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Who Was Billy Sha-Rae ?


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Some of the items above are true, but to clarify a few, a) Eddie Parker and Billy Sha-Rae are two different people; b) Billy never produced Eddie Parker; c)the Soul Congress Band was phenomenal and d)

  I think Billy Sha-Rae has rather lived in the shadow of Eddie Parker and September Jones as far as the rare soul scene goes.   If you listen to his version of Crying Clown, I

Hope this is not too far off topic.Was out Saturday night,and someone played "Do it"- Billy Sha-rae. Blew the walls down.

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Posted (edited)

Dave,

         I found this bit of info that makes mention of Billy and his origins 'on the net' ............

In 1965, the Arondies, teens from Clairton, sold 10,000 copies -- which today would still be pretty major numbers -- of an instrumental classic, "69," a record that Get Hip archivist Baran likes to call our town's "Bolero." "Everybody learned to play guitar to '69,'" he says. "If you wanted to play it simply, you didn't have to even have a tuned guitar. You could keep it on one string." Although the original three-man lineup, as captured on "69," would go its separate ways before the year was out, the song remains a local cult hit on the underground, as resurrected in the '80s by the Cynics, whose Gregg Kostelich in 1999 released the first Arondies CD on Get Hip. At times, the music -- cut in sessions dating from November 1964 to a radio appearance on McKeesport's WMCK in '65 -- takes on the primal feel of something the Arondies might have played in Hamburg while sharing a bill with the Beatles. But they never made it to the Reeperbahn. Instead, they worked the local circuit from the Juliot Hotel in Clairton to the Sigma Nu fraternity -- immortalized (for those who knew the band) in "Sigma Nu" -- to the Clairton VFW, where they packed the joint, especially during football season. As drummer Bill Scully recalls, with a grin, "We were big celebrities -- in Clairton."

After cutting "69," the Arondies started working with a local DJ/show promoter/all-around Svengali Terry Lee, who'd already discovered the Larks, whose name he changed, in honor of his own profession, to the Dee-Jays. While Terry and Porky were spinning the record, other stations balked at the idea of a song called "69."

"My uncle Al McDowell was at KDKA at the time," says Scully, "so my aunt and uncle took the record to Clark Race and asked if he would play it. So Clark is listenin', and it's got this nice sound, and we say '69,' and he says, ' can't play this.' My aunt didn't know."

A month after making a splash with "69," they split with Lee in a royalty dispute. Then, Scully quit and the other Arondies formed the Soul Congress, featuring Uniontown soul artist Billy Sha-Rae. Eventually, the Congress moved to Detroit, where it played on sessions by such artists as the O'Jays, and in '71, scored a minor R&B hit with "Do It."

 

So Billy was originally from Uniontown, a small place about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh. I'm sure I have some club ads somewhere here for gigs he did back in the day in Pittsburgh. I seem to recall it was his local club profile that landed him the lead singer's role with Soul Congress.

Edited by Roburt
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SO, he was from Uniontown, Pennsylvania.  I knew that he was from The NorthEast, as his earliest records were on labels located in the Mid-Atlantic states (not related in any way to Detroit).

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Posted (edited)

Yep, I knew I'd done some research on Billy a few years back (2008).

As Robb just said, Billy was recording from the early 60's.

He cut for Greensburgh (Pa) based Bay-Uke Records, owned by song writer and music publisher Matt Furin.   
Billy Sha-Rae was the main artist on the Bay-Uke label. He had 4 singles released out of the first five releases on the label.
Greensburgh is just north of Uniontown, to the east of Pittsburgh.
As Teacho Wilshire was involved with his early recording work, does that make it likely that he actually recorded his tracks up in the New York area ?

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Edited by Roburt
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Pittsburgh (like Baltimore, Washington & the like) had a thriving soul club scene back in the 60's / 70's.

This local success for club acts encouraged local entrepreneurs to put up the money to get some of them in the recording studios.

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Another pic of him I once uploaded to artists gallery

 

 

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So - off the top of my head - his Detroit recordings (not necessarily labels) are on Triple B, Spectrum, Hour Glass.

 

Non-Detroit ones are Bay-Uke, Crosley ...

 

Any more?

 

Cheers

 

Richard

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"Let's Do It Again / I'm Gone" was issued in France on Disques Vogue ..... PLUS ....

"Do It" was put out here on Action and reissued in the US on Laurie (Double Gold) in the late 70's (c/w Bobby Hebb's "Sunny").

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So - off the top of my head - his Detroit recordings (not necessarily labels) are on Triple B, Spectrum, Hour Glass.

 

Non-Detroit ones are Bay-Uke, Crosley ...

 

Any more?

 

Cheers

 

Richard

Pitfall on Rapid?

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Posted (edited)

This page is supposed to detail the major players on the Pittsburgh R&B scene ..... but poor old Billy doesn't even get a mention .....

https://sites.google.com/site/pittsburghmusichistory/pittsburgh-music-story/r-b--funk

 

I always associated Wild Cherry more with Ohio & Cleveland, but it seems that they were a major force on the Pittsburgh club scene in the 70's .....

https://sites.google.com/site/pittsburghmusichistory/pittsburgh-music-story/r-b--funk/wild-cherry

Edited by Roburt
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Getting off topic now .....

..... but I wonder why Soul Congress & Billy Sha-Rae never just motored across to Philly to advance their career like most other Pittsburgh (& Baltimore) artists did ??

It never did the Jaggerz any harm, below they are pictured in Philly with Dee Dee Sharp in 1967 ........

MIND YOU on their web site, the group go with a bit of' poetic license' with their facts .......... QUOTE .........

In 1968, Gamble Records of Philadelphia signed the band to their first recording contract ..... Other artists with Gamble Records at the time were, Jerry Butler, Dusty Springfield, The Intruders, Soul Survivor's, The O'Jays and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes with Teddy Pendergrass.

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Edited by Roburt
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Posted (edited)

Thanx for the above.

I guess he is still alive going from what is said there.

William Daniel Wilson Jr born in Brooklyn in May 1938 (so he'd be 75 years old now).

Moved to Pennsylvania and initially went by the stage name of Billy Wilson.

Edited by Roburt
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Great info coming out here, such an underrated artist , IMO,

As a side not , years ago I got Billy's version of am gone of a deler, think it was notts pallis, not 100% sure, but he told me billy was in fact Eddie Parker, !! Belived him as well well I was only 17 lol

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Posted (edited)

Great info coming out here, such an underrated artist , IMO,

As a side not , years ago I got Billy's version of am gone of a deler, think it was notts pallis, not 100% sure, but he told me billy was in fact Eddie Parker, !! Belived him as well well I was only 17 lol

 

I think Billy Sha-Rae has rather lived in the shadow of Eddie Parker and September Jones as far as the rare soul scene goes.

 

If you listen to his version of Crying Clown, I'm Gone, and Do It (I'm Coming Home) with fresh ears, he is a great vocalist - especially on Do It  :thumbsup:

 

Turn up the volume!!

 

Cheers

 

Richard

 

 

 

http://youtu.be/SCtFOiTrH6Y

Edited by Premium Stuff
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Posted (edited)

Had an e-mail reply back from Billy's son, Billee D Wilson.

He says his father is still around and used to work at radio station WVOL in Nashville.

Hoping I can get a bit more info on him from his son but Billee does say he will be doing another 'net broadcast' about his dad later this month.

Billy & Soul Congress quit Detroit in the mid 70's. The members of Soul Congress were Jimmy Pavlack, Gary Pittman, Tom, George & Dave.

They went on the road playing gigs and ended up settling in Nashville.

 

Billy became a DJ at WVOL. WVOL (1470 AM) was / is a radio station broadcasting out of the Nashville suburb of Berry Hill, Tennessee. The station was founded in 1951 as WSOK. WSOK's original format was rhythm & blues and gospel music. After a change in ownership in 1957, the call letters were changed to WVOL, but the station continued to play R&B then soul. Billy split from Soul Congress & got more into DJing and his day-job but he did play live gigs again with a new backing band.
Edited by Roburt
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Posted (edited)

Great info coming out here, such an underrated artist , IMO,

As a side not , years ago I got Billy's version of am gone of a deler, think it was notts pallis, not 100% sure, but he told me billy was in fact Eddie Parker, !! Belived him as well well I was only 17 lol 

 

 

I asked Kiddo that very question just the other month. I must admit I felt a bit silly, but he did say it was a good question - if ya don't know, why not ask aye? Glen Bellamy informed me that Billy did in fact do the producing for Eddie Parker, and I'm sure Glen could come up with more info, as he has met him........I of course relayed that 'well known fact' over the mike minutes later, after playing his version of Crying Clown :D .......what a record that - Just perfect to me, and as pointed out above, I think his version is actually better.

 

All the best,

 

Len :thumbsup: 

Edited by LEN
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I'm sure Lorraine Chandler could help fill in some of the details  :D

 

Cheers

 

Richard

Lorraine told me that they used Soul Congress as their studio band a lot. That was because they were such a tight outfit who could play so well.

Billy doesn't have good memories of working with Jack Ashford though. 

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Lorraine told me that they used Soul Congress as their studio band a lot. That was because they were such a tight outfit who could play so well.

 

 

Including of course on Eddie Parker's "Love You Baby"

 

Richard

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Yep, I knew I'd done some research on Billy a few years back (2008).

As Robb just said, Billy was recording from the early 60's.

He cut for Greensburgh (Pa) based Bay-Uke Records, owned by song writer and music publisher Matt Furin.   
Billy Sha-Rae was the main artist on the Bay-Uke label. He had 4 singles released out of the first five releases on the label.
Greensburgh is just north of Uniontown, to the east of Pittsburgh.
As Teacho Wilshire was involved with his early recording work, does that make it likely that he actually recorded his tracks up in the New York area ?

 

Wilshire most likely ran the session in New York.  But several 1960s New York producers and arrangers (including Wilshire) have been known to travel to Philadelphia and DC to run sessions. Dale Warren even commuted from DC to Detroit and back.   Sammy Lowe traveled as well.  Mike Terry from Detroit to Chicago (as did many others).

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I'm sure Lorraine Chandler could help fill in some of the details  :D

 

Cheers

 

Richard

 

 

Where did Johnny Griffith on Triple B  fit into all this.

 

Kegsy

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Where did Johnny Griffith on Triple B  fit into all this.

 

Kegsy

 

 

Presume you mean his version of Do It, with the Billy Sha Rae Band ?? prefer that version myself.

believe he was one of The Funk Brothers early on.

 

Jack Ashford must have rated Billy though.

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Pitfall on Rapid?

Yes, his version of "Pitfall" was released on RAPID.

The label has an address in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.

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Posted (edited)

 Some of the items above are true, but to clarify a few, a) Eddie Parker and Billy Sha-Rae are two different people; b) Billy never produced Eddie Parker; c)the Soul Congress Band was phenomenal and d) Billy Sha-Rae was one sweet and good-looking man!  I had to beat the women off with a club!  He sometime used me as a shield and almost got me killed (not literally)!  Billy loved his audience and had one heck of a show.  I'm glad he is getting some attention.

 

I spoke with Billy about a year ago and he sounded well.  He asked if I would speak to his son who is living here and of course, I said yes.  His son, when growing up was Billy's clone.  What a look-a-like.  And today, he is still clone-like him (it's the jaw line). 

 

Because I have not changed my number in 30 years, Pied Piper and Just Production artists are amazed when I answer the phone.  It is so good to hear from my fellow artists.  They were the highlight of my producing and writing years.  I wish I could hear from September Jones and Nancy Wilcox.  I hope they are well.

 

Anyway, I do not think I can add any more to this thread, except detail, but Billy can do that for himself.  His son Billee is doing his father well and Billee should be proud of his father.  If members of Soul Source want to find him, all you have to do is reach out and touch!

 

Lorraine

Edited by lorchand
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Lorraine - that is great info - thank you  :thumbsup:

 

I'm intrigued now about what happened to September Jones and Nancy Wilcox - does anyone on here know please - and were those their real names?

 

Cheers

 

Richard

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Lorraine - that is great info - thank you  :thumbsup:

 

I'm intrigued now about what happened to September Jones and Nancy Wilcox - does anyone on here know please - and were those their real names?

 

Cheers

 

Richard

 

Hi Richard,

 

I did not want to mix the threads, but September Jones is not her real name and for the life of me I cannot remember what it was.  Maybe if you contact Jack Ashford on Facebook (he has most of the artists' files) he can tell you.  Nancy Wilcox's name is her name.  I thought she was a native Detroiter and I put some feelers out a while back and received nothing in return.  Sorry.

 

Lorraine

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Hope this is not too far off topic.Was out Saturday night,and someone played "Do it"- Billy Sha-rae.

Blew the walls down.

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Posted

Hope this is not too far off topic.Was out Saturday night,and someone played "Do it"- Billy Sha-rae.

Blew the walls down.

 

KevH,

 

You are right on topic.  Everytime the record was played anywhere or when Billy did it in his shows, if you could, you got up and danced. 

 

I haven't heard the record for a while and I was glad when Richard posted it.  I cranked up those speakers and with my surround sound, I had this block rockin'! :yes:

 

Lorraine 

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Hope this is not too far off topic.Was out Saturday night,and someone played "Do it"- Billy Sha-rae.

Blew the walls down.

 

 

KevH,

 

You are right on topic.  Everytime the record was played anywhere or when Billy did it in his shows, if you could, you got up and danced. 

 

I haven't heard the record for a while and I was glad when Richard posted it.  I cranked up those speakers and with my surround sound, I had this block rockin'! :yes:

 

Lorraine 

 

 

Yes, bang on topic Kev  :thumbsup:

 

Great DJ choice too

 

Cheers

 

Richard

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Posted (edited)

I'M GONE ...... released on a maroon and a blue label,can anyone throw up any info please ?  

Edited by dancingcollector
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I'M GONE ...... released on a maroon and a blue label,can anyone throw up any info please ?  

 

There's another thread somewhere on this I'm sure.

 

Basically, maroon label is the first issue, the blue is a legitimate second issue and there is also a white demo, which we worked out was a demo of the maroon first issue.

 

Think it was concluded there is probably not a white demo of the blue issue if you get my drift.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers

 

Richard

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There's another thread somewhere on this I'm sure.

 

Basically, maroon label is the first issue, the blue is a legitimate second issue and there is also a white demo, which we worked out was a demo of the maroon first issue.

 

Think it was concluded there is probably not a white demo of the blue issue if you get my drift.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers

 

Richard

thanks,i have a maroon and a blue,I think the b side is pants BTW  :g:

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Do It & Crying Clown both get regular spins from me on nearly every night I play. Even done a beatmatched mix with Do It and September Jones a couple of times for a continuous groove-a-thon! Love the power in this man's voice.

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thanks,i have a maroon and a blue,I think the b side is pants BTW  :g:

 

What "Let's Do It Again" as YouTube posted above? It's not Northern, but wash your ears out mate  :lol:

 

Cheers

 

Richard

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Do It & Crying Clown both get regular spins from me on nearly every night I play. Even done a beatmatched mix with Do It and September Jones a couple of times for a continuous groove-a-thon! Love the power in this man's voice.

 

Respect!  :thumbsup:

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What "Let's Do It Again" as YouTube posted above? It's not Northern, but wash your ears out mate  :lol:

 

Cheers

 

Richard

Don't think my ears need a wash out  :lol: all about dancing to me and this tune (Let's do it again) would be a bit of a b*gger IMHO,however Do it is more the biz IMHO again  :yes: but what ho we all have different taste! but there's one thing that cannot be disputed is the man's brilliant voice  :thumbup:

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Do It & Crying Clown both get regular spins from me on nearly every night I play.

 

Me to :thumbsup: 

 

Len :thumbsup: 

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If anyone has got the live/playback footage of Billy Sha-Rae from when he appeared on TV show "The Lively Spot", I'd love to see it.

 

He is announced at 2:28 in this fantastic clip of the MC5 doing "The American Ruse":

 

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If anyone has got the live/playback footage of Billy Sha-Rae from when he appeared on TV show "The Lively Spot", I'd love to see it.

 

He is announced at 2:28 in this fantastic clip of the MC5 doing "The American Ruse":

 

 

MC5 followed by Anne Murray? What a strange mix!

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Posted (edited)

Got quite a few Pittsburgh club / show ads & so decided I'd look through them to see if there were any Billy Sha-rae shows amongst them.

Struck lucky: Billy seemed to be ever-present on live work in the Pittsburgh area clubs from the beginning of 1967 through to at least July 67.

Back then, he was usually to be found performing in venues such as the Sunset East (in Irwin, south east of Pittsburgh) and at the Las Vegas Club in Whiskey Gulch.

At the start of 1967, his band was named the Dynamites but he was soon performing all his live shows with the Soul Congress (I have no idea if these were two different outfits or if they just adopted a different name).

Lots of good live venues in the area back then, see show montage below -- all the ads shown date from the first half of 1967 except the one at the Hilton Hotel that was staged in October 67 (presumably after Billy & the Soul Congress had headed off to Detroit). Other local artists who feature include the Contrails, Bobby O Brown, the Captions, Chuck Corby, Gary Glenn, Georg(i)e Benson, Jimmy Beaumont, Soul Survivors (?), Cleveland Martin, Sonny Gilmore & more.

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Edited by Roburt
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I reckon its got to be Jim Pavlack of Soul Congress playing on Eddie Parker's Body Chains. Same guitar hook after the Wah Wah fill which is used in Do It. Anyone agree? Had the opportunity to play Do It out recently and it sounds just fantastic. Still looking for a copy of Body Chains at the right price.

 

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