Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #40  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox.. 

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #40

Welcome to Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter #40.  Our FREE email newsletter doesn't follow any regular schedule but we do try to publish every 4 to 6 weeks or so.  As always, there's a lot here, not in any particular order.  So please keep reading until the end.

Quote of the month: "Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without." - Confucius

Classic Urban H
armony 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,, 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  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 - Charlie & Pamela Horner - August 24, 2019.

Tickets Now On Sale to Classic Urban Harmony's Huge Acappella Reunion!  Five UGHA Vocal Groups Reunited.

Tickets are now on sale for our big Friday Oct 4, Acappella Reunion: Memories Of UGHA concert, and they won't last long.  Half of the reserved seats are already taken.  Reserved seats are in the front of the center section and are $50 each while they last.  General admission seats are $40 each.  
For tickets make out a check for the appropriate amount to "Classic Urban Harmony LLC" and mail it along with a self addressed stamped envelope to Charlie & Pam Horner, 210 Sherwood Ct, Somerset, NJ 08873.  For more details email us at
Classic Urban Harmony is bringing together, for one evening only, five groups who were a vital part of Ronnie I’s United in Group Harmony Association back in the day. Like many of you, Pam and I have fond memories of UGHA, a time when acappella groups ruled the
day. Ar 7 PM, Friday, October 4, 2019, we will relive those days when we bring to the stage of the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre, the Cliftonaires, the Sheps, Choice, Patty & the Street-Tones/Mixed Company and the Grand Central Echoes.  On October 4, all will be singing acappella.  As a special bonus, John Kuse, lead of the Excellents and original member of Grand Central Echoes will be rejoining GCE one last time to sing "Coney Island Baby" acappella.  As this event is a few months out, the line-up and group personnel is always subject to change but this is where we stand right now.  Accept no substitutes. This is the real thing and it will be historic.

Our "Chorner1" YouTube Channel passes One Half Million Views!
Wow! Classic Urban Harmony's YouTube channel has just passed a half million views!  That's 500,000 .  Our channel is called  chorner1 and it contains 317 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 almost all are acappella.  To take a look click chorner1 YouTubes.  But we must warn you, if you'd like to view them all, you'll need almost 16 hours.  You might want to subscribe and follow to be notified when we post new videos.  Over 690 people now subscribe already!  Thank you to all who follow us on YouTube.  It takes a lot of time and effort to edit and post these and we want people to enjoy them.  By the way, our most popular video is Choice singing the Futures' "Love Is Here" with almost 30,000 views.  Watch by clicking Choice.  Choice will be on our Oct 4 Acappella Reunion.

"Soul Harmony" Original Cast Recording 2-CD is released!  National distribution on October 11.

Subscribers to this newsletter recall that last June, Pam and I had the phenomenal experience of appearing in the Broadway-style musical, "Soul Harmony: The Story of Deborah Chessler, Sonny Til and the Orioles".  While those who saw it are clamoring to see it return to the stage, we now have the next best thing.  The long awaited original cast recording double-CD, complete with songs and key dialog, has finally been released!  "Soul Harmony,” the musical, is the moving and emotional yet triumphant true story of the vocal group and their songwriter manager who invented Rhythm & Blues.  It is difficult to imagine what popular music would be like today, had it not been for the groundbreaking songs of Deborah Chessler, Sonny Til and the Orioles.  This remarkable musical takes the audience from the streets of Baltimore in 1948 to the stage of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, 47 years later.  Along the way, there’s adversity, tragedy and triumph.  This original cast recording, “Soul Harmony: R&B Is Born” does an amazing job of recreating the musical for the listener through dialog and song.  Taken from a live performance, the sound quality is superb and the songs are breathtaking recreations of a vintage songbook, with a modern twist.  22 cuts in all.  You'll hear the superb voice of De'Sean Dooley  acting and singing his grandfather Sonny Til's songs backed by an amazing (Orioles) vocal group that was assembled in just a couple weeks.  You'd think they'd been singing together all their lives!  Monica Rodrigues is outstanding as Deborah Chessler.  Plus other cast members whose names will be familiar to you - Joel Katz, Ali Hackett, Deborah Charleston, and many more.  Kudos to creators and producers Alan Berg and Michael Harrison for making this all happen!  To purchase a copy of the double-CD, contact Alan Berg at or wait until it hits the stores in October. Highly recommended.

CD Review: The Best Of Joel katz & the Dymensions

We just got our copy of the new “Best of Joel Katz & the Dymensions" CD with 21 amazing cuts by Joel Katz backed by Doo Wop legends Johnny Maestro, Eugene Pitt, Bobby Jay, and on one cut Larry Chance.  Recorded in 1991 and 2008, the earlier cuts were co-produced Joel and Johnny Maestro and were the first digitally recorded doo wop recordings. Incuded are classic R&B and Doo Wop songs like "Please Remember My Heart," "Darling Little Angel" and "Little Did I Dream" as well as standards like "Earth Angel" and "Sixteen candles".  This is a nice package with booklet and photos, professionally done on OK! Good Records.  Sound quality is outstanding.  Liner notes were written by Charlie Horner.  The CD will soon be available on or you can contact Joel at  Joel will also have copies for sale on Oct 4 at the Acappella Reunion Concert.  Often called the "Voice of Jersey Doo Wop," Joel Katz has been singing doo wop music with a multitude of groups since the 1960's.  Some of his groups include Conchords, Connotations, Autumns, Platinums, Wizards, Twilight, and Cliftonaires.  He also owns and operates his own recording Studio called Broadway South, at which he has arranged. engineered, and produced literally thousands of commercial recordings.  Joel's music career is so intriguing we are finishing up the co-writing and publishing his autobiography.  We've actually been working on it for a couple years now and it should be available in the Fall on the Classic Urban Harmony Press.  In the meantime, this CD is a real winner.  Highly recommended.  

Beer with a Decca Records label?  We'll drink to that!

Decca Records Beer!  Does life get any better than having a frosty cold one while listening to the Ink Spots, Mills Brothers, Blenders, Mello-tones and Singing Wanderers?  Unfortunately, this Decca Supreme Session Ale is not for sale.  It was brewed for a Decca Records special event at the British Library earlier this year.  Asked our local beer distributer if he could stock some Decca Beer, but he looked at us as if we were crazy.  Guess he's only into small independent labels.  

Calvin Henderson of Tyrone & Nuports dies.

Don't have many details, but just got word that Calvin Henderson has recently passed away.  Calvin was the last of the South Jersey doo wop group, Tyrone & the Nuports, who records "Feel Like A Million".  The group had a tragic history, including a career ending car accident that killed one member and the murder of lead Tyrone Johnson some years later on a Camden Street.  You can read the entire story on our website by clicking Tyrone & the Nuports.  Calvin and Tyrone were guests on my radio program, back in the day.  To here their biggest hit, click "Feel Like A Million".  Or listen to this favorite of mine, "The Combination"

"Soul Train: The Musical" On Track for Broadway!

I’m always on the lookout for new Broadway shows, especially those involving R&B music.  This one may be pretty far out, timewise, but it certainly caught my attention.  “Soul Train: The Musical” is expected to open on Broadway in 2021, celebrating 50 years since the inception of the long running TV show that was the inspiration for this production. The Soul Train TV show ran from 1970-2006.  DJ, Don Cornelius, created this program to feature music, dance, and culture to black Americans in 1970.  At that time, it was the only black show on TV.  Guests who appeared in episodes of the TV show included James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Barry White and countless others.  The musical tells the personal story of Cornelius and features 20 songs.  The music was R & B, soul, and hip hop that was brought into the cultural mainstream.  The executive producer is Ahmir Thompson, aka Questlove, aka Lee Andrews'son and drummer for the Roots Band.  His Roots Band is featured on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  Tony Cornelius, who is Don Cornelius’ son, is also an executive producer. Guests included in episodes of the TV show included James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Barry White and others.  2021 isn't that far away.  We’re ready! - Pamela Horner

WRDV FM on Channel 39 News

WRDV-FM in Hatboro, PA, is a radio station that we've been privileged to be guests on, a number of times.  We've been on Jim Bakay’s Saturday morning “Sound of the City” program many times and even appeared on his Tuesday night gospel show, “The Gospel Train”.  We brought the Deep River Quartet from the Netherlands in for an interview and live performance.  We also interviewed two members of Plainfield, NJ's Del Larks. (Ron Taylor and Sammy Campbell) there.  Needless to say we are big supporters of WRDV and appreciate their dedication to group harmony music.   Well, next year will be the stations 40th anniversary.  They operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  This is a non-profit all volunteer station with 50 volunteers.  WRDV broadcasts at 89.3 FM and also on the internet world wide at  They have classes for people who would like to become DJ’s.  TV channel 39 (PBS) recently interviewed Ted Taylor (music director) and Todd Allen (general manager) among others in a video posted on YouTube.  To watch it, click WRDV Interview.  Saturday is heavy on Doo Wop.  If that’s your cup of tea, give them a listen.  BTW, Jim Bakay has a concert coming up with Quiet Storm and the Vic Donna Group in South Philadelphia, Oct. 19.  Visit for info. 

Latest Issue (# 129) of Echoes of the Past Magazine, now out!

The latest issue (# 129) of Echoes of the Past magazine is now out.  Another great issue with our article on the 1956 Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers concert and ensuing riot that caused Asbury Park to ban Rock & Roll.  Plus, Bob Bosco's article on Brenda & the Tabulations, George Frunzi's article about John Kuse & the Excelents and fascinating "Who Knew" piece by Frank Gengaro and Nay Nassar's article on lesser known group records.  Echoes is the only print magazine out there that's dedicated to 1950's & 1960's R&B and Doo Wop vocal group music.  And it's only $ 17.99 per year for four issues.  Contact Bob Belniak at for a subscription.    

Walter Crump of the Heartbeats passes.

Sorry to hear of the passing of Walter Crump of the Heartbeats.  Walter died June 29, 2019 at the age of 77.  Walter was the brother of Albert Crump, original founding member of the Heartbeats.  Walter joined the Heartbeats when they reorganized in the early 2000's and became their lead singer.

More lost luminaries.

Write obituaries is as depressing for us as reading them is for you.  Sadly we've lost even more singers than the ones written about so far.  To keep this newsletter to a reasonable length, we'll just list the others who have passed since our last issue.  This is not meant as a slight to any of the following as they are all important to us and to our music.
  • Theresa Lindsey, soul singer, at age 75
  • Louis Taviany of the Contenders
  • Al Griffin, Asbury Park musician, died July 30

Visit our website.

If you haven't visited our website in awhile, you're in for a treat.  The Articles By Us page lists our many articles from Echoes of the Past, which you can click on and read.  We've just added the last two articles - "Joel Katz, Part 4" and the "1979 Concert that Brought Acappella Back to Philadelphia".  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,

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. 

Classic Urban Harmony visits the Grammy Museum in Newark

In preparation for our involvement in designing the future East Coast Music Hall Of Fame Museum and the Asbury Park Museum, Pam and I have been systematically visiting museums, especially museums related tp music. Recently, we visited the Grammy Museum in Newark NJ. This is a wonderfully designed museum with emphasis on visitor interaction, which is currently the trend in museums. The Grammy Museum is full of interactive touch screens, listening booths, mini-theaters and even small stages where visitors can try their hand at singing or playing instruments. One large room is dedicated to Woodstock's 50th anniversary with a large collection of framed photos from the event's official photographer, Henry Diltz. We assume this is the room for rotating exhibits. An enjoyable visit.

Until next time ...

East Coast Music Hall Of Fame already working hard on 2020 Awards Gala.

The East Coast Music Hall Of Fame's June 5 Gala was a tremendous success from every perspective.  Right now we are listening carefully to what our members and honorees are saying.  We know a lot of things went incredibly well, but that won't stop us from asking, "What can we do better?"  Your Boards of Directors is already working hard on planning the 2020 Awards Gala.  We want it to be even bigger and better than this year's one.  To join the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame and keep up on our events visit

Tony Russo passes. Major loss to the Philadelphia vocal harmony community. 

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend, Tony Russo.  Tony sang on numerous acappella concerts for us, and while we knew his health was failing, his loss was still devastating to us and all who knew him.  Born in 1948, Tony grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs of Bucks County.  The earliest we know of him singing, was with a well known vocal group from that area called the Variations.  In the 1980's Tony sang and toured with the Duprees.  He also sang with Street Corner 5 and the Destinations.  Over the past decade, Tony has sung with Frank Lafaro's groups, JT's Emeralds, Frankie & the Fashions and just recently Tony & the Traveleers.  Tony has sung at Classic Urban Harmony concerts at the Franklin Township Library, Doo Wop Explosion 1 at Monmouth University, the Uptown Knauer PAC in West Chester and several times at Roxy & Dukes.  Tony was one of the nicest guys in this music business and was always fun to be around.  We'll miss you, Tony. - Charlie & Pam  To watch a great video of Tony Russo & the Traveleers click "Wedding Bells"

Florida Community Honors Persuasions' Singer with Street Designation 

Last issue we reported the passing of legendary acappella singer and former lead of the Persuasions, Jerry Lawson.  Now comes word that Apopka, Florida, has named a street designation of Old Apopka Road as “Jerry Lawson Way”.  The street sign is across the street from where Jerry’s late mother lived.  Jerry Lawson was in the music business for 40 years.  He was a founder, arranger, and lead singer of the acappella group, the Persuasions.  The group had more than two dozen acappella albums.  During the early years, they formed in Brooklyn and sang on street corners.  On June 5, 2019, the Persuasions were voted into the East Coast Music Hall Of Fame as Legend Acappella Group.  Lawson has earned the designation “the King of Acappella.”  He also fronted another acappella group called “Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town.”  We miss Jerry’s smooth baritone voice. - Pamela Horner  

Vinyl Record Watch introduced!

Is there any better indication that vinyl records are back, than people walking around with vinyl record watches?  OK, so it doesn't actually play any songs, but it's still very cool!  Can't imagine any watch shaped like an mp3 file, can you?  These watches come with leather wrist bands and are only $24.95 with free shipping from American Music Star!

Pride & Joy: The Marvin Gaye Musical

Several years ago, we went to a play about Marvin Gaye in Philadelphia.  I believe it was in 2013.  We met Marvin's sister, Zeole Gaye, who wrote the play and wanted to set the record straight about her brother.  The play was called “My Brother Marvin”.  None of Marvin’s music was used in that play.  Now there’s a musical called “Pride & Joy: The Marvin Gaye Musical”.  It’s ran in Baltimore, Houston, Washington D C, Atlanta and more recently in Detroit.  This musical has 28 of Marvin Gaye's songs. The musical revolves around Marvin and his relationship with Anna Gordy (Berry Gordy’s sister, songwriter, and talent developer).  The musical tells of the stormy relationship and their love for each other. Also represented in the musical are Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy, Jackie Wilson, and The Marvelettes.  The musical follows Gaye from his early years at Motown where he sang love ballads to later on, when he sang protest songs, much to the displeasure of Berry Gordy.  Reviewers say this musical needs a few changes.  At present, this is a touring production.  Hopefully it will journey to Broadway as a perfected musical.  Bring it on! - Pamela Horner 
To watch a one-minute preview of the musical - click Marvin Gaye.

Vinyl Record Table, anyone?

OK, so maybe the vinyl watch isn't for you.  But what about a vinyl coffee table?  This stylish single pedestal design is available in chrome effect, satin black or gloss white powder coat paint finish.  The surface is toughened glass top with a printed design.  It doesn't actually have grooves but who has a turntable with a tone arm big enough to play it anyhow?  There is a catch.  It's sold in Great Britain, so I don't know what the shipping would cost.  It sells for £325 to £350 ($395 - $425) depending on the size.  Available from It's A Mod Thing.

Nu Eara with Brass Illusion Band, A superb Act 

We were at McLoone's Restaurant in Asbury Park on August 21, 2019, to see our friends from the soul group Nu Eara, singing along with Brass Illusions band. Nu Eara (Alphonzo Covington. Ben Dinkins and Thomas Payne) were superb, singing songs by the Temps, O'Jays, Blue Notes, McFadden & Whitehead and others.  Alphonzo and Ben had previously recorded with the Equations for All Platinum Records back in 1969 and 70. The Equations are featured in our forthcoming book, "Springwood Ave Harmony: The Unique Musical Heritage of Asbury Park's West Side, 1880 - 1980)". Brass illusion was outstanding, performing everything from Aretha Franklin and Wilson Picket to Blood Sweat & Tears.  To see a clip from Nu Eara & Brass Illusion's show, click "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now".  And if you're not familiar with the amazing 1969 sweet soul group, the Equations, click "Oh You Sweet Darling".  You won't be sorry!.

Val Shively's R&B Record s named "Best Record Store in Pennsylvania"  

I (Charlie) started buying records from Val Shively back in the late 1960's, even before he had a formal record store.  He was selling records from a catwalk at Norman Cooper's One Stop, where he worked.  I got a late start in record collecting.  Being a few years younger, I had a lot to learn from the more seasoned collectors, not to mention a lot of R&B records to catch up on.  I'd already missed out on the best "record finds" and had no money to speak of.  I was working my way through college by pumping gas on weekends.  I'd skip lunch to have a few extra dollars to spend at Val's.  Val certainly didn't need my meager business but I guess he must have seen some potential in me.  Anyway, I credit Val Shively (and the Time Capsule Show) for shaping my musical tastes at that stage of my life.  That's why I was happy to see Vinyl Me, Please's on-line magazine, name Val Shively's R&B Records as one of the "50 Best Record Stores" and the "Best Record Store In Pennsylvania".  Nice article by Jay Balfour that you can read by clicking The Magazine.   If you haven't been to Val's website, you'll find there a fascinating bio, a ton of great photos and of course a huge listing of R&B group harmony record to buy.  Click

George Pounds, bass singer of the Cherokees passes.

Another passing that is hard for me to take.  George Pounds, bass of the Cherokees who recorded "Rainbow Of Love" for the Grand label out of Philadelphia in 1954, passed away on August 5, 2019.  Back in the 1990's the Cherokees reunited and were guests on my WXPN radio program. I did a number of concerts with them, singing acappella.  We became friends.  I even brought them to UGHA a couple times.  Click "Please Tell Me So" to watch the Cherokees sing at UGHA's collectors show in 1996.  Our sincere condolences to George's son, Tony Anderson and his family.

Are you receiving the Doo Wop Ramblings newsletter?

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!  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.

Artifacts from our Classic Urban Harmony Archive Vaults

From deep in the Classic Urban Harmony Vaults comes an unusual artifact.  It's a carved piece of soft wood about four and a half inches long.  It spells out the word Harptones!  We have no idea of the history of this object.  Maybe one of our subscribers can tell us.  We acquired this when we purchased Big Mike Caldarulo's photo collection.  We'll have to ask Willie Winfield about it.  Willie turns 90 today (see article below)..  He will be at our upcoming Acappella Reunion Concert, October 4.  

Jackie Wilson to be honored with Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce just announced that Jackie Wilson will be getting a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame on September 4, at 11:30 AM, PDT.  Jackie will be dedicated in the category of Recording at 7057 Hollywood Boulevard.   Wilson was born in Detroit in 1934 and began singing with the Ever-Ready Gospel Singers before making a solo secular record.  In 1953, he joined Billy Ward’s Dominoes, replacing Clyde McPhatter.  Going solo again in 1957, Jackie Wilson would go on to become one of the most recognized R&B stars of his era.  Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy will be on hand to unveil the star.  

Gold Plated Phonograph Records sent to Outer Space 
Just in case there is intelligent life out there somewhere, back in 1977, a pair of gold plated phonograph records were shot into outer space on the Voyager space probes.  Should any alien come across our Voyagers, they can play the records and know that we humans are here.  That is of course, as long as the aliens are intelligent enough not to have thrown out their record players in favor of CD's, mp3's or streaming music.  While much of the long playing records are filled with classical music, there are also pop songs like Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode".  The story of the records is detailed in Jonathan Scott's new book, "The Vinyl Frontier".  We have not read the book, so we can't yet review it. But it's available on Amazon.

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.

Newly Acquired Artifact for our CUH Vaults

A recent addition to our Classic Urban Harmony Archives was provided recently by our friend KJ O' Doherty.  We have a large collection of doo wop & R&B pins and this one is a welcomed addition.  It's a "Ronnie I Remembered: UGHA Forever" pin.  Very appropriate as our Oct 4 acappella concert is all about memories of the United in Group Harmony Association.  Thanks, KJ

Happy 90th Birthday, Willie Winfield!

Willie Winfield, legendary lead singer of the Harptones, turns 90 today!  God bless you Willie.  Happy Birthday!  Born in Surrey VA, Willie Winfield came to NYC and started singing with two of his brothers and Dicey Galloway in a group called the Winfield brothers.  Willie would eventually connect with William Dempsey & Raoul Cita and the Harptones were born.  If you count from 1954 to 2019, that’s 65 years of singing.  During that time, Willy and the Harptones have made close to 85 recordings with Willie singing lead on most of them.  when Alan Freed came East & decided to hold a Moondog Coronation Ball at the Newark Armory in May 1954, he had a star studded line up – but he only wanted two vocal groups – the Clovers and the Harptones.  Young Frankie Valle sang “Memories Of You” when he was with the 4 Lovers.  And Lenny Welch told me he recorded his biggest hit, “Since I Fell For You” because he was a big fan of Willie Winfield and all the groups used to sing Harptones songs when they started out.  Willie Winfiled is the heart and soul of our music and all of our lives are so much richer because of him.

Classic Urban Harmony at Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies 

Continuing research for our forthcoming book "Springwood Avenue Harmony: The Unique Musical Heritage of Asbury Park's West Side (1880 - 1980)".we recently visited the Rutgers University's Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, NJ. Fabulous library. After five years of research on this subject, there's still things to learn. So many jazz greats used Asbury Park as a stepping stone to successful careers.
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