Meanwhile, it was great to get this from James Fairs of The Cryan' Shames after our special spotlight pieces on the band ran earlier this week ... as well as a few comments from the fans as well ...
(Once again, I NEVER read your site*, and have no idea who is writing these emails.)
*except for all the times I read your site
I am plagued by almost insanely detailed memories of those days ... like it was yesterday that I got my Gretsch Country Gentleman, and was appalled by how poorly it played. This sent me on a lifetime study of neck shapes, fret sizes, scalloped necks, strings, pickups, bridges, and electronics. This stuff is second nature to guitarists today, but we didn't have Internet pages dedicated to these studies back then.
When you met a guitarist from another band, it went one of two ways:
1) he wouldn't talk to you (?) or
2) "Hey Man!!!! What do YOU do???" ... because you had to do something, since the guitars were almost unplayable out of the box.
I clearly recall meeting Hendrix and hanging with him ... such a nice guy, yet he thoroughly understood who he was. A rare combination. There's a story to be told there.
As I mentioned, we were off the map of the CBS 'mindset' (a euphemism for an unknowable state of mind) ...
But the gigs changed, in the sense that the crowd knew that at one moment, there would be a pause ... a moment before the first lines of "It Could Be We're In Love" would begin ... and each person might have latched onto a different phrase or thought, and internalized it in their own way ...
- Someone leaving to head off to college or the Viet Nam war might focus on "and I don't want to go ... you know I love her so ...
- Some one who hadn't found romance might focus on the metaphysics of 'just the way things are, can be reflected in a star'
I looked out, saw a number of familiar faces (the hills were packed with them) ... and they were so alive! I had that moment ... the one where it was plain and clear that we were all one. I thought "look how far we've all come in these two years ..." Then I counted off 'Hey Joe', and we all had a great time!
The success of "It Could Be We're In Love" helped Sugar and Spice, Sunshine Psalm, and other songs to have their own moment ... their own space ... and, for a period of time, there was a balance in the band.
I used this opportunity to ask a few other questions about future plans ... and reflections on "back in the day" ...
kk (Kent Kotal) / Forgotten Hits: Are The Shames going to stick together and do some shows outside the realm of Cornerstones?
James Fairs: I have a tune called "A Teen Poem To God" that could be a great new single (we'd need one). We should do 'Hey Joe' ... lots of ideas ...
kk: There are SO many great songs that could be played again. (Even when I was at the Bloomington gig I heard fans in the audience clamoring for things like "Cobblestone Road" and "Dennis Dupree From Danville".)
JF: We only get four songs.
kk: For a Cornerstones show, yes ... but if this launches the opportunity to do more Cryan' Shames shows, I have to believe the fans will be there. If you grew up in Chicago in 1967, you owned a copy of "A Scratch In The Sky". I've always been curious, too, about the album version of "It Could Be We're In Love" ... the weird interlude that breaks up the song and then rolls into laughter. I know that was "of the times" (thinking of what James Guercio did to "Susan" by The Bucks) but it always felt to me (if I can be so bold to say so ... 'cause I will always call it as I see it) that you intentionally stuck that in there to break the mood ... almost like you felt guilty for having created something so beautiful ... am I even close here? The single edit is literally perfection from end to end ... it deserved to be one of the biggest songs of The Summer Of Love (and was, at least here in Chicago).
JF: Thank you. A friend of Nancy Priddy, one of the NY singers, stopped by, and it just happened. I didn't (and don't) know anything about the Guercio bit. I looked at it as a way to incorporate a female perspective into the LP version, but it was just a shot, not a big deal.
kk: I remember Hooke telling me one time that when "Greenburg Glickstein" came out he was SO confident it was going to be a monster hit that he bought a house and got married!!! There are SO many instances when The Cryan' Shames should have been a major '60's act ... I honestly feel like nobody got short-changed the way you guys did.
JF: Greenburg Glickstein was a good LP tune ... but it changed the dial in the listener's mind to a new Cryan' Shames radio station. It was like they couldn't find a place to get the Shames they loved ... Jim Golden said he felt doomed when it was released: the band loved it, he knew the DJ's would hate it. But who really knows?
kk: Were you involved with The Ides - Shames Union at all ... or were you long gone by then?
JF: I jumped in for a bit. I was hoping it would recapture the magic of the Shames Reunion at Navy Pier ... but it was not to be.
As for the future ... it just may be more of a reflection of the past than one might think ...
I believe that the 'infinite possibilities of the Internet' may have given way to 'the new standard look and feel of the month'. If you look at the differences between the Flock, Four Days and a Knight, The Cryan' Shames, Chaka Kahn and the music at The Earl of Old Town (just to name one set) ... you get a sense of the chaotic (and remarkable) diversity of the times.
All the best,
Also, a photo Jim sent to me years ago with the band (I believe) in that 2nd story hotel room area where things transpired into a four-week #1 hit in Chicago and on my personal chart as well.
As to James' comments on CBS not promoting them, see the ad above from Columbia in Billboard, although these ads only reached the media people. My friend Mike swears he saw a Columbia promo video for the song when it was out. WLS DJ Ron Riley's brother was a Columbia rep, so I asked Ron years ago if his brother might have such a video still. He told me that he had sold his stuff off ages ago. I did find that in mid-67, there was a story in Billboard about Columbia starting to use promo videos for upcoming 45s. They mentioned a Lou Christie song as the first. To date, I have yet to see THAT video either, so maybe there WAS one for the Shames song?
The June / July, 1967 Cryan' Shames Fan Letter mentions regrets that Columbia's promised national tour for the Shames (mentioned in the previous newsletter) has been cancelled due to promotion of Moby Grape, and the Shames would have to wait until "next year." However, the Billboard ad shown above would tend to indicate that the Shames' 45 hitting big in Chicago DID get them out on a smaller tour, albeit a southeast, east and Midwest one only. The newsletter also mentions that the Shames' single was recorded in New York over four days after flying to NYC on May 22.
I'm wondering if the "Christmas Song" that James wrote for the Children's Ward of the Cook County Hospital is still kicking around in his head? Maybe it is "A Carol for Lorelei" before it became that title?
I'm so sad that WLS came in so poorly when "It Could Be We're In Love" was on top in Chicago. I certainly remember hearing it at #1 on Art Roberts' Top 3 Most Requested when it came out. I could only catch it being very buried in static and AM noise once with reception at a minimum that summer even at 10 PM when WLS normally would be at least listenable.
One thing I know is that one Saturday night, the night Art let guest teen disc jockeys come on WLS and be heard by thousands nationally, his DAUGHTER got to play the Shames' amazing new single as #3 in the countdown. Listen closely to the attached and you'll hear Art talk over the end of "Could Be" as his daughter stammers thru the countdown, followed by the Monkees at #2. Cannot tell for sure, but wouldn't doubt that "Words" is the early played TV version. This came from Art's tape used by Jeff Davis in the WLS tribute to Art when he passed away. You need to listen closely at the start of this clip. IF you were a teen DJ for Art, you were an everlasting part of WLS lore.
I'd venture to bet that like a lot of great places in that city, the building in which that filming took place is no longer standing or is close to being gone ... the old Oprah studio, maybe?
Looks like you were right ... I found this on a website called Steve Hoffman Music Forum ... The Rainbow Room (originally part of The Fred Niles Studios ... and later Harpo Studios, from which Oprah broadcast her talk show) was demolished last year.
The former Fred Niles Studio building here in Chicago is being demolished, to be replaced with the new corporate HQ for McDonald's. It's where the 'rainbow room' scenes used in Monkees episodes were filmed. The producers of the Monkees' television show booked time for the band at the Fred Niles Studios, a giant film and production studio facility in Chicago's West Loop area. (Fun fact: The building that was once Fred Niles Studios is now the home of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios. Previously, long before Fred Niles converted the building, it was the location for Chicago's Second Regiment Armory.)
Inside Fred Niles Studios was a production area known as the Rainbow Room, a largely robin's egg blue-colored room with multiple thick stripes of color painted vertically on the walls, curving out from the center of the room. On August 2nd, 1967, The Monkees filmed most of the music sequences that would later be included in much of the second season of "The Monkees" episodes. Among the music videos shot in the Rainbow Room that day were: "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Randy Scouse Git," "Love is Only Sleeping," "She Hangs Out," and most famously, "Daydream Believer."
Being bored with using the psychedelic Rainbow Room all day, the band and the Chicago film crew used different backgrounds to then record a video for Mike Nesmith's "What Am I Doing Hanging Round." Some of the completed versions of these songs were not even ready yet, so the band sang over the basic tracks of the recordings at the time. A promotional photo session also took place within the Rainbow Room.
Here is an amazing video compilation I found on YouTube spotlighting all of the Rainbow Room video recordings:
And our Chicagoland Radio and Media Guide buddy Larz put together an incredible article / homage to The Monkees' Chicagoland connection here:
We all seem to THINK we remember the "Summer of Love '67" as a great time. I know I do.
I took a vacation trip with family to Texas in August, which is when I finally heard the new Cryan' Shames single, 'It Could Be We're In Love" and because it was charting on KFJZ in Ft. Worth, I was in 7th Heaven when I found the actual 45 in a store and WITH A PIC SLEEVE! WOW! I was 11 years old and already a HUGE Shames fan.
I could not receive WLS and WCFL well that month or summer, but over the decades have propped up my missing pieces with tapes acquired from friends who DID cover my lapses. Thanks goes especially to FH members Stu Shea and Ed Erxleben (and Tom Konard) for their tapes that helped me compile the 18 minute retrospective of selected moments from summer of 67 on WLS / WCFL.
We went to go see the film "Detroit" opening weekend and were a little disappointed to see that it was less about the riots ... deemed the worst riots in our country's history ... than the specific events that took place at The Algiers Hotel that night. Still, it was pretty intense ... and shows you the mind-set of a nation (including a police force) in the midst of the so-called Summer Of Love. The film "In The Heat Of The Night" provides another example of the racial prejudice that still plagued our country ... and is a far more satisfying film. If you haven't seen it recently, may I suggest that you take a couple of hours out of your weekend and give it another shot. INCREDIBLE acting ... and an incredible film. (kk)
was still getting a lot of radio airplay. He is the UK's most successful solo artist and biggest seller behind Elvis and The Beatles.
Due to some last minute scheduling conflicts, I was unable to appear on Geoff's radio programme ... which is a REAL shame because we had planned to do a nice tribute to Pirate Radio on the 50th Anniversary of The British Government shutting things down.
But Geoff, being the trouper that he is, percevered without me! And we now have the audio to share with you. Just click the link and listen to the Pirate Radio portion of the show. (kk)
Here's a download link to one of the radio specials Geoff Dorsett did commemorating the days of Pirate Radio ...
Just a thought re the Pirates of 1967 ... This was the signature of Radio Caroline. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYmTJ9uA5AQ