Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter. Issue #26.  Bringing the world of Doo Wop, R&B, Soul and Gospel Harmony to your Inbox..

Classic Urban Harmony
Newsletter #26

Welcome to our Classic Urban Harmony Newsletter issue (#26).  It's been an exciting summer for us here.  Hundreds of people have visited our "Spirituals to Soul" exhibit at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum in Freehold, NJ.  You have until November 7 to take a look.  We've just produced six great doo wop acappella concerts - by Quiet Storm, Re-MemberThen, Choice and 5/3 Woodland at Roxy & Duke's Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ; the Philly Ringtones at the Franklin Township Library; and Quiet Storm at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum in Freehold.  More concerts are scheduled for Roxy & Dukes including Original Mixed Company (Oct 18) and a special one time only reunion and CD release party for the Sheps (November 8).  Tickets are on sale now for  our huge acappella concert at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, on February 20.  We'll have six of the areas finest acappella groups including Joe Cleary & the Balladeers, Choice, the Philly Ringtones, Quiet Storm, Re-MemberThen and the Tee-Tones.  Our special guest will be De'Sean Dooley, grandson of Sonny Til, singing a couple of Orioles songs backed by Quiet Storm.  This summer saw Terry Johnson's Original Flamingos, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Persuasions and the Crystals appear on the nationwide TV show, The View.  The latest reports show vinyl records making a comeback.  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: " When I sing, trouble can sit right on my shoulder and I don't even notice." -- Sarah Vaughan

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,, 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 - October 10, 2015.

Huge Doo Wop Acappella Concert scheduled for Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, February 20.  Stars six area acappella groups plus Sonny Til's grandson, De'Sean Dooley.  Tickets on sale now.

Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ, will present a huge "Doo Wop Explosion: A Night of Acappella Harmony" on the evening of February 20, 2016 (Snow date is March 13).  The concert will be produced and emceed by Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie & Pam Horner and will star Joe Cleary & the Balladeers, Choice, the Philly Ringtones, Quiet Storm, Re-MemberThen and the Tee-Tones.  And our special guest singer will be De'Sean Dooley, star of the musical "Soul Harmony" and grandson of the late Orioles' lead, Sonny Til.  De'Sean has an incredible voice and will sing a couple Orioles tunes acappella, backed by Quiet Storm.  Tickets are $25, $35 and $45.  The $45 dollar Gold Circle tickets also include a "Meet & Greet" pre-concert reception with the singers.  Tickets are on sale now and Gold Circle seats are going fast.  At last count there were less than 30 Gold Circle seats left.  To purchase tickets, visit or call 732-263-6889.

Harold Leiter of Balladeers, Royal Blue, Norristones, dies.  Respected acappella singer and arranger.

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Harold Leiter, respected singer and arranger for numerous Philadelphia area acappella groups, including the Balladeers, Royal Blue and the Norristones.  Harold died of cancer on August 31, 2015.  He was 68.  We will miss Harold's passion and dedication to vocal harmony.  The photo above shows Harold Leiter (right) along with Frank Lafaro and Bill Hyde at our 5th Wedding Anniversary party, 2005.


One Time Only! Reunion and CD Release party for the great acappella group, the Sheps, planned for Sunday night, November 8.

Ask anyone in NY, NJ or PA about great acappella groups of the past 25 years and they'll mention the Sheps.  The Sheps were a fixture at UGHA and other area venues for more than 20 years, singing their unique recreations of early and mid-1950's obscurities and backing legendary lead singers when they came to UGHA.  Well the Sheps broke up two years ago.  With Tommy Lockhart moving to GA and singing with the Legendary Teenagers and Tommie Shider singing with the Harptones, the Sheps had no intention of ever getting together on stage again.  When Classic Urban Harmony's Pam & Charlie Horner heard that the Sheps would release one last CD, recorded before the group split up, they had an idea.  Why not get the Sheps to sing together one last time when the CD was released.  That idea is now about to happen.  On Sunday evening, November 8, 2015, the five members of the Sheps will again sing for their fans one last time.  This historic reunion will take place at Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, 745 Bound Brook Rd., Dunellen NJ.  Doors will open at 7 PM and at 8 PM, the Sheps will take the stage for the first of two sets.  Between sets, the Sheps CD will be on sale to attendees.  We understand only 125 copies have been pressed and 100 will be available at Roxy & Dukes that night.  We expect the club to be packed that night so call 732-529-4464 after 6 PM or email us at and we'll turn in your reservations.  Admission is $15 at the door for this special occasion.  Great food and drink available.  Parking is free in the attached lot or on the street.  If you love acappella harmony, don't miss this once in a lifetime event.  [To hear clips of the Sheps singing at Pam & Charlie's 5th Wedding Anniversary in 2005, click Sheps.]

Latest Echoes of the Past issue (#113) now out.  Contains our article on the acappella group, the Sheps, much more.

The latest issue (#113) issue of Echoes of the Past magazine is now out and it is another great one.  It contains our article on the great acappella group, the Sheps.. The article covers the Sheps 20+ year history as well as the fascinating music careers of the individual members.  Also in the magazine are Bob Bosco's article on the Hi Tones on the Eon label, George Frunzi's conversations with Lou Silvani, 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  Anyone interested in 1950's R&B and Doo Wop vocal groups should definitely subscribe.  This is the only magazine of its kind out there.  If you're still not convinced, we'll have a limited number of copies of the latest issue available at the Sheps Reunion on November 8.

Touch of Classic Soul ceases publication, effective October 1, 2015.

It is with sadness that we report that one of our favorite publications, A Touch of Classic Soul has ceased publication.  Marc Taylor, the paper's sole writer and publisher for the past 9 years, announced on FaceBook on October ! that A Touch of Soul would be no more.  Marc gave no reason for closing down the publication, but one can surmise the support for it was just not what it should have been.  For nine years, A Touch of Classic Soul was the premier publication on the history of not only classic soul artists but each issue also contained at least one article on a fifties R&B group.  We found Marc's articles to be exquisitely researched, comprehensive, completely accurate and well written.  As researchers and writers ourselves, we know that this is often a thankless job.  To Marc Taylor, we can only say, "Thank you. Marc, for nine years of dedicated research and tireless effort.  Every issue of A Touch of Classic Soul was a treasured addition to our Classic Urban Harmony Archives.  Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors." - Charlie & Pam   

Latest Classic Urban Harmony multimedia presentation, "Doo Wop Around the World," given to a full house at the Westfield (NJ) Memorial Library, August 26. 

On Wednesday August 26, we (Charlie & Pam) gave our second presentation of "Doo Wop Around the World" at Westfield (NJ) Memorial Library.  The room was filled with close to a hundred people and everyone had a good time.  We covered R&B and Doo Wop vocal groups from around the world, including groups from Thailand, China, Japan, Spain, France, The Netherlands, the U.K., Russia,The Czech Republic, South Africa, Jamaica and many other countries.  Pam again displayed rare group photos recently acquired from the Phil Groia estate..  Thanks Westfield for the great response.

Music historian, Bill Proctor passes.

Sad to report that our good friend, Bill Proctor passed away July 9, 2015, of pancreatic cancer.  He was 75.  Bill was one of the world's experts on the pioneer vocal group, the Ink Spots, and his detailed research on early vocal harmony groups taught us much.  Our sincere condolences to Bill's wife Sandy and family.  We miss you, Bill. - Charlie & Pam

2015 Philly Doo Wop Festival at the F.O.P. a huge success again this year.

Well over a thousand people flocked to Northeast Philadelphia on September 13, 2015, for the annual Philly Doo Wop Festival   Twelve local doo wop groups sang on an outdoor stage, while inside, deejays spun music for dancing.  Groups performing included. Cornerstone, Nite Lite, the Tributes, Still Around, the Emeralds, the Philly Ringtones, Relatives By Appointment, Original Mixed Company, 5/3 Woodland, Jr. & the Four Seniors, the Belaires and Quiet Storm.  Emcees for the event included Steve Kurtz, King Arthur, Dennis Bergey, Mike Carr, Jimmy "Cannonball" Parsons, Lou Costello and Classic Urban Harmony's own Charlie Horner.  The weather was fine except for one brief downpour that occurred during Nite Lite's performance.  Still those who braved the shower with umbrellas, were rewarded by a fine Nite Lite set.  Actually all the groups did a phenomenal job.  Our sincere thanks to all the folks who worked so hard to make this year's Festival a success.  Proceeds for the event went to the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Survivors Fund.  [Photo above of Pam & Charlie with Original Mixed Company, a group Charlie introduced on stage.]

Donald Haywoode of the Velours and soul group the Fantastics dies.

Donald Haywoode, founding member and second tenor of the great 1950's R&B vocal group, the Velours, and later the soul group the Fantastics who found great success in the U.K., died August 9, 2015, at the age of 78 after a long illness.  The Velours started singing in high school in Brooklyn.  After being discovered at an Apollo Theatre's amateur night, they signed with Onyx Records in 1956.  The Velours were known for a string of outstanding records including "My Love Come Back," "Romeo," "Can I Come Over Tonight," "This Could Be The Night," "Remember" and "Can I Walk You Home".  With some personnel changes, the Velours sang until 1967.  When the group broke up, Donald Haywoode and several other members of the Velours formed the soul harmony group, the Fantastics who relocated to England and became quite popular with songs like "Something Old Something New".  To hear the Velours singing live at a more recent PBS Reunion Show, click "Can I Come Over Tonight".  Donald is the tall one on the stage.  [Velours photo above: Donald Haywoode is the third from the left in the top row.]

Jersey City's "Bad Boys of Acappella", Choice, are masterful in Classic Urban Harmony's 3rd concert at Roxy & Dukes, Saturday afternoon, August 8.

What a performance by the R&B acappella group, Choice, at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen NJ on August 8.  Choice did a fabulous job, mixing doo wop and soul harmony.  In the audience were many former UGHA members who recall seeing Choice at UGHA many times.  Choice has been singing now for 34 years!   Choice opened their first set with "I Like It Like That" (Spaniels) and then followed with "Stormy Weather" (Spaniels), "I Wish It Would Rain" (Temptations), "Little Girl Of Mine" (Cleftones) and "Old MacDonald" (Five Keys).  Some other highlights of the first set were "That's Your Mistake" (Otis Williams & Charms) and an incredible version of "A Little Too Long" (Wanderers).  The group's second set was every bit as good as the first.  By request, they gave us a taste of their 1987 single, "Mr. Rock & Roll".  They mixed doo wop classics like "At My Front Door" (El Dorados), "The Wanderer" (Dion), with gospel "Touch The Hem Of His Garment" (Soul Stirrers) and Motown, "The Girl's Alright With Me" (Temptations).  For us, the showstopper was their rendition of "Love Is Here" (Futures).  To see many photos of the concert click Choice at Roxy & Dukes.  To watch a video of their incredible "Love Is Hear" click Choice sings Futures.  We posted this video to YouTube several weeks ago and it's gotten 2100 hits already!  Our sincere thanks to E-Z, Malik, Rahim, Tony and Ira.  We were so impressed we immediately added them to our Monmouth University show on February 20.

James Marshall of the Philly soul group, the Informers dies.

Sad to report that James Harold Marshall, second tenor for the North Philadelphia soul vocal group, the Informers (also known as the Fabulous Performers) who recorded for the J-Rude and Blackjack labels, died June 22, 2015.  He was 68.  Marshall wrote the great soul ballad, "If You Love Me," that the group recorded for J-Rude.  Kamau "Smitty" Akiba, who now sings with the acappella group, Quiet Storm, was also a member of the Informers.  The group was the subject of a recent article by Bob Bosco in Echoes of the Past magazine.  To hear the Informers sing their J-Rude release, click "If You Love Me".  James Marshall is seen on the left in the above photo.  [Photo courtesy of Ray Murphy.]

5/3 Woodland, the latest doo wop acappella group to excel at Roxy & Dukes, September 26.

In our 4th acappella concert at Roxy & Dukes this year, Southwest Philly's 5/3 Woodland really brought the house down with their unique brand of superb harmony and entertaining style.  5/3 Woodland has been singing since 1993 and has always been one of our favorites.  They blend flawless acappella harmony with Joe O'Donnell's humorous remarks to create an extremely enjoyable performance. Our thanks to Joe O'Donnell, Tom Tait, Al Loughead and Mike Maiorano.  We'll definitely have them back.  To watch 5/3 Woodland singing at Roxy & Dukes, click "Sometimes"

Whiptones release new CD

Our favorite teenage doo wop group, the Whiptones have a new CD out, their fourth!  This time the group has a band behind them instead of their usual acappella recordings.  The CD has five cuts including "Fools Fall In Love," "Come Go With Me," "Great Balls Of Fire" and an unusual interpretation of "Earth Angel" that includes a long intro before the group really takes over.  Our favorite on the CD is "Spin Me Back," an original tune written by Matt Korzen who co-arranged the CD with Mike Mastellone.  We caught up with the Whiptones at Lead East where they were generating a lot of excitement.  It's good to see the group still active.  Visit the group's website.

Shells' baritone, Charles "Gus" Geeter dies.

Charles "Gus" Geeter, who along with Nathaniel "Little Nate" Bouknight, Bobby Nurse, Shade Randy Alston and Danny Small comprised the Brooklyn based R&B vocal group, the Shells, died May 15, 2015.  The group made numerous fine records, the best known of which was "Baby Oh Baby".  The song was recorded in 1957 but didn't catch on until 1960, when through the efforts of Wayne Stierle and Donn Fileti it became a hit.  Listen to the Shells sing "Baby Oh Baby".

Cincinnati City Council designates King Records building a historic landmark

On October 4, 2015, the Cincinnati City Council unanimously voted to declare the run down building at 1540 Brewster Avenue a historic site.  1540 Brewster is the former home of King, Federal and DeLuxe  Records, the label complex that gave us everyone from the Dominoes to the Midnighters to Otis Williams & the Charms to James Brown & the Famous Flames.  The dilapidated, yet historic, building was scheduled to be torn down by its present owners and this designation prevents that.  The city hopes to someday turn the site into a museum.  Testifying before City Council was Otis Williams whose Charms recorded numerous records for the DeLuxe label.  Our kudos to the city of Cincinnati for preserving its musical heritage.  We wish more cities would act like this.  To read an article and see a video on this declaration, including a clip of Otis Williams talking about the site, click King Records.  [Thanks to Colton Thomas for this item.]

Eric LeBlanc, noted R&B researcher & historian dies at 69.

Eric LeBlanc, dedicated R&B researcher and historian from Canada, died in Mid-September.  He was 69.  Eric was someone we at Classic Urban Harmony could always depend on when we needed help with biographical details on stories we were writing.  While we never met Eric in person, we corresponded by email many times. This is a huge loss to all of us who research the history of American popular music. RIP Eric  [Thanks to Todd Baptista for letting us know about this.]

Choice video goes viral!  Six Million FaceBook hits an a few weeks.

Recently Shadera Lashea was driving through Jersey City NJ when she caught some of the members of the Jersey City acappella group, Choice, singing "Love Is Here" on the street and video'd it with her cell phone.  That video has just gone viral, attracting something like six million hits on FaceBook.  We had just posted Choice singing the same song at Roxy & Dukes and our YouTube has now gotten 2100 hits by people searching for the group.  If only this had gone viral earlier, we might have gotten six million people out to Roxy & Dukes!  To watch the video that has gone viral, click Choice in Jersey City.  

Car crashes into Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters Meditation Garden

In case you missed our post about this on FaceBook in late July, we were shocked when an out of control car crashed into the meditation garden behind Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters, flattening bushes and damaging two trees. The garden is often used by visitors to our headquarters who sit and contemplate the deep meaning of “It Takes Time” by the Blenders on AFO. Apparently a visitor pulling up at the guardhouse mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brakes, slamming into the car ahead and careening down the embankment and into our garden. No records were injured in the mishap, but we haven’t had this much excitement since one of the maintenance men rolled the riding mover into Lake Harmony a couple years ago. Thank goodness he could swim. – Charlie & Pam

Photo from Paul Ressler Archives - The Clefs on the Chess label

Another great vintage photo this issue from the Paul Ressler Archives.  This is a photo of the Clefs from Washington D.C.  The group was managed by Lillian Claiborn who got the group a recording contract with Chess Records in 1952.  Frank Motley, seen here with the guitar, supplied the combo on the record, "We Three" b/w "Ride On".  The group later recorded for the Peacock label.  Thanks, Paul for another great photo!

Rare historical photos from files of Duke/Peacock label preserved and posted on line!

Close to 100 rare photos and flyers from Don Robey's Duke and Peacock labels have recently been posted on line by the University of Houston.  The photos were left behind when Peacock was sold to ABC Dunhill Records in 1973 and rescued by Houston music historian Andrew Brown who donated them to the University of Houston in 2011.  (Score one for us music historians!)  Read the full story of the photos preservation in the Houston Press.  To go directly to the on line photos click Duke Peacock photos.

Sonny Til's son and grandson visit Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters

This past July we were honored when Sonny Til's son, Ricky Bryant and grandson, De'Sean Dooley visited Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters.  We had a great time talking about the Orioles and showing the two around our archives.  De'Sean is a fabulous singer and recently starred in the musical "Soul Harmony" about Deborah Chessler, Sonny Til and the Orioles.  De'Sean will also be singing a couple Orioles songs acappella, backed by Quiet Storm, at our February 20, 2016, "Doo Wop Explosion" at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.  For tickets, visit or call 732-263-6889.

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's Doo Wop Acappella Concert Series kicks off as Quiet Storm rocks Roxy & Dukes, July 5, 2015

What a night at Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ, July 5 as Quiet Storm led off our first doo wop acappella concert at the famed nightspot!  It was Fourth of July weekend, but we didn't need any fireworks.  The great Philly acappella group, Quiet Storm, provided all the excitement we needed.  A packed crowd watched Quiet Storm sing two sets; the first simulated a street corner rehearsal and the second a polished performance in full uniform.  As we've come to expect from Quiet Storm, their harmony was impeccable.  We love working with these guys and we will be bringing them back.  To see many photos from that night's concert, click Quiet Storm.  For some time now, we at Classic Urban Harmony LLC had been looking for a club in central New Jersey that would let us bring in acappella doo wop groups on a semi regular basis.  We've found that place in Roxy & Dukes.

"Soul Harmony," award winning musical about Deborah Chessler and Sonny Til & Orioles, now heading to the East Coast?

"Soul Harmony," the award winning musical about Deborah Chessler and Sonny Til & the Orioles that ran to in Portland, OR, this past Spring might just be heading to the East Coast late in 2016.  Our sources tell us discussions may be underway soon to bring "Soul Harmony" to NYC and other East Coast cities.  We certainly hope this is true.  We'll let you know as soon as we hear something definite and are at liberty to discuss it.  In the meantime, "Soul Harmony" star De'Sean Dooley, who played his grandfather, Sonny Til, in the musical will be singing a couple Orioles tunes backed by Quiet Storm at our Doo Wop Explosion concert Feb. 20 at Monmouth University.  To read about the musical when it played in Portland, click Soul Harmony.
Original Mixed Company up next at Roxy & Dukes, Sunday evening, Oct. 18.
If you attended Ronnie I's United in Group Harmony Association shows back in the late 1970's and early 1980's you surely remember an acappella group out of Jersey City, NJ, called Patty & the Street Tones.  Then, in 1983, the group morphed into another great acappella group called Mixed Company.  Well, Original Mixed Company is back and sounding great.  We've got them for our fifth live doo wop acappella concert at Roxy & Dukes, 745 Bound Brook Rd., Dunellen, NJ, taking place on Sunday evening October 18.  And as a special bonus, Patty & the Street Tones' own Patty Zielinski will join the group on stage for an evening of great acappella harmony.  Doors open at 7 PM and the first of two sets begins at 8.  Great food and drink is available.  Parking is free in the club's parking lot.  Admission is only $10 at the door.  Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 732-529-4464 after 6 PM.  Please join us for a night of great doo wop harmony.  To hear Original Mixed Company singing at a recent rehearsal, click "What Cha Gonna Do".  To hear Patty singing with the group back in the day, click "What A Difference A Day Makes". 

Darchaes' Sam Siciliano passes.

We mourn the passing of our friend Sam Siciliano, talented bass singer and vocal arranger for Ray & the Darchaes, the Uniques (Selsom label) and a pioneer in doo wop harmony in the Asbury Park NJ area.  Sam died July 29, 2015 of cancer.  He was 69.  Not only was Sam a talented singer and but he worked to get recognition for the many Asbury Park singers who made early contributions to the Sound of Asbury Park. We are grateful for Sam's help in our own Asbury Park music research and are fortunate to have known him. He was a great guy.  To hear the Darchaes sing, click "Little Girl So Fine".  The photo here is of the Darchaes in 2012. Sam is in the center.

Terry Johnson's Flamingos, Little Anthony & Imperials, Persuasions, Crystals make nationwide TV appearances on ABC's The View.

In case you missed it, our music has gotten a lot of well deserved publicity lately.  This summer, Terry Johnson & the Flamingos, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Persuasions and the Crystals all made nationwide TV appearances on the ABC program, The View.  We've included a few links to the videos here, though you may have to sit through an advertisement before watching each clip.
Terry Johnson's Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes For You" - aired July 8, 2015.
Little Anthonu & the Imperials -"Tears On My Pillow" - aired July 22, 2015
The Persuasions - "Looking For An Echo" - aired May 26, 2015.
The Crystals - "Da Doo Ron Ron" - aired July 15, 2015.
Our congrats to the above groups.  Great to see our music getting some respect.


Vinyl records making a strong comeback.  Sales have doubled in the last year.
Good news for all of us who are fanatical about our vinyl record collections.  The latest music industry sales figures, comparing the first half of 2015 with the first half of 2014, show vinyl record sales (LP's, EP's) are up 52% and sales of vinyl singles are up almost 22%.  At the same time, sales of CD's are down 31.5%.  Of course CD's still outsell vinyl, but if these trends hold, vinyl records will surpass CD's in sales by this time next year.  Now, downloaded music and streaming music are still, by far, the main form of music sales.  Yet vinyl records are now being embraced by younger music buyers who enjoy the fuller sound of analog music and want to own something they can hold in their hands.  This trend has not been lost on chains like Barnes & Noble, who have recently added sections of vinyl records back into their stores [see the photo above].  New vinyl albums now days are made in heavier, 180 gram weight, and range in price from $18 - $30.  But projections of vinyl's continued growth remain strong.  Record pressing plants like United Record Pressing LLC in Nashville are not taking orders for record manufacture from new customers at this time due to filled capacity.  Their website says they are building a new vinyl record pressing plant to triple their manufacturing capacity.  Other vinyl manufacturers have also told Classic Urban Harmony that their vinyl orders have increased by 50% in the past year.  All of this is welcomed news to us who were told to throw away our antiquated record players back in 1980.  Now if they'd only bring back 78's!  To watch an NBC news feature on the return of vinyl, click Vinyl Lives!

Re-MemberThen outstanding at Roxy & Dukes CUH doo wop acappella concert series #2, July 12.

Continuing where Quiet Storm left off, a week before, the New Jersey based doo wop acappella group, Re-MemberThen, turned in a stellar performance July 12 at Classic Urban Harmony's second acappella concert at Roxy & Dukes' Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ.  The Piscataway based group sang two great sets and the crowd was really into it.  Besides their own songs, Re-MemberThen invited several singers from the audience to come up and sing a song with them, including Joe Noto (the Excellents), Ron Taylor (the Del Larks) and Pam DelFranco (the Del Angels).  Between sets, Re-MemberThen serenaded our friends Angelo and Delores Pompeo with "Our Anniversary".  The Pompeos were celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary at Roxy & Dukes.  Everyone got a piece of cake, courtesy of Ang and Dee.  At one point, the group's founder, Frank Cicerale, explained to the audience that the group once had the opportunity to back the late Bobby Thomas of the Orioles and sang "Crying In The Chapel" in honor of Bobby.  Beside Frank, Re-MemberThen consisted of Mike Del Franco, Marty Geliebter, Jim Offner and Bill Butkowski.  To watch videos of Re-MemberThen performing at Roxy & Dukes, click "Chapel Of Dreams" and "You Are".  To view many photos and watch more videos, click Re-MemberThen at Roxy & Dukes.  [Videos courtesy of Marian Cicerale.]

William Brown, founding member of the soul group, the Mad Lads dies.

William Brown, founding member of the great Memphis soul vocal group, the Mad Lads, died July 24, 2015, at the age of 69.  The Mad Lads were famous for such great harmony standards as "Don't Have To Shop Around," "I Want A Girl," "I Want Someone," "Whatever Hurts You," "So Nice" and a great soul version of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" recorded for the Stax subsidiary, Volt..  To watch an incredible YouTube of the Mad Lads appearing back in the day on the recently released Hy Lit Show videos (also see article below), click "I Want A Girl"..

Hy Lit TV Show 1960's videos now up on YouTube.  Many fantastic video clips of soul groups including Philadelphia's own Destinations.

If you love 1960's soul music, you may be aware of the many fabulous videos that have recently been posted to YouTube from Hy Lit's old TV show.  Hy Lit was a Philadelphia radio personality that many of us who grew up in the area listened to back in the day.  His 1960's TV show featured many great soul artists, especially those from Philadelphia.  Now posted to YouTune are incredible video appearances by groups like the Ambassadors, Fidelics, Ethics, Mad Lads, Pat & the Blenders, Jay & the Techniques, the Unifics and many more.  One of our favorites is a clip of the Destinations singing their soul hit, I Can't Leave You".  Joe Bobadillo sings lead on this 1968 record that was released on the Ando label..  (The Ando label was owned by Philly area radio personality, King Arthur, who also managed the group.  King Arthur is now on and Cruisin' 92.1)  The Destinations in the 1980's were closely associated with Charlie Horner's radio program.  Here's a link to the Destinations singing on Hy Lit's show.  Click "I Can't Leave You"  You can see other Hy Lit Show video clips by going to and searching "Hy Lit Show".  [Thanks to Destinations' Ray Murphy for letting us know about this!]

Manny Giz, popular first tenor with the Delmonicos passes.

IManny Giz, popular singer with the doo wop group, the Delmonicos, died July 13, 2015.  Though Manny was not an original with the group, he joined the Delmonicos when they got back together in 1989 and was on their Clifton LP.  The Delmonicos performed many times for UGHA and at other area shows.  Manny will be missed by all who knew him.  We've added a clip here of the Delmonicos singing at a UGHA event in Trevose, PA, from 1995.  To watch, click "Stardust". [Photos above is the Delmonicos performing in Philadelphia, ca. 2010 - from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives].

Another great time at (2015) Lead East.

Though we can usually only get free from our busy schedule to spend a day at Lead East each year, we thoroughly enjoy our time there.  This year was no exception as we spent Saturday September 5 at the Parsippany NJ event, said to be the world's largest combined  fifties party and classic car show.  This was the 33rd annual event and lasted from Wednesday September 2 through Sunday September 6.  Besides the old cars and wealth of fifties music, we most enjoy meeting up with old friends from all over the country (see photo above of Charlie with Harptones' Willie Winfield).  Our time was spent mostly at the afternoon acappella concert, where we got to see our friends Still Around, Memories of You and others perform.  We met up with members of the Harptones, Solitaires and Jarmels who would perform later that evening.  We stopped by the tables of Clifton Music and others, got to see the Whiptones sing and still had time left to hang out outdoors with our friends at Rhode Island Island, where a tribute to Ronnie I. would be held the next day.  Follow the news of Lead East at their website, Lead East.

Lead East expanding to the New England?

If you enjoy going to Lead East in Parsippany NJ every year but live in New England, this item will surely interest you.  Terry Cook, the man behind Lead East, wants to bring his show to the Boston, MA area next July. LEAD NORTHEAST will have vintage cars, food, many vendors...and above all, great music. A cappella groups, national vocal groups, local bands and much fun!'s the caveat.....he has to sell 140 hotel rooms at the Sheraton, in Wakefield, MA ...BEFORE Dec 31st!  If you want to see this happen, think about signing up now!  If you need a 4 page flyer (Above), PLEASE send your address to NEW ENGLAND DOO WOP SOCIETY, BOX 40, AGAWAM, MA , 01001. You can make it happen!  [This item from Bob Belniak of the NE Doo Wop Society.]

Frankie Ford dies, known for "Sea Cruise"

Frankie Ford (real name Vincent Francis Guzzo, Jr.), singer and pianist who scored big in 1959 with the hit record, "Sea Cruise," died September 28, 2015, after a long illness.  He was 76.  He was born in Gretna, LA and began singing at an early age.  He first recorded for Ace Records in 1958 and in 1959. Ford overdubbed his voice onto the track of "Sea Cruise," written and recorded by Huey Smith of Huey Smith & the Clowns.  The record went to #14 on the Pop Charts and #11 on the R&B Charts, selling over a million copies.  To watch Frankie Ford on Dick Clark's Saturday night Beechnut TV program, March 21, 1959, click "Sea Cruise". .

Quiet Storm was smokin' at Freehold museum outdoor concert, August 31, 2015: Tribute to Bobby Thomas

We're not good at estimating crowds but the chairs set up under the tent filled up a half hour before the concert leading the staff of the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum in Freehold to bring out every additional chair and bench they could find.  Fortunately many concert-goers also brought their own lawn chairs.  There could easily have been a couple hundred people crowded onto the museum's front lawn to hear the great acappella group from Philadelphia, Quiet Storm, put on a spectacular display of vocal harmony.  Many people arrived an hour early to view the exhibition, "Spirituals to Soul" (Pam & Charlie, curators) and partake of the refreshments and socialize with fellow music enthusiasts.  While many of the audience were from central New Jersey, some came from as far as NYC, South Jersey and Philadelphia.  As part of their performance, Quiet Storm paid tribute to their mentor, the late Bobby Thomas, with acappella versions of "Doll Face" and "Ooh I Feel So Good" (Vibranaires), "Dem Days," "Crying In The Chapel" and "It's Too Soon To Know" (Orioles).  Bobby Thomas' music career is prominently covered in the exhibit.  To watch highlights of Quiet Storm's outdoor concert click "It's Too Soon To Know" and "Crying In The Chapel"  To see many photos of the event and watch more videos, click Quiet Storm Freehold Concert.

Peggy Jones of the Bop-Chords, Lady Bo, dies at age 75.

Peggy Jones, member of the Bop-Chords and later member of Bo Diddley's troupe, died in mid-September, 2015.  Peggy, niece of singer Jimmy Jones, joined the Bop-Chords in 1957 at the age of 16.  She sang on "So Why" b/w "Baby" (Holiday label), her only record with the group.  She also sang with Greg Carroll as "Greg and Peg" on the Ro-Nan label.  Peggy Jones later excelled as a guitarist with Bo Diddley's band in the late 1950's and early 1960's, calling herself "Lady Bo".   She also played guitar on Les Cooper's "Wiggle Wobble" and backed James Brown and Sam & Dave on stage.  Peggy Jones was 75.  To hear the Bop-Chords sing, click "Baby"/"So Why".

Philly Ringtones debut at Franklin Township Library, Somerset, NJ, August

Each year, Classic Urban Harmony helps the Franklin Township Library have a doo wop acappella group concert as part of their Summer Concert Series.  This year the concert was given by the fine group, the Philly Ringtones.  The group consists of Jim Bakay (WRDV), Bill Keith (Charlie's former radio co-host), Lisa Parks, Charlie Carson and Gabe Mairone.  The room was filled to capacity!  The Philly Ringtones displayed a world of talent.  Lisa Parks has a strong voice, as evidenced by her renditions of "Crazy," "Gee Whiz" and "Happy Birthday Baby".  Gabe Marirone displayed his "Frankie Valle" voice on "Sherry" and "Rag Doll".  He also gave us a magnificent version of the Metallics' "I Need Someone".  Jim Bakay did a nice falsetto lead on "You Make Me Feel Brand New" and also gave us a strong version of "Human".  Bill Keith ("You Are" and "Jo Jo") and Charlie Carson ("So In Love") show us that each member of the group could do a great job on lead voice.  To see many photos from the Philly Ringtones concert click Philly Ringtones at FTL.  The Philly Ringtones will be one of six groups on our all acappella "Doo Wop Explosion" at Monmouth University in West Long Branch NJ on February 20, 2016.  Check our Events Calendar for details.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announces 2016 inductee nominations.  Spinners again nominated.  Will the third time be the lucky charm?

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has just announced their nominations for inductees into the Rock Hall in 2016.  The only nominees relevant to R&B vocal harmony enthusiasts are the Spinners. The Rock Hall recently revamped its nominating committee, dismissing about a third of the committee, including most of those who supported early R&R acts.  Thus, the Spinners are the only act nominated who began their career earlier than the late 1960's.  Of course, this is the third time the Spinners have been nominated and they have yet to be voted in.  The nominees have not yet been voted on so we don't know who will be inducted.  Also, the Rock Hall usually adds an early influence inductee.  Last year it was the Five Royales.

Artifacts From Our Vaults: Advertising record sample from the Empire Records pressing plant reveals a rare Solitaires record.

This issue we have a most unusual artifact from our vaults.  It's a promotional give-a-way record from the Empire Record Corp.  Empire was a record manufacturing company in NYC from 1946 until 1966.  They had a vinyl record pressing plant, presumably at 2060 First Avenue and pressed 45's for a number of record labels.  Sometime in early 1954, they decided to make sample records for potential customers to show what they could do.  They printed labels like the one shown above and threw them onto whatever record they were pressing that day.  It so happened that day they were pressing "My Dear" b/w "What Did She Say" by the Solitaires for Old Town Records.  Thus, this record from our vaults is the Solitaires record with the Empire Record Corp. sample record label on one side and no label on the reverse.  The dead wax shows Old Town stampers were used (OT-819-45 and OT-820-45).  While Empire probably made a couple hundred of these to give out as samples, this is the only one we know of that survived.  After all, who would keep an advertising sample record?  Our copy was obtained from John Moore's Middle Room Record Store in Philadelphia, some years ago.  To hear the Solitaires sing this record, click "My Dear".

Elvis postage stamp now out.

The new Elvis stamp is now out and much like the prior Ray Charles stamp, a sheet is made to look like a record with picture sleeve.  Yes, we know Elvis is not a vocal group but he is a major figure in American music.  Now if only we could get a stamp for the Mills Brothers or Ink Spots or Orioles or Ravens or ...  Maybe someday.

David Somerville, lead of the Canadian R&R group, the Diamonds, dies.

David Somerville, lead of the Canadian group the Diamonds, who rose to fame with covers of songs like the Gladiolas' "Little Darling" died on July 14, 2015.  The Diamonds often covered R&B songs of the day.  They also had a huge hit with "The Stroll". David was 81.

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 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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