The Spectropop Group Archives presented by Friends of Spectropop

[Prev by Date] [Next by Date] [Index] [Search]

Spectropop - Digest Number 121

______________                                            ______________
______________                                            ______________
______________        S  P  E  C  T  R  O  P  O  P        ______________
______________                                            ______________
           The Result of the Most Modern Recording Techniques
                       in the Phonograph Industry

There are 7 messages in this issue of Spectropop.

Topics in this Digest Number 121:

      1. The real McCoy
           From: LePageWeb 
      2. Big Tribute in NY to Brian Wilson
           From: Carol Kaye 
      3. Re I Stand Accused
           From: Richard Havers 
      4. Stage Door & I Stand Accused.
           From: Dean Scapolo 
      5. Re: The Origins of "Stage Door"
           From: Alec Palao 
      6. Stage Door
           From: "Ian Chapman" 
      7. House of Usher Productions: Preserving a Legacy 
           From: "Spectropop Admin" 


Message: 1
   Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 14:44:09 +0900
   From: LePageWeb 
Subject: The real McCoy

David Gordon wrote:

> It's a shame that Van seems to be best remembered for 
> his least interesting records. 

Van was a great music man and one far too often
overlooked in discussion of Brill Building era
writers/producers. I mean, the guy was doing A&R for
Florence Greenberg at Scepter in the early 60s! Those
guys in the roundtable discussion for R&R's "Giant
Steps: A frank discussion of race and culture" talked
about the need for acknowledgement of black execs'
accomplishments. Instead of whining about it and making
irresponsible comments about Motown, why not actually
acknowledge black execs' accomplishments? Van McCoy
transcended all that crap about "dividing the music
between white and black" having worked with people
like Chad & Jeremy, Vikki Carr and Lesley Gore. Van
McCoy is a prime example of a black music man whose
accomplishments should be acknowledged!

> I haven't checked yet but wasn't he only in his late 30's
> when he died? 

Van passed away as a result of heart failure in July
1979 at the age of 35.

> If I can find the time it would be interesting to do a
> chronology of his writing / production work.

That would be excellent! I do hope at some point you can
find the time for this.

> Thanks to John Clemente for revealing that Kenni Woods
> and Kendra Spotswood are one and the same.  

Yes, thanks to John and to David for the info on Van.
He wrote one of my very favorite songs of all time -
"Before and After" as recorded both by the Fleetwoods
and by Chad & Jeremy. He even wrote "When You're Young
and in Love" for crying out loud! 

I would love to learn more about his career and his
music if anyone can share anything further. 


 --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 2
   Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2001 23:31:13 -0800
   From: Carol Kaye 
Subject: Big Tribute in NY to Brian Wilson

This is just in to me from David Leaf...I was asked to go,
but sorry I can't get away for this wonderful tribute to
Brian Wilson.....with so many stars including Elton John,
Paul Simon and Matthew Sweet to name a few in NYC on Mar.
29th (think it's the 29th)....see the Billboard story at:

Carol Kaye


Message: 3
   Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2001 21:36:50 +0000
   From: Richard Havers 
Subject: Re I Stand Accused

Just a little extra.

I Stand Accused by Tony Colton is available on a Castle
CD that came out recently called, 'The Roots of Rock'. It
is a fascinating collection from the Pye vaults.

Someone wrote that the Elvis Costello cover of the song
on Get Happy was the Jerry Butler version. I am certain
that it is the Colton/Smith version.

Best Wishes


 --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 4
   Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 09:29:51 +1300
   From: Dean Scapolo 
Subject: Stage Door & I Stand Accused.

Hi all.

Stage Door was also recorded by a New Zealand group,
although it didn't make our charts. The group was called
The Ahmed Dahman Group and this was their only
significant single. However, it is a beautiful recording.

I Stand Accused was also recorded by the Glories,
however, I don't know if it is the same song, since I
haven't heard any of them, even though I have the
Glories 45.

Dean in New Zealand.

 --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 5
   Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2001 16:45:04 -0800
   From: Alec Palao 
Subject: Re: The Origins of "Stage Door"

>Seems to me that I read somewhere that Tony Jackson
>learned the song from a Carole King publishing demo.  I
>would say that his version IS the original.  His version
>certainly has a Carole King piano feel to it!
>Can anyone else report if this song has been recorded by
>anyone else?

It was covered by the Ahmed Dahman Group in New Zealand
in 1967, with a warbly vocalist a la Robin Gibb. Its on
the excellent Kiwi comp "How Was The Air Up There?"
Incidentally, the NZ cover of the Ballroom's "Spinning
Spinning Spinning" by the Simple Image was a huge hit
there circa 1969. I'd go as far to say its a better
version, largely 'cos of a mega-dose of phasing in the

Archivally yours


 --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 6
   Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 00:30:43 -0000
   From: "Ian Chapman" 
Subject: Stage Door

>Geoff Mullins wrote:
>Can someone enlighten me on a Goffin/King track called
> "Stage Door".

>Mike C. replied:
>Seems to me that I read somewhere that Tony Jackson
> learned the song from a Carole King publishing demo.  I
> would say that his version IS the original.  His version
> certainly has a Carole King piano feel to it!
> Can anyone else report if this song has been recorded by
> anyone else?

Hi Mike and hello again Geoff,

There were two US versions of "Stage Door".  The first,
which I always assumed to be the original, was by Peter
James on Reprise 0383.  It came out in '65, same year
as Tony Jackson's.  I don't have it, but I do have
another '65 Reprise single by Peter, the Jackie de
Shannon song "You Won't Forget Me".  That boasts a Jack
Nitzsche arrangement, with production credited to Jimmy
Bowen.  I'm wondering if his version of "Stage Door"
also has the Nitzsche magic touch - can anyone confirm?
Vocally, Peter comes over as something of a PJ Proby
soundalike.  The flip of  his "Stage Door" is listed as
"People Say" - would this be the Greenwich Barry song?

In '66, the Grads, a group with a sound similar to the
Vogues, released their version of "Stage Door" on A&M
797.  This one's a Tommy LiPuma production, arranged by
Nick De Caro, and anyone into mellow soft pop and
smooth group vocals should go for this in a big way.


 --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 7
   Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 07:49:50 -0000
   From: "Spectropop Admin" 
Subject: House of Usher Productions: Preserving a Legacy 


House of Usher Productions: Preserving a Legacy 
Ron Weekes

I never met Gary Usher, but his music was a great
influence on my teenage years in the 1960s. Spending
Saturday afternoons mowing the lawn then washing and
waxing the car while listening to the radio play Gary
Usher and Brian Wilson penned songs like "409" and "In
My Room" was part of growing up in California's San
Joaquin Valley. Like most of my friends who dug the
California sound of surf and hot rod music, we wondered
what happened to Gary Usher during the Seventies. In the
early Eighties we briefly heard from Usher unfortunately
for the last time. Along with a small group of musicians
recording as Celestium, they released the album
"Sanctuary." Additionally, Usher produced the motion
picture soundtrack for Frankie and Annette's reunion,
"Back to The Beach." Usher disappeared so much from the
visible music scene that I don't even recall reading
about his untimely death in May of 1990. 

To be honest, I had completely forgotten about Gary
Usher until several years ago when I read Stephen J.
McParland's book detailing Usher's studio work with
Brian Wilson during late 1986 and early 1987. Although
these important sessions have not been legitimately
released, they paved the way for Wilson's first solo
album in 1988. Reading McParland's book made me mad! Mad
about how such a great musician and producer like Gary
Usher was treated by others throughout these sessions.
But Usher, the consummate professional, endured it as
long as he could due to his love for his longtime friend,
Brian Wilson. 

I reconnected so much with Usher's music that I grew up
on, I wanted to know more about the man who co-wrote so
many memorable songs with Brian Wilson, created studio
groups like The Hondells and Sagittarius, and produced
The Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel. The problem was I
couldn't find anything, not even on the information
laden Internet. So I undertook the task to create a
small page on the Internet devoted to the musical legacy
of Gary Usher. But preserving the legacy of Gary Usher
on the Internet just isn't enough.

One of the more common questions I receive is "when will
we see more of Gary Usher's material released?" To this
point, Sundazed Records of Coxsackie, New York has been
the most prominent domestic reissue label making Usher's
catalog available to the masses. For a while, One Way
Records had the complete Superstocks and Weird-Ohs
catalogs available on compact disc.

Last year, the Usher family utilized the services of
Gary Usher biographer Stephen J. McParland to catalog
all the musical archives owned by the Usher estate. The
first fruits of McParland's archiving were seen last
year when the Usher estate licensed to Varese Saraband's
Varese Vintage label, two Usher produced instrumentals.
Recorded by The Tri-Five (Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson,
Gary Usher, Richie Burns, and Randy Thomas), "Come and
Get It" and "Like Chop" were part of Varese's reissue of
The Beach Boys' famous Hite Morgan sessions.

The impetus behind the licensing of The Tri-Five
recordings is Usher's name sake and son, Gary Usher, Jr.
A musician and producer in his own right, Usher is the
first to recognize that even though his father's music is
timeless, the master tape recordings from sessions as
long as forty years ago don't have much more time before
they begin to deteriorate.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss with Gary
Usher, Jr. just what his tentative plans are to preserve
his father's musical legacy for future generations to
enjoy. Working under the same production company name
that his father created years ago, House of Usher
Productions, Usher recently licensed to the Japanese
market, three Gary Usher produced albums: Curt
Boettcher's "California: Passionfruit," Sagittarius'
second album "Blue Marble," and for the first time ever
released in any form, the Gary Usher produced "Symphonic
Tribute to Brian Wilson." This last album recently hit
the number one Oldies spot in Japan.

Besides licensing Gary Usher recordings in Japan and
possibly the European markets, House of Usher has not
forgotten the American fans. Usher states that he
currently has offers from U.S. labels to issue the three
previously mentioned albums that are currently only
available on the Dreamsville label in Japan. But the
issuing of his father's musical material will not stop

Besides negotiating with domestic labels to release
these first three Usher produced albums, the biggest
project that Gary Usher, Jr. has on his list is to get
the so-called "Wilson Project" sessions from 1986
finally released. Usher describes these demos from
sessions between his father and Brian Wilson as
basically "homework sessions" to get Wilson back into
the studio for the first time in almost ten years.
Although some of these sessions have surfaced over the
years, none have been legitimately licensed from House
of Usher Productions, the owner of the recordings. Even
though considered strictly high quality demos, Gary
Usher was such a studio perfectionist that the demos
stand on their own as highly listenable music

House of Usher would also like to release the entire
Together Records catalog plus other Gary Usher produced
albums. Some of the albums being considered for release
for the first time ever or on compact disc include: Gary
Usher and Dick Campbell's unreleased "Shadow of A Doubt"
album, unreleased Dick Dale material, and The Byrds
"Preflyte" album. Usher states that he is also
considering releasing demos written and created by his
father while signed as a writer for both Four Star and
Beechwood Music. The House of Usher archives also
include material that Usher created as soundtracks for
American International Picture's beach party films. In
his studio, Gary Usher, Jr. is also creating test discs
for possible compilations of his father's timeless music
>from the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties. Other long
range projects might include a book about learning from
and working with his father and a possible video
documentary depicting his father's career. 

There is much available in the House of Usher archives.
Most of which we have heard, but some has never seen the
light of day. The Usher family is even considering
creating their own label if deals cannot be established
with domestic labels. But time is of the essence. Master
tapes cannot last forever. Rest assured, with Gary Usher,
Jr. at the helm, he will find the proper sanctuary for
his father's music and legacy to live on for future
generations to enjoy. 

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Click here to go to The
Spectropop Group

Spectropop text contents & copy; copyright Spectropop unless stated otherwise. All rights in and to the contents of these documents, including each element embodied therein, is subject to copyright protection under international copyright law. Any use, reuse, reproduction and/or adaptation without written permission of the owners is a violation of copyright law and is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.