Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jenny Take A Ride, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels (1966)

I recently came across an article from metrotimes, an alternative weekly in Detroit, entitled "The 100 greatest Detroit songs ever" and as I was perusing the cornucopia of delights therein, it put me in mind of one of the baddest garage bands ever to come out of the Motor City - Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

I probably would have loved growing up in Detroit - its music has a certain high-octane quality to it that makes you want to spend your life dancing. The first 23 frenzied seconds of Jenny Take A Ride ... its sheer euphoria factor can't be topped. A much-amped-up medley of Chuck Willis' C.C. Rider and Little Richard's Jenny, Jenny, the song was originally intended as a B-side. Plans quickly changed when their producer, Bob Crewe, who had discovered them opening for - and badly upstaging - the Dave Clark Five when they played Detroit, noted the reaction of the visiting Rolling Stones in the control room of the recording studio.

Why these guys are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is anybody's guess; Ted Nugent (also not in the Rock Hall) credits them as one of his seminal influences and Detroit Medley, a nod to this and other MR&DH hits, has been a frequent staple of Springsteen concerts.

A soulful teenager, Ryder (nee William Levise, Jr.) had fronted a black vocal group, the Peps, and those influences permeate this and every other hit he and the Wheels had. They were the first rock group to reach #1 on the R&B charts. As one reviewer notes, "If this one doesn't get you up and dancing then you are DEAD." To that I say, "Amen."


Bob said...

Nice blog...I love the oldies...promise to visit on a regular basis

allen said...

WIXY-1260 was the rock station in Cleveland, but if you wanted really great radio in the mid to late 1960's, you dialed down to "Radio 8, CKLW" coming to you from Windsor, Ontario, just across the river (over the border?) from Detroit. Rock, soul and everything in between. The best '60's rock station ever.