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Spectropop - Digest Number 135


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                  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'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

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

--------------------[ 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.

--------------------[ 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

> 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." 


--------------------[ 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

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.



--------------------[ 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?


--------------------[ 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

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

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 ]--------------------

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