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Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #25.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox..

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #25
 

Welcome to our Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter issue (#25).  It's been three months since or last newsletter so this is going to be a long one.  So much has happened and is about to happen, we hardly know where to start.  We've been so busy with our Classic Urban Harmony activities, we haven't had time to write about them.  For the past six weeks we've spent just about every day and most of the nights working as curators on a huge museum exhibition that just opened in the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum in Freehold NJ (see below).  Before that, we were in Europe where we got to see the great Barcelona (Spain) doo wop group, the Velvet Candles.  And now we're booking doo wop acappella groups into Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ.  Of course, this newsletter, as always includes the latest in group harmony events as well as, sadly, the all too common passings of a number of singers.  Be sure to scroll to the bottom, as the articles are in no special order.  Again, thanks for your continued support.

Quote of the month:  "There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.” – Duke Ellington.

Classic Urban Harmony LLC promotes the legacy of Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop, Soul and Gospel Vocal Group Harmony through multimedia presentations, historical research, interviews, magazine articles, museum displays, radio guest appearances, lectures, college courses, concert production and emceeing, vocal group bookings, our website, www.classicurbanharmony.net, and this free newsletter.  Here you'll find news of important events relevant to our music as well as updates to our website and summaries of our Classic Urban Harmony activities and projects.  To read more about and see more photos from the articles in this newsletter, check the What's New Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net.  We hope you'll enjoy this issue of the newsletter and again find it entertaining and informative.  Please continue passing the word on to others who might want to receive it.  They can sign up by sending their names and email addresses to CUH@att.net. - Charlie & Pam Horner - June 28, 2015.

Classic Urban Harmony new exhibition, "Spirituals to Soul: African American Musical Legacy in Monmouth, 1880 - 1980" opens a at Monmouth County Historical Association Museum.

For those who loved our exhibit of Asbury Park's West Side Music last January and February and for those who missed it, we now expanded to include African American music in Monmouth County NJ (where Asbury Park is) from 1880 to 1980.  What's more the exhibit has now become a full scale museum exhibition that will be viewable until November 7.  The exhibition,"Spirituals to Soul: African American Musical Legacy in Monmouth, 1880 - 1980" can be seen at the Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) Museum, 70 Court Street, Freehold NJ, Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 - 4 PM.  The MCHA went all out, hiring professional exhibit designer, Stan Cain, to work with us.  The exhibition now has enlarged (life size) wall photos, listening stations, digital frames and a great design to go along with our rare photos, records, posters, sheet music, musical instruments and uniforms.  The old sign from Asbury Park's legendary Turf Club has now been completely refurbished and re-lit after 40 years.  The exhibit now includes sections on Spirituals, Jazz, Gospel, Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop and Soul music as well as a section on music venues.  We again have original Orioles' bass singer and player Johnny Reed's bass and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame trophy as well as newly added uniform belonging to the late Bobby Thomas (Vibranaires).  We have more rare records and photos on display than ever before.  This is worth the trip from afar to visit.  To see many photos from the exhibit and opening reception, visit the link on the What's New Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net.  To read Jean Mikle's article in the Asbury Park Press about the exhibit click APP article
 

Ben E. King, R&B legend, dies at 76

Ben E. King, legendary R&B singer, known for hits like "There Goes My Baby" (with the Drifters) and "Stand By Me," died April 30, 2015, at the age of 76.  King (born Benjamin Earl Nelson), was born September 28. 1938 in Henderson, NC, but moved with his family to Harlem at the age of nine in 1947.  After singing with a doo wop group called the Four B's, King was asked to join the Five Crowns by the group's manager, Lover Patterson.  The Five Crowns recorded for Doc Pomus' R&B label before being asked to become the "new" Drifters, when Drifters manager George Treadwell fired the previous Drifters group over a money dispute.  King remained with the Drifters for two years, leading the Drifters on songs like "There Goes My Baby," "save The Last Dance For Me," "This Magic Moment" and "I Count The Tears".  Leaving the Drifters in May of 1960, Ben E. King went solo, scoring hits like "Spanish Harlem," "Stand By Me" and many others. In his combined career with and without the Drifters, King had five #1 hits.  King died of coronary problems at Hackensack (NJ) University Medical Center.

 

Pam & Charlie visit the Velvet Candles in Barcelona, Spain

On a recent trips to Europe, we (Pam & Charlie) stopped into one of our favorite cities, Barcelona, Spain, to catch a performance of the great doo wop group, the Velvet Candles.  The group was singing at the 99% Moto Bar, a swinging nightspot that caters to 1950's R&R music.  The Velvet Candles were fabulous, mixing standard doo wops like "Sh-Boom" and "Blue Moon" with more obscure tunes like "My Heart's Desire" (Blenders on Class) and "I'm in Love" (Velvet Angels).  To watch the Velvet Candles sing the Carnations' "Long Tall Girl" click Velvet Candles.  To read more about the Velvet Candles performance and to see many photos from the concert, click Velvet Candles.  We understand that the Candles will be touring with Tommy Hunt (Flamingos) in the near future and already are touring with Gaynell Hodge (Platters, Hollywood Flames, Turks).  We can't wait to get back to Europe to see them again.  Now if only we could get them over here to sing at Roxy & Dukes!
 

Blues Legend, B. B. King dies at 89.

Blues legend Riley "B. B" King died May 14, 2015, in Las Vegas of complications from diabetes.  He was at 89.  Born on a cotton plantation near Indianola, MS, in 1925, King was the son of sharecroppers.  King relocated to Memphis in 1947 where he began his career as a singer, guitarist and radio disc jockey on WDIA.  King's accomplishments are well known and have been reported extensively elsewhere.  Considered one of the most influential guitar players of our age, King was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.  To hear B. B. King do an interesting version of the Platters' "On My Word Of Honor" (RPM label) click B. B. King.

Lenny Cocco, lead singer of the Chimes, passes at 78.

Lenny Cocco,  lead singer for the Brooklyn doo wop the Chimes over their 50+ year history, died May 8.    He was 78.  Cocco formed the group that would become the Chimes in 1957.  In 1961, the Chimes’ recording of “Once In A While” reached #11 on the charts.  A follow up, “I’m In The Mood For Love,” reached #38.  While the Chimes broke up in 1964 but were reactivated by Lenny in the 1970’s to please the oldies revival crowd.  To watch Lenny & the Chimes performing a short time ago, click "Once In A While".
 

Latest Classic Urban Harmony multimedia presentation, "Doo Wop Around the World," a hit at the Franklin Township Library, Somerset NJ

On Wednesday June 10, we (Charlie & Pam) gave our first ever presentation of "Doo Wop Around the World" to a packed audience at the Franklin Township Library in Somerset, NJ.  We talked about and played music and video clips of R&B and Doo Wop vocal groups from around the world, including groups from Spain, France, The Netherlands, the U.K., Russia,The Czech Republic, South Africa, Japan, Jamaica and many other countries.  Pam displayed rare group photos recently acquired from the Phil Groia estate.  The response to this presentation was overwhelming and some thought is was our best talk ever.  We've had many requests to do a "part 2" after this presentation has run it's course.  Thanks, everyone for the support and kind words.

Soul singer, Percy Sledge dies

Soul singer Percy Sledge, known for the hit song “When A Man Loves A Woman,” died of liver cancer in Baton Rouge, LA on April 14, 2015.  He was 73.  Born in Leighton, AL in 1941, Sledge worked as an orderly in a hospital in the mid-1960’s while performing on weekends.  In 1965 he recorded “When A Man Loves a Woman” which went on to become a #1 hit.  Sledge followed it with other hits like “Warm And Tender Love,” “Take Time To Know Her” and “It Tears Me Up”.  He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
 

Still Around wins this year's acappella competition at the Nader Summer Doo Wop Concert
 

Over the past several years, we've been privileged to know all the groups that have won the annual acappella competition at the Richard Nader Summer Doo Wop concerts.  Quiet Storm, ReMemberThen (twice), the Whiptones - all fine vocal groups!  This year the winners were Still Around, the popular North Brunswick (NJ) group that is also featured monthly at the New Jersey Doo Wop Group Harmony Singers Club.  As a prize, Still Around opened the Prudential Center concert that also featured Mary Wilson of the Supremes, the Duprees, Mel carter, Sonny Turner of the Platters, Fred Parris & the Five Satins, Willie Winfield & the Harptones. Tommy Mara & the Crests and others.  Our congrats to Stu Pushkin and the guys!  [Photo courtesy of Stu Pushkin.]
 

Latest Echoes of the Past issue (#112) now out.  Contains our article on the Deep River Quartet

The latest issue (#112, Summer, 2015) issue of Echoes of the Past magazine is now out and it is another great one.  It contains our article on the great Dutch vocal group, the Deep River Quartet and our review of "Soul Harmony," the musical about Deborah Chessler & the Orioles.  Also in the magazine are Bob Bosco's article on the Exciting Invictas (Kingston label), George Frunzi's article on Brabara Mood (Glory label), Bob Belniak's interview with Jimmy Gallagher, Steve Propes article on Los Angeles R&R and R&B and more.  The magazine is available through subscription at only $16.99 for four issues.  Contact Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.

Larry Johnson, original member of the soul group, the Artistics dies

Larry Johnson, founding member and tenor for the great soul group, the Artistics has died.  While no further details on his passing are available, we believe Johnson passed away sometime around June 22.  The Artistics formed in high school in Chicago in 1958.  In 1963 they were signed to OKeh Records by producer Carl Davis.  After several records, the group moved to the Brunswick label where they scored big with their recording of "I'm Gonna Miss You" in 1966.  Larry Johnson was co-writer of the song.  Other hits like "Girl I Need You" and "Make My Life Over" followed.  To hear the Artistics on YouTube click "I'm Gonna Miss You". 

Artifacts From Our Vaults: Artistics record in purple vinyl

In tribute to Larry Johnson of the Artistics, who recently passed on, the artifact from our vaults this issue is an Artistics' 45 RPM record in purple vinyl.  The record is a 1964 promotional copy of OKeh 4-7193, "Get My Hands On Some Lovin'" by the group.  It has the same flip side.  We also have the Artistics' "This Heart Of Mine" in purple vinyl with a Ted Taylor flip side.  A number of OKeh promotional purple vinyl records on OKeh from the same time period are known.

Book Review:  Charlie Gracie autobiography a great read!

As music historians, we've always been fascinated by the early development of Rock & Roll in Philadelphia.  As youngsters we recall hearing "Butterfly" on the radio and were further intrigued when our archives acquired a copy of Charlie Gracie's first record on the Cadillac label.  Having met Charlie Gracie at the 2012 Philly Doo Wop Festival, we were thrilled to see he had written (with John A. Jackson) an autobiography, "Rock & Roll's Hidden Giant: The Story of Rock Pioneer Charlie Gracie".  This is an engrossing book that traces Gracie's life from humble beginnings in South Philadelphia to his rise to fame both in the United States and in Europe.  It covers the hard times, too, when the hits stopped coming.  Charlie Gracie's story is one of family values, work ethic and Charlie's perseverance through tough times.  The man is a true Rock & Roll legend and an inspiration to us all.  This is a great read for anyone interested in early R&R and the Philadelphia music scene.  For the music historians in many of us, there's also a fabulous recording discography at the end.  Read Pam Horner's detailed more review in the Bookshelf Section of www.classicurbanharmony.net then click on the link to purchase a copy.

Wally Lester, original tenor for the Skyliners (1941 - 2015)

Wally Lester, second tenor for one of doo wop's most popular vocal groups, the Skyliners, died of pancreatic cancer  April 21, 2015, at his home in Southport, NC.  He was 73.   Wally was 17 years old when the Pittsburgh based Skyliners recorded "Since I Don't Have You" on December 26, 1958.   By March of 1959, the record reached #12 on the Pop Charts and #3 on the R&B Charts.  After a string of hits, Lester left the Skyliners in 1963 but returned to them in 1970 for the oldies revival.  He continued with them until 1975.

Jack Carlson, original member of the Roomates dies

Jack Carlson, first tenor and falsetto for the doo wop vocal group, the Room(m)ates died June 12, 2015.  The Roomates formed at Sage Junior High in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York and recorded for the Valmor label.. The Roomates' first big recording was backing Cathy Jean on "Please Love Me Forever" in 1961.  The Roomates' background was dubbed in afterwards, so the Roomates didn't meet Cathy Jean until after the record came out.  As a result of the success, the Roomates were given a chance to record  "Glory Of Love" which did well for them.  Several other records followed.  The Roomates broke up in 1965.

New Disco-File now out as a CD-ROM.

For the music historians and hard core record collectors among our readers, Fernando L. Gonzalez's new (Fourth Edition) Disco-File is now out on CD-ROM only.  A discography is a listing of recordings including artist, song, record label, recording date, release date, etc.  Ferdie's Disco-File has been the definitive vocal group discography for most of us for many years.  As researchers and writers, we couldn't have done without it.  This latest edition takes the art of discographying to a new level.  We have no idea of how many entries are in this, but it's way beyond anything you can imagine.  Disco-File: The Discographical Catalog of American Race, Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll and Soul Vocal Harmony Groups documents 120 years of American recorded music from 1890 to 2009.  This new edition also includes numerous group photos, an alphabetical listing of 15,000 group members and the groups they sang in, plus unreleased recordings, bootlegs and much, much more.  The new CD-ROM is much more user friendly than the CD-ROM of the last edition.  This time around you can copy the book to your computer and use the search function.(Control/F).  We purchased the latest edition for $80 and it is well worth it.  For more info, write to Fernando Gonzalez at P.O. Box 5105, Winter Park, FL 32793-5105.

Encounters call it quits.  Great acappella group's final gig will be July 24.

One of the area's great acappella groups, the Encounters, will call it a career after their July 24 appearance opening for Stan Zizka & the Del Satins in East Meadows, NY.  Word is that two members, Roy "Hutch" Hutchings and Pete DeBenedetto will be joining the Tribunes.   "We had a wonderful “run” from 1963 to now," Pete Milazzo told us while confirming the Encounters' retirement.  "We made a lot of friends & fans and had a great time doing what we loved!  Our history and traditions earned us the name – 'Ambassadors Of A Cappella,' given to us by, Dennis Pettit, of Collectible Records.  It’s a title, we cherished and strived to live up to."  [Photo of Pam & Charlie with the Encounters, Somerset NJ, June 8, 2013.]
 
 

Past Issues of the CUH Newsletter Now viewable on line

Want to catch up on any past issues of this newsletter that you may have missed? Now you can. Just go to the top of this newsletter and click on "View it in your browser". Then you be able to click on "Past Issues" on the upper left of your screen.

Classic Urban Harmony and Roxy & Dukes team up to bring doo wop acappella concerts to central NJ

Beginning Sunday night, July 5, Classic Urban Harmony will begin booking acappella doo wop groups into Roxy & Dukes, the well known restaurant and night club in Dunellen, New Jersey.  The first concert will be on July 5 presenting that great acappella group from Philadelphia, Quiet Storm.  The following Sunday, will feature another great acappella group, Re-MemberThen.  If we can draw enough people, this will turn into a regular occurrence.  We'd love to have acappella doo wop groups singing live in central NJ every month or so.  Your support is very much needed.  Groups will sing two sets beginning at 8 PM, but doors will open at 7.  We (Charlie & Pam) will emcee.  Food and drink will be available for purchase and parking is free in the lot or on the street.  Admission at the door is just $10 per person, payable at the door.  To reserve a table, call 732-529-4464.  Please join us July 5 (for Quiet Storm) and July 12 (for Re-MemberThen).  Roxy & Dukes is at 745 Bound Brook Rd (Route 28)., Dunellen, NJ.  For more information visit the What's New Page of www.classicurbanharmony.net or Roxy & Dukes website.  To watch Quiet Storm singing the Orioles song click "It's Too Soon To Know".

"Soul Harmony," Musical about Deborah Chessler and Sonny Til & Orioles runs in Portland, OR, and Classic Urban Harmony is there for the opening.

"Soul Harmony," the musical about Deborah Chessler and Sonny Til & the Orioles opened at the Portland' 5 Brunish Theatre in Portland, OR, on April 17, 2015.  We dropped everything and flew to Portland for opening night and we're sure glad we did!  The musical was written by Stumptown Stages' Alan Berg and Janet Mouser.  The story line begins with Earlington “Sonny” Tillman in the army during WWII and his return to the segregated home city of Baltimore.  It then flashes to Deborah Chessler’s early life.  It covers all the important moments in the Orioles first six years, including rehearsing at the home of Deborah (Monica Rodrigues) and her mother Irene, the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts radio contest, the Apollo Theater appearances, traveling through the segregated South, and the car accident that took the life of Tommy Gaither.  No musical about Deborah Chessler and the Orioles could be complete without the great Orioles’ songs and this show has quite a few of them, mostly written by Deborah Chessler.  We get to hear the group sing “It’s Too Soon To Know,” “I Cross My Fingers,” “I Cover The Waterfront,” “Tell Me So,” “Exactly Like You,” “Barbara Lee,” “At Night,” “Forgive And Forget,” “Everything They Said Came True,” “Goodnight Irene,” “Pal Of Mine,” “I Need You Baby” and of course, “Crying In The Chapel”.  There are also plenty of original tunes in the show also.  The part of Sonny Til is played by De’Sean Dooley, who in reality is Sonny Til’s grandson.  With his talented voice and family resemblance, De’Sean had us picturing his grandfather on the stage.  All of this brings us to the vocal group itself that played the Orioles.  We never got to see the original Orioles perform and there are no known surviving videos of the group in their first six years.  However, I (Charlie), saw Sonny Til sing a number of times with later Orioles groups and have interviewed scores of singers who have studies his moves on stage.  The group in this musical De’Sean Dooley (Sonny Til), Terence Kelly (George Nelson), Salim Sanchez (Alex Sharp), Monte Howell (Johnny Reed) and Raphael Likes (Tommy Gaither) not only sings in tight harmony but uses the Orioles’ innovations like Alex Sharp’s obbligato floating tenor.  Choreography wise, the group revived the Orioles’ patented moves, like when George Nelson does the little twirl into the microphone to sing the songs bridges.  For our complete review and many photos, click Soul Harmony.  Though the musical has now closed, we're hoping it will run elsewhere in the country - NYC, maybe?
New Mills Brothers Musical Announced!
Speaking of musicals about vocal groups, we just received fabulous news from John Mills that a major musical is in the works about perhaps the greatest vocal group of all time, the Mills Brothers!  In February, 2016, at the famed El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, CA, will begin previews of a major musical review, highlighting more than 30 signature hit songs recorded by the iconic Mills Brothers during their matchless 60 year career.  "Up A Lazy River - The Mills Brothers Musical" ensures that the legendary music, songs and history will continue on stage well into the 21st century.  Follow the latest developments on John Mills' Facebook Page and we'll keep you updated on www.classicurbanharmony.net

 

John Dolphin Story, "Recorded In Hollywood, The Musical" playing to sold out audiences in California

The John Dolphin story, "Recorded In Hollywood: The Musical" is playing to sold out audiences in Hollywood and has just been extended through July 26 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA.  Reviews have been outstanding.  John Dolphin was one of the key figures in the rise of R&B music in the 1950's.  Dolphin was murdered in 1958.  John Dolphin's legendary record store in South Central Los Angeles quickly became a phenomenon in the 1950's, with crowds of teenagers surrounding the store 24/7 to hear the radio broadcasts of Huggie Boy and Hunter Handcock, live from the store's window.  Dolphin also recorded many of Los Angeles' most important 1950's vocal groups on his record labels like Recorded In Hollywood, Cash, Money, etc.  The musical is based on the book of the same name.  To read our review of the book see our website's Bookshelf Page.  We hope to get out to Los Angeles to see this musical before it closes.  So much to see, so little time.

Charlie & Pam Horner, guests on Alan David Stein's WCTC morning drive radio program

Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie & Pam made a rare radio guest appearance June 9, when they appeared on the WCTC (Somerset, NJ) morning drive program hosted that day by Alan David Stein.  Alan, who also hosts a Friday evening doo wop show on WMTR, invited the Horners on air to talk about their upcoming presentation about doo wop groups around the world.  A favorite topic of his, Alan has been periodically featuring international doo wop specials on his WMTR program for some time.  We had a great time.  Thanks Alan.

 

Exciting news about doo wop acappella group,  Quiet Storm
As the great Philly acappella group, Quiet Storm, prepares to join us at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen NJ on July 5, we are excited to hear that some former members have rejoined the group.  Now joining Kamau "Smitty" Akiba in Quiet Storm after a short absence are former members  James Phillips, Darrall Campbell, William Nix and Ron Silva.  The group appeared recently in Pennsylvania and sounded as great as ever.  Smitty reports to us that the group has two great doo wop acappella sets ready for Roxy & Dukes and a few extra songs prepared in case they get called back for encores.  (We know they will!).  Join us July 5 at 7 PM at Roxy & Dukes, 745 Bound Brook Rd., Dunellen, NJ.  Call 732-529-4464 after 6 PM for reservations.   

Gospel singer, Maggie Ingram passes at 85.

Sad to report that one of our favorite Gospel singers, Maggie Ingram passed away June 23. She was 85. We had the pleasure of meeting Maggie a couple years ago at Rev. Brenda Boone's Gospel program in Portsmouth VA. In addition to being a fabulous singer she was a wonderful person and an inspiration to all of us. Photo here is Maggie Ingram with Pam Horner  To listen to one of Maggie's first records, backed by the Six Trumpets male gospel group, click Maggie Ingram.
 

Sheps' "swansong" acappella CD due out shortly

We were all saddened a little while back when we heard that one of our favorite acappella groups, the Sheps, had called it quits.  So it was a pleasant surprise for us to hear that before disbanding last year, the Sheps had been working on a CD and it will be out shortly.  In fact, we (Pam & Charlie) were asked to write the liner notes for it!  We did, and we can say without bias that this is one of the finest acappella CD's to come out in years.  It contains a mix of great R&B classics along with a number of original tunes that sound like they are right out of the mid-1950's.  We'll keep you informed as to when it's coming out.  

Harold Battiste, musician, arranger, producer, dies at 83,

A giant in American music has passed away.  Harold Battiste, Jr., jazz musician, arranger, producer, record company owner and musical director, died June 19 at his home in New Orleans.  He was 83.  Harold's accomplishments are too numerous to list all in this newsletter, but we'll name a few.  He arranged Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" and "A Change Is Gonna Come".  He founded the A.F.O.  record label that produced Barbara George' "I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)" and "It Takes Time" by the Blenders.  He produced Joe Jones' "You Talk Too Much" and Lee Dorsey's "Ya Ya".  Harold was musical director for Sonny & Cher during their TV variety shows.  We've always been fascinated by Battiste's career and some time ago recommended his autobiography, "Unfinished Blues".  To read our review of the book, visit Our Bookshelf.  To hear one of our favorite group sounds produced by Battiste, click the Youtube of the Blenders "It Takes Time".

Save the Date:  Philly Doo Wop Festival returns September 13

If you enjoyed last year's Philly Doo Wop Festival at the FOP as much as we did, save the date September 13, 2015, as it's coming back.  There'll be 15 of the areas' top vocal groups plus record collectors vendors and a 5 hour indoor dance party. It's at the same place as last year.  More details coming shortly.

Philly Ringtones to perform at Franklin Township Library, Somerset NJ, July 29.

The Philly Ringtones, one of the newer doo wop vocal groups out of the Philadelphia area, will be giving a free concert at the Franklin Township Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873, at 7 PM Wednesday July 29.   It's part of the library's Summer Concert Series.  While the Ringtones are new as a vocal group, each individual member has considerable experience singing with other vocal groups.  The event is FREE to attend, but you must register in advance as these events at FTL almost always fill up quickly.  Register at www.franklintwp.org/ or by calling the Reference Desk during business hours at 732-873-8700 option 3.  For all Classic Urban Harmony events, visit the Events Calendar of www.classicurbanharmony.net.

From Paul Ressler's Archives - Mills Brothers Connie's Inn program, 1932

Each newsletter we try to feature a rare item from our friend Paul Ressler's extensive archives.  This issue, in honor of the coming Mills Brothers musical, we've selected a program from the Mills Brothers appearance at Connie's Inn.  It's from February 1932.  Connie's Inn was a Harlem NYC nightclub, that operated from 1923 to 1934.  It was run by the Immerman brothers who are said to have made a fortune bootlegging during Prohibition.  Connie's Inn featured major African American entertainers like Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller, but, like the Cotton Club, the audience was restricted to white only.  Still, it's a part of music history and we're pleased to present a photo of this program here.  Thanks, Paul, for another great item!

Our Website has now passed 115,000 visitors!

Last newsletter we announced that our website had passed 110,00 hits.  We've now passed 115,000 so thanks to the 5000 of you who visited our website even though we've been slow to update it the last couple months.  That will change as we return to our normal schedule.  Please keep checking our website for the latest group harmony news.  If you haven't been there in a while, click on www.classicurbanharmony.net.  We recommend our Events Calendar page where you'll see not only our upcoming presentations but group harmony concerts we support. - Charlie & Pam

Louis Johnson of the funk music duo,  Brothers Johnson  (1955 - 2015)

Louis Johnson, half of the funk music duo, Brothers Johnson, who had a string of hit records in the 1970's and 1980's, died May 21, 2015.  He was 60 years old.  The Brothers Johnson had #1 R&B Chart hits with "I'll Be Good To You," "Stomp" and "Strawberry Letter 23".  [We recall purchasing a 45 of "Strawberry Letter" with a sealed picture sleeve.  When opened, the sleeve smelled like strawberries!  Our copy seems to have lost its fragrance by now, however.]  Johnson also played bass on the Michael Jackson "Thriller" LP.    

Prayers needed for our friend, Bill Proctor

Just got the word that our good friend Bill Proctor has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.  Bill is one of the world's foremost experts on the Ink Spots and has many friend among our newsletter readers.  Please keep Bill and his wife, Sandy, in your thoughts and prayers.  [Photo here is Bill and Sandy at our wedding, 2005]

Solitaires' Freddy Barksdale (1935 - 2015)

Another great voice has been silenced   Freddy Barksdale, bass singers for the Solitaires, Dean Barlow's Crickets, New Yorkers 5, Chances and Ray Brewster's Cadillacs died Thursday, June 25, 2015, of complications of diabetes and chronic kidney disease.  He was 80 years old.  Photo here is Freddy Barksdale singing with the Solitaires at the 2008 Black Swan concert. [Photo by Pamela Horner]  [Thanks to Todd Baptista for letting us know].

More Details and Photos from the Above Articles on our Website

There's just so much we can fit into one newsletter issue, but many of the articles here are repeated on our website with additional details and photos. To read more visit the "What's New Page" of www.classicurbanharmony.net. And while there, don't forget to visit our other pages, like Our Events Calendar Page, Our Bookshelf, or our section on Articles By Us

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