Just sitting around on a cold snowy New Years Eve reflecting on how in a past few years it can all happen. I mean sitting around and pushing buttons on a machine and suddenly everyone in the entire universe can know your every thought and deed. ..but it’s still weird. I’m 45 years old as of this writing and can name off just about every rock n roll record hit of the 1950s..what label it was on. what was son the flip side. .and even in some instances, the label number.
It seems odd but a pleasant surprise that after posting my blog and pod cast. One of my internet buddies Jeff Mazdra has signed on the follow this blog. He calls me THE CHIEF because I’m from Cleveland and it’s a tribute to The Cleveland Indians--Chief Wahoo. Anyway Jeff gave me an idea --to try to give my side of the story and to acknowledge those past and present who have been a major influence upon my chosen field of music.
I’ve always been into 50s rock n roll. My Mom had her 45s, my cousins had their 45s, but it was not only rock n roll but also country, gospel, bluegrass, blues, and folk music. I had bought 45s weekly, paying as much as 1.00 for an oldoe 45 when I couldn’t find anything I wanted in the pop section, which was increasingly moving towards Heavy Metal and Disco. Thee was one country station that mixed in rock n roll oldies every so often. And another that actually played oldies---then one day in early 1976 I was fiddling around my little radio on a Saturday morning. I decided to check out what was at the bottom of the FM dial. I discovred this little radio station out of Kent Ohio, WKSU [Yes the same Kent that had the terrible shootings in 1970]. This DJ by the name of Tony Keras was playing these oldies but they were different. He wa salso playing the roots of rock n roll. I started hearing artists like Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Wynonie Harris, Amos Milburn and groups such as The Ravens, The Robins, The Cardinals and The Swallows. I found out that Rock n roll derived from Rhythm and Blues and that records by black musicians were often “covered” by white singers such as Patti Page, Georgia Gibbs and Pat Boone. I started seeking out R & B records at flea markets and garage sales…and then the next year it happened…….. I heard a record on the show that sounded al lot like Elvis, but it wasn’t --it was by a guy named Johnny Carroll…I had discovered Rockabilly--of course I wa sfamiliar with the big names and with SUN records but now I wa sgoing into secondhand and small collector stores and finding Lps of ROCKABILLY.. and on import labels such as CHARLY, ACE, and BEAR FAMILY.
However, I began seeking out other DJ’s and radio programs on college radio. One was a gentlemen who is no longer with us, B.R. Anthony Ditullio. He was a huge doo wop fan and introduced me to many fine groups--including white Italian groups [Capris, Elegants, Vito and the Salutations etc..] Two other DJ friends of mine are no longer with us. My buddy Krazy Greg Milewski tragically ended his own life at the tender age of 27 in 1994. He was younger than me but a great student of doo wop and rockabilly. This year my good friend Chris Quinn died after a long battle with weight and heart issues. He DJ’ed at WMJI Magic 105 FM in Cleveland and provided me with many CD’s and promos and let me assist him on the air.
In the past few years there are those still living that have provided me with lots of information and records/trades. All my internet friends--I wish you a safe happy 2009!!!!!!!!
Nat "King" Cole had a short-lived TV series in 1957. Unfortunately, because of certain attitudes [that need not be mentioned--we all know..], his series did not last--however, he obviously had an ear for talent for he booked a rare appearance of Joe Bennett and The Sparkletones doing both their big hit BBBBBBB-Black Slacks plus their follow-up hit, OOOO What A Rocket!!
WOAH--just check this out--Larry Collins was only 13 years old at the time. For those of you who don't know -Larry and his sister Lorrie [hot babe!!] mad eup the duo The Collins Kids, who were one of the early rockabilly duos.
The quality is kinda fuzzy--but it sure shows off these superpickers!!
This is from the original Chipmunk series called THE ALVIN SHOW. The song itself was a hit back in 1958 on the Liberty label [the label that Eddie Cochran was on]. It was considered to be one of the worst records ever made when it was released and was given the lowest possible score of 35 on American Bandstand's RATE-A-RECORD...who woulda thought that within two weeks it would zoom right up to the top of the charts.
This was a very popular commercial in the late 60s--early 70s--if you lived in Northern Ohio--there was a Lawson's convenient store on every corner--Literally. For anyone under the age of 30, the gas stations only sold gas--if you wanted a good convenient store, you went to Lawson's and by golly, you did get fresh orange juice.
This jingle was so popular that it is still being sung by folks who remember.
I've aquired a few cool 78s over the years--some of which you can hear on this episode called "Spinout @ 78 RPM". Since I can't do links--you'll have to copy the URL below and paste it and you will get it OK.
Here's a classic Popeye cartoon for ya from 1936- I-Ski-Love-Ski You-Ski. It's one of the all-time classic Popeye cartoons in black and white with the ship's door opening titles..and with the original PARAMOUNT logo intact. it's not exactly Christmas but it puts you in the mood.