18 MONTROSE VOICE / REBRUARY 27, 1987
Put Another Dime in the oP Jukebox
Former Montrose Deejay Can't Get Enough Oldies
By Sheri Cohen Darbonne
The roots of contemporary rock and
Rhythm and Blues music trace all the
way back to the 1920's, with the black
jazz-blues sound of Bessie Smith paving
the way for the evolution, a former
Montrose disc jockey asserts.
Dennis McGinnis, who many
remember as the "oldies show" deejay
at Dirty Sally's, will proudly display his
research archives to those lucky enough
to visit his Greenway Plaza area apartment. Around 40,000 78, 45 and 33 rpm
discs fill a closet, a filing cabinet, and a
room literally jammed with standup
shelves in the phenomenal collection
amassed by McGinnis and his lover.
Russ Holland, over a period of at least
The two men, both of Harrisburg, Pa.,
met coincidentally in Houston, McGinnis said. They discovered, ironically,
that they both had been collecting
records for about the same time, and
that they both frequented the same
ghetto record store in the 1960's. They
did not meet until 1979, after both had
McGinnis said his own interest in
records began at the age of 14. He
recalled begging his father to take him
to a little record store in Harrisburg's
black district, called The Turntable, to
look for copies of "Da Doo Ron Ron" by
the Crystals and "The Locomotion" by
Little Eva. He befriended the shop's
owner, Martha, who fed his interest in
oldies and the R&B sound, and helped
him start his collection.
The collection includes some very valuable oddities, including a record by
Bessie Smith that McGinnis states is
one of only 10 in existence. It follows,
almost faultlessly, the development of
the modern popular sound from the 20's
to the current era. Tidbits of history,
unknown to most record fans, abound.
"This is the first Supremes album
everyone knows about," McGinnis said,
holding up the cover of the album. Meet
the Supremes. Then he pulled out
another cover with a different picture.
"But this is the first press, the original," he explained. The first record
came out in 1962; the second was
released in 1964 when a new public
interest in the group emerged, he added.
McGinnis went on to point out the difference in the Motown label logos on the
"This is the original logo, the Motown
car. It was only around a couple of
years," he noted.
McGinnis said his personal collection
is focused mostly on the black R&B and
early rock artists of the 50's and the
"girl group" sound of the 60's. The addition of Russ' collection, containing more
of the pop and rock music sounds of the
later trends, rounded out the range.
Together, they now have a priceless collection of a section of music industry
"Most people see the beginning of
rock as the 1960's turnaround, the Bill
Haley period. Actually, it was the
Rhythm and Blues era that began in the
40's that led up and fused into modern-
day rock and roll,' McGinnis commented.
The first true rock genre performer
was probably Little Richard, who
recorded "Tutti Frutti" in 1955, McGinnis said. Along the way, blues stars like
Louie Jordan. Big Joe Turner, B.B. King
and Howlin' Wolf were laying down distinctive sound patterns, picked up and
drawn on later by white performers.
The practice of "covering" emerged in
the 50's also, with white performers re-
releasing duplicate versions of records
by black performers, McGinnis said.
"Tutti Frutti" was covered by Pat
Boone, and his version, believe it or not,
sold almost as many copies as the original to the white market, he said.
And Bill Haley's hit, "Shake, Rattle
and Roll," was actually recorded first by
Joe Turner in 1954. Turner's record
enjoyed moderate success, but reached
nowhere near the sales logged by
Haley's 1956 version.
Probably around 1960, the "sh'bops"
began fading away, and the girl-group
sound promoted by producer Phil Spec-
tor rapidly gained popularity. McGinnis called this period, marked by artists
like the Crystals and the Ronettes, a
Just part of the McGinnis record collection
Dennis McGinnis with two of nis
Bessie Smith favorites
way they were heard "back then," with
the help of two recent acquisitions, a
1953 Wurlitzer "Magic Brain" two-
speed jukebox, and a 1957 AMI juke that
plays only 45's. McGinnis said he tries
to keep the Wurlitzer stocked almost
exclusively with 78's for memorabilia
purposes. McGinnis purchased both
machines in 1984.
McGinnis, who says he now acquires
records mainly through mail auctions,
oldie magazines and private traders,
said they are getting harder to find,
since home jukeboxes have gained popularity in recent years. Records that
once would have been available for one
or two dollars are selling for $25 and up,
"My usual motto is, if I can't steal it,
I'll wait it out," he said, although he
admits he once spent $250 for a single
This 1957 Wurlitzer jukebox plays both 78 and 45 rpm records
major area of his collecting. The sound
peaked with the rise of Motown, and the
appearance of groups like the Supremes
and Martha and the Vandellas.
Then, in the middle to late 60's, came
the so-called British invasion, when the
music industry did a 180-degree turn
with groups like the Beatles and the Rol-
ling Stones. Rock music actually
changed little from then until now,
although different stages or trends
"In '65 through '68, the Memphis
sound was big; then came the psychedelic era, and that led into what's
known as glam-rock," McGinnis said.
Visitors can take their pick ofthe periods they wish to re-live.
They also can listen to the sounds the
"It was one I had to have," he
And while he still attends record fairs
and conventions, McGinnis laments
that they aren't what they used to be.
Out of town traders aren't frequenting
the shows here the way they used to. he
"You can still find some good buys,
just not as many as before," he said,
adding that whenever he is in another
city, "I head straight for the record
His collection, McGinnis said, still
needs some special additions from his
"I'm looking for the first album by the
Chantels, with the original cover picture of the five girls," he said. That
album, like Meet the Supremes, was re-
released with another cover.
BOSTON (UPI)—While waiting for
that perfect wave, doctors say surfers
should beware of a previously unknown
"It's not a serious problem," said Dr.
Roderic H. Fabian, a neurologist at The
University of Texas Medical Branch in
Galveston. "But it can be bothersome."
Fabian said he discovered the affliction after two surfers complained of a
numbing, tingling sensation on the
inside of their knees. He questioned
other surfers and found at least three
more with similar complaints.
When Fabian tested the two surfers.
he found a nerve on the inside of their
knees—the saphenous nerve—was
Fabian determined the problem was
caused by pressure surfers commonly
put on the nerve when they squeeze
their legs while sitting on their boards
in the water waiting for a wave.
He advised the two surfers to avoid
such pressure, and the loss of sensation
disappeared after a few weeks, Fabian
ATLANTA (UPI)—Georgia's House
passed a bill to pull the beverage
licenses of bars that feature nude
dancers after the bill's sponsor threatened to dance naked so members could
"see how disgusting it is."
The bill submitted by Rep. Luther Colbert, R-Roswell, passed the House 145-
11 Wednesday despite pleas by Rep.
Billy McKinney,D-Atlanta, to delay the
measure until after the 1988 Democratic
"We're about to have the Democratic
National Convention," McKinney
reminded lawmakers, "and you're talking about a conventioner's major means
The House Rules Committee moved
quickly to put the bill on the day's
agenda after Colbert threatened to
dance nude before them.
"Then you'll see how disgusting it is,"