http://www.spectropop.com ________________________________________________________________________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ S P E C T R O P O P ______________ ______________ ______________ ________________________________________________________________________ It's what's happening to Scene '67! ------------------------------------------------------------------------ There are 9 messages in this issue of Spectropop. Topics in this Digest Number 135: 1. Sonny From: John Frank 2. Re: Chris Montez From: Carol Kaye 3. Chiffons From: Paul Urbahns 4. Re: Spector box set From: Al Quaglieri 5. Jackie deShannon and the Murmaids From: John Frank 6. Father Sebastian From: LePageWeb 7. Bobby Vee From: Alan Zweig 8. FWIW: Second-Hand Review of "Hey La Hey La - The Girl Groups Are Back" From: John Frank 9. Dion From: GT ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Message: 1 Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 20:19:17 -0800 From: John Frank Subject: Sonny > Greetings, fellow members. > > I was wondering why there hasn't been more discussion on > Sonny Bono and his efforts. Too popular, perhaps? Or > maybe too obvious? I think of him as Spector's most > loyal disciple, as he adhered to Phil's formula even > more than Brian Wilson. Did anyone else purchase the > Sonny solo album from Rhino Handmade besides me? I > recently caught his, and Cher's, movie, "Good Times". > While it plays like a long Monkees episode, I greatly > enjoyed the hip clothing and their modern furnishings, > both in the 'real' world and within Sonny's dream > sequences. Besides, any movie that features a rock star > playing chess against a monkey is alright in my book. > jon cook Hi Jon, As a teenager, I absolutely LOVED Sonny & Cher, despite Sonny's singing voice. They were in love! They wore weird clothes! They got kicked out of restaurants because of it! Cool! Cher was so pretty in a sad, pouty sort of way. They had all this jingly-jangly sorta music I really liked. (Then, I didn't know about the Spector connection.) I still love that period of their music. (They morphed into so many different people over the years, was there ever a *real* Sonny? a *real* Cher? Oh, well...another subject for Cintra Wilson to attack...) As I found out more about their pre-"I Got You Babe" musical history, I respected them even more. But "Good Times", when I saw it at the theatre when it was first released was a major disappointment for me. That was long ago and far away, though, and seeing it again, with the new-ish video release, I liked it a whole lot better. It's just so absolutely goofy. Isn't there a scene where Cher, dressed in some outrageous outfit of spangled, lacy bell bottoms, complains that "Sonny, you look ridiculous!"? Was that bit of humor intentional, I wonder? And no, I didn't buy the Rhino re-release of Sonny's LP. Buying the album when it was released was a little too much for me. Not only because of his singing voice, but because of the incomprehensible lyrics. I mean, I was into psychedelics like everyone else, but this album, at the time sounded like Sonny was trying to jump on a bandwagon he should never have been on. The transition >from folk-rock to psychedelia shouldn't have been attempted, imo. John Frank --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 2 Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 09:36:21 -0800 From: Carol Kaye Subject: Re: Chris Montez > The story is, he was inspired musically by Ritchie > Valens, and was originally signed as a rock & roller in > the early '60s; Randy, yes, that's true.....Chris has always said that - totally inspired by Ritchie and spent some time with him too he said. And just a few weeks ago I get this call >from Chris, putting me on as always, playing tricks on the phone as to who he was calling me....he's a real kick kidding around, but he called me to talk about Ritchie which we did for awhile....he knew I loved Ritchie too and had played on his things, one of the reasons why Chris always used me too I think, but aside from that Chris always had the best on his dates, he knew music and musicians well. Anyway it was a very sentimental phone call, and tho' he's still very busy on the road tours and all, it's nice to keep in touch with him. It could be that John Pisano was on some of Chris's dates....it's hard for me to remember, but Russ Wapensky will have those studio musician credits in his book. We did "Let's Dance" at Gold Star as we did other dates at Gold Star w/Chris too.... I don't remember Pete Jolly on his dates tho' at all at least not the early ones ....I do remember Chris and I talking about that. I had always tho't it was H.B. Barnum on the organ on "Let's Dance", but no, it was Ray Johnson (who's playing keyboards btw on my multiple-guitar commercial 1965 album too -- hear the soundbyte of "Delicado" on my website, you'll hear Ray really funky on that) on "Let's Dance". Pete is a great jazz pianist, did a ton of dates, even some BB's dates but is not quite as funky as Ray on piano altho' he could play all styles well....I've known Pete since 1953 in Phoenix, just before he moved here to LA (I lived in Phoenix end of '52 through start of '54). Chris usually hired the hit rock studio people on his dates (and purposely picked out some standards too to record in his commercial ways), no matter what style the tunes were. You can't really trust the studio sheets for correct lists of names of personnel....the Musicians Union contracts were more accurate and Russ Wapensky was the only one allowed to do all the research he did in Local 47's contracts, which btw, are the only contracts still in existence....other Locals threw out their contracts years ago. His 10-year researched book will be out this year he says. BTW, we studio musicians (and I feel that it is correct to speak for them about this, it's so true) loved the kinds of records that A&M Records put out.....I always loved working there, and Herb Alpert had the great admiration of us all....Herb was always great to work for too...he understood the rank and file of mostly jazz musicians disguising themselves as "rock studio musicians", treated us with respect, paid us well, and in general I think he had fun on his dates as a producer, which he was excellent at, both at Gold Star in his early days and later at A&M. I tho't "Call Me" which we recorded at RCA is an all-time great record and I quote it quite a lot when I teach too, citing the cyclic nature of the chord movements as an easy example of why it's necessary to learn your chordal cycle. Carol Kaye http://www.carolkaye.com/ --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 3 Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 08:43:22 EST From: Paul Urbahns Subject: Chiffons Billy writes: > Now I'm wondering if the group that recorded "Doctor Of > Hearts" for Reprise is the Laurie or Big Deal group. I've always heard (and it sounds like) the Doctor Of Hearts group is the same as the Laurie group. It was announced on Doo Wop 51 (PBS TV Special recorded last May) by Jerry Butler that the Chiffons was making their last TV appearance. Paul Urbahns --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 4 Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 11:16:03 -0500 From: Al Quaglieri Subject: Re: Spector box set This may be a heretical thing to say here, but I was quite disappointed by the Wall of Sound box. Although it has a wonderful selection of material, it sounds shallow and thin, especially when compared to the original singles, most of which I've owned at one time or another. Al Q. NY --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 5 Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 19:10:10 -0800 From: John Frank Subject: Jackie deShannon and the Murmaids "Peter Lerner" wrote: > Hi! this my first email to spectropop so be nice to me. > You'll find I know a great deal about Jackie DeShannon > and not much about anything else. Welcome, Peter! I think you'll find we're a pretty nice bunch. > Anyway, I think will is talking about "How do you do it" > (the song that charted for Gerry and the Pacemakers) by > The Ladybugs on Chattahoochee 637. The Ladybugs are > Jackie DeShannon and the Murmaids. They are??!! This is exactly the kind of information I keep coming here for! Thanks! I got this on one of those "Girls in the Garage" compilations, which had really stupid uninformative, snide & leering liner notes. > These Ladybugs are probably contemporary with, but > definitely not the same as, the Ladybugs on Legrand 1033 > whose Fraternity USA / Who sent this love note is a > hilarious spoof on the English. The only other songs by any group called the Ladybugs were released on Del-Fi: "It's the Last Time" and "Sooner or Later." Is this the Legrand group? The liner notes mention the "How Do You Do It" release but admit that "whether it's the same group is unconfirmed." John --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 6 Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 11:33:18 +0900 From: LePageWeb Subject: Father Sebastian I heard a snippet of a track that piqued my interest, and I hope someone can share with the group more about the record/artist/writers. The song is Father Sebastian, the recording by the Ramblers. I discovered the record was released in 1964 as Almont 128 (b/w Barbara), and was penned by Keith Colley and Nancie Mantz. I think these writers were from L.A. - I guess that from a few song titles listed in BMI's data base - however, I am unfamiliar with them. I also discovered the song was covered by Lenny Welch and is available on CD although I coudn't find any sound files after a fairly thorough search. The recording is drenched in reverb with a round-like "ding-dong, ding-dong" (E-C-D-G) type riff behind the repetetive "father sebastian" lyric, which gives the disc an ethereal, spiraling effect. Any CD reissue on this record or on the Ramblers? Did the Ramblers release more material like this? I only heard a snippet of this one track and would love to hear more, if anyone can help. Thanks! Jamie --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 7 Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 04:18:47 -0000 From: Alan Zweig Subject: Bobby Vee Unlike you guys, I only know what I know from the records I occasionally pick up. I haven't read the books or perused the discographies. I picked up this record: Bobby Vee "Gates Grills and Railings". And it's a really good record. There's one song "The Beauty and the Sweet Talk" (written by Bob Stone) that has entered my pantheon of all time great pop songs. I do remember Mr. Velline making records past his prime period. But I didn't expect to like them. I probably wouldn't have given a record like this a chance back when it was released. But I'd have been wrong. I guess what I want to know is whether my assumptions are correct. Did Bobby Vee ever really get "respect" after his early rock n roll success? When he pulled a Bobby Darin and tried to become a bit of a hippie, did it work? I assume not. But on the basis of this record, that's too bad, I have another record. "Here I am" by Johnny Tillotson. It seems to be an example of a similar phenomenon. I'm partly basing my assumption on the song "Long Hair Committee" which seems to be written from the point of view of someone with an attitude about long hair. (It's still a good song in spite of that.) I like the Johnny Tillotson too. But it's not as good as the Bobby Vee. Anyway, how far off are my assumptions? And anyone have any other examples of this? Did Frankie Avalon ever make a great hippie record? AZ --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 8 Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 19:41:47 -0800 From: John Frank Subject: FWIW: Second-Hand Review of "Hey La Hey La - The Girl Groups Are Back" I don't have TV, so I probably won't see this special, but just last week, a friend from one of the newsgroups and a trading partner sent me this review of the show. (segueing from comments on the Chiffons' appearance on the PBS Doo Wop 51 special) Funny thing, just last night I saw The Chiffons again on "Hey La Hey La -- The Girl Groups Are Back," another PBS pledge week special that will probably be coming your way soon. I'm not sure what the time interval was between the taping of this and Doo-Wop 51, but Judy Craig looks entirely different in it. On DW51 she had dark hair done in a do not that different from her 60s look, and was very recognizable as the same old Judy from those days. This time out, she had extremely close-cropped hair died blonde -- -- not that these things should matter all that much, but it was very jarring and did not flatter her at all. Mary Wilson introduced the acts on the show, and mentioned "Judy, Pat and 'newcomer' Connie." I can recall that name being mentioned as a "new" Chiffon that joined the act quite a few years back -- possibly before the time when Judy Craig rejoined them after an absence of almost 25 years. Pat is an original; the fourth Chiffon was Sylvia, and I think I remember reading that she retired at some point. Anyway, sad to say, they didn't sound all that good. They were decent enough doing "One Fine Day" on DooWop 51, but their renditions of "Sweet Talkin' Guy" and "He's So Fine" on this later show were pretty mediocre. Of course, they feel the need to mess with the arrangements, robbing them of most of their charm, and Judy's voice seemed to be hurting a bit. Sorry to go on at length, but I really do LOVE The Chiffons. Definitely in my Top 2 Girl Group list (the Shangri-las being the other; I can't choose between them, because they're really very different). By the way, as for the rest of the Girl Group special, you can form your own judgment, but there wasn't a whole lot to shout about in my mind. Darlene Love was probably the best; the band stuck closely to the arrangements, and she had a lot of energy and sounded good (especially on "Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home," a big favorite of mine). Regrettably, The Angels were really hurting on "'Till." I have so much respect for all Peggy has done in her career, but she hit some pretty bum notes on this. Of course, I don't believe she sang on the original. Shirley Alston was OK, La La Brooks *looked* great and had tons of energy, but she messed too much with the songs too. Ronnie Spector, on the other hand, is kinda hard to look at these days (again, this shouldn't matter, but somehow it does), and she was just sort of OK too -- good in spots, not so good in others. That leaves Martha and the Vandellas (her two original Vandellas, so that's cool). As I'm sure you know, Martha has altered her singing style radically over the years to the point she sounds almost nothing like the records -- all that awful vibrato stuff. On this show it seemed as though she'd scaled that back just a little bit from other times I've caught her over the years, but it was still very much in evidence. Again, loads of energy, and arrangements that were pretty close. And it was good to hear all the original "ooo"'s from the Vandellas done as they should be. Like DooWop 51, the girl group show was put together by T.J. Lubinsky, grandson of the founder of Savoy Records. He again hosted the pledge breaks on the Pittsburgh PBS affiliate, but what was very cool is that he had Martha Reeves live in the studio with him co-hosting! She impressed me quite a lot with her knowledge and appreciation for the importance and history of her work. She shared some very specific memories about each song; it's genesis, the recording of it, etc. And this included a lot of their lesser hits as well as the big ones. She was really very dynamic, and I gained a lot of respect for her. By the way, T.J. is getting married in April, and he says that "Third Finger, Left Hand" will be played as his wedding song. Martha many times expressed appreciation for all the effort he put into making the girl group special happen; I wouldn't be surprised if she shows up at his wedding and sings it live for him. Now wouldn't that be something! ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Message: 9 Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 15:24:53 EST From: GT < Subject: Dion Even with all the recognition Dion has received since his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, I feel very strongly that he has never truly received his due for his contribution to rock&roll and his career, now in it's fifth decade. I am confident that he could be bigger than ever, if the scope of his career was developed and expanded in a way that would fully capture on the huge babyboomer audience. Before going any further, I want to preface my comments, by acknowledging that Dion may have, very well, already considered all of the following and just can't be bothered. I certainly don't know if this is the case. These are just my own thoughts and opinions I see the possibility of a one-man show (with backup band and singers, in which he would tell his life story in music and monolog) in legitimate theatres across the country, after being kicked off by a successful run in New York, which would have great to appeal to his huge audience in the Tri-State area. By initially capitalizing on Dion's hometown fan base, the show would capture the national and international media attention needed to propel this production into the long-running orbit it would deserve. It also would allow Dion to not only perform "The Hits" but also to integrate some of the vast repertoire of material he has written and recorded over the past thirty years. All of this, would also strengthen the pitch for the Dion motion picture script/treatment that has been making the rounds in Hollywood (I'd also look into a book deal for another, more serious Dion biography, more in depth than the Davin Seay book.) Dion deserves much more recognition as a contemporary artist, as well as one of the very cream of the second-generation rock pioneers. All of this could happen if Dion and his music were effectively showcased and marketed to the right audience. I look forward to your responses, Spectropoppers. Thank you. -Guy Thomas PS: By the way, Dion, if you're out there and you happen to read this, I would love to have the opportunity of discussing this with you. --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- End
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