Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
There was an endless array of music available in the mid 1960’s. There were bands that were part of the the British Invasion, groups from Motown, folk artists which translated into singer/songwriters and good old pop acts. There was also a group that was just pure soul rock and that was Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. Ryder, born William Levise, Jr., with his unbelievable ability to encompass blue eyed soul in his rough bellowing signature voice, is undoubtedly one of the best soul rock singers ever.
He started singing when he was a teenager, greatly influenced by his father, also a musician. He was the lead singer of two bands in high school and it was the second one that eventually became The Detroit Wheels: lead guitarist Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist Joe Kubert, bassist Earl Elliot and drummer Johnny Badanjek. Together they had several hits between 1964-1967 including “Jenny Take a Ride”, “Little Latin Lupe Lu”, “Sock It to Me, Baby!” and today’s song before Ryder left for a solo career. Unfortunately neither he nor the band achieved the success alone they did as a group. But together they were a force to be reckoned with.
Ryder also has the distinction of being the last person to ever sing with Otis Redding. The two men closed a local Cleveland TV show together with a performance of “Knock On Wood” on December 9, 1967. It was the next day that Redding, four members of his band, The Bar Kays & their valet died in a plane crash with the pilot.
I discovered Ryder through-who else, Bruce Springsteen-when I bought the “No Nukes” concert album in 1979 and heard his cover of what he named the “Detroit Medley”. It included parts of today’s pick plus two other songs, “C.C. Rider” & “Jenny Take A Ride” before seguing back to the first song to close it out. This performance, however, was not included in the movie as the powers that be chose three other Springsteen performances for the film: “The River”, “Thunder Road” & his cover of Gary U.S. Bonds’ 1961 hit, “Quarter To Three”. But because of Bruce I discovered Ryder & The Wheels which is yet another reason why I love The Boss.
“Wearin’ her perfume, Chanel No. 5
Got to be the finest thing alive
Walks real cool, catches everybody’s eye
Catch you too nervous and you can’t say hi“.
Mitch Ryder (center) with The Detroit Wheels circa 1964. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels: “Devil With A Blue Dress On/ Good Golly Miss Molly” ( 1966, “Devil With A Blue Dress” written by Frederick “Shorty Long and William “Mickey” Stevenson circa 1964 and “Good Golly” written by John Marascalco and Robert “Bump” Blackwell circa 1955).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how am coping with you.