Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff

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Feature Friday: What's Old Is New Again!

Posted on June 26, 2020 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (1)

Mornin' Ginchers,

It's Feature Friday and ... "What's old is new again ... the new and improved Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Music Museum!"  Four years ago I opened my collectibles store and music museum and have had hundreds if not thousands of guests from all over the country and world stop by to check out a slice of american music culture from a Pittsburgers eyes.  I have been entertaining for more than 54 years, I have performed with some of the all time greats and Rock n' Roll hall of Fame Artists, I grew up with so many great Pittsburgh performers and like a hoarder, I saved everfything from my 50+ year career.  With my house being filled, three storage units, an old gracery store warehouse and family members attics loaded up, I or should I say my wife, thought it would be a good idea to display some of these relics.  Because of the Covid-19, I was forced to close my doors for almost 4 months and being the energetic, nervous energy type, I decided to re-vamp the museum.  I have added 6 new exhibits, there is a case dedicated to my friends, Eugene Pitt of the Jive Five, Herbie Cox of the Cleftones, Tommy Hunt of the Flamingos, a new Pittsburgh Room with exhibits of Norman Nardini and his famous Tiger Tux, Pecky's exhibit of Pure Gold and various groups he was part of, the Wee Jams exhibit, Rick Wit's famous converse High top tennis shoes with photos of Crack the Sky, Pete Hewlett's great bands like Sweet Lightning and Novo Combo, Some new Monkees memorabilia and a P.O.R.C.C. jacket worn by Porky Chedwick that was given to Joey Dee and then donated back to me for the museum.  Tonight we will re-open and have a music celebration with friends from the music industry and friends who love music.  You are all invited, just bring a lawn chair to honor social distancing.  Rookie Rick will be playind oldies in the parking lot, Phil Spano will bring his Solo Pizza Wood Fired Pizza Cart and I will be giving tours to small groups of the new museum.  Knowing my guests, I would bet that some acoustic and a cappella sessions will break out all over.  If you are free stop down and have some good old Rock n' Roll fun ... 6:00 until 9:00 PM.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Throw Back Thursday: The Gang's all here ... Ginchy!

Posted on June 25, 2020 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Throw Back Thursday ... Hail! Hail! the Gangs all here! ... Wow has the time flown by ... it's been 4 years since I opened Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Museum.  With the Covid-19 quarantine we have been closed now for nearly 4 months and it's time to open the doors back up and have a celebration.  Tomorrow, June 26th, we will be having a re-inactment of the grand opening and have invited friends, musicians, singers and entertainers to stop by and help me give a welcome back parteeeee!  Our grand opening was a Pittsburgh Music Historic Event ... members of so many groups showed up to check out their exhibits in the museum and to remenisce and  ... of coarse, SING!  There were members of so many groups present, the Marcels, the Jaggerz, the Vogues, Wee Jams, Sinceres, Halos, Dantes, the Four Dots, Four Perfections, Original Shondells, Jeweltones, El Reys, Crack the Sky, Igniters, Flashcats, Bloomfield Boys, Pure Gold and Rising Suns.  We took a memorable picture in front of the building and it was a true classic.  DJ's Uncle Al and Rookie Rick provided the Oldies and several singers jumped up to sing some a cappella.  Over the past several weeks I have been busy remodeling and adding new attractions ... 6 new exhibits to be exact.  Walking into Ginchy Stuff is like walking back in time ... the front of the building is filled with collectibles, antiques, records, CD's, artwork, posters, autographs and a whole bunch of Ginchy Stuff.  the rear of the building is the museum which has exhibits of National Acts that I have worked with as well as two rooms full of Pittsburgh music memories.  For those who are a bit confused with the word "Ginchy", it simply means "COOL".  It goes back to the days of Kookie on 77 Sunset Strip when a cute girl would walk by and he would say "what a Ginchy Chick" or from the movie Gidget when she first saw Moondoggie saying, "Ain't He Ginchy!"  Check back with me tomorrow and I'll give a sneak peek of what to expect tomorrow evening at 6 PM for the Re-Opening of Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Museum.  Till tomorrow, stay Ginchy, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Wa'sup Wednesday: California Dreaming ... Michelle Phillips

Posted on June 24, 2020 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Welcome to another Wa'sup Wednesday ... wa'sup Mamas and Papas ... wa'sup Michelle Phillips?  Let's go back to 1965, if you grew up anywhere but California and you heard "California Dreamin' by the Mamas and the Papas" and you saw a picture of the new hippy culture group ... you wanted to hitch hike out to the West Coast.  John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Mama Cass and ... BANG! ... the beautiful, sultry and talented Michelle Phillips.  Not only was Michelle a knockout but she had a voice that was critically acclaimed and deemed by Time Magazine as "the Purist soprano in pop music"  And speaking of "California Dreamin", Michelle co-wrote the song, she was the whole package.  While working as a model, Michelle met John Phillips, who was touring with his band the Journeymen, and the two were married, Michelle was only 18 at the time.  The two began writing music together and put together the singing group the Mamas and the Papas.  Their hit records were like a sound track of the mid sixties; "Monday, Monday", "Creeque Alley" and so many more.  In 1967 they appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival.  There were a lot of problems tugging at the group with infidelity, I won't go into the romantic love triangle, but even with all the issues, John and Michelle had a daughter together, Chynna.  Chynna also went on to become a singer and was part of the vocal trio of the 90's, "Wilson Phillips".  The Mamas and the Papas broke up in 1971 and Michelle began a solo career, became a movie star and a TV celebrity.  In 1970 Michelle married Dennis Hopper while appearing in his film "The Last Movie" but the marriage only lasted 8 days.  in 1973 she appeared in the Movie "Dillinger and began working in televison, and even starred in the "Knots Landing" show.  Do any of you remember the song that Cheech abd Chong recorded called "Basketball Jones"? ... it was a parady of the song "Love Jones" .  Well it was Michelle Phillips and Darlene Love doing the vocals as cheerleaders.  I met Michelle at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame at a jam session with Bo Diddley, Little Richard, George Clinton and Joe Walsh ... it was an experience of a life time.  I have some great pieces of memorabilia in my museum of the event.  Watching Michelle sing as a mature woman was amazing but my mind went back to Califronia Dreamin' ... Michelle Phillips!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Tune in Tuesday: The Geator with the Heater ... Jerry Blavat

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

Good Day Ginchers,

Don't touch that dial, it's Tune In Tuesday ... the Geator with the Heater, the Big Boss with the Hot Sauce ... time for the Jerry Blavat Show!  Jerry Blavat, a Philadelphia Icon, a Nationally known DJ, a music promoter, a TV personality and a pioneer of radio personalities.  Jerry was born in Philadelphia and in 1953 debuted on the origianl Bandstand TV Show on WFIL with Bob Horn (pre Dick Clark).  He got his start in radio in 1960 and by 1963 had a syndicated radio show.  Jerry was another one of those great jocks that refused to use a playlist and once said ... "Playing music from the heart and not a research chart".  During the 1960's he was a partner in the Lost Nite & Crimson Record Labels  and was part owner of the Record Museum, which was a chain of record stores in the Philly area.  Jerry Blavat produced and hosted a weekly TV show in Philadelphia from 1965 thru 1967 called "The Disophonic Scene!".  The Geator also made several appearances in TV shows the likes of; "Mod Squad", The Monkees", "The Tonight Show" and "The Joey Bishop Show" and made some cameos in movies; "Desperately Seeking Susan", "Baby It's You" and "Cookie".  I remember seeing Jerry a few times when I worked in Center City Philadelphia, his live appearances were always a gas and very hip.  I first met Jerry Blavat through my good friend and radio Idol, Porky Chedwick and had the pleasure of spending some quality time with him and Porky at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when they were receiving their recognition award for the new exhibit "Dedicated to the One I Love".  Jerry Blavat was always ready for a photo op and had a serious smile but when he had a microphone in his had he was dangerous, explosive and like the pied piper with teens (from 13 to 70) following him.  He was and still is ... "The Geator with the Heater!"  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Mo' Music Monday: It's My Party ... Leslie Gore!

Posted on June 22, 2020 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello Ginchers,

Are you ready for some more music talk?  It's Mo' Music Monday  ... "It's My Party ... the lovely Ms. Leslie Gore!"  If you were  a teen in the early 60's you definately had to love Leslie Gore, she was cute, she was sassy and her voice was innocent and pure.  In 1963 Leslie Gore was only 17 and she recorded one of the great songs of that year ... "It's My Party" produced by the great Quincy Jones.  Imagine being a junior in high school and having the number one song in the country that sold over a million copies ... and a gold record to hang on your wall to boot.  Leslie didn't stop there with hit after hit, the likes of: "Judy's Turn To Cry", "She's A Fool", "You Don't Own Me", "That's The Way Boys ARe" and "Maybe I Know" to name a few.  You could catch her on TV performing on the teen shows and at night on the variety shows, hell she was even in two episodes of "Batman" and the last episode of the Donna Reed Show.   I had the honor and pleasure of working with Leslie a few times and even got to interview her while working with 3WS.  The first time I/we met Leslie was a crazy day.  We were scheduled to be on a Rock & Roll show that started in the Morning around 11:00 and went til almost midnight at the Boyce Park Music Festival.  We were to open the show and then back up several acts through out the day.  One act was Leslie Gore.  The problem was we had just come off of a three nighter and finished playing a club the night before in Conneaut Lake.  We had to be at Boyce Park at 6:00 AM to begin rehearsals that had to be finsihed by 9:30 so the concert could begin at 11.  We finished our club gig at 2:00 AM, went back to the hotel after backing up to take a shower and jump in the car to be at Boyce by 6.  Needless to say, no sleep and exhausted but full of adreneline.  When we reached Boyce we received the line up and the artists we would be backing ... Leslie Gore ... I couldn't wait to see her, but didn't realize that we were also backing her vocally.  Try singing "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn To Cry" with no sleep ... well as I said earlier, the adreneline kicked in and it was a gas!  Fast forward to last year, I was performing with Mary Ann Mangini and she said she would like to do "Judy's Turn To Cry" ... you can only imagine the flash backs and memories singing this again.  Leslie Gore was a true gem and beautiful lady ... it seems like only yesterday seeing her great smile and twinkling eyes.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Soul Sunday: From David to Dennis ... Temptations!

Posted on June 21, 2020 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Good Day Ginchers,

Time once again for some Soul Sunday ... from David to Dennis ... the road to Temptations!  As many of you know from listening to my Heavenly Soul Show on Sunday nights,, my all time favorite Soul Group is the Tempting Temptations!  I have followed this fantastic vocal group from their beginning, through personnel changes and conflict.  I can still remember the day David Ruffin left the group ... I feared it was the end of the Temps, but a gentleman by the name of Dennis Edwards took over for David and a new era of Temptations and hits began to surface.  Dennis Edwards began singing as a todler in his father's church and as a teen he joined the Gospel group "The Mighty Clouds of Joy".  In 1961 Dennis wanted to purse a career singing Soul and Jazz rather than Gospel and started his own group called Dennis Edwards and the Fireballs recording a record called "I Didn't Have To (But I Did)" with a flip side called "Johnnie on the Spot" for the International Soulville Label.  In 1966 he audtioned for the Motown label and was placed on retainer and later that year he was assigned to the Contours after Billy Gordon took sick.  While a member of the Contours, they opened for the Temptations several times and came to the attention of Eddie Kendricks and Otis Williams, who were considering replacing their lead singer at the time (David Ruffin).  in 1967 Dennis quit the Contours and was placed back on retainer but in 1968 was called up as the replacement for the great David Ruffin.  Dennis edwards recorded with the group adding a new batch of Temptations classics like; "Cloud Nine", " I Can't Get Next To YOu", "Ball of Confusion" and "Papa Was A Rolling Stone".  In 1984 Dennis was replaced by Ali-Ollie Woodson and he began his solo career.  Dennis made several appearances as a group called the three lead singers of the Temptations with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin and he had his own version of the Temptations that were billed as a tribute to the Temptations.  While visiting my friend Shaun Pierce in Detroit, we caught one of Dennis' tribute shows  and although it was very entertaining, nothing takes the place of the orifgianl Temptations.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


No School Saturday: "Woo Woo ... It's Arnie Ginsburg!"

Posted on June 20, 2020 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Happy Saturday Ginchers,

You have a transistor radio, a quarter in your pocket and your chores are finished ... it's time for No School Saturday!  For some reason Saturday's always make me go back to being a kid again, Cartoons in the morning with a bowl of cereal, hurry to do my chores and then freedom , out the door with my transistor radio.  In the 'Burgh it was tuned into the hip AM rock and Roll stations but always tuned into the Porky Chedwick Show.  If you grew up in the Boston area, I'm pretty sure it was the same except for one detail ... you were not listening to Porky but rather Arnie "Woo Woo Ginsburg!"  Woo Woo got his name from his sound effects he would use and his crazy antics while hosting his R&R radio shows.  Arnie developed a cult following just like Porky did here in the 'Burgh but he did something a bit different, he made fun of himself referring to himself as "Ole Leather Lungs" and "Old Aching Adenoids" but he was best known for his "WOO WOO" and his train sounds and called his show the "Night Train" using a train horn.  Arnie was a genius when it came to radio and radio business, refusing a salary ... instead he worked a deal where he would take 25% of the commercial revenues that he would generate through his shows.  This shrewd move made him the highest paid jock on the station.  One example of his smarts was his testimonials for his clients like his "Adventure Car Hop" drive-in fast food restaurant ad which he promoted a Ginsburger.  It is said that his ads brought as many as 2,000 teenagers to the restaurant on a typical night.  Throughout his career his credible voice reached a wide teen audience.Woo Woo is another one of those famous jocks from around the country that was part of the Cruisin Discs recordings that featured a specific year and had live voice overs of the featured jocks with commercials from that time period.  Arnie was featured on the Cruisin 1961 Record.  I proudly have my autographed copy displayed.  I had the pleasure of spending some time with Arnie when I took Porky to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where he along with 24 other National jocks were being honored.  Needless to say it was one of the best No School Saturdays I have ever experienced.  "Woo Woo ... it's Arnie Ginsburg!"  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Feature Friday: Gimmick with Talent 2 ... Gary Puckett

Posted on June 19, 2020 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Mornin' Ginchers,

Today is Feature Friday and let's talk about Gimmick with Talent 2 ... Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.  Yesterday's blog about Paul Revere and the Raiders took me right to Garry Puckett and the Union Gap, similar stories, similar time frames, great gimmick and a voice that stood out in the crowd of new POP/Rock artists.  Gary Puckett was the lead singer of the Union Gap and grew up in Yakima, Washington close to Union Gap and Twin Falls, Idaho.  His first band was called the Outcasts and recorded two records, neither was a hit.  The Outcasts eventually broke up and Gary forned a new band called Gary and the Remarkables.  In 1966 they began touring the Pacific Northwest under the management of Dick Badger.  In 1967 the band was renamed the Union Gap and they took on the uniforms, Union Army style (Civil War), as a visual gimmick.  The group recorded a demo for CBS record producer Jerry Fuller, who was impressed with the great tenor voice of Gary Puckett (enter the talent portion of the equation) and they were signed to Columbia Records, similar to Paul Revere and the Raiders. During the next two years Gary Puckett and the Union Gap were on fire with hits like, "Young Girl", "Lady Willpower", "Woman, Woman" and "Over You".  As the music began to change and the POP/Rock Gimmick had run it's coarse, the band broke up and Gary Puckett began a solo career.  The new solo gig eventually disappeared and Gary decided to leave the music scene and study acting and dance performing in theatrical productions around the Los Angeles area.  In the early 80's Gary Puckett went back to his music roots and began touring on the National Oldies Circuit.   I/we had the pleasure of working with Gary and was blown away by his powerful voice and stage presence.  He had a knack for relating to his audience.  Over the past few years we (Johnny Angel and the Halos) have been doing some concerts with the Original Shondells (without Tommy James) and was scheduled to do a show in Detroit this past May with the Shondells, Gary Puckett and us but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the concert was postponed for later on this year.  I look forward to working with Gary Puckett again, without the gimmick but with all his talent.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neigbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Throw Back Thursday: Gimmicks with Talent ... Paul Revere & Raiders!

Posted on June 18, 2020 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

G-Day Ginchers,

Throw Back Thursday is here once again Gimmicks are good if there is talent associated with it ... Paul Revere and the Raiders!  The British are coming!  The British are coming!  but in the mid 60's they should have cried ... The British are here!  The British are here!  With the invasion of the Bristish groups in the early sixties, i.e.; The Beatles, The Stones, Dave Clark 5 etc., etc., the American groups had to answer back ... enter Paul Revere and the Raiders ... made sense, fight fire with fire!  But then I saw them wearing redcoats and I thought, nope ... just a gimmick!  However, the Raiders were actually good with hits like "Kicks", "Hungry", "Just Like Me", "Good Thing" and their dance steps and skip choreography set a new look for POP/ROCk Music.  They began in 1958 as an instrumental band in Boise, Idaho called the Downbeats led by Paul Revere Dick on keyboards.  After a stint in the service Revere and the group picked back up moving to Portland, Oregan.  In 1962, at the suggestion of their manager, DJ and teen dance promoter, Roger Hart, they recorded a re-make of Richard Berry's "Louie, Louie" on the Sande Label which attracted the attention of Columbia Records.  It is still not confirmed who did the re-make first, the Kingsmen or Paul Revere and the Raiders since they were both from the same area and both at the same time .  In 1965 Paul Revere and the Raiders were on fire with the teen scene and appeared regularly on National TV shows like "Where The Action Is", "Happening '68" and "It's Happening" and even made an appearance in 1966 as themselves on the "Batman" sitcom series.  I remember how cool it was working with them for the first time ... Paul Revere had his Vox organ built into a front end of a Ford Mustang, they wore their three corner hats and legendary Red Coats, white tight pants with the black boots to the knee.  They rocked back and forth in unison to "Kicks" and then did their signature skip moves and the crowd went nuts.  The gimmick worked but even more so the band really did rock.  Watching them from the wings of the stage took me right back to the mid sixties watching them on "Where the Action Is"!  Nostalgia, gimmicks and talent ... what a great mixture ... Paul Revere and the Raiders!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!


Wa'sup Wednesday: Phlorescent Leech & Eddie

Posted on June 17, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Good Morning Ginchers,

Time for Wa'sup Wednesday ... do you remember Phlorescent Leech & Eddie?  Well, here is where it all started ... in 1965 a group called the "Crossfires" formed in Westchester, Los Angeles by High School friends Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, Al Nichol, Chuck Ortz, Don Murray and Jim Tucker.  They were signed to White Whale Records  Since the trend at the time was to name your group after birds, animals and insects like the Byrds and Beatles for example, they changed their name to the Tyrtles which eventually morphed into just the "Turtles".  Later that year they had a POP Rock hit with "It Ain't Me Babe", a cover of Bob Dylan's song.  They charted with several more POP Rock hits like "Happy Together", "You Baby" and "She'd Rather Be With Me".  By the end of 1969 the POP Rock songs ran it's coarse, the Turtles disbanded and Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (a.k.a Flo & Eddie) became members of Frank Zappa's new Mother's of Invention Group.  However, because of contract issues Flo and Eddie were credited as being Phlorescent Leech and Eddie ... sounds like a Zappa idea to me.  During this period Flo and Eddie were also doing some session work and sang back up on the T-Rex song "Bang A Gong".  In 1984 the Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie re-united and began touring as "The Happy Together Tour" with other groups from the 1960's the likes of Gary Puckett, Spanky & Our Gang, the Association and others.  Flo (Phlorescent Leech) and Eddie over the years sang back up for alot of artists of the time  ... here a some of them: Ray Mansarek "The Golden Scarab", Roger McGuinn ""Peace On You", David Cassidy "The Higher They Climb", Keith Moon "Two Sides of the Moon" and Stephen Stills "Illegal Stills".  I worked with Flo and Eddie a few times and they always bring a high energy, audience participation frenzy show.  They use slap stick comedy kind of like the Marx Brothers do Rock & Roll, they are very colorful and remeniscent of the free and easy 60's.  To my knowledge they are still touring today as part of the Happy Together Tour.  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!