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Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #37  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #37

Welcome to Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter #37.  Our FREE email newsletter doesn't follow any regular schedule but we do try to publish every 4 to 6 weeks or so.  After the glowing responses we've had to the last issue, we decided to get this one out early.  As always, there's a lot here, not in any particular order.  So please keep reading until the end.

Quote of the month: "Doo-wop is special music to me because it's so straightforward and melody-driven and captures emotions." - Bruno Mars

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 - April 29, 2019.

June 22, Doo Wop Explosion in West Chester PA, 5 acappella groups - TICKETS NOW ON SALE!

Tickets are now on sale for Classic Urban Harmony's first big muti-group acappella concert of the year.  DOO WOP EXPLOSION IV, will take place at our new location on Saturday night, June 22. We’ll be moving the DWE concert series to the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, 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!  Plus, we're working on some more surprises.  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

Stylistics story on Decades TV 

Decades TV Network celebrates the history of past decades.  They've been putting together short ten minute video clips, most of which have nothing to do with music.  But one recently caught our eyes.  It's an interview with Stylistics founding member, Airrion Love talking about the history of the great Philly soul harmony group, the Stylistics.  The clip is now on YouTube and we think you'll find it interesting.  Take a look by clicking Stylistics.

Asbury Park documentary's premiere sells out at Music & Film Fest.  Opens worldwide May 22 for one night!

What a time we had at the 2019 Asbury Park Music & Film Festival.  First we saw the screening of the outstanding new documentary about Clarence Clemons, "Who Do I Think I Am".  Then the next day we attended the pre-screening party for the new documentary film, ASBURY PARK: RIOT, REDEMPTION, ROCK ‘N ROLL that Classic Urban Harmony assisted with. The film stars Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny Lyons and Steven Van Zandt and a host of others.  I [Charlie] have a few on-screen appearances in the documentary and I also served as a historical consultant on it.  Classic Urban Harmony Archives provided photos used in the film.  The screening of the film was completely sold out.  Above is a photo of us at the pre-screening party with director Thomas Jones.  ASBURY PARK: RIOT, REDEMPTION, ROCK ‘N ROLL will run on one night only, May 22, in 1400 theaters worldwide.  To find out which theater in your area will air the film, visit Asbury Park Movie and enter your zip code.

Earl Lewis' book, "How D'Ya like Me Now: The Story of Earl Lewis & the Channels" now available on Amazon.com 

The long awaited book by Earl Lewis, "How D'Ya Like Me Now: The Story of Earl Lewis & the Channels," is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.  On the first week of its release, it reached the #2 Best Selling Book in Soul Music on Amazon. It made #22 in R&B Biographies and unbelievably, #28 best seller among all Music Books!  Of course, now that it's been out a few weeks it's dropped some in the rankings but sales are still strong and the reviews are excellent.  Congrats to Earl Lewis who is now an established author. Earl's book is the first edited and published by our Classic Urban Harmony Press but it won't be the last.  To purchase Earl Lewis' book on Amazon, click "How D'Ya Like Me Now" The Story of Earl Lewis & the Channels.  It's only $25.

[Harptones' Willie Winfield Retirement Gala!

After singing for the past 65 years, Willie Winfield, legendary lead singer of the harptones is retiring.  Furthermore, Willie's friends and fans are cordially invited to his retirement gala on Saturday, June 1, 2019 from 6 - 11 PM, at the lavish Woodhaven Manor (Ballroom A), 9501 Jamaica Ave, Woodhaven NY 11421.  $70 per person includes a cocktail hour with open bar, five course meal, entertainment and dancing.  Contrary to earlier reports, this is not a black tie affair, so fellows, no need for tuxedos.  I (Charlie) will have the honor of speaking at the event, talking about Willie's contributions to our music.  [Pam and I will also be presenting Willie with a Lifetime Achievement award at the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Gala in Wildwood, four days later.]  Checks or money orders should be made out to "Life Is But A Dream Prod. Inc.," and mailed to C. Winfield, 178 Bond St, Apt. 3E, Brooklyn NY 11217.  Our thanks to Willie for so many years of music.    

Classic Urban Harmony's Pamela & Charlie Horner nominated for two different categories in East Coast Music Hall of Fame voting.

We have been nominated in two different categories for the East Coast Music Hall of Fame voting: "Best Music Maker Historian / Advocate" and "Best Music Maker Newsletter / Website".  We must say, we are up against some other formattable nominees, all of whom are well qualified.  Still, we hope we will win. It's always nice to be recognized. Ambassador Members, if you haven't voted yet, please do so.  If you're not an Ambassador Member, it's easy to join for a small donation of $25 or more to the ECMHOF from their website, www.ECMHOF.org.  Voting ends just hours from now.  April 30 is the last day to vote so please join and vote now!

Tickets on sale for the first East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Awards Gala in Wildwood NJ, June 5, 2019.
 

The first annual East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Awards Gala and Ceremony celebrating our Lifetime Achievement Awards and Legend Awards will be held at the beautiful Wildwood Convention Center in a gala induction ceremony that will take place on Wednesday June 5, 2019.  During the event, sixteen Lifetime Achievements and fourteen "Voice Of The People" Legend Awards will be presented.  Those selected to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards include Frankie Avalon, Jimmy Beaumont, Larry Chance, Chubby Checker, Lou Christie, Joey Dee, Connie Francis, Charlie Gracie, Ronnie "I" Italiano, Johnny Maestro, Richard Nader, Vito Picone, Eugene Pitt, Bobby Rydell, Jay Siegel and Willie Winfield.  The Legend Award inductees will be determined by vote of the Ambassador Members.  Scheduled to perform that evening are the Brooklyn Bridge, the Duprees, Jay Siegel's Tokens, Lou Christie, Charlie Gracie, Larry Chance, the Skyliners, Vito Picone & the Elegants, Joey Dee, Stan Zizka, Kid Kyle, Bobby Wilson, Teresa McClean, Johnny Gale, Emil Stucchio, Vinnie Medugno, Sal Valentinetti, the Mark Baron Orchestra and more.  [Line up subject to change].  Master of Ceremonies will be Mike Marino.  Co-hosts will be Emil Stucchio Vinnie Medugno and Alan David Stein.  We (Charlie and Pam Horner) will be in charge of the pre-concert "VIP Meet & Greet".  Tickets range in price from $40 to $150, with the $150 VIP tickets including pre-ceremony "Meet & Greet" reception.  TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!  For tickets go to the Ticketmaster link or call 1-800-745-3000.

Resurgence in vinyl records accents a shortage of skilled repairers of record cutting equipment.

The sudden regrowth of popularity of vinyl records has left the music industry somewhat unprepared to meet demand.  As new vinyl pressing plants come on line, not only is there a critical shortage of record manufacturing equipment, but of skilled operators and equipment repair specialists.  An article in thevinylfactory.com illustrates the shortfall in just one area - the repair of the lathes and cutter heads that cut the masters. While vinyl is on its way back as a respected recording medium, it's still got a long way to go!      

Vocal Group Profile:  The Rivals on the Apollo label

Last newsletter, we featured a profile on a currently active doo wop group, the Velvet Candles.  This issue we decided to profile a classic group from years past.  That group is the Rivals that recorded for the Apollo label in 1950. In doing so, we'd like to dispel any misinformation that's out there, and add new information to what is already known about the group.
The Rivals were a vocal group out of Camden, NJ.  They began singing in 1946 as the International Clavichords.  The group consisted
of Johnny Smith (lead), Chandler Tribble (first tenor), Booker T. Weeks (second tenor), and Ira Mumford (bass).  Johnny Smith had been singing for a long time, with earlier quartets like the Alphabetical Four and Golden Arrows.  The Clavichords first found fame locally, when they teamed up with WCAM-AM radio personality, Ben Devone.  Devone was a baritone singer who put together a variety show package that performed at military bases, nursing homes and charity events.  Hosting a regular radio program on the Camden station, he often had entertainers from his variety troupe perform on air on his show.  We've located an ad for the Clavichords performing with Devone at a live on-air broadcast from the Greenwood Inn (still there) in Pennsauken NJ on March 24, 1949.  A year later, on March 27, 1950, the group changed their name to the Rivals and competed on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts program, simulcast on both radio and TV.  We don't know if they won or not, but their appearance was enough to secure them a contract with Apollo Records.   Within weeks,, the label released "Don't Say You're Sorry Again" b/w "Rival Blues".  [You can hear each song by clicking on the title.]  It would be the group's only record.  Rivals bass singer, Ira Mumford, was the brother of future Larks and Dominos' lead, Gene Mumford.  Ira and Gene has grown up singing together in Durham, NC.  When Gene went to prison for a crime he didn't commit, Ira had moved to New Jersey.  Eventually Gene was released from prison and traveled north to NYC with the Selah Jubilee Singers (soon to become the Larks).  While singing with the Larks, Gene would sometimes come down to Camden and sing with the Rivals.  However, he was not on the record.  The Rivals would eventually relocate to Portland, OR.  Johnny Smith went on to form an Ink Spots group.  [BTW, contrary to reported elsewhere, the late 1950's Alfred Gatewood group of Rivals of "I Must See You Again" fame, have no connection to these Rivals.]

   

Bill Isles, founding member of the Mascots, O'Jays dies at 78.

The Los Angeles Times has reported the passing of William Carvan Isles II in March 2019, at the age of 78.  Isles died of cancer.  Bill Isles was a founding member of the O'Jays.  Born January 4, 1941 in McAtenville, NC, he moved with his family to Canton, OH, when he was two.  While attending McKinley High School in 1958, he and his friends Eddie LeVert, Bobby Massey, William Powell and Walter Williams formed the vocal group, the Mascots.  The Mascots recorded "The Story Of My Heart" and "Lonely Rain" for King Records in 1960.  The group changed its name to the O'Jays in 1961 and recorded "Miracles" for the Apollo label in 1961 before moving on to Imperial Records.  Bill Isles was with the group when they recorded "Crack Up Laughing," "Lonely Drifter," and "Lipstick Traces" for Imperial.  Shortly after that Bill retired from singing but worked as the O'Jays tour manager during the early 1970's when they had hits like "Back Stabbers" and "Love Train".  Click to listen to the Mascots singing "Lonely Rain".

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.  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.

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. 

Chicago soul group, the Notations, are back, singing doo wop

Back in 2009, when we were in Chicago for SoulTripUSA, we were fortunate to meet Clifford Curry of the soul harmony group, the Notations.  We'd long been fans of the Notations for songs like "I'm Still Here" (Twinight label).  Well, we are thrilled to hear that Clifford Curry has assembled a new Notations group with Eric Bryant and Eric Rapier.  We were even more thrilled to find the group singing a nice harmony rendition of "Daddy's Home".  You can watch a video of Notations singing it by clicking "Daddy's Home".  Oh, and if you're not familiar with the Notations' 1970 recording here's a link to "I'm Still Here".

Quiet Storm returns to Roxy & Dukes, May 19.

After a three month break between shows at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen NJ, acappella harmony returns in specular form as the phenomenal vocal group, Quiet Storm, takes the stage on Sunday May 19, 2019.  Email us at CUH@att.net now to make reservations as Quiet Storm concerts always fill up fast.  Doors open at 7 PM and the first of two sets is at 8.  As usual, admission is only $20 at the door.  Parking is free and food and drink are available for purchase.  Don't miss this opportunity to catch one of the areas finest vocal groups, up front and personal.  Roxy & Dukes is at 745 Bound Brook Rd (Route 28), Dunellen NJ.  Dunellen is a quiet little town in Central Jersey, about half way between NYC and Philly.  Not familiar with Quiet Storm?  Watch the following Quiet Storm YouTube.

Marvin Gaye stamp issued, April 2.

The United States Postal Service issued its Marvin Gaye commemorative stamp on April 2, 2019, the day that would have been the late soul singer's 80th birthday.  Yes, we bought our sheet (above), which will soon end up framed and on the wall at Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters.  A first-day-of-issue ceremony was held at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, attended by Motown Records icons Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson and Mary Wilson.  Members of Marvin's family were also there. The stamp design features a portrait of Gaye with the stamp pane designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve.  The reverse side features another portrait of Gaye.  Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp pane with original art by Kadir Nelson.  Marvin Gaye, of course once recorded with the Marquees and Moonglows early in his career.  Here's Marvin leading the Moonglows on "Mama Loochie"

City honors vocal groups with their own reserved parking spots!

While parking in a public parking lot near us last week, we couldn't help but notice a curious sign.  While there were many signs reserving parking spots for local businesses, one in particular seemed to designate a spot for a "Harmony Group".  We thought this was very decent of the city, a definite sign of respect for vocal groups.  Of course, there's always the chance that the sign refers to the nearby medical office of the same name.

Joe Terry of Danny & the Juniors passes at 78.

It is with shock and sadness that we report the April 15, 2019, passing of Joe Terry, original member of Danny & the Juniors.  We had just seen Joe perform on Harry G's doo wop concert last month at New Brunswick NJ's State Theatre.  The following is excerpted from an obit written by our friend Bob Bosco, who was working on a book with Joe Terry and Frank Maffei.
Joe Terranova, also known as Joe Terry, back in 1956, joined Dave White, Frank Maffei, and lead Danny Rapp to form a singing group in SW Philadelphia known as the Juvenairs.  Singing a tune written by local singer/songwriter John Madara called “Do the Bop,” which was recorded locally by Artie Singer on his Singular label, the record saw no action until it was handed to Bandstand Veejay Dick Clark.   Clark wisely switched the title and some of the lyrics to “At the Hop,” and convinced employer ABC Paramount, to purchase the record for national distribution.  It emerged as an anthem for a generation of teenagers, framing the 1950’s  rock & roll era. 
Within a month it was #1 on all the charts (even the Country charts!), remaining for over six months.  In the meantime, Dave White (who coincidentally passed away in Las Vegas less than a month ago) inked a timely follow-up, “Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay,” which gave the youngsters a second highly charted record in less than six months.  Danny Rapp committed suicide in Nevada in mid 1982.  Dave White become part of the songwriting team of Madara & White, scoring dozens of chart records for many artists.  Joe Terry, along with Frank Maffei and Frank’s brother, former Leisure Lad Bobby Maffei, toured the world appearing before millions of fans.  At the time of his death, Joe and Frank were working on a book with local writer Bob Bosco on their exploits, called naturally, “At the Hop.” [Photo from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives.]

 

Sal Mondrone passes.  Extraordinary singer, group harmony historian. 
We were greatly saddened to hear of the passing April 21, of one of the most respected advocates of R&B group harmony, Sal Mondrone.  We knew Sal, not only as an extraordinary singer with the Sparrows Quartette, but as one of upper echelon of R&B group record collectors and as one of the most knowledgeable authorities on our music around.  We have all the Sparrows records in our archives.  Enjoyed seeing them at UGHA back in the day and were thrilled to see the group in 2008 when they reunited for the Black Swan Concert [see photo above].  Sal was always happy to share his knowledge, whether on radio or in person.  I remember the time I was working on an article for Echoes of the Past magazine about R&B group records that probably did not exist.  I left a message on Sal's phone asking about the existence of "The Lovers" by the Jets (Rainbow label) on  a 45.  I'd been told that Sal had seen (and passed up) a copy on red vinyl in his younger collecting days.  Well, my phone rang and when I answered it was Sal singing "The Lovers" to me over the phone!  Sounded pretty good!  BTW, here's one of my favorite videos of the Sparrows singing "Only The Angels Know" at UGHA in 1982.  I was there.  We'll miss you Sal.
 

The story behind the Swallows / Guides record on Guyden explained.

Back in the day I used to spin a record on my radio program called "You Must Try" along with its flip side, "How Long Must A Fool Go On".  I used to say that the record came out as by the Swallows and also as by the Guides, both on the Guyden label.  Recently, our friend, Jim Santa Barbara posted this explanation on FaceBook.
"In 1958 the Slades recorded 'You Cheated,' written by group member Don Burch, for the independent Domino label.  George Motola decided to have a studio group dubbed the Shields cover the song for his Tender label. Motola then leased his version to the bigger Dot label and had the bigger hit. The song, 'You Must Try,' was also written by Don Burch of the Slades and first recorded by the Slades.  Motola had the same id
ea and had a new group called the Swallows record the song. This time he went directly to Guyden records. The DJ's received white promo copy's listing the artists as the "Swallows". When another group called The Swallows threatened legal action the stock copies were issued again as by the Guides."
Jim posted that while he had a white promo copy by the Swallows and a stock copy by the Guides, he'd never seen a white promo by the Guides or a stock copy by the Swallows.  We produced a white promo by the Guides from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives.  We all speculate that stock copies by the Swallows don't exist.  Anyone out there have one?  Click to listen to "
You Must Try" and "How Long Must A Fool Go On".
Photo of the Swallows record above from Jim Santa Barbara's collection.  Photo of the Guides record from ours.

 

Film Review: "Amazing Grace" The Documentary 

Amazing Grace, the documentary starring Aretha Franklin is in theaters now.  After many legal battles and the death of Aretha Franklin, it can finally be viewed.  Ms. Franklin didn’t want it released and there were many technical problems to be solved.  If you’re a fan of Aretha Franklin and enjoy gospel music, this film will be a revelation to you.  At the height of her career in 1972, Aretha Franklin wanted to return to her roots and record a gospel album in front of a live audience.  The filming took place over two nights in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles.  If you’ve never attended a service in a black church, this is your chance to experience the fervor and emotions that go along with it.  Rev. James Cleveland accompanied Ms, Franklin and the Southern California Community Choir who backed Aretha was energetic and expressive.  Aretha’s singing was nothing short of an electrifying and high energy performance.  The Rev. C. L. Franklin, Aretha’s father, was in the audience, as were gospel great, Clara Ward, and rock star Mick Jager.  The double album recorded over those two nights in 1972, went on to become the biggest selling live gospel album of all time.  But the video took 46 years to see the light of day.  Click "Amazing Grace" to watch a trailer.  Check movie listings for a theatre near you. - Pamela Horner

Aretha Franklin gets "RESPECT" with a posthumous Pulitzer Prize

The Queen of Soul has been given a posthumous Pulitzer Prize (Special Citation honor).  Aretha is the first woman to earn this award since it was initiated in 1930.  It was given to her for her “indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades”.  We remember that Aretha was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.  She has 18 Grammy Awards.  The Pulitzer Award recognizes Aretha’s entrance into an exclusive club that recognizes the impact of her songs, voice, and music have had on the world.  - Pamela Horner

Book review: "The Hudson Sound," Abraham J. Santiago, Harbinger Press (2019).

Abe Santiago’s latest book, “The Hudson Sound,” picks up where his last book, “Acappella, Living In The Shadows” leaves off.  The “Hudson Sound” is the name Abe has coined for the genre of music that includes the street corner acappella sounds of the 1960’s.  The name comes from the hotbed of vocal group harmony that originated on both sides of the Hudson River (New York and New Jersey) as well as the acappella corridor from Boston to Philadelphia.  One of the driving points of the book is that this genre of acappella singing has never gotten the respect and recognition it deserves and he is spot on in that observation.  The author begins with insight into how this music evolved, mostly from non-African American teenagers who grew up obsessed with 1950’s R&B vocal Harmony.  Santiago goes on to define seven general characteristics of the Hudson Sound.  He talks about the early 60 record labels that specialized in acappella recordings while the major labels ignored them.  Book is 128 pages (soft cover) with many photos of acappella groups and record labels.  A nice read for those interested in acappella.  Available through Amazon at $16.95 by clicking The  Hudson Sound.

The O'Jays are back for one last Album!

The O’Jay’s, One of the the longest running soul harmony groups have not released a studio recording since 2010.  Now they are back with what they describe is the final album, called “The Last Word.”  In interviews the group explained that they want to end their career on a high note and not be out there performing past their prime.  They said they don’t want to be singing as “the Old jays”.  To close the album “The Last Word” the O’Jays returned to their roots with a remake of one of their early hits, “I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today).”  It’s a reworked version sung in the same key as the original, as a sweet, soul harmony balled.  The O’Jays new album was released April 26. - Pamela Horner
 

Another Great Newsletter you should be receiving!

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!  It's Doo Wop Ramblings, written and edited by our good friend, Glen Fisher in Florida.  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. 
 

Visit Our YouTube Channel, "chorner1"

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 474,000 views of videos on our YouTube channel.  To take a look click chorner1 YouTubes.  You might want to subscribe to be notified when we post new videos.  630 people now subscribe.
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