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Feature Friday: Skunks!

Posted on October 2, 2020 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Today is Feature Friday and all I have to say is ... "SKUNKS!"  Yep, skunks ... you probably think I'm gonna talk about someone who has done me wrong or a despicable human ... but, nope ... I'm talking about those cute little black and white, potentially stinky little creatures.  Let me set the stage... my daily animal resort process here at Angel animal reserve is ... I get up in the morning and make my coffee and look out at the birds to see if they need any seeds, and usually they do ... in fact mostly everything is eaten.  So, I pick up my orange bucket from Home Depot filled with bird seed and go out to the feeders and fill both of them and then I sprinkle some seeds on the ground for the bigger birds that don't like hanging on the feeder to eat.  By evening they pretty much go through all the seeds and it is now time for the arrival of our bunnies and two deer.  So I put a little more seed in the fedders for the late feeding and a few cups on the ground for the bunnies and deer and then I throw out my baby carrots for the bunnies.  Mary Lou and I get a kick out of watching them gather and have their feast.  When it is time to go to bed I sprinkle some more seeds and throw a few more carrots just in case they get an urge for a midnight snack.  I found it odd that the squirrels have been staying away since I made a new metal post for my feeders but yet it seemed like they were still coming at night to polish off any eatable morcel that remained.  So last night around 10:00 I went out back to see if the squirrels were pulling a night shift and low and behold saw some movement at the bottom of the feeders.  As I got closer I saw what I thought was the little white tails of the bunnies but, as I got even closer all three of them turned around and looked right at me ... I froze in place when I realized it was three rather large SKUNKS!  I gently used my Pepe Le Pew voice and calmly started to walk backwards  ... didn't particularly want a Skunk spray bath!  I went back out after a few minutes and they were still there and just as peaceful as could be, they let me come pretty close and didn't seem to be agressive.    Soooo, being the social media wizard I have become (tongue in cheek) I looked up the habitat of suburban skunks and found out that they are rather peaceful creatures who are actually pretty good to have around since they also eat harmful insects and rodents.  So in order to live in peaceful harmony with the wild life on my animal reservation I've decided that they have just as much right to my seeds and baby carrots as do my bunnies.  Our animal kingdom has grown ... now we have a  family of bunnies (my favorites), a Doe (a deer, a female deer), a fawn that is now starting to grow it's first two antlers (a buck), a plethera of birds from woodpeckers to finches, Chipmunks gallore, squirrels, wild turkeys, and two fat groundhogs.  I need a score card to keep all of there names.  I'm gonna need a job just to keep up the food bill for these new members of our abode!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor (or animal) when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny



Throw Back Thursday: The Auction ... time to re-invent!

Posted on October 1, 2020 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's Throw Back Thursday ... The Auction ... time to re-invent!  As many of you know my Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Museum has been going strong for Four Years  however, with all the Covid restrictions and limit to travel, it has been very slow over the past 8 months.  Just like in the music business, one needs to re-invent themselves every so often to stay fresh and new.  With the help of Ya-Jagoff Podcast and Rohrich Automotive we have been able to re-invent some entertainment like our Comedy to Go shows, held in our parking lot to help promote comedians and give our friends a venue to get out and socialize while still practicing social distancing restrictions.  This coming Saturday we will try to present some music when our good friends Hermie Granati and Harry Levicky strike up some fun entertainment with their Dueling Pianos ... showtime will be 7:00 PM in our parking lot.  Tickets are still available at jagoff.com.  The problem I am still faced with is the lack of foot traffic for my Ginchy Stuff store and the amount of people that can be inside due to Pennsylvania restrictions during the covid ongoing quarantine for business.  I have always wanted to do an auction with limited guests in my store but at this time cannot ... so, we are trying something different tonight ... a live auction on facebook!  I have a huge collection of memorabilia and collectibles that are not in my store and have decided to part with some of them.  Since many still can't come out we thought we would bring some fun items to you.  Tonight at 7:00 PM you can take part in a collectibles auction via facebook live by tuning into my Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff Facebook page.  I will be auctioning off some fun and unique personal collectibles.  Since this is our first time doing this it should be a lot of fun and it helps me keep my store and museum up and running.  Depending on time and participation we have at least 6 items and possibly more.  I hope you can join in tonight!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Wa'sup Wednesday: My backyard ... it's for the birds!

Posted on September 30, 2020 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Good afternoon Ginchers,

Wa'sup Wednesday ... My backyard ... it's for the birds!  Yep, how many people say they know me?  Hell, I don't even know me anymore.  This Covid Crap and political pounding has finally taken a toll on me.  Most people remember me as the music guy, the jokester, the party animal, the let's try something new guy, the travel and see the world and take a cruise guy, the sing at the drop of the hat guy.  Well, these last eight months have changed all of that.  I haven't sung a note, performed live or even talked music business for more than half a year ... that is the longest time away from music since I was a small child.  What on earth am I doing you say?  Paradise ... my backyard, the bunnies arriving at 7:00 every night, the Doe and her fawn arriving at 8:00 to clean up what is left over but ahhh ... the birds...  Cardinals, finches, Blue birds, wood peckers, sputzy's, and who can forget the suburban pigeons (Doves).  I have found that the only thing that relaxes me any more is my backyard.  I know how to cook and I love to eat and just recently realized how much I love the wildlife in my yard.  Here is the average day now ... no or little TV, no fake sports, no travel, I wish the whole social media format would dry up and go away ... how about  ... hey Moosch (Mary Lou) what would you like for dinner?  I start cooking early in the afternoon and we eat (mostly outside in the back yard). We clean up and get ready for the arrival of our domestic zoo animals.  But, the real pleasure is feeding our birds.  Living in the city I never realized how many different and beautiful birds live in Pittsburgh.  Then again, I never took the time to sit and look for them.  Now, it is almost like a work of art to watch the different species gathering at the Hunt sanctuary.  I even find myself talking to the birds, bunnies and even the deer ... don't worry, they haven't answered me yet!  The only part of my old life that still exists is my radio show.  Don't get me wrong I still love music and I really look forward to Sunday nights to be live on the air but I don't miss the rat race.  I don't miss some of the ugliness of the music industry and I definitely don't miss the hatred going on in the world.  Maybe I'm finally realizing that I'm at the end of a wonderful run and the memories sometimes are just as good as the actual experiences.  My backyard ... it's for the birds ... and the bunnies ... and the deer  ... and me!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, God Bless!  Oh yeah ... and feed the birds!

Johnny


Tune in Tuesday: Jerry Lee ... the Killer!

Posted on September 29, 2020 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's Tune in Tuesday ... Jerry Lee Lewis ... the Killer!  Today is Jerry Lee's Birthday, born September 29, 1935 in Ferriday, Louisianna.  Known as the "Killer" and described as Rock and Roll's first Wild Man and defenitly one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll and one of the all time greatest rock pianists.  Jerry Lee conquered many music venues, Rock and Roll, Rhythm n' Blues, Rockabilly and Country.  His first recording was at Sun Records in 1956, "Crazy Arms" and his first hit was in 1957 with "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".  He followed up with more Rock n' Roll classics like "Great Balls of Fire", "Breathless" and "High School Condifential" and was on a roll with hit records.  Unfortunately a scandal put a halt on his rising career with the marriage of his 13 year old cousin.  With all the negative publicity this put a halt to the Killers career but only for a short time.  In 1964, Jerry Lee recorded a live album "Live at the Star Club" in Hamburg and is said to be one of the greatest live albums ever.  He made the switch to country and hit the charts like a rocket in space.  Jerry Lee continued to be a concert draw throughout his life and in 2006 recorded an album that was his best selling album yet "Last Man Standing".  With over 30 hit records, 4 Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 2 Grammy Hall of Fame Awards he continues to rack up an impressive career.  In 1986 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. IN 1989 the movie of his life was released with Dennis Quaid playing his part.  In 2003 Rolling Stome Magazine ranked him number 24 on thier list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.  Jerry Lee is the last surviving member of the Million Dollar Quartet of Sun Records and the Class of '55 album which included Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley.  Recently the broadway play called the Million Dollar Quartet became a huge hit ... imagine having Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis in a studio together at the same time.  I had the honors of working a few times with Jerry Lee and I spent some quality time talking with the Killer and absorbing his Rockin' knowledge like a sponge.  The man is bigger than life and his energy level is second to none.  Jerry Lee Lewis is a master, a master of the piano, a master of Rock and Roll, a master of persaverance, a master of survival ... he is ... the Killer!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


Soul Sunday: "In a Mellow Mood ... The Temptations!"

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

Mornin' Ginchers,

Time once again for Soul Sunday ... "In a Mellow Mood ... the Temptations!"  I have been challenged many times during this covid era to post on facebook my top ten favorite albums.  Well, everytime I attempt to do so I always end up with at least twenty albums and then I sit here and try to weed out ten great albums.  But one thing that has happened during this challenge is one particular album always ends up in my hand ... yep, my favorite album of all time, hands down, no bout a doubt it ... In a Mellow Mood by the Temptations.  Am I a bit partial because of my love for this group?  Maybe but test for yourself.  Put the album on, turn down the lights, sit back in your favorite chair, maybe pour a glass of your favorite beverage and listen, really listen to this work of art.  I find myself doing this alot... when I'm stressed out or bothered about something ... this is my remedy.  There are two songs that stand out to me, the first is Paul Williams singing "For Once In My Life".  You can just feel the pain and soulfulness in his voice.  The second is my favorite Temptation of all time ... Melvin Franklin, one of the greatest bass voices.  When Melvin sings "Old Man River" it actually rattles your inner soul but then the four part, world class harmony comes in to support Melvin's lead and it is true pleasure.  The album was the brainchild of Berry Gordy.  Since the Temps were already the greatest soul group of the time, he wanted to crossover to reach the masses, to bring the Temptations into the wide world of Pop music ... OK let's call it like it is ... he wanted to capture the white audience as well.  That was not a challenge with me, since I already placed the Temptations on a silver platter high above any group of the time.  It was pure genius on Berry's part.  The album not only was a work of art but it opened the doors for not only the Temptations but most of the Motown Stable of Artists to play and headline the fine superclubs and elite venues.  In a Mellow Mood was released in 1967 and to this day is my go to album.  The Temptations revisited this idea in 1995 when they released the album "For Lovers Only".  Their selection of songs and modern approach to some of the standards are a true classic and also places in my top ten albums of all time.  I'm gonna close out now and before I get ready to go into my Ginchy Stuff store and museum, I'm pulling by favorite album of all time and playing it in my store today ... It's a Mellow Mood kind of day ... the Temptations ... Heavenly!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny 


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



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