I have a friend named Dave. He owns a business called “College Hunks Hauling Junk”. When Dave finds records in the junk he hauls off, he brings them to me. My wife calls him my “Dealer”. Recently Dave came to a party at my house. He came bearing gifts. He had pulled a bunch of 45 r.p.m.’s from a hoarders house. They were filthy. Some were broken. Many of the artists were totally unknown to me. It took me a while, but I cleaned the records up in my amazing “Spin Clean” record cleaner. Then I created a data base of them and started listening to them. That is when I ran across this very interesting and cool record. This record grabbed me the minute I dropped the needle on it.
There are several cool things about this 45. The record is from a group called Shank & Maydiea. Side A is called “Bye, Bye Baby” and side B is called “Why Don’t You Tell Me”. The record is on Flip Records.(Flip 361 released in 1962) Flip is the label that Richard Berry recorded for when he released the original version of Louie, Louie. (Flip 321 released in 1957) This record was one of the very last records recorded at Flip. The record label went out of business after they released Flip – 364 in 1963.
So who were Shank & Maydiea? Shank was Ed Wells. I believe that “Shank” was his nick-name in High School. Maydiea was Maydiea Wells Cole. (Ed and Maydiea were siblings) Ed Wells founded a do-wop group in 1955 called The Six Teens. Six teenagers performing do-wop music together. Ed wrote all of their music. Their songs were light and innocent. They were moderately successful until one day when fate intervened. In 1956 they released a single with the A-Side called “Teen Age Promise” and the B–Side called “A Casual Look”. Hunter Hancock, an L.A. disc jockey, played the b side instead of the A Side. A Casual Look immediately became record of the week. It eventually topped out on the charts at #25. All total Ed wrote and recorded 20 songs with The Six Teens. The Beach Boys recorded A Casual Look and also turned the song into a hit record. The Six Teens were never paid a dime and received no credit for composing the song. The Six Teens didn’t even know The Beach Boys had recorded the song until they heard it on the radio…
By 1961 The Six Teens had run their course and disbanded. Ed Wells felt that his songs were on the naive and immature side. He wanted to take one more stab at getting it right. He formed Shank and Maydiea and began working on new songs in 1962. In July of 1962 he released this 45. It is anything but naive and immature. This is spooky and cool music. It grabbed me immediately. I like side A better than side B but both songs are great and have a very cool vibe for 1962 or 2014 for that matter. So give the songs a listen and let me know what you think. After you hear the songs I will tell you the rest of the tale.
Bye, Bye Baby
Why Don’t You Tell Me
After the release of this 45 the sales were not good. Ed Wells became disillusioned with the music business. He had plowed all the profits from the songs of The Six Teens right back into the group. He never received any compensation for other musicians covering his songs, and the Shank and Maydiea single did not sell well enough. In 1963 Ed Wells quit the music business for good. He left L.A. and moved to San Francisco where he became a very effective social worker. He spent the rest of his life helping others. In 2001 Ed Wells died of Throat Cancer. I think these songs are proof that he still had a bright future in music if he had decided to stick it out. As it turned out, he impacted the lives of countless other people by his public service. I couldn’t find any information on what has happened to Maydiea. Another tale from the turntable…