Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1976 Brass Construction – Movin’

1976 Brass Construction – Movin’

Randy Muller was born in Guyana and lived there until his family sent him to live with relatives in Brooklyn. Randy began writing songs when he was only seven years old. While still in Junior High School, he began creating music with several other future musicians. He eventually led a group of eight players who called themselves The Dynamic Souls. Randy sang and played piano and flute and did arrangements for the band.

The group won a battle of the bands contest and that attracted attention from producer Jeff Lane. Jeff produced the band’s first funk-style single in 1970 and released it on his Docc record label. Randy wrote Two Timin’ Lady, and they issued the single with the band’s new name: Brass Construction.

The band signed with United Artists in 1975, and Jeff produced their first album. The first single from the album was Movin’, which peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 in early 1976. Thanks to the disco/funk style of the single, it also topped the R&B chart and the US Dance chart. While the band had top ten hits on the other two charts, they never again reached the top forty on the Hot 100.

The band released a new album each year through 1980, after which slower sales forced them to move to the Liberty label.

Randy formed the funk/pop group Skyy in 1982. That band had a #1 R&B hit that reached #26 on the Hot 100, Call Me.

The Brass Construction moved to Capitol Records for two years in 1983. They scored a few more R&B and dance top forty singles, but the band stopped recording new material in 1985. Syncopate Records bought the rights to their material and released remixed versions of some of their recordings with minor success in 1988.

A reformed version of the band appeared live on November 28th, 2005, at the Bataclan Arena in Paris, France, and a touring band has been in place since then. The group maintains a website at https://www.brassconstruction.com/ and appears to be working on new recordings.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1975 Carol Douglas – Doctor’s Orders

1975 Carol Douglas – Doctor’s Orders

Carol Douglas grew up in Brooklyn in a musical family. Her mother was a jazz musician who was the inspiration for Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher. One of her cousins was Sam Cooke. She was a contestant on Name That Tune and won the program when she was only ten years old.

Carol recorded a single as Carol Cooke when she turned fifteen in 1965, but her record label dropped her when she became pregnant. She recorded a few jingles and also did some voiceover work for commercials before concentrating on an acting career.

The Chantels had several top twenty hits in 1958 and 1961. The original lead singer, Arlene Smith, reformed the group with new members in 1970, including Carol. While Carol was with the Chantels, the group toured on the oldies circuit and recorded the single Some Tears Fall Dry, but it failed to chart.

Yvonne Wheatman and Heather Wheatman performed as Sue and Sunny in the UK in the late sixties. They found work as session singers and were two of the members that joined Roger Greenaway in The Brotherhood Of Man in 1970. After that group splintered, Roger’s writing partner Roger Cook produced Sunny singing a song the two Rogers had written, Doctor’s Orders. Her single peaked at #7 in the UK in 1974.

Midland International Records in the US ran an ad in Showbiz Magazine seeking a singer to cover Sunny’s record. After all the auditions they ran, they selected Carol as the winner. Meco Monardo had recently produced Gloria Gaynor’s cover of the Jackson Five hit, Never Can Say Good-Bye, and they chose him to produce Carol’s single. The two records came into the US Hot 100 in October and November 1974.

Gloria’s single reached #7 on the Hot 100 in January 1975. Carol’s single peaked at #11 on the Hot 100, #9 on the R&B chart, and #2 on the US Dance chart (which was renamed the Disco Chart in 1978). Those two singles are often credited with launching the disco craze in the US.

Carol was unable to chart any higher than #81 with her next three singles. In 1976, she covered the French hit Ma jeunesse au fond de l’eau with English lyrics and the resulting single, Midnight Love Affair, topped the US Dance Chart. She had four hits on the dance chart, but never got near the Hot 100 again.

While she did not appear in the film Saturday Night Fever, her name was on the marquee of the disco where a lot of the dancing took place and you can hear a snippet of Midnight Love Affair can in the background during one scene of the film.

Carol continued recording through 1983 and appeared live in shows performing disco music through much of the nineties. She had one unusual public appearance in 2003: she won a suit against another disco diva (Sharon Brown) when they appeared on The People’s Court. Each of the singers got to sing a portion of one of their songs; Carol, naturally, sang part of Doctor’s Orders.

After his brush with the birth of disco, Meco produced the 1977 single Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band and a few other disco recreations of other movie themes.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1974 1974 Tom T. Hall – I Love 

1974 Tom T. Hall – I Love 

Tom T. Hall grew up in Kentucky. I’ve never heard of travelling theaters before, but apparently when he was a teenager, Tom formed a band called the Kentucky Travelers that played music at those shows. When he was in the military, he worked at the Armed Forces Radio Network and sometimes wrote (humorous) songs about military life.

In the late fifties and early sixties, Tom worked at a series of radio stations as an announcer while he worked at writing songs. One song he wrote was DJ For A Day, which Jimmy C. Newman recorded. Jimmy and Jimmy Key owned a music publishing company, and they hired Tom in 1964 as a songwriter and he moved to Nashville. He wrote multiple songs a day and eventually hit gold when he penned Harper Valley PTA. Jeannie C. Riley’s recording of the song hit the top of both the Country chart and the Pop Hot 100 in 1968 and sold over six million copies. After that, a lot of Country singers recorded Tom’s songs and Tom could finally record his songs himself.

Tom’s fourth solo single reached the Country top ten, and in 1969 he topped the Country chart for the first time with his single A Week In A Country Jail. He put out an endless series of singles, and in 1973  single I Love took him to the top of the Country chart for the fourth time. That single also peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 and reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Tom’s next single was That Song Is Driving Me Crazy, which peaked at #2 on the Country chart. Unfortunately, it stopped at #63 on the Hot 100 and he never entered the Hot 100 again. His career was hardly over since he had ten more top ten singles on the Country chart, including three more number one singles. While he kept recording new songs, his last top forty single on the Country chart came in 1985 and he all but abandoned writing Country music the next year and mostly stopped performing live in 1994.

He and his wife Dixie Hall found new success writing bluegrass music; they won the Bluegrass Song Writer of the Year award twelve times beginning in 2002.

A hard rock version of I Love was recorded with completely new lyrics and used in a Coors Light beer commercial in 2003.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1973 Johnny Nash – Stir It Up

1973 Johnny Nash – Stir It Up

John Lester Nash Jr. grew up in the Houston area and sang in church choirs. He then began singing on a local weekly television show when he was 13. When he turned 16, they hired him to sing on the Arthur Godfrey show as Johnny Nash. During that time, ABC-Paramount Records signed him and he began releasing singles in 1956. One of his first singles was his impressive performance on A Teenager Sings The Blues.

Johnny first reached the charts in 1957. His single A Very Special Love reached #23 on the Hot 100. The next year, he joined Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV on the single The Teen Commandments, which peaked at #29 on the Hot 100.

Johnny appeared in a few dramatic roles in film and television beginning in the late fifties, but his acting career never took off. He continued releasing records on various record labels, and managed a few R&B hits, but didn’t get close to the top forty again until the late sixties. He and his manager (Danny Sims) formed their own record label in 1964 and signed the Cowsills. The label released several singles by Johnny and the single All I Really Want To Be Is Me by the Cowsills in 1965, but poor sales pushed the label into bankruptcy in 1966.

Johnny moved to Kingston, Jamaica, where he created the Cayman Music Company. He planned to join the Rocksteady movement, a musical style that evolved from ska and later turned into reggae. Johnny met Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, and Rita Marley at a party. Bob introduced Johnny to the local music community.

Johnny, Danny, and producer Arthur Jenkins formed JAD Records and signed his new friends to contracts that paid them $50 a week. Johnny recorded his first successful Rocksteady single in 1967 when Hold Me Tight reached #5 on the US Hot 100 the next year.

The JAD Record Label went inactive in 1971.

Bob Marley’s Wailers backed Johnny when he began recording reggae. Johnny wrote the single that became his biggest hit. I Can See Clearly Now sold over a million copies and topped both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in 1972.

Johnny also wrote his follow-up single, but it failed to chart at all. Bob Marley wrote Stir It Up, which Johnny recorded in 1973. That single peaked at #12 on the Hot 100.

Johnny continued regularly recording albums through 1979 and then recorded one last album in London in 1986.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1962 Johnny Crawford – Your Nose Is Gonna Grow

1962 Johnny Crawford – Your Nose Is Gonna Grow

Johnny Crawford was one of the luckiest young actors of the fifties: they picked him to be one of the twenty-four Mouseketeers when the Mickey Mouse Club began filming in 1955. His tenure with the show only lasted for the first year because Disney cut expenses for the show by dismissing half the actors at the end of the first year.

A series of minor roles on both live and filmed television shows followed over the next two years. In 1958 he caught his second big break: they selected him to play one of the lead roles on the television show The Rifleman. Chuck Conners played the title role on the show and Johnny played his son. The chemistry between the two was impressive and resulted in an Emmy award nomination for Johnny in 1959. That same year his brother Robert Jr., and his father, Robert Sr., were also both nominated for Emmies for two other shows, probably a unique occurrence.

It’s not surprising that a teenaged actor in the early sixties would have released records. He recorded an album in 1961 and three singles were released that all failed to reach the top forty. In 1962 he recorded a second album and finally caught a hit with the top ten single Cindy’s Birthday.

The second single from the album was the novelty song Your Nose Is Gonna Grow. The record got as high as #14 on the Hot 100 before falling off the charts.

Two more top forty singles followed. In 1963, The Rifleman ended and his singing career faded as well. Some unsuccessful singles followed through 1968.

Johnny finished high school and ran off and joined a rodeo. He had a few more television appearances, but never again was in a recurring role.

Johnny followed in his musician father’s footsteps when he formed the Johnny Crawford Orchestra in 1992, and he led them for decades.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1972 Addrisi Brothers – We’ve Got To Get It On Again

1972 Addrisi Brothers – We’ve Got To Get It On Again

In the early fifties, Dick and Don Addrisi grew up in Massachusetts and performed as part of their family’s acrobatic act, The Flying Addrisis. They felt the call of music too much to continue in that role indefinitely and began singing together. Comedian Lenny Bruce heard them and became a fan, and he helped them find an agent. Their family moved to California so the brothers could audition for Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club, but they weren’t lucky enough to land roles with the show.

They did succeed in signing a recording contract with Bob Keane’s Del-Fi label and began recording singles in 1959. They wrote their third single, Cherrystone, and the song sounded like an Everly Brothers tune and did well enough to get them on television. The record peaked at #62, but they were unable to to follow up with another hit.

The duo recorded more unsuccessful singles for two other labels before signing with Valiant Records. They released a few more singles with Valiant, but they also failed to click. Another group that was signed to the label, The Association, was moved to Warner Brothers Records when the Valiant label closed down, and their second single on the new label was a song the brothers had written. Never My Love went to #2 on the Hot 100 in 1967, becoming the biggest hit the brothers would ever be associated with.

The Association’s hit notched over seven million performances by 1999, according to BMI’s list of the top 100 songs of the century. This was enough to place it ahead of the number three song (Yesterday by Lennon and McCartney) and just behind the number one song (You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by Barry Mann, Phil Spector, and Cynthia Weil).

The brothers also wrote and sang the theme song for the 1970 television show Nanny And The Professor.

In 1971, the 5th Dimension released a live version of Never My Love. The single reached #12 on the Hot 100. Perhaps that one-two punch gave the brothers the opportunity to sign with Columbia Records, for whom they began recording in 1971.

Their first single on the label was, once again, a song they had written themselves. We’ve Got To Get It On Again peaked at #25 in early 1972.

The pair continued writing and recording music but failed to find the chart again for nearly five years.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1971 Bobby Sherman – Cried Like A Baby

1971 Bobby Sherman – Cried Like A Baby

Bobby Sherman was born in 1943 and began recording music in the early sixties while barely only a teenager. His first single, I’ll Never Tell You, was released on Condor Records in 1962. Sal Mineo wrote some other songs that Bobby recorded, but nothing charted.

Sal invited Bobby to sing with his old band at a party in 1964. As a result of the party, Bobby signed with an agent who helped him get hired to appear on the television show Shindig. Bobby appeared on the show for a year, during which he sang covers of current popular hits and also did some live commercials. Thanks to his young age, good lucks, and singing ability, it didn’t take long for Bobby to turn into a teen idol.

Bobby’s recording career didn’t take off until he appeared on another television show in 1969, Here Come the Brides. He quickly had four top ten records in 1969 and 1970 that each sold a million copies, beginning with the single Little Woman, which reached #3 on the Hot 100. By 1970, the amount of fan mail that Bobby got outnumbered any other ABC star. His string of big  hits ended with the release of the #5 recordJulie Do You Love Me in 1970.

Marcie Blane had a single that reached #3 in 1962, I Want To Be Bobby’s Girl. The most blatant attempt to profit from Bobby’s teen idol status came when Patti Carnel issued a version of the 45 with a cover picture that showed a girl staring at a picture of Bobby on her wall. I can remember passing on playing the single on my radio show and mercifully, the new version was not a hit.

The television show only lasted two years, and Bobby’s recording career took a nosedive after it ended. Cried Like A Baby came out in early 1971, and the record peaked at only #16 on the Hot 100. It also failed to sell a million copies. His next single only reached #29, and that record was his last visit to the top forty.

In early 1971, the Partridge Family had a backdoor pilot for Bobby’s next television show, Getting Together. The show was about a pair of songwriters. The show began in the Fall of 1971 and it appears they partially based the show on the duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Nothing about the show was good enough to keep it on the air past a few months.

Bobby appeared in guest star roles on various television shows after that, and he soon quit his showbiz career. He was impressed enough by the real life drama involving EMT’s when he appeared on an episode of Emergency in 1974 that he volunteered with the Los Angeles Police Department and became an Emergency Medical Technician. That became Bobby’s second career, and he served as a trainer on CPR and first aid. He eventually earned the rank of Captain.

From 1998 to 2001, Bobby returned to touring with oldies shows. To make room for the shows, he became a reserve member of the Police Department beginning in 1999. He continued training new recruits until he retired completely from the department in 2010.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1970 Tony Burrows Sings In Four Groups

1970 Tony Burrows Sings In Four Groups

There have been any number of singers who have recorded hits with multiple groups, but few can approach the success Tony Burrows achieved in a single year.

Tony began singing with various skiffle groups in the fifties and began singing professionally in 1960. The first professional group he joined was the Kestrels. The group members also included Roger Greenaway, and in 1963 Roger Cook joined the group as well. The pair of Rogers eventually formed a songwriting team responsible for songs like You’ve Got Your Troubles by the Fortunes, Long Cool Woman in a Black Press by the Hollies, and several songs Tony recorded with various groups.

Tony released a solo album using the name Tony Bond, and when little came from that, he joined the Ivy League in the mid-sixties. The League fell apart and in some respects reformed as The Flower Pot Men. Roger and Roger wrote and produced most of the new group’s records. Tony’s lead vocals were on the group’s release of Lets Go To San Francisco in 1967 that owed a clear debt to Brian Wilson and his Pet Sounds project. The single reached #4 on the UK charts, but failed to chart in the US. In 1969, the group changed their name to White Plains.

In early 1970, White Plains released the single My Baby Loves Lovin’, on which Tony sang lead vocals. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100 in 1970. Tony left the group and began doing studio vocals for various other groups.

Edison Lighthouse was formed in late 1969 with Tony singing lead vocals. They recorded Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes). The single sat atop the UK chart for five weeks and peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 in the US in 1970.

Tony and Roger Greenaway formed their own duo named The Pipkins. Their biggest hit came from a song written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, a novelty record called Gimme Dat Ding. A CD by the Pipkins included a pamphlet that claimed the song was the first rap record. A video on YouTube includes an interview with the group in 1970 where they discuss working in multiple groups at the same time. The single reached #6 in the UK and #9 in the US Hot 100 in 1970. They released an album and several other singles that had little impact.

Record producer/composer Tony Hiller formed The Brotherhood Of Man in 1969, intending it to have a rotating membership of studio musicians. Besides his frequent co-writer,  John Goodison, the group also initially included Tony and Roger Greenaway. They recorded United We Stand, and the single topped the UK chart for the first five weeks of 1970. It also reached #13 in the US Hot 100. Tony left the group after that single, and the group struggled to find another hit. They finally succeeded in 1976 when the song Save Your Kisses for Me won the Eurovision contest.

The most amazing result of all those recordings came in the UK, where four of the singles were all in the Top Ten the same week. The four singles all charted in the US, as did a solo record by Tony: Melanie Makes Me Smile also reached the Hot 100 in 1970, but it peaked at only #87.

In 1974, Tony sang lead on the First Class single, Beach Baby, which reached #4 on the Hot 100. While a list isn’t readily available, Tony claims to have sung lead or backup vocals on over a hundred different top twenty singles in the UK in the seventies.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1970 Bubble Puppy – Hot Smoke & Sasafrass

1970 Bubble Puppy – Hot Smoke & Sasafrass 

Texas was the home to a small group of early bands playing psychedelic music in the mid-sixties, beginning with the 13th Floor Elevators. That group began recording music in 1966 but ran into a lot of trouble thanks to their drug usage.

Rod Prince and Roy Cox had been members of The Bad Seeds, and they wanted to form a group that would focus on becoming a “top gun rock band.” They recruited three more musicians and formed the Willowdale Handcar.

A few line-up changes resulted in dual lead guitar players Rod and Todd Potter, bass guitarist Roy, and drummer David “Fuzzy” Fore. The label International Artists formed in Houston in 1965, and they signed the group in 1967. The band relocated to Austin and changed their name to Bubble Puppy. The final name of the group came from the novel Brave New World, which mentioned a children’s game called “Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.” Their first live public performance was as one of the warm-up acts for the Who at a concert in San Antonio.

After an endless series of practice sessions, the group recorded and released Hot Smoke & Sasafrass in 1969 and the single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100. The group came up with the title when they heard the word “sasafrass” in a line of dialog on The Beverly Hillbillies television show, and the group mistakenly misspelled the word (which is really annoying my spellchecker!)

The group released their first album later that year, but sales were poor. The group toured as an opening act for a series of bigger bands, including Steppenwolf. Bass player Nick St. Nicholas was the bandleader of Steppenwolf, and he became Bubble Puppy’s manager. The group ended their association with their record label, moved to Los Angeles. They also changed their name to Demian, the name of a Hermann Hesse novel, in part to prevent even more people confusing their music with the Super K Productions’ bubblegum music.

None of the changes helped the group in the long run, and by 1971, the group had disbanded. The band re-united in 1984 and even recorded a second album in 1987, but they drifted apart again when sales still failed to materialize.

Three of the members joined with two new members and reformed the group for a special appearance in 2011, and they survived a few more lineup changes and continue to perform at shows. The group maintains their homepage at https://bubblepuppy.com/home.


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