to a sound, Harvey Fuqua

Posted on March 24, 2020 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Good Morning Ginchers,

It's Tune in Tuesday and getting turned on to a sound ... as a young man the radio was my passport to what would take place in my future.  What does that mean?  I remember tuning on my favorite radio show, the Porky Chedwick show, and hearing a record by a group called the Moonglows ... the harmony, the arrangements, the beat, the groove and I immediately fell in love with a sound (DooWop).  As I got older and more educated to that sound I heard another record by a group called the Spinners on the Tri-Phi record label and bang, it hit me again and I fell in love with a new sound (Soul).  So, I began to research these records that got me hooked on a sound and found out that the originator in both of these groups was the same man, Harvey Fuqua.  Yes, Havey Fuqua was an original member of the Moonglows and later formed the New Moonglows which he formed by taking an already established group, the Marquees (which Marvin Gaye was a member) and crowning them the new Moonglows.  Not long after that Harvey formed a record label called Tri-Phi and found a group called the Spinners, signed them to his label and actually sang lead on two of their early classics.  Now let's fast forward, I followed my love for music and became an entertainer and one day I actually met the man who influenced me with his sound ... the great Harvey Fuqua.  The meeting took place at the first Vocal Group Hall Of Fame Concert.  We, Johnny Angel and the Halos, were the opening act for the concert that had so many legends; Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Carl Gardner of the Coasters, Bill Pinkney and Charle Thomas of the Drifters and more.  As the opening act, we also took on the role of backing most of the performers.  As you can imagine, I was in Heaven ... all of these legends that I grew up with on the radio ... I now I would be on the stage with them!  Well, the Heavenly Feeling gets even better.  While we were rehearsing some harmony with Bill Pinkney and Charlie Thomas, I noticed a man staning off to the side and I about froze ... yep, it was Harvey Fuqua.  Harvey approached me after we were finished and said "I like the way you and your partner (Bubba) sing  and my guys are a bit under the weather and was wondering if you guys could give us a hand and sing some backup for me on the show today".  Bing! Bang!, my head nearly exploaded.  Harvey Fuqua, the man who inspired me to sing, the man who's songs are some of my all time favorites ... he just asked me to sing with him!  Bubba and I took the stage with pride, sang some background and watched the master at work.  Over the years I have had some similar experiences but that particular night would live on in my head forever.  Once this ugly quarantine is over, I will be getting back to my Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Music Museum where the memories of a life time live.  I hope you can join me soon!  Take Care, Stay Safe, Stay healthy and God Bless!


Mo' Music Monday: A Three Dog Night

Posted on March 23, 2020 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Hey Ginchers,

Welcome to Mo' Music Monday!  Today's question is: "What is a Three Dog Noght and how does it relate to music"?  First the definition, as per the Urban Dictionary ... In the old days of no central heating (the way it was when I was a child, Moore Heater in the main room and lots of blankets in others), a night so cold it took 3 dogs sleeping with you to keep you warm enough.  Music definition one of the greatest rock/soul bands of our generation.  Let's narrow it down, what is a three dog night?  Hmmm, my definition is ... "Chuck Negron!".  I had the pleasure of working with Chuck a few times and Bubba, Jibbo and I  had the honors of singing background for Chuck and the rest of the Halos backing him insrumentally at the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame years back.  What a thrill it was to sing background while hearing the original voice sing songs like, One and Easy To Be Hard.  Chuck Negron has one of the most unique sounds and you know it's him as soon as the vocals start in all of Three Dog Nights hits.  Chuck has been through many ups and downs and has overcome all of his demons.  He is still one of the best touring shows and he still hits those soulful notes.  I try to follow his appearances on the road and enjoy hearing stories about the man.  Do yourselves a favor and look for the book ... "Three Dog Nightmare" ... I treasure my copy, signed by Chuck himself.  For those who think Chuck's career started as a member of Three Dog Night, I have a DooWop surprise for you.  Chuck grew up in the Bronx and sang DooWop with a group called the Rondells and later went by the name Chuck Rondell, recording for Columbia Records and Hart Van Records, best known for his recording in 1963 "I Dream Of An Angel".  My favorite of his from that era was a song called "Bells of My Heart" you can identify his voice as soon as it starts!  So Ginchers, the next time you are up against a Three Dog Night, you can either snuggle up with your dogs or pull out an old Three Dog Night Album and let Chuck Negron warm your SOUL!  Stay safe, stay Healthy and when you can ... lend a helping Hand!


Soul Sunday: Soul on the Hill

Posted on March 22, 2020 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Hey Ginchers,

It's Soul Sunday, my favorite day of the week ... and for many reasons.  A day to give thanks to the Lord, it's pasta day and every Sunday evening I have three hours of fun and remeniscing on my radio show, Johnny Angel's Heavenly Soul Show.  Tonight's show is kind of special since we will be celebrating a birthday today of a music legend who came from the 'Burgh, the Hill District part of the 'Burgh, and tonight will be the first show that will have a simultaneous shag instruction (shag dancing) from a legendary shag dancer, Sam West.  At Seven tonight, after tuning into my show, go to Sam West's facebook where he will be giving Shag Dance lessons to my Soul Music Show ... can't wait!  Soooo, with that said let's get back to Soul Sunday and Soul on the Hill.  Our Brother from the 'Burgh, Mr. George Benson celebrates his 77th birthday today.  George began his music career at a very early age, seven to be exact,  playing the Ukulele at the corner drug store on the Hill.  At the age of 8, he played guitar in an unlicensed nightclub and recorded a record at the age of 9.  Yes, I said 9, for the RCA-Victor label in New York who picked up two of the four songs he recorded i.e.; "It Should Have Been Me" and "She Makes Me Mad" and it was released as Little Georgie.  George also worked with a vocal group from the Hill called the Altairs and later went on to become a Guitar Icon in the Soul/Jazz field.  The Hill District in Pittsburgh produced a slew of Soul Music entertainers, Chuck Jackson and Tommy Hunt to name a few and George played with both of those Soul Giants as a young boy.  So tonight when you are getting antsy from the lockdown, tune into my show on and pull up Sam West's facebook, pull back the rug and have some good old fashion fun!  Stay Safe, stay healthy and get SOUL-I-FIED!!!


No School Saturday: The Drive-In

Posted on March 21, 2020 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Hey Ginchers, it's Saturday,

No School Saturday ... no work, no play, no anything, lock down!  Unfortunately Ginchers, we are all in a state of lock down due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Just think if we knew about this years ago, maybe, just maybe they wouldn't have shut down all the Drive-In Theaters!  Since you and your significant other are confind to your car and you really don't have to be with the public, and you really don't have to visit the consession stand since you can always pack a cooler... Let's Go To The Drive-In!  Or let's just say you can't borrow the car tonight and you still are confind to your house, why not pull out your Remco Drive-In Theater play set with the view master slides and your match box cars!  I know your saying to yourself who has one of those ... uhhh, I do!  O K, let's get back to my point.  You have the car, you have a cooler and lunch meat and bread to make sammiches and you can't complain about the cost of gas.  If you are cold, just rent one of the drive-in heaters, that way you don't have to keep the car running. .. load up d'car.  Two movies, cartoons, food, semi-private someone you want to be with ... this could have been the answer!!!  Bring back the good old days ... unfortunately I had to close my Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Music Museum for  a couple of weeks, or I would invite you all down to have some good old fun and memories ... and, yes I have the Remco Drive-In, a drive-in speaker and a drive-in theater portable heater (like brand new) and a lot of Drive-in and movie lobby cards at the store!  Til tomorrow Ginchers, stay healthy, take care of each other, say your prayers and God Bless!


Feature Friday: Atria's PNC Park ... was there ever a better time?

Posted on March 20, 2020 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

It's Feature Friday and today we are going to remenisce about one of my favorite times, the early days of my Atria's at PNC Park!  A week doesn't go by that I don't run into someone who brings up the live music days at our Atria's at PNC Park.  The friendships, the loyalty, the extended family it created.  Well in 2001 we started this restaurant as a family oriented, quality food for a great value, restaurant.  The walls were decorated with my memorabilia, there was a small stage with a second floor balcony that wrapped around it, it only sat about 100 people, which we exeeded every Thursday night.  We added entertertainment, live entertainment, I'm talking about a cappella, DooWop Thursday's with guest singers that would show up and join in with either the Wee Jams or Johnny Angel and the Halos, both were the house Street Cormer singers.  Members of so many different groups and some National artists sang on our stage, let's name some guests:  The Magic Moments, El Reys, Tymes, Frankie Avery of the La-Rells, Fred Johnson of the Marcels, The Four Dots, Pecky from Pure Gold and the Groove-U, Jimmy Beaumont of the Skyliners, Jimmie Ross of the Jaggerz and who could forget Charlie and Smitty?  Please excuse me if I missed a few names.  There was singing on the stage, outside on the patio and even in the bathrooms.  We even had legendary Pittsburgh bands, duos and trios play on that little stage, I'm talking about Gary Beloma and the Blues Bombers, Pete Hewlett and Scott Anderson, Billy Price, Donna Groom of the Skyliners, Sputzy, The Joe Lagnese Mini Orchestra, The Dueling Pianos with Harry Levicki and Hermie Granati, Dixie Doc, Etta Cox, The Rivermen, and of coarse Johnny Angel's All Star Jam Band with, Donnie Garvin, Fred Delu, Harry McCorkle, Rege Markl, Dave Molter, Ed Jonnett, Mike Vale of the Shondells, Mary Ann Mangini, Gary Glenn, Pecky, Barry Haughan, and of coarse, Bubba, Pinky and Uncle Loomis.  How about Oldies DJ night honoring the great Porky Chedwick calling out the songs and various DJ's spinning the records; Rookie Rick, Laid Back Lenny, Barry Haughan and Fred Bohn playing all your Pittsburgh favorites.  The best memory I have of these wonderful nights is being on stage and looking at the bar 3 rows deep, friends standing on the stairs to the balcony and friends hanging over the balcony and the tables so full that the servers could hardly get through and with all of those people, everyone got along.  The smiles were contagious and the hugs were sincere.   All good thing must end but the memories will carry on forever!!!