Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #29.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox..

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #29

Welcome to our Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter (Issue #29), our first newsletter of 2017.  We're only one month into the year and a lot is happening.  Our big acappella concert at Monmouth University (Doo Wop Explosion 2) in West Long Branch, NJ, is almost here.  If you haven't got your tickets yet, what are you waiting for?  Six great groups in what promises to be the acappella doo wop event of the year!

We've already had one acappella show at Roxy & Dukes and we're looking forward to the February 12 concert there with Nostalgia Five and the Copians.  And on March 19 we have a special concert at Roxy & Dukes with Jimmy Keyes' Chords, Brooklyn Connection and Gaynel Hodge backed by Quiet Storm.  We're selling tickets to that one as space is limited.

Quote of the month:  "I'll never know what makes that rain to fall.  I'll never know what makes the grass so tall.  I only know there ain't no love at all, without a song." - The Ravens

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, consulting for music documentaries, 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 & Pam Horner - February 2, 2017.

Pookie Hudson's Spaniels, Vito & Salutations, Quiet Storm, Re-MemberThen, A Perfect Blend, the Copinas to star in our next giant ALL ACAPPELLA Doo Wop Explosion-2.  Tickets on sale now.

"Doo Wop Explosion-2: Another Night of Acappella Harmony".  The concert will take place at the Pollak Theatre on the campus of Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ.  It's scheduled for Saturday evening March 4, 2017.  Tickets are $25, $40 and $55, although the $55 seats are just about all sold.  Purchase tickets now before all the good seats are taken by calling 732-263-6889 or visiting .
We’ve again assembled some of the top doo wop vocal groups from NYC to Washington DC and asked them to perform without instruments or tracks - acappella - the way it all started back on the street corners. 
Pookie Hudson's Spaniels    "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight"  The group that backed lead singer Pookie Hudson for ten years before his passing in 2006 and continues the Spaniels' tradition of superb doo wop harmony.
Vito & the Salutations  "Unchained Melody"   Led for the past 15 years by Rick Anthony, and featuring Shelly Buchansky, who recorded "Unchained Melody" and most of their other hits.
Quiet Storm  Phenomenal Philadelphia-based acappella group returns to Monmouth University by popular demand.
Re-MemberThen  Outstanding central New Jersey acappella group that backed Larry Chance on last year's Doo Wop Explosion is back again with all new material. .
A Perfect Blend  These Philadelphia singers have been blending their soulful voices for more than 20 years.
The Copians,  The group assembled from all-star members of standout Philly acappella groups of decades gone by..
As always, this line up is subject to change as circumstances dictate.  What we do promise you is the best doo wop acappella concert of the year, bar none!  And, we're working on a possible added special surprise guest group.

Legendary music photographer Chuck Stewart dies.

We are saddened to learn of the passing of legendary photographer Chuck Stewart. He died January 20, at the age of 89. Chuck Stewart is primarily known for his brilliant photographs of jazz musicians, but he is well known among R&B vocal group fans for his photos of groups performing at the Apollo and elsewhere during the mid 1950's. Many appeared in the late Phil Groia's book, "They All Sang On The Corner". Classic Urban Harmony acquired a couple dozen Chuck Stewart prints of vocal groups, left to us by Phil Groia. We are proud to have a number of them framed and on our headquarters wall. We had initially contacted Mr. Stewart for permission to use them on our website, but royalty costs were prohibitive for a small company like ours. Still, they are among our most prized art works.. Check out the Phil Groia Wall at Classic urban Harmony Headquarters containing a number of Chuck Stewart framed photos. 

Can it be?  Vinyl Record Sales Surpass Digital Downloads in the UK.

Word out of the U.K. is that during the weeks leading up to Christmas, vinyl record sales surpassed digital downloads (mp3's and iTunes).  Vinyl records continue to grow in desirability, to the point they are now being sold in major retail stores like Barnes & Noble, Crate & Barrel, Urban Outfitters and even Whole Foods.  In the U.S., vinyl sales were up more than 50% last year to a 25 year high, while digital downloads were down.  CD's also continued to plummet.  Of course, most people now listen to their music through streaming services.  But when they want something to physically own and hold in their hands, they are turning to vinyl.  Of course, many people are now buying vinyl as a collectable.  And who can blame them?  Classic Urban Harmony Archives contains about 55,000+ vinyl records.  The sad thing is that a BBC survey in the U.K. found that 48% of those buying vinyl records now days, don't listen to them.  And 7% don't even own turntables.  [Photo above is the Classic Urban Harmony Archives: Vinyl Wing.]    

Meet Pookie Hudson's Spaniels

Those of you attending thus year's Doo Wop Explosion 2 at Monmouth University on will get a chance to see and hear some extraordinary acappella harmony.  Closing the concert will be Pookie Hudson's Spaniels.  All of the original Spaniels are now deceased but this group sang with original lead Pookie Hudson for the last ten years of his life.  While this group usually sings to instrumentation or tracks, we asked them if they would do an all acappella set for us on March 4.  "The group members are no strangers to acappella," explained spokesperson Bay Robinson.  "We were at first an acappella group and opened up for the Orioles in 1996.. Pookie Hudson was in the audience and when he heard us sing "Lovely Way To Spend An Evening," he asked is to become his new Spaniels.  We've also heard the group sing "Lovely Way To Spend An Evening" acappella and it is a show stopper!  They'll be singing it at Monmouth University along with a number of Spaniels tunes, ending with "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight".

Douglas Friedman's Mills Brothers book nominated for award.

We've just learned that Douglas Friedman's book, "Four Boys and a Guitar: The Story and Music of the Mills Brothers," has been nominated for the 2017 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.  If you're a group harmony fan and haven't gotten a copy, we highly recommend it.  Read our Review of the book on our website or purchase one from the Mills Brothers Book site.  Congrats, Doug!

Sylvester Potts of the Contours dies at 78.

We are saddened to report the January 2017 passing of Sylvester Potts, long time member of the Motown group, the Contours.  Sylvester joined the group after their first couple records on Motown, but was on all their big hits on the Gordy label, like "Do You Love Me," "Shake Sherry," "Can You Do It," "Just A Little Misunderstanding" and "First I Look At The Purse".

Anthony Vara, doo wop singer with Randy & the Rainbows dies at 68.

Anthony Vara, doo wop singer who spent the last 20 years with Randy & the Rainbows, died December 26, 2016, at the age of 68.  Born in the Bronx, Anthony began singing on the street corners as a teenager.  Over the years, he sang with a number of groups including the Destinaires and Ovations, before joining Randy & The Rainbows in the 1990's.

Work on Asbury Park Black Music Book continues.  Classic Urban Harmony Archives acquires earliest known photo of black Asbury Park musician. 

Among our many projects, we are hard at work on a book about African American music from Asbury Park NJ's West Side (1880 - 1980).  The book covers all genres of black music from Spirituals, Harlem Stride, Jazz, Black Vaudeville, Blues, Gospel, Musicals, Big Bands, Rhythm & Blues, Doo Wop and Soul music. In diligently doing our research, we have discovered and acquired what we believe is the earliest photograph of a black musician from Asbury Park.  The unidentified musician shown here was photographed ca. 1906 by the Sun Beam Studio, 1 Main Street, Asbury Park NJ.  .The only reference we could find to this studio was a 1906 newspaper clipping advertising for an outdoor photographer.  The studio listed the only requirement for the position as "must be sober". 

Visit our website.

For more about Classic Urban Harmony's activities, along with news, articles, photos and videos, please visit our website,

Celebrate Valentines weekend with Nostalgia 5 and the Copians - live doo wop acappella at Roxy & Dukes, Dunellen, NJ, Feb. 12

Classic Urban Harmony welcomes two great Philadelphia acappella doo wop groups to Roxy & Dukes, 745 Bound Brook Rd, Dunellen NJ, on Sunday evening, February 12, 2017.  Doors open at 7 PM, first set at 8.  Admission is $20 at the door but email us at for reservations.  Food and drink available.  Free parking.  Want to hear how great these two groups are?  Click Nostalgia 5 and then the Copians to watch YouTube videos of the last time they were at Roxy & Dukes.  Produced and emceed by Pam & Charlie Horner.  All acappella, all the time!

Legendary R&B vocalist, Gaynel Hodge, to sing acappella with Quiet Storm at Roxy & Dukes, March 19.  Also on show are Jimmy Keyes' Chords and Brooklyn Connection.

A once-in-a-lifetime concert is coming to Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen NJ on Sunday night, March 19, 2017. Along with our scheduled acappella groups, Jimmy Keyes’ Chords and Brooklyn Connection, we are honored to have Gaynel Hodge singing a set of his songs acappella backed by Quiet Storm. Gaynel is an icon in the group harmony field; as a singer, songwriter, musician and arranger. As a singer he is a founding member and last surviving member of the Platters. He was lead of the Hollywood Flames, Turks, Tangiers, Dots, Fellows, Atlantics and numerous other groups. He is the co-writer of “Earth Angel” (Penguins), “Goodnight My Love” (Jesse Belvin) and dozens of other songs. Gaynel resides in Amsterdam and performs regularly in Europe. He will only be in the United States a short time. The last time (we know of) that he performed in this area was in 1996 at UGHA.

In view of the expected demand to see Gaynel sing with Quiet Storm and the limited capacity of Roxy & Dukes, we have printed tickets. Only about 75 tickets will be sold to this event and more than half are gone already.  People are coming from Alabama, Maryland New York and Pennsylvania.  If you’d like tickets to this event, you must email us at and we’ll tell you where to send a check and self addressed stamped envelope. Tickets are $30 per person, as we need to pay 15 singers. Don’t delay as tickets are on a first come basis.
Ronald Mundy of the Marcels dies at 76.
Ronald "Bingo" Mundy, (upper left in photo), original member of the Marcels, died of pneumonia January 20, 2017, at the age of 76.  The Marcels started singing in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1959.  Mundy sang tenor for the group on their mega-hit, "Blue Moon" and all their early recordings.  "Blue Moon" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961.

Richie Ingui of the Soul Survivors passes.

Richie Ingui of the blue eyed soul group of the 1960's, the Soul Survivors, died January 13 of unspecified causes.  Richie began singing in NYC with his brother, Charlie, when they joined their friend Kenny Jeremiah's group, the Dedications.  The Dedications had previously recorded  "Why Don't You Write Me" for the Card label and had backed Scott English on "High On A Hill".   Richie and Charlie Ingui along with Kenny Jeremiah would later relocate to Philadelphia and form the Soul Survivors.  The group had a huge soul hit with "Expressway To Your Heart" in 1967, a song written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

Kenny Vance returns to the stage after 3 year hiatus.

Three years ago, popular doo wop artist, Kenny Vance, took a hiatus from singing due to health reasons.  This January he returned to the stage at a California doo wop concert, to sing one song, "My Vow To You".  To watch a video of that song, click Kenny Vance.  I [Charlie] recall being one of the first to play "Looking For A Echo" on the radio, back in 1970 on WKDU-FM.  I still have the Atlantic label 45 and the promotional sheet that was sent to th the radio station.  It's still not clear when or if, Kenny Vance will return to touring, but we wish him well.     
Chorner1 YouTube Channel approaching 220,000 views! 
If you've never been on it, Classic Urban Harmony's YouTube channel is worth checking out.  It's chorner1 and it contains, at last count, 262 live video songs by doo wop and R&B vocal groups.  Just about all the videos were taken by us at various Classic Urban Harmony concerts that we produced.  At the writing of this newsletter, there have been 217,132 views of videos on our YouTube channel.  Here are the top five videos by number of views.  Feel free to click on any or all of them here.  And if you like our YouTube Channel, please subscribe.  We have 184 regular subscribers who get a notice whenever we add a new one. 

1 - Choice - "Love Is Here" - 12,076 views

2 - Little Isidore & Inquisitors - "All Night Long" - 11,540 views

3 - Solitaires - "The Angels Sang" - 9,629 views

4 - Masqueraders - "(Call Me) The Travelin' Man" - 8,901 views

5 - Vic Donna Group - "Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely" - 8,423 views.

Mid Life Crisis and A Perfect Blend turn in spectacular performances at Roxy & Dukes.

We just had another spectacular acappella concert at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen NJ on January 22, 2017.  Two great Philly groups, A Perfect Blend and Mid Life Crisis.  This was a rare Sunday afternoon event.  After this one we return to Sunday evenings.
Mid Life Crisis, who usually sings to tracks, made their debut as an acappella group at Roxy & Dukes and they were most impressive!  They had the place rocking with “I Like It Like That,” changing the words at the end to "the name of the place is Roxy & Dukes.”  Mid Life Crisis was equally proficient at both ballads and up tempo songs.  The up tempo songs gave Bobby Burgese a chance to do some animated scat singing.
The second half of the concert was all A Perfect Blend.  And what can we say about this great acappella group that hasn’t been said before?  Every time we see them they blow us away with their soulful harmony.  They started their set with a powerful “Who’s Lovin’ You” and never let up.  We all left that night knowing we'd seen quite a show.
Check out our website review of that night, complete with photos and videos.

Streetlight Harmonies' documentary on Doo Wop Music nearing completion!  Watch trailer here.

Classic Urban Harmony has been assisting Streetlight Harmonies as consultants for this documentary on doo wop music for a couple years now.  We've supplied numerous photos, sheet music, album and label scans and helped arrange interviews with singers.  I (Charlie) was even interviewed on camera myself.  We are thrilled to hear it is in its final stages of production.  You can watch a trailer from the link Streetlight Harmonies.  It's directed by award winning director Brent Wilson and produced by Tim Headington, who also produced "Jersey Boys," "Argo," "Hugo," and countless other films..

National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington - hard to get tickets for.

As we enter Black History Month, Pam and I want to visit the newly opened National Museum of African American History of Culture in Washington DC.  As most of the music we study is derived from black history and culture, our need to visit the new museum is obvious.  We're hearing great things about the museum, but so far getting a pair of the free tickets has proven elusive.  Each month, tickets are doled out on line for three months in advance.  In otherwords, this morning (February 1 at 9 AM sharp, tickets were made available for the month of May only.  Unfortunately, the demand is so great the ticket website continually crashes.  Today we tried continuously for tickets for four hours on two separate computers.  We were not successful.  Oh, well.  We'll try for the June tickets on March 1.     

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.

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