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Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #27.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox..

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #27
 

Welcome to our Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter issue (#27).  For those who visit our website, www.classicurbanharmony.net, you've probably noticed it has not been updated since the beginning of October.  That's because it's become permanently frozen in cyberspace.  We'll soon be forced to take it down (all 300 pages) and replace it with a brand new site.  See the lead article below for details.  For now, to find out what all has been happening, you'll have to read this newsletter and/or visit our new FaceBook Page, Classic Urban Harmony LLC.  Just because you haven't heard from us, does not mean we haven't been busy.  To the contrary, this has been one of our most exciting Autumns we've had.

Our "Spirituals to Soul" exhibit at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum in Freehold, NJ is now down.  All of the photos and memorabilia have either been packed away in storage or returned to their rightful owners.  Thanks to everyone who supported us.  Our doo wop acappella concerts at Roxy & Duke's Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ have really taken off, with great concerts by Original Mixed Company and the historic reunion and final performance of the Sheps.  Quiet Storm will be back at Roxy & Dukes for the restaurant's annual New Year's Eve Party and we've released our schedule for the beginning of 2016 - including performances by the Vic Donna Group, Choice, Still Around, True Devines, Re-MemberThen and the Larkings.

Tickets are on sale now for our huge acappella concert at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, on February 20.  We'll have six of the areas finest acappella groups including Joe Cleary & the Balladeers, Choice, the Philly Ringtones, Quiet Storm, Re-MemberThen and the Tee-Tones.  BREAKING NEWS: Our special guest will be Larry Chance of the Earls singing an all acappella set backed by Re-MemberThen.  Appearing by giant screen video will be De'Sean Dooley, grandson of Sonny Til, singing a couple of Orioles songs backed by Quiet Storm.  And look for a feature article about us in the February issue of New Jersey Monthly, due out in mid-January.

Quote of the month: " Without a song, each day would be a century" -- Mahalia Jackson

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 - December 16, 2015.

Larry Chance of the Earls added to our huge Doo Wop Acappella Concert scheduled for Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, February 20.  Tickets on sale now.

BREAKING NEWS:  We've just added Larry Chance of the Earls to our huge "Doo Wop Explosion: Night of Acappella Harmony".  Larry will be singing an all acappella set backed by Re-MemberThen.  .We've seen Larry sing an occasional song acappella but when have you seen him sing a whole set without instrumentation?  This is exciting!  The concert will be produced and emceed by Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie & Pam Horner and will star Joe Cleary & the Balladeers, Choice, the Philly Ringtones, Quiet Storm, Re-MemberThen and the Tee-Tones.  And by giant screen video, you'll see De'Sean Dooley, star of the musical "Soul Harmony" and grandson of the late Orioles' lead, Sonny Til, sing a couple Orioles tunes acappella, backed by Quiet Storm.  The concert will take place at the Pollak Theatre on the campus of Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ.   It's scheduled for Saturday evening February 20, 2016.  Don't worry about potential weather issues as we have a snow date is March 12).  Tickets are $25, $35 and $45, although the $45 seats are just about all sold.  Purchase tickets now before all the good seats are taken by visiting www.Monmouth.edu/arts or calling 732-263-6889.

Classic Urban Harmony announces our new 2016 schedule of upcoming Acappella R&B and Doo Wop concerts at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen, NJ

We are pleased to announce our schedule of upcoming acappella doo wop and R&B concerts at Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, 745 Bound Brook Rd., Dunellen NJ for the beginning of 2016.  Starting with Roxy & Dukes 1950's style New Years Eve Party and sock Hop, which will feature the great acappella groups Quiet Storm plus rock-a-billy stars the Razorbacks, the beginning of the year looks very strong.  We have scheduled appearances by the acappella groups,the Vic Donna Group, Choice, Still Around, the True Devines, Re-MemberThen and the Larkings.  Aside from the New Years Eve Party, all events will be on Sunday nights.  Doors will open at 7 PM and the first sets will be at 8.  Be sure to call for reservations at 732-529-4464 after 6 PM or email us at CUH@att.net.  See you at Roxy & Dukes.

 

Quiet Storm & the Razorbacks at Roxy & Dukes. New Years Eve

Still making plans for New Year's Eve? Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen, NJ, has a fabulous 1950's style NYE party - featuring doo wop acappella with one of the hottest groups around - our own Quiet Storm!  Plus the phenomenal rock-a-billy band, the Razorbacks! Tickets include a dinner buffet, open bar from 8:00 to 10:30, a champagne toast, dessert and continental breakfast after midnight!  Free parking.  Pam and I will be there!  There are still tickets available at $80 pp..  To purchase tickets, go to "Rockin' NYE Sock Hop"  To watch a video of Quiet Storm performing, click "It's Too Soon To Know".

Latest Echoes of the Past issue (#114) now out.  Contains our article on the Paramounts on Carlton, much more.

The latest issue (#114) issue of Echoes of the Past magazine is now out and it's another great one.  It contains our article on the Paramounts who recorded "Trying" for the Carlton label in 1959 and also backed Ralph DeMarco on "Old Shep".  Lead singer, Milton Delgato is still singing with a Paramounts group, today.  Also in the magazine are Bob Bosco's article on Mark Anthony, George Frunzi's article on the Hitmen, Lou Rallo's interview with Chanters' Larry Pendergrass, Squire's article on northern California vocal groups and much more.  The magazine is available through subscription at only $16.99 for four issues.  Contact Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.  Anyone interested in 1950's R&B and Doo Wop vocal groups should definitely subscribe.  This is the only magazine of its kind out there.

Pam & Charlie Horner and Classic Urban Harmony LLC to be featured in the February issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine.

We (Pam and Charlie Horner) and our Classic Urban Harmony activities, are tentatively scheduled to be featured in the February 2016 issue of New Jersey Monthly, due out in mid January. The article is being written by Kevin Coyne who interviewed us at Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters in late November.  We've long been subscribers to NJ Monthly and are thrilled to be included in it.

Sheps reunion and CD release party packs Roxy & Dukes on November 8.

What an incredible time on Sunday Nov 8, 2015 at Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ!  The Sheps acappella harmony was smokin' with the group singing 28 songs over the course of the evening beginning with "We Like To Sing Acappella" (an original composition) and ending with "Try The Impossible" (Lee Andrews & the Hearts). .In between were such gems as "Lights Are Low" (El Dorados), "Soldier Boy" (4 Fellows"), "Just Walkin' In The Rain" (Prisonaires), "These Foolish Things".(5 Keys), "I Really Don't Want To Know" (Flamingos) and many more. Roxy & Dukes was packed to standing room only (we told you to make reservations!). The Sheps sold a slew of their new CDs plus some copies of their old ones. What a way to wrap up a 20+ year career of singing acappella. Thanks to all those who turned out to honor the Sheps one last time. And thanks to all the Sheps - Tommie Shider, Thomas A. Lockhart, Richie Camacho, Johnnie Barlow and Charlie Coleman for your huge contributions to area acappella.. Here's a videos clip of the Sheps singing the Royals' tune.  Click "Starting From Tonight".

Shirely Gunter of the Queens dies at 82..

Shirley Gunter, R&B singer, lead of the Queens and sister to the late Flairs and Coasters' lead Cornell Gunter, passed away December 1, 2015, in Los Vegas.  She was 82.  Shirley was born in 1934 in Coffeyville, Kansas, but moved to Los Angeles with her family at the age of eight.  Her brother Cornell, who was singing with the Flairs, took her to Flair Records.  Shirley's biggest hit, recorded with the Queens was "Oop Shoop".  She also recorded with backup from the Flairs.  To read a more complete bio click Shirley Gunter.   .     To hear Shirley backed by the Flairs, click "Ipsy Opsy Ooh".

GoFundMe Page set up to help bring the Golden Gate Quartet back to Virginia, February 28, 2016.

Each February we (Pam & Charlie) attend Rev. Brenda Boone's annual gospel concert in Portsmouth VA. There we see the some of the area's finest gospel quartets. This February 28, Rev. Boone is trying to bring the Golden Gate Quartet from Paris, France, back to where they first started singing in 1932. The Gates relocated to Paris in 1956, singing in Europe ever since (with gradually evolving personnel). They've only returned to sing in America twice that we know of in the past 60 years (once at UGHA). This is one of the greatest vocal quartets of all time. With the cost of travel these days, Rev. Boone will need help raising funds to bring the group here. She's started a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/zndjkp4c for Gates fans that want to help. Any contributions, large or small will help bring this event closer to happening. Pam and I have already contributed.

Ronnie Bright, bass of the Valentines, Deep River Boys, Cadillacs, Coasters dies.

Ronald "Ronnie" Bright, extraordinary bass voice of the valentines, Deep River Boys, Cadillacs and Coasters, died November 26, 2015, at the age of 77.  Bright was there at the beginning, helping to form the Dreamers in Harlem's Sugar Hill district in 1952.  This group would soon evolve into the Valentines.  Bright's bass can be heard on Valentines' hits like "Lily Maebelle" and "Woo Woo Train".  Following the break up of the Valentines, Ronnie sang the bass part on Johnny Cymbal's "Mr. Bass Man" and then left for Europe where he joined Harry Douglass' Deep River Boys (1964 - 1968).  Bright also sang with the Cadillacs before becoming the long time bass of the Coasters.. Ronnie Bright is at lower right in the Valentines photo here.

Jersey City's "Bad Boys of Acappella", Choice, scheduled to return to Roxy & Dukes on Valentines Day evening, February 14, 2016.

Mark your calendars!  Those bad boys of acappella, Choice, will return to Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen, NJ, Valentines Day night.  It's Choice's first appearance there since their video of "Love Is Here" went viral drawing six million views!   As the time gets closer, be sure to make reservations.  Not all six million of you will get in.  By the way, Choice's viral video is now also on Youtube.  To watch it, click Choice Viral Video.

Buford "Fab" Glanton of the Martiniques and Tempos dies.

Buford "Fab" Glanton of the Detroit doo wop group, the Martiniques and later of the soul groups the Tempos and Lovetones died December 2, 2015.  Glanton began his singing career with the Martiniques who recorded "Tonight Is Just Another Night" for the Danceland label.  It later came out on Roulette.  Buford then sang with the Detroit soul vocal group, the Tempos who recorded for the Riley's and Diamond Jim labels in 1967.  He also sang with the Lovetones who recorded for Ian Levine's Motorcity Records in the UK.  To listen to a Youtube of the Martiniques record, click "Tonight Is Just Another Night".

Stan Krause' Stan's Square Records store celebrates 50th anniversary.

Stan Krause is a major figure in the history of acappella rhythm & blues and doo wop harmony.  He played a big role in the careers ot groups like the Persuasions, 14 Karat Soul and many other groups.  His Catamount record label gave exposure to numerous acappella groups back in the day.  Stan's Jersey City (NJ) record store, Stan's Square Records, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a big dinner dance and concert and Classic Urban Harmony was there to help Stan celebrate.  In addition to a fine buffet dinner, we got to see groups like the True Devines, Original Mixed Company and Vintage, the latter group included our friend Eller Weas Little from the Spellbinders.  We recently had Original Mixed Company sing at Roxy & Dukes and have the True Devines scheduled for there on March 13, 2016.  [Photo above: Stan Krause with Charlie & Pam]

Photo from Paul Ressler Archives - Ebonaires photo.

Another great vintage photo this issue from the Paul Ressler Archives.  This is a photo of the Ebonaires.  Over the years, there have been several groups called the Ebonaires.  As we see this is a group handled by Joe Glaser, we can assume this is the early 1950's Ebonaires on the MGM, Aladdin, Modern and Colonial labels.  Thanks, Paul for another great photo!

Happy Holidays!

"Classic Urban Harmony LLC wishes each one of you a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!  We thank you for your support and encouragement throughout the past year in all of our activities.  We couldn't have done it without you.  Merry Christmas!" - Pam & Charlie

Our Website frozen in cyberspace.  New website being built.

Many of you have emailed your concerns about us since we haven't updated our website, www.classicurbanharmony.net in over two months.  We are fine but our website isn't.  While at this writing you can still visit it, we can no longer add to or modify it in any way.  That's because we built it eight years ago with software that is now obsolete and unsupported by our web host.  Our website, all 300 pages, are permanently frozen.  The bad news is, it must come down and a new website built from scratch using new software.. The good news is, we're having a fabulous new website built by Fortune Web Marketing (Asbury Park). The new site will be more modern, more user friendly and we'll be able to do a lot more with it. Unfortunelately it will take us some months to restore a lot of the content from the old site and some content won't ever make it back to the website. Our old site will still be up for a couple weeks, so if there's anything you haven't yet read on it, we advise you to visit it now. Our new website will have the same web address, www.classicurbanharmony.net and will replace the old site shortly. Thank you for your patience and support.
Studies show listening to music relieves back pain!
There have been many studies indicating the health benefits of listening to music, but now out of Salzberg, Austria, comes a study that says that music eases back pain.  A study of 65 patients with back pain was divided in two, with one group listening to 25 minutes of music a day for three weeks.  This group reported better pain relief.  While the study used classical music, researchers believe any slower relaxing music would help.  If you've got an aching back and only listen to R&B vocal group records, we suggest sticking to ballads by the likes of the Orioles, Flamingos and Five Keys.  Or maybe mix in the Avalons and Nightcaps on Groove or the Sunbeams on Acme.  After 25 minutes, your back may still hurt. but you won't really care.   
 

Heleema Alkhatin of the Versatiles, Majors, passes.

We are saddened to report the passing of Haleema Alkhatib (formerly Idella Morris) of the Versatiles (Rocal label), Majors (Imperial label) and Performers (ABC-...Paramount label). The Versatiles formed when lead Ricky Cordo moved from Baltimore to North Philadelphia and joined a group called the Premiers. The Versatiles signed with Buddy Caldwell. The group recorded "Lundee Dundee" b/w "Whisper In Your Ear" in 1960. After a couple of years hiatus while some of the guys were in the service, the group resurfaced in 1962 as the Majors. Produced by Jerry Ragavoy, the Majors scored hits on the Imperial label with "A Wonderful Dream," "A Little Bit Now" and "Anything You Can Do". The group also recorded "Love Is The Answer" on the ABC-Paramount label in 1965. I got to know the Majors and had them on my radio program in the late 1980's when they attempted a comeback. Haleema died in early December, 2015,, though we don't have any further details at this point. This item from the Major's Ronnie Gathers by way of Charles Anderson.
 

The Vic Donna Group up next at Roxy & Dukes singing all acappella!

For all those who have enjoyed our acappella concerts at Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen NJ over the past 5 months,, we are announcing the first concert of 2016. On Sunday, January 10 we are thrilled to bring you the Vic Donna Group singing two sets of pure acappella harmony. Like all the previous groups we've had at Roxy & Dukes, this group is outstanding!  They've just added some new voices and are sounding great.Doors open at 7 PM, first set at 8.  Great food and drink available.  Free parking.  Roxy & Dukes is at 745 Bound Brook Rd., in Dunellen, NJ.  We expect a full house, so reservations are strongly recommended.  Call the restaurant at 732-529-4464 after 6 PM Wednesdays through Sundays or email us at. CUH@att.net.  To see a great performance by the Vic Donna Group from aa while back, click "My Heart Tells Me".

 

Heartbeats' bass voice and music icon, Wally Roker, passes.
On December 2, 2015, we lost one of the great icons of Rhythm & Blues, Wally Roker. People of different age groups remember Wally Roker for different accomplishments. Many of us who are fans of 1950's doo wop music remember him as the co-founder and bass singer of the Heartbeats ("A Thousand Miles Away," "Tormented," "People Are Talking," "Your Way," and so many more). But Wally's music career didn't stop there. He played a major roll in the early years of Scepter/Wand Records. After moving to Chicago, he worked for ABC Records where he produced Tyrone Davis. Moving to California, Wally became a recording executive, owning/running record labels like Canyon, Soul Clock, Roker, RRG and Stardom. It was there he played a huge roll in the career of one of my favorite soul vocal groups, the Whispers. In recent years, Wally Roker served as director of the Doo Wop Music Hall of Fame in California. I first met Wally Roker in 1991, when the United in Group Harmony Association inducted the Heartbeats in their Hall of Fame. I was among those UGHA'ers who volunteered to pick up Wally and his entourage at Newark Airport and transport them to their hotel. Over the years I ran into Wally a couple more times and we sometimes traded emails. While I didn't have that much contact with Wally Roker, I always found him to be a warm and friendly person. He was always happy to answer any questions I had about the music. So sorry to hear of his passing. I'll miss him.- Charlie Horner  [Wally is at the bottom of this Heartbeats photo.]

Check out our new Classic Urban Harmony LLC company FaceBook Page.

While our new website is being built, the best way to follow what's going on in the group harmony field (besides reading this newsletter) is to visit our brand new Classic Urban Harmony FaceBook page.  There you'll find all about our own CUH events, but we're also posting interesting pieces of music news.  Check us out by clicking Classic Urban Harmony LLC and please "Like" us on FaceBook.

Our "Spiritual to Soul" exhibit is now down.  We are working on a new permanent location.

It's always sad when a something ends, especially something that took the major part of our lives for eight months and brought joy to hundreds of people.  The "Spiritual to Soul" exhibit at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum in Freehold, NJ, has reached an end.  We've taken it down and for now packed away the many photos and memorabilia.  The Turf Club sign now resides in the senior center across Springwood Avenue from where it once hung.  The good new is, we are working on relocating much of it to a new location that we hope will become its permanent home.  We thank all those who took part in this exhibition, including the Monmouth County Historical Association, Stan Cain Designs, the Asbury Park Historical Society, all those who loaned and donated items, those who volunteered their help with it and all those who came out to see it.  We are very grateful.

Great performance by Original Mixed Company October

What an incredible time at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen, NJ, October 18, 2015, with Original Mixed Company!  Original Mixed Company - Jeff Chambers, Andy Martin, Jimmy Woods and Jerry Cheatham were joined on stage by Pat Zielinski for some fabulous doo wop harmony. It seemed like old times at UGHA with Mixed Company/Patty & the Street Tones! Original Mixed Company sounded great and really rocked the place. Loved all the songs, especially the Mixed Company Medley, "Why Don't You Write Me," "What Cha Gonna Do," "This Magic Moment," "Goodnight Sweetheart," and many many more. Pat's voice was as strong as ever with "Let It Please Be You," "Gee Whiz," "Nobody Knows" and other songs. We'll be posting some videos soon. Our thanks to everyone who came out to support the group.  To watch a video of Original Mixed Company performing at Roxy & Dukes, click "Mixed Company Doo Wop Medley".

Sal Vitale pf the acappella group, Echoes of Time, passes.

We are saddened to report the passing of a member of our area acappella community.  Sal Vitale of the acappella group, Echoes of Time, died Nov. 20, 2015 after a long battle with cancer.  We'd seen Echoes of Time sing many times and always enjoyed their harmony.  Our condolences to Sal's family and many friends.  [Photo courtesy of Bill Pron.]
 

Artifacts from our Archives:  Acetate from Lillian Claiborne's recording session with the Captans

Classic Urban Harmony was honored recently by a visit from noted music historian, Jay Bruder, an expert on Washington DC rhythm & blues.  Jay had a particular interest in a 1950 78-RPM acetate we have by the Captans. The acetate is from the first recording session of "I'm So Crazy For Love," a song that later became a hit for the group. The acetate has an unreleased recording by the Watt Gospel Guides on the flip and was recorded at United States Recording Company, Washington DC. It turns out that our record was the very one sent by label producer Lillian Claiborne to Ivan Ballen of Gotham Records for review. Ballen was disappointed by the sales of the previous Captans record on Gotham and refused to even listen to it. Claiborne then took the record to Dot Records who turned it into a regional hit. Correspondences exist between Claiborne and Ballen discussing this acetate, making it a truly rare historic find.
 

Allen Toussaint dies at 77.  Famous New Orleans singer, musician, producer, songwriter.

Allen Toussaint, famous New Orleans singer, musician, producer and songwriter died Monday, November 9, 2015 at the age of 77.  Much has been written elsewhere about Toussaint's career in music, and so we'll just list some of his song compositions that you know - "Mother-In-Law," "I Like It Like That," "Lipstick Traces," "Whipped Cream," "Working In A Coal Mine" and dozens more. Toussaint was a huge figure in American popular music and we inviute you to explore the details of his career in more depth on the Internet.

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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