Joey Castle: Rock & Roll Daddy-O (CD)
Excerpt from the booklet Rock & Roll Daddy-O (CD) BCD15560
I first heard Cliff Rivers' (Joey Castle) recording of True Lips in 1976 or 1977 and it instantly became a favorite of mine. Released in 1964, True Lips sold only a few thousand copies and most of those in Britain. It was, unfor-tunately, Joey's best selling record. True Lips had made such an impression upon me that I became obsessed with finding out more about the artist who recorded this outstanding release.
While working on 'The Other Kings' LP, I had managed to trace down Maurice Keeys, the writer of Marsha and an acquaintance of Joey's. Keeys seemed to know little more about Joey (Cliff Rivers) than he established, however, that Joey Castle and Cliff Rivers were the same artist, and both these names were pseudonyms for Joseph Castaldo. This was about 1978 or 1979, and was the first bit of informantion I was able to gather about the art-ist.
Keeys also told me a brief story about how he and Joey met Sid Prosen, the owner of Thanks Records. This was really the only useful information which Maurice Keeys was able to supply. He hadn't seen Joey in years nor knew how to get in touch with him. In all seriousness, though, he stated he'd try to "... find him on the street". I was amused but desperate for information so one month later I wasted another long distance phone call to Maurice Keeys. He hadn't metJoey on the street and I gave up on Maurice Keeys.
Sid Prosen had -and probably still has a- keen eye for talent but liked pseudo-nyms. For example, he didn't like the sound of Simon and Garfunkel, so he recorded them under the name of Tom and Jerry. He didn't like the name Joey Castle, so he recorded him under the name of Cliff Rivers. Sid Prosen was unable to help in my search for the elusive Joey Castle. Mr. Prosen's only link to Joey consisted of a nearly 20 year old address in the Bronx which I already had. He also knew, as I did, that Joey wasn't there any longer. Sid Prosen did remember that Joey had a handicapped sister but knew nothing else about Joey or his career. Sid Prosen was surprised to learn of the RCA and Headline releases - I guess Joey made no mention of them to him. Neither S id Prosen nor I knew, at that time, about the Presley demos.
During my many trips to New York I would continually call all the Castaldos listed in the phone book trying to find a relative of Joey. If you take all the New York boroughs and a common Italian name like Castaldo, you've created no easy task. Anyway, initially, I failed. I had either skipped the right one or failed for some other unexplained reason.
It was now 1982, and I was again in New York. I had a little free time and what better way to spend it than looking for Joey Castle! I began calling the Castaldos and this time I got lucky. On the other end of the telephone I was talking to one of Joey's cousins. She couldn't help me very much but would have someone call me who could. A short time later Joey's nephew phoned me. He also knew little about Joey's career but gave me Joey's mother's ad-dress and phone number. Joey's mother was a kind woman who had a hard life looking after an invalid daughter with little time left to follow her son's career.
Family members told me that the one person who took an interest and knew a considerable amount about Joey's career was his father. He was buried the day that I managed to track down Joey's mother. Although it was too late to include the new biographical information in 'The Other Kings' album, I knew someday someone would release a Joey Castle record and I would be able to reveal this newly gathered information.
Joseph Fohn Castaldo was born on June 24, 1942, in the Bronx, N.Y. He decided to record under the name of Castle to take advantage of the name recognition which his uncle, the big band leader Lee Castle, had earlier achieved. At only sixteen years of age Joey Castle marched into RCA Victor with a demo tape, and on the basis of that tape managed to persuade RCA to record him.
Article properties: Joey Castle: Rock & Roll Daddy-O (CD)
|Castle, Joey - Rock & Roll Daddy-O (CD) CD 1|
|02||Don't Knock It|
|03||That Ain't No Thing But Right|
|04||Please Love Me|
|05||Shake Hands With A Fool|
|06||Come A Little Closer Baby|
|08||Rock And Roll Daddy-O|
|10||That Ain't Nothing But Right (take 12)|
|11||Lease Love Me (take 10)|
|12||That Ain't Nothing But Right (take 15)|
|14||That's My Secret|
Born in New York on June 24, 1942. Died on December 15, 1978.
Joseph Castaldo was only sixteen years old when, under the name Joey Castle, he came into RCA Victor Studio B in New York to cut the songs for his debut single release. He had grown up in the Bronx and, being early attracted to Rock'n'Roll, he recorded some demo tapes that landed him a contract with the same big company that was bringing out the records of Elvis Presley.
Undoubtedly, a fulfilled dream for every American teenager although, in the case of Joey, the dream came to an end just a few months later when his songs ("Come a Little Closer Baby" b/w "That Ain't Nothing But Right") failed to chart and RCA dropped him off. Billboard's review pointed out Castle's stylised vocals but found no difference at all with the many other singers that were trying to hit the market in the summer of 1958. RCA's rejection did not break Joey, who kept doing more demo recordings and performing in the New York area. In February 1959 a news clip on Billboard announced that a Rock'n'Roll band called Joey Castle and the Knights had signed with Counterpoint. Founded as Esoteric Records in 1949 by Bill Fox and Jerry Newman, the label had specialised in Classical Music albums but changed its name in 1957 and two years later entered the singles field by signing Jazz, Pop and Folks artists.
Nevertheless, Joey did not see any release on Counterpoint after all. Instead, by the end of 1959 another New York independent label (Headline Records) paired "Wild Love" and "Rock and Rock Daddy-0" (sic) and put out a record credited to Joey Castle and the Daddy-as. Joey's voice sounds more mature here than in his previous recordings and reviews were a bit nicer this time, though the single did not reach the charts either. At this point, Joseph Castaldo's contribution to Rock'n'Roll during its golden age was over.
In the early sixties, he used the pseudonym Cliff Rivers to cut a couple of songs he had co-written: "True Lips" and "Marsha". The tracks were released in June 1963 by Thanks!, a small company set up by Sid Prosen, and enjoyed some minor popularity in the UK, where the record was distributed under London's label. In addition, Joey put his voice on some demos done for Hill & Range, the publishing company that had the control over the songs recorded by Elvis. He kept playing local gigs and doing some occasional recordings before succumbing to a brain tumour in 1978.
(Carlos A.del Bosque)