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Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #18.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox..

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #18
 

Welcome once again to our Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter issue (#18).  The year is only three weeks old and already we have more than enough happening to fill a newsletter.  The new year promises to be an exciting one for our music, tempered only by the devastating loss of some more of our music's icons.  We're sure you'll find a lot to interest you in this issue.

Quote of the month:  "Music is a world within itself.  It's a language we all understand." - Stevie Wonder.

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, lectures, college courses, concert production and emceeing, vocal group bookings, 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 - January 22, 2014.

Long Awaited Little Isidore & Inquisitors' CD a Winner!

We've been waiting almost twenty years for Little Isidore & the Inquisitors to release their third CD and it was worth the wait!  Entitled "Moxie - Part 2," the CD displays Little Isidore' patented mix of music styles that we've come to expect from one of the field's most exciting performing bands.  Group harmony enthusiasts will love the Inquisitors' versions of the Orioles' "I'd Rather Have You Under The Moon Than Anyone Under The Sun" (Little Isidore leading) and the Red Caps' "Would I Mind" featuring the bass voice of Molten Milton.  Fans of good old fifties R&R will swing to "Lickity Split," "Foot Stompin'," "Don't You Just Know It" and the Little Richard-esk "Jelly Belly" (one of several David Forman penned originals on the album).   Kitten Kaboodle leads great soulful renditions of "Dry Your Eyes" and "The One Who Really Loves You".  Johnny Staccato's strong voice carries "It Ain't Nothin'," a song destined to be the follow up to the previously issued "Harlem Hit Parade and "Doo Dootsy Wah".  For information on "Moxie - Part 2" and upcoming appearances by the group, visit http://littleisidore.netWe can't wait for a "Moxie - Part 1" CD to come out.  We hope it doesn't take another 20 years.

Little Isidore & Inquisitors CD Release Party and Dance, a Swingin' Time

Perhaps the only thing more exciting than a Little Isidore & the Inquisitors CD is a Little Isidore & the Inquisitors live performance.  We were treated to both on Saturday night January 11, 2014, when we headed to Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, for the group's CD release party, concert and dance.  Vocalists, Little Isidore (David Foreman), Kitten Kaboodle (Linda Shell), Johnny Staccato Jr (Wayne Smith) and Molten Milton (John Montforte) were in great form, as always, backed by their smokin' six-piece band.  The group gave us two high energy one-hour sets.  In between, Little Isidore autographed the new CD, "Moxie Part 2" and posed for photos.  If you haven't seen a Little Isidore & the Inquisitors performance, you've missed a lot.  Thanks also to Pam Nardella for working so hard to make this event a success.  Check out Isidore's website http://littleisidore.net.  

 

Gerylane Edgehill of the Philly Soul Group, the Sweet Delights Passes

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend, Gerylane Edgehill, member of the Philadelphia soul group, the Sweet Delights. Gerylane (far left in the photo) died January 20, 2014, at the age of 71. We have recently posted the story of the Sweet Delights on our website. You can read it by clicking the link on the What's New Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net.  The article was first published in Echoes of the Past magazine.  Gerylane was predeceased by her husband, Eddie Edgehill of the Valentines and Del Knights.  To read Jack Morrison's obit for Geri click Philadelphia Daily News.  To hear the Sweet Delights click "Baby Be Mine".

Reather Dixon Turner dies.  Original member of the Bobbettes.

Reather Turner-Dixon, original member of the Bobbettes died January 7, 2014, at the age of 68.  The NYC female R&B vocal group had a hit with "Mr. Lee" (Atlantic label) which reached #6 on the R&B Charts in 1957.  An answer record by the group, "I Shot Mr. Lee" (Triple-X label) also did well for the group in 1960.  (Reather is at the bottom left of the Bobbettes photo above).  To hear the Bobbettes singing one of our favorites, click "The Dream".

Clint Eastwood to direct movie version of "Jersey Boys"?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Clint Eastwood is considering directing the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production, "Jersey Boys". The plot tells of rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and features music from the New Jersey vocal group's career.  We've seen the Broadway show twice and have the poster hanging on the wall of Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters.  We can't wait to see the movie!  

Rev. Brenda Boone's Annual February Portsmouth VA Gospel Program shaping up to be another Historic Event!

Each February we head to Portsmouth VA to catch Reverend Brenda Boone's annual gospel program.  Rev. Boone's programs have been known to run more than five hours long and are heavy on great quartet singing groups, a style that we love!  This year's line up is every bit as spectacular as in years past.  It will feature the Fantastic Violinaires, Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires, Frankie Davis & the Mighty All Stars, Van Jones & King David's Harp, Min. Paul Boone & the Templeaires, Elder Ronald Harper & the Harmonizing Echoes, the Gospel Disciples, the Word Singers and Pinewood label recording artists the Gospel Travelers of Garysburg, NC.   Also singing will be Sis. Carolyn Smith, Elder Doris Pittman and 13-year-old Logan Hitchman.  MC's will be Steve Alexander and Reggie McDonald of WGPL radio.  The program will take place at Willet Hall, 3701 Willet Drive, Portsmouth, VA, on Sunday February 23, 2014, beginning at 4 PM.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  For information call 757-477-3828 or 757-227-2200.
 

Joe Evans Dies at 97.  Sax player owned Cee-Jay and Carnival record labels.

Joe Evans, noted jazz saxophone player and owner of Carnival Records, died on January 17, 2014.  He was 97.  Evans was born in Pensacola FL on October 7, 1916.  As a jazz alto sax player, Joe played with the bands of Jay McShann, Jimmy Forrest, Don Redman, Louis Armstrong, Andy Kirk, Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and others.  He was a member of the house bands at the savoy Ballroom and Apollo Theater.  In the early 1960's, Evans co-owned the Cee-Jay label that produced some great R&B vocal group songs by Mike 7 the Utopians, Delroy Green & the Cool Gents and the Vines.  Joe Evans started the Carnival label in Newark NJ in 1962.  He was responsible for so many great soul recordings by the Manhattans, Tren-Teens, Lovettes, Topics, Lee Williams & the Cymbals, Pretenders, Phil Terrell, Barbara Brown and many others.  Evans published his biography, "Follow Your Heart," in 2008.  For a nice article on Joe Evans by Ady Croasdel, click Joe Evans[Thanks to Mike Boone for letting us know about Joe Evans.]

Classic Urban Harmony embarks on latest Asbury Park project

On January 16, 2014, Classic Urban Harmony's Pam & Charlie Horner officially began work on our latest Asbury Park project.  Working with the Asbury Park Historical Society we are preparing a museum-like exhibit of Asbury Park's West Side Music Legacy to run in a downtown Asbury Park, NJ, art gallery for two weeks during the January 2015 Light of Day celebration.  The exhibit will contain photos, records, posters, musical instruments, uniforms and other memorabilia of Jazz, R&B, Gospel and Doo Wop artists who were connected to the West Side (1910 to 1970).  At the January organizational meeting of the APHS (see photo above) Charlie & Pam presented a 45-minute slide and music clip program of West Side artists, including Count Basie, Erroll Garner, Claude Hopkins, Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires, Lenny Welch, the Ray Dots, V-Eights, Broadways and many more.  We are seeking help from the community to provide additional items for the display.  Anyone having photos or memorabilia to donate or lend to the exhibit is encouraged to contact us at CUH@att.net.

From Paul Ressler's Archives - Seldom seen promotional photo of the Tymes.

Each newsletter we try to feature a rare photo from our friend Paul Ressler's extensive archives.  This issue we've chosen a promotional photo of our friends, the Tymes from 1963.  The photo has the classic Tymes pose where they are looking at their watches, but look closely.  This is not the exact photo seen on the picture sleeve of their "So Much In Love" 45.  It's probably from the same photo shoot, as the group's suits are the same and the members are in the same left-to-right order.  Thanks, Paul for another great photo!

Four singers among top valued autographs among living people

A recent article on News-Antique.com listed the most valuable autographs among living people.  Four contemporary singers made the Top Ten list.  Paul McCarthy's autograph is currently valued at $3275, followed by Bob Dylan ($3200), Ringo Starr ($1750) and Madonna ($1630).  Of course, autographs of celebrities that are no longer with us command higher prices.  A Jimi Hendrix autograph once sold for $61,000 and in 2003 a John Lennon autographed album sold for $525,000.  A Shakespeare's autograph would be valued at $5,000,000 (see photo above).  The Classic Urban Harmony Archives does not contain any of the above.  We do have numerous autographs that we've collected over the years - Sonny Til, Clyde McPhatter, Gene Mumford, Savannah Churchill.  While these autographs will probably never command as much monetary value, they are important to us.  Besides, we'd never sell them so what does it matter?

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.

World's  Largest Vinyl Record Spins on top of Los Angeles Forum

Here's one that would not fit on our record shelves!  A 407-foot diameter vinyl phonograph, the world's largest, now sits on top of the newly renovated Forum in Los Angeles.  Built in just 45 days, the record celebrates the return of the legendary music venue after a 100 million dollar fix up.  The record is the Eagles "Hotel California" album and the Eagles will be the first act to play there upon the Forum's reopening.  Though the record weighs 50,000 pounds, it never-the-less spins at 17 miles per hour.  It will be taken down the beginning of February but for now it is viewable to passengers of planes landing at LAX.  In fact is is visible from one mile high.   To see a YouTube video of the record being built, click World's Largest Record.

Maureen Gray Dies - Early 1960's R&B Singer a Philadelphia Favorite

Maureen Gray, popular Philadelphia R&B singer who scored with early 1960's hits like "Today's The Day," "I'm So Young," Dancin' The Strand," "Crazy Over You" and "I Don't Want To Cry," died on January 7, 2014 at the age of 65.  Born in New York City but raised in Philadelphia, PA, Maureen Gray began singing at the age of three and performed on a children's program at Carnegie Hall at the age of five.  She was discovered at the age of 12 by songwriter Johnny Madara, when she walked into his record store.  Madara and David White wrote and produced seven records with Maureen for the Chancellor (3), Landa (2) and Mercury (2) labels.  George Frunzi's recent article on David White in Echoes of the Part magazine, revealed that "Dancin' The Strand" had the Chantels singing background.  Maureen Gray's records were given a lot of air play by Philadelphia radio personality Jerry Blavat, who often had her appear at his record hops.  Gray's records were always prized by Philadelphia record collectors.  Maureen Gray later moved to the U.K. where she sang with recording stars Billy Preston, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, John Lennon and David Bowie.  Maureen Gray returned to Philadelphia about ten years ago.  To hear one of Maureen Gray's records on YouTube, click "Dancin' The Strand" .  [Thanks to Charles Anderson for reporting this to us.]
 
Artifacts from our Vault: Capris' Photo Card
For this newsletter, we again dug into the Classic Urban Harmony vaults to post a promotional photo card of the Gotham Records R&B vocal group the Capris.  The card dates from 1954 and features the Capris that recorded "God Only Knows," "It Was Moonglow" and "It's A Miracle" [NOT the "Moon Out Tonight" Capris.]  At first we thought this might be a penny arcade card, like those sold in vending machines for a penny back in the day.  However, the card measures almost 4" by 6", too large for the vending machines.  To read the complete story of this Philadelphia group, visit www.classicurbanharmony.net and click on the "Philly's Original Capris" article on the left hand side, under "Articles By Us".   

Group Harmony Singing Improves Health and Slows Aging?

Prior studies have already shown that group harmony singing reduces stress, relieves anxiety and elevates endorphins.  Now there is scientific evidence that  seniors, 65 to 100 year-olds, who sing group harmony have fewer falls, fewer doctor visits and less loneliness than those who don't sing.  Harmony singers also tend to become more active.  Neuroscientist Julene K. Johnson of the University of California San Francisco is now beginning a five-year study at 12 senior centers in San Francisco to determine whether singing harmony is a cost effective way of promoting health and well-being in seniors.  So far the studies have been limited to singing in choirs but we expect singing quartet style will give similar results.  "When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape," claims Stacy Horn, author of the book Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing With Others.  "Group singing... is the most exhilarating and transformative of all.  It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: harmony".
 

Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers dies.

Phil Every, who along with his brother Don, made up the Rock & Roll pioneers, the Everly Brothers, died Friday January 3, 2014, at the age of 74.  The Everly Brothers were well known in the late 1950's and early 1960's for hots like "Wake Up Little Suzie," "Bye Bye Love," "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Cathy's Clown," "Let It Be Me" and "When Will I Be Loved".  The Every Brothers were a major influence on the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkle and Linda Ronstadt.  They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.  [Phil Everly is on the left in the photo above.]
 

Friedman - Gribin Encyclopedia of Early American Vocal Groups Nominated for Association for ARSC Award

We just received word that the Douglas Friedman - Anthony Gribin Encyclopedia of Early American Vocal Groups has been nominated for the 2014 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.  The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings, in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods.  The Awards for Excellence are presented to authors and publishers of books, articles, or recording liner notes, to recognize outstanding published research in the field of recorded sound.  See the Bookshelf Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net for our review of the book.  As we reported in an earlier newsletter, Douglas Friedman is currently working on a biography of the Mills Brothers.
 

New book, Who Did It First, details R&B Cover Songs and their Original Artists

Who Did It First: Great Rhythm & Blues Cover Songs and their Original Artists is the latest book out to fill a gap in our knowledge of rhythm & blues recordings.  Author, Bob Leszczak, has spent three decades as an on-air personality on numerous radio stations across the country.  Those of us who took part in the New Jersey group harmony scene back in the day knew him as "Bobby L," respected record collector and talented singer with groups like the Infernos and Duprees.  Bob's credentials as a music historian are beyond question.  That's why we were anxious to read this book.  Who Did It First is a well researched reference book on R&B songs that were later covered and made hits by artists other than the originals.  Almost 400 songs are listed, along with original composers, artists (year and label) and cover artist (year and label).  Leszczak then goes on to write a few paragraphs on each entry, detailing interesting info and stories of the song and artists.  We've been students of R&B music for almost 50 years and there are still many stories relayed here that we didn't know.  Nice job, Bob.  For a more complete review and a link to the book on Amazon.com, see the Bookshelf Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net.

R&B Stars to Salute the Beatles at the Apollo Theater
 

New York City  is planning a big celebration in February to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show (February 9, 1964).  "NYC FAB 50" begins on February 6 with "Twist & Shout: New York Celebrates the Beatles at the Apollo" with a number of R&B stars singing Beatles tunes at the Apollo Theater.  Performers include Lloyd Price, jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gary U.S. Bonds, Bettye LaVette, Melvin Van Peebles, Kitoto Von Hebb (daughter of Bobby Hebb), and Barrence Whitfield.  All proceeds will benefit the Food bank of NYC.  An all-star concert will follow in NYC on February 7th and the Across the Universe Beatles Music Festival, with 50 bands from 50 countries playing Beatles music on the 8th and 9th..
 

Will Bruno Mars be singing Doo Wop at the Super Bowl Half Time Show?

With our favorite football teams already out of the competition, our biggest expectation for this year's Super Bowl is seeing pop icon Bruno Mars singing on the half time show.  As we've reported in a previous newsletter, Mars has been known to break into a doo wop song or two during his performances.  Of course there are no guarantees, but wouldn't it be great if Bruno Mars started singing the Schoolboys' "Please Say You Want Me" before an audience of 110 million viewers?  It could start a whole resurgence of doo wop singing around the world. Classic Urban Harmony considered taking out a TV ad during the Super Bowl but we couldn't afford the $4 million for a 30-second spot.  [Click YouTube to watch Bruno Mars singing doo wop.]

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.

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