Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue # 58  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter
Issue # 58: July/Aug/Sept 2021

Welcome to our 58th issue of the Classic Urban Harmony free email newsletter.  Just when we thought things were getting better, we've had a very trying summer.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered through the droughts, fires and hurricanes.  Here in New Jersey we are still recovering from the flash floods of Hurricane Ida.  Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters was spared any damage but nearby friends and neighbors were not so fortunate.  Of course, COVID Delta is still with us, causing some major entertainers to move their concerts to later in 2021 and early 2022.  Worst of all, this summer has seen the passing of a number of icons of our music - some of them close friends.  We'll try to honor them in this newsletter.  But we also have some bight spots this issue.  We have a number of interesting stories and happenings that will give us hope for a bright future.  So set aside a couple hours to again immerse yourself in what's going on in the world of Classic Urban Harmony.  And please recommend this newsletter to your friends.  We have over 1,100 subscribers and are still growing. 

Quote of the Month:  "Music creates order out of chaos." - Yehudi Menuhin

Classic Urban Harmony LLC promotes the legacy of Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop, Soul and Gospel Vocal Group Harmony through multimedia presentations, historical research, interviews, books, magazine articles, museum exhibits & displays, radio guest appearances, lectures, college courses, concert production and emceeing, consultation for documentaries, vocal group bookings, 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 & Pamela Horner - September 15, 2021

Music world mourns loss of Harptones' Willie Winfield at 91.  

On July 27, 2021, the music world was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of our beloved friend and group harmony icon, Willie Winfield.  Willie was a music legend.  Born in Surrey VA, Aug 24, 1929, Willie Winfield came to NYC and started singing with two of his brothers and Dicey Galloway in an early 1950’s group called the Winfield Brothers.  Willie would eventually connect with William Dempsey & Raoul Cita and the Harptones were born.  If you count from 1954 to 2019, that’s 65 years of singing.  During that time, Willie and the Harptones made close to 85 recordings with Willie singing lead on most of them.  You know the songs: "Life Is But A Dream," “Sunday Kind Of Love,” “Memories Of You,” “I’ll Never Tell,” “Since I Fell For You,” “What Is Your Decision,” “Three Wishes,” “That’s The Way It Goes,” “On Sunday Afternoon,” “The Masquerade Is Over,” “Shrine Of St. Cecilia,” “Cry Like I Cried” and many more.  Every one a classic.  To us, Willie was even more special.  Soft-spoken, humble and kind-hearted, Willie Winfield was one of the nicest people we'd ever met.  Pam and I were honored to present Willie with lifetime achievement awards twice in the last couple years of his life.  Once was at the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Awards Ceremony (see the above photo) and again at our last acappella concert at the Morris Museum in October 2019.  To the best of our knowledge, the latter was the last time Willie was on stage.  Though retired from singing, Willie still sang "Life Is but A Dream" with Original Mixed Company.  It was an emotional time then for all of us and even more so now when we see the video.  Click "Willie Winfield" to watch that video and remember.  God bless you, Willie, and thank you for enriching our lives. - Charlie & Pam    

Harptones rarest record now a pin!

Collectors of R&B vocal group records are well aware of the Harptones' 7" EP, "The Sensational Harptones."  It contains 4 cuts, "A Sunday Kind Of Love," "I Almost Lost My Mind,"  "Forever Mine" and "Ou-We-Baby."  Released in 1955 with a picture sleeve on the Bruce label (#201), the record is one of the rarest in the genre.  People speak of this record as the "Holy Grail" of group records.  I've been told that there are only 3 known copies and that the record is worth nearly $10,000.  Well, actually, we know of at least a half dozen copies and one sold in 2018 for $ 2,300.  But it's still a treasured item to have - one that we never expect to have, unless some kind soul wants to donate one to our Classic Urban Harmony Archives. ;)  That's why we were thrilled when our friend KJ O'Doherty presented us with a pin he had made up like the Harptones' EP cover.  It's especially meaningful to us, having just lost Willie Winfield.  Many thanks, KJ!

"You Don't Know Me" by Norman Seldin as told to Charlie Horner due out later this month.

We are now counting down the days until the release of Stormin' Norman Seldin's autobiography, "You Don't Know Me."  As the title suggests, you may not know who Norman Seldin is, but if you have any interest at all in popular music, you should know.  Norman's remarkable career in music, as a musician, singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, artist manager, label owner and concert promoter cuts across genres from classical to stride piano, jazz, rhythm & blues, rock & roll, doo wop, soul harmony, garage bands, rock and pop music.  He recorded Clarence Clemons before the E Street Band and Harry Ray before Ray Goodman & Brown.  In fact, he broke the color barrier in many Jersey Shore venues by bringing integrated bands into previously all-white clubs.  But Norman's music career ran from New Jersey to Mississippi to Florida and back to New Jersey.  Most important, this book will not be a music history book, though there's plenty of that in every paragraph.  This book has a story line that once you start reading, you won't want to put it down.  The book has been edited, indexed and given an ISBN number.  We're waiting for a Library of Congress Control Number before ordering review copies. - Charlie Horner

Our Music in Commercials: Drifters (Heinz Ketchup) and Happenings (NFL) Commercials

Our Music in Commercials seems to be an ever popular column.  Elaine & Shana Lewis sent in this one.  Heinz Ketchup uses the Drifters “This Magic Moment” to sell ketchup.  The theme is, "Life can be a lot to handle but there's plenty of magic in all that chaos."  In other words Heinz ketchup supplies the magic.  To take a look, click Heinz.  I saw the next one in July and August.  The NFL advertises the upcoming football season with “See You in September” by the Happenings.  It doesn’t quite sound like the same track as the record.  I suspect that it has been mixed differently. Give a listen by clicking NFL.  With each newsletter issue, I receive favorable feedback and suggestions for this topic. Please keep the comments coming. - Pamela Horner

Joel Katz' long - awaited return to Lead East

Our friend, doo wop singer Joel Katz, returned to the stage of Lead East this year after a 13-year absence.  Once a regular at the annual classic car and 1950's festival, Joel was welcomed back to sing with Jim Durkin's Band, an ensemble that also included Beverly Warren, Michael D'Amore, Hal Keshner (music director) and others.  In addition to organizing and playing drums in the band, Jim Durkin produced the music portion of Lead East.  We must say that the Durkin Band's set was one of the highlights of this year's Lead East.  Performing on that Sunday night, the concert also featured stellar sets by Classic Sounds, Jersey Sounds and Barbara Harris & the Toys and  was skillfully emceed by WMTR's Alan David Stein.  Singing several songs including "This Magic Moment" and "For Your Precious Love," Joel Katz was in fine voice, receiving at least two standing ovations from the audience.  The appearance was a departure from Joel's normal singing with his group, Joel & the Dynamics.  Meanwhile, we are assisting with Joel Katz' autobiography which will be published soon.      

Acappella group, the Variations reunite for Lead East, First time together since 1998.

While at Lead East in Parsippany, NJ, on September, 5, 2021 we ran into the Variations singing acappella outside.  The Variations are best known for singing at the United in Group Harmony Association (UGHA) and recording an album for Ronnie I's Clifton Records label in the late 1990's.  Having not sung together since 1998, the original group members reunited at Lead East and had only a couple practice sessions before singing outside.  The Variations consist of Cyndy Taylor, Ondine Appel, Debby Wilkerson, Lisa Constantine and bass/manager Tony Castro.  The group still sounds great and we were thrilled to hear them singing lesser know "collectors songs" like the Revels/Crystals "Love My Baby, the Bonnie & the Blue Boys' song "You Better Run" the Casual Crescendos' "Wish That You Were Here," the Minor's "Jerry" "Deceiving Blues" (Little Ester & Mel Walker) and others.  The members are now split between Florida and New Jersey so we were fortunate to have them all in one place.  We did take some videos for our YouTube Channel, "chorner1" and you can watch them by clicking "Love My Baby." "You Better Run" and "Wish That You Were Here."  We have more we'll be posting soon.

Lead East moved the Ronnie I  - UGHA Tribute inside this year

For quite a few years when attending Lead East, we always liked to drop by the Rhode Island Island tent outside for a tribute to Ronnie I and the United in Group Harmony Association (UGHA).  Assembled each year by Tony O (Oetjen), Tom Harford, KJ O'Doherty and others, we were sure to find Tony O playing sounds and singers harmonizing acappella there.  This year, Tony O emceed an indoor tribute to Ronnie I, complete with a video, skillfully assembled by Bill Olb and an acappella group contest, won by the Tribunes.  

Rich Zielinski, well-known group harmony advocate, passes away. 

So sad to hear of the untimely passing of  Richard Zielinski, well-known advocate of vocal group harmony died September 11, 2021 at age 71.  Rich was born and raised in Jersey City.  An avid record collector, Rich was a fixture at Ronnie I's United in Group Harmony Association and Stan Krause's record store.  In more recent times, Rich was known for posting most of those great UGHA videos on the UGHA -  Ronnie I Productions Facebook Page and attending TNT North Jersey Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Party get-togethers and and Street Corner Sounds Society shows shows at Town & County in Keyport N J.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Zielinski family. - Charlie & Pam

Tony Fournier’s website has added 60 high resolution MP4 Videos on vintage Black Artists

Tony Fournier's Vocal Group Harmony website is adding more fabulous new content faster than we can review it.  He's just added 60 high resolution mp4 videos of early black artists.  The videos are from 1935-1957.  Each MP4 has notes on the backing group, the year, where the video was taken from and band members.  A few videos that caught my eye were:  Fats Waller's “Your Feets Too Big” (1941 Soundie), The Ink Spots “Do I Worry,” (watch for the comedy) and the Delta Rhythm Boys “Take The “A” Train” (1941 Minoco Soundie).  The Delta’s released this song on Decca in 1941.  Savannah Churchill's “I Want To Be Loved” from the movie “Miracle In Harlem” (1948) is backed by the Lynn Proctor Trio.  Lots of vintage videos to explore here.  Take a look by clicking Vocal Group Harmony Website. - Pamela Horner

Don Everly of the Everly Brothers dies at 84,

I remember seeing the Everly Brothers on a small outdoor stage in New England.  They quietly got on stage and sang their hits in their close harmony style with acoustic guitars for accompaniment.  There was no entourage -  just two men who loved to sing.  Don Everly died on September 11, 2021 at the age of 84.  His brother Phil had already left us in 2014 at 74.  Don Everly was a singer, songwriter, and a guitar innovator.  The duo had 19 top 40 hits including “Bye Bye Love,” “Let It Be Me,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Problems” plus many more.  The Everly Brothers songs were influences on The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beach Boys and The Bee Gees.  The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. - Pamela Horner

Records, 2 for 5 cents?  I often have dreams like this! - Charlie

Barbara "Bibs" Allbut Brown of the Angels dies.

Barbara "Bibs" Allbut Brown, co-founder and long time member of the Angels and died July 10, 2021, at age 80.  Originally from Orange, New Jersey, the group began as the Starlets (Astro label) before becoming the Angels.  The group is best known for  the songs "Til," "Cry Baby Cry," "My Boyfriend's Back" and "Thank You And Goodnight."
Rare Sheet Music of the Month:  "Wonderful Wonderful" the Tymes
This issue's rare sheet music is by our friends the Tymes, who are still going strong as a vocal group.  The song was originally recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1957 but was revived by the great Philadelphia group in 1963 as a follow-up singing to "So Much In Love" on the Parkway label.  The Tymes, George Williams, Norman Burnett, Ceasar Berry, Donald Banks and George Hilliard, began as a North Philadelphia vocal group initially known as the Latineers.  Lead singer, George William's lead voice was so close to Mathis' voice, the selection of this song came naturally.  Actually, the Tymes' version was first heard on the Tymes' "So Much In Love" album.  The album was a theme album with spoken introductions to each song telling a love story.  The Tymes will be inducted into the East Coast Music Hall of Fame next June.  They will be performing at the ECMHoF benefit on Noveber 20 of this year.  (see article at the beginning of this newsletter).  Click Tymes to listen to "Wonderful Wonderful" with the talking introduction.

The CUH Newsletter Inbox

After each issue of this news letter, we get interesting feedback from out readers.  We'd like to share a few emails with you.

"Charlie & Pam…. Thank you so much for Including me and the Smithsonian article In your newsletter.  It’s definitely the best thing that ever happened to me business wise.  They made mistakes in it but who cares.  Also, I appreciate you mentioning our relationship going back to Norman Cooper’s and that I influenced you & your taste In group harmony.  You’ve definitely contributed more to honoring & documenting the music than anyone else I know.  Thank you for your over 50 year’ friendship.  Continue doing what you’ve always done.  You’re loved & appreciated By so many.  God bless you & Pam.  Love," - Val Shively
[Thanks Val.  If it hadn't been for you, I probably wouldn't be into this music like I am.  I'm sure many others feel the same way.  Congrats on the Smithsonian article.  Great seeing you and Patti at the Parris' party. - Charlie]

“Hi Charlie and Pam.  Just a note to say how much I enjoyed your recent May/June 2021 newsletter.  I always enjoy your articles and information, having been in the music business since 1960 - working in a record store and then a record distributor, singing and writing songs, owning my own record label and of course being a record collector. Your newsletter keeps me in touch with the love of my life.  Keep them coming.  Thanks."  Sal Donnarumma.  [Thanks Sal.  We work very hard on these newsletters and knowing that someone of your music background appreciates them makes us glad.  Thanks for all you do for the music. - Charlie & Pam]  

"Charlie & Pam.  Another great issue, and good to read about Val Shively honored by the Smithsonian.  Always good to read about when someone from that musical era is honored.  With all the obits, though, none made me sadder than Lou Rallo's.  I, too, have a few of his T-shirts, not just the labels but one he sent me of eerie film actor Rondo Hatton.  What a nice, nice man Lou was. Makes me not just sad but angry, and it's for nothing because I can't bash cancer in the skull and wring its neck.  Thanks for everything you do.  You're two of the reasons that I wish I still lived in Jersey.  Best," - Kate Karp.  [Thanks Kate.  We too miss Lou Rallo.  The hardest thing about composing these newsletters is reporting on the loss of friends.  This issue, with Willie Winfield's obit is no different.  Thanks for writing. - Charlie & Pam]

"Wow.  This [past] newsletter was like an obituary, very depressing.  It’s sad that we are losing so many great talented people!" – John Menechino

"Great newsletter as usual. I always look forward to reading your email and clicking on the various links.  Keep up the good work!!" - Lane Quigley

"Fantastic job as always on this newsletter edition!  I found the Bob Mays stories highly entertaining!  Also, very sorry to hear about Roxy and Dukes - was amazed to see all  the talent you placed before us on that stage in five short years!  Kudos!  And Mr. Rallo will live on in the music and keepsakes he's given us." - John Mattei

"I spent about an hour and a half watching those videos [of acappella groups at Roxy & Dukes].  Terrific.  Thanks for posting them.  Sad to see R&D close." - Glen Fisher
[Thanks Glen.  Link to Glen's excellent Doo Wop Ramblings Newsletter elsewhere in this newsletter. - Charlie & Pam]

"Charlie, thank you for the nice write-up in the newsletter. Much appreciated." - Jay Bruder
[You're very welcomed Jay.  Your "R&B in D.C " CD and book package (complete review above) is one of the finest we've ever seen.  This thing should win a GRAMMY. - Charlie & Pam]     

"Charlie.  You were incorrect when you wrote that  "Price and business partner Logan also formed a club together called Birdland in New York on 1674 Broadway in New York City."  Birdland was a jazz club that was made popular by alto saxophonist Charlie (Bird) Parker.  As jazz faded in the early-mid 1960s, Lloyd & Logan took over the space and it was renamed Lloyd Price's Turntable.  Artists including James Brown performed there.    Until recently the same space was Flashdancers, a strip club, whose marquee was seen opposite the theatre where David Letterman did his TV show.  You also should also mention that the musical which Lloyd worked on will have its premiere in February, 2022 in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  I saw a rough preview of "Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical" in 2018 and spoke to Lloyd as he watched it.  (I think you may have also mentioned it in a past newsletter.)  Thanks as always for your dedication to the music."
[Thanks George.  I stand corrected.  Naturally I was aware of the Birdland jazz club of old, but didn't connect it in my mind with the Price - Logan club.  Yes, we did mention the musical in a previous newsletter.  We'll try to go see it in 2022.  Thanks for the info. - Charlie]

"Dear Charlie and Pam,  Did I mention that a Heinz Ketchup commercial is playing "This Magic Moment" by The Drifters?  It's hard to believe that we won't be hearing Shirley Alston Reeves (retired) anymore and very sad to hear about Lloyd Price!" - Elaine and Shana Lewis.
[Hi Elaine and Shana.  Thanks for the info on the commercial.  We added it to this issue's "Our Music in Commercials.  Keep the suggestions coming. - Pam & Charlie]

Wow!!  Charlie and Pam. When you said your next newsletter will be jammed packed your weren’t kidding!  A sad…yet a great piece of remembrance about Roxy and Dukes. It was amazing all the fantastic talented groups you and Pam had put on that stage there.  R I P Roxy and Dukes… but the groups, tunes and memories will go on forever ! Pam you wrote a great article on Vee-Jay  Records. One of my favorite labels and what great talent came out of those two locations. From the Spaniels, El Dorados, and The Dells to Gene Chandler, and Jerry Butler. Great info and nice to see the building is getting good use.  Nice to see it’s just a few weeks till Norman Seldin’s book will be Stormin’ the bookshelves!  Great show he put on down at Bar A in Lake Como N.J.  It was a big plus to see Larry Chance get up and do a song with Norman …sounded great!  Great seeing Joel Katz new recording is breaking into the beach scene in Carolina.  Charlie a great piece you did on Val Shively.  Nice background and history and the times you had also with him.  Awesome to hear and see Freddie Parris getting a platinum award for his contribution to the movie “Dirty Dancing”.  Awesome newsletter as always - one of your collective best! Keep on putting them out and I can’t wait till the next one hits the stand!"  Lance Rossi

East Coast Music Hall of Fame announces 3 “From the Heart” concerts at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City with proceeds to benefit the ECMHoF and the Richard & Deborah Nader Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Join the East Coast Music Hall of Fame at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City for 3 concerts “From the Heart” with proceeds to benefit the ECMHoF and the Richard & Deborah Nader Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Friday, November 19th (7:30 PM) starring Jay Siegel's Tokens ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Tonight I Fell in Love"), The Vogues ("Turn Around, Look at Me," "You’re the One"), The Skyliners ("Since I Don’t Have You," "This I Swear"), Chris Ruggiero (as seen on PBS).
Saturday, November 20th (2:00 PM) starring the east coast’s most talented music makers – Teresa McClean, Vinnie Medugno, The Arminios – Stiletto & the Saxman, Gerard Esposito and more.
Saturday, November 20th (7:30 PM) starring Bobby Rydell ("Wild One," "Volare"), Charlie Gracie ("Butterfly"), The Tymes ("So Much in Love"), Emil Stucchio & the Classics ("Till Then").
 We are offering a 3-show package presale for all members and past members. In appreciation for past support, even though memberships may be expired, we are extending membership benefits to anyone who has supported the ECMHoF in the past. 
The 3-show package includes the seats you’ve selected - locked in for all 3 concerts - and a $20-$30 discount over tickets bought individually.  If you are a current or previous ECMHoF paid member at any level and have not received the presale code by email, please send an email to (Please check your inbox and spam folder before emailing.)  The members' pre-sale begins Wednesday, September 15 at 10:00 AM and ends Thursday September 16th 10:00 PM.  Starting Friday, September 17th at 10:00 AM, 3-show packages go on sale to the public.  Individual tickets go on sale to the public September 22nd at 10:00 AM. Starting at this time, you may buy tickets to each individual show if you prefer not to attend all of the events.  For more info or to purchase tickets visit ECMHoF.

Maryland Pierce, last original member of the Five Keys passes.  

In yet another major loss to our music family, on July 22, 2021 we learned of the passing of Maryland Pierce, last surviving original recording member of the legendary Five Keys.  Maryland was 89.  Born March 25, 1932, Maryland grew up in Newport News, Virginia, singing with the 4 Bees (no recordings) before joined the Five Keys in early 1950.  This was prior to the 5 Keys ever recording.  Singing second tenor, often led the group on recordings like "Love My Loving," "Rocking And Crying Blues," "Ling, Ting, Tong," "From The Bottom Of My Heart," "Rosetta," "That's What You're Doing To Me" and others.  He would often share the leads with either Rudy West or Dickie Smith on songs like "Hucklebuck With Jimmy," "My Saddest Hour," "Close Your Eyes,"  Over the years, I only met Maryland a couple time, most notably when the Keys were inducted into UGHA's Hall of Fame.  But I sure admired him for the great music he gave us.  If you want to watch something really incredible, click Maryland Pierce to watch him and his Five Keys group sing "My Saddest Hour" live in Pittsburgh in 2006.  It doesn't get much better that this.  Thank you, Maryland. Rest in peace. - Charlie Horner

Philly Doo Wop Festival at the F.O.P. set for Oct 10

The Philly Doo Wop Festival at the F.O.P. is set for Sunday, October 10, 2021 beginning at 1 P.M.  It takes place at the F.O.P. Lodge #5, 11630 Caroline Rd, Philadelphia PA 19154.  As in previous years, 100% of the proceeds will go to the Philadelphia FOP Survivors Fund.  The Festival's organizers tell us that among the doo wop groups performing will be  the Iggtones, Yesterday, FOG, Mid-Life Crisis, Ringtones, 5/3 Woodland  and Grand Central Echoes.  Chi Chi Devine Burnett of the Hippies/Tams will be presented with the Lee Andrews Philly Legend Award and she will also be performing. Our friend John Paloney will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to numerous Philly vocal groups over the years.  John has asked me [Charlie] to present the award to him which I am honored to do.  In addition to the outdoor stage there will be a 4 hour indoor dance party.  General Admission is $25 and includes food, soda and draft beer.  We always have a great time and it's for a good cause.  The event will proceed rain or shine.  For more info, call 215-629-3602.     

Jimmy McCracklin Posthumously Honored at Richmond, CA Blues Festival

The late Jimmy McCracklin (AKA James David Walker Jr), American pianist, vocalist, and songwriter, was honored recently at the Richmond, California Blues Festival.  McCracklin’s music genres included West Coast Blues, Jump Blues, and R&B.  He had written over one thousand songs and achieved international fame with his songs “The Walk” and “Yesterday is Gone.”  McCracklin spent much of his life in Richmond.  He died in 2012 at the age of 91.  The event, staged by the Greater Richmond Blues Foundation, was scheduled to coincide with what would have been his 100th birthday.  The Richmond Museum of History and Culture also co-sponsored the event and had a special exhibit of McCracklin’s memorabilia including a suit he wore on an album cover plus Jimmy’s gold records, and other artifacts.  August 13 was declared Jimmy McCracklin Day.  His daughter was presented with a key to the city.  To hear a record by Jimmy McCracklin with a vocal group, click "I Need Your Loving."  [Thanks to Lance Rossi for the newspaper article on Jimmy McCracklin] - Pamela Horner

Remembering Johnny Keyes, lead of the Magnificents who died in 2018.

From our friend Todd Baptista comes word that Johnny Keyes, lead of the R&B group the Magnificents, author, songwriter and former road manager for Isaac Hayes, died in August 2018.  It's sad to lose so many music icons.  It's even sadder when they pass away in obscurity.  Most music fans know Johnny Keyes for leading the Chicago-based group the Magnificents on "Up On The Mountain" (Vee Jay label).  But Johnny Keyes also was Isaac Hayes' road manager in the late 1960's and composed the 1970 Clarence Carter gold record,  "Too Weak To Fight,"  In 1987 he authored the autobiography, "Du-Wop."  I had the pleasure of meeting Johnny Keyes at UGHA shortly after that.  We still have my autographed copy in the Classic Urban Harmony Archives.  To watch Johnny Keyes & the Magnificents perform live in Pittsburgh in 1993, click "Up On The Mountain."  [Johnny Keyes top left in the above photo.]

Latest issue of Echoes of the Past (#137) now out!

The latest issue of Echoes of the Past magazine (#137) is now out and it's another great one.  It contains Bob Bosco's article on Ira Shy who sang with the Ambassadors (Playbox label) and Scientists of Soul (Kashe label) and George Frunzi's article on the Trutones {"Honey Honey").  Bobby Diskin finally straightens out the true story of the Neons and offers a record by record summary of how the white group sound evolved.  Frank Genaro offers another informative article on little known facts about about music called "Who Knew?"  Steve Propes continues covering the Southern California group sound from his outstanding book, "Old School."  There are also informative columns by Nay Nassar and Larry Stidom.  While I (Charlie) don't have an article in this issue, I do write about my memories of my late friend Lou Rallo.  Echoes of the Past is the only print magazine around specializing in articles about 1950's and early 1960's vocal harmony groups.  It comes out four times a year with annual subscription rates in the U.S. of only $ 17.99.  Contact Bob Belniak at for details,

Is Jack Nicora the next young doo wop sensation?

We've been hearing a lot about 18-year-old Jack Nicora from Pittsburgh whose doo wop singing has made it's way to FaceBook and YouTube.  We must say, we like what we've been hearing.  Promoted by our friend Jimmy "Double J" Wiener, Jack told us he was first inspired to sing this music after hearing the song "There Goes My Baby" by the Drifters.  He's since moved on to a mix of standards and lesser known, but great, doo wop classics.  Jack's singing has caught the attention of Stevie Dunham of Street Corner Entertainment Records who manages Jack and has released of a CD by Jack on Chacona Records.  Titled "Music Is My Life," Jack's new CD has just shipped and we'll be reviewing it next issue.  To purchase a copy, click Street Corner Entertainment or call 702-765-7655.  Preview the CD here.  Jack will be appearing on the Geri Petito (the Jersey Jewel) radio show (Rememberthen Radio) on Oct 6 at 2 PM.  To hear a YouTube song by Jack click "Vision Of Love."

Harptones' Linda Champion dies.

In what has turned out to be a devastatingly sad summer for Harptones fans, we have just learned from Glen Fisher's Doo Wop Rambings Newsletter that Harptones' Linda Champion has passed away.   Linda sang with the Harptones off and on (mostly on) since the 1970's.  We don't have any further details at this time.  Listen to a beautiful duet between Linda and Willie by clicking "We Are In Love."   

Past Issues of the CUH Newsletter Now viewable on our website!

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.  You can also see most of our past CUH email newsletters (going back to 2012) from the link on our website's Articles Page.  Here's a Direct Link.

More great acappella on Our YouTube Channel

Looking for something to do when you're not busy reading this newsletter?  Our YouTube channel "chorner1" has 350+ acappella doo wop and R&B video clips from our past concerts.  Many are from our concerts at Roxy & Dukes.  We just added three new acappella videos of the Variations singing outdoors at Lead East.  Our channel has had over 675,000 views from acappella fans in 37 countries.  Over 1,000 people subscribe to our channel.  We'll be posting more videos shortly.

R&B in DC 1940-1960 16-CD box set now out!

Last issue we told you about Bear Family Records in Germany's plans to release a 16-CD and book package covering the history of R&B in DC from 1940-1960 including Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop, Rockin’ Rhythm and much more.  We promised to review it when it came out.  Well, the package is now in our hands and it is everything it promised to be, and more.  Produced by our friend and expert on Washington DC R&B, Jay Bruder, he package includes a comprehensive 352-page hardcover LP-sized book by Jay that documents the exciting history of the Washington music scene from the 1940s to the 1960s - with background information on the African-American press, club scene, and nightlife with its movers and shakers, based on years of research and interviews with surviving eyewitnesses.  There are hundreds of color label scans of all the records mentioned, including Classic Urban Harmony's one of a kind acetate of the Cap-Tans' "I'm So Crazy For Love," mailed by Lillian Claiborne to Irv Ballen of Gotham Records in June 1950.  Ballen passed on the record and Claiborne took it to Dot Records where it became a hit.  (How we got it is a long story!)  The 16 CD's have hundreds of long out of print and hard to find recordings drawn from the best available sources, carefully sequenced in order of release, form a comprehensive review of the entire recording scene.  This is not just a greatest hits collection.  It is extremely comprehensive!  There must be almost 500 songs.  You can see for yourself by clicking R&B & DC.  Admitted, the package is pricey, ($225 plus postage from Germany) but not when you consider all you are getting.  For fans of R&B music history, this is a must buy.  Our highest recommended!!!

Volume 1 of our book on black music from Asbury Park (1871 - 1945) is available on Amazon

Haven't yet ordered Volume One of our new book, "Springwood Avenue Harmony: The Unique Musical Legacy Of Asbury Park's West Side, Volume 1, 1871 - 1945"?  What are you waiting for?  It's a great read if we do say so ourselves.  We're working hard on Volume 2 (1946 - 1980) which covers the R&B, Doo Wop and Soul music years as well as Gospel and Jazz.  But if you only buy Volume 2 you'll miss what led up to that era.  Visit to pick up your copy now. - Charlie & Pam
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Yet, Another Great Newsletter you should be receiving!

In addition to the newsletter above, you need to check out the New England Doo Wop Society's free email newsletter.  Published by our friends Bob Belniak and Gary Jones the New England Doo Wop Society is quite active in keeping our music alive in New England but their newsletter covers music news from all over.  Click Subscribe to email Bob and get on their mailing list.

Visit our website.

If you haven't visited our website in awhile, you're in for a treat.  We're nominated for East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Music Maker Best Website / Publication. The Articles By Us page lists our many articles from Echoes of the Past, which you can click on and read.  Our Events Page is now list events again. You see the new dates for all your favorite events.  For more about Classic Urban Harmony's activities, along with news, articles, photos and videos, please visit our website,

Rare Record from our Archives: 5 Hearts on Arcade

This month's rare record from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives is "Unbelievable" b/w "Aunt Jenny" by the Five Hearts on the Arcade label.  The 5 Hearts are related to Lee Andrews & the Hearts.  Late in 1958, Ted Weems left the group to enter the service.  Lee seized the opportunity to go solo.  Meanwhile, the Hearts continued to perform and recorded "It's Unbelievable" as the Five Hearts on Arcade.  The song was written by member Butch Curry.  The personnel on "It's Unbelievable" is most likely Tommy White (lead), Eddie Custis (from the Superiors), Roy Calhoun, Wendell Calhoun and Butch Curry.  Interestingly enough, the reverse side of the Arcade record is "Aunt Jenny", a previously unreleased Mainline side by the Hearts including Lee Andrews and Ted Weems (who wrote the song).  The Hearts were not finished with the song "It's Unbelievable."   Tommy White left the group and was replaced by Sonny Gordon, formerly of the Angels on the Grand label.  Philly dee jay Hy Lit then became the Hearts’ manager and took the group to Chancellor Records where they rerecorded "It's Unbelievable."  The Hearts on Chancellor were Sonny Gordon, Eddie Custis, Roy Calhoun and Butch Curry.  The above info is from an article I [Charlie[ wrote many years ago for Goldmine magazine.  Listen to the record by clicking "It's Unbelievable."

Rare Picture Sleeve from our Archives: 5 Keys, Netherlands Press

This issue's rare picture sleeve may not be so rare if you live in the Netherlands, as some of our reader do.  However, collectors in the United States may never have seen it.  In 1980, Capitol Records reissued the Five Keys' "Ling Ting Tong" backed with "The Blues Don't Care" (not the original flip side) in the Netherlands with this picture sleeve.  I don't recall this coming out in any other country besides the Netherlands, but I could be wrong.   

Well, that's it for this July / August / September double issue.  We could go on writing but it's almost July.  Hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter.  Drop us an email at with your comments.  Until next issue, stay well. - Charlie & Pamela

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