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Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #38  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #38

Welcome to Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter #38.  Our FREE email newsletter doesn't follow any regular schedule but we do try to publish every 4 to 6 weeks or so.  As always, there's a lot here, not in any particular order.  So please keep reading until the end.

Quote of the month: "Music is life.  That's why our hearts have beats" - unknown.

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 exhibits & displays, radio guest appearances, lectures, college courses, concert production and emceeing, consultation for documentaries, 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 & Pamela Horner - June 18, 2019.

De'Sean Dooley added to June 22, Doo Wop Explosion Acappella Concert - TICKETS NOW ON SALE!

Great news!  We've added De'Sean Dooley (star of the musical "Soul Harmony" and grandson of legendary Orioles' lead Sonny Til) to our huge all acappella  DOO WOP EXPLOSION IV.  If you saw De'Sean in "Soul Harmony" or caught him singing Orioles' songs backed acappella by Quiet Storm last year, we know you'll welcome his return to 
the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester PA this June 22.  Watch a jaw dropping video by clicking De'Sean and Quiet Storm singing acappella.  The Uptown Knauer is located at 226 N. High Street, West Chester, PA (just outside of Philly). We’ve again assembled an extraordinary line up of some of the best acappella groups around including Joel Katz & the Dynamics, Quiet Storm, Nostalgia 5 and the newly revamped Re-MemberThen.  Also, making a guest appearance will be the young close harmony singing sensations, the Quin-Tones Quartet!  All seats are $45 so it pays to buy early to get the best seats.  To purchase tickets go to www.UptownWestChester.org.  Help us preserve street corner acappella singing. Please share this and help get the word out. Many thanks, Charlie & Pam Horner

Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie & Pam Horner win East Coast Music Hall Of Fame's first ever Best Music Maker Historian / Advocate Award!

Thank you members of the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame for voting me and Pam the first ever recipients of the Best Music Makers Historians / Advocates Award. Thanks also to my fellow ECMHOF Board members Tommy, Marina, Joe, Bill, Mark and Tony and everyone who helped out for making the Gala such a wonderful event. Our congratulations to all those who won awards and were honored in Wildwood. Not everyone who is deserving could be honored in one night so if you were not nominated this year or were nominated and did not win don’t be discouraged. Many of you will be honored in future years.  Again, thanks for recognizing us and the work we do to preserve the legacy of this music. God bless all of you.

Doo Wop references keep popping up on Jeopardy TV show.

Who is preparing the doo wop related clues on the TV show, "Jeopardy," these days?  For the second time in a month the "answer" was related to our music.  On June 11, the answer was "Otis Williams & the Charms' 1954 'Hearts Of Stone' is an anthem of this style of vocal music."  The contestant gave the accepted response of "What Is Doo Wop?".  I wonder if the response "What is Classic Urban Harmony?" would have been accepted?  Back on May 28, the "answer" was "This 'Small' Guy & the Imperials had R&B Hits like 'Tears On My Pillow' and "Going Out Of My Head'."  The answer, of course was "Little Anthony".   [Thanks to Warren Tesoro for this screen shot.]

John Gary Williams, lead of soul group, Mad Lads dies

John Gary Williams, original lead singer of the quintessential sixties soul vocal group, the Mad Lads, died May 28, 2019 at his home in Memphis.  He was 73.  Williams formed the group with William Brown, Julius Green and Robert Phillips in Memphis and recorded on Stax Record’s Volt label.  The group was known for some of the greatest soul records of the sixties like "Don't Have To Shop Around" and "I Want A Girl".  Watch an incredible YouTube here of the Mad Lads singing "I Want A Girl" on Hy Lit's TV show..  

An Amazing time at Harptones' Willie Winfield Retirement Gala

After singing for the past 65 years, Willie Winfield, legendary lead singer of the Harptones has retired and Classic Urban Harmony was there to join the celebration of his career.  On Saturday, June 1, 2019 a huge gala was held at the lavish Woodhaven Manor in, Woodhaven NY.  What a fabulous time!  With Bobby Jay emceeing and Hal Keshner handling musical direction we were entertained by Third Edition, Louise Murray & Terry King, the Fidelities, Crystal Spivey, Milton Love, and best of all, Willie Winfield singing for about a half hour backed by all the singers in attendance.  Thanks to Tina Winfield and the family for allowing me to speak. And congrats and best wishes on your retirement, Willie.   As I said that night, we'll miss you on the stage but we'll always have your music. Thank you for making our world a little brighter. - Your friends, Charlie & Pam Horner [Photo above of Pam Horner and Willie Winfield.]

Book Review: Rhythm and Blues Goes Calypso by Timothy Dodge (Lexington Books, 2019).

A new book by Timothy Dodge, PhD. details the incorporation of Calypso music into African American Rhythm & Blues recordings over the twenty-year period from 1945 to 1965.  To the best of my knowledge, no one has previously tackled this subject and the author does a superb job, beginning with a brief history of Calypso music as it developed in the West Indies and its introduction into the United States.  The book then goes into a chapter on the arrival and growth of Rhythm & Blues in America and finally gives comprehensive coverage to Calypso influenced R&B recordings.  I must say, I found this book fascinating.  It is well researched, well written and completely documented with over 500 end notes.  The book contains a bibliography and a discography of about 170 Calypso/R&B hybrid recordings.  Rhythm and Blues Goes Calypso, is available for purchase in Hardback (243 pages) by clicking Amazon.com.  Highly recommended for popular music scholars and R&B fans alike.

Chuck Barksdale of the Dells dies at 84.
 

Charles "Chuck" Barksdale, long time bass singer for the R&B, Doo Wop and Soul harmony group, the Dells, died may 15, 2019, in Chicago.  He was 84.  In more than 50 years of singing, Barksdale and the Dells produced an astounding number of hits including the 1950's songs, "Oh What A Night," "Pain In My Heart," "Why Do You Have To Go," "Dreams Of Contentment" and many others.  In the 1960's the Dells resurfaced as a successful soul harmony group with songs like "Stay In My Corner," "There Is," Wear It on Our Face," "Always Together," and many more.  They were one of only a select few vocal groups to make the transition from 50's doo wop to 60's soul harmony.  Formed in Chicago in 1952 as the El-Rays, the group recorded one record for the Checker label before changing their name to the Dells.  The Dells were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004.  They were the inspiration for the movie, the "Five Heartbeats".  Watch the Dells singing "Stay In My Corner" live outdoors in Philadelphia in 2000. 

Roy Daniels of Street People dies at 71.

T Roya Daniels Jr., lead singer for the soul harmony and disco vocal group, the Street People died at his home in Long Branch NJ on April 6, 2019.  Daniels began singing with the Long Branch group, the Establishment in 1971 before he and Bill Carter formed the Innervisions who would evolve into the Street People.  Produced by Ray Dahrouge, the Street people recorded two albums and a string of popular singles for the Vigor label.. Listen to Roy and the Street People singing "Why You Wanna Make Me Lonely".  

"The Day The Music Burned"  NY Times Magazine article tells the story of the 2008 Universal Studios Fire that wiped out much of the country's music history!

When news of a fire at Universal Studios broke in 2008. most of the music world didn't think much of it.  We thought the fire was contained to a video library and that not much was lost.  But were we wrong.  I recent investigative article written by Jody Rosen and published in the NY Times Magazine finally brings to light what was destroyed.  We now know that the building that housed Universal's huge library of recorded sound masters was destroyed including most of the master recordings in it.  What was lost?  Thousands of master tapes going back to the late 1940's.  The destroyed vault housed tape masters for the Decca, Chess, Impulse, MCA, ABC, A&M, Geffen and Interscope labels.  It also held masters for a host of smaller subsidiary labels.  Nearly all of these masters — in some cases, the complete discographies of entire record labels — were wiped out in the fire.  One can only imagine the lost recordings - many unreleased - by the vocal groups that recorded for Decca, Chess, Checker, ABC and their subsidiaries.  Even though this happened in 2008, it still makes us sick to think about it.   To read the entire article, if your heart is strong enough to take it, visit "The Day The Music Burned".

   

Willie Ford, Co-Founder and bass of soul group, the Dramatics dies at 68. 

Willie Lee Ford may not have been as recognizable a name in association with the great soul group, the Dramatics, but he should have been.  He co-founded the Dramatics in 1964 in Detroit and stayed with the group through their many years, singing bass on hits like "In The Rain" and "What Cha See Is What Cha Get".  Willie passed away on May 28, 2019 at the age of 68.  Watch the Dramatics on Soul Train singing the great soul ballad, "In The Rain".

Next Classic Urban Harmony Multi-Media Presentation July 13 at South Plainfield NJ Public Library

We are back with our first multimedia presentation in some time.  We return to the South Plainfield Public Library, 2484 Plainfield Ave, South Plainfield NJ, with our most popular presentation, “Under the Streetlamp: Tales of the Doo Wop Era – Part 1”.  If you haven’t seen this, or if you enjoy our talks and would like to revisit it, join us on Saturday afternoon (2 PM) on July 13, 2019.  You’ll hear us trace the growth of Doo Wop Music from its roots with the Mills Brothers and Ink Spots.  Learn the stories behind groups like the Ravens, Orioles, Cadillacs, Penguins and Chantels, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, the Moonglows, Five Satins and Dion & the Belmonts as well as some of the lesser known but still fascinating artists of the Golden Age of Vocal Groups.  There’ll be captivating stories, photos from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives of records, photographs, sheet music and memorabilia, and plenty of music and video clips to sing along to. Charlie and Pam’s 40+ years of research and Charlie’s 25 years on radio have allowed them to interview hundreds of 1950’s singers. This presentation is assembled through singers’ memories and personal stories as well as Charlie & Pam’s huge record and memorabilia archives. Also on display will be a large collection of doo wop vocal group photos, sheet music and memorabilia. The event is FREE to attend but you must register.  We'll let you know how and when you can register.

Exhibit "Mid-Century New Jersey" at Cornelius Low House, Piscataway NJ until June 28

With our involvement in setting up two new museums (the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame and Asbury Park museums) we try to never miss a new museum exhibit, especially if it's nearby.  So we were anxious to check out the "Mid-Century New Jersey" exhibit when it opened at the Cornelius Low House Museum (1225 River Rd, Piscataway NJ).  We must say, this is a very enjoyable exhibit covering all aspects of life in New Jersey during the 1950's.  This is a small museum with maybe a half dozen rooms on two floors but the exhibit is very well planned and assembled.  It brought back a lot of memories of growing up in the fifties.  Hours are Wednesdays and Fridays (10 am to 4 pm), Thursdays (10 am to 8 pm) and Saturdays and Sundays (Noon to 4 pm) but call to confirm hours at 732-745-4177 before you go.  Admission is FREE.  Text CULTURE to 56512 for details.

Robert Rhoney, lead of the soul harmony group the Ambers, dies at 72.

This one got by us when it happened a year ago but deserves mention now.  Robert Rhoney, lead singer of the North Jersey soul harmony group, the Ambers died May 29, 2018 in Teaneck, NJ.  The Ambers recorded a number of great records for the Jean, New Art, Smash and Verve labels.  They were a favorite group of mine.  Listen to the Ambers on YouTube sing "I Love You Baby".  [Thanks to Jeff Beckman for letting us know.]

Latest donations to the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Museum

As we prepare for the future East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Museum, remodeling and design of the building are not the only consideration.  We have actively embarked on a mission to acquire meaningful items to put in the museum.  Many of the inductees have been donating personal music related items to be put on display.  The two jackets pictured above were recently donated by such artists.  The uniform jacket on the left was donated by Willie Winfield of the Harptones who just received an ECMHOF Lifetime Achievement award.  The jacket on the right was donated by Fred Parris, lead of the 5 Satins.  It is the jacket he wore to the 1986 Grammy Awards.  As co-writer of Ronnie Milsap's #1 Country Record, "Lost In The Fifties - In The Still Of The Night" attended the Grammys.  The song was nominated for a Grammy but did not win.  Fred Parris was just inducted into the ECMHOF as Legend Male Lead Singer.  Both jackets will have prominent places in the new East Coast Hall Of Fame Museum.  

More lost luminaries.

Write obituaries is as depressing for us as reading them is for you.  Sadly we've lost even more singers than the ones written about so far.  To keep this newsletter to a reasonable length, we'll just list the others who have passed since our last issue.  This is not meant as a slight to any of the following as they are all important to us and to our music.
  • Joe Locicero - died May 8 - Riffs (Riff label) and Lenny Cocco's Chimes.
  • Junior Gigliatti - died may 11 - Juke Box Serenade
  •  Lena Horne - died May 12 at age of 92.
  • Melvin Edwards - died May 19 - After 7
  • Leola Jiles - died May 6 - Lovejoys and Apollas
  • Leon Redbone - died May 30 at age 69
  • Dr. John - died June 6 at age 77.
  • Gary Stewart - died April 11 - master of reissue compilations at Rhino Records.

Company turning vinyl records into eyeglasses?  Really!

Last issue we reported that the Philadelphia Flower Show had broken up old 78's to use as decorative "mulch" in a flower display.  Naturally our readers were horrified and sickened at the thought of such disregard for vinyl life.  Now, come word of a company in Hungary that is converting vinyl records into high end eyeglass frames.  They say they're leaving some of the grooves in them to give the wearers a sense that they are somehow wearing music.  You can even choose a record to have your glasses made from.  I'm not even going to comment on this.  Maybe I can have my mint original red vinyl "If I Can't Have You" by the Flamingos on Chance melted and converted into red sun glasses - NOT!!!!   Check out this company at Vinylize.com.

Group Profile: The Starfires

The Starfires were started in Philadelphia by Wally Osborne, Bobby Holland, Harold Webb, Bernard Johnson and William Wright around 1958.  Knowing Richard Barrett from their home town, they traveled to NYC to see if Richard would record them for Gone/End.  Richard liked the group and recorded “Yearning For You” on Gone’s subsidiary label Bernice.  After that Wally Osborne dropped out of the group but continued to manage and rehearse them.  In 1961, the Starfires recorded “These Foolish Things” for Steve Hodge’s D&H label.  Hodge would continue recording the group for his Bargain label (“You’re The One”) and “Love Will Break Your Heart” which also came out on Hodge’s Atomic label.  Wally Osborne would go to become an iconic producer and label owner in Philadelphia.  To read the complete story of Wally Osborne visit our article on our website by clicking Starfires.  Listen to the Starfires sing on YouTube by clicking  "Yearning For You".[Photo courtesy of Dave Brown of Philly Archives Records.]

New teenage acappella close harmony group, the Quin-Tones Quartet 

If you were at Roxy & Dukes in May to hear Quiet Storm, you also got an extra treat.  A teenage group from South Jersey stopped the show with their unique blend of close harmony (think, "youthful Four Freshmen").  Stepping on stage to sing a few songs, the Quin-Tones Quartet drew screams of excitement and a rousing standing ovation.  Due to popular demand, we've now added them to our Doo Wop Explosion 4 on June 22 in West Chester PA.  To watch the Quin-Tones Quartet sing their own arrangement of the Ella Fitzgerald song, click "Rock It For Me".

Like Us On FaceBook

Are you on FaceBook?  We have a Classic Urban Harmony LLC FaceBook Page.  We invite you to "Like" and follow it. 

Visit our website.

If you haven't visited our website in awhile, you're in for a treat.  We've improved a number of pages, especially the "Our Musical Family" page, which is now several pages of photos of us with our music friends, past and present.  The Articles By Us page lists our many articles from Echoes of the Past, which you can click on and read.  Under group profiles, we've just posted our article about the doo wop group, Younger Dayz (click here)  that used to be on our old website.  And don't forget to check out the Events Page for a listing of what's going on.  For more about Classic Urban Harmony's activities, along with news, articles, photos and videos, please visit our website, www.classicurbanharmony.net.

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 all of our past CUH email newsletters from the link on our website's Articles Page.  here's a Direct Link.

East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Awards Gala in Wildwood NJ a huge success!

On June 5, 2019, between two and three thousand people streamed into the Wildwood NJ Convention Center for the first ever East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Awards Gala.  Receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards were Lou Christie, Willie Winfield, Connie Francis, Bobby Rydell, Vito Picone, Joey Dee, Jimmy Beaumont, Johnny Maestro, Jay Siegel, Larry Chance, Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker and Charlie Gracie with posthumous awards going to Ronnie I, Eugene Pitt and Richard Nader.  Most of the recipients were on hand to receive their awards.  In addition member voter "Legend" awards were awarded on stage while "Best of the Music maker Awards were given out at a pre-concert VIP Reception.  A listing of those honorees can be found below.  There were numerous celebrity presenters including Ronnie Spector, Tony Orlando, Jimmy Merchant of the Teenagers and Charlie Thomas of the Drifters.  And there were plenty of live music performances in between the presentations.  The East Coast Music Hall Of Fame was the lifelong dream of the ECMHOF president Tommy Petillo.  The organization's success is the result of hard work by the Board of Directors that besides Tommy Petillo includes Bill Grieco, Joe Mirrione, Mark Baron, Marina Petillo, Tony Testa and yours truly, Charlie Horner.  And of course we had help from a huge cast of advisors and helpers. 

Elmer Hopper, Platters and Mills Brothers dies suddenly.

We were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of our friend, Elmer Hopper.  Elmer had sung lead for Paul Robi's Platters before joining John H. Mills to sing for many years as the Mills Brothers.  According to his family Elmer died at 3 AM, May 5, 2019, after performing in Los Angeles the night before.  We had gotten to know Elmer back when we were involved with the Mills Brothers Society. Our sincere condolences to Elmer's family and many friends. We will really miss him.  Here's a YouTube of a recording of Elmer singing "Remember Then" with the Platters.  

GoFundMe Page set up for Cleftones' Herb Cox. Memory Care Facilities costs are running $5,500 per month.

Herb Cox, legendary lead of the Cleftones is currently in a memory care facilities as a result of Alzheimer's Disease which he has been battling for the past 7 years.  His companion Penny has started a GoFundMe page to assist with the financing.  As Penny related to us, " I understand that finances are tight for most people these days so if folks cannot make a donation then if they just add a comment they will receive an email notification when I add any updates to his story. Just knowing how many people love and respect Herb and his contribution to the music permanently intertwined with their memories.  I love having the opportunity to read all of the comments to him.  I am trying to make sure that he has as much social interaction as possible. He is doing so much better there as his world was shrinking to just the bedroom at home."  Here's a link to Herb Cox' GoFundMePage.
We've had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Herb a few times in the past.  He's really a great guy.  Please help if you can.

Dexter Tisby of the Penguins dies at age 84.

Dexter Tisby, original member of the Los Angels R&B vocal group, the Penguins has recently died at the age of 84.  The date and details of his passing are unknown to us at this time.  Tisby was the second lead on the group's big 1954 hit, "Earth Angel" coming in on the bridge after Cleve Duncan.  He also sang lead on a number of the Penguins songs including [click to hear] "Baby Let's Make Some Love".  Dexter is the second from the right in the above photo.  [Thanks to Jim Santa Barbara for letting us know.]

Classic Urban Harmony to celebrate 4th Anniversary at Roxy & Dukes with appearance by the Vic Donna Group! 

Great news!  We have the Vic Donna Group back at Roxy & Dukes Sunday August 4, 2019, for Classic Urban Harmony’s huge 4th Anniversary of Acappella there.  Last year when Vic Donna’s group sang at our 3rd anniversary, the place was packed and the group gave the performance of a lifetime.  To watch a video from a 2016 Vic Donna performance at Roxy & Dukes click "The Angels Sang".  And the Vic Donnas Group will again be singing two sets ALL ACAPPELLA, the way our harmony should be heard!  Come out and help us celebrate.  Doors will open at 7 PM, show at 8.  As usual, free parking, food and drink available for purchase and some great door prizes.  Roxy & Dukes is at 745 Bound Brook Rd, Dunellen NJ.  We’ll be taking reservations soon.

The Doo Wop Project to return to Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre June 28.

The Doo Wop Project, the vocal group made up of stars of the Broadway musicals “Jersey Boys,” Motown: The Musical” and “A Bronx Tale,” will be appearing at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park NJ on Friday evening, June 28, 2019.  Presented by the Axelrod Performing Arts Center and the Paramount Theatre, the Doo Wop Project is returning to the Paramount by popular demand.  The group sings songs from the 50’s to today with backing from a rockin’ five-piece band.  Showtime is 8 PM.  Tickets are $29 to $89 and are available through Ticketmaster.com or at the Stone Pony box office in Asbury Park.  The Paramount Theatre is located at 1200 Ocean Ave in Asbury Park NJ.

The Dion Musical, "The Wanderer" open at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn NJ, May 2020.

The Dion musical, "The Wanderer" is finally coming to New Jersey, as it will open at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn NJ on May 28, 2020 and run for a month.  Dion DiMucci skyrocketed to fame with the Belmonts as a teenager in the late 1950's.  With the Belmonts or on his own, Dion scored with hits like "Teenager In Love," I Wonder Why," Runaround Sue" and "Abraham Martin & John".  Now his extraordinary life story comes to the stage in a moving musical that tells of his time in the spotlight and in the shadows of addiction.  We know it's a year off but individual tickets will go on sale on August 19, 2019.  For info visit The Wanderer. - Pamela Horner

Record review: After 45+ years, Melvin Hicks & Versatiles superb record released on vinyl and CD!

Back in 1972, record producers Ray Dahrouge and Billy Terrell wrote a song called "I'm just Passing Time" and gave it to a young Asbury Park soul group called Melvin Hicks & the Versatiles.  The record never came out back in the day.  Still, Pam and I have been aware of this vocal group for some time.  Also known as the Blenders, we had an enlarged photo of the group on the wall of our 2015 "Spirituals To Soul" exhibit at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum and a smaller print in the temporary Asbury Park Museum earlier this year. Pictured above are two members of the Versatiles/Blenders and Melvin's daughter, taken at our exhibit, beneath Joseph A. Carter's photo of their group.  Well, Billy Terrell informed us that the song was just released for the first time on a CD and as a vinyl 45 by Deep Soul Records (Ace Records) out of the UK.  We immediately purchased our copy and it is a great 60’s style soul harmony ballad.  The group's story will be included in our definitive two volume book, "Springwood Avenue Harmony: The Unique Musical Heritage of Asbury Park's West Side (1880 - 1980), due out later this year.  To listen to the record click "I'm Just Passing Time".  To purchase a copy on vinyl or CD, visit Deep Soul Records.

Listening bars come to (return to?) the U.S. 

Listening bars - cafes with high-end audio equipment, where patrons listen to vinyl records, carefully selected by a bartender, from a record library behind the bar — have been an institution in Japan since the 1950s.  The NY Times now reports that listening bars are catching on in the United States.  Recently several have popped up in Los Angels and New York City and elsewhere.  We don't really know how well they will catch on, as bars have generally been known as places where people gather to talk, not listen.  And in the hectic world where people get their entertainment on the run from their I-Phones does anyone really have time to actually stop and listen to anything.  Well, just maybe, with the return of vinyl, a few of us might just take the time to sit down and listen to recordings as they were meant to be heard - with the warm full sound of vinyl played on high end audio equipment.  Of course, this brings back memories of days gone past when you could go into a record store, pull some records you're thinking of buying, and listen to them through headphones in private listening booths. Too young to remember those times?  In my travels through the South, there were still some record stores that had the booths - Barky's in Richmond and even Frankie's Got It in Norfolk.  I'm sure those are all gone by now.  Funny how things can go full circle.  Read the NY Times article by here clicking "Record Bars".  

Walt Taylor of Durhams, Uptites, Philly Gumbo passes.

So sorry to report the passing of another friend.  Walt Taylor, lead singer over the years of the vocal groups, the Durhams, Uptites and Philly Gumbo. passed away on June 1.  Walt began singing lead with the Upper Darby PA acappella group the Durhams in the early sixties.  The recorded songs like "Sincerely" and "Maureen" for the Relic label.  He also led the soul group the Uptites who recorded "Girl Of The Night" for the Ra-Sel label.  Following that, Walt helped co-found the multitalented group, Philly Gumbo, known for their 1968 release, "Holy War". Walt was a guest on my radio program back in the day. He's the one who opened my eyes to collecting Reggae and Rock Steady vocal harmony groups. We'd kept in touch by FaceBook over the years, but I didn't realize until now how ill he was. Seems like every day I lose more friends. This is very sad. - Charlie Horner  Listen to the Uptites sing "Girl Of The Night" on YouTube.  Above photo, the Durhams, 1964.  Walt is on top.

Doo Wop Ramblings wins East Coast Music Hall Of Fame award as Best of Music Makers Web Publication!

If you're enjoying reading this newsletter, there's another great free email newsletter we know you'll enjoy and this one comes out weekly!  We congratulate Glenn Fisher as his Doo Wop Ramblings has just won the ECMHOF Best of the Music Makers Web Publication award.  Doo Wop Ramblings hits your inbox every Sunday.  You can subscribe by visiting Subscribe Now.

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 NEDWS is quite active in keeping our music alive in New England but their newsletter covers music news from all over.  Click Subscribe to get on their mailing list. 
 

Vinyl record review: Bags - "Hey Girl" b/w "Beautiful Birds" (It's Soul Time # 006)

Another great previously unreleased vinyl 45 was recently (2017) issued by It's Soul Time Records!  Boy am I glad I never quit collecting vinyl back when CD's came out.  Out of Plainfield NJ, the Bags were a soul harmony / funk group with connections to George Clinton's groups.  Actually I'm told the group started out as the Admirations on the Hull label.  The group was started by the Boyce brothers Richard and Frankie,  After Frankie Boyce was killed in Viet Nam, Richard started the Bags.  The group was produced by Jerry Ragavoy in 1972 leading to one single on the GFS label, "It's Heavy".  This record, "Hey Girl" remained unreleased and we'll never understand why?.  It's a great medium tempo soul harmony record that is finally out now on the It's Soul Time label.  The lead vocalist is Glen Goins who later joined Parliament-Funkadelic.  For you vinyl soul collectors it's still available at Dusty Groove, and Rough Trade and  in-store at A1 Records, 439 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009. But don't delay in purchasing. It's Soul Time's Andy Lothian tells us they only pressed 500 copies and most went to the UK and Europe. To listen to the record on YouTube, click "Hey Girl".

Jerry Scholl, original tenor for the Mellokings dies at 77.

Gerald Scholl, original founding tenor for the doo wop group, the Mellokings passed away April 30, 2019 at the age of 77.  The Mellokings first stared in 1956 in Mount Vernon, NY, as the Mellotones.  After recording what would become their biggest hit, "Tonite Tonite" for Herald Records it was discovered that there already was another Mellotones group.  The group's name was quickly changed to the Mellokings but by that time about 1000 copies of the record had been pressed with the "Mellotones" name.  These were recalled and are now desired by record collectors.  "Tonite Tonite" only reached #87 on the Billboard Charts when it came out but has continued to sell steadily over the years and now is a doo wop standard.  Click here to watch the Mellokings sing "Tonite Tonite" in the 1959 British movie "Sweet Beat",  In the photo above, Jerry Scholl is on the left.

Larry Lawrence of Fantastics, Keynoters, VIP's dies. 

Larry Lawrence, bass singer of the Fantastics and several other groups passed away on May 12, 2019.  We had gotten to know Larry by phone having written the definite article on the Fantastics as part of our several part series of articles on Sammy Strain for Echoes of the Past magazine.  Larry Lawrence was born in Atlanta GA but moved to Brooklyn NY when he was 6 months old.  Along with Sammy Strain, Larry was a part of the early vocal groups the Pharoes and Passions that evolved into the Fantastics.  The group's biggest hits were "There Goes My Love" and "This Is My Wedding Day" (both for RCA Victor).  Later, Larry sang bass for the Keynoters (Keynote label), the VIP's (Big Top label) and the Tradewinds (Avco Embassy label).  In the 1990's, the Fantastic reunited to sing at UGHA, one at least one occasion calling Sammy Strain up to sing with them.  Watch that happen in 1994 on Youtube by clicking "There Goes My Love" (Live).  To read the entire story of the Fantastics and related groups on our website, click Fantastics.

Video of the Month: Quiet Storm singing "In The Still Of The Night" acappella to Fred Parris at the ECMHOF Awards Gala in Wildwood. 

Catch this video.  Just after Charlie Thomas of the Drifters presented Fred Parris his award for being inducted into the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame, Quiet Storm took to the stage and sang "In The Still Of The Night" acappella.  They nailed it!  Watch the video by clicking Quiet Storm.  

Vinyl records incorporated into greeting cards!

Seen in a local card shop - a new vinyl 45 incorporated into a Fathers Day card.  I didn't even know Atlantic Records was making new 45's again.  Is life great, or what?!!  (When it comes to records, it doesn't take much to get me excited).  Oh, and a happy belated Fathers Day to all the dads out there.  

Latest issue of Echoes Of The Past magazine now out!

The latest issue (#128) of Echoes Of The Past magazine is now out.  Contains my article about the 1979 acappella concert that brought back acappella music to Philadelphia, plus George Frunzi's article on Kamau Osceola Akiba and Quiet Storm, Robert Bosco's article on the Continettes, and articles by Steve Propes, Larry Stidom and Nay Nassar and more. Another great issue from the only magazine of its kind about our music. To subscribe to Echoes (it's only $18 a year for 4 issues) email Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.

TNT North Jersey Doo Wop Party now on Internet radio!

You may have read about the monthly get togethers by record collectors who get together in North Jersey monthly to spin their favorite rare group harmony sides.  Well many of you live to far to attend these TNT North Jersey Doo Wop Party get-togethers put on by our friend Tom Harford, Tony O and Pam Nardella.  Now there's good news.  Tony O has produced radio shows from the highlights and they will air on RememberThenRadio.com every Wednesday evening at 7 PM ET.   In fact, one of the times I (Charlie) spun records at TNT will soon be aired.  Check out this program.  You'll enjoy it.  Or, if you're close by, come to the TNT PARTY at VFW Hall, 340 Outwater Lane, Garfield, NJ 07026 and be part of the show!

De'Sean Dooley to record.

Our friend De'Sean Dooley is raising money to make his first solo recording.  De'Sean is the ultra-talented star of "Soul Harmony," the musical about Deborah Chessler. Sonny Til and the Orioles that ran at the Uptown Knauer PAC last June in West Chester PA.  De'Sean played the part of Sonny Til, who was actually his grandfather.  De'Sean will also be singing Orioles' songs at our Doo Wop Explosion 4 June 22, backed acappella by Quiet Storm.  We are thrilled to know De'Sean will be recording soon.  If you'd like to help raise money for the recording, visit De'Sean's GoFundMe page.  

NYC TV Station come to the aid of former Cleftones Patricia Spann

NYC's TV station ABC7NY 's "7 On Your Side" had to come the aid of former Cleftones' Patricia Spann who is now wheelchair ridden and could not get her apartment buzzer fixed to let health aides in.  It is a sad story for Spann who now  gets around with a walker and motorized wheelchair after suffering two heart attacks and several strokes. She has rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, COPD, and has had her wrists and ankles operated on several times.  To read the full story click Pat Spann.  Patricia Spann is in the center of the album photo above.

Visit our "Chorner1" YouTube Channel 
If you've never been on it, Classic Urban Harmony's YouTube channel is worth checking out.  It's chorner1 and it contains 299 live video songs by doo wop and R&B vocal groups,  We are adding more all the time.  Just about all the videos were taken by us at various Classic Urban Harmony concerts that we produced and most are acappella.  At the writing of this newsletter, there have been more than 480,000 views of videos on our YouTube channel.  To take a look click chorner1 YouTubes.  You might want to subscribe and follow to be notified when we post new videos.  Over 650 people now subscribe already!

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