Unheralded Pentagon’s Joe C. Jones Still Sings Classic Doo-wop – A West Coast Rarity

Find one of the most under-rated doo-wop groups ever, which continues performing today in classic form. The Pentagon’s never had a hit go higher than #48 on the Billboard charts (‘To Be Loved,’ 1961) but they probably deserved alot better fate. Lead singer Joe C. Jones hails from the West Coast (San Bernardino) , which may be part of the problem, since the bulk of doo-wop comes from the East. Plus, when the song was recorded, in 1961. doo-wop was already fading from the music scene as surf and lighter sounds were taking its place.
We caught Jones and his new Pentagons at an a recent appearance in Livermore, Calfronial, after having seen him a few years earlier in Modesto. If there’s a better , more classic sounding ddo-wop group going today, hits or no hits, I’d like to hear them. ‘To Be Loved’ couild have gone Top 10 a few years earlier. Their other early songs, as found on their CD, Then and Now, are very strong, especially ‘I Wonder,’ ‘I’m In Love’ and ‘She’s Mine.’
The song writing is classic doo-wop, the singing impeccable.
Jones singing remains spectacular today; I can’t think of another lead singer who has maintained the quality and sound of his early records. He’s done well to find two backup singers that round out this talented trio. Why they haven’t been given a spot on PBS’ doo-wop series is a mystery. Will have to talk to that TJ Lubinski. Afterall, he’s all the way over in Pittsburg, which again, is part of the probelm. Anywy, check out this rare interview with San Bernardino-raised Joe Jones on LaneQuigley’s fine Rocket Radio show, then listen to a couple cuts before you go out and get the CD, Then and No w. Enjoy!  Now that you’ve got a sample you can find the Pentagons CD ‘Then and After’ at Amazon by clicking here

Canada’s BLAKE Emerging As Master Singer – Songwriter with Engaging New CD

BLUE RAIN: It’s not  your 50s/60s oldies per se, but in  Blake’s new CD he infuses  much of the  musical history he has witnessed since his breakout in 1964. Mister Blake, or Blake today,  of Vancouver, had a regional hit in 1964, covering Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You.‘  After that, the music scene changed and most artists including Blake’s Canadian compatriots like Bobby Curtola (Fortune Teller)  , Buddy Knox ((Party Doll) and even Paul Anka  had to take day jobs for awhile  to pay the bills. But,almost 5 decades later Blake has never forgotten his roots. He still would love nothing better than a hit record -er,  CD or download.  And, who knows. this could be the one…   ‘Blue Rain’ has a wide appeal as it covers the various styles he has grown up with, including disco, dance, electronica,  country and  a good bit of roots ‘oldies’ woven in. Order the CD and read more about Blake at MisterBlake.com . Hit Or MissBy the way, it’s interesting that Blake chose Blue Rain as the title song, Blake’s early hero, Roy Orbison, had a minor hit with Blue Rain in the 60s, but it is a totally different song. If you listen closely to the CD you may hear some Roy Orbison references or samplings. Experience has surely helped Blake grow over the years as both singer and songwriter. All songs – written by Blake and Andy Smyth, except Jubilation – are strong, especially the opening three, in this writer’s opinion, namely ‘Blue Rain’, ‘I’m in Deep’, ‘Sex, Lies and Changing Times,‘ the latter which interestingly chronicles  Blake’s and society’s wild ride  through the past several decades. Also of special interest are the last songs on the CD which include Blake’s version of fellow Canadian Paul Anka’s ‘Jubilation’ and, an updated remake of Blake’s biggest hit, ‘I Only Want To Be With You.’  Sample one of the many fine songs , ‘Hit or Miss’ , at Amazon by clicking here.


Roy Orbison Gets His Hollywood Star

Play Unchained Melody -Roy Orbison

By: Roger Friedman //   Saturday January 30, 2010

The great Roy Orbison finally got his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on Friday. It was about time!

Thanks to the persistence of his widow, the intrepid and beautiful Barbara, Orbison has lived on well after his death at age 52 in 1989.

The star was unveiled on Vine Street, right in front of the Capitol Records tower, and right next to Garth Brooks. Not bad.

With “Pretty Woman” playing in the background, Barbara and sons Alex and Roy Jr., and Roy’s son Wesley, received the proclamation from the city of Hollywood. Dan Aykroyd (who was there with gorgeous wife Donna Dixon) and T Bone Burnett each spoke about their love of Roy — who didn’t love Roy Orbison, that’s the question!

And Barbara Orbison, in accepting the citation, turned around from the mic and thanked the community of friends who’ve grown around her since Roy’s death: Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh and his wife Marjorie, Olivia Harrison, Barbara Bach Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, Phil Everly, Chris Isaak, Jonathan Clyde from the Beatles’ Apple Records, and so on.

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Original 1949 BOB’S BIG BOY Holding Up Well in Burbank, CA

Ridin_The_Wind_UK_Version_– The Tornadoes 1962

During our last visit to the capitol of  Living 50s history, Bob was looking well – in fact he hadn’t aged a bit, holding fort in front of this great burger palace. The building, which appears all original, is looking good too.  Still appreciate mostly men in their 60s and 70s see to call this place home for morning berkfast, when we fell lby.

Burbank is a hot bead for living history, with the oldl movie studios nearby. Note the Johnny Carson Park and streets named after the greats like Bob Hope Blvd…   The  Safarii Inn where we stayed has a nice sign with surfboard(?) in front, though I am told the place has been remodeled since its heydeys…. Sure beats staying at the Marriot and a lot cheaper , too.

L.A. TIKI Palaces come in many styles – Bars, Restaurants and Apartments

Probably our favorite of the many Tiki Palaces in Southern California is Bahooka,  perhaps the only Tiki restaurant in the area. Originally built

in the late 60s its maintained a loyal following, according the current and only second owner.  The place looks like Trader Vics meets Robinson Crueso.  As one walks in a darkened room you only see the lights of hundreds of fish tanks lining the dining room wallssafdasdwalls.wall

walls.  Artifacts of you-name-it cover the ceiling and walls. One can spend hours there for sure. The food is very good, too, tiki fare of ribs and sweet potatoes is the specialty! The movie industy has discovered this place, too, now, so be aware of crowds. Not far down Rosemead Blvd, I think it is, you will find three sets of that are very much worth stopping by.  Another must-see would be the Tiki Ti bar in Hollywood. This small but authentic palace also has a loyal following so no guarantees you’ll get a seat.  Another Tiki aparmentsnifty fifties spot along the way was this old drive-in movie, er, sign. Only thing left is this incredible sign for the Starlight, one of the many  departed drive-in theaters in CA -and, who knows if even the sign is still there two years later.