Bobby Rydell - Teen Idol On The Rocks

 Growing up, I was a big fan of Dick Clark and American Bandstand. I’ve always liked Clark’s famous quote: “Music is the soundtrack of your life”. From the start of  8th grade all the way through my senior year at St. Joseph High School, Bobby Rydell was an important part of my soundtrack. During that time period, Rydell charted 28 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, 19 of which were Top 40 hits. Smashes like “We Got Love”, “Wild One”, “Swingin’ School”, “Volare”, “Good Time Baby”, and “Forget Him” were constantly played at school dances, house parties, and on the transistor radios tuned to the local AM radio stations that spun the hits of the day.

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The Michigan Box Pt. 2

This is the second part of the MRRL review of "The Michigan Box: 1950s & 1960s Oddball Labels", the massive 10 CD collection of obscure Michigan recordings that were released on small independent labels from around the state during rock and roll's first two decades. Part 1 dealt with the first five CDs in the set, and Pt. 2 covers the songs, artists, and labels found on CDs 6 through 10. Many of the songs have YouTube links so that you can hear the original recordings.

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The Michigan Box Pt. 1

“The Michigan Box: 1950s & 1960s Oddball Labels” offers a unique look at many of the state’s independent music labels at the dawn of the rock and roll era. The set has over 330 recordings on ten full length CDs containing over 12 hours of music; along with a 200 page hard cover book filled with photos, biographical information, and recording data. You won’t find any Top 40 hits, but you will discover some obscure early recordings by significant Michigan artists such as Tommy James, Andre Williams, Dick Wagner, Nolan Strong & The Diablos, Brian Holland, and The Falcons.

The box set mostly concentrates on lesser known musicians who often recorded their rockabilly, country, R&B songs and instrumentals in primitive one man (or woman) studios often outfitted in the front room, back room, garage, or basement. The 45s and 78s were pressed in Michigan plants and issued in limited numbers on tiny labels found in cities all around the state.

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Sherwood Forest

“We are all outlaws in the eyes of America” – Jefferson Airplane

Although the repercussions from the 1970 Goose Lake International Music Festival in Jackson County had effectively ended the rock festival era in most parts of Michigan, the events did continue until 1974 in what would seem to have been the most unlikely of locations. Sherwood Forest was located in Richfield Township, just east of Flint and north of the small town of Davison. The amusement park was the brainchild of Don Sherwood, a farmer turned businessman; and the music festivals held there were organized and promoted by an enterprising disc jockey named Peter C. Cavanaugh.

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Best Albums of 2015: Two Views

Stop the presses! MRRL’s annual listing of the Best of 2015 once again features the informed and unbiased opinions of Mid-Michigan’s Dr. J and Metro Detroit’s Larry Van Cleve.

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Deb and Jo – Sweet Little Rock and Rollers

"Dear Sir or Madam will you read my book, it took me years to write will you take a look"  (Lennon/McCartney)

Saginaw teenagers Deb Harden and Jo Hintze didn't realize they would become female pioneers when they got a dream job writing a weekly column for the Saginaw News during the 1960's.  Learning on the fly, their entertaining and informative columns provided an invaluable record of the vibrant Saginaw music scene and of the national and regional rock and roll artists who appeared there from 1965 to 1968.

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Tale Of Two Michigan Pop Festivals (Bay City and Goose Lake)

“We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden” - Joni Mitchell

Michigan hosted over a dozen successful music festivals in 1969. With the images and sounds of Woodstock in the air and in the marketplace, it seemed that 1970 could be a prime year to offer more such events to rock and roll lovers across the state. But by the end of August, the festival scene in Michigan was on life support; a victim of the courts, conservative politicians, law enforcement, a fearful public, and the callousness of festival attendees. This is a tale of two of them: Goose Lake in Jackson County and Super Tuesday in Bay County.

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