Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #2.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #02

Thanks for the fabulous response to our premier issue of the Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter.  We were overwhelmed by the kind words and praise emailed to us along with the many suggestions of things to add to it.  Thanks to all of you who forwarded the last issue to your friends.  We've gotten a lot of requests to be added to our subscription list. 

Classic Urban Harmony LLC promotes the legacy of Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop, Soul and Gospel Vocal Group Harmony through multimedia presentations, historical research, interviews, magazine articles, museum displays, radio guest appearances, our website,, and now this free newsletter.  Here you'll find news of important events relevant to our music as well as updates to our website and summaries of our Classic Urban Harmony activities and projects.  To read more about and see more photos from the articles in this newsletter, check the Whats's New Page of  We hope you'll enjoy this issue of the newsletter and again find it entertaining and informative.  Please continue passing the word on to others who might want to receive it.  They can sign up by sending their names and email addresses to - Charlie & Pam Horner - November, 2012

Major Harris Dies at Age of 65.  R&B Soloist, Member of the Delfonics, Nat Turner Rebellion, Jarmels.

     Major Harris, R&B singer most associated with the "Philly Sound" in soul music, passed away in a Richmond VA hospital from congestive heart and lung failure on Friday November 9, 2012.  He was 65.  Harris was best known for his solo R&B hit, "Love Won't Let Me Wait" (Atlantic label), but he also had a long history as a vocal harmony singer before and after his solo efforts.  Major Harris was born in Richmond, VA, on February 9, 1947.  His father was a guitarist and his mother lead the church choir there.  Harris began singing doo wop music in Richmond as a teenager.  Major sang with the Jarmels (after their hit "Little Bit of Soap") and is said to have even sung with Frankie Lymon's Teenagers for a short time in the 1960's.  By 1964 he was recording with Johnny & the Charmers who backed Janice Christian on the Swan label. We've linked to a YouTube of the song on our website.  After a short solo career (OKeh label), by 1971, Major Harris was singing with Nat Turner's Rebellion (Soulville, Delvaliant and Philly Groove labels). By 1972, Major Harris had replaced Randy Cain in the Delfonics.  In 1974, Major Harris went solo again, signing with Atlantic Records.  There he had his biggest success with "Love Won't Let Me Wait".  The song went to #5 on the Hot 100 Charts.  By the late 1980's Harris was back with the Delfonics, continuing with the group while also releasing some solo records.  For a detailed tribute to Major Harris including scans of many of his records, click the link on the What's New Page of

Blind Boys of Alabama and Dr. John, Outstanding at "Spirituals To Funk" Concert in New Brunswick, NJ

  Classic Urban Harmony was there at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, on November 11, 2012, when Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama presented their "Spirituals To Funk" concert.  Dr. John, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, was great (as always).  The Blind Boys were SPECTACULAR!  Five-time Grammy Award winners, the Blind Boys have been singing for more than 70 years (with some personnel changes, of course).  The current members are Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Ricky McKinnie and Joey Williams.  Jimmy Carter was a founding member of the Gospel group in 1939, when he was eight years old.  He is now 81 and going strong.  Together, Dr. John and the Blind Boys are a great combination of talent.  We've seen the Blind Boys perform before and they are always an inspiration.  We love their rendition of "Amazing Grace" sung to the tune of "House Of The Rising Sun".

Tribute to Penguins' Cleve Duncan now Posted on our website.

We reported last issue on the passing of Penguins lead, Cleveland Duncan.  We've now posted a detailed tribute to Cleve and the story of the Penguins and "Earth Angel" on, complete with photos, label scans, sheet music, etc.   

New Cliftonaires CD a Great Treat from the Vaults of the Late Ronnie I.

We've had requests to have this newsletter to review and recommend some of the better vocal harmony group CD's coming out.  We'll try to review one or two each issue, from now on.

Former members of the United in Group Harmony Association are very familiar with the Cliftonaires.  They were the vocal group that the late Ronnie I depended on whenever he needed some great harmony to fill in on a show or to back a famous lead singer appearing at UGHA.  The Clitonaires personnel changed depending on who was available, but always was top notch in talent and harmony.  Some of Ronnie's greatest recording sessions were of the Cliftonaires.  That's why we were so excited to see this final CD of unreleased Cliftonaires' material from Ronnie I's vaults make it to release.  "Ronnie I's Cliftonaires' Fare Thee Well" CD does not disappoint.  Eighteen fabulous cuts cover the history of R&B group harmony from the late fortes to the late fifties - each given that special Cliftonaires' treatment.  If you like great R&B harmony, Pick this one up.  For info on how to order a copy, contact Sandi Italiano at  Highly recommended!

Northeast Still Trying to Recover From Hurricane Sandy

(Photo above of Asbury Park (NJ) boardwalk after the recent storm. - photo courtesy of Don Stine, Asbury Park Historical Society)
It's been about a month since our area was hit by Hurricane Sandy.  For those whose homes were damaged or destroyed, it's going to be a long and difficult road back.  Many of the venues that we depended on for group harmony shows, especially those along the Shore have been flooded and are closed.  Many concerts and shows were canceled during the early recovery and are gradually being rescheduled.  LAR Enterprises, who had planned a huge two day concert with a couple dozen groups in early November, has rescheduled that show for April 6 and 7, 2013.  A "Restore the Shore" Benefit Relief Concert has been scheduled for West Long Branch on Sunday, December 9, 2012.  Details are available on the Concert Calendar Page of  More benefit concerts are undoubtedly in the works.  We urge you to support them.

Doo Wop Group Harmony Singers Club Celebrated Its 4th Anniversary in North Brunswick, NJ, with 8 Performing Groups

     The Doo Wop Group Harmony Singers Club of North Brunswick NJ celebrated its fourth anniversary on November 18, 2012.  The Club, a creation of Pat & Stu Pushkin, provides a venue for doo wop singers to get together, socialize and sing some harmony.  Anyone who has an interest in singing is welcomed to attend.  Several vocal groups have formed from the impromptu groups put together at the Singers Club.  On the occasion of their 4th anniversary, eight doo wop groups performed, including Still Around, Re-MemberThen, The Classic Five, Echoes Of Time, The New Dimensions, The Jersey Jukebox, The Goldtones and Quiet Storm.  Reservations were taken for attendance and the list filled up so quickly, we didn't even get a chance to post it on our Events Calendar.  In fact, we were among the last people to squeeze in.  We've now posted a complete review and many photos of the event on our website.  See the link on the What's New Page of The Singers Club meets from 11 AM to 4 PM at 9 Deerbrook Rd., North Brunswick, NJ on the third Sunday of each month.  Contact Stu Pushkin at or see the Doo Wop Group Harmony Singers Club on Facebook. .

Carolina Beach Music Great, Billy Scott of the [Georgia] Prophets, Dies 

  We are again saddened to report another major loss to our music.  Billy Scott, lead of Billy Scott & the Prophets (also known as the Georgia Prophets), died Saturday November 17, 2012, after a short battle with cancer.  He was 70 years old.  Billy Scott's biggest hit was "I've Got The Fever," recorded with the Prophets for the Smash label in 1968.  Billy was best known in the Carolina Beach Music scene, where he was regarded as one of the field's finest entertainers.  After following his music for years, we finally met Billy in 2008.  He treated us like he'd known us all his life.  We've posted a bio of Billy Scott's career with many label scans and photos.  To take a look and listen to the Georgia Prophets sing "California," click the link on the What's New Page of  [above photo courtesy of the Big Time Party Band]

Classic Urban Harmony to take part in 150th Anniversary of Year of Jubilee

  Beginning in January 2013, Classic Urban Harmony will join the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of when the Emancipation Proclamation took effect, the Year of Jubilee.  This is a year long event and activities are planned throughout 2013.  For our part, working with the Franklin Township (NJ) Cultural Arts Council's Performing Arts Committee and the Franklin Township Public Library, we've planned a celebration of the history of the African American Spiritual, a genre of folk music that would greatly influence the development of almost all forms of American music, including Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Doo Wop, Rock & Roll and Soul music.  We'll be designing and assembling a display on the history of Spirituals, from Slavery times to the present.  The display (similar in design to our 2009 display shown above) can be viewed at the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873, from late January through the month of February, 2013.  It will contain rare memorabilia from the 1870's to the present, including old photos, songbooks, flyers, post cards, wax cylinders, books, Edison Discs, 78's, albums, posters and CD's of Spiritual groups from the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Pace Jubilee Singers and through the Golden Gate Quartet, Southernaires, Dixie Humming Birds, Soul Stirrers and many more.  We'll also be giving multimedia presentations throughout the year on the history and development of Spirituals.  The first one will be given in late February (date to be announced) at the Franklin Township Public Library and will be free to the public.  We'll have more details on the year's events in the near future.

More Reviews Posted to Our Bookshelf Page.

Seeing Chuck Berry perform in Cleveland recently, gave us incentive to re-read his 1987 autobiography that’d we’d read some years back.  Without question, Chuck Berry is one of the most important figures in Rock & Roll and understanding where his music came from is vital to understanding Rock & Roll itself.  We've reviewed Chuck's autobiography and posted it on our website's Bookshelf Page.  We've also recently reviewed biographies of radio personalities Skipper Lee Frazier (discovered Archie Bell & Drells) and Richard Stamz (important Chicago dj), along with the autobiography of the late Chicago soul producer Carl Davis and even a book on the Volcanos and Trammps. If you enjoy reading books about our music, check out the bookshelf page of  We're adding reviews all the time.

More News

Of course we couldn't possibly say everything we wanted to in this newsletter.  For that we have a website.  Please check the What's New page of to keep up on all the latest group harmony news as well as our Events Calendar for concerts and other events.
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