#17: Condition Red by the Goodees

City: Halifax, NS
Radio Station: CHNS
Peak Month: February 1969
Peak Position in Halifax ~ #3
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #46
YouTube: “Condition Red
Lyrics: “Condition Red

The Goodees were a girl group comprised of Kay Evans, Sandra Jackson and Judy Williams. They became friends at Memphis’ Messick High School. They started singing at school assemblies and local events. They got a break in 1967 when they won a local talent contest. The winning prize included an audition with Stax Records.

In the summer of 1969, the Goodees recorded “Condition Red”.

Condition Red by the Goodees

“Condition Red” was written by Don Davis and Briggs. Davis was born in Detroit in 1938. After high school he formed the Don Davis Trio. In 1960, he played guitar for Barrett Strong on “Money (That’s What I Want)”. The single climbed to #2 on the R&B Hot Sides chart and #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1968, Davis wrote “Who’s Making Love” for Johnnie Taylor, a #1 R&B hit and #5 hit on the US pop charts. In 1976, he co-wrote “Disco Lady” which became a number-one hit for Taylor. Later in 2005, Davis co-wrote “Girl” for Destiny’s Child, and “The Girl Is Mine” for 99 Souls (2015). Don Davis died in 2014 at the age of 75.

Co-writer of “Condition Red”, Fred Briggs, was a songwriter. His compositions were recorded by Mavis Staples and the Dells. He also recorded a few singles.

“Condition Red” riffs off of the Shangri-Las’ “Leader Of The Pack”. That number-one hit from December ’64, was still an ear worm four years later. The lyrics to “Condition Red” begin with advice from the girlfriend to her boyfriend: “Don’t come over tonight, ’cause mommy and daddy don’t approve.” It explains that her parents don’t like the boyfriend’s haircut, and wish he’d get a shave. The girlfriend tries to tell her parents that “he’s the right guy for me.” But they add they don’t like the boyfriend’s beard or mustache either. The boyfriend revs up his motorcycle, and rides away mad. The girlfriend sees a car coming and yells “Hey! There’s a car. Watch out for the car!” At the sound of the car skidding, vehicle crash, and police siren, the Goodees sing “condition red.” The girlfriend laments “I’ll never see you again.”

In the song, ‘condition red’ seems to be synonymous for either a medical alert that there is a fire on the scene; In this case  a car and motorcycle crash resulting in a fire from an engine fire.

“Condition Red” first charted in October 1968, in Easton (PA) and St. Louis.

“Condition Red” peaked at #1 in St. Louis, #2 in Madison (WI), #3 in Halifax (NS), and Grand Rapids (MI), #4 in St. Charles (MO), and Edmonton (AB), #5 in Hannibal (MS), Kansas City (MO), Phoenix, and Calgary, #6 in Cincinnati (OH), #7 in Wilmington (DL), #9 in Columbus (OH), and York (PA), #10 in Toronto, and #11 in Pittsburgh.

In the USA, “Condition Red” peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1969, the group released one followup single titled “Jilted”. It charted in Corvallis, Oregon, in the spring of 1969. A third single, a cover of “He’s A Rebel”, failed to chart. An album titled Candy Coated Goodees featured covers of the Angel’s “My Boyfriend’s Back” and the Brooklyn Bridge hit “Worst That Could Happen”.

The Goodees broke up after 1969.

April 5, 2024
Ray McGinnis

The Goodees,” Stax Records.
Heikki Suosalo, “A Tribute to Don Davis,” soulexpress.net, June 2014.
Fred Briggs,” sir shambling’s deep soul heaven.

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