|Posted on July 26, 2020 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
Happy Sunday Ginchers,
Soul Sunday has arrivevd ... "She's A Rebel! ... Darlene Love!!!" Today is Darlene (Wright) Love's birthday, one of my all time favorite singers. Her voice was one that I heard from the early days listening to my transistor radio, a voice that is enbedded in my brain but, it wasn't until later in my life that I realized that all these girl group songs that I loved were actually one lady ... Darlene Love. Let's take a closer look, "He's a Rebel" by the Crystals, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" by Bobby Sox and the Blue Jeans, "He's Sure the Boy I Love" by the Crystals ... all Darlene Love. Her voice is heard on so many of the classic early 60's records as a part of the session singers role in the "Wall of Sound" for Phil Spector ... "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes, "Johnny Angel" by Shelley Fabres, "Da Doo Ron Ron" by the Crystals and background vocals for so many others like Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, Bill Medley (Righteous Brothers) and even Frank Sinatra on "That's Life". If you want to hear the real story of Darlene Love, check out the award winning Rockumentory "20 Feet From Stardom". I remember watching "Shindig" every week and those talented girls singing behind all of the top pop hits ... yep, it was the Blossoms and Darlene Love. This morning while having my coffee I put on the Boobtube and started watching the movie "Lethal Weapon" and who was in the movie ... yep again, Darlene Love playing the role of Murtaugh's wife, Trish. Darlene Love's song that she did for the Phil Spector Christmas Album, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is still one of my all time favs and was David Letterman's also closing out his Christmas Special every year. One of my all time favorite broadway plays was "Leader of the Pack" which featured songs written by the great Ellie Greenwich ... many of them for Darlene Love. Darlene Love is the female unsung hero of Rock/Pop music of the 1960's, one who should have recieved her due long before now. Tonight on my Johnny Angel's Heavenly Soul Show on jukinoldies.com at 7:00 PM (EST) I will be spotlighting the great Darlene Love and the Blossoms, a show I so look forward to doing. Rocks Lady that did it all ... She's truly a Rebel ... Darlene Love! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 25, 2020 at 9:05 AM||comments (1)|
Time to remenisce ... it's No School Saturday ... I'm a Vinyl Junkie! One of my true passions in life is collecting records, vintage records, vinyl ... you might say I'm a VINYL JUNKIE! I have been collecting vynal for more than fifty years and have more than I could play in the time I have left on this planet however, I still find myself buying records! It all started with my paper route and my transistor radio, which was cleverly attached to my wagon with gumbands and the antena fully extended. I would listen to Porky Chedwick, Clark Race, Chuck Brinkman and would write down certain songs that I just had to have. On Saturdays, I would take the street car dahntahn to National Record Mart and spend my hard earned money on Vinyl. One of my first jobs was working at National Record Mart on Liberty Avenue at the entrance of Market Square. The perks were great, I got to see the new releases before anyone else and could play the new records in the store before buying them. They even had a lay-away program for employees ... I could put the records I wanted behind the counter and pay for them on payday ... needless to say, I didn't make a lot of money. As I got older and had a drivers license and eventually my own car, I would venture out on Saturday's to other record vacilities which I became hooked ... there was The Attic in Millvale, Jerry's in Oakland, Stedeford's on the Northside, Record Rama, D&J, Rat's and so many more ... I could fullfill my habit with no problem. Although many people thought that I was foolish to invest my hard earned money in vinyl, I do not regret it. I later became so interested in Vinyl that I followed in my mentors footsteps (Porky Chedwick) and became a radio DJ. Thanks to my second mentor in vinyl 101 (Mad Mike Metro) I had a radio show on WZUM. When that came to an end I had a Sunday night Oldies show on WJAS which led to my spreading out into internet radio with the Carolina Breeze out of the Carolina's of coarse. Every Sunday night for years I played my favorite vinyl records on the "Breeze" until I had the pleasure to join a group of talented jocks on JUKIN OLDIES, which comes out of Raleigh, N. Carolina. Yes, every Sunday night at 7:00 PM (EST) I hit the airwaves playing my favorite VINYL Records, some of which I bought with my paper route money! If you want to experience what it was like back in the day, tune into my show Sunday Nights on jukinoldies.com, 7:00 until 10:00 PM ... you will see why I'm a VINYL JUNKIE! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD BLESS!
|Posted on July 24, 2020 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
Happy Friday Ginchers,
Today is Feature Friday ... and a look at Rock Evolution ... the Beach Boys! Do you remember seeing the Beach Boys in the early 60's, clean cut, uniform dress, and a new clean rock and roll sound. A lot of people think of the Carolinas when they hear the term Beach Music however on the west coast, Beach Music closley relates to Surf Music and a different early rock n' roll sound. Most groups from that California era had a similar rock feel, alot were instrumentals like the Ventures and Chantays, some were easy two part harmony like Jan & Dean and some were more folk oriented like the Mama's and the Papa's but the Beach Boys were pure Harmony! They actually began as a garage band called the Pendletones and were managed by the Wilson Brothers Father, Murry. In 1961 they cut a demo called "Surfin" and were signed to the Candix/ERA Record label. The label actually changed their name to the Beach Boys.In 1962 they signed with Capitol Records and released several trunes "Surfin' Safari" and "409". The group was marked as a Surf band but they soon grew out of that mold especially because of their almost Barbershop close knit harmonies. In 1964, most of the surf acts were replaced by the British Invasion and especially the Beatles. There was an immediate competion between the Beatles and the Beach Boys both being part of the Capitol Records Stable. Both had incredible writing capabilities, Lennon and McCartney on the Beatles side and Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys side. Both groups produced landmark albums and changed their music style with the times adding complicated instrumentation and sounds that were not common to most Rock and Roll bands. It is said by many that "Pet Sounds" is one of the greatest rock albums of all time. I was fortunate to meet and work with the Beach Boys a few times and spent some time with Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston when they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. It is sad how fame can destroy some of the greatest bands in the world ... it happened to both the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Most of the great bands contributed in the growth of Rock n' Roll ... Rock Evolution ... the Beach Boys! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 23, 2020 at 10:30 AM||comments (1)|
Time for some Throw Bak Thursday ... the Nuts and Bolts of Rock n' Roll ... da Crew! I have been working in rock n' roll as a musician for more than 55 years now and some times it is truly a test of strength and patience. There are times when you are singing and can't hear the monitors or the feedback is defening. The Sound engineers and crew can make you or break you. I learned this about twenty years into my careeer, I also learned that if you tick the engineer off that your day could be a long one since they have this special button on their board called "THE SUCK BUTTON!". I was fortunate that for over thirty years I had my own sound crew ... the Nuts and Bolts of Rock n' Roll and the sound engineer was my son ... "J". You never realize how much that means to you until that crucial piece is no longer with you ... let me get a little deeper here. When your sound engineer is your son and your best friend in life, someone who has your back no matter what ... the singing part is a breeze. It gets even better when the entire crew is your family or closest of friends ... here are some of the characters that made up our crew at different times. Let's start with our road manager ... Big Jim Pierce (retired Chicago Police and Sniper in Vietnam), Jose, our lighting engineer and my Brother-in-Law, Willie, our monitor engineer and my son-in-law, Let's not forget our security and muscle ... Big Bob (Cousin and biker), Davey Rector, bouncer and driver and there were others but that is pretty much the crew in a nutshell. We have performed in large concert arenas, outdoor concerts, in gymnasiums, granite landmark museums, clubs, cruise ships and the list goes on. Some places nearly imposible to create a good sound but, our crew always made it work. Their motto was "First to arrive, the last to leave ... the Crew!" well all the memories and great times had to come to an end when our crew began to retire and my son was the last to leave (taking on a new and exciting job) ... this happened right before the covid-19 hit us. Well we have not performed since then, so I can't tell you how much I miss having my son run our sound ... then again with the way things are looking with the destruction of live music, it may never be the same again! The good thing is ... I will always have the memories and had the best crew in the business ... the nuts and bolts of rock n' roll ... the Halos Crew! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 22, 2020 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
Wa'sup Wednesday has arrived once again ... I MISS SINGING! With all this quarantine and cancellations and destruction of what we once new as live music ... I find myself remeniscing more than I ever have. I miss the excitement, the comradery, the friendships, the crowds, the interaction of people, but even more I miss singing. I have been singing since I was five in the junior choir at church and now a complete stoppage since March ... this is the longest period in my life without singing .. it actually hurts. Let's look at why this is so hard on us old DooWoper's ... singing for pleasure started at an early age, let's begin on the corner. As a young man we would meet every chance we could to sing, in the school yard, standing on the corner or just walking around ... singing. This gathering of friends to sing and release ones inner emotions was a necessity. As I grew older I formed a group and sang even more vigoously but always sang , when ever we could (and yes still in the schoolyard and on the corner). Always looking for and echo. I remember when I first opened my restaurant at PNC Park (Atria's) we would meet every Thursday night to sing a cappella/DooWop ... members of the Halos, the Wee Jams, and any other singers from any other groups met religiously to join together in song. When I retired my restaurant at PNC Park, I still had the need to get together with old friends and chirp ... street corner style ... so, we began to gather at my store/museum (Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff and Music Museum). My dear friends Rookie Rick and Uncle Al, made some of the days extra special by setting up their DJ equipment and spinning the old reocrds. It was like ants to sugar, my singing friends would show up and we would break into song. Most of us would gather at the DJ tent and sing along to records but then the mics would come out and we would sing like there was no tomorrow. Jimmie Ross (Jaggerz), Bill Dell (Wee Jams), Stuch Bogdon (El Rays), Bubba and Jibbo (Halos), Chuckie Townsend, Wayne Zollinger and Walt Lendl (Bloomfield Boys) and the list goes on. Just like the old street corner days, friends and lovers of the art would gather around to listen and before you knew it ... a cappella magic. Now it is rare to even get together ... I truly miss it ... Dahn on the Corner ... Harmony! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 21, 2020 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
Let's Tune In Tuesday ... "Hello Clark Race, Hello ... now welcome to the show ... enter the song "String of Turmpets" ... Bah, bah, Bah ... Everyday 3:00 til 6:00! If you grew up in the 'Burgh you definately heard of Clark Race. He introduced us to the new Rock n' Roll of the day, the hip scene, the rockers, the British invasion the POP Rock classics. If you were an Oldies but goodies, R&B, DooWop lover of coarse you tuned into WAMO and the great Porky Chedwick but if you were a young rocker, looking for what was happening on the current Rock n' Roll scene, the man was Clark Race. He even had his own teen dance show on KDKA, Channel 2 every Saturday from 1963 thru 1967. He often brought in National Artists of the day like Chubby Checker, the Four Seasons, the Supremes, Four Tops and the Beach Boys and introduced them to us locals in the 'Burgh. Clark was a popular DJ who also helped some local talent get National exposure like Lou Christie's "Lightning Strikes". I remember one week end when I was performing with the Pixies Three (442 Glenwood Avenue) and I had them over for Dinner. We were sitting in my dinning room and Kaye asked if I ever ran into Clark Race? I told her that he was retired and had a Bed and Breakfast in New Wilmington called Gabriels. They said that he was so helpful to them and their career and remember being on his show in a boat in the middle of a little lake. Kaye said , "Oh how we would love to talk with him again". Sooooo, I gave Clark a call and he said, "OK kid, put them on". The girls talked with Clark for the longest time giggling like teens again and remeniscing about those great days on his show. At Clark Race's peak, he captured more than 50% of his potential audience a rating unheard of today. He had no formula, no top 40, he just played what he thought his listeners would like. Clark did a lot of public appearance shows at places like Kennywood Park, the Concert scene, hot air ballon broadcasts...things that were hip and cool. As I sit back and remember those days I can still hear that song with the trumpets and the announcement ... "Hello Clark Race, Hello ... boy I miss those days! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 20, 2020 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
Gooooood Mornin' Ginchers,
Time once again for Mo' Music Monday ... Singer, Actor, Drummer ... Teen Idol ... Bobby Ridarelli (Rydell). There are some movies that no matter how many times I've seen them, I will still watch ... Bye, Bye Birdie is one of them. I mean what young man didn't envy Bobby Rydell playing a role opposite ANN MARGARET ... we dreamed of that job! So how did Bobby Rydell get that opportunity? Let's go back ... born Robert Ridarelli in Philadelphia, PA in 1942. He won a talent show in 1950 on the TV Show "Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club and gained a spot on the cast. Bobby changed his name to Bobby Rydell and played drums and sang in bands around the Philly Area . In 1960 he hit the charts with "Kissin Time" and in 1960 did a tour of Australia with the Everly Brothers, Billy Crash Craddock, Marv Johnson, The Champs and the Crickets. His first Million seller came with his second recording "We Got Love" and "Wild One", but I was always partial to his version of "Volare". IN 1961 he headlined at the Copa Cabanna as the youngest performer to headline that room.Then in 1963 he was offered the role of Hugo Peabody in the movie "Bye, Bye Birdie" with Ann Margaret. His recording success through the 60's was impressive and one could see him on just about all the TV shows like playing opposite Red Skelton as Zeke Kadiddlehopper cousin of Red's Clem. He appeared on the Danny Thomas Show, The Jack Benny, Joey Bishop and George Burns shows he was even in an episode of "Combat!" Well you all know how much I love the Broadway play "Grease" ... even the High School in that play was named after Bobby Rydell ... "Rydell High!" I met Bobby years ago when he was doing a small performance to promote his large production show. I was invited through the radio station to go to the performance since I was appearing in a production of Grease at the time. The station obviously told Bobby that I was in the audience and he called me out to jitterbug with one of his 50's dressed female dancers before I joined him on stage. That was the closest I would ever get to ANN MARGARET, being on stage with the guy who danced with and kissed ANN MARGARET lol. Over the years he recorded loads of POP and Rock n' Roll Records and had a career that lasted for decades. Even today when I hear the phrase ... "TEEN IDOL" ... I think about Bobby Rydell. Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 19, 2020 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
Good Morning Ginchers,
Welcome to Soul Sunday, as I prepare for my weekly Soul Show on jukinoldies.com tonight at 7:00 PM (EST), my mind begins to wonder, memories of days gone by start to pop into my head. I remember doing a show dedicated to the late great Sam Cooke and his record label (SAR Records). He had some great artists in his stable of soulsters the likes of Bobby Womack, the Valentinos, Johnny Taylor and Mel Carter. Soooooo, let's concentrate on Mel Carter for a while ... born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1939. He studied voice and singing with the legendary vocalist Little Jimmy Scott when he was 16 years old. In 1963 he had his first hit record at the age of 24 with "When A Boy Falls In Love", co-written by Sam Cooke. His biggest hit that earned him a gold record was "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" in 1965. His popularity over the next few years had him in a new category of Pop or easy listening, which I understand but Mel was a Soulster at heart. Later in life Mel appeared as an actor and could be seen on television in several sitcoms like "Quincy, M.E.", "Sanford and Son", "Marcus Welby", "CHIP's" and "Magnum, P.I." and even made some appearances in the movies like "Friday Foster" in 1975, "Chesty Anderson, USN" in 1976, "American Raspberry" in 1977 and "Angel" in 1984. I best remember Mel for his beautiful voice. One year while he was on tour, he had a Cabaret Gig in Pittsburgh and I went to see the master at work. I had a nice conversation with him after the performance and asked how long he was in town. He told me he would be here for a few days. I invited him to come down to my restaurant (Atria's at PNC Park) to catch some live a cappella Doowop singing from Pittsburgh artists, which we did every Thursday Night. To my surprize the great Mel Carter showed Up. Talking with Mel in a relaxed atmosphere was truly an experience. Mel's voice is incredible and has a beautiful, soulful sound that, like a fine wine, only got better with age. From Soul to POP to acting ... Mr. Mel Carter! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 18, 2020 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
No School Saturday has arrived ... time to once again remenisce about a wonderful career. I have a binder full of pictures and paper memorabilia dedicated to the broadway play and movie, "Grease". I have appeared in 7 productions of the play when I started out playing the character Rump and as I got older I fell into the role of "Teen Angel". I tried to stay close to the Pittsburgh Musical Scene and acting in small roles as a musician but always felt compelled to do anything associated with the production of Grease. I remember one Saturday afternoon I recieved a call from a friend who does promotion for theater and they asked me if I heard that Brooke Shields was playing the role of Rizzo in the touring Broadway Cast of Grease, and it was scheduled to come to Pittsburgh. As a fan of the play I could not wait to go see this since Brooke was always cast as a beautiful, inocent lady and now plauing the tuff Rizzo. As the days came closer to Brooke's appearance, I recieved an invitation to come to the cast party! I have been to numerous cast parties but this one was different, I got to talk with the star of the touring cast about a play that I absolutely love. As we spoke about the role and briefly about her career, in the back of my mind a was still trying to place Brooke Shields as Rizzo. She was so sweet and proper and refined and glamorous ... Rizzo?, I kept asking myself, almost to the point of talking myself out of her playing that role. Well, I should have known that Brooke is a profesional and can transform into any role she is given. Think about her career from a child to her teen years to her adulthood playing in classic movies like: "Pretty Baby" in 1978, to "Blue Lagoon" in 1980, to "Endless Love" in 1981, to TV sitcoms like "Suddenly Susan" in 1996. Well, Brooke is truly the professional that her reputation as an actress has proclaimed. She plays a beautiful Rizzo, highlighting the word beautidul. So I leave you today with these words ... "Grease ... Rizzo ... Brooke Shields ... WOW! Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!
|Posted on July 17, 2020 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
Are you ready for Feature Friday? Well then, let's feature one of my favorite groups from the 70's ... the J.Geils Band. The group formed in 1968 in Worchester, Massachusetts under the direction of guitarist John "J" Geils. The band was an R&B infused blues rock band that had a string of hits starting in the 1970's thru the early 1980's. Their biggest hits came later with "Love Stinks" (which appeared in the Adam Sandler movie "The Wedding Singer", "Freeze Frame" and "Centerfold" however, I have always been partial to their early recordings, especially the "Morning After" Album. I have always been a Valentinos fan but I truly appreciated what the J. Geils Band did with their recording of "Lookin' For A Love". Let's go back to "The Morning After" Album ... there were some true throw back cudos to the pioneers of R&B/Blues. Their raw sound took me back to the days of young bands finding their nitch, experimenting with blues and soul with an injection of rock n' roll. There was a certain magic when the tight band played live and a trade off between Magic Dick on harmonica and Peter Wolf hitting his rockin' growls. I played my Morning After Album this morning before writing this blog and it immediately transformed my brain back to a time when jamming with ones band was a true pleasure. It was a release of energy... I closed my eyes and could see Magic Dick wailing on his harp and Peter Wolf bent over hitting some awsome notes and then the band hits you like you were caught in a hurricane. I then started to remenisce once again, I went back to the day I spent some time with Peter Wolf in Cleveland. He was rather calm and laid back and it took me by surprise ... but never let that fool you, when he goes on stage, he transforms into this powerhouse. After the band broke up, they performed re-union concerts now and then up until J. Geils passed in 2017. Peter Wolf went on as a solo act and recorded many records on his own. I guess I'm still a vynal junkie ... I love the feel and smell of a record but I get filled with a certain emotion when the needle hits that piece of wax rotating on the turntable ... especially "The Morning After ... J. Geils!" Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!