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Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #8.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #08

Welcome to Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter #8.  We promised we'd send out this newsletter whenever we had things to say.  For us, the excitement with this music never stops.  Since our last newsletter we've traveled to Portsmouth, VA, and attended an incredible gospel program.  Plus, we got to meet the legendary Soul Stirrers.  Our exhibit of black gospel vocal group memorabilia at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ, is still up and is getting a lot of compliments.  We hope you can stop in and visit our exhibit (or at least visit the photos of it on our website).  A couple weeks ago, our website passed 80,000 visitors!  Again, thanks so much for your support.

We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Time Capsule Show (the ground breaking radio program that became the model for group harmony radio programs) by posting Dean Shapiro's outstanding article on the history of the program.  See the summary below along with the group harmony happenings of the past month.  

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, www.classicurbanharmony.net, 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 www.classicurbanharmony.net.  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 CUH@att.net. - Charlie & Pam Horner - April 12, 2013

Classic Urban Harmony's Goes to Portsmouth VA to see historic Gospel Program featuring the Soul Stirrers, many others

Classic Urban Harmony's Pam & Charlie Horner were among the many present in Portsmouth, VA, on March 24, 2013, when Rev. Brenda Boone presented a historic gospel concert featuring the legendary Soul Stirrers (reunited with former member Frankie Davis), Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires, King David's Harp, the Gospel Disciples, the Harmonizing Echoes, the Hurdle Brothers, the Word Singers, Rev. Boone's Higher Praise Community Choir and many others.  The concert was held in the magnificent Willett Hall and lasted almost five hours.  Prior to the concert we had the chance to meet the Soul Stirrers, including long time members Leroy and Arthur Crume.  Leroy Crume had been with the group back in the 1950's when Sam Cooke had been a member.  On stage, the Soul Stirrers enjoyed a reunion with Frankie Davis, one time Soul Stirrer and now a member of the Golden Gate Quartet.  We had a fabulous time.  We've posted about 50 photos from the event that can be seen from the link on the What's New Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net.

Rare Photo from Paul Ressler's Archives - Del Vikings, ca. 1970's

Our friend Paul Ressler has again lent us a rare photo from his collection, to share with readers of this newsletter.  The photo is of the Del Vikings and from the style of clothing it looks like it's from the 1970's.  We recognize the late Clarence Quick (far right).  We'll be posting more photos from Paul Ressler's Archives in future issues. 

Sol Rabinowitz, owner of Baton label dies

Sol Rabinowitz, founder and owner of the Baton and Sir labels, well known to R&B vocal group fans, died March 20, 2013, in North Carolina.  Sol reported on the website,  www.daremusic.com/story.htm, how in 1953 he spent $250 to record four sides by the Rivileers, a quintet from Jamaica Queens who had left one of their demos in a record store.  Sol took an acetate to Dr. Jive (Tommy Smalls) at WWRL and the calls started coming in.  Sol started his own record label, Baton, and released the Rivileers' "A Thousand Stars" which became a hit despite limited distribution.  Many more hits followed, especially with air play in NYC by Alan Freed.  Vocal harmony aficionados know that the Baton label featured numerous great songs by the Rivileers, Hearts, Fidelities, Ann Cole, the Suburbans, Kings, Belvederes and others.    

New book details 60-year career of music publisher, promoter, label owner, Joe Davis

Without question, Joe Davis was a major figure in American popular music for more than sixty years. Born in 1896 when recorded music was in its infancy, Joe Davis excelled as a promoter, music publisher, performer, label owner (Gennett, Beacon, Celebrity, Jay-Dee, Davis, etc.) and A&R man from before there was radio through the R&R eras of the fifties, sixties and into the seventies. It’s hard to think of anyone else in the music business that successfully survived that long and saw the changes that Joe Davis saw. What makes Joe Davis so important to us, was his fondness for black music and his willingness to pioneer the promotion of black music along with his other musical interests. Joe Davis influenced the careers of everyone from Fats Waller to Otis Blackwell.  “The Melody Man: Joe Davis and the New York Music Scene, 1916 – 1978” by Bruce Bastin with Kip Lornell, (University Press of MS, 2012, Hardback, 332 pages), details the entire career of Joe Davis, as revealed from his comprehensive collection of notes and files (Joe Davis died before anyone could fully interview him for a biography).  Perhaps of most interest to vocal group harmony fans, were Joe Davis’ effects on the careers of the Red Caps, Deep River Boys, Dean Barlow & the Crickets and Lillian Leech & the Mellows, subjects covered in the last third of the book.  See the Bookshelf Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net for a full review and info on purchasing this book.  

Artifacts from our Vaults

Our Classic Urban Harmony Archives contain many music related treasures, some buried so deeply in our vaults that they've been long since forgotten.  We've begun bringing out these items, one per issue.  This issue's artifact is a poster from when the acappella pioneers, the Persuasions, sang at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975.  "I recall being at this concert," remembers Charlie Horner.  "Afterwards, Carl Tancredi, Steve Applebaum and I went backstage.  That's the first time I met the Persuasions.  I kept the poster."

Free Screening of the 2000 Documentary "Jubilee Singers" at the Franklin Township Public Library May 22.  Registration now open. 

If you've never seen the 2000 documentary, "Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory" (or even if you have and would like to see it again), this outstanding one-hour film will be screened at the Franklin Township Public Library at 7 PM on May 22, 2013.  Pam & Charlie Horner of Classic Urban Harmony and the Franklin Township Cultural Arts Council will introduce the film and answer questions at the end. The Library is at 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ. Admission is FREE but registration is required. You can now register by calling the Reference desk at 732-873-8700.  Before or after the film screening, you can visit our exhibit of black gospel group memorabilia at the same location.

DVD Review: "A Lesson In A Cappella"

Visual Communications Group, Inc., (2010), DVD, Length: 60 minutes.
We recently started adding reviews of DVD's to our Bookshelf Page and are in the process of going back and discussing recently released DVD's that are relevant to our music.  "A Lesson In A Cappella," was produced by Keith Lewis and Jim Power.  This engrossing one-hour documentary explains the concepts and history of a Capella singing, tapping the insights of a number of knowledgeable music authorities and using performances by a number of great acappella groups as illustrations.  The film contains performances by the vocal groups Choice, A Perfect Blend, Shades of Soul, Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town, TruSol and even a cameo appearance by Charlie Horner.
To view a preview of the DVD and to order a copy of the DVD visit the Bookshelf & DVD Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net
 

New 24/7 Fifties R&B Internet Radio Station Debuts

With the debut of Blues Vocal Harmony Radio, we now have a 24/7 Internet radio station, playing 50's R&B all the time.  Started by, Philly DJ, Johnny B, the station plays a mix of mostly 1950's R&B vocal groups with some R&B solo artists mixed in, around the clock.  To listen, visit http://bvharmonyradio.com

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 www.classicurbanharmony.net. 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.

50th Anniversary of the "Time Capsule Show" Celebrated by posting of program's history on our website

On March 28, 1963, the first Time Capsule Show was broadcast over WFUV in the Bronx.  Over the next almost 15 years, this groundbreaking radio program became the model for virtually all "collectors" type radio programs that featured R&B vocal harmony records.  The show popularized such concepts as not talking over records; announcing record labels, recording and release dates, group members and other info about each record; the "collectors corner" for extremely rare records; reading trade magazine reviews of records; conducting detailed historical interviews on air; and concentrating on lesser known but great vocal group sides from the 1950's.  Dean Shapiro has conduced comprehensive interviews of program creators Joe Marchesani and Tom Luciani, preparing a length article about the Time Capsule Show's history through the eyes of Joe and Tom.  Joe Marchesani has provided numerous photos, playlists and other documents which we have reproduced in th article.  We are proud to present this article, posted exclusively on www.classicurbanharmony.net.  We also invite our readers to email us after reading it, to tell us your own remembrances of the Time Capsule Show.   (Photos above are Tom Luciani and Joe Marchesani high school graduation photos, courtesy of Joe Marchesani).     

Chords' Floyd "Buddy" McCrae dies.

Floyd "Buddy" McCrae, last member of the Chords, died on March 19, 2013, at Montifiore Medical Center in the Bronx. The Chords formed in 1953 in the Morrisania Section of the Bronx. They scored a national cross-over hit in 1953 with their self penned "Sh-Boom". It reached #2 on the R&B Charts. The song was soon covered by the white group, the Crew Cuts, who took it to #1 on the Pop Charts. (Buddy is seen at the far right of the above photo).  Last summer, a dedication ceremony was held in the Bronx to rename Jennings Street between Prospect and Union Streets as "Chords Way".  McCrae was too ill then to attend the ceremony but but was thrilled by the honor. 
 
Acappella group, Nostalgia 5, to give free concert July 10 in Somerset, NJ
The fine Philadelphia doo wop acappella group, Nostalgia 5, will give a free concert on Wednesday evening July 10 at the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ beginning at 7 PM.  The event will be emceed by Charlie & Pam Horner of Classic Urban Harmony.. While there's no admission charge, you must register, as space is limited. Registration will open sometime in June.  We'll let you know when on the Events Calendar page of www.classicurbanharmony.net.   

Acappella Group Re-MemberThen gave another classic performance at Italian American Club in Manchester, NJ

Another stand-out performance by the doo wop acappella group, Re-MemberThen, this past March 15, for the Italian American Club, held at Leisure Knoll Clubhouse in Manchester, NJ.  We didn't take a count, but there appeared to be about 2000 people in attendance.  We were honored to emcee the concert.  Re-MemberThen thrilled the audience with a mix of doo wop standards, plus their own arrangements of "How Well I Remember" and "You Belong To Me," the Larry Chance compositions "Acappella With My Friends" and "On The Streets Of The Bronx," and their own "Thank You Johnny (A Tribute to Johnny Maestro)".  To see more photos of the event visit the link on the What's New Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net.   

Charles Evans of 5 Five Dollars and Don Juans dies.

Charles Evans, founding member and bass singer for the Five Dollars (also recorded as the Don Juans) died Friday March 28, 2013.  Formed in 1953, the fine Detroit R&B vocal group recorded at least twenty records for the Fortune label between 1955 and 1960.  Charles Evans can be heard leading the Five Dollars on "You Fool," a song he also wrote. 

Boyz II Men Celebrate 20+ Years with concert at New Brunswick (NJ) State Theatre

It's hard to believe that it's been more than 22 years since the Philadelphia R&B vocal group, Boyz II Men burst on the scene with their first album, Cooleyhighharmony.  Now, 60 million records and four Grammy's later, the group is still generating the same excitement in their live performances as they did back then.  Growing out of an acappella group from the Philadelphia High School For Creative and Performing Arts  in the late 1980's the group soon rose to greater heights.  "My friend Bob Bosco, a teacher at the high school, wanted me to bring them on my radio program back then," recalls Charlie Horner, "But there was a long list of acappella groups waiting to get on the show then.  Next thing I knew, they had signed with Motown."
Boyz II Men, now a trio, gave an incredible concert at the New Brunswick (NJ) State Theatre on April 6.  For a packed audience that enthusiastically knew every word of every song, the group sang a mix of highlights from their career like "End Of The Road," "Motownphilly" and "Water Runs Dry" as well as songs from their newest album, Twenty.  We enjoyed their tribute to Motown and of course the acappella version of "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday".

Please Pray for Lillian

We are deeply saddened to hear that Lillian Leach, fabulous lead of the Mellows, is now in hospice care with advanced stage cancer.  Over the years we have heard Lillian sing at UGHA on many occasions and have talked with her several times.  She was always gracious and friendly and we came to know her as a wonderful person besides a talented singer.  The above poster was prepared and framed for us by Lou Rallo and autographed by Lillian.  Lillian, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. 

Bermuda News Media writes about Classic Urban Harmony traveling to Bermuda to search for the Talbot Brothers' music

Little did we know, when we went to Bermuda a couple years ago in search of Bermuda vocal groups like the Talbot Brothers, that our website postings about the music would end up in the Bermuda news media.  None-the-less, in the article "Music Historian Sings the Talbot Brothers Praise," Bermuda's News and Cultural Source, Bernews went on to write, "A leading scholar of popular music has been singing the praises of the legendary Bermuda vocal group the Talbot Brothers.  Described as 'one of the foremost authorities on early rhythm & blues and vocal group music' by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, American writer and lecturer Dr. Charlie Horner recently visited Bermuda on vacation — but soon found his professional instincts kicking in when he was exposed to the Talbot Brothers’ harmonies.  The music historian, former radio personality and renowned collector is a particular connoisseur of vocal harmony and found himself enchanted by both the Talbot Brothers’ sound and their story while in Bermuda."  Well, the article is correct, we love the Talbot Brothers' music and this recently published article is great. We guess we're becoming known worldwide.  To read the article visit Talbot Brothers.
To read about Bermuda Harmony Groups go to www.classicurbanharmony.net, scroll down the left hand side to the bottom and click the appropriate link.

 

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.
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