LOU CHRISTIE & THE TAMMYS:
THE SINGLES AND RARE
RPM CD 330
August 1, 2011
Fab Collection Of Rare And Hard To Find
US Beat Chicks And
Honeys Of The 60's
RPM 274 (54:09)
July 19, 2011
In Search Of
The Egyptian Shumba
With Lou Christie And The Tammys
by Andrew Lau
Egyptian Shumba: One of the most uncompromising songs ever recorded.
Once you hear it, everything else seems rather ordinary. And not nearly loud enough.
May 31, 2010
The Various Artists CD
Great Googly Moo And More Undisputed Truths
October 3, 2007
What's your favourite girl group song?
by Joseph Ridgwell
But with so much glorious competition, what is the song that gets my nod for the controversial title of best girl group song ever? Well, readers, it has to be the breathtaking, foot-stomping, soul-shaking,
Egyptian Shumba by the Tammys. Who? I hear you say. The little known Tammys were originally backing vocalists for Mr Tenor Man himself,
Lou Christie, before they broke out on their own and recorded the mesmerising
Egyptian Shumba in 1964.
From the very first bar you instantly realise you are hearing something special, and as soon as the girls belt out the classic line, "Last night I dreamt I was on the Nile, dancing with you Egyptian style", all hell breaks loose. The instruments start freaking out, the production goes into overdrive, and the girls start screaming and grunting until you no longer know where you are.
August 14, 2006
by Nitsuh Abebe
The Tammys: "Egyptian Shumba"
(Lou Christie / Twyla Herbert)
It's not just that this girl group's gone wilder than any garage band on the list-- it's that they're possessed. The Tammys bop hard and bratty, but by the chorus they're literally growling, barking, and squealing like sexed-up hyenas; in the bridge you can hear them shudder and jerk their way into a frenzy. It's their party and they'll scream if they want to.
EX-TAMMYS HOPE FOR GRAMMYS
OLDIES GET NEW LIFE
Joe Pinchot, The Associated Press
Sunday 21 January 2007
Caption: PHOTO: RPM Records/Associated Press: The front of the album featuring Lou Christie & The Tammys, "Egyptian Shumba: Singles And Rare Recordings 1962-1965." The Tammys' soprano harmonies managed some Pittsburgh and Cleveland radio play in the 1960s, but were mostly forgotten until their music was reissued on "Egyptian Shumba" in 2002.
Kenosha Woman Up For Grammy 44 Years Later
Single Was Included In Box Set
February 12, 2007
Grandma Up For Grammy
Milwaukee TV TMJ4 NBC
January 26, 2007
Remember The Shumba
Oil City, PA
January 22, 2007
Hermitage Church Musician's
Performance Up For Grammys
Erie, PA Times-News
February 10, 2007
Despite Loss, Grammys Add To Memories
Erie, PA Times-News
February 12, 2007
December 7, 2006
Two Grammy Nominations
Best Historical Album
Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
Rolling Stone's #1 Reissue of 2005
ONE KISS CAN LEAD TO ANOTHER:
GIRL GROUP SOUNDS, LOST & FOUND (Rhino),
an incredible 107-artist, 120-song, four-CD boxed set featuring the US CD debut of THE TAMMYS' EGYPTIAN SHUMBA ~ Stereo 2:27 (Disc 2, Track 27).
A labor of love from Sheryl Farber and co-producer Gary Stewart,
ONE KISS follows in the tradition of Rhino's revelatory, genre-defining
boxed sets like Nuggets, Beg, Scream & Shout: The Big Box Of '60s Soul, and
Loud, Fast & Out Of Control: The Wild Sounds Of '50s Rock by bringing
listeners dozens of shoulda-been-classics. And Rhino has given this boxed
set the kind of over-the-top packaging it deserves. ONE KISS CAN LEAD TO
ANOTHER: GIRL GROUP SOUNDS, LOST & FOUND comes in a mod black-and-white
hatbox, while the four digipak CDs inside resemble '60s makeup compacts,
and the book, which contains essays by Gerri Hirshey and Gene Sculatti and
a track-by-track by Sheila Burgel, looks like a girl's diary.
The Chiffons, Lesley Gore, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Angels, they're all here; however, the secret weapon of the set is the songs you would never hear if not for Rhino. For instance, "Egyptian Shumba" by The Tammys is one of the most peculiar girl group songs I've ever heard, sounding like the modern freak folkers the Animal Collective produced the song as The Tammys' Chipmunk-harmonizing bleeds into refrains of backup singers mimicking shrieking monkeys. Catchy and eclectic, it would blow the minds of indie-music blogs everywhere if released today.
~ Jeremiah Tucker, Joplin Globe, June 23, 2006
Hatbox Hits: Zircons Amid Generics and Bombs
2/27. The Tammys: "Egyptian Shumba." Shimmy-shimmy-shimmy-shy-eye-missyness meets monkey noises. On the Nile.
~ Robert Christgau, Village Voice, February 15- 21, 2006
However, some of the most-fun moments on the set are the tracks that are nearly unbelievable in that they exist at all. The Tammys' insane "Egyptian Shumba" is filled with yelps and whoops that are nearly orgasmic. Add to that "The Peanut Duck," a dance single so odd that it didn't find release until a few years ago and the singer has still not been identified.
~ Wayne Bledsoe, Knoxville News-Sentinel, November 6, 2005
But for all this talk about love, the real prize on One Kiss Can Lead To Another is "Egyptian Shumba," a goofball dance track about boogying along the Nile constructed by falsetto weirdo Lou Christie around a set of voices even squeakier than his own. They belonged to a group called The Tammys, and their squiggly harmonies and delirious yelps seem to point toward Rough Trade punks like Liliput and the Raincoats, and even more directly toward the B-52s' Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson.
~ Keith Harris, Seattle Weekly, October 19, 2005
And then, of course, you've got your weirder gems that never could have been a hit -- "Egyptian Shumba" by The Tammys chief among them. It's the box set of the year, and would be even if the package were only half as brilliant.
~ Ed Masley, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 8, 2005
CHRISTIE & THE TAMMYS:
THE SINGLES AND RARE
RPM CD 330
w/ 8 Page Article:
LOU CHRISTIE & THE TAMMYS:
Fab Collection Of Rare And Hard To Find US Beat Chicks And Harmony
Honeys Of The 60's
RPM 274 (54:09)
Released February 2, 2004
Ad, Record Collector #294, February 2004
23 - March 3, 2004
Sweets February 26, 2004
Review, Goldmine #616, March 5, 2004
March 16, 2004
Review, Record Collector #296, April 2004
Review, Uncut #83, April 2004
Taste, April 2, 2004
Airplay (Top 30) May 19, 2004
01. So, Do The Zonk
- Donna Loren
02. Chico's Girl
- The Girls
03. The One You Can't Have
- The Honeys
- Diane Renay
05. Theme From Mission Impossible
- The Kane Triplets
06. You Don't Love Me
– The Starlets
07. Daddy You Just Gotta Let Him In
- The Satisfactions
08. The Boy With The Way
- Jamie Carter
09. Just A Face In The Crowd
- The Dynels
10. Where's My Baby
- The Twilettes
11. You're Invited To A Party
- The Victorians
12. Tell Me In The Sunlight
- Margie Day
13. Run-around Lover
- Sharon Marie
14. The Next Day
- Debbie Burton
- Roberta Day
16. You Won't Even Know Her Name
- Josephine Sunday
17. Don't Worry Baby
- Darlene McCrea
18. Tar and Cement
- Verdelle Smith
- The Pandoras
20. Paper Sun
- The Murmaids
21. The Silencers
- Patti Seymour
Unreleased Version (2:41)
Released in Japan
December 25, 2002
FUZZY: 'EGYPTIAN SHUMBA' (1:51)
CYBER GIRLS ATTACK!
Psychobilly Garage Rustic Girl's
Various Artists Compilation
(Cyber Label 666 Grim 666C-030)
Ramona (Guitar, Vocal)
Vanessa (Bass, Lead Vocal on 'Egyptian Shumba')
BEST OF THE MGM RECORDINGS
(RPM 284) October 2004
LOU CHRISTIE & THE TAMMYS:
BY HARRY YOUNG
"Lightnin' Strikes" Lou Christie
has created many extremely great (and often, greatly extreme) slices of
sound excitement. He's recorded Pop, R&B, Dance, Adult
Contemporary, Country, Rap and more. He even sang back-up on the
Radical Abstract Russian Language Poetry / Electronic Music Manifesto
'Walks Under A Northern Sky' by Dmitri Strizhov & Obermaneken
(DS001, Ripe & Ready CD 7001, 1998). Whatever the style, Lou's
recordings always include massive amounts of energy and innovation.
In the 1960's, The
Pharaoh Of The Falsetto frequently operated in Soulful synergy with
chanting females. Case in point: THE TAMMYS (Gretchen, Cathy and
Powered by such Lou Christie-penned
anthems as "Egyptian Shumba" and "Part Of Growing Up", The Tammys' edgy
harmonies and extreme emotions found release on three hopelessly rare
solo singles. Years after their 1965 break-up, interest in The Tammys
was sparked anew, prompting the first-ever comprehensive compilation 'Egyptian
Shumba: The Singles And Rare Recordings 1962-1964' (RPM CD 330).
Christie (b. Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco, 19 February 1943 in
Glenwillard, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh), first hit the charts doing
backgrounds on "Ronnie" by Marcy Jo (Robbee single R-110, KFWB Los
Angeles #9, Variety #27, Cash Box #64, Billboard review 27 March 1961,
#81). He also sang on Marcy Jo's "Since Gary Went In The Navy (Robbee
single R-115, Billboard 26 June 1961) and Chic Christy's "With This
Kiss" (HAC single H-103, Billboard 11 December 1961).
Lou composed hundreds of tunes with a striking Bohemian
Gypsy named Twyla Herbert (b. 27 July 1921). He explained, 'Twyla is a
genius. She was going to be a concert pianist but we started writing
rock 'n' roll. The hardest part was that we had too many ideas. If we
wanted to write a song, it would never stop'.
The first Christie-Herbert collaboration was recorded at
Glenn Campbell's United Recording Service, Pittsburgh, in September
1962: "The Gypsy Cried" (C and C single 102 B, Roulette single R-4457
B, Billboard Four Star review 20 October 1962, #24, Cash Box 27 October
1962, #18, UK Columbia single DB 4983, NME ad 8 March 1963).
Billboard: 'Some mighty tantalizing high note work from the
lad on this ballad with a beat. He is backed by a chorus of chicks and
strong rhythm combo'.
Cash Box: (B+) "The Gypsy Cried" (2:05) [Nom & RTD
BMI—Herbert, Sacco] 'The rock trade could really take to this exciting
track from the songster and his combo-chorus backing, which includes a
strong falsetto vocal gimmick. A deck that's got to be watched
Lou cut the sequel at Bob Schachner's Gateway Studio,
Pittsburgh, 6 February 1963: "Two Faces Have I" (Roulette single
R-4481, Billboard mention 2 March 1963, Pop #6, R&B #11, Cash Box
30 March 1963, #3, Variety #4, UK Columbia single DB 7031, NME ads 26
April and 17 May 1963). Guitarist Ronnie Cochrane (below)
and Joni (Johnny) Wilson's Debonaires (below)
played on the session. Twyla Herbert pounded out piano
counterpoints to the chugging organ, greatly enhancing the song's Ska /
Reggae flavour. Listen for the one delicious cymbal smack!
Cash Box: (Pick Of The Week) "Two Faces Have I" (2:44)
[Painted Desert, RTD BMI—Herbert, Christie] 'Christie is already
kicking up a chart fuss with this powerful follow-up to his "Gypsy
Cried" hit Roulette bow. This one's a cha cha twister, tabbed "Two
Faces Have I", that Lou delivers in catchy falsetto-voiced style.
Strong combo-chorus support'.
Breaking in different markets at different times, "The
Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I" were regional super-smashes. For
example, "The Gypsy Cried" hit #1 on Pittsburgh's KQV and WYRE as well
as Franklin, PA's WFRA. "Two Faces Have I" shot to #1 on
and Milwaukee's WOKY and WRIT.
According to Gene Sculatti's liner notes for Madonna's
'Immaculate Collection' (released 13 November 1990), 'When she chirps
"That's right!" and "No way!" on the second and fourth verses [of
"Material Girl"], she sounds uncannily like Lou Christie fading on "Two
Faces Have I" (1963)'.
"Two Faces Have I" even influenced Bruce Springsteen.
Reviewing Springsteen's 'Tunnel Of Love' (released 9 October 1987), the
Orange County Register noted, 'There's little on the album that isn't
reminiscent of something else…such as "Two Faces", which has the same
"Two Faces Have I" chorus as the '60s Lou Christie song of that title'.
The Globe And Mail: 'Perhaps the song that most vividly captures
Springsteen's ambivalence about the tender trap of domesticity is "Two
Faces", which lifts its principal line, "Two Faces Have I", from the
Lou Christie hit of 1963'. San Francisco Chronicle: 'He's learned that
love alone is not a panacea. It's implicit in the self-doubt of "Two
Faces", which echoes the Lou Christie song, "Two Faces Have I", with
Springsteen playing a carnival organ break a la "96 Tears"'.
Lou recorded the magnificent Herbert-Christie composition
"Summer Snow" at Gateway during the first week of May 1963. Written as
his third Roulette single and almost included on 'Lou Christie'
(Roulette album SR-25208, Cash Box 3 August 1963, #82), the original
"Summer Snow" remained unreleased until 'EnLightnin'ment: The Best Of
Lou Christie' (Rhino CD R2 70246, Billboard 26 March 1988). Lou
released a different "Summer Snow" on 'Painter Of Hits' (MGM album E /
SE 4394, Billboard 20 August 1966) and
'Original Sinner: The Very Best Of The MGM Recordings' (RPM CD 284,
As "Two Faces Have I" climbed Billboard's charts, Lou
toured eleven states with manager Tim Tormey's Spring Shower Of Stars.
On 16 May 1963, between tour dates in Rolla, Missouri and Duluth,
Minnesota, at Levy's insistence, Lou Christie raced into New York
City's Bell Sound Studios and cut "How Many Teardrops" (Roulette single
R-4504, Cash Box review 22 June 1963, #41, WLS Chicago #19, UK Columbia
single DB 7096, NME ad 23 August 1963). Roulette's Nom Music had
registered "How Many Teardrops" (penned by Rick Rodell aka The Leather
Boy aka Milan Radenkowich) with the Library Of Congress on 13 May 1963.
Also in May 1963, after six months of rehearsals, Lou
Christie officially launched The Tammys, the prototypical alternative
Girl Group of the 1960's.
Meet The Tammys: Margaret Gretchen Owens (b. Oil City, PA,
29 December 1944), Catherine Louise Owens (b. Oil City, PA, 15 December
1946) and Linda Lucille Jones (b. Olean, NY, 7 April 1947).
Lou's older sister, Amy, managed and chaperoned The Tammys.
Amy, Kay and Twyla's daughter, Shirley, the back-up singers on "The
Gypsy Cried", "Two Faces Have I" and "Summer Snow", taught The Tammys
to breathe, bark and strut.
Amy, Kay and Shirley had participated in The Crewnecks
(Lou, Judi, Bill, Amy or Wendy, 1957-1960), The Classics (Lou, Kay,
Kenny and Shirley, 1960) and Lugee And The Lions (Lou, Amy, Kay and
Bill, 1961-1962, "The Jury", Robbee single R-112, Billboard 17 April
Gretchen, Cathy and Linda first met Lou after the
Marcy Jo / Lugee And The Lions show Saturday, 27 May 1961 at the Moose
Lodge in Oil City, PA. That week's WFRA Fabulous Fifty Tunedex listed
Marcy Jo's "Ronnie" at #1 and Lugee And The Lions' "The Jury" at
Describing a subsequent meeting at Henrys Bend, four miles
from Tionesta, PA, Gretchen recalled, 'We drove around [in Lou's
black Cadillac convertible]. He'd sing and we'd do back-up harmony,
making it up as we went along. It was a fun night! He said, "If I get
discovered, I'll call you", and we said the same thing. A year later,
he released "The Gypsy Cried" and we heard it on the radio. One day my
sister, Cathy, came running home and said, "He's going to be on the
Clark Race [TV] show Saturday!" We watched it. A crystal ball came on
and he was in the center singing. We went nuts! I called him the next
day. Within a very brief period of time, we were in Pittsburgh, making
arrangements to go to New York'.
Lou took The Tammys to United Artists Records, 729 Seventh
Avenue, New York, 19, NY. His contact: Harvard MBA Jacob 'Jack' Gold
(d. 26 December 1993). Serving as Executive Producer at United Artists'
publishing affiliate, Unart Music, Gold would soon be Director of
Singles Activities in the label's A&R Department. From 18 January
to 15 June 1962, Lou had been under contract to Jack Gold Records, Inc.
Through the Jack Gold connection, Unart Music registered
eight Christie-Herbert Copyrights with the Library Of Congress:
· 6 August 1963 "Take Back Your Ring" and "Part Of Growing Up" (both
previously registered by Twyla and Lou on 8 July 1963),
· 5 September 1963 "Summer Snow" (previously 10 May 1963), "Don'tcha
Backtrack", "Gypsy Earrings", "Lost In The Crowd" and "Outside The
Gates Of Heaven" (previously 12 August 1963) and
· 14 February 1964 "Egyptian Shumba" (previously 5 November 1963).
Credited on United Artists hits by Bobby Goldsboro, Danny
Williams and Patty Duke, Tammys' producer Jack Gold eventually had a
lengthy tenure as Vice President of A&R for Columbia Records. In
March 1986, Gold became a song consultant for Manhattan Records in New
York. Before long Lou Christie came full circle, issuing a duet with
Lesley Gore on Manhattan: "Since I Don't Have You - It's Only Make
Believe" (Manhattan single B 50039, released 21 May 1986, Billboard 5
The Tammys actually signed with United Artists (Ulan Music
Corp.) as The Twy-Lous. The contract was dated 24 May 1963. On 3 July
1963 at Bell Sound in NYC, The Tammys recorded "Take Back Your Ring" /
"Part Of Growing Up" (United Artists single UA 632, Masters 5088 /
5089, ZTSP 87390 / 87391, Billboard Four Star review 17 August 1963).
Cash Box: (B+) "Take Back Your Ring" (2:00) [Unart BMI-
Herbert, Christie] 'New teen market larks—said to be proteges of Lou
Christie (he's a co-cleffer on both tunes)—debut with a very pleasing
blend on a pretty teen plaintive. Could get around after sufficient
exposure. (B) "Part Of Growing Up" (1:53) [Unart BMI- Herbert,
Christie] Gals turn to a speedy-beat format and do a solid job'.
The 27 August 1963 Fenway Reporter tip-sheet featured "Take
Back Your Ring": 'Penned by Roulette recording star Lou Christie. The
new group has strong potential. Be well aware of it'. Joe Gearing (WFRA
Franklin, PA) reported, 'Getting response on The Tammys' "Take Back
Your Ring". Could be the start of something big'. "Take Back Your Ring"
ruled the #15 slot on the WFRA Fabulous Fifty Soundex for the week
beginning 25 August 1963 (Last Week: #24).
The Tammys promoted "Take Back Your Ring" on Erie, PA's
WWGA-TV 'Bandstand'. Soon "Take Back Your Ring" rocketed to #20 on
Erie's WWGO Favourite Fifty Survey for the week of 6 September 1963,
moving to #13, then #11, finally hitting #7 the week of 27 September
Battle Winner "Take Back Your Ring" entered Erie's WJET
Survey at #48 the week of 27 August 1963, hitting #34 the weeks of 10
and 17 September 1963. Lehighton, PA's WYNS listed "Take Back Your
Ring" at #34 the week of 12 October 1963.
As per the Franklin, PA News-Herald's August 1963 article
'Local Trio Cuts Record; Promotion Tour Planned', 'Gretchen, 18,
graduated in 1962 from St. Joseph High School and is presently employed
by the Northwest Pennsylvania Bank and Trust Company. Her sister,
Cathy, 16, is a senior at Venango Christian High School. Linda, 16, is
a junior at Cranberry High School. The girls are aware that show
business is not all glory, but they agree they "really love show
business, have always wanted it and can hardly believe it has actually
happened". The girls, who dress alike when making public appearances,
have plans to enlarge their wardrobes in view of their upcoming tour to
promote their first recording'.
During the 3 July 1963 "Take Back Your Ring" session,
Johnson, Lou Christie and The Tammys cut "Lost In The Crowd" /
"Don'tcha Backtrack" (Ascot single AS 2136, Masters 5090 / 5091, 20151
/ 20152, released August 1963, Cash Box review 29 February 1964). The
Ascot single carried the artist credit "Ritchie & The Runarounds"
in commemoration of Gretchen, Cathy and Linda's fleeting 1962 group
with Ritchie D'Amico.
Cash Box: (B+) "Don'tcha Backtrack" (2:00) [Unart
BMI—Herbert, Christie] 'Ritchie, in Jackie Wilson fashion, turns in an
impressive number with gals in backing doing a strong up tempo sound
from beginning to end. Disk can attract attention with the younger set.
Ascot is distributed thru United Artists. (B) "Lost In The Crowd"
(2:38) [Unart BMI—Herbert, Christie] Group proves their talent in a
Guest vocalist Corinthian 'Kripp' Johnson (d. 22 June 1990)
had co-founded Pittsburgh's Del Vikings ("Come Go With Me", #4, 1957).
The Del Vikings recorded three Twyla Herbert compositions: "I'll Never
Stop Crying" (ABC Paramount single 10208 B, Billboard 3 April 1961,
Cash Box #66), "Kiss Me" (ABC single 10278 B, Billboard 27 November
1961) and an early version of "Too Many Miles" (ABC single 10425 B,
recorded November 1962, released March 1963).
Pianist Teacho A. Wiltshire [Wilshire] (d. 29 September
1968) arranged the 3 July 1963 Tammys / Ritchie & The Runarounds
session. Among many Jazz, Pop and R&B credits, Wiltshire arranged
King Pleasure's "I'm In The Mood For Love" (United Artists single UA
636, Billboard 14 September 1963).
In New York City, on 1 November 1963, The Tammys recorded
"Egyptian Shumba" / "What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen" (United
Artists single UA 678, Masters ZTSP 91047 / 91048, released November
1963, Variety review 26 February 1964, Billboard Four Star review 29
February 1964, Pittsburgh Breakout Single in Billboard 4 April 1964).
Cash Box: (Best Bets) "Egyptian Shumba" (2:16) [Gypsy
BMI—Herbert, Christie] 'Teen lark threesome could make a chart stand
with this engaging teen-dance romp. It's wild, whacky and original.
Variety: 'The Tammys' "Egyptian Shumba" (Gypsy, BMI) bows
this trio of teenage girls in a way-out rocking ballad with a rendition
that seems to go out of its way to be noisy. But that could be the
sound which will make this disk step out of the pack. "What's So Sweet
About Sweet Sixteen" (April, ASCAP) is an okay slow-paced entry with a
typical teen lyric'.
"Egyptian Shumba" occupied the #23 position on Franklin,
PA's WFRA Fabulous Fifty Soundex the week beginning 16 February 1964
(Last Week: #29).
"The Egyptian Shumba" peaked at #15 on Pittsburgh's
WEEP Million Dollar Survey for the week of 28 March 1964 (Last Week:
"Egyptian Shumba" entered Cleveland, Ohio's WHK Fabulous
Fifty Tunedex at #45 the week of 28 March 1964, moving to #40, then
#34, finally hitting #30 the week of 18 April 1964.
Influential KDKA Pittsburgh disc jockey Clark Race (d. 27
July 1999) hosted The Tammys several times on his weekly TV 'Dance
Party'. On one appearance, Clark Race asked Linda, 'What does your
boyfriend think of your braces?' Linda replied, 'Nothing much—he has
The Tammys appeared with Lou Christie on numerous
occasions, including the Reimold Auction Barn, in Pymatuning Township,
PA (August 1963) and the Sons of Italy Record Hop and Floor Show,
Brownsville, PA (7 November 1964).
The Tammys supported Lou Christie at the Clark Race record
hop at Beaver High School in Beaver, PA on 4 January 1964. The event
raised more than $2,000 for the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital.
Billboard reported that several hundred people were turned away from
the hop. Also on the bill that night: The Secrets and Dionne Warwick.
Four days later, on 8 January 1964, Lou Christie's final
Roulette session at Bell Sound, NYC, yielded "Outside the Gates Of
Heaven" and "You May Be Holding My Baby", both with Ellie Greenwich.
The songs remained unreleased until Lou's "Lightnin'
Strikes" hit #1 in February 1966.
Billboard on "Outside The Gates Of Heaven": 'With all the
excitement and high-pitched vocal work of "Lightnin' Strikes" this one
has the hit potential of all the Christie records currently in
Billboard's charts of 19 March, 26 March and 2 April 1966
contained FIVE Lou Christie records: "Outside The Gates Of Heaven" (Co
& Ce single 235, Billboard 26 February 1966, #45, UK King single KG
1036, NME 8 July 1966), "Big Time" (Colpix), "Lightnin' Strikes" (MGM),
the 'Lightnin' Strikes' album (MGM) and the banned makin' out
of "Rhapsody In The Rain" (MGM).
Despite competition from three other Lou Christie
the two-year-old "Outside The Gates" hit #9 on Oshawa, Ontario's
#13 on Pittsburgh's KDKA and Detroit's WKNR, #14 on
and #17 on Chicago's WLS. Like "Lost In The Crowd", "Outside The
reflected Twyla's sadness over the death of former boyfriend Jack
"You May Be Holding My Baby" (written by Bert Berns and NYC Bitter End
Club owner Paul Colby) finally saw light on 'Lou Christie Strikes Back'
(Co & Ce album 1231, Record World 26 March 1966) aka 'Lou Christie
Strikes Again' (Roulette album SR-25332). See Lou
Christie: 'The Complete Co & Ce / Roulette Recordings' (Taragon
TARCD-1042, MOJO review May 1999).
In spring 1964, Lou Christie and Wes Farrell (Wesley Fogel,
d. 29 February 1996) formed Weslu Productions, Inc, 1650 Broadway,
corner of 51st Street, New York City.
Wes Farrell wrote "Hang On Sloopy" (registered 12 February
1964 as "My Girl Sloopy") with "Outside The Gates Of Heaven" co-producer
Bertrand Russell Berns (d. 30 December 1967).
"Egyptian Shumba" arranger Garry Sherman (b. 28 December 1933) also arranged the Wes
Farrell-composed "Come A Little Bit Closer" (United Artists single 759,
recorded 17 June 1964) and "Let's Lock The Door (And Throw Away The
Key)" (United Artists single 805, recorded 16 November 1964) by Jay And
Drawn by the prospect of Motion Pictures and / or TV, Lou
Christie signed to Colpix
Records in May 1964. His contact: Columbia Pictures / Screen Gems
Vice-President Don Kirshner.
In June 1964, Lou Christie and The Tammys connected with
ace arranger Charles Calello and cut "Guitars And Bongos" /
"Merry-Go-Round" (Colpix single CP-735, Billboard review 1 August
#123, Variety review 12 August 1964, WCRO Johnstown, PA #49 of 1964),
"Make Summer Last Forever" and "Back Track" at Stea-Phillips, Hotel
Victoria, 781 Seventh Avenue in NYC.
Variety: 'Lou Christie's "Guitars And Bongos" (Weslu, BMI)
registers as a swinging entry with a hard-rocking sound aimed right at
the teen market'.
Billboard: 'Lou's switch to Colpix may well bring him a hit
right off. Plenty of sound excitement on this side. High-pitched chorus
and driving beat'.
"Guitars And Bongos" featured four guitarists: Al Caiola,
Al Gorgoni, Vinnie Bell and Don Arnone. Buddy Saltzman played Bongos
and drums. A summer hit in the Southern Hemisphere, "Guitars And
Bongos" peaked at #18 on 2SM Sydney, Australia the week beginning 18
December 1964. Mysteriously, the Mono single version of "Guitars And
Bongos" ('Hey, let's start dancin' to the...') differed from the three
alternate-mix Stereo album versions ('We're gonna start dancin' to
Nearly two years after the American release,
"Merry-Go-Round" attained 'A' side status in the UK (Colpix single PX
735, NME ad 1 April 1966).
NME 8 April 1966: 'A typical West Coast surf-flecked
shuffler, which sets an insistent fast-medium pace. It's a swinging
rhythm, and the drummer's in great form – but it's difficult to comment
on Lou, because he's almost drowned out by over-spirited chanting by a
backing (or should it be fronting) group'.
Lou promoted "Merry-Go-Round" and the Colpix album during a
quick British tour. 'Now Christie The Hitmaker Strikes Twice', screamed
the Liverpool Echo 9 April 1966. "Lightnin' Strikes" had peaked
in NME the week of 4 March 1966. The uncensored version of "Rhapsody In
The Rain" would be released in the UK on 15 April 1966.
In March 1966, Mick Jagger told GO Magazine, 'During the
next four months, Britain will be playing host to Lou Christie, The
Righteous Brothers and Sugar Pie DeSanto. Now these great people will
score and score big. Lou Christie won't just be a success because of
"Lightnin' Strikes", but because he's a personality. And that
personality shines through on the records and in his act'.
Lou arrived late Sunday, 3 April 1966, generated
considerable publicity and played Granada, Bedford (Friday, 8 April
1966), Sophia Gardens Pavilion, Cardiff (Saturday, 9 April 1966),
Adelphi, Slough (Sunday, 10 April 1966) and Winter Gardens, Morecambe
(Monday, 11 April 1966).
At London's Savoy Hotel, Lou Christie, 23, proposed to
Soulful singer Timi Yuro, 26 (see RPM CDs 117, 167 and 197). The
wedding, scheduled for August 1966, never took place. Lou ultimately
married former UK beauty queen Francesca Winfield, 29, at St. Edward
The Confessor's Church, Golders Green, London, in November 1971. Yes,
he's still married!
Supercharged with lush vocal textures and rich visual
imagery, "Make Summer Last Forever" allowed The Tammys to sparkle
breathtaking brilliance. 'Never ending No ending', they insisted.
Following Ritchie & The Runarounds' "Don'tcha
Backtrack" and the Colpix "Back Track", Lou issued "(Baby, I Wanna)
Back Track" on the 'Painter Of Hits' album (MGM). Shirley
Ellis covered the MGM "Back Track" (which borrowed lyrics from
"Outside The Gates Of Heaven") on Columbia album CS 9479, Cash Box 10
In October 1964, Lou Christie and The Tammys cut "Have I
Sinned" / "Pot Of Gold" (Colpix single CP-753, Billboard 31 October
1964; KNAK Salt Lake City #1 week of 30 November 1964, WCRO Johnstown,
PA #23 of 1964) and "Too Many Miles" with arranger Charles Calello.
Billboard on "Have I Sinned": 'Highly distinctive sound and
arrangement. High register vocal coupled with great dance beat and
effective teen lyrics. The little gals should go out of their skulls
with this offering'.
"Have I Sinned" opened with Lou asking the rhetorical
question while The Tammys provided a thrilling trumpet fanfare.
Painting a vivid backdrop for Lou's falsetto fireworks, the girls
kicked the song into overdrive with 'Shang Shang Du Langs'.
"Pot Of Gold", a romantic delight orchestrated in tones of
deep Gold and an unimaginably rich purple, quoted The Classics' 1960
recording "Tomorrow Will Come" (Alcar single 208 B, released 1963).
And the electrifying "Too Many Miles" ('Lou Christie
Strikes Again', Colpix album SCP-4001, Record World 19 February 1966),
even featured the artistry of future "Lightnin' Strikes" guitarist
Charles Calello later produced and arranged Lou Christie's
'Lightnin' Strikes' (MGM album E / SE 4360, Billboard 19 February 1966,
Cash Box #58), 'Painter Of Hits' and "Shake Hands And Walk Away Cryin'"
(Columbia single 4-44062, Billboard 18 March 1967, #95, WVOK
Birmingham, AL #5, backgrounds by Linda Jones, Amy Sacco and Kay Chick)
as well as various Lou singles, through the string arrangements on
"You're Gonna Make Love To Me" (Midland International single MB 10848,
Cash Box 11 December 1976).
Charles Calello also arranged Shirley Ellis' "Name Game"
(Congress single CG 230, recorded 12 November 1964, Billboard 28
November 1964, Pop #3, R&B #4), Frank Sinatra's 'Watertown'
(Reprise album FS 1031, Cash Box 28 March 1970) and Deborah Allen's
"Baby I Lied" (RCA single MHL1 8514, Billboard 13 August 1983, Country
#4, Pop #26, Adult Contemporary #10, two Grammy nominations), to name
but a few.
From 13 November to 6 December 1964, the Dick Clark Caravan
of Stars included Lou Christie, The Supremes, Brian Hyland, Johnny
Tillotson, The Crystals and Dee Dee Sharp. During the tour, Lou became
very close to Diana Ross (see "She Sold Me Magic", UK Buddah single
201073, January 1970, NME #24, Japan #7, Certified Gold, covered by
Elton John on RPM CD 142, October 1994).
But in early December 1964, the US Army (Reserves) drafted
Lou Christie. He even had to miss the final shows of the Dick Clark
tour at Chattanooga, Tennessee's Memorial Auditorium (3:30 and 8:00PM).
As Lou Christie endured Basic Training at Fort Knox,
Kentucky, Amy Sacco supervised The Tammys' NYC recording session 11
December 1964: "Hold Back The Light Of Dawn" / "Gypsy"
United Artists single UA 819, February 1965, Veep single V 1210,
Masters ZTSP 95464 / 95465, Monarch Pressing Delta Numbers 55616 /
55616X, Billboard review 27 March 1965).
Billboard on "Hold Back The Light Of Dawn": 'Powerful
production ballad with driving rhythm backing and strong vocal work.
Well produced by Jack Gold with all the sounds of a smash hit. Flip:
"Gypsy" (Red Balloon, BMI)'.
New York City's WABC All American Survey for the week ending 3 April
1965 listed "Hold Back The Light Of Dawn" as a Big Bonus track.
Composers Ernest Maresca ("Runaround Sue", "The Wanderer")
and Louis John Zeratao ("Party Girl", "Hey Dean, Hey Jean") had
registered "Hold Back The Light Of Dawn" with the Library Of Congress
on 18 November 1964. United Artists' Blue Balloon Music
registered the prophetic Christie-Herbert power ballad "Gypsy" on 15
The 11 December 1964 Tammys' session also yielded "Blue
Sixteen" / "His Actions Speak Louder Than Words" (Unreleased Veep
single V 1220, June 1965).
Shang A Lang A
Du Lang A
Lang A Lang A Du
I'm Blue as the Blue dress I'm wearin'
I can't believe you stopped carin'
Blue on my birthday 'cause we're apart
Lonely 'cause you broke my foolish heart
Yes I'm Blue
"Blue Sixteen" (registered 4 June 1965) was written by
Charlie Singleton ("Strangers In The Night", "Spanish Eyes"), Paul
Kaufman ("My Town, My Guy And Me", "Poetry In Motion") and Kay Rogers
(pseudonym of Edward Snyder, "Strangers In The Night", "What Will My
Mary Say"). Edward Snyder (b. 22 February 1919) had composed The
Tammys' "What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen" (registered 16 September
1963) with Larry Kusik ("Speak Softly, Love" from 'The Godfather'), J.
Babbitt (pseudonym of Barry Richards) and Peggy St. James [Art Baars].
Alan Lorber arranged The Tammys' Veep session. Known for
the groups Ultimate Spinach and Orpheus, Lorber worked with Lou
Christie on Renee And The Rhinestone Rambles' "Backstage With Renee"
(RCA single PB-10846, Record World 13 November 1976) and Free Beer's
"Queen Of The Purple Sage" (RCA single PB-10881, Cash Box 12 February
'The Tuneful Tammys Of Oil City' graced the cover of the
Sunday, 14 February 1965, Tri-City Times-News Foto Feature
Magazine. Inside, amid photos of Gretchen cooking and Cathy and Linda
dancing "The Jerk",
Fran Fry's two page article asked, 'What are The Tammys
really like? Starting with the leader, Gretchen is an extremely sincere
person and has such likes as gypsies, individualists and makeup. Her
hobbies include writing stories and horoscopes for fun. Her dislikes
are narrow-minded people and poverty. Her sister, Cathy, 18, is totally
different. She likes New York City, clothes and "classy people". Her
hobbies include hairdressing and dancing. Her dislikes are phonies,
Chinese food and prejudice. The youngest member of the trio is Linda
Jones. She favors cats, Italian food and dancing. She is quick to admit
she does not like school or "two-faced people". Linda claims horseback
riding and sewing as her hobbies'.
While Lou languished in the Army, Colpix released two
singles, deviously burying the Christie-Herbert / Tammys' tunes on 'B'
sides: "Why Did You Do It Baby" / "Make Summer Last Forever" (Colpix
single CP-770, Billboard ad 3 April 1965) and "A Teenager In Love" /
"Back Track" (Colpix single CP-778, Billboard 5 June 1965).
During the late Colpix (pre-MGM) period, Lou Christie
traveled on Dick Clark's Hitsville '65 tour with close friend Louise
Harrison Caldwell, sister of Beatle George
Harrison. Also on the bus: The Trade Winds, Reparata And The
Delrons, Round Robin and Gene Jones And The Impacts.
The Tammys effectively broke up when Cathie Owens married 28 August 1965. Only months earlier, on 27 March 1965, Cash Box had reviewed The Tammys' Hold Back The Light Of Dawn in glowing terms.
So Denise Ferri (b. 2 June 1944), Bernadette Carroll (Bernadette Catherine Dalia, b. 21 June 1945) and Margaret 'Peggy' Santiglia (b. 4 May 1944) magnificently executed the backgrounds on Lou Christie's Calello-produced MGM sessions.
Enthusiastically interacting with Lou, the trio sang three part harmony with Bernadette on high, Peggy middle and Denise low. Alternately, the girls sang or spoke in unison, forming one super-voice of unparalleled strength and flexibility. Notice the incomparable poodle yelps in Cryin' In The Streets and rhythmic cautionary throat clearing in Jungle ('Ah ah ah ah / Baby break free!').
Denise and Peggy had been members of The Delicates, recording for Tender, Unart, United Artists and Roulette. Bernadette had been one of The Starlets on Astro and a noteworthy solo artist on Julia, Cleopatra and Laurie (Party Girl). Denise supported Lou Christie on his Pepsi-Cola commercial ('Come Alive, You're In The Pepsi Generation'). Bernadette did the publisher's demo for Hold Back The Light Of Dawn. Peggy, having backed Lou on Roulette (How Many Teardrops) also sang with The Angels on Smash (My Boyfriend's Back).
The superbly crafted Lightnin' Strikes was the result of numerous re-writes and countless rehearsals. Two baritone saxophones (Joe Farrell and George Young) and a bass trombone (Ray DeSio) pulsed savagely with Buddy Saltzman on thundering drums, Stan Free on piano, Lou Morrow on bass guitar and Vinnie Bell, Charlie Macey and Ralph Casale on guitar. Casale's scorching six string bass guitar solo was the only over-dub. Referring to the distinctive piano opening, Calello explained, 'The introduction is the signature of the record'.
Hitting #1 in Billboard the week ending 19 February 1966 (Lou Christie's 23rd birthday), Lightnin' Strikes ruled the #1 position in virtually every US market at various times. Four weeks at #1 on WLS Chicago and WKNR Detroit! Three weeks at the top on WCFL Chicago and KDKA Pittsburgh!
In 1970, following the success of "I'm Gonna Make You Mine"
(UK Buddah single 201057, NME #2), Lou's UK Colpix album (PXL 551, NME
ad 1 April 1966, with "Merry-Go-Round" but not "Pot Of Gold") was
repackaged under the title 'This Is Lou Christie' (UK Marble Arch MAL
1213 and Australian Astor GGS 1218).
"Merry-Go-Round" saw re-release on 'Hitmakers' (UK Marble
Arch album MAL 1259, 1970). 'The Colpix-Dimension Story' (Rhino R2
71650, 25 March and 15 November 1994) showcased "Guitars And Bongos".
Today Gretchen Owens Wagner is a member of The Notre Dame
Folk Group. The Group has released five albums: 'For The Glory Of God'
(NDCD01, 1998), 'Sing! A Jubilee Of Praise' (NDCD02, 2000), 'A Gift Of
Song' (NDCD03, October 2002), 'A Celebration Of Thanksgiving: Music
For The Feast' (NDC04, September 2004) and 'Songs For Our Journey' (NDC05, August 2006). As Gretchen told the Herald in
March 2001, 'I'm surrounded by music. I still have the same energy and
passion. It's just channeled in a different way'.
Performing more than 100 live dates a year, Lou Christie
continues to show exciting new "Faces". His #12 Adult Contemporary hit
"Beyond The Blue Horizon" appeared in the films 'Rain Man'
Motion Picture Soundtrack', Capitol 91866, Billboard 4 March 1989,
#31), 'Dutch' and 'A Home Of Our Own'. Lou Christie songs were also
featured in the movies 'Strange Behavior', 'Wild Palms', 'Mondo
Trasho', 'Barcelona', 'Before Sunrise', 'Waiting For Guffman', 'Nick
And Jane' and 'The Last Days Of Disco'.
Lou's 'Pledging My Love' (Varese Vintage CD VSD-5839) tied
Bob Dylan's 'Time Out Of Mind' as Billboard's Most Impressive Comeback
TO KNOW AND TRADE:
In high school, Gretchen and Cathy participated in a group
identified as The Impressions. Billed as The Charnelles, Gretchen,
Cathy and Linda first publicly performed Saturday 31 March 1962 at the
First Annual Spring Talent Show at the Pleasantville, PA High School
Gym. Singing "The Glory Of Love" and the self-penned "Cathy, Baby", the
girls competed against an imposing field that boasted Rowenna Finefrook
(vocal solo) and Sandra Nicewonger (pantomime). In a cruel twist of
fate, The Charnelles lost to Youngsville, PA's Gyantwachia Indian
Early on, the girls were thrown out of Famoores' Restaurant
in Oil City for singing along with the jukebox. 'We'll be on that
jukebox someday', they vowed—and the promise came true with "Take Back
Christie-Herbert songs intended for The Tammys: "Cheaters
Never Win" (Watch out boys, bad news travels fast), "Silver Leaves",
"It's Snowing", and "Jimmy's Puppet".
Most Tammys' tunes were pure three-part harmony. Linda
Jones sang lead on "Take Back Your Ring" and did the spoken line in
"What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen". Cathy Owens sang lead on "Part
Of Growing Up", a tune partly derived from Lou Sacco's 1961 composition
"Shim La La".
The Tammys made many live appearances in Pennsylvania, Ohio
and New York, sometimes backed by the Johnny Jack Quintet. Over the
years, Lou Christie had many connections with Ricky / Gone artist
Johnny Jack (John A. Greco, d. 23 May 1997). Lou sang backup on Johnny
Jack's "Need You" (Ricky single R-212, Billboard 14 April 1962) and the
Johnny Jack-penned "Dancin' Place" by Betty Barnes (Bodway single
R-216, Billboard 18 August 1962).
The Tammys rocked the Lighthouse Club in New York City,
Joey Reynolds' TV show in Buffalo, NY, the Pin-Up Lounge and Red
Rooster Teen Age Night Club in Pittsburgh, the Twi Lite Lounge in
McKees Rocks, PA, the Elks Club in Franklin, PA, the Seneca, PA Fire
Hall, the Venango, PA Campus, the Arbeiters Club in Erie, PA, the Dutch
Pantry in Erie, St. Gregory's High School Thanksgiving Dance (Northeast
PA, 27 November 1964) as well as other appearances in Cleveland, Ohio
and Pittsburgh, Butler, Clarion, Greenville and Sharon, PA.
Royalty statements reveal substantial sales for "Take Back
Your Ring" and "Egyptian Shumba" in Canada and the Philippines.
Lou Christie created the stage name "Shannon" for Gretchen.
In early 1965, Gretchen worked as a secretary for a
Pennsylvania demolition team. The crew chief lived in Cleveland. After
lip-synching "Hold Back The Light Of Dawn" for Cleveland's 'Upbeat',
The Tammys hurried to the crew chief's home to watch the broadcast on
TV. In summer 1965, The Tammys played St. Eulalia's Parish Centre in
Coudersport, PA, spending the night in the Nuns' convent.
The Tammys' song: "Hold Back The Light Of Dawn" by The
Other Two (RCA single 47-8607 B, June 1965, UK RCA single 1465 B,
released 30 July 1965, NME 6 August 1965).
Not The Tammys' song: Carole Quinn's Calello-arranged
"What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen" (MGM single K-13265, Master
64-XY-647 assigned 8 June 1964) or Ronnie & The Relatives' "What's
So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen" (Colpix single CP 601, August 1961) aka
The Ronettes' "Sweet Sixteen" (Colpix album SCP 486, March 1965). Not
our Tammys on the 1963 Jubilee track "The Big Time" on 'Girls Will Be
Girls, Volume 1' (Westside CD WESM 600, 1999).
The Rubinoos / Psychotic Pineapple offshoot band Vox Pop
was almost named "The Shumbas". Tommy Dunbar: 'The first time I heard
that song I completely flipped. It's gotta be one of the wildest things
I've ever heard on record'.
The Tammys' "Egyptian Shumba" reverberated over the closing
credits of 'Return Of The Pharaohs' (Gonef G-5758), a video record of The Goblins' 24
October 1999 concert at Chicago's Oriental Institute. According to The
Goblins' Phantom Creeper, "'Egyptian Shumba" is easily the
song ever written about ancient Egypt. It sounds like a record that
might have been made if Phil Spector had swapped brains with Sun Ra for
The testimonials are justified. "Egyptian Shumba" is a
mesmerizing monument of mythic proportions. The energy! The urgency!
The pulsating primordial pounding! "Egyptian Shumba" begins with an
insane cobra clarinet leaping and licking. Then The Tammys chant,
'Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Shy-Yi Meece-E-Deece. Last night I dreamed I was
on the Nile...'
Last night I dreamed I was on the Nile
Dancing with you Egyptian style
Way down in Egypt land
The mummies took our hand
I'm gonna make that dream come real
I'm gonna dance the way I feel
Way down in Egypt land
The mummies took our hand
I heard the drum beats in my sleep OH!
And my heart started to beat OH!
I heard the drum beats in my sleep OH!
All Selections Written by LOU CHRISTIE and TWYLA HERBERT
except "What's So Sweet About Sixteen" by LARRY KUSIK, EDDIE SNYDER, J.
BABBITT and PEGGY ST. JAMES; "Hold Back The Light Of Dawn" by LOU
ZERATO and ERNEST MARESCA; "Blue Sixteen" by CHARLIE SINGLETON, KAY
ROGERS and PAUL KAUFMAN; "His Actions Speak Louder Than Words" by JAMES
"The Gypsy Cried", "Two Faces Have I", "Summer Snow"
Produced by NICK CENCI, Arranged by TY LEMLEY; "Outside The
Gates Of Heaven" Produced by NICK CENCI and BERT BERNS; "Guitars And Bongos", "Merry-Go-Round", "Make Summer
Last Forever", "Back Track", "Have I Sinned", "Pot Of Gold", "Too Many
Miles" Produced by WESLU PRODUCTIONS, Arranged by CHARLES CALELLO;
"Part Of Growing Up", "Take Back Your Ring", "Don'tcha Backtrack",
"Lost In The Crowd" Produced by JACK GOLD, Arranged by TEACHO
WILTSHIRE; "Egyptian Shumba", "What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen"
Produced by JACK GOLD, Arranged by GARRY SHERMAN; "Gypsy", "Hold Back
The Light Of Dawn", "Blue Sixteen", "His Actions Speak Louder Than
Words" Produced by JACK GOLD, Arranged by ALAN LORBER.
Mastered by Ian Shepherd,
Sound Recording Technology
PQ Processed on SADiE v3
CD Packaging by AC Design
01. THE GYPSY CRIED
~ C and C single 102 B and Roulette single R-4457 B, recorded September
1962, released October 1962
02. TWO FACES HAVE I
~ Roulette single R-4481, recorded and released February 1963
03. SUMMER SNOW
~ intended third Roulette single, recorded May 1963, released March
04. OUTSIDE THE GATES OF HEAVEN
~ Co & Ce single 235, recorded for Roulette January 1964, released
05. GUITARS AND BONGOS
(Mono Single Version)
~ Colpix single CP-735, recorded June 1964, released July 1964
~ Colpix single CP-735 B, recorded June 1964, released July 1964
07. MAKE SUMMER LAST FOREVER
~ Colpix single CP-770 B, recorded June 1964, released March 1965
08. BACK TRACK
~ Colpix single CP-778 B, recorded June 1964, released May 1965
09. HAVE I SINNED
~ Colpix single CP-753, recorded and released October 1964
10. POT OF GOLD
~ Colpix single CP-753 B, recorded and released October 1964
11. TOO MANY MILES
~ Colpix album cut, recorded October 1964, released February 1966
12. PART OF GROWING UP
~ United Artists single UA 632 B, recorded July 1963, released August
13. TAKE BACK YOUR RING
~ United Artists single UA 632, recorded July 1963, released August
RITCHIE & THE
(Kripp Johnson of The Del Vikings,
Lou Christie and
14. DON'TCHA BACKTRACK
~ Ascot single AS 2136 B, recorded July 1963, released August 1963
15. LOST IN THE CROWD
~ Ascot single AS 2136, recorded July 1963, released August 1963
16. EGYPTIAN SHUMBA
(Single Version in First-Time Stereo) 2:31
~ United Artists single UA 678, recorded November 1963,
released February 1964
17. WHAT'S SO SWEET
ABOUT SWEET SIXTEEN
~ United Artists single UA 678 B, recorded November 1963,
released February 1964
~ Veep single V 1210 B, recorded December 1964, released March 1965
19. HOLD BACK THE LIGHT OF DAWN
~ Veep single V 1210, recorded December 1964, released March 1965
20. BLUE SIXTEEN
~ recorded December 1964 (Previously Unreleased Veep single V 1220)
21. HIS ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
~ recorded December 1964 (Previously Unreleased Veep single V 1220)
22. EGYPTIAN SHUMBA
(Previously Unreleased Stereo Alternate Take)2:45
~ recorded November 1963
April 4, 2003
Lou Christie & The Tammys -- Egyptian Shumba: The Singles and Rare Recordings (RPM) is a 22-track falsetto feast, with female backing vocals of The Tammys, from the man who brought us the #1 Lightnin' Strikes in 1965. Many of the songs are released for the first time in stereo, and several are previously unreleased takes.
Blues News (Finland)
Full Page Review by Juhani Ritvanen
Detroit Metro Times
September 4, 2002
Lou Christie & The Tammys
The Singles and Rare Recordings
What I'd like to know is why Lou Christie shan't go
down in history as a rock genius? Because he didn't go
nutter like Brian Wilson or Phil Spector? His
productions were battier than both of ‘em put
together, simply because they were the invention of a
completely sane mind. Did Brian Wilson ever equate
misery with a song about Summer Snow? Did Spector
ever make Bobby Soxx and The Blue Jeans whoop like
Freddie Cannnon or snarl like the Knights Who Say Nit,
as Christie orders The Tammys to do on his "Outside
The Gates of Heaven"? Not a chance! Here's Lightnin'
Lou's greatness in perspective Springsteen makes two
references to early Christie hits on his excellent
Tunnel of Love album the best Wilson can manage is
one hommage every Eric Carmen album. And who's gonna
mention Spector with believable awe now that Joey
Ramone shuffled off project Earth?
If schizorock at its most frenetic means anything to
you, you'll want this import collection of Christie's
early Roulette sides plus selected works by the
greatest discovery since Velcro bra straps, The
Tammys. Hear young Lou and his gypsy lyricist Twyla
Herbert seizing all the divine inspiration the other
greats passed on, writing the ultimate song about Guitars and Bongos and turning the recording booth
into a confessional with Have I Sinned. It's on
these tracks that The Tammys' incorrigible background
vocals could be ignored no longer and Lou immediately
secured them a recording contract on United Artists.
Besides ra-tat-tatting like Gabriel at Jericho, they
put together syllables no human has ever joined in any
language like shoom a la la ooh or shimmy shimmy
shimmy- shy-yi-missin' ish! Lou furnished them with
two first-rate example of brat rock- Take Back Your
Ring (where Linda chastises her beau for giving her
bogus love) and Part Of Growing Up (where the Tammys
shout Grow Up like they're heckling the visiting
team). Linda, Gretchen and Cathy are so tough they
made The Shangri-Las look like something Louisa May
Allcott dreamed up--Linda the youngest Tammy actually
told a TV interviewer her boyfriend had perpetually
shredded lips on account of her braces.
Given to such bouts with candor, there was no other
choice but the brazen lip shreddin' Tammys to teach
the world to dance the Egyptian Shumba, 14 years
before Steve Martin went tut tut and 22 years before
the Bangles merely walked like Egyptians. When the
Tammys aren't bragging about holding hands with mummys
on the Nile, they insistently rapid-repeat the word dance a mind-numbing eighteen times, each time
accompanied by a head pounding drum. Their finest
moment, Egyptian Shumba was a local Top 15 hit in
Pittsburgh and a Top 30 in Cleveland, at a time when
the world was too busy with the British Invasion to
think Egyptian. Too bad, coz, when you get a song with
head splitting drums, a snake charmin' clarinet and
three girls barking on all fours like wolverines,
singing I wanna dance AAAHH! with the same urgency
supermodels purge desserts, well, rock can't get much
better without a kegger. Also, compiler Harry Young's
besotted liner notes are worth whatever Amazon's
charging for this CD. If it's possible to love Lou
Christie and the Tammys more than life itself, it's
Young's sarcophagus to bear.
~ SERENE DOMINIC
Lou Christie & The Tammys:
Egyptian Shumba (RPM)
Brilliant avant-garde, bizarre, falsetto music from an underrated super-producer / writer. People rarely think about how bizzaro falsetto singing can be, and the way it deals with absurdity and excess, and thus, Lou Christie is rarely looked at as a progressive artist. This CD should change that, and not just because Guitars And Bongos is so much fun. His work with his girl group protégées The Tammys is incredible, the title track alone qualifying them as one of the most amazing teenage freakout music acts ever. Singing like poodles, pixies and punk rockers, The Tammys' entire output (8 songs plus alternate takes and unreleased stuff) reveals some amazing music that captures the youthful, angsty, alive spirit of Pop Rock & Roll while invoking Sun Ra, Phil Spector, The Shangri-Las, Zappa, Mark Wirtz, Pac Man Fever and The Bobbettes. A crucial comp you must hear.
Where Y'At, New Orleans, LA
Volume 4, Issue 8
LOU CHRISTIE AND THE TAMMYS
The latest release from Britain's RPM label continues a staunch commitment in blazing a path to some of pop music's most soaring moments. First it was Johnny Adams' underrated SSS years and a trio of killer Timi Yuro releases, and now it's this fascinating pile of weirdness from Pittsburgh's shaman of the falsetto, the great Lou Christie.
Christie's first hits ignited the chart during that musical no man's land between Elvis' induction into the army and the explosion of the British Invasion, a time that “rock historians (an oxymoron if there ever was one) claim produced nothing of value. But we all know better than to believe a bunch of bitter old rolling Stone writers, now don't we?
With that in mind, kick back, pour yourself an ice cold Nehi and dig these echo-drenched tales of gypsies, the Nile and teenage tears. Split evenly between Lou and his backing group of chanting chanteuses, the Tammys, just about every emotion of teen angst is registered in songs like Two Faces Have I, Hold Back The Light Of Dawn and His Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Girl group melodrama to the max, the Tammys are a group for fans of the Shirelles, Chiffons and Shangri-Las, while Christie --who wrote their songs and produced them-- dwells in the same musical hemisphere of remote loneliness as Del Shannon and Roy Orbison.
For those who are still counting, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen have acknowledged musical debts to Lou by adapting segments of his songs into their own, so chew on that, rock experts. Meanwhile, those of us who take our music unsanctioned will want to grab this slice of brilliance before John Waters gets to town and decides to do his Christmas shopping early.
~ Dan Gilbert
Ugly Things #20
LOU CHRISTIE & THE TAMMYS
(RPM, UK CD)
The genius of the Tammys' Egyptian Shumba is unmistakable.
This batty bit of girl group Ancient Egyptian shoop shoop bop certainly made me curious to dig deeper into the Tammys' discography and there's decent specimens of girl group heartbreak to be found.
The liner notes are obviously the product of intensive research, packed with minutiae regarding the sessions, chart positions and the lasting impact of the mighty “Egyptian Shumba (culling quotes from Roctober, Todd Abramson and other refined tastemakers).
~ Michael Lucas
Garage & Beat!
Unifying Theory Of The Universe
There's an old saying; you can never be too thin or too rich or have too many Lou Christie records. I thought I was pretty much covered as far as early Lou recordings are concerned. Boy was I ever mistaken! There is a CD that came out in 2002 on RPM Records [Lou Christie & The Tammys: Egyptian Shumba: The Singles And Rare Recordings 1962-1964] that contains quite a few artifacts that are must haves for true fans. There are a few previously unreleased Christie gems amidst the seminal hits such as The Gypsy Cried and Two Faces Have I on the first half of this disc but, the most exciting material (mostly because I hadn't heard it yet) is by a group called the Tammys. Lou hung out with this ultra-cool chick trio when they were all teens. When he hit the big time, he remembered his homies. Along with his songwriting partner, Twyla Herbert (the mother of one of his gal pal peers), he came up with material for his friends and helped them in the studio. There is a whole raft of excellent and offbeat songs on this disc that push the girl group envelope to extremes. Think Shangri-Las, but even more twisted and way sillier. The title track, “Egyptian Shumba, is one of the wildest numbers I've ever heard.
~ P. Edwin Letcher
The Music Korner
Charleston, West Virginia
Lou Christie & The Tammys
The Singles and Rare Recordings 1962-1964
They called him 'the Pharaoh of the falsetto' and his piercing, nasal wail marked a pop vocal style that has generally become, like hieroglyphics, a 'lost art' since the decade ending in the mid-Sixties. This excellent overview of Christie's career contains not only singles and other recordings of the five-octave baritone, but also a half-dozen rare sides from his girl-group, The Tammys. Revisiting the sharp-edged harmonies, crisp and clean in some in their first stereo releases, is like handling a Stone Age hand axe and marveling at a forgotten talent that may never again emerge. (RPM) (4.5)
~ Tom "Tearaway" Schulte
Lou Christie & The Tammys
Egyptian Shumba –
The Singles And Rare Recordings
This album almost appears to be a Lou Christie release. After all, there's his name and face on the cover. The first two tracks are Lou's first two hits, and he wrote all but four of the 22 tracks. There is an alternate take of the hit “Two Faces Have I, and a cut unreleased in the 60s, Summer Snow.
But the question is, who are The Tammys? The truth is found in the title Egyptian Shumba, also the name of one of The Tammys' three hopelessly rare solo singles, to borrow a phrase from Harry Young's extensive liner notes. Mr. Young accurately describes The Tammys as “the prototypical alternative Girl Group of the 1960s as they “bark and strut with edgy harmonies and extreme emotions. Although they are unknown by name, The Tammys were heard doing many Lou Christie background vocals, including nine of the 11 Lou cuts on this CD.
There are also two great 1963 recordings credited to Ritchie And The Runarounds – actually Lou, Kripp Johnson of The Del Vikings, and The Tammys. These songs sound like typical Lou Christie tracks, but with soul.
Most important are the nine tracks of The Tammys on their own, including their three singles and two unreleased gems. These classic '63 girl-group cuts all are in stereo for the first time. Gretchen, Cathy, and Linda harmonize totally sans vibrato, and ironically, the unreleased tracks are perhaps their best.
Best, that is, except for the title track, “Egyptian Shumba. The trio really do bark, yell, and growl their way through this bit of insane dance wildness and just what IS a Shumba anyway?). Besides being in stereo, there is a section in the middle that was edited out on the mono 45. By comparison with this triumph, The Shangri-Las sound like schoolgirls.
And just when the excitement seems over, the CD closes with a previously unreleased, stereo alternate take of “Egyptian Shumba, which is even more animalistic than the 45 was. To think this girl-group jewel languished in the vaults for nearly 40 years!
~ Doc Rock
Lou Christie &
Twenty-two singles and rarities from under-celebrated '60s bubblegum crooner.
Christie was a maverick who always seemed out of time Lightinin' Strikes was a US surf / doo wop Number 1 in 1966 yet was other-worldly enough that it barely mattered. His work with girl group The Tammys, who backed him on most of his own records, should have hit the Zeitgeist face on but much of it remained unreleased. The three singles that came out in 63 and 64 bombed. Sonically they differ little from Lou's 45s, supercharged falsetto screamers or sweet harmony-coated ballads. Their rarest 45, Gypsy, is Girl Group at its best – one long, melancholy swoon. But pride of place goes to the title track, which starts Last night I dreamed I was on the Nile and descends into apocalyptic shrieking over a beach blanket beat. It's hard to tell if it's tongue-in-cheek or just a little unhinged. The clever money's on both.
~ Bob Stanley
March 24, 2002
Singles and Rare Recordings 1962-1964,"
Lou Christie & the Tammys (RPM)
By Wayne Bledsoe, News-Sentinel entertainment writer
In the early 1960s, Lou Christie was the most lovable of a pack of falsetto-voiced teen idols. During that time, Christie helped get his buddies, a female trio called the Tammys, down on wax, too.
Christie wrote a song for the group called "The Egyptian Shumba." It was 20 years ahead of its time. Heck, it may still be ahead of its time. Quite simply the Tammys' "Egyptian Shumba" sounds like a hyped-up B-52's - two decades before there was a B-52's. The song is a glorious, over-the-top dance song that could inspire a John Waters movie. With female hormones in overdrive, the Tammys scream, wheeze and shout at the song's nearly orgasmic finale in one of the wildest songs of the girl-group era.
The rest of this disc excavates vintage Christie performances (including the hits "The Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I"), along with several other more sedate Tammys numbers ("What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen" is a lovable weeper - "I never expected for a birthday present he'd give me a broken heart.")
These are campy classics, and "Egyptian Shumba" is a number that is truly essential.
March 15, 2002
Lou Christie's backup singers celebrated
CD ANTHOLOGY: Lou Christie and the Tammys
By DAVID SALLINGER, Daily News Entertainment Editor
Lou Christie came of age in Glenwillard, a section of Moon Twp. out near Greater Pittsburgh Airport.
It might be a bit much to suggest the whining of jet engines inspired his stratospheric falsetto, the one that made national hits out of "Lightning Strikes" and "Rhapsody in the Rain."
Although Christie's distinctive falsetto defined his sound, that was only part of the aural package.
From his first recordings as a member of groups like The Classics or Lugee and The Lions, through his earliest hits, "Two Faces Have I" and "The Gypsy Cried," Christie has been part of an harmonic collective.
Sure, his voice stands out as the lead, but listen to the background singers. That's where the hitmaking begins.
Lugee Sacco, as he was known to the nurse who filled out his birth record, was lucky to have a sister who could join in on harmony. What completed the picture was the entry of Oil City's Tammys, a trio of girls who, along with Amy Sacco, could wail.
They also were flexible enough to do what Christie's arrangements required, from basic doowop to barking.
The Tammys went on to join The Del Vikings' Kripp Johnson as Ritchie and The Runarounds, and, as themselves, put out a couple of hard-to-find singles.
The songs are easy to get now through the anthology, "Lou Christie & The Tammys: Egyptian Shumba."
The compendium of singles and unreleased material gives the girls their due. It argues strongly that, though lesser known than, say, the groups that worked with Phil Spector or at Motown (or even the Pixies Three), The Tammys deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.
Put together by Harry Young, president of the Lou Christie Fan Club, with assistance from Mon Valley musicologist Carl Janusek, the nearly two dozen tracks are accompanied by a detailed history with a number of photos of Lou, Gretchen, Cathy and Linda.
First half focuses on the headliner, with "Gypsy" and "Two Faces," along with "Outside the Gates of Heaven" and a number of lesser-remembered efforts.
As the Runarounds, the Tammys proved they were equally at home both in R&B ("Don'tcha Backtrack") and with ballads, like the keeper "Lost in the Crowd."
But the real reason for adding the retrospective to your collection is those songs that are pure Tammys.
"Take Back Your Ring," for example, is a teen dance classic. "What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen" is teen angst all the way.
Annette would have been proud to have cut "Gypsy" (not the one who cried), while the trio could sing the blues, as well, as we hear in "His Actions Speak Louder Than Words." "Blue Sixteen" lands in the same groove occupied by Neil Sedaka's "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen."
And the title track, "Egyptian Shumba" - you get both the version that came out on the United Artists label and an unreleased alternative try. If you thought The Bangles were the first to walk like an Egyptian, you'd be wrong by a couple of decades.
There are plenty of Lou Christie "best of" collections, but a study of The Tammys' place in his history has been long overdue. It makes everyone want to shumba on down to Pittsburgh ...
February 14, 2002
Christie fan resurrects music by girl trio, the Tammys
By Joe Pinchot, Herald Staff Writer
Harry Young never heard of the Tammys until years after the trio broke up in the late 1960s.
But once he discovered the girl group in his obsessive study of all things Lou Christie, he was hooked.
"From the first time I heard them, their harmonies had a special sound," he said.
Before Christie became a singing star, he was a friend of Tammys' singers Gretchen Wagner, her sister Cathy, and Linda Jones.
Riding Christie's coattails on their short shot at fame, the Tammys made in-roads on regional radio play lists, but failed to strike a national chord with singles such as "Take Back Your Ring," "Egyptian Shumba" and "Gypsy."
Calling their 45s obscure is kind, but Young has resurrected the music in greater sonic glory on the newly released compact disc "Egyptian Shumba."
English record label RPM released the CD in Britain Jan. 28, with Young as producer.
The CD liner notes, written by Young, are an exhaustive history of the group, its recordings, performances and radio play.
Young, founder of the Christie fan club, is convinced that the Tammys can still find an audience, led by the two-chord party ditty, "Egyptian Shumba."
"Everybody likes it immediately," said Young. "As soon as anybody gets to hear 'Egyptian Shumba,' that song is going to become insanely popular."
Record collectors in England have already shown an interest in the group. "There's an undercurrent of guys who specialize in girl groups," said Young, noting that an English magazine review of a Christie fan club newsletter featuring the Tammys spawned dozens of requests for copies.
"Their records are the kind that would produce a fanatical following, in a good way," said Young.
"Oldies dances are always sold out," said Ms. Wagner. "Why? Because people like to remember the healthier time of life, when people could trust people and we weren't so cynical. They want things the way they used to be."
The Tammys, whose members originally were from Venango County, recorded in 1963 and 1964, during the height of the girl-group craze. Their soprano-led harmonies had an "edge," Young said, and were not "syrupy sweet," as was the standard approach at the time.
With their sudden swoops and wild slides, the Tammys' sound is more akin to the modern-day sister group the Roches than to the Shirelles, the Supremes, the Marvelettes, the Crystals or the Ronettes.
"I've never heard anybody sound like the Tammys," Young said.
Ms. Wagner, who long ago abandoned the beehive hairdo all the Tammys sported, noted that the group was called a female version of the Innocents, the male group that had hits with "Honest I Do" and "Gee Whiz," and backed Kathy Young on "A Thousand Stars."
Like the Innocents, the Tammys did not record exclusively on their own. They sang backing vocals on a slew of Christie's mid-'60s releases, and made up Ritchie & the Runarounds with Christie and lead singer Kripps Johnson, who sang with the Del Vikings on songs such as the doo wop classic "Come Go With Me."
The 22 numbers on the CD include Tammys songs, tunes they backed Christie on, two Ritchie & the Runarounds sides and, for good measure, three Christie songs the Tammys did not sing, including the mega-hits "The Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I."
Ms. Wagner said she is excited about the resurrection of Tammys music on today's technology. "I only have scratched copies of the old 45s," she said.
Young said he's discovered elements of the trio's vocal performances and their recording production values that did not come through on 45s. "The depth of these things, you don't get on the records. The vinyl couldn't express the big sound effectively."
Some of the songs are featured in stereo for the first time. Although Tammys music has appeared on bootlegs over the years, the master tapes probably had never been touched since the original 45s were pressed. EMI Records Ltd. owns the master tapes, and it took eight months of searching to find them, said Young, adding he believes they were stored in a warehouse in New Jersey.
Ms. Wagner is music and liturgy coordinator for Church of Notre Dame and a member of the Notre Dame Folk Group, which has released two CDs. She said she's looking forward to hearing "Blue Sixteen," one of two previously unreleased Tammys songs. She said she has never heard the finished recording.
Lou Christie & The Tammys
Egyptian Shumba --
The Singles And Rare Recordings 1962-1964
RPM 330 I 55.17 MINS
22-track compilation of falsetto king Lou Christie's compositions and collaborations.
It's not Christie's Greatest Hits, but for sheer kitsch value these Brill Building-type near misses from all-girl trio The Tammys and the Pharaoh Of Falsetto himself is hard to beat. Christie is best-remembered for the massive 1966 hit Lightnin' Strikes, but all the songs here pre-date that bona-fide classic and, unfortunately, only a few match it for quality. Even so, with teen-angst gems such as What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen or Hold Back The Light Of Dawn, The Tammys should have given the Shangri-La's a run for their money. Curiously, the acclaimed and highly collectible title-track is little more than a typical '60s novelty platter but those who appreciate a well-tuned "shooby do" or "shang-a-lang" will find much to savor.
(Star) (Star) (Star)
~ Johnny Black
March 26, 2002
LOU CHRISTIE AND THE TAMMYS,
THE SINGLES AND RARE RECORDINGS, 1962-1964" (RPM RECORDINGS)
BY BRAD HUNDT
It can now be revealed! Yoko Ono was a member of the Tammys!
You would think that was the case while listening to "Egyptian Shumba," a single the Oil City girl group recorded in November 1963. The seagull shrieks in the background are very reminiscent of Ms. Lennon's 1970s work, and they add a pleasing note of quirkiness to otherwise by-the-book girl group sha-la-la-ing.
The Tammys' brief career was spent under the wing of Pittsburgh native Lou Christie, and this compilation produced by Christie buff Harry Young brings together some of the music each of them made in the early 1960s. Freshly remastered, all 22 tracks sound good, but they're not going to make a convert out of anyone who isn't already a fan.
Two of Christie's big hits, "The Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I" are represented here. "Have I Sinned?" is the best cut, employing an elegant piano intro that would have done Brian Wilson proud.
Young's liner notes are comprehensive, but he doesn't pull them together in a way that makes the information compelling. The trainspotting that's included (do you really want to know the dates when these songs were registered for a copyright?) will interest only the most doggedly devout.
April 18 - 24, 2002
Lou Christie and the Tammys
Egyptian Shumba Singles and Rare Recordings 1962-1964
Lou Christie will forever be known for his three '60s hits, "Two Faces Have I," "The Gypsy Cried" and especially the wildly horny "Lightnin' Strikes," a falsetto-spiked apology to one's beloved for one's seemingly complete inability to keep it in one's pants. That 1966 classic isn't included here, but the first two are, with 20 other lesser-known tracks that show that Christie (along with his female vocal trio the Tammys, whose piercing harmonies were a huge part of what made Christie's sound so unique) was the missing link between the east coast cool of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and the California glamour and sophistication of Phil Spector and Gene Pitney. Christie was a rarity in the early '60s, in that he and his songwriting partner, Twila Herbert, wrote all of his own material. The songs can be a little hit or miss (workaday teen singles like "Part of Growing Up" and "Take Back Your Ring" sound as if they were written according to schematics). But at their best, Lou Christie's singles had one special ingredient that made them unforgettable: a creepy sense of paranoia unmatched by anyone except Roy Orbison's more disturbed ballads. Never quite hidden in the otherwise upbeat surroundings of songs like "Outside the Gates of Heaven," "Lost in the Crowd" and "Make Summer Last Forever" is a bizarre internal world racked with guilt, sadness and other turbulent emotions; it's like a Gidget film directed by Ingmar Bergman. The gorgeous "Summer Snow" is a particular highlight, as is the vaguely cheesy cash-in on the collegiate folk scene, "Guitars and Bongos." The best songs here are unlike anything anyone else was doing at the time.
~ Stewart Mason
Lou Christie & The Tammys:
Amazing, and not only for Lou Christie's voice and tunes (not forgetting of course co-writer Twyla Herbert) but also for the outstanding Tammys tracks without Lou. I wonder if the B52's ever covered the gals' "Egyptian Shumba" live? Maybe that's where they got the Mesopotamia idea!
Included here are Lou's smash hits "The Gypsy Cried," "Two Faces Have I," the incredible, mind-bending "Have I Sinned," the southern hemisphere smash "Guitars and Bongos" and others so awesome I sat speechless as the Tammys "du-langed" my heart and Lou's vocals soared ever skyward. Christie is one of the great rock'n'roll artists and this set is a true must have for fans of classic 60s and Girl Group sounds. (22 tracks. 55:17 playing time.)
June 28, 2002
Pittsburgh falsetto specialist Lou Christie's early catalog gets a thorough going over on British RPM's 'Egyptian Shumba: The Singles And Rare Recordings 1962-1964.' Along with 11 high-flying Christie pop excursions including his Roulette hits "The Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I," the import sports nine sides by The Tammys, his teenaged girl-group proteges. Their title track -- here in both its issued United Artists version and an unreleased alternate -- is an exotic delight. Two tracks by Ritchie & The Runarounds that were co-penned by Christie and Twyla Herbert are also aboard (Dell-Vikings lead Kripp Johnson fronted The Runarounds). (Unit 17 Elysium Gate West, 126-128 New King's Rd., London SW6 4LZ, England)
~ Bill Dahl
February 22, 2002
...Due Jan. 29 from RPM Records is Lou Christie & The Tammys: Egyptian Shumba: The Singles And Rare Recordings 1962-1964, a 22-track history of Christie's early output, including two cuts by Ritchie & The Runarounds, with alternate and unreleased takes in Stereo and Mono...
Egyptian Shumba: Singles and Rarities 1962 - 1965 from Lou Christie and the Tammys gathers material in their first-ever comprehensive compilation.
Cool And Strange Music #25
Lou Christie & The Tammys
The Singles And Rare Recordings 1962-1964
Lou Christie, songwriter and high-powered vocalist, scored two quick smashes with "The Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I" in late 1962 and early 1963. His stratospheric voice combined with curious songs, made him a standout in the late pre-Beatleian era of pop music.
"Gypsy" and "Faces" are here, along with other songs that shoulda-been hits. 1964's "Guitars And Bongos," with its manic 12-strings (played in part by Vinnie Bell), is a surf-meets-the-Beatles super pop gem. Two stunning ballads, "Make Summer Last Forever" and "Pot Of Gold," didn't fare too well in the beat-y pop market of '64 and '65. their lush moods and rich harmonies reveal Christie as the B-movie Brian Wilson of early rock music.
Then there's his backup group, The Tammys. Lordy, lordy. Their aggressive, high-pitched trio harmonies suggest The Andrews Sisters on several recreational drugs. The title track, recorded in late '63, is a spaz-pop freak-fest. Insane doo-wop verbiage clashes with stylized screaming, a sinister clarinet, and a production that sounds like Phil Spector conducting an orchestra of defective home appliances. (This is a good thing, I assure you!)
The Tammys' eight tracks, plus an intriguing alternate take of "Egyptian Shumba," make this CD a schizophrenic experience, but one that any devotee of wild early pop will savor. RPM has done their usual superlative job in both sound and presentation. (RPM c/o Cherry Red Records, Unit 17, Elysium Gate West, 126-128 New King's Road, London UK, SW6 4LZ; www.cherryred.co.uk)
~ Marvin D. Marsden
Come Go With Me:
The Best Of The Del Vikings
The Dot / ABC Recordings
(Hip-O MCA CD 40059,
June 17, 1997) :
CD Track 8: I'LL NEVER STOP CRYING (written by Twyla Herbert)
Copyright Twyla Herbert June 20, 1960, released March 1961 ABC 10208 B;
Arranged & Conducted by Chuck Sagle; Billboard review April
3, 1961: "*** The tune is a slow ballad with an effective lead job.
Incidental comments from the bass a la the Ink Spots, add interest.
(Saratoga, BMI) (2:15)." ; Billboard ad April 17, 1961 (same
week as Lugee & the Lions' Robbee 45 review); Billboard
peak #101; Cash Box peak #66; Mono on CD.
Del Vikings' CD Track 11:
KISS ME (written by Twyla Herbert)
Copyright Twyla Herbert June 21, 1960, released November 1961 ABC 10278
B, Arranged & Conducted by Chuck Sagle
Billboard review November 27, 1961: "*** A ballad pleader
with the lead giving a fervent, urgent quality. Side may have a chance.
(Saratoga, BMI) (1:54)." ; Mono on CD.
Not on Del Vikings' CD (?!):
TOO MANY MILES
(absolute masterpiece written by Twyla Herbert)
Copyright Twyla Herbert November 20, 1962 released March 1963 ABC 10425
B, Arranged & Conducted by Richard Wolfe.
4286 I'll Never Stop Crying
Krip Johnson (this spelling) Credited As Composer On 45 Label
4287 Bring Back Your Heart
~ ABC 10208, BB rvw Apr 3, 1961
Arranged & Conducted by Chuck Sagle
4312 Kiss Me
R. Lee (Ritzy Lee, member of the Del Vikings on Alpine, Gateway and ABC
Paramount) Credited As Composer On 45 Label
~ ABC 10278, BB rvw Nov 27, 1961
4313 Sorcerer's Apprentice
~ ABC 10425, Mar 1963, no BB rvw
Arranged & Conducted by Chuck Sagle
10437 Face The Music
~ ABC 10278, BB rvw Nov 27, 1961
10438 One More River To Cross
~ ABC 10304, BB rvw Mar 3, 1962
10439 I Hear Bells (Wedding Bells) (STEREO on CD)
Arranged & Conducted by Chuck Sagle
10440 Don't Get Slick On Me (Not On CD)
~ ABC 10248, BB rvw Sept 18, 1961
10729 The Big Silence
~ ABC 10304, BB rvw Mar 3, 1962
10730 Confession Of Love
10731 Kilimanjaro (Not On CD)
~ ABC 10341, BB rvw Jun 23, 1962
Arranged & Conducted by Chuck Sagle
11177 Too Many Miles (Not On CD)
~ ABC 10425, Mar 1963, no BB rvw
11178 An Angel Up In Heaven
11780 The Fishing Chant (Not On CD)
~ ABC 10385, BB rvw Dec 15, 1962
Arranged & Conducted by Richard Wolfe.
See Carl Janusek's
THE DEL(L) VIKINGS: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
in Echoes Of The Past #s 42 & 43 (1997 / 1998)
Del-Vikings Founder Dies at 57
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) Corinthian "Kripp" Johnson, the founder of
the 1950s doo-wop quartet the Del-Vikings, has died of cancer. He was
57. Johnson died Friday at his home, said band member Ritzy Lee.
Johnson founded the Del-Vikings in 1955, the first racially
integrated rock 'n' roll group. The four were best known for the hits
"Come Go With Me" and "Whispering Bells."
Lee said the cancer hit Johnson hard in the last few months.
"He knew it was coming because he was very weak," Lee said. "I
was lucky to have known him. I owe being in show business to him."
"He was a spiritual and religious man," said Mili Lilley,
manager of the group since 1985. "He was the heart and soul of the
group. He was loved by a lot of people and is certainly going to be
Elmer Hopper, lead vocalist with the Platters, visited Johnson
at a Detroit area hospital earlier this month. "So sad, so fast,"
"We worked so many shows with him," Hopper said, adding that
Johnson told him, "God was good to me. I had a wonderful life."
Johnson last performed with the band April 26 in Hollywood,
He is survived by his wife, Johnnie Mae, four sons and four
05/26/1997 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
JOHN A. GRECO SINGER-SONGWRITER FROM MT. OLIVER
JOHNNA A. PRO, POST-GAZETTE STAFF WRITER
In 1959, when he was just a teen-ager singing and dancing on a
Manchester street corner, John A. Greco announced that he was going to
New York to cut a record.
His family and friends believed in his talent.
Nonetheless, they were skeptical.
"He had no money. He had no ins. He had no agent, but by
golly, he did it," said his sister Tammy Coll of Mount Oliver.
By the time he got back to Manchester, Pittsburgher John Greco
was a bona fide singer-songwriter using the stage name Johnny Jack.
Mr. Greco, 57, of Mount Oliver, died Friday in Presbyterian
University Hospital of cancer, his sister said.
"He was very good looking, like an Elvis type. The girls loved
him. He was meant to be on stage," Coll said.
"Smack Madam," his first record, was followed by the "The
Wonderful World of Love" in 1961.
In 1962, his biggest hit, "Need You," reached 12th on the
charts of top records, followed by "The Beggar That Became a King."
When he wasn't recording his own songs, Mr. Greco was writing
songs for others.
With "Need You" still being talked about and played, Mr. Greco
penned "Comes Love" for the Skyliners, promoted as "the most beautiful
ballad to come along in years."
The year 1964 brought two more recordings, "Let's Have a
Party" and "Forever."
He also recorded two songs, "Got My Eyes on You" and "True
Lovers" under the name Johnny York.
By the end of the 60s, Mr. Greco - who had given himself 10
years to make it really big as a singer - was frustrated with
recording, and he returned to writing and producing.
In 1986, he returned to the stage for the first time in 17
years, singing at one of Pittsburgh's Roots of Rock and Roll shows.
Most recently he worked as a disc jockey at the station WXVX
Throughout his life, Mr. Greco had a following in Pittsburgh,
Ohio and West Virginia, and his work in the early days of rock 'n' roll
was honored recently by the Pittsburgh Oldies Record Collectors club.
"He was well loved in the Pittsburgh area," Coll said.
The Tammys' "Part Of Growing Up"
'Gems Volume II; Twenty Original Songs Of Teenage Romance'
(Portland, Maine, 1982)
"Take Back Your Ring" and "Part Of Growing Up"
'Untied Artists Doo-Wop Volume 3'
(UADW-0102, May 2003)
Ritchie And The Runarounds' "Lost In The Crowd"
(Track 01, Mono from vinyl) and
(Track 26, Mono from vinyl)
'The Best Of Ascot Records, Volume #2'
(ARCD 3666, 2004)
'Land Of 1,000 Dunces; Bug
Out Volume 3'
(Telstar-Candy CD and LP 007, June 1994)
The liner notes
'Genius thy name is Tammys! This sarcophagus stomper couldn't
have been any wilder if Joe Meek produced it'.
July 5, 2013
7" Stereo Vinyl Single
(Released February 1964) /
Harkit HRKS 8432, 500 Copies
October 7, 2013
7" Stereo Vinyl Single
Egyptian Shumba 2:17 /
Egyptian Shumba (Alt.) 2:40