Saturday

BITS AND PIECES - NEWS ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS By Michael McDowell



Sometimes (When I'm All Alone): The tragic and unexpected passing of DANNY AND THE JUNIORS front man and co-founder Joseph "Joe Terry" Terranova on 15 April will most like spell the end of the vocal harmony supergroup's unprecedented 62 year run. Pictured above is the most recent incarnation of the group. Left to right: Frank Maffei, Joe Terranova and Bob Maffei. Blitz Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell recalls the group's phenomenal run below. (Click on above image to enlarge).

EAST SIDE STORY:
BIG8RADIO.COM EXPANDS MASSIVE
PLAYLIST WITH AREA RARITIES

Sometimes the hits keep on comin' just a little bit too much.

It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. That has certainly been the case with a large segment of radio that has been dedicated to classic rock within the current century. Despite the availability of literally thousands of worthwhile tracks that beg consistent exposure, many such radio stations nonetheless have opted to put a number of overly exposed tracks into heavy rotation, thereby further alienating the more discerning factions among their original audience and in the process creating the impression among the novice that the available selection has limitations.

Upon launching big8radio.com some months ago after his retirement from Windsor, Ontario's CKWW-AM, CEO Charlie O'Brien took decisive steps to avoid the cookie cutter approach. Enlisting the services of his one time CKLW-AM colleague Ric Allen as ad hoc Music Director and recruiting Blitz Magazine for technical support, O'Brien expanded his internet venture's playlist to a staggering 6,000 selections, from 1953's monster classic cover of Rudy Vallee's P.S. I Love You by the Hilltoppers to Rojay Gotee's ambitious 1965 Liberty label release, Thunder 'n Lightnin', as well as the many singles that helped define the legacy of CKLW in its 1970s and 1980s heyday. 

If that wasn't enough, O'Brien contacted Blitz Magazine recently to advise that he had procured clean condition copies of roughly two dozen rare first generation garage rock singles by artists from Southeastern Michigan, with the intention of incorporating them into big8radio.com's regular rotation. Blitz Magazine in turn provided statistical back up with label information, original release dates, peak chart positions, session data and the like.

Among the tracks slated for inclusion on big8radio.com's massive playlist are such musicologist and record collector friendly gems as the Torquays' definitive cover of the Five Dutones' Shake A Tail Feather, the Mushrooms' Hideout label 45 Burned, the Quintette Plus' spirited interpretation of the often covered The Work Song (which Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass also recorded for A&M in 1966), the Four Of Us' no nonsense version of the Byrds' I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better, the District Six's take on Bob Seger And The Last Heard's signature single, East Side Story, the hopelessly rare Hey Love and There's Gonna Be A Change by first generation garage rock legends the Unrelated Segments, the Fugitives' hard hitting version of Friday At The Hideout (which was also recorded by the Underdogs for the B-side of their Hideout label debut in 1965 and covered years later by the Romantics), and the Four Gents' Jack Chekaway-produced HBR Records 1966 signature single, Soul Sister. Rounding out the additions to the playlist are essential efforts by the Lykes Of Us, T.R. And The Yardsmen, the Gruve, the Unknown, the Boys, the Henchmen and the Couriers. 

A healthy variety of groundbreaking labels are covered amongst this group, including Hideout, S.V.R., Coconut Groove and Liberty. A number of the S.V.R. tracks were reissued in the LP and CD configurations several decades ago with pristine stereo mixes by label founder Jack Chekaway.

"I got the one with the remixes, mostly from (the) S.V.R. disc", said O'Brien.

"These are some severely terrific quality versions!"

Indeed. Terrific enough to assure that the real hits will keep on' comin' for some time to come.

WE'RE FOREVER AND
EVER AND EVER YOURS:
REMEMBERING DANNY AND THE
JUNIORS' JOE TERRANOVA

For any artist to produce a recording that is ultimately regarded as an anthem is remarkable, as well as a testimony to their considerable acumen and foresight as musicians. 

Eddie And The Hot Rods did so in the 1970s with their Island label 45, Do Anything You Wanna Do. Prior to that, the venerable Rolling Stones created what is arguably the anthem of music's greatest decade ever in 1965 with their London label single, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. The Who came close to duplicating that feat later that year with their signature track, My Generation.

Even more remarkable is a given artist whose legacy includes two anthems. To date, only two artists have reached that elusive landmark. The first was Bill Haley And The Comets, who in 1954 cut for Decca two of rock and roll's definitive masterpieces, Rock Around The Clock and Shake, Rattle And Roll.

The other group to do so was a supremely gifted vocal quartet from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who raised the bar for vocal harmony groups to unprecedented heights. Danny And The Juniors made their debut in the closing weeks of 1957 with their sublime exercise in vocal harmony euphoria, At The Hop. Initially titled Do The Bop and composed by group co-founder David Ernest "Dave" White and his long time colleague, John Madara, At The Hop was issued on the Singular label to great acclaim. Eventually reissued on ABC Paramount, At The Hop earned a gold record the following year and permanently put the ambitious quartet on the map.

Encouraged by the acclaim, the group returned to the studios for ABC Paramount in early 1958 to cut a duly inspired follow up that pretty much defines the genre at large. Again composed by Dave White, Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay remains one of the genre's definitive masterpieces.

With two powerhouse anthems to their credit, Danny And The Juniors' momentum continued unabated well into the next decade, with a wealth of world class releases for ABC Paramount, Swan and Guyden, including Crazy Cave, We Got Soul and Oo La La Limbo.

As the 1960s progressed, White opted to form a production and songwriting partnership with John Madara. Their union ultimately proved to be one of the most prolific and inspirational in all of music. Their collaborations bore fruit exponentially as the producers of the Pixies Three's 1964 monster classic debut album, Party With The Pixies Three for Mercury, as well as composers of Lesley Gore's Mercury label single, You Don't Own Me, the great Johnny Caswell's raver, At The Shore and many of the tracks on Len Barry's 1965 Decca album, 1-2-3. Madra and White also became two-thirds of the pioneering first generation garage rock trio, the Spokesmen (along with Ray Gilmore), whose recordings for Decca and Cameo/Parkway's affiliate Winchester label are hallmarks of the genre. 

Meanwhile, Danny And The Juniors persevered in various incarnations, invariably with front man Danny Rapp and group co-founders Frank Maffei and Joseph "Joe Terry" Terranova. The group turned their attention primarily towards live performance in the 1970s. Sadly, original lead vocalist Rapp passed away in Parker, Arizona on 05 April 1983 at age forty-one.

By that time, Joe Terry had assumed front man responsibilities, with Frank Maffei adapting for the time being the stage name Danny Frank to accommodate the group. Among the many filling the third spot in the line up was Bill Carlucci, the one time front man for the legendary Billy And The Essentials.

It was at that point that Blitz Magazine first encountered Danny And The Juniors in a live setting, with Maffei and Terranova featured in a lengthy interview in the late 1970s. The group at that point professed to be on a mission statement to rescue music from the protracted aesthetic slump that it fell into in the late 1960s, forever endearing themselves to this publication in the process.

Danny And The Juniors persevered well into the twenty-first century, with Frank Maffei's brother, Bob filling the coveted third spot in the group. The beloved trio divided their time between hosting a satellite radio program, touring extensively and recording a landmark album, We're Forever And Ever And Ever Yours, which remains one of the highlights of the present decade to date. The group also made an extraordinary leap forward in recent months by filming a documentary that chronicled their adventures in Europe. 

Slightly over a year ago, Dave White took the encouraging step of reconnecting with the group at one of their many public appearances, even posing with the group in matching outfits. Sadly, any possibilities of a reunion were dashed with White's cancer diagnosis, which claimed his life on 16 March in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Despite the setback, Danny And The Juniors persevered, with a number of live dates in the works for the remainder of calendar year 2019. Tragically, it appears that the group's phenomenal 62 year run has instead come to an end with Joe Terranova's passing on the morning of 15 April. He was 78.


STEADY AS A ROCK:
REMEMBERING THE WALKER
BROTHERS' SCOTT ENGEL


It has been said of Miles Davis and David Bowie that they reinvented themselves so often during their lengthy and prolific careers, that each successive step along the way almost sounds like the work of an entirely different artist.

Most assuredly that distinction also applies to the vast catalog of composer, vocalist and Hamilton, Ohio native Noel Scott Engel. The ambitious multi-instrumentalist began his career as a vocalist in 1957, with the Broadway-flavored When Is A Boy A Man? single for Unique Records. Before decade's end, Engel had enjoy brief associations with the Globe, Orbit and HiFi labels, with such memorable and decidedly rocking singes as Blue Bell, Kathleen and Charlie Bop to his credit.

Also adept as a bass player, Engel relocated to Southern California and developed an interest in session work. He continued to record prolifically as a solo artist in the early part of the 1960s, generating a fair amount of interest in his singles for Liberty and Martay. 

But by 1965, Engel found himself as part of a trio whose compelling output would pretty much define his career. The Walker Brothers joined forces with Mercury's affiliate Smash label and temporarily set up group headquarters in the UK. And with Scott Engel acquiescing to the group's name by becoming Scott Walker, the Walker Brothers in 1965 turned out the definitive rendition of the often covered standard Make It Easy On Yourself

The Walker Brothers soared to even greater heights in the early months of 1966 with the single that arguably remains their finest moment, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore. Coupled with the high drama ballad, After The Lights Go Out, that Smash label 45 is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's definitive masterpieces.

Formidable prowess as a high drama balladeer notwithstanding, Scott Walker opted to expand his horizons even further. Several solo albums followed, as did a disco-themed Walker Brothers reunion album in the 1970s. 

However, Walker eventually found his true calling as a push-the-envelope, free form/avant garde composer. The resultant Tilt for Fontana in 1995, 1999's Pola X for Barclay and his various releases for 4AD Records in the early twenty-first century (The Drift, And Who Shall Go To The Ball?, Bish Bosch, Soused and The Childhood Of A Leader) were all hailed in some circles for their dark perspective on the human experience.

Prolific and ambitious to the end, Walker passed away on 22 March. He is survived by his partner Beverly, his daughter Lee and his granddaughter Emmi-Lee. He was 76.

DRUMS! DRUMS! A GO GO:
REMEMBERING THE WRECKING
CREW'S HAL BLAINE


When it comes to the cream of the crop in terms of drummers, certain names come to mind: Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz, Elvin Jones, Ginger Baker, Benny Benjamin, Charlie Watts, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Al Jackson, Dennis Wilson, Charlie Callas, Mitch Mitchell, John Duckworth and Mike Smith, to name but a few. 


In the upper echelons alongside of them is most assuredly Holyoke, Massachusetts native Harold Simon "Hal Blaine" Belsky. In a career that has spanned more than a half century, Blaine (a vaunted member of the beloved Wrecking Crew) has graced countless recordings by Jan And Dean, Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Fifth Dimension, Simon And Garfunkel, the Crystals, John Denver, Sam Cooke, the Captain And Tennille, Johnny Rivers, Barry McGuire, the Partridge Family, Dean Martin, Petula Clark, the Supremes, the Mamas And Papas, Shelley Fabares, Tommy Roe, Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass and many, many, many others. 

A long time resident of Southern California, Blaine set the standard for drum tutorials with the release of his Have Fun!!! Play Drums!!! album in 1968. He celebrated his ninetieth birthday in February of this year, with such esteemed colleagues as Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts in attendance. True to form, Blaine held court during the festivities by entertaining those in attendance with his formidable percussion skills. 

Blaine is survived by his daughter, Michelle, as well as several grandchildren.



WEST COAST CHILD OF SUNSHINE:
REMEMBERING BLUE CHEER
DRUMMER PAUL WHALEY


It was once said of them that their unique sound was so all permeating that they could have performed from a boat that was several miles out to sea and still be heard on shore.

Such was the capsule career summary that was often associated with the San Francisco-based trio, Blue Cheer. But while volume certainly played a part in their mission statement, theirs was an approach that in turn brought a unique and diverse perspective to their every work.

To wit, witness their innovative early 1968 take on Eddie Cochran's often covered Summertime Blues. Release on Philips in the United States, Summertime Blues was acclaimed for not only its intense delivery, but for its replacement of Cochran's "Kingfish" responses with guitar feedback and such duly offhand dismissals as, "Dig this, boy". It was an approach that served them well throughout their subsequent Vincebus Eruptum, Outsideinside and New! Improved! albums for the label.

Sadly, Blue Cheer drummer Paul Bobby Whaley (the song of country music veteran Paul Whaley Senior) passed away on the morning of 28 January 2019. He was 73.


A WONDERFUL TIME UP THERE:
SHIRLEY BOONE (WIFE OF PAT
BOONE, DAUGHTER OF RED FOLEY)
SUCCUMBS TO LINGERING ILLNESS

Sorry to report the passing of Shirley Boone, wife of veteran musician, actor, evangelist and long time friend of Blitz Magazine, Pat Boone and the daughter of country music visionary Clyde Julian "Red" Foley.



Having eloped in November 1953 while Pat was a student at Columbia University, the couple became parents to daughters Cherry, Lindy, Debby and Laurie by decade's end. Meanwhile, they established impressive careers both individually and collectively.



Pat of course went on to star in such acclaimed motion pictures as Bernardine, April Love, Journey To The Center Of The Earth and a 1962 remake of State Fair. He also turned out a series of acclaimed singles and albums for Dot, Tetragrammaton and other labels, including Love Letters In The Sand, Bernardine, Don't Forbid Me, Johnny Will, Speedy Gonzales, Beach Girl, Wish You Were Here Buddy and July You're A Woman


In turn, Shirley established a most impressive track record as an author, evangelist and television hostess, as well as through her work with the charitable foundation, Mercy Corps. The long established organization focuses on worldwide hunger relief.

Pat and Shirley Boone occasionally collaborated in the recording studio. The highlight of their collective efforts came in 1958 with the release of their monster classic Gospel rocking single for Dot, A Wonderful Time Up There.


Sadly, Shirley Boone contracted vasculitis in 2017, which led to her passing from congestive heart failure at her Beverly Hills, California home on the morning of 11 January. Shirley Boone was surrounded at her bedside by her husband and four daughters, all of whom sang hymns during her final moments. Shirley Boone was 84.


I'M ON MY WAY:
FAREWELL TO MARMALADE'S
DEAN FORD AND
THE CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE'S
DARYL DRAGON

Sadly, 2019 seems to be getting off to a discouraging start, musically speaking.

First came the New Years Day passing of Thomas McAleese, better known as Dean Ford. As co-founder and front man of Dean Ford and the Gaylords, he helped guide the band from strength to strength, finally changing their name to Marmalade.



As Marmalade, Ford and the band cut a number of impressive singles. Kicking off with It's All Leading Up To Saturday Night for CBS in 1966, Marmalade followed that promising debut with such world class gems as Baby Make It Soon, I See The Rain, Otherwise It's Been A Perfect Day, Man In A Shop, Rainbow, and their 1972 monster classic, Radancer, which was released on London Records in the United States. Ford was 72. Survivors include a daughter and grandson.



Meanwhile, virtuoso keyboardsman Daryl Frank Dragon rose to prominence alongside future Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band co-founder and front man, Charles Wright in 1962 as a member of Charles Wright And The Wright Sounds. Dragon and his brother, Dennis (who later went on to form the Surf Punks) cut an acclaimed single, Calamity on the Bet label in 1968. Daryl Dragon then persevered as a session musician, touring for a season in the early 1970s with the Beach Boys. He also contributed to the band's 1971 Surf's Up album, which is widely regarded as one of their definitive masterpieces.



But it was his numerous collaborations with wife Cathryn Antoinette "Toni" Tennille as the Captain and Tennille that forever cemented Dragon's legacy. They made their debut on the Butterscotch Castle label with the ambitious and endearing The Way I Want To Touch You, which was picked up by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss' Hollywood-based A&M label in 1974.


However, it was their relentlessly optimistic 1975 cover of a Neil Sedaka composition that ultimately defined them to many. Love Will Keep Us Together was a massive success on all counts, finishing among Blitz Magazine's picks for Best Singles of the 1970s, and inspiring an album for A&M of the same name, which was released in both the English and Spanish languages. Their Love Will Keep Us Together album also included one of the earliest versions of the Beach Boys' Bruce Johnston's composition, I Write The Songs, which was concurrently recorded with considerable acclaim by both the late David Cassidy and Barry Manilow. 

In addition to hosting their own television series, the Captain And Tennille turned out one classic release after another into the early years of the 1980s, including Broddy Bounce, Lonely Night (Angel Face), Can't Stop Dancin', You Never Done It Like That, Do It To Me One More Time and Keepin' Our Love Warm, making the transition from A&M to the late Neil Bogart's Casablanca label in 1980.

Considerable accolades and acclaim notwithstanding, it was one 1978 A&M single that caught the attention of Blitz Magazine and ultimately finished among the top five in the Blitz Awards For The 1970s. Composed by the prolific Mark Safian and previously recorded by the late Andrew Gold, I'm On My Way was a sublime slice of relentless optimism that combined the euphoria of Dragon's work with the Beach Boys and some of the best vocal harmonies ever committed to record. 

Blitz Magazine's 1978 review of I'm On My Way began with the words, "The Captain And Tennille? You'd better believe it!" Indeed, with that one track alone, they had guaranteed their place in the upper echelons of all of music. Sadly, Dragon had suffered from renal problems in recent years, exacerbated by his divorce from Tennille in 2014. Nonetheless, she did relocate to Arizona to assist in his caregiving, which came to a tragic end with his passing from renal failure on 02 January. Dragon was 76.



RAISE YOUR VOICE:
VOCAL LEGEND MEL CARTER
DEBUTS NEW SINGLE
ON A TIMELY TOPIC

With all of the ongoing dialogue in the public sector about the topic of firearms, it was inevitable that the most astute of musicians would weigh in on the subject. Among the first to do so was the legendary Debbie Gibson, via her contributions to I Am Peaceman, a 2017 collaboration with Sir Ivan. 

Most recently, the veteran vocal virtuoso Mel Carter has offered a tangible musical look at the issue with his new single, Raise The World - Sing Louder Than The Gun. A marked departure in terms of lyrical content from his most familiar and cherished sides for Arwin, Mercury, Derby, Bell, Liberty, Amos, Imperial and other labels, Raise The World - Sing Louder Than The Gun nonetheless finds Carter sublimely stating his case in a manner that is both uplifting and edifying to social commentator, lyricist and musicologist alike. 

"It is in full release mode", said Carter.

"I am sending out the MP3s now. I'm in the process of promoting it and adding the title to my account at CD Baby".

Those who opt to acquire the single will be blessed with a remarkable bonus track in the form of Carter's unique and inspiring acapella take on America's national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. And while Raise The World - Sing Louder Than The Gun may not yet have generated the immediate recognition of that 1814 Francis Scott Key composition, Carter remains optimistic for its long term impact.

"I hope this anthem catches on and makes a difference", he said. 

As the voice of reason with regards to an often polarizing issue, there is much to suggest that Carter may well realize his vision.