Custom Search of DDD
 Music Lists
 Music Forum
 Rock Timeline
 Rap Timeline
 Vinyl Records
 Artist News
 Music Links
 Musician Finder
 Guitar Chords
 Movie Lists
 Jokes & Quotes
 Music Store
Ask "Mr. Music"
January 24, 2011
"River Nile" by "LEROY and His Rockin' Fellers"
Let's continue our feature here at DigitalDreamDoor: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 25th year of syndication (1986-2011), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on.

Be sure to stop by Jerry's site for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.

songsMore Mr. Music Articles

Ask "Mr. Music"
"Jerry Osborne"
January 24, 2011 - "River Nile" by "LEROY and His Rockin' Fellers"


I grew up in Chester Heights, Pa., but the Top 40 station we listened to was WAMS 1380, from Wilmington, Del.

One instrumental on their early '60s playlist was referred to as "Let's Go Down the River Nile."

I am trying to put together a collection of tunes from those days, but this "Nile" one has me stumped.

Can you help?

- Mike Scarpini, Philadelphia


You have the right river, but the title has neither invitation nor navigational details. It is simply "River Nile," by LEROY and His Rockin' Fellers (Cameo 194).

This fine instrumental, "River Nile," definitely got some spins in the tri-state area where you lived, though it did not make the national charts.

Still, it didn't go completely unnoticed by Billboard. They awarded it three stars, out of a possible four, in their New Singles Reviews for the week October 9, 1961, adding it had "moderate sales potential."

Surprising to collectors is how rare this recording is, in any configuration, and that no one has seen a commercial Cameo (red and black label) copy, despite being a regional hit in a populous area. Only black-and-white (promotional) copies are known.

Curious about the story behind this, I wanted to locate either LeRoy or one of his Rockin' Fellers.

Thanks to some fortuitous events, plus valuable assistance from David Tourison, we eventually heard from LeRoy (Lee Schappell).

Not only does Lee answer my long-standing Cameo label question, but he reminisces fondly about the ups and downs typical of a teenage band pursuing their passion:


Wyoming cowpoke Dave Tourison informs me you been looking for information about our band.

LEROY and His Rockin' Fellers recorded both sides of Cameo 194 in the Spring of 1961: "River Nile" and "The Unfinished Fifth."

I played lead guitar; George Biddle played rhythm guitar; Bill Dougherty was our drummer, and Ken Hipple played alto sax.

Our manager, Jimmy Myers (a.k.a. Jimmy DeKnight), previously managed Bill Haley and His Comets, but we unfortunately entered the picture a few years too late to be a part of that scene.

As for the record, Cameo only pressed them with black-and-white labels, ones customarily made for dee jays and promotional purposes. Ours were indeed used as promos, but because they were not marked as "For Promotional Use Only" Cameo also distributed them to retail stores.

We never knew how many they pressed, but none had Cameo's normal black-and-red commercial label. We soon learned why.

"River Nile" got decent exposure in eastern Pennsylvania, south Jersey, and Delaware. We did a lot of radio station events and record hops to promote our record.

Regrettably, we never got a cent from Cameo-Parkway. When royalties were due, they said "no records were sold."

Here's the catch: black-and-white issues never earned royalties because they were supposed to be used only for promotion, and since Cameo didn't make any with red-and-black labels, they claimed no sales for them and no royalties for us.

We were just 17, and excited beyond description. We trusted far too much and in the end got squat. In that regard, we were neither the first band nor the last.

"River Nile" did make the charts on a few radio stations in the area, including WMLP (Milton-Lewisburg, Pa.); WRAW (Reading, Pa.); and WAMS (Wilmington, Del.). Seems it was a dee jay favorite when they needed music to fill in until "news at the top of the hour." They preferred instrumentals for this purpose because, unlike vocals, they can be faded-out when necessary.

We also appeared live on a Bandstand-type show on WNEP-TV in northeastern Pa.

Overall, it was a real blast for four kids fresh from 11 years in a boys' home. Suddenly we were on the road for that whole summer, playing rock and roll. We were living the "American Graffiti" life. What wonderful innocence!

- Lee Schappell, Reading, Pa.


So where are His Rockin' Fellers now? LeRoy knows:

"I believe Bill is still in North Philly, probably retired by now; George builds and repairs boats in Marina Del Rey, Calif.; Ken is probably somewhere in Florida; and I'm still here in Reading. Now I'm with the New Earth Band, making rough-cut, organic country gospel music.

"Oh yes, Cameo's studio bassist laid down the bottom on our sessions because our bassist, Ted Wolff, headed west. I have not seen Dr. Wolff in 45 years, but I know he is a college professor."

MORE: Ask "Mr. Music" -
"River Nile" by "LEROY and His Rockin' Fellers"
Patsy Montana's "I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart"
"Diana Krall song & Susan Boyles' career"
"Songs: Just for a Thrill, and Cool Yule"
"Number 1 Christmas Songs through the years"
"Song in VW commercial, and Jerry Lee Lewis Christmas song"
"Shake, Rattle and Roll", plus Pete Best album "Haymans Green"
"Single releases originally issued with picture sleeves"
"Ronnie Dawson - Hazel"
"Curtis Mayfield - accident, album, death"
"Who was the Masked Marvel"
"Davy Jones Presents, record label"
"Al Green & Johnny Nash"
"Tamouré, Tahitian dance"
"Jo Ann Campbell - Wolverton Mountain"
"Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On & Highway Man"
"Hawaiian musics Frank Ferera"
"Paul Revere and the Raiders instrumentals & Song from Hair"
"Beatles 14 tunes in the Top 100, & The last mono-only albums"
"Connie Francis early years, and Names of states in hit titles"
"Gene Pitney, and David Janssen"
"Payola scandals, and Chubby Checker dance hits"
"Why vinyl sounds richer, Elvis and Beatles on Cash Box, Big Bad John answer songs"
"Vinyl Record Day - 'Mad Men' song"
"Cast Your Fate to the Wind, two versions"
"RFD Songs" and "Your Hit Parade"
"Hit Songs as both Vocal and Instrumental"
"Robert David Hall of CSI, plus the Belmonts without Dion"
"Cal Stewart's Uncle Josh Songs, & Andrews Sisters"
"The Collector's Edition T.A.M.I. Show"
"The Girl from the Next Farm Over" & "Tangerine Dream"
"Paul & Paula's "Hey Paula"
"'50s Rockers Ages" - "Songwriters Hall of Fame"
"Lyrics or Music" and "Billy Squier"
"Connie Francis, Neil Diamond, and David Gates"
"The High Numbers and Grading Vinyl"
"Louie Louie"
"Willie Nelson duets"
"Don't Do It" by "Little Charlie and the Nightcats"
"Frank Sinatra Spectacular, with Johnny Carson"
"Sam & Dave Medley" and the knife in "Moody River"
"Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Same Old Fool"
"Tony Orlando or Bertell Dache?"
"Foreign language hit songs in the U.S."
"The Overlanders" and "All-male Top 10"
"Songs with a bullet" and the name "Browning"
"Yesterday and Today, Beatles - Song: Submarine Race"
"Elvis Presley songs based on classical pieces."
"Introducing the Beatles" album value
"Answer Songs"
"Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" & "I Belong to You" by Peggy Lee
"A Lovers Hymn" and Songs naming the 12 months
"This Old House," by Rosemary Clooney
"The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Petticoat Junction"
"Deana Martin", "Buchanan and Goodman"
"A Hard Day's Night" - Beatles
"British Christmas tunes" and "Fingertips Part 1"
"Backward tape technology" and "Rock Era Christmas tunes"
"Red Velvet Slippers" and "A Christmas Gift for You"
"Jerry Lee Lewis" and "See See Rider"
"Bonanza Theme Song"
"Come Softly to Me" by the Fleetwoods

Mr. Music
Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.
Jerry's Question page: Ask your question here.

Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Visit his Web site:

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2011 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

1000 Songs Every Rock Fan Should Know
500 Greatest Popular Recordings Of All Time
Greatest Rock Songs
Greatest Rock Ballads
Greatest Rock Anthems
Greatest Rock Instrumentals
Greatest Rock Debut Singles
Greatest Cover Songs
Top 10 Songs by Popular Rock Artists
Top 10 Songs 1950-1969
Top 10 Songs 1970-1979
Top 10 Songs 1980-1989
Top 10 Songs 1990-1999
Greatest 'Roots of Rock' Songs '40s  
Greatest Rock Songs '50s
Greatest Rock Songs '60s
Greatest Rock Songs '70s
Greatest Rock Songs '80s
Greatest Rock Songs '90s
Greatest Rock Songs '00s
Greatest Rockabilly Songs
Greatest Girl Group Songs
Greatest Country Rock Songs
Greatest Southern Rock Songs
Greatest Folk Rock Songs
Greatest Surf Rock Songs
Greatest Beach Music Songs
Greatest Psychedelic Songs
Greatest Punk Rock Songs
Greatest New Wave Songs
Greatest Fusion Songs
Greatest Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals
Greatest R&B/Soul Songs
Greatest R&B/Soul Ballads
Greatest R&B Songs of the '90s
Greatest R&B Ballads of the '90s
Greatest Funk Songs
Greatest Motown Songs
Greatest Northern Soul Songs
Greatest Uptempo Doo-Wop Songs
Greatest Doo-Wop Ballads
Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Songs
Greatest Old School Hip Hop Records
Greatest Metal Songs
Greatest Thrash Metal Songs
Greatest Glam Metal Songs
Greatest Symphonic Power Metal Songs
Greatest Disco Songs
Greatest Dance Songs '80s
Greatest Dance Songs '90s
Greatest Trance Songs
Greatest Electro Songs
Greatest Freestyle Songs
Greatest House Songs
Greatest Miami Bass Songs
Greatest Latin Rock Songs
Greatest Reggae Songs
Greatest Blues Instrumentals
Greatest Novelty Songs
Wildest, Craziest & Quirkiest Songs
Greatest Summer Songs
Greatest Love Songs
Greatest Mother Songs
Greatest Father Songs
- - For Links to - -
Blues, Jazz, Country, Folk, Classical, and more,
'Main Music Page' below. is to be used for
entertainment, educational, or research purposes only.

Copyright © 2011 -

All photos are property and copyright of their owners and are provided for educational purposes only.
This Ask "Mr. Music" page is only a part of To view the Home page click Home