Mitch Ryder – Sings The Hits (1968)

FrontCover1Mitch Ryder (born William Sherille Levise, Jr.; February 26, 1945) is an American musician who has recorded more than 25 albums over more than four decades.

Ryder is noted for his gruff, wailing singing style and his dynamic stage performances. He was influenced by his father, a musician. As a teenager, Ryder sang backup with soul-music group The Peps, but racial animosities interfered with his continued presence in the group.

Ryder formed his first band, Tempest, when he was at Warren High School, and the group gained some notice playing at a Detroit soul music club called The Village. Ryder next appeared fronting a band named Billy Lee & The Rivieras, which had limited success until they met songwriter / record producer Bob Crewe. Crewe renamed the group Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, and they recorded several hit records for his DynoVoice Records and New Voice labels in the mid to late 1960s, most notably “Devil with a Blue Dress On”, their highest-charting single at number four, as well as “Jenny Take a Ride!”, which reached number 10 in 1965, and “Sock It to Me, Baby!”, a number six hit in 1967. The Detroit Wheels were John Badanjek on drums, Mark Manko on lead guitar, Joe Kubert (not to be confused with the comic book illustrator Joe Kubert) on rhythm guitar, Jim McCarty (not to be confused with the Yardbirds drummer of the same name) on lead guitar and Jim McAllister on bass.

Mitch Ryder01

In December 1966, producer Bob Crewe’s vision for Mitch as a blue-eyed soul singer backed by a horn band (a la Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, etc.) was put into motion. They assembled a 10 piece band of white R&B musicians: from Baltimore, MD — Jimmy Wilson (trumpet), Bob Shipley (sax), Jimmy Loomis (sax), Don Lehnhoff (trombone), Frank Invernizzi (organ); from Chicago, IL — John Siomos (drums), Bob Slawson (guitar), Carmine Riale (bass guitar);j from Miami, FL, Andy Dio (trumpet); from New York — Johnny ? (lead guitar). The band rehearsed for a month in a dance studio above the Cheetah, a night club at Broadway and 53rd, then hit the road as The Mitch Ryder Show in February, 1967.

Ryder was the last person to perform with Otis Redding, they performed the song “Knock On Wood”, on December 9, 1967, in Cleveland, Ohio, on a local TV show called Upbeat. Redding and four members of his touring band, The Bar-Kays, died in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin the following day, December 10, 1967.

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Ryder’s musical endeavors would see less success after the early 1970s. Ryder’s participation with the Detroit Wheels ended just as the counterculture was becoming dominant in 1968. During 1968, trumpeters Mike Thuroff and John Stefan were hired to tour with his horn section and band. (wikipedia)


And here´s his second album:

Mitch Ryder Sings the Hits has much better balance than What Now My Love, the album which yielded his last and least-potent of six Top 30 singles. Detroit rockers covering the Supremes’ Motown smash “Come See About Me” seemed to be in vogue — Mark Farner and Don Brewer’s excellent version showed up on Monumental Funk — and Ryder does the song justice as well, the two blue-eyed soul copies fun and worthy of comparison. There’s only one Bob Crewe original on this collection of covers, and that tune, “Peaches on a Cherry Tree,” is combined to good effect with Leiber & Stoller’s “Ruby Baby,” an R&B hit for the Drifters in the ’50s, a post-Belmonts smash for Dion in 1963. The music has that extra something that eluded the What Now My Love album, a little more intensity on songs like “Let Your Lovelight Shine,” and the pop/blues version of Rufus Thomas’ 1963 hit “Walking the Dog.”


Crewe mixes vibes in with the earthy keyboard/guitar sound, and it’s just great. There are intriguing black-and-white photographs of Mitch Ryder in his prime inside the gatefold, his trademark open-mouth howl on the cover, as it is on All Mitch Ryder Hits and What Now My Love. It’s a distinctive voice and sound on these recordings, more refined even than “Devil With a Blue Dress On” and “Sock It to Me Baby.” Bob Crewe certainly had the magic, and it is all over tracks like Toussaint’s “I Like It Like That” as well as “Sticks and Stones.” Ryder even takes on James Brown with very credible renditions of “Please, Please, Please” and “I Got You,” and revitalizes the Bing Crosby/Ray Charles classic “You Are My Sunshine” with a uniquely identifiable arrangement that only Ryder could give it. Mitch Ryder Sings the Hits doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but is a solid effort from start to finish and makes for a good party record. (by Joe Viglione)


Johnny Badanjek (drums)
Joe Cubert (guitar)
Earl Eliot (bass)
Jimmy McAllister (bass)
Jim McCarty (guitar)
Mitch Ryder (vocals)
Mike Thuroff (trumpet)
John Stefan (trumpet)
unknown organ player


01. Let Your Lovelight Shine (Robinson/Smalls/Blackett/Burton) 3.13
02. Walking The Dog (Thomas) 2.22
03. Sticks And Stones (Glover/Turner) 2.34
04. I Like It Like That (Toussaint/Kenner) 2.43
05. Please, Please, Please (Brown/Terry) 3.40
06. Ruby Baby & Peaches On A Cherry Tree (Crewe/Lieber/Stoller) 3.07
07. Come See About Me (E. Holland/Dozier/B. Holland) 3.20
08. Walk On By (Bacharach/David) 2.45
09. Stubborn Kind Of Fellow (Gordy/Gaye/Stevenson) 3.10
10, You Are My Sunshine (Mitchell/Davis) 3.04
11. I Got You (Brown) 2.35


More from Mitch Ryder:

2 thoughts on “Mitch Ryder – Sings The Hits (1968)

  1. Vielen Dank! Ich kann leider nur noch “How I spent my vacation”sehen, aber nicht die zwei anderen… Wie komme ich dahin? MfG – Carlos


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