A Bit Like You And Me Radio

June 07, 2013

The Nightcrawlers - Sally in Our Alley (1966)

Having previously written about this band, you may want to check out our previous post, The Nightcrawlers - The Little Black Egg (1965), which featured the band’s most famous song, “The Little Black Egg.” It’s also a topic in the story given to us by Sylvan Wells below, so you may want to visit that page and give the song a listen if you’re unfamiliar with it.

Today’s song, as heard below Sylvan’s story, was released on the band’s compilation album, titled The Little Black Egg after their hit song, and released in the year 2000. The compilation is largely made up of songs from the band's only full-length album, The Little Black Egg (1967), and the singles released by the band. I'm not certain, but I don't believe this song was ever released as a single or on their sole album. I believe it was first released to the public on the 2000 compilation album, despite having been presumably recorded in 1966.



A Special Edition post with Sylvan Wells of The Nightcrawlers!

I was fortunate enough to recently make contact with Sylvan Wells, one of the original members of The Nightcrawlers. Sylvan was kind enough to take the time away from his latest endeavor, making guitars, to share a very interesting story from his time with his band.
A Bit Like You And Me and readers,

I thought I would share with you a story that I fondly remember most of all in my days with The Nightcrawlers. All of us went to high school in Daytona Beach, Florida. At the time we started, we had no idea that Daytona Beach was becoming a hotbed for musical talent. We were all just high school friends who decided to start a band in late 1964 while we all went to the local Junior College. The original Nightcrawlers were Rob Rouse, Pete Thomason, Tom Ruger, Chuck Conlon, and Sylvan Wells; and our manager was Mike Stone. All the members are still great friends to this day. That, in itself, is pretty amazing!

There was only one other band in the town then and they became our friendly, but serious competition. They were much better musicians than we were, but we were writing our own material, largely because we were not good enough to learn to play most of the material on the radio. We were friends, but rivals. I learned a lot (and needed it) from their very sharing, lead guitar player.

But, we got lucky first and secured a regular Saturday night job from September of that year, 1964, until just past Easter of 1965. Playing every week at a guaranteed place and with a huge crowd forced us to keep writing better material and performing better and better. We had fun, but we also got good.

At the same time, on the other side of town, the other band played sporadically at another recreation center. Often, when we finished our job, we would go see them play. But the entire crowd was always at our place. The other band just couldn’t get anyone (but other musicians) to come see them.

In any event, our two bands were invited to open for The Beach Boys at our local ball park the Saturday night before Easter (1965). This was a big deal to us; our first chance to play with a major act. That Saturday afternoon, both Daytona Beach bands set up their equipment on opposite sides of the main stage. We laughed and nervously joked around most of the afternoon. We ultimately decided, together, that we would end our respective openings with both bands taking their respective stages and alternating verses to Ray Charles’ “What I Say.” It was going to be fun!

In the meantime, we had written a catchy guitar lick for a song that our lyricist and singer, Chuck Conlon, was told to make about Easter. We would introduce it that night as being written specially for the Easter concert. He came up with lyrics for “The Little Black Egg.” The lyrics had absolutely nothing to do with Easter (or anything else for that matter). Collectively, the band did not think much of the song; rather, we figured it would be a throwaway just for The Beach Boys' Easter concert.

That night we were introduced and played for the first time “The Little Black Egg.” The crowd loved it! To say we were shocked would have been an understatement! In spite of our ambivalence for the song, it became the band’s signature. We had other singles, but nothing approached [the success of] “The Little Black Egg.” And the song has had enormous staying power. There are countless YouTube videos of people performing it. As I write this almost forty-eight years later, “The Little Black Egg” has been covered by over thirty groups, including Tommy James, The Music Explosion, The Cars, and countless others (including one cover in Mandarin Chinese!). We certainly never expected it!

Oh, the other band that opened with us that night? Back then they were called The Escorts (Maynard Portwood, Van Harrison, and Gregg and Duane Allman). You know them today as The Allman Brothers Band.

Sylvan Wells

Please take a look at the guitars I make for musicians today! See www.WellsGuitars.com and www.BayStateGuitar.com for more information!

Wow! Did you see that coming? I was hoping that The Nightcrawlers' friendly local rivals were somebody famous, but I didn't expect to hear that it was Duane and Gregg Allman. How cool is that? Many, many thanks to Sylvan for his generosity and time sharing this great story.

There's a documentary about the band called Cracking the Egg: The Untold Story of The Nightcrawlers, but I can't seem to find a trustworthy website that sells it. If you're interested, you may want to search the web looking for it. In the meantime, I'll keep from posting any links until a reliable source can provide a trustworthy link toward purchasing the documentary.

To visit Sylvan Wells' websites about making guitars, be sure to visit www.WellsGuitars.com and www.BayStateGuitar.com.

And now that you've enjoyed this exclusive story, why not check out what other exclusive stories we've received?



album art

The Nightcrawlers - Sally in Our Alley (1966)

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Lyrics:

Of all the girls that are so smart
There’s none like pretty Sally
She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

There’s ne’er a lady in the land
That’s half as sweet as Sally
She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

Why won’t she love me?
Please tell me why
Why won’t she give me
The chance to make her cry?

They’ve come today
Took her away
They took my pretty Sally

She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

Why won’t she love me?
Please tell me why
Why won’t she give me
The chance to make her cry?

They’ve come today
Took her away
They took my pretty Sally

She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

And she lives in our alley

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