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Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue # 59  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter
Issue # 59: Oct/Nov/Dec 2021

Happy New Year and welcome to our 59th issue of the Classic Urban Harmony free email newsletter, our end of the year edition.  We know it's been a while since our last newsletter but we've been very busy as you'll see when you read on.  Rest assured, we have not given up on keeping you informed of all the music happenings.  And we appreciate your sticking with us, even when you don't hear from us as often.  Because of our temporary absence, this newsletter will be a long one.  So, tell your family you'll be busy for the next couple hours, lock the door, pull up a chair and start reading.  The Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter is back and it's an important one.  Wishing you and those close to you a healthy and happy 2022. - Charlie & Pam 

Quote of the Month:  "When there's music in your soul, there's soul in your music.” -  Criss Jami

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, 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 - December 29, 2021

"You Don't Know Me: The Musical Memoir of Stormin' Norman Seldin" by Norman Seldin as told to Charlie Horner now published and available on Amazon

Stormin' Norman Seldin's autobiography, "You Don't Know Me" is now published and available for purchase on Amazon.com   As the title suggests, you may not know who Norman Seldin is, but if you have any interest at all in popular music, you'll want to 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 is not just 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.  To read reviews and purchase the book, click Amazon.com

Seldin Book Launch draws Nice Crowd and Numerous Celebrities

Wow!  What an incredible night November 4 was, at our book launch of Norman Seldin's autobiography, "You Don't Know Me."  We had a fabulous crowd and a great time.  The event was sponsored by the Asbury Park Museum and the Asbury Park Library.  To honor Norman Seldin's fondness for New Orleans R&B, the Asbury Park Museum's Outreach Coordinator, Susan Rosenberg prepared a refreshment table with pralines, chocolate guitars and other snacks.  I (Charlie Horner) gave a multimedia presentation and Norman led a lively Q&A session.  Norman & I autographed books which many audience members also had signed by the other celebrities there.  The book signing was coordinated by Pam Horner.  This photo says it all.  Left to right:  Soul & Pop music songwriter and producer Billy Terrell; legendary vocalist and lead singer of the Doo Wop group, the Earls, Larry Chance; extraordinary vocalist and musician Pam McCoy; our honoree of the night Stormin' Norman Seldin; music historian & author, Charlie Horner; music historian & author Pamela Horner; Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician, Vini Lopez.  Not seen in the photo is noted percussionist Richard Blackwell.  Check out the book, "You Don't Know Me: The Musical Memoire of Stormin' Norman Seldin," by Norman Seldin as told to Charlie Horner. 

Music Industry Icon Kal Rudman dies at 91.

I (Charlie) was deeply saddened to learn of the passing, December 1, of music industry icon Kal Rudman at the age of 91.  I first met Kal back in the early 1980’s.  I knew Kal Rudman was one of the most influential people in the music industry as publisher of his radio station tip sheet, the “Friday Morning Quarterback” but I never expected our paths would cross.  John Moore and I were doing the radio show one Saturday morning when the buzzer rang that someone was at the radio station door.  I picked up the phone and asked who was there.  The voice said, “This is Kal Rudman.”  I said something like, “Yeah, right.  And I’m Michael Jackson.”  He said, “No, really.  This is Kal Rudman.”  Now, I had to be careful as to who I let in the radio station because I’d received death threats for playing so much Black music.  But I took a chance and let him in.  It really was Kal Rudman.  Kal said that as a U of Penn alumni he often listened to WXPN and that every Saturday he had my show on in his office as he worked on the tip sheet.  He loved the early R&B records I was playing.  I put Kal on the air and we discussed the status of the music industry.  At the time, CD’s had just come out and I asked him if he thought CD’s would ever replace vinyl records.  He said they would.  It was a fun interview and Kal seemed like such a nice guy. Kal gave me a couple copies of his “Friday Morning Quarterback” which I still have.  I only ran into Kal a few other times, but he was always glad to see me.  My condolences to Kal’s family and friends.  He was a great man and I’ll miss him. – Charlie Horner

CD Review:  Jack Nicora, "Music Is My Life," Chacona Records #1007

We've been following the music career of young Jack Nicora for about a year now, ever since our friend Jimmy "JJ" Wiener told us about him.  Jack is a 19-year-old doo wop phenomenon from Mckeesport, Pennsylvania (outside of Pittsburgh) who's been shaking up the group harmony world with his superb internet renditions of numerous obscure as well as well-known songs.  This talented youngster has an amazing voice and should go far in the music field.  Jack told us the first vocal group that inspired him was the Drifters - not a bad start - but he's moved on quite a bit since then.  His debut CD, "Music Is My Life" is a mix of acappella and music backed songs including "Set Me Free" (Desires), "Don't Be A Fool" (Del Vikings), "There Goes My Love" (Fantastics), "Love Call" (Ebonaires) and 12 more.  This CD is highly recommended, and we hope is the first of many for Jack.  Chacona Records is a subsidiary of Stevie Dunham's Street Corner Entertainment Records.  The CD is available from streetcornerentertainment.com  or call Stevie Dunham at 702-765-7655.  To hear one of the cuts, click "I Do Believe"  

Edible Records?

Just saw this photo on the internet of cookies shaped like records.  Coincidentally, they were made at a custom sweet shop called LiVay Sweet Shop, 104 Watchung Ave Plainfield NJ (www.livaysweetshop.com    Plainfield is only about 15 minutes from Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters, so we'll have to stop by and check these out.  Of course, Plainfield has always been a big R&B music town, but these cookies give new meaning to the genre, Sweet Soul.  

John Paloney honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Philly Doo Wop Festival.

Pam and I had a great time last October 10 at the Philly Doo Wop Festival at the FOP.  Due to inclement weather, the event was moved indoors but there was still lots of great vocal harmony.  I (Charlie) was honored to be asked to be one of the guest MC's and to present my friend John Paloney with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Born and raised in South Philly, John sang with the Intentions ("Summertime Angel"/"Mr. Misery"), Ernie & the Halos ("Angel Marie"), the Delrays, Debonairs, Rick & Masters, Nostalgia 5, Memory Lane, Four Aces, Lee Andrews & the Hearts, Midlife Crisis, Royal Blue, Blue Velvet, Cornerstone, Billy & the Essentials, Frankie & the Fashions, Balladeers, Ecstasies, Junior & the Seniors, Middle Room Magic and several more groups.  Congratulations John from all of us and thank you for the harmony!

Tony Fournier’s website details the Story of Savoy Records

We've written before about Tony Fournier's Vocal Group Harmony website.  Without question, it is one of the most informative sources of information on early R&B history.  While we've come to expect the degree of excellence in any articles Tony publishes
Tony really outdid himself with the recent six-part article on the history of Savoy Records from 1842 to 1960.  Not only does the series detail the various recordings but delves heavily into the bios of the artists, with photos, newspaper clippings and links to the songs themselves. Take a look by clicking Vocal Group Harmony Website. Don't be surprised if you end up spending hours on the Vocal Group Harmony site.  But please return here and finish reading our newsletter.

Louis Armstrong's Last Recording

As an avid reader, museum curator and former scientist I enjoy reading Smithsonian magazine each month.  To my delight, the December 2021 issue ran an article on Louis Armstrong's final recording, a record that we have in the Classic Urban Harmony Archive - but I'll bet that doesn't surprise you.  It seems Armstrong's last recording was a recital of the poem "The Night Before Christmas," taped on February 26, 1971, on a reel-to-reel recorder at his home in Queens, New York.  Louis was about to begin a two-week gig at the Waldorf Astoria.  Those were his last performances.  He suffered through two heart attacks and on July 6, 1971, Armstrong died in his sleep.  The recording was distributed that holiday season by cigarette-maker Lorillard, which pressed it onto a million 45-rpm records as giveaways for anyone who bought a carton of cigarettes.   To read the Smithsonian article, click Armstrong.

Hal Miller, lead of the Rays dies at 90

Sad to hear that Hal Miller, lead singer of the R&B group, the Rays, has died at age 90.  Date of his passing seems to be October 18, 2021.  The Rays were formed in Brooklyn in 1955, first recording for Chess Records before switching to Bob Crewe and Frank Slay's XYZ label.  There they released "Silhouettes" b/w "Daddy Cool" which was leased to Cameo Records where it went to #3 on the charts.  The Rays continued recording for XYZ and had several minor hits.  While with Bob Crewe, Hal Miller recorded "Angel Cried" on the Topix label.  While the label says, "Hal Miller & the Rays," the backup singers are actually Frankie Valli & the Lovers (soon to be the 4 Seasons).  The song made it into the Broadway show, "Jersey Boys."  A soul version of "Silhouettes" was later recorded by the Futures.  Here's one of my favorite songs by Hal & the Rays - click  "Souvenirs Of Summer." 
Noted Music Scholar and Historian, Peter A. Grendysa dies at 82.
Always sad to hear of the passing of a fellow music historian, especially one that came before me, whom I looked up to.  Peter Grendysa was someone whom I never met in person but corresponded with on several occasions.  When I first became aware of Pete, he was the world's authority on Atlantic Records, a label I first started collecting.  By the early 1970's I was reading articles by Pete on numerous early black music artists.  I was just starting to interview singers at that time, but Pete was way ahead of me.  In his career, Peter researched and wrote over 400 articles, columns, and reviews in music magazines.  He has written liner notes for more than 100 albums and CDs on such labels as Rhino, Bear Family, MCA, Columbia, Atlantic, and Route 66   In 1975, he published "Atlantic Master Book #1."  In the eraly 1980's he produced radio programs such as “Rhythm & Blues Unlimited” and “They Called it Rock ‘n’ Roll.”  He was voted Best Music Journalist in Rhythm & Blues by Goldmine Magazine in 1985 and in 1986 was acknowledged by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as Album Notes Writer, Best Historical Album, for the Grammy award-winning "Atlantic Rhythm & Blues," 1947-1974 Vol 1—7.  In 1993, Peter received the Award for Excellence in Jazz History from ARSC for Louis Jordan. In 1996, he earned a Grammy nomination as Notes Writer, Best Historical Album, for "The R&B Box: 30 Years of Rhythm & Blues."  He wrote the introduction to Marv Goldberg;s book on the Ink Spots.  These, of course, are just a few of Peter's awards and accomplishments.  Peter A. Grendysa died on 8th October, 2021 at the age of 82.

Jay Black, lead of Jay & Americans dies at 82.

Jay Black (real name David Blatt), the lead voice of Jay & the Americans on songs like "Cara Mia," "Only In America," "This Magic Moment," and "Come A Little Bit Closer" died October 22, 2021, at the age of 82.  Jay Black was the second "Jay" in the Americans, replacing Jay Traynor.  Black was born in Astoria, Queens and grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park.  Prior to Jay & the Americans, Jay recorded with the Empires who released "Time And A Place" for Epic Records in 1962.  If you're not familiar with the Empires' record, it's a nice group sound.  Click "Time And A Place" to hear it.  

Our Music in Commercials:  Flamingos song now in Amazon Alexa commercial.

"Our Music in Commercials" continues to be one of the most popular columns in our newsletter.  I'm so glad to see our readers keeping an eye out for 50s and 60s R&B songs popping up on TV.  Many thanks to Joe Sciacchitano for noticing the song “I Only Have Eyes For You” by the Flamingos in an Amazon Alexa commercial.  Two seniors seem to be thinking about their long ago first dance to the Flamingos song as they dance in their home.  They say, “Alexa, play our favorite song again.”  It's a great commercial and you can watch it here by click Alexa Flamingos   
At our house we use Alexa as an alarm clock.  We say, “Alexa, wake us up to doo wop music.”  For months she would play “Sixteen Tons” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”  Now, it seems she plays "We Can't Stop" by Post Modern Jukebox and our friends, the Tee Tones.  By the way, if you're not familiar with that song, you can watch the video on YouTube by cliking "We Can't Stop."  It's already got 25 million views! - Pamela Horner

Our Music in Commercials, continued:  Chuck Berry in Capital One Christmas Commercial

This column keeps getting better and better.  Again, thanks to Joe Sciacchitano for catching the Chuck Berry recording of "Run Run Rudolph" in the end of the Samuel L.. Jackson Capital One commercial.  Santa is actually played by John Travolta and the commercial is sort of a play on the 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction" that starred Travolta and Jackson.  In the end of the commercial (long version only), Santa and Mrs. Santa are dancing the twist to Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph."  This is a sly reference to "Pulp Fiction" where John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance to Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell."   To watch this commercial click Capital One Santa.  - Pamela Horner  

Our Music in Commercials, continued even further: Richard Caiton in Michelob Ultra commercial

Another keen observation by Joe Sciacchitano who picked out the song "You Look Like A Flower" by Richard Caiton in a Michelob Ultra Commercial.  This is a great group harmony song that is not that well known, though we have a copy in our CUH Archives that Charlie says he used to play on his radio show.  It came out on the G.N.P. Crescendo label around 1964.  In the commercial, the song plays while a fellow is caressingly cleaning his golf cart filled with cans of Michelob Ultra.  According to Richard Caiton's daughter, Richard wrote the song for her mother when they were students at Southern University in New Orleans.  The motto of the song is, "Welcome back golf.  More importantly, welcome back golf beer cart."  To watch the commercial click Michelob Commercial.   To hear the song in its entirety, click "Flower." - Pamela Horner

Our Music in Commercials, continued yet again: The Du-Ettes for Whole Foods

I don't want to take up the whole newsletter, but I couldn't resist this one.  There's now a Whole Foods supermarket commercial to the soundtrack of "Every Beat of My Heart.  No, not the Royals or Pips song but the Northern Soul record on the Mar-V-Lus label out of Chicago around 1964.  The minute this commercial started running, people began scrambling to find out what record it is.  Now that the word is out, I'm sure the price for the record has risen dramatically.  I'm glad we already had a copy in the Classic Urban Harmony Archives!  I was not able to find a video of the Whole Foods commercial on the internet, but to hear the record, click Du-Ettes. - Pamela Horner        

Latest news on the documentary, "The Jerry Lawson Story: Just A Mortal Man"

Julie Lawson, widow of the late Persuasions lead Jerry Lawson, has advised us that PBS Plus in Arlington, Va. has picked up the documentary, "The Jerry Lawson Story: Just A Mortal Man" and will broadcast it on February 10, 2022.  They will also offer it to over 350 affiliates.  It will also be available for streaming.  On related news, Julie posted a link to purchase a CD of live Persuasions' concert - the only concert recorded in its entirety.   The concert CD contains classic Persuasions ‘songs such as “Chain Gang” and “Drip Drop.”  The album was recorded live at in Santa Monica at McCabe's and was the final Persuasions performance.  It’s a remarkable album in the choice of material and the interaction of the Persuasions with each other.  Here's the link to obtain a copy - click Persuasions Live. - Pamela Horner

Philip Margo, record producer, member of the Tokens, dies at 79

Philip Margo, member of the Tokens died November 13, 2021 at the age of 79.  Best known for singing on songs like "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," Tonight I Fell In Love,"Portrait Of My Love" and others, Philip along with other members of the Tokens also formed Bright Tunes Publishing; and produced records for The Chiffons, The Happenings, Randy & the Rainbows and Tony Orlando & Dawn.

Jimmy "JJ" Wiener now on rememberthenradio.com

Congrats to our good friend Jimmy "JJ" Wiener on his new radio show.  Jimmy's one of the hardest working advocates for our music.  You can always find him assisting at our Classic Urban Harmony events and out there promoting just about anything that involves doo wop music.  Recently he's been a main promoter of singing sensation Jack Nicora.  You can listen to "Double J's Golden Jukebox" every Thursday evening at 7 PM (EST) on rememberthenradio.com  

Les Paul’s #1 Gibson Guitar Auctioned by Christie’s Gets Sold for $930,000

We saw Les Paul perform on June 1, 2009 at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City.  Tragically, that turned out to be his last performance.  It was a wonderful show with Les and a combo.  We could tell he really enjoyed playing his music for us.  He didn’t play his "Number One" guitar but did play a Gibson guitar that resembled his favorite.  The Number One Guitar was not Paul’s first guitar, but it was the earliest approved production model of the famed Gibson Les Paul electric guitar.  It took almost three decades from his first experiments to finally getting the guitar that helped launch Rock N’ Roll.  That Number One Guitar was just auctioned at Christie's auctions in New York City where it sold for $930,000. - Pamela Horner

Lenis Guess, major contributor to the "Norfolk Sound" dies at 81.

Lenis Guess, soul singer, writer and producer from Norfolk, Virginia, died October 5, 2021, at the age of 81. Born in Norfolk in 1940, the multi-talented, self-taught artist was a major part of the “Norfolk Sound” in the 1960s and ’70s, which influenced musicians from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen.  Lenis worked with producer Frank Guida, writing, arranging, producing and singing background as well as recording his own songs for Guida labels Legrand and SPQR.  Lenis also had his own record companies, D.P.G. and Guess.

Sarah Dash of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, Labelle, dies suddenly at 76.

Sarah Dash founding member of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles and Labelle as well as an established soloist, died unexpectedly on September 20, 2021, at the age of 76.  No cause of death was given.  Dash was born in Trenton, New Jersey but later moved to Philadelphia.  She last performed in Atlantic City when Patti LaBelle called her up on stage, two days before her passing.  Sarah Dash was also successful as a soloist.  In 1978, Dash released her self-titled debut album, which included the top-ten disco hit, "Sinner Man."

New Dion Album reached #1 on Blues Album Charts

Dion's new album, "Dion: Stomping Ground," released November 19 on KTBA Records has just reached #1 on the Billboard's Blues Album Charts.  The album is mostly blues and blues rock songs, recorded in collaborations with other musical notables including Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, Rickie Lee Jones, Bruce Springsteen, Erick Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Boz Scaggs and more.  The liner notes include a forward by Pete Townshend of the Who.  Here's a little taste of the album in a New Orleans flavored song dedicated to the memory of Dr. John.  Click "That's What the Doctor Said." 

Update on Dion Musical, "The Wanderer."  World Premiere now set at the Papermill Playhouse, New Jersey

Some time ago we mentioned that Dion’s story "The Wanderer" would premiere at the Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey.  With the onset of the pandemic, you know how that went.  So, finally we have our second set of tickets for the April presentation.  "The Wanderer" is billed as a pre-Broadway opening.  It’s been years in the making.  It’s the story of Dion’s rise to fame from the Bronx to the world stage.  It’s the story of transformation and redemption in Dion’s life.  We all know the songs “Runaround Sue,” “I Wonder Why,” “Teenager in Love,” “Ruby Baby,” “Abraham, Martin, and John,” and of course “The Wanderer.”  The show runs from March 24,to April 24, 2022.  Hurry and get your tickets.  Here's the link to the Papermill website.  See you there! - Pamela Horner

Acappella singer, George Scott, dies

George Scott, singer with several UGHA acappella groups, died recently.  Regularly attending Ronnie I's United in Group Harmony Association shows, George began singing with the Street-Tones (later Patty & the Street-Tones) in the late 1970's.  In 1979 he formed the acappella group Retrospect who recorded "The Girl I Love" and "My Love Will Never Die" for Clifton Records and "Lorraine" and "Row,Row,Row" on the Collage label.  By 1980, George and members of Retrospect teamed with Alex Augustine to form the acappella group Image.  Image recorded "Over The Rainbow" and "All Mine" for Clifton Records. [George Scott is second row right in the above photo of Retrospect.]  Click Retrospect to hear "My Love For You Will Never Die."
 

Chantels welcome Naomi White Randolph as new lead singer

With Ami Ortiz recently retiring from singing, the Chantels have a new lead singer, Naomi White Randolph. Naomi is the daughter of original and still current Chantel, Renee Minus White.  Naomi joins her mother, Lois Harris Powell and Sonia Goring Wilson, each original members.  We understand Naomi was well received by the audience at a recent Todd Baptista concert in Massachusetts.

 

Paul Mitchell, founding member of the soul group, the Floaters, dies

Paul Mitchell, founding member of the soul group, the Floaters, died December 20, 2021.  The Detroit vocal group is primarily known for the song "Float On" which was a major hit worldwide.  Our archives has copies of the record pressed in Germany and the Netherlands.  Click Floaters to watch a video of the group singing "Float On."  Love the choreography.  R.I.P. Paul. 

Rare Sheet Music Feature: "Silhouettes" by the Rays 

In memory of hal Miller who just passed away (see above article) we made the Rays' "Silhouettes" our featured rare sheet music this issue.  "Silhouettes" was written by Frank Slay and Bob Crewe in 1957.  It was first recorded by the Rays on Slay and Crewe's XYZ label.  When the song began to take off, it was leased to the Cameo label in Philadelphia.  Cover versions were recorded by Steve Gibson & the Red Caps and the Diamonds.  Later versions were done by Frankie Lymon, Four Seasons, Cliff Richard, the Ronettes, Herman's Hermits. the Futures, the Nylons, and Quiet Storm.  Click "Silhouettes" to watch hal Miller & his rays group sing it live in the 2000s.  
 

The CUH Newsletter Inbox

After each issue of this newsletter, we get interesting feedback from out readers.  We'd like to share a few emails with you.
Charlie.  After reading your newsletter feature on The Harptones EP I looked at images of the back of the Picture Sleeve which lists another EP, Bruce BEP 202.  This is listed in Marv Goldberg's profile of The Harptones but as a 1960s release, a date which seems incorrect for a legitimate Bruce Records release.  Images (and auction history) of this second EP are not easy to locate.  Does it exist, and was it released in 1955?
P.S. An old auction listing shows the EP 201 photo was previously used for 101-X45; this picture sleeve seems to be legit, but you would know better than I!  Many thanks," - George
[Fascinating question, George.  As I don't own either EP, and I haven't ever seen the second one, I can't say for sure   I don't know Marv's source of info on dating Bruce BEP 202 but Todd Baptista's chapter on the Harptones in "Group Harmony: Behind The Rhythm and Blues" states "both [EPs] released late Mar./early Apr."  My guess is both came out in 1955.  As to the picture sleeve of Bruce 101-X45, this is the first I've even seen a photo of it.  
"Charlie & Pam.  Really enjoyed you Newsletter and love the work you are doing. Have 18 cuts in the can since the 80’ss Revival of the “ Impalas”. Will put them in the cloud and compile them. Forgot how great they were." - Joel Warshaw, Lifestream Records
[Thanks Joel.  I really like the audio file of "If I Didn't Care" that you sent us.  That's the Impalas?!!!  Wow!]
"Dear Charlie & Pam.  Thanks again for your wonderful newsy Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. It is always a pleasure to see your Email come in and now the "58th issue" !!! How time goes by so quickly.  As I do, I set aside a couple of hours to once again immerse myself into what's going on in the world of Classic Urban Harmony. In the early pages of your Newsletter I watched the video of the "LifeTime Achievement Award for Willie Winfield.". I was delighted to hear both your voice Charlie and yours too Pam. It brought your CUH Newsletter alive for me!  I am delighted to have met you both so many years ago in New Jersey with my husband David, when we enjoyed coffee and conversation together.  Pam, reading the CUH Newsletter, two articles authored by yourself came to my attention, one about Don Everly's passing and the other about Tony Fournier's 60 high resolution MP4 Videos on vintage Black Artists.  Regarding Don Everly's passing on September 11, 2021, my dad Harry Lewis, one of the original Black Artist Group Harmony Singers of the 1940's, the Delta Rhythm Boys, was born September 11, 1914. When Don Everly died this year 2021, my dad would have been 107 years of age!  Needless to say, in your article regarding Tony Fournier, I viewed your "Vocal Group Harmony Website - Vintage Black Artists Group 1935 - 1957" and watched videos for 3 artists in particular: The Delta Rhythm Boys #1 and #2, The Golden Gate Quartet #1 and #2 and the Mills Brothers #1, #2 and #3, wonderful fond memories of having met many of the singers over the years. To my delight, I watched the video of "1941, Take the "A" train" and watched my Dad sing and dance to this infamous tune!!  Thank you both and especially Pam for writing on two topics I read with awe and delight!" - Wynona Bradwell, daughter of Delta Rhythm Boys' Harry Lewis, France
[Hi Wynona.  Glad you're doing well and enjoying our newsletter,  As you can imagine, it takes a lot of work.  Wishing you a Happy New Year and a great 2022. - Charlie & Pam]
"Hi Charlie & Pam.  How are you doing?  Just thought you might to give a listen to my interview with Carl Fisher of The Jayhawks/Vibrations.  Posted the audio for now.  Will be turned into a readable story later.  Thanks." - Kirk Lang
[Great interview, Kirk.  We've posted a link to it further down in this newsletter.  Keep up the great work. - Charlie & Pam]
Charlie & Pam.  Please add me to your list of folks receiving the CUH Newsletter.  I don't usually do social media.  I'm at about 85,000 records now and offer free sale list of Rock & Doowop, C&W, Indie Country, Rock w/Pix Sleeves, Colored Wax, Country w/Pix Sleeves, Import 45's (any 2 at one time).  You guys continue your good work and Be Well..." - Ken Clee  WAXNTOYS@aol.com
[Hi Ken.  It's been a while.  I always made good use of your discographies.  Glad to hear from you. - Charlie]

Lost Luminaries, 2021

The year 2021 will go down as another tragic one for fans of vocal harmony and music in general.  The list of singers and musicians in our musical family who have gone on is staggering.  We can only pray that 2022 will be better.  As painful as it might be please take a look at who we lost in the past year.  May we never forget all that they gave us. - Charlie & Pam

Jan 2   Tom Luciani, Host of Time Capsule  radio show
Jan 7   Patrick Gelardi, 78, Expressions
Jan 11  Don Miller, 80, Vogues
Jan 12  Stanley Wade, 75, Volcanos, Trammps
Jan 13  Ed Engel, record label owner
Jan 14  Dean Christie79, R&R soloist
Jan 16  Little Walter Devenne, 73, music historian, producer
Jan 16  Phil Spector, 81, music producer
Jan 18  Jimmie Rodgers, 87, R&R singerJan 16  Tommy Mara, 65, Crests, concert promoter
Jan 18  Winfield Parker, 78, soul singer
Jan 19  Deborah Nader, concert promoter, music advocate
Jan 20  Zeke Suarez, 75, Exquisites
Jan 21  Russell Haas, 61, drummer, Desire
Jan 22  James Purify, 76, soul singer
Jan 24  Billy Ryan, 76, guitarist, Soul Set, Joyful Noyze, Jay Walkers
Jan 26  Eddie Brian, 77, Ducanes, Autumns, Connotations, +
Feb 2   Danny Ray, Famous Flames
Feb 2   Charlie Ball, 76, Remaining Few
Feb 3   Jim Weatherly,77, songwriter
Feb 4   Gil Saunders, 68, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes
Feb 5   Cleveland Freeman, 70, musical director, Cleftones
Feb 8    Mary Wilson, 76, Supremes
Feb 17  Bruce Hawes, 67, songwriter
Feb 19  Dan Clemson, 89, music historian, founder/president Mills Bros Society
Feb 19  James Burke, 70, Five Stairsteps
Feb 20  Cody Anderson, 78, Phila radio personality
Feb 24  Tony Brown, 75, Phila radio personality
Feb 27  Neal Stuart, 70, Zircons, Empire State
Mar 2    Bunny Wailer, 73, reggae singer, Wailers
Mar 6    Lou Ottens, 94, inventor of cassette tapes
Mar 11  Lezi Valentine, Jaynettes, soloist
Mar 11  Neal Sharp, 73, Brothers 7, Drifters, Archie Bell's Drells
Mar 14  Ted Daryll, 81, songwriter
Mar 25 Joanne Bevacqua, 69, Heartaches
Mar 30  Willie Schofield, 81, Falcons
Apr 6    Lenny Rocco, Phila doo wop singer
Apr 10  Bob Porter, 80, music historian, producer, radio host
Apr 13  Mike Volpe, Danny & Juniors, Anthony & Sophomores, Mike Arnone's Duprees, Belaires
Apr 15  Kenny Mitchell, Patience, Johnny Angel & Halos, Marcels
Apr 21  Joe Long, 79, Four Seasons
May 2   Tommy "West" Picardo, 78, Criterions, record producer
May 3   Lloyd Price, 88, R&B singer
May 6   Pervis Staples 85,  Staples Singers
May 12, Bob Koester, 78, record store & label owner
May 17  Ron Anthony Lapinsky, 84, Runarounds, Tremonts, Elegants
May 21  Robert B. Wesley, 85, Counts
May 29  B.J. Thomas, 78, Triumphs, pop soloist
Jun 7    Walter L. Jones, Enchantment soul group
Jun 8    Phil "Dean Parrish" Anastasia, 78, R&B singer
Jun 15  Lou Rallo, music historian, radio host
JUl 8, Jimmy Smith, Elgins, Elements, Daniels
Jul 10  Barbara Allbut Brown, 80, Angels
Jul 22   Maryland Pierce, 89, Five Keys
Jul 27   Willie Winfield, 91, Harptones
Aug 21 Don Everly, 84, Everly Brothers
Sep 11  Rich Zielinski, 71, music advocate
Sep ?    Linda Champion, Harptones
Sep 20  Lenny Dell, Demensions
Sep 20  Sarah Dash, 76, Blue Belles, LaBelle
Sep 28  Dr. Lonnie Smith, 79, jazz musician, Supremes (male doo wop group)
Oct 5    Lenis Guess, 81, soul singer, producer, label owner
Oct 8    Peter A. Grendysa, 82, music historian, writer, radio host
Oct 18   Hal Miller, 90, Rays
Oct 22   Jay Black, 82, Jay & Americans
Nov 13   Philip Margo, 79, Tokens, record producer
Nov 26   Alfred Gaitwood, 91, Cuff Links, Smoothtones, Rivals +
Nov ?    George Scott, Street-Tones, Retrospect, Image
Dec 1     Kal Rudman, 91, music industry icon
Dec 8     Ralph Tavares, 79, Del Rios, Chubby & Turnpikes, Tavares
Dec 13   Joe Simon, 85, Golden Tones, R&B soloist
Dec 15,   Wanda Young, 78, Marvelttes
Dec 20   Paul Mitchell, Floaters soul group








 



 

Asbury Park Museum pop-up music exhibit opens in Asbury Park hotel

Asbury Park Museum’s new pop-up exhibit, “One Voice Is Not Enough” explores the many styles of early Asbury Park music.  It is now on display in the lobby of the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park.  The public is invited to drop by anytime between now and June, 2022.  Best of all, it’s FREE to visit.  The exhibit was curated by our own Charlie & Pam Horner and covers the first 100 years of Asbury Park music – a story told through stand-up banners, wall-mounted posters, a music soundtrack with 4 hours’ worth of selected recordings, two continuously running 35-minute informative slide shows (175 slides total) and two display cases full of Asbury Park artifacts from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives.  On display are items like Bobby Thomas’ personal copy of “Doll Face” on the After Hours label plus Bobby’s handwritten lyrics from the flip side; Stormin’ Norman Seldin’s classic hat; an 1898 wax cylinder by J. W. Myers; and much more.  The exhibit is funded in part by a Diversity Innovation Grant from Monmouth University and exhibit design is by Stan Cain Design.  It will remain at the Berkeley for six months before moving to Monmouth University.  The Asbury Park Museum is a 501c3 non-profit organization with an all-volunteer staff.  Please visit our website, www.AP-Museum.org 

Opening Reception to the Asbury Park Museum Pop-up Music Exhibit a Huge Success 

The opening reception to the Asbury Park Museum's pop-up exhibit, "One Voice Is Not Enough: Asbury Park's Musical Diversity Since 1871" was a huge success.  We (Charlie & Pam Horner) curated the exhibit.  Thanks to all who attended and all who helped out.  We had a great turn-out and everybody loved the displays, banners, slides and music.  It was great seeing so many friends from the music field and their families.  Thanks to the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel for their hospitality and spread of refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.  If you missed the opening, the exhibit will be there in the lobby of the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park NJ, for the next 6 months.  It is free to visit anytime.  Barring any unforeseen circumstances, like a COVID shutdown, we'll be following this with a huge benefit concert Sunday February 6 starring Stormin' Norman Seldin's 11-piece band and guest vocalists in the Berkeley's grand ballroom.  SAVE THE DATE!   Follow all the Asbury Park Museum news on our website, AP-Museum.org  - Charlie & Pam

Impromptu Acappella at Asbury Park Museum Exhibit Opening Reception

We seem to find vocal harmony everywhere we go.  We never expected singing at the opening reception for our Asbury Park Museum pop-up exhibit "One Voice Is Not Enough: Asbury Park's Musical Diversity" but I guess we should have.  A number of singers attended the reception, including Joel Katz. Alphonzo Covington, and David Clayton who did some impromptu acappella harmonizing.  Alphonzo and David were former members of the Equations, known for their recording of "Oh You Sweet Darling" on All Platinum Records back in 1969.  The Equations were celebrated in the exhibit.  You can read about the group on our website by clicking Equations.  To watch a short video of the impromptu acappella singing click "What Time Is It."

East Coast Music Hall of Fame "From the Heart" Benefit a great time.

What a joy it was to attend the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame's "From the Heart" benefit concerts at Harrah's in Atlantic City this past November 19 and 20.  With much of the world shut down by the pandemic for the past couple years, it was great to just get away to Atlantic City for a few days.  The East Coast Music Hall of Fame (of which I am a board member) scheduled three concerts over two nights to benefit the Richard and Deborah Nader Memorial Scholarship Fund along with the ECMHOF.  All three concerts were stellar.  The Friday night concert featured the Skyliners, Chris Ruggiero, the Vogues and Jay Siegel’s Tokens.  The next afternoon's concert was one for the "Music Makers."  There were superb performances by Joey and Doreen Brusca Arminio, Tommy C, Gerald Esposito, Vinnie Medugno and Teresa McClean. Emil Stucchio MC ‘d.  The final concert that Saturday evening opened up with Emil Stucchio & the Classics, followed by three acts from my hometown of Philadelphia - Charlie Gracie, the Tymes and Bobby Rydell.  Four strong acts made this a show not to be missed.  Loved that Charlie Gracie did his first song on the Cadillac label in addition to his hits.  Some time back I told Charlie that we had an original copy of that record.  He told me they didn't make very many copies.  Great seeing our good friends, the Tymes, again.  They started singing acappella behind the curtain before they came out - a nice touch!  Guys, your harmony and choreography was spot on.  You haven't lost a step.  Great seeing Bobby Rydell again and the Classics are always in good form.  And, don't forget, the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame's annual gala is coming up June 6 and 7, 2022 at Harrah's in Atlantic City.  Lots of great activities scheduled.  Visit the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame website for details. - Charlie Horner

CD Review, Nostalgia 5, "Nostalgia 5." Global Group Harmony Records #2000 

One of our favorite groups, Nostalgia 5, is now out with a great new CD on the newly formed Global Group Harmony Records label.  We've had Nostalgia 5 perform numerous times for us at Roxy & Dukes and various stage shows and they were always outstanding.  While in the past they sang as a five-man acappella group, Nostalgia 5 is now a quartet - Pete Siciliano, Ted Ziffer, Michael Impriano and Johnny Squillaciotti - and they recorded this album with musical accompaniment.  As all four members have been singing for countless years, we expected this CD to be good and it is!  As usual, Nostalgia's harmonies are flawless, and their song selections include many numbers we've heard them do live.  From "While We Were Dancing," "The Girl I Love," "In The Morning," "Please be My Girlfriend," and "Let Me Love You" to Pete's stellar bass redition of the Jimmy Ricks' tune "Love Is The Thing," it's all great.  Global Group Harmony Records is a new label created by Sally "G" Gulinazzo and is a subsidiary of Stevie Dunham's Street Corner Entertainment.  The CD is available from streetcornerentertainment.com    

Latest issue of Echoes of the Past (#138) now out!

The latest issue of Echoes of the Past magazine (#138) is now out and it's another great one.  It contains our article on the Star-X label out of Detroit, producing records by the Carbone brothers Jackie and Raymond, the Fresandos, the Dappers, the Ricardos and many others.  Also in this issue, Bob Bosco's excellent article on the Butlers, George Frunzi's fascinating interview with Jerry Greene about Times Square Records, Steve Propes article on selected L.A. rock and roll instrumentals and columns by Larry Stidom and Nay Nassar.  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 echoes.past@yahoo.com for details,

Human Remains found in 1982 just Identified as O'Jays Guitarist Frank Little Jr.

The human remains found in a garbage bag behind a now-closed business in Twinsburg, Ohio on February 18, 1982 have just been identified as coming from Frankie Little, former guitarist and songwriter for the O’Jays.  The identification was made thanks to the DNA Doe Project and a DNA sample provided by a relative of Mr. Little.  Local police are reopening the case in the hopes of finding Frankie’s killer.  Frankie Little was a Cleveland native who performed with the O’Jays during their early years.  He left the group shortly after they relocated to Los Angeles to enter the service.  After returning from Viet Nam, he disappeared in 1979, a couple years before his remains were found.

Lenny Dell, lead of the Demensions dies.

Lenny Del Giudice (better known as Lenny Dell), original lead singer of the Bronx doo wop group, the Demensions, died September 20, 2021 of COVID.  The Demensions got together at Christopher Columbus high school in the late 1950's.  They would go on to score the early 1960's hits "Over The Rainbow," "My Foolish Heart," "Just One More Chance," "Again," and "A Tear Fell."  After a period of inactivity, Lenny Dell assembled a new Demensions group in the early 1990's that continues today.  To see a video of Lenny & the Demensions singing "Over The Rainbow" in 1993 click Lenny Dell.   

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 692,000 views from acappella fans in 37 countries.  Over 1,030 people subscribe to our channel.  We'll be posting more videos shortly.

R&B Singer Joe Simon dies.  Former member of the Golden Tones.

Joe Simon, Grammy-winning R&B singer whose hits included “The Chokin’ Kind,” “Power of Love” and "Drowning in the Sea of Love" died December 13, 2021.  He was 85.  Joe Simon was born in Simmesport, Louisiana, and began singing in his father's Baptist church.  Once his family moved to Richmond, California in the late 1950s, Joe Simon joined the Golden West Gospel Singers. the gospel group that recorded extensively with Ajax and Music City Records.  We're not sure Joe Simon recorded any gospel sides with the Golden West Singers but when the group decided to change their name to the Golden Tones and secular music. Joe sang on their recording of "Little Island Girl" b/w "Doreetha" for the Hush label.  [This is a nice R&B vocal group sound.  Yes, we have the record and you can listen to both sides by clicking Golden Tones. For all his later success. Joe Simon spent some of his early years there homeless and living in a chicken coop.   After that, Simon’s career moved quickly, as he landed three Number One and 14 Top Ten records on the R&B Charts, and a best R&B vocal performance, male Grammy for “The Chokin’ Kind.”

Volume 1 of our book on Asbury Park Black music (1871 - 1945) is relaunched at Long Branch, NJ Library

When we first launched our book, Springwood Avenue Harmony: The Unique Musical Legacy of Asbury Park's West Side, Vol. 1, 1871 - 1945" in March 2020, little did we know that the world would shut down three days later.  While the book has gotten rave reviews, our lack of ability to get out there and let the world know about it has really hindered sales.  Most of the libraries and museums where we would have had multimedia presentations and book signings are still just having virtual events.  But on November 17, 2021, we were able to do a re-launch presentation and book signing at the Long Branch (NJ) Public Library which was very well received by a mask wearing audience.  And for those who still don't have the book, it's for sale on Amazon by clicking "Springwood Ave harmony Vol. 1.  Yes, we are working hard on Volume 2, 1946 - 1980 for release in 2022.      
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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, www.classicurbanharmony.net.

Four Tops Musical Headed to Broadway

Abdul “Duke” Fakir, the last original member of the Four Tops, has just written a book about The Four Tops to be published in May 2022.  The book is a love letter to Detroit where the premiere of the show “I’ll Be There” will be held and then hopefully move on to Broadway.  The Four Tops kept the same line-up for 44 years are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  They are known for “Baby, I Need Your Loving,” “"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch},” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “The Same Old Song,” plus many others. Of course, the Four Tops made a number of records before Motown.  Click "Lonely Summer" to hear one of my favorites.  Wonder if it will be in the musical.  I’m glad we live just an hour from New York City.  Now if only Broadway would open up again! - Pamela Horner  

Alfred J. Gaitwood dies at 91.  Founding member of the Smoothtones, Cuff Lincs, Rivals, many more.    

I'm very saddened to learn of the passing of Alfred J. Gaitwood on November 26, 2021, at the age of 91.  Most R&B fans won't recognize him by name but will know most of the groups he was connected to.  A couple years ago I gave a multimedia presentation on vocal groups from central New Jersey, and I talked about him.  No, Alfred was not from New Jersey but sang there while in the Service.  But let me go back to the beginning.  Alfred Gaitwood was born in Mobile, Alabama, on February 28, 1930.  After graduating high school, Alfred joined the United States Air Force and extensively traveled the world. While stationed in Tripoli, Libya, Alfred joined and became Director of the Garden City Glee Club.  The Glee Club toured bases across Europe, winning vocal contests among the post-war barracks circuit.  In 1953, Alfred was transferred to a reserve AF unit in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where he began singing with some Hill District vocalists whom Alfred named the Smoothtones,  The Smoothstones sang locally and recorded “Bring Back Your Love” for the JEM label.  By the mid-1950's, Alfred was transferred to McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California,  There he teamed up with other airmen in the Service Club and formed the Cuff Links.  The group would record "Guided Missiles" and other songs like "Too Late Now" (both of which Alfred wrote).  Alfred sang bass on "Guided Missiles."   Alfred Gaitwood was then transferred to McGuire AFB near Trenton, New Jersey.  There, with other servicemen, he formed the group the Glowtones who recorded "The Girl I Love" for Atlantic Records' subsidiary East West.  With probably a few personnel changes, the Glowtones became the Rivals.  The Rivals played clubs in New Jersey and Philadelphia where they were discovered Philly DJ Kae Williams.  Kae Williams recorded the Rivals singing Alfred's song, "I Must See You Again."  The song was recorded again a few years later by the Trenton group, the Vines but I don't know how the two groups were connected.  In 1961, Alfred met a group at McGuire AFB called the Logics and he gave them his song, "One Love."  The Logics recorded that for Everlast records.  By the early 1960's Alfred had left the Air Force and moved to Brooklyn.  There he started his own record label, Gait Records, where he recorded the Chevrons (whom he also sang with), Lee Ward, the Logics, the Profiles ("Right By Her Side") and I white group from Brooklyn that he re-named the Cuff Links and recorded "Only One Love" (same as the Logics' "One Love."  Click Rivals to hear "I Must See You Again."

Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical

We were fortunate to see one of Lloyd Price’s last performance at the State Theater in New Brunswick put on by our friend Harry G.  Price's performance was so uplifting.  Lloyd Price was a musical giant who passed away in May 2021.  He was discovered as a teen with his song “Lawdy Miss Claudy”.  The hits kept coming “Stagger Lee”, “Personality”, and “I’m Gonna Get Married.”  Lloyd was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.  At the time of his passing, Mr. Price was working on the screen play for a musical called "Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical."  We had corresponded with him briefly about it and had mentioned it in a past newsletter.  Now, the World Premiere will take place at the People’s Light Theatre in Malvern, PA March 2 - 27.  We already have our tickets.  For a link to get tickets click Peoples Light Theatre.  Lloyd Price’s story will finally be told on stage.  Don’t miss it. - Pamela Horner

Jimmy Smith, lead of the California groups, the Elements, Elgins, Daniels dies,

[This from out friend, Todd Baptista]  It seems that Jimmy Smith, lead of the West Coast group, the Elgins, passed away July 8, 2021.  [Jimmy Smith is on far right in the photo.]  Jimmy Smith was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, before relocating to Southern California.  There in 1959, he joined William Devase, Darryl Lewis, Kenny Sinclair and Carl Sinclair in a group called the Elements.  Jimmy Smith sang lead.  Signing with Titan Records, the Elements recorded "Lonely Hearts Club" and "My Illness," though only "Lonely Hearts Club" was released at that time.  Meanwhile, with Oscar McDonald replacing Carl Sinclair, the group changed their name to the Elgins and recorded "Uncle Sam’s Man" for the Flip label.  With personnel changes, the Elgins became the Daniels who recorded "I Left My Heart In The Big City" and "Finally."  We were thrilled to see the Elgins reunite for a UGHA show in 1997.  They have always been one of our favorite groups.  Click "My Illness" to watch a video of Jimmy Smith & the Elgins singing live in Pittsburgh in 1997.  Here are links to a couple more of their songs.  Click to listen to "Lonely Hearts Club," and "I Lost My Love In The Big City."

Temptations have a new lead singer in Tony Grant

The Temptations have just introduced a new lead singer.  He is 54-year-old North Carolina native, Tony Grant.  Grant had previously been  a late 1990s replacement for Marc Nelson in the vocal group AzYet.  He later performed as a singer and actor in a number of popular  stage-plays.  Check out his debut performance of “My Girl” at that Orlando show, below, and join us in wishing him a great run with the Temptations.  [Tony is in front in above photo.]

Ralph Tavares of the groups Tavares, Del Rios and Chubby & the Turnpikes, dies at 79.

Ralph Tavares of the musical group Tavares died December 8, 2021, at his home in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, two days before his 80th birthday.  His cause of death has not yet been released.  The Grammy-award winning soul group featured Ralph Tavares and his four other brothers, Antone Laurence "Chubby" Tavares, Perry Lee "Tiny" Tavares, Feliciano Vierra "Butch" Tavares Jr., and Arthur Paul "Pooch" Tavares.  In 1975, the brothers released their smash hit "It Only Takes a Minute."  A string of hits followed including “Heaven Must be Missing an Angel” and “More Than a Woman.”  Angelo Pompeo recently detailed the early music history of the Tavares brothers in Glen Fisher's Doo Wop Ramblings newsletters.  The Tavares brothers began singing as the Del Rios in 1962.  backing vocalist Linda Steele at local shows Providence, Rhode Island.  Discovered there by Juggy Murray, the group was signed to the Crackerjack label where they released their first record, "Come On, Let Me Try" b/w "I Don't Want to Be Loved."  Click Del Rios to hear "I Don't Want To Be Loved," a great ballad.  From there, the brothers became Chubby & the Turnpikes, recording for Capitol Records in 1968.  Here's one of my favorites, Chubby & the Turnpikes singing "I know The Inside Story.".  Tavares is due to be inducted into the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame in June 2022.  [Photo above is the group Tavares.  Ralph Tavares is in the center.]

Baylor University opens a new Black Gospel Music Archive and Listening Center 

This from our friend Bob Marovich of the Journal of Gospel Music.  Baylor University in Waco, Texas, has just opened a new Black Gospel Music Archive and Listening Center.  Since 2006, Baylor Libraries has tended to the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, scan, digitize, catalog and make accessible America’s fast-vanishing legacy of vinyl from gospel music’s “Golden Age.”  During that time, the BGMRP has grown to a point where the collection has more than 10,000 LPs along with 45's tapes, programs, posters and other gospel memorabilia.  Initially it was housed in a small space in Baylor's Library.  On November 12, 2021, Baylor unveiled the brand new, state-of-the-art Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center in Moody Memorial Library, which now houses the entirety of the BGRMP.  To watch a video showing the new facilities, click Black Gospel.

Rare Vocal Group Record Feature: "Hello Mr. New Year" by the Coolbreezers

Spotlighting a holiday record for this issue, we've picked "Hello Mr. New Year" by the Coolbreezers on the Bale label.  The flip side is a great ballad called "Let Christmas Ring" but as Christmas has passed, we'll concentrate on the uptempo New Years side.  The Coolbreezers are from Washington DC and consisted of Joe Reuth, William Primrose, Bob Armstrong, Richard Stewart, E. J. Williams and his brother, Sonny Williams.  The group started as a gospel group.  Bea Tibbitts, sister of the Williams brothers, started managing the group and in 1957 sent some demos of the group singing R&B to record companies in New York City.  The result was a record deal with ABC Paramount that lasted for only one record, "My Brother" b/w "You Know I Go For You."  When no further interest from ABC Paramount followed, Bea Tibbitts formed her own record label - Bale.  Two Coolbreezers releases followed, one of which is our featured record.  Click Coolbreezers to hear "Hello Mr. New Year,"

Kirk Lang's fascinating interview with Carl Fisher of the Jayhawks and Vibrations now online,  

We've mentioned before that Kirk Lang is posting some fascinating articles and interviews on his website, earlyrnb.com.  If you haven;t checked it out yet, you certainly should.  One of Kurk's latest posts is the audio track of his interview with Carl Fisher, founding member of the Jayhawks and Vibrations.  You can listen to it by clicking Carl Fisher.      

Dr. Lonnie Smith dies.  Jazz great who also sang with the Supremes on Mark label.

 Dr. Lonnie Smith, B-3 organ precisionist, died September 28, 2021, at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 79.  While Dr. Lonnie Smith's accomplishments as a musician are well known, we'd like to tell you about his singing.  Lonnie Smith was born July 3, 1942, in Lackawanna, New York, a suburb of Buffalo.  He originally sang in the church choir and during the doo-wop days of the 1950s he was singing with the Teen Kings who changed their name to the Supremes.  Future jazz great, Grover Washington Jr. was also in the group.  The lead was Barbara Sinclair (aka St. Clair). & Lonnie Smith. The group recorded "Nobody Can Love You" and “Snap, Crackle and Pop” for the Mark label. They earned quite a reputation and became the opening act for teen idol Fabian.  Smith really liked singing but got tired of waiting to go on stage after the band so he became a musician.  To hear the Supremes sing both sides of this great doo wop record, click Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Wanda Young of the Marvelettes dies at 78.

 Wanda LaFaye Young, also known as Wanda Rogers, member of and former lead of the Marvelettes, died December 15, 2021, at the age of 78.  Wanda joined the Marvelettes just before they signed with Motown Records.  Young sang co-lead on Marvelettes' singles "Locking Up My Heart" and "Too Many Fish in the Sea" and lead on "You're My Remedy," "I'll Keep Holding On," "Don't Mess with Bill," "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game," "When You're Young and in Love," and "My Baby Must Be a Magician."  In 1970 the Marvelettes disbanded and Wanda recorded a solo album with Smokey Robinson serving as her producer.

TNT North Jersey Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Party is back at a New Location

The TNT North Jersey Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Party is a monthly Sunday afternoon out with REAL 50s & 60s Vocal Group Harmony!  We've spun rare 45's there a few times and always had a great time.  Now at their new location, TNT is held monthly every second Sunday at the Reserve Association Of Elmwood Park, 25 Wenzel Street, Elmwood Park, New Jersey 07407.  Hosted by Tony O. and Tommy Harford, with help from Pam Nardella, the party starts at 2pm.  The next TNT will be January 9, 2022.  The organization will skip the February meeting and return in March.  Our thoughts and prayers are with TNT co-founder Tom Harford who is recovering from a heart attack.  We wish Tom a speedy recovery. - Charlie & Pam
 Well, that's it for this year.  We could go on writing but it's almost 2022.  Hope you found our newsletters informative and enjoyable.  Drop us an email at CUH@att.net with your comments.  Until next issue, stay well and again. Happy New Year! - Charlie & Pamela

 

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