Tag Archive: top 40 radio


[Parlophone Records, 1964]

Kramer cover

billy-j-kramer-and-the-dakotas-little-children-parlophone

Hey! lol Stop asking why and how these songs come to my jukebox mind until you understand how you put a dollar in the machine, it sucks it in and then you get to choose your songs.

Oh, nyet, just kidding.  That is not how my mind works! Sadly, I do not get paid for my recollections, it is just a function of time, my mind and having been a radio disc jockey across so many genres, especially overnight Top 40 or “CHR” for almost forty years, that tunes actually stuck and play randomly, from  a time when music was actually played by musicians and the (new at the time) synthesizers would just dress it up a bit.

Billy J. Kramer (love the hair do) and the Dakotas were part of the Beatles-spirited “British Invasion” of the 1960s. Born Billy Ashton, he was, as you can see from the Shindig video below, one of the most unassuming, neat, mild-mannered performers of those years.

This tune appeared to me last night, without any special reason and as often when I was in bed trying to fall asleep! It is my special type of harmless mental illness and insomnia, I guess.  Maybe I need to get laid more. “Little Children” has a kind of banjo sound, don’t you think?

I remember “Little Children” as a kind of obscure tune played on Rick Scklar’s greatest station in the nation at the time, “Music radio 77 WABC“, New York City, mostly leading up to the top of the hour station identification jingle package (that is what short tunes like this are good for from a disc jockey standpoint – timing). it is an interesting tune because he seems to sing to being annoyed by his girlfriend’s little sister busting them when they are making-out.  I am not one to judge…around

Do you remember “Shindig” on (ABC TV, I think) and “Hullabaloo” followed to compete on a rival network at that time?  There were only seven channels on television back then.  What a scene and so much music to be recalled and now, via YouTube, seen again.

I love how the whole band bows with thanks at the end of the last note. It is so classy!

 

 

Remember to check out my krates-full-o-jointz-musik-only blog, https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/ for the latest reviews, public comments and retrospectives as they happen.

“Whoa, Nellie!” Now here is a ‘TUNE WEDGIE’ that you can help me figure out:
Why does this tune play in my “DJ Mind” even while I am in non-REM sleep or while making my breakfast before going to weekday work? Maybe it is because I am a Baby Boomer and product of being raised in New York City with some of the greatest and legendary terrestrial radio stations of all times?…
Whatever…This song by the Everly Brothers is one of the first hits I ever heard when I discovered radio in the early 1960s.
They were country-influenced rock and roll performers, best known for their steel-string guitar playing harmony sound. Their hottest streak of chart success was between 1957 and 1961, but radio stations played them as “recurrents” well into the 1970s! Even today I can hear, in my musical mind, the likes of DJ Dan Ingram back-announcing “Cathy’s Clown” or any number of the Everly Brother hits with a clever double-entendre. Back then, if you had to classify their music, they called it “Middle-Of-The-Road” or “MOR“.
“Cathy’s Clown” was track #14 on the Everly Brothers album with a bullet!
I always liked their kind-of competitive interplay when they sang; unsure whether they really were “brothers” or even if they liked each other (standing so close to each-other like that) when I saw them on shows like “The Ed Sullivan Show” or “Shindig”!
Come on now, and sing along!

Don’t want your love any more
Don’t want your kisses, that’s for sure
I die each time I hear this sound
Here he comes, that’s Cathy’s clown

I’ve got to stand tall, you know a man can’t crawl
For when he knows you’re telling lies
And he lets them pass him by
He’s not a man at all

Don’t want your love any more
Don’t want your kisses, that’s for sure
I die each time I hear this sound
Here he comes, that’s Cathy’s clown

When you see me shed a tear
And you know that it’s sincere
Don’t you think it’s kind of sad, that you’re treating me so bad?
Or don’t you even care?

Don’t want your love any more
Don’t want your kisses , that’s for sure
I die each time I hear this sound
Here he comes, that’s Cathy’s clown
That’s Cathy’s clown, that’s Cathy’s clown

Well, that’s a wrap for this “Wedgie” and please pray with me now that this tune will not intrude on this night’s sleep. Comments welcome and I will reply when I awaken from my “Dream, Dream, Dreams. Bye-Bye, Love!”

       I don’t want to wait until one of the members of this group dies or something similar to do this one. 

 I have avoided most R&B music ever since having a traumatic termination experience at the last R&B radio outlet I diligently performed on, and tirelessly worked for getting exceptional “ratings”, when I was literally “fired” as the individual who hired me, (the GM) used a load gun in-hand while he dismissed me. Seemy book, “He’s In A Meeting…” for how it played-out thereafter. However, today I shot a promotional video, where I had creative control, and in one of “those” moments, it came to me that this particular O’Jays song was the perfect background theme song.  “As luck would have it”, I have now pulled my whole O’Jays catalog from me library to me desk, Mon.  Let us see what we have here….

Hailing from Canton, Ohio, I believe and named after one of my favorite and much-missed radio disc jockey inspirations, the late Eddie O’Jay, these cats have been part of the fabric of my life since their first big album dropped in 1972 as I was a freshman in college.  I first listened to Eddie O’Jay on Newark, New Jersey’s WNJR AM where he scatted such cool gibberish as “So cool, docaroo; eh-tu, me and you, sabee-doo!” LOL as part of his daily sign-off the air.  For a long time I didn’t connect the group with the radio personality – “Duh??”  Just like I didn’t know they were originally a quartet that included Bobby Isles – my parents tried to keep my from what they described as the “gut-bucket music” R&B table; what can I say except, that I broke free in college, rapido-style, in order to catch-up.

Last I paid serious attention, The O’Jays are/were Eddie Lavert, William Powell and Walter Williams.  They came to hit status due to the writing prowess of Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble in the early 1970s and to me, their signature is the almost rough and churchy- energetic vamping of lead singer, Mr. Lavert.  He is the male standard for “bringing a song home”!  He knows how to put the “beg” on the woman in-song,  is smooth and soft; or “nice and rough” as Tina Turner once described their “Rolling On The River”.  Moreover, do not get it twisted, all three of the O’Jays can carry the lead.

  My oldest O’Jays vinyl is “Backstabbers” which featured the classics ‘Love Train”, “Sunshine”, “Time To Get Down”, and of course the title track that became a euphemism for me and my college mates back then when it became known that another man was after “your’ girl – he then dubbed was a “Backstabber (what they do!)”.

Thanks to the promotion people I remember at CBS Records (the “black rock building”  like Jackie Thomas, Elaine Valentine and T.C.  Tompkins, I own about seventeen O’Jays vinyls.  Of course, growing up in music within the sound of Frankie Crocker’s “total Black Experience In Sound, ” WBLS FM radio station did not hurt my O’Jay education nor catalog.  I remember him “running” the hit “For The Love Of Money” over and over again! This was an era prior to “remixed versions” that are just part of the music machine fabric nowadays. My second oldest  is “The O”Jays in Philadelphia” which includes “‘One Night Affair”, which was my first 45rpm by them from the local record shop on Neptune Records.

Then there is the classic (another one!) “Ship Ahoy”, where in addition to “Money”, I always dug “Put Your Hands Together”, “People Keep Telling Me” and “Now That We Found Love” which the reggae group Third World made a smash out of too!  Next is “The O’Jays Live In London” which, when released, was kind of a first.  A reverse Beatles moment when an American “soul” group went across the “pond” and “wowed” the Brits! (I couldn’t find any video for that appearance, sadly)

Next are my vinyls: “Family Reunion”, featuring the love classic “You and Me” as well as the sometimes over-played, IMHO, title track, the cool “Living For The Weekend”,  McFadden and Whitehead-written “She’s Only A Woman”, and a little ditty called “I Love Music” which became a disco classic upon remixes by the likes of yours truly and other selectors of the day.  Positioning that track last on that album was genius!  Next I have the “Survival” album featuring “Give The People What They Want” and my personal fave, “How Time Flies”; next 1976’s “Message In The Music” featuring the ultimate dance floor-filler classic of it’s time, “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)” – I still have the 12″ versions separate from the rest, LOL. You just heard it here (and I dedicate it to my Ukrainian, Nina, by-the-way).

Following that platinum success the guys were ‘Travelin’ At The Speed Of Thought” (an interlude in their discography) until they discovered they were “So Full Of Love” which included their first real “crossover” sure shot into the mainstream of Pop music, “She Used Ta Be My Girl”.  I can name THAT tune in the first several guitar riff notes and it always reminds me of my first commercial radio riff on WFLB AM in 1978.  “Identify Yourself” took the stage on Philadelphia International/Mighty Three Music in 1979 where “Forever Mine’ was the star song.  In 1982 my collection features the non-descriptive “My Favorite Person” album, which was only saved by the title song and the  Womack connection on the first song, “I Just Want To Satisfy You” which played big in New York City radio because of Crocker and Sonny Taylor.  Play it again, “Sam”!  A rare dud for the group was the  vinyl, “When Will I See You Again”, and I knew that they should take a powder for a while after it.     Sure enough, the came back in 1984 and 1984 with “Love and More” and did  a little bit better on “Love Fever”, but still not up to their previous standards until the album that inspired this post, 1987’s “Let Me Touch You”.  This effort showcases all the styles, spectrums and signatures of  The O’Jays as exemplified by a Latin-funky “True Love Never Dies” on one  song and then a heartfelt “Still Missing” on the next.



So which one is my  favorite album or cut?  Well, there are way too many to mention!  I love “Darlin’ Baby” the same way I dig “Lovin’ You”  or “When The  World Is At Peace”.  I am sure , and at least HOPE that they are still making music and albums/CDs.  I am not in the “loop” anymore with their labels like it was easy “back in the day” to keep up, and I want to cry about it. 

 Not the “Old Jays” as I recently heard some young homies disrespectfully refer to them, but still the O’JOINTS!   Ya know, “True love” really “never dies”. We Love you Eddie Lavert! 

So what are your favorite O’Jays songs or concert moments?  Or had you ever even heard of them until you read this?



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