Dr. J's Blog

Rock and Roll History, News & Views

"City of Smooth Jazz": Michigan CD Focus

The Robert Lee Revue's new CD, "City of Smooth Jazz" was selected by MRRL as one of 2012's Noteworthy Michigan Albums. Its two founding members hope that their unique brand of smooth jazz will eventually be heard and recognized around the world. They have achieved that lofty goal once before while in a rock and roll band and recording for a major label; but will they be able to grab that elusive brass ring a second time as independent artists?

Read more: "City of Smooth Jazz": Michigan CD Focus

Best CDs Of 2012 And More: Two Views

What are the best bets if you're planning to give someone the gift of music? We're here to help. For the third consecutive year, my friend and fellow music fanatic Larry Van Cleve and I have put together our lists of what we feel were the best CDs of 2012. We put the lists together independently of each other, and since there are no record companies that are sending us free albums to review, our choices are made up of what we have bought, and sometimes, borrowed and burned. We’ve also each included a Blast From The Past section that deals with some older material we’ve listened to during the past year that we think is worthy of comment.

Read more: Best CDs Of 2012 And More: Two Views

96 Tears and Art Schiell's Recording Studio

On Saturday, October 1, 1966, ? (Question Mark) and The Mysterians made their network television debut on American Bandstand with host Dick Clark.  The band performed its hit single, "96 Tears".  Ten days later, on October 11th, ? and The Mysterians would perform "96 Tears" on another Dick Clark production, ABC-TV's 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. daily pop music show, Where The Action Is. The group also performed the song that fall on Swingin' Time, Detroit's popular teen music program hosted by Robin Seymour. By the end of the month, the song would reach # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Very few viewers on either of those days knew that "96 Tears" had been recorded in Art Schiell's small studio, located in the back of his home on Bay City's West Side. Watch ? and The Mysterians perform "96 Tears" on Swingin' Time in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS7qvxm3FbM


Looking at the small house at 405 Raymond Street in Bay City, Michigan, it's hard to imagine that it was once the home of the Schiell Recording Studio or that a hit record was made there. Although it's largely forgotten in Bay City and mistakes about it are found in most of the rock and roll historical accounts concerning the # 1 song "96 Tears", Art Schiell's studio represented an important first step to completing a seemingly improbable quest for the young musicians who recorded it there.

Read more: 96 Tears and Art Schiell's Recording Studio