Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #12.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #12

Welcome to Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter #12.  Lots of exciting news about Classic Urban Harmony events this issue, especially our big Asbury Park Gospel Explosion Concert on September 28.  The date and time are still the same but we've just moved the event a block and a half away to the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove, NJ.  Wait until you read about the music history of this place!  Tickets are now available (see below).  Of course we have a multimedia presentation coming up and even a once-a-week for five weeks course on group harmony at the Raritan Valley Community College this October.  Registration is now open for both.  Some very cool other news about vocal harmony below.  Hope you enjoy our latest newsletter.  We work hard to bring it to you.

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 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 What'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 - August 6, 2013

Our Sept. 28, Asbury Park Gospel Explosion
is Heating Up!  New location!  Tickets now on sale. 

     It seems that just about all of the popular vocal harmony we love can be traced back to quartet singing in the black churches of America.  We've decided to celebrate this music in its purist form with one big gospel concert on September 28, 2013, in the music rich Asbury Park, NJ, area.  We'll be honoring the Missionary Jubilaires, who sang for 40 years there and deserve our recognition and thanks.  But the event is much more than that.  It will be a chance to turn back the clock and return (even if just for this evening) to the days when gospel quartet singing played a major role in American society.  In addition, we'll be  benefiting the Asbury Park Historical Society which has worked tirelessly to preserve area landmarks, like the home of author Steven Crane.  
    Come join us on Saturday night September 28 at our new location, the Jersey Shore Arts Center, 66 South Main Street, Ocean Grove, NJ, and hear some of the purest gospel vocal harmony ever, much of it acappella.  We've got Frankie Davis, lead tenor of the Golden Gate Quartet (and former lead of the Soul Stirrers) backed by the Mighty Stars of Portsmouth VA; the superb quintet King David's Harp from Portsmouth VA; the inspirational acappella singing of the Spiritual 5 and the fine harmonies of Brothers In Christ (both from South Jersey); the popular acappella group Quiet Storm, singing an all gospel set; Asbury Parks' own favorite, Tyron McAllister and the young trio the Sons of Thunder.  We'll have former members of the Missionary Jubilaires there.  Please greet them and thank them for their years of dedication to spreading the Word of God through song.  Tickets are now available on the Asbury Park Historical Society website,  For more details visit

Steve Horn, bass singer with the Five Sharks, Legends of Doo Wop and the Doo Wop Mob dies at 64.

We are sad to report the passing of great bass singer, Steve Horn.  Steve began singing with the Five Sharks in the early 1960's.  In recent times he found even greater fame singing with the Legends of doo Wop and the Doo Wop Mob.  Steve was a true entertainer and a charismatic force on stage.  Steve died July 24 of cancer.  He was 64.

Sensational Soul Cruisers still one of the most dynamic groups along the Jersey Shore

We had a chance to catch the sensational Soul Cruisers at the Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven, NJ, on July 26, 2013.  We hadn't seen the group in a number of years and they were as dynamic as ever.  With four talented singers and a seven piece rocking band, the Soul Cruisers have to be one of the top soul groups around here.  Their repertoire is all soul and just about all up tempo.  They do a mix of Temptations, Spinners, Four Tops, Gene Chandler, Tyrone Davis, Chairmen of the Board, Sam & Dave, you name it.  It's all non-stop high energy, with only a few short breaks for the group to catch their breaths.  Harmony and choreography are top notch.  They had people dancing in the aisles.  Great rhythm and horn section! Don't miss this group if they're in you area.  Check out the group's website at 

From Paul Ressler's Archives: Swallows sheet music to "Laugh" 

In tribute to Herman Denby who died  July 14, 213, we picked an appropriate piece of memorabilia from Paul Ressler's collection for this newsletter - the sheet music to "Laugh" by the Swallows.  Herman Denby is on the far right with the stand up bass.  The sheet music is from 1953 and "Laugh" is the only sheet music we know of that was issued on the Swallows.  It is said that while Herman Denby is singing lead on this record, the group is not the Swallows but an unidentified studio back up group.  Thanks for another great item, Paul.  We'll be displaying more photos from Paul Ressler's collection in future newsletters. 

Artifacts from our Vaults: 1956 British Deep River Boys poster

This newsletter's "Artifact from our Vaults" is a 1956 theatre poster from Blackpool, England.  Top billing went to the American vocal group, the Deep River Boys who were quite popular in the U.K. and mainland Europe at the time.  Second on the bill was 23 year old Petula Clark, long before her 1965 international hit, "Downtown".  the poster is the only one we know of and it now graces the wall of Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters.

Final curtain call for Charles Pope, founding member of the Tams

We are deeply saddened to hear that Charles Pope, founding member and last of the original members of one of our favorite soul vocal groups, the Tams, has passed away.  Charles had been suffering from Alzheimer's for the past few years.  The Tams were formed in 1959 in Atlanta GA by brothers Charles and Joseph Pope.  The group became famous for songs like "What Kind Of Fool," "I've Been Hurt," "Hey Girl (Don't Bother Me)," "Untie Me," and many more.  They soon became favorites on the Carolina Beach Music scene.  I (Charlie) first saw the Tams perform in North Myrtle Beach in August 1981.  During a break between sets, Don Leins and I had a nice conversation with Charles and Joseph Pope.  Since then Pam and I have had a chance to see the Tams perform in Charleston on at least three other occasions.  They are without a doubt the most dynamic act around.  The Tams will continue to excel, led by Charles' son, Ll Redd, but our music world has lost one of its greatest stars.  We'll miss you, Charles.  To see photos of Charles Pope & the Tams in action at different Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festivals, click on our website's pages  Charleston 2008 and Charleston 2009.  Our heart-felt condolences to Dianne Pope, Ll Redd and the Tams family.  (Thanks to Harriett Grady-Thomas and Willie C for letting us know about this.)

Coming This October: Classic Urban Harmony Course on Vocal Groups at Raritan Valley Community College

Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner will be teaching a once-a-week, five week course on "Spirituals, Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop & Soul Harmony" at Raritan Valley Community College's Bridgewater campus, 14 Vogt Drive, Bridgewater NJ, in October.  It's part of the college's Lifelong Learning Institute.  The classes will be held every Tuesday in October from 2 - 3:30 PM.  The course costs only $50 and registration is now open.  We'll be playing lots of music and discussing what we hear.  It should be a lot of fun.  Click Raritan Valley LLI and scroll down to click on course descriptions to read about the course.

"Twenty Feet From Stardom" - Documentary covers the untold story of the background singers

We recently had an opportunity to see the documentary "Twenty Feet From Stardom," now playing in many neighborhood theaters.  The film is an eye opener, even for those of us who think we know a lot about the music industry.  Often backup singers have the voices and talent to become major stars, though sadly, only a few ever make it to the main spotlight.  Even the ones who do find recognition, such as Darlene Love, the struggle is often a difficult and sometimes life long one.  For anyone interested in the music industry, this is a well researched, well produced and engrossing film.

Next issue of Echoes of the Past magazine due out in September

If you're not subscribed to the magazine, Echoes of the Past, you're missing a lot!  At $4.99 an issue, how can you go wrong?  It comes out four times a year and concentrates on the R&B and Doo Wop groups of the 1950's and 1960's.  In the September issue, you'll read our article on the soul group, the Sweet Delights (Atco label) plus much, much, more.  For info on how to subscribe, email Bob Belniak at   And while you're writing, ask Bob to add you to his mailing list for the New England Doo Wop Society email newsletter.  It's free, fun and worthwhile.  Tell Bob that Classic Urban Harmony sent you. 

Jeff O'Connor of the Expressions Passes

Sorry to report that Jeff O'Connor, bass singer for the Staten Island doo wop group, the Expressions died on August 3, 2013.  Jeff was born in Brooklyn and had previously sung with the group, Harmony.

Billy Brown's new inspirational video, "What About Me" soon to be released.

Our friends Billy Brown (Moments, Ray Goodman & Brown, Broadways), Ron Coleman (Broadways) and Nicky Addeo have come up with a great new gospel video and we have a preview excerpt for you to watch, here!  We love this song!  The full video should be available just in time for our big September 28 Gospel Concert in Asbury Park and you can purchase a copy there.  Billy Brown and Ron Coleman will be there too, so you can ask them to autograph it.  "What About Me" sung by Billy Brown; lyrics by Ronald Coleman; musical arrangement by Tom Jones; video co-produced and directed by Nicky Addeo.  Watch an excerpt from the video by clicking Billy Brown video excerpt.   

Past Issues of the CUH Newsletter Now viewable on line

Want to catch up on any past issues of this newsletter that you may have missed? Now you can. Just go to the top of this newsletter and click on "View it in your browser". Then you be able to click on "Past Issues" on the upper left of your screen.

New location for our gospel concert,
Jersey Shore Arts Center, steeped in music history!  

Little did we know when we changed the location of our September 28 Asbury Park gospel concert, that our new location would have such musical significance.  The Jersey Shore Arts Center, before remodeling, was once the old Neptune High School.  Located a block from Asbury Park at 66 South Main Street, Ocean Grove, NJ, the JSAC offered us a spacious newly remodeled theater with more free parking a large lobby and great dressing room space for our groups.  The building was built in 1896 and served as a public school until around 1960.  Once celebrated as an architectural marvel by the 1906 World's Fair, the building fell into disrepair in the 1980's only to be restored in recent years by the Ocean Grove Historic Preservation Society.  The former high school is now the Jersey Shore Arts Center, a significant venue for appreciation of art, dance, music, theater and much more.  We've just found out that the downstairs was where the vocal group the Broadways (MGM label) first started harmonizing back in the 1950's.  When we asked Broadways' Ron Coleman if the old Neptune High was where the late Bobby Thomas went, he replied, "I don't remember whether Bobby attended there or not, but he sang there.  The Juveniles and the Markees [Lenny Welch's group] also.  They would come over from Asbury and invade our territory doing talent shows."  It's good to know that when we step out on the stage on September 28, we'll be standing where many vocal group pioneers once got their start.

Swallows' Herman Denby Passes Away at Age 82

We are again deeply saddened to announce the passing of another legendary figure in the world of group harmony.  This time, it is Herman Denby (second from the left in the above photo), one of the two outstanding leads of the Swallows.  Herman died on July 14, 2013 in Ohio at the age of 82.  Herman was an extremely talented entertainer with an incredible voice.  Herman grew up in Baltimore and at the age of 17 began singing with a local vocal group, the Oakaleers, in 1949.  The Oakaleers were highly influenced by another Baltimore group, the Orioles.  When the Oakaleers signed with King Records in the early 1950's their name was changed to the Swallows.  Both Eddie Rich and Herman Denby sang leads, but when Denby started imitating Charles Brown, it gave the group another dimension.  Herman was often called  by a nickname, "Junior," which he didn't really care for.  He joined the armed forces in 1952, while the Swallows continued without him, though King Records continued issuing older songs with Herman on lead.  Denby did reunite with the Swallows on a couple occasions in 1983 and at the Swallows induction into UGHA's Hall of Fame in 1994.  The passing of a music great is even harder for us at Classic Urban Harmony, since many in the music industry are people we know.  Herman was a guest on my [Charlie's] radio program in 1983 and we would keep in touch by phone or letter from time to time.  Pam and I last saw Herman in 2008 while he was singing lead for an Ink Spots group that also contained Sonny Hatchett, Morris Dow and Harold Winley of the Clovers [see photo above].  [Thanks to Todd Baptista for letting us know about Herman's passing.]
Standing Room Only at Quiet Storm's Concert at the Franklin Township Public Library.
   The great Philly acappella group, Quiet Storm again tore it up at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset NJ on July 10, 2013.  Though the community room only holds a hundred, the Library started turning away people from the waiting list at 120.  In the end, most people there got in but some stood listening at the door.  They weren't disappointed as Quiet Storm turned in a masterful performance  singing a mix of standards ("Sincerely," "Oh What A Night"), collectors tunes ("Remember" by the Aladdins) and some Quiet Storm signature songs ("Some Enchanted Evening," "You're Mine," "Can I").  They even previewed a song from their upcoming appearance on our September 28 Asbury Park gospel concert, "The Last Mile Of The Way".  To read our concert review and see more photos of the event, visit the What's New Page of, scroll down and click the appropriate link. 

Famous Pittsburgh Radio Personality, Terry Lee, Dies

Famous Pittsburgh PA radio disc jockey, Terry Lee [Trunzo] died on July 30, 2013.  During the 1960's and 1970's Terry Lee was a major figure in Pittsburgh's music scene.  His radio show featured a popular mix of R&B, soul and R&R music.  A detailed article on Terry Lee's life, career and contributions to our music can be found by clicking Terry Lee .

2013 Philly Doo Wop Festival canceled?

Reports out of Philadelphia are that the annual Philly Doo Wop Festival, a huge outdoor event that's been held on Penn's Landing every September for the past 7 years, has been discontinued.  If we're wrong, someone correct us - please!  The Philly Doo Wop Festival has become an institution that we hate to lose. 

Classic Urban Harmony returns to the Hillsborough (NJ) Public Library for the multimedia presentation, "Under The Streetlamp: Tales from the Doo Wop Era - Part Two" Thursday August 8.

Classic Urban Harmony returns to the Hillsborough (NJ) Public Library, located inside the Hillsborough Municipal Complex (379 S. Branch Rd, Hillsborough, NJ), on Thursday August 8, 2013 at 7 PM, to present "Under The Streetlamp: Tales From the Doo Wop Era - Part 2".  This is one of our favorite talks and covers the Clovers, Chords, Crests, Hank Ballard's "Annie series," the Platters, Heartbeats, Prisonaires, Lee Andrews & the Hearts and many more groups.  The event will be FREE to attend but you must register.  Registration is now open and space is filling up quickly.  You can register on line at Hillsborough Library or by calling the Reference Desk at 908-369-2200.  For more info, see the Events Calendar Page of

Classic Urban Harmony to make August 13 guest appearance on Jim Bakay's Gospel Train radio program

     Want to hear some incredible vocal harmony in its purest form?  On Tuesday evening August 13, 2013, from 10 - 11 PM (EST), Pam & Charlie Horner make a rare guest radio appearance on Jim Bakay's "Gospel Train" radio program.  We'll be playing gospel quartets from the 1960's and 1970's from the Tidewater Virginia area (Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton Roads), much of it recorded for the obscure but highly sought after Pinewood label.  Be prepared to hear an hour of unbelievable harmony from records you've probably never heard of before. 
     Jim Bakay's "The Gospel Train" can be heard on the Internet by going on Tuesday at 10 pm EST.  [For those listening by radio in the Delaware Valley, the show can be heard on WRDV-FM (89.3 Warminster/Hatboro PA; 107.3 Philadelphia PA; 97.1 Bensalem, PA) and on WLBS-FM (91.7 Bristol/Levittown, PA)]

Jim Santa Barbara celebrates 40th anniversary of his first "Wax Museum" radio program

Forty years ago this month (August 1973), popular group harmony radio personality Jim Santa Barbara hosted his first "Wax Museum" program on WNHU at the University of New Haven.  Though the first incarnation of the "Wax Museum" lasted only through most of 1974, Jim was kept in radio through numerous guest collector appearances on numerous Connecticut stations like WINE, WPKN, WELI, WESU and WNHU.   In 2005, the year after Jim retired from his job, he resumed doing his own show on various Internet radio stations.  In late 2012 he joined the staff of Wesleyan University 's WESU-FM in  Middletown Connecticut .  The show is now heard every Sunday from 2:30 - 4:30 PM at 88.1 in the greater Hartford CT area and on the world wide web.  Over the years, Jim has interviewed countless pioneers of R&B vocal group singing.  Jim's August 25 program will be a special anniversary show with numerous celebrity messages congratulating him.  Be sure to listen! 


31st annual Lead East scheduled for Aug 28 through Sept 1, 2013

With the Philly Doo Wop Festival gone, were glad Lead East is still going strong!!!!! The "world's biggest fifties party and car show is scheduled to run from August 28 through Sunday September 1, 2013, at the Parsippany Hilton, Parsippany, NJ.  As in the past, there'll be lost of doo wop music, including a Saturday night concert featuring Willie Winfield & the Harptones, Cleveland Still's Dubs, the Passions and Classic Sounds.  Sunday night's concert features Kenny Vance & the Planotones, the Duprees. and the Dennis Dorrity Jr All Stars.  Of course there are the weekend afternoon acappella shows, the strolling acappella groups, the open mike contests, the Ronnie I Tribute on Sunday (outside) at the Rhode Island island and of course all those classic cars and more.  See for details.

More Details and Photos from the Above Articles on our Website

There's just so much we can fit into one newsletter issue, but many of the articles here are repeated on our website with additional details and photos. To read more visit the "What's New Page" of And while there, don't forget to visit our other pages, like Our Events Calendar Page, Our Bookshelf, or our section on Articles We've Written.
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