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May 2013 Archives

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(L to R) , Marvin Junior, Chuck Barksdale (top), Vern Allison, Mickey McGill, Johnny Carter (bottom right)--the remarkable Dells.

For much of today's listening audience, the Dells are a distant echo from some velvet canyon.

The doo-wop and soul quintet formed 60 years ago this year under the streetlights of south suburban Harvey. Their journey led them to a 2004 induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. They were inducted by actor-filmmaker Robert Townsend, who grew up on the West Side of Chicago and used the Dells as a template for his 1990 movie "The Five Heartbeats."

Dells lead singer Marvin Junior died Wednesday of kidney failure at his home in Harvey. He was 77 years old.
He was surrounded by friends and family, near and afar.

The Dells catalog included seven gold singles, three gold albums and 25 top 40 hits.......

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A moment Martin Atkins will never forget (Sun-Times photo by Andrew A. Nelles)

Life is a collection of unique moments.
A great kiss. A real last call. The first rock concert.

For many British musicians, the moment comes with the first bite of a Vienna pure beef Chicago hot dog. This rite of passage happens at Wrigleysville Dogs, 3730 N. Clark, across the street from the iconic Metro music club. Oasis dropped in at Wrigleysville several years ago. Former Public Image Ltd. and Nine Inch Nails drummer Martin Atkins, takes his English mates to the stand.
Atkins remembers the first moment he bit into a Wrigleysville dog.....

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When you set out to do a Kenny Rogers tribute, what era is your money shot?

There's the psychedelic beginnings of the First Edition where Kenny "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In)" as well as the compelling cover of Mel Tillis' "Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town." Then there's the best known Country Kenny.

Lastly, you have post-facelift Kenny where he looks like the Most Interesting Man in the World.
The great Neil Diamond tribute artist Denny Diamond dropped me a line to say his friend Marty Edwards will be performing his "Kinda Kenny" tribute to Kenny Rogers at 11:30 a.m. May 10th at White Fence Farm, 1376 Joliet Rd. (old Route 66) in Romeoville, Il. That is not a typo.
It is a Branson-like morning start.......

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You can find philosophy posted in the strangest places.
Earlier this week I was driving home on I-57 from Northern Mississippi. I began to feel tired as I approached Carbondale, Ill. I had been driving for six or seven hours.

The skies were cobalt blue and the temperature on my car dashboard read 73 degrees.
I pulled off into a rest stop. I took out my Michael Jordan beach blanket and laid down on the freshly mowed grass. A cool breeze washed across my face. I closed my eyes and thought of road trips into the sunset. I was lost in the moment.......

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Eddie Holstein, 1997 (Sun-Times photo)

Many friends who played an embryonic role in my cultural reporting have recently taken the long walk to the other side.
I'm starting to feel a little lonely.

And Chicago singer-songwriter Eddie Holstein, who was also my enabler at O'Rourke's tavern, was close to the edge. But I'm happy to report he took a lickin' and kept on tickin.'.
Here's part of a nice little e-mail I got last night from Eddie.....

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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