1959 - Don't Say He's Gone / I'll Hide My Love (Carlton 513)
Two sisters from Cleveland Heights were the darlings of the local pop circuit in 1959. Mary Ellen and Margy (often spelled Margie) Keegan were students at the Ursuline Academy of the Sacred Heart High School when they began their musical journey. I had started a pantomime group with some friends," Mary Ellen Fath explains. " There were five of us then and we all had short hair, so I thought up the name Short Cuts, taking the idea from the Crew Cuts. We did songs like 'Little Darlin" by the Diamonds, "Come go with me" by the Del Vikings, and Elvis's "Teddy Bear".
From a family of five girls and one boy, Mary Ellen and Margy, closest in age at fifteen months apart, began singing together at home. Both recall that music was a big part of their growing-up years.Mom had a beautiful voice and would sing with her cousin at all the family gatherings," recalls Margy Lamb. "And her brother was a recognized opera singer in Cleveland, though he died at an early age. Our father's brother was in theater and radio in Chicago. So we have show business in our blood!" When the pantomime group disbanded, the sisters kept the name Short Cuts and began writing their own songs. We loved that three-part harmony of the McGuire sisters," Mary Ellen recalls. " We were also influenced by the Lennon sisters and Andrea Carroll who we'd see on the 'Gene Carroll Show.' The Short Cuts began singing their original songs and the pop tunes of the day at record hops, county fairs, and local TV and radio shows, including Bill
Randle's radio show on WERE. Soon they were shopping for a record deal. By this time they had graduated high school and had decided to take a shot at stardom. We started making some demo records on our own," Margy says. "We rented the studio time ourselves [at Audio Recording] and we used our own musicians. Our friend Jo [Josephine] Ditchman played piano, and our cousin Tim McHenry played drums. Mary Ellen played the ukelele. Bill Randle liked our music, so we got him to pitch it for us, and he was instrumental in selling the master to Carlton Records."
The single, "I'll Hide My Love," with b-side "Don't Say He's Gone," ultimately sold 30000 copies and made it on the regional charts. The duo then went on an eastern seaboard tour that included an appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand on May 18, 1959. We were doing six appearances a day on that two-week tour," Mary Ellen recalls. "It was fun, but hectic. And of course, we didn't have any money. So our cousins, aunts, and uncles all pulled together and helped us financially to buy the proper clothes and things we needed. The Short Cuts became merely a memory soon after Mary Ellen married in 1963, with Margy marrying soon after. Both women spent the next few decades raising their Families.