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Classic Urban Harmony, LLC

"We Take You Back In The Day"





    What's New?

  Mills Brothers Society

    Our Events

  Bookshelf, DVD's


Presentation and Event Photo Album

    Charlie's Bio

    Pam's Bio


    Responses to
    our Presentations

    Articles & Press
    About Us

   Our Brochure

    Articles by Us

[New!]Wally Osborne & Starfires

Satan & the Angels - Blue Eyed Soul

Tony Talent & the Coalitions

Golden Bells & Contessas

Sweet Delights

Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1964 -, Part 4 in the series

Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1961 - 1963 Part 3

Sammy Strain & the Fantastics Part 2

Sammy Strain & the Chips Part 1

Asbury Park Vocal Groups Pt. 2

Asbury Park Vocal Groups, Pt.1

Philly's Original Capris

Little Jimmy & The Tops

Teddy & Twilights, Deckers

Groups from Philly's Francisville - Belltones, Joe Cook's Thrillers, Royal Demons, Madison Brothers

Sensations - Part 1

Sensations - Part 2

Johnny Maestro, the Crests & Brooklyn Bridge

Johnny Stiles & the Medallions on Essex

The Plurals

The Vic Donna Story

Orioles' Deborah Chessler

Tyrone & the Nu-Ports

Windy City Harmony: Calvaes, Blenders & Accents

        The Del Larks

Richard Barrett Part 1: The Valentines

Richard Barrett
Part 2:
Frankie Lymon & Teenagers

Richard Barrett
Part 3: The Chantels, Clickettes,
Fashions Veneers

Richard Barrett
Part 4:

Little Anthony & Imperials

Richard Barrett
Part 5: Lewis Lymon
Teenchords Jimmy Castor & Juniors

Richard Barrett
Part 6: The Channels,
Isley Bros, Del Knights

Richard Barrett Part 7: The 3 Degrees, Showmen

    Visit Our

Our Photo Gallery:
Our Musical Family

Our Photo Gallery:
CUH Archives

Renovations to the Classic Urban Harmony Library

    Concert Reviews,
    Photos & Events

bullet [New!]Choice at Roxy & Dukes
bullet [New!]Philly Ringtones at Franklin Township Library
[New!]Curators Talk, Spirituals to Soul Exhibit
bullet [New!]Sonny Til's son & grandson visit Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters
bullet [New!]Re-MedmberThen at Roxy & Dukes
bullet [New!]Quiet Storm at Roxy & Dukes
bullet [New!]Spirituals to Soul Museum Exhibit, Freehold
bulletVelvet Candles in Barcelona, Spain
bulletFilming Doo Wop Documentary
bullet2015 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
bullet Monmouth University West Side Music Exhibit
bulletAsbury Park West Side Music Exhibit Monmouth University - Set Up
bulletAsbury Park West Side Music Exhibit, Heaven Gallery
bullet2014 Philly Doo Wop Festival
bulletTNT with Vic Donna Group & Charlie Horner
bulletAsbury Angels 2014, Bobby Thomas
bulletRichard Nader Doo Wop Concert XXV
bullet2014 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
bullet Billy Vera Big Band at the Cutting Room NYC
bullet VGHA Extravaganza III
bullet Asbury Park Gospel Explosion

African American
Museum Philadelphia
Gospel Awards Ceremony

bullet Ray Goodman & Brown in Plainfield
at NJ Doo Wop Singers Club 2013

bulletEncounters at Somerset Run
bulletRichard Nader's Doo Wop Celebration XXVI
2013 Asbury Angels Plaque Dedications
bullet VGHA Acappella Extravaganza II
bullet2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
bullet Time Capsule Show 50th Anniversary
2013 Portsmouth, VA Gospel Concert
at Manchester, NJ

at New Providence Library

bulletJohn Moore's Middle Room Records Closes
bulletLittle Isidore in Fair Lawn, NJ
bulletNJ Doo Wop Singers Club Jan 2013
bulletCelebrating Asbury Park's West Side Harmony
bulletDoo Wop Singers Club 4th Anniversary
bulletChuck Berry Honored by the R&R Hall of Fame
bulletQuiet Storm at Somerset Run
bulletAsbury Angels 2012 Induction Ceremony
bullet2012 Philly Doo Wop Festival
bullet2012 Lead East
bulletTNT R&B and Doo Wop Party, Aug 2012
bulletPam Nardella's Frankie Lymon Tombstone BBQ
bullet Classic Urban Harmony Celebrates Vocal Harmony & the Masqueraders 50th Anniversary
bulletFrankie Lymon Tombstone Finds a New Home
bulletStormin Norman Seldin & Return of Ray & Darchaes in Monmouth Beach NJ
bullet2012 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
bulletTNT North Jersey R&B and Doo Wop Party - 2nd Anniversary
bulletAcappella Extravaganza at Molloy College 2011
bulletDoo Wop Singers Club (NJ) Third Anniversary
bulletSoul of Asbury Park Concert
bulletMasqueraders Silver Star Competition
bullet6th Annual Philly Doo Wop Festival
bulletSouth Philly String Band Club After Party to 6th Philly Doo Wop Festival
bulletTymes' Norman & Peggy Burnett BBQ 2011
bullet2011 Lead East
bullet Morris Museum Acappella & Doo Wop Concert # Two
bullet Morris Museum Acappella Concert # One
bulletClassic Urban Harmony Presentation NJ Doo Wop Groups Part 2
bulletClassic Urban Harmony Presentation NJ Doo Wop Groups Part 1
bulletMorris Museum LaBamba & Quiet Storm Concert
bulletMorris Museum Jersey Rocks Exhibit Opening
bulletMorris Museum Jersey Rocks Launch Party
bulletEvening With Vocal Group Legends Concert
bulletRe-memberThen Finds Its Echo
bulletSteve Applebaum Tribute Concert
bulletWFDU Fundraiser, Teaneck, NJ March 2011
bullet Four J's Jimmy Testa Tribute & Benefit Concert
bulletVic Donna Group Rehearsal at CUH Headquarters
bulletPam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration - Multi Parts
bullet2010 Philly Doo Wop Festival
bullet"Doll Face" Musical Comedy
bulletNJ Doo Wop & Street Corner Harmony Association
bulletNick @ Nite Open Mic Night
bulletLeins Wedding
bullet"Fun-Raiser" at South Philly String Band Club
bulletRichard Nader’s Summer Doowop Reunion XXI
bulletPhilly Doo Wop Diner Mural
bulletMaking Crossroads 2
bulletCornerstone CD Release Party
bulletVirginia Legends of Gospel Concert
bulletS. Philly Stringband Club Jan 13, 2010
bulletRemembering Ronnie I. Concert Nov 2009
bulletPGHA's Heavenly Harmony XII Concert
bulletS. Philly Stringband
bulletFilming a Documentary
on Acappella
bulletAcappella Group Soul'D
Out on
Oct 2009
bulletBattleship New Jersey Dance & Concert
bulletWVLT Cruisin' 92.1 Concert
bulletTymes' Norman & Peggy Burnett 2009 BBQ
bullet2009 Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival
bulletAcappella Group Choice at Franklin Township Public Library
bullet American Bandstand Studio Fundraiser
bulletAcappella at the South Philly String Band Club Revisited
bulletFour Man Trio at At Dover NJ's Attilio's Tavern
bulletNicky Addeo at Asbury Park's Wonder Bar
bulletASAP's First Acappella Concert
bulletAcappella at the South Philly String Band Club
bulletVisiting Radio's Past & Present at WDVR-FM
bullet Chicago SoulTrip USA
bulletR&R Hall
of Fame
Interview with
Orioles' Deborah

bulletSilhouettes' John Wilson Visits CUH World Headquarters
bulletNJ Doowop Group Harmony Club, 2009.
bullet New Years Eve 2008 with Nicky Addeo & Nite Owls
bullet 2008 European Road Trip: Deep River Quartet & Golden Gate Quartet
bullet 2008 Black Swan Burlington Concert
bullet 2008 Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival
bullet Mills Bros,
Ink Spots
Beach Haven

bulletPhilly Doo Wop
Festival 2008

bullet Philly Doo Wop
Festival 2006


    In Tribute

bullet Dick Rietveld, Deep River Quartet
bullet Robert Murphy, Neighbors Complaint
bullet Walter McNeil, Gospel Nobleaires
bullet Jewel Akens, 4 Dots
bulletVirgil Johnson, Velvets
bulletCleotha Staples, Staple Singers
bulletDarlene McCrae, Cookies, Raeletts
bulletGregory Carroll, Four Buddies, Orioles, Dappers, Ink Spots
bulletJerome Ramos, Velours
bulletMickey "Guitar" Baker
bulletEarl Speedo Carroll, Cadillacs
bulletMajor Harris, Delfonics, Nat Turner Rebellion, R&B Soloist
bulletBilly Scott, Prophets
bulletCleve Duncan, Penguins
bulletDeborah Chessler, Songwriter,Mentor to the Orioles
bulletWilla Ward, Ward Singers, Gay Charmers
bulletBobby Thomas, Vibranaires, Vibes, V-Eights, Orioles
bulletJohn Jones, Moments Pleasure, Norristones, Copians
bulletChester Brown. The Counts
bulletJimmy Ellis, Trammps, Cordells, Exceptions
bulletJimmy Castor
bulletJack Scandura
bullet Cadillacs' Bobby Phillips
bulletBobby Robinson
bulletRobins' Grady Chapman
bullet Blue Notes' Roosevelt Brodie
bullet Moonglows' Harvey Fuqua
bulletCrests' & Brooklyn Bridge's Johnny Maestro
bulletDelroys' Reggie Walker
bulletSolitaires' & Vocaleers' Herman Dunham
bulletValentines' & Del-Knights' Eddie Edgehill
bulletChris Bartley
bulletSilhouettes' John Wilson
bulletLes Paul
bullet Castelles' Billy Taylor

    1950's R&B &
    Doo Wop


The Academics 


The Avalons


The Avons


The Blue Notes (original)


Claude Robinson & Creations


The 5 Embers


The Juveniles/ Twilights/ Embers


The Silhouettes

    1960's Soul

bulletThe Ad-Libs
bullet Jackson Five (Pre-Motown & Other Rarities)

    Carolina Beach Music

bullet The Poor Souls

    Modern Era
    Doo Wop Groups

bullet40 Years of Group Harmony: Ray Block's Photos of Vintage, Ad-Libs, Reunion, Bon-Aires, East River Drive
bulletYounger Dayz

    Gospel Groups

Angelic Gospel

bulletClaude Jeter & the Swan Silvertones

    Early Black
    Vocal Groups
    1870 -1930


The American
Jubilee Singers



The Dinwiddie Quartet

   History of


The 60th Anniversary of the Vinyl 45 RPM Single

    Rare Record

bulletHico Label

   Holiday Harmony

bullet Vocalaries' White Christmas
bulletPenguins' A Christmas Prayer
bulletDominoes' Christmas In Heaven
bulletCameos' Merry Christmas
bulletDrifters' White Christmas
Lonely Christmas


bullet Philadelphia Area Doo Wop & Acappella Groups
bulletBermuda Vocal Groups


Unknown Vocal Groups

     Great LINKS




2010 What's New

This is an archive of our What's New Page from 2010.  Events are in reverse order with the latest events on top, the older events farther down.  For events from other years that our website existed, see...

What's New (Current)
2013 What's New Page
2012 What's New Page
2011 What's New Page
2009 What's New Page
2008 What's New Page

December 31, 2010 - More names added to our list of Singers who left us in 2010.

Thanks to all who reminded us of some singers we missed on our 2010 list of people we lost in the past year.  Also, scroll down to below the list to see our tribute to Dorothy Jones Johnson of the Cookies.

So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday!

On this last day of 2010, we look back on the past year.  While 2010 has had it's great moments, it's also brought much sadness.  On top of our own personal tragedy, we've also lost so many members of our musical family.  We've tried to list all the singers and music related people who have left us in 2010.  Many were close personal friends.  Some we knew just to say hello to.  Some we remember seeing in concert.  All touched our lives with their contributions to American music.  If we've forgotten anyone, please email us and let us know.  As we write this feature, we are just now saddened to hear of the passing of Nick Santo, lead of the Capris ("There's A Moon Out Tonight").

We wish all of you a happier and healthier coming year.  Let's hope that next December 31 we won't have a list like this to post. - C&P

Date Died



Group or comments

January 13, 2010

Eddie Edgehill


Valentines, Del-Knights

January 14, 2010

Bobby Charles


R&B soloist, songwriter

January 14, 2010

Teddy Pendergrass


Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, R&B soloist

January 26, 2010

Reggie Walker


Del Roys

January 31, 2010

Herman Dunham


Vocaleers, Solitaires

February 8, 2010

Donald Johnson



February 23, 2010

Lonnie W. Heard


Five Dollars

March 4, 2010

Jack Albright


Nostalgia Five

March 4, 2010

Ron Banks



March 16, 2010

Carlos Terzian


owner of Master label (Phila)

March 17, 2010

Charlie Gillett



March 17, 2010

Alex Chilton


Box Tops

March 24, 2010

Johnny Maestro


Crests, Brooklyn Bridge

March 25, 2010

Ralph Martin



April 23, 2010

Norman Wright


Del Vikings

April 28, 2010

Corrado Codarini


Four Lads

May 3, 2010

Eddie Lee Jackson


Brenda & Tabulations

May 3, 2010

Bill Kelsey


Nostalgia Five, Memory Lane

May 4, 2010

Charles Lewis



May 7, 2010

Dave Fisher


Academics, Highwaymen

May 9, 2010

Lena Horne


pop soloist

May 16, 2010

Ronnie Dio


Ronnie Dio & Red Caps, Prophets

May 18, 2010

Fred Jones



May 30, 2010

Anita Humes Chappelle



May 31, 2010

Ali-Ollie Woodson



June 6, 2010

Marvin Isley


Isley Brothers

June 16, 2010 Carole Raymont McGoldrick   Secrets (Philips label)

June 16, 2010

Gary Shider



July 6, 2010

Harvey Fuqua



July 13, 2010

Rooselvelt Brodie


Blue Notes

July 18, 2010 Nicholas DiBona 66 Delmonicos

July 26, 2010

Al Goodman


Moments, Ray Goodman & Brown

August 3, 2010

Bobby Hebb


R&B soloist

August 8, 2010

Ted Kowalski


Diamonds (Mercury label)

August 16, 2010

Reuben White



September 3, 2010

Jerry Utter



September 3, 2010

Anthony Guarnieri


Bachelors (Late 50's group, CT)

September 11, 2010

King Coleman


radio dj; Nat Kendrick & Swans

September 20, 2010

Jimmy Testa


Four J's, Fabulous Four

September 21, 2010

Carl Jones


Delta Rhythm Boys

September 22, 2010

Eddie Fisher


pop soloist

September 24, 2010

Richard Griffey


owner of 1980's R&B label, Solar

October 2, 2010

Stanley Dorche


Five Satins

October 7, 2010

Leroy Gomes


Four Haven Knights

October 8, 2010 Albertina Walker 81 Caravans (Gospel)

October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke


R&B soloist

October 14, 2010

General Norman Johnson


Showmen, Chairmen of the Board

October 20, 2010

Teddy Shelton



October 22, 2010

Weldon A. McDougal III


Larks (Philadelphia), Producer

October 23, 2010 Art Loria 61 Jive 5/Belmonts/Earls/Roomates/Del-Satins+

October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs


Reggae soloist

November 2, 2010

Robert Spike Mickens


Kool & the Gang

November 5, 2010

Calvin Williams


Deeptones/Hiliters/Golden Gate Qrt/Stereos

November 17, 2010

Ronald J. Marone



November 21, 2010

Charlie Stoney Dimbo



December 18, 2010

Clay Cole


radio & TV personality

December 24, 2010

Myrna Smith


Sweet Inspirations

December 25, 2010 Dorothy Jones Johnson 76 Cookies

December 26, 2010

Bernie Wilson


Harold Melvin's Blue Notes

December 26, 2010

Tina Marie


R&B soloist

December 30, 2010

Nick Santo


Capris (NY)

December 31, 2010 Joseph Jones Jr. 64 Tams


Dorothy Jones Johnson of Cookies Dies

We regret to announce the passing of Dorothy Jones Johnson, founding member of the female R&B trio, the Cookies.  The group out of Coney Island, NY, was well known from the early 1950's through the late 1960's for songs like "In Paradise," "Chains" and "Don't Say Nothin' Bad About My Baby".  They also sang back up for Ray Charles, LaVern Baker and others.  For a complete bio of the Cookies, see John Clemente's book, Girl Groups.  Dorothy Jones Johnson died December 25, 2010.  She was 76.

The Cookies, ca. 1957.
(From the top, Dorothy Jones, Ethel McCrea, Margie Hendrix)
(Photo courtesy of John Clemente)

1955 Recording by the Cookies
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

The Cookies, 1963
(Left to right: Dorothy Jones Johnson, Earl-Jean McCrea, Margaret Ross)
(Photo courtesy of John Clemente)

Nick Santo of Capris Dies

We are saddened to report that Nick Santamaria (Nick Santo), lead singer of the Capris, passed away December 30, 2010 at the age of 69.  Nick led the group in such doo wop standards as "There's A Moon Out Tonight" and "Morse Code Of Love".  Nick had been battling cancer for the past few years.  We last saw him sing on Cool Bobby B's doo wop show in Las Vegas in 2007, at which time he announced his retirement from singing due to his health.  The Capris began singing in Queens, NY, in 1957 and recorded "There's A Moon Out Tonight" which was released on the Planet label in 1958.  The song received little airplay and the group soon broke up.  In 1961, the song was discovered and released again, becoming a huge favorite of the group harmony and doo wop scene.  Other songs like "Where I Fell In Love" and "Tears In My Eyes" followed.  In 1982, the Capris scored again with "Morse Code Of Love," a Nick Santo composition.

The Capris, ca. early 1960's.  Nick Santo (center)

Nick Santo, 1991
Photo by Pamela Horner
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Nick Santo (left) & Capris in concert, 1991
Photo by Tony Watson of Blues & Rhythm
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Our Annual Holiday Harmony Feature this year is the story of the song "Merry Christmas" by the Cameos on the Cameo label.

Read the story of one of Philly's favorite R&B group holiday records - "Merry Christmas" by the Cameos on the Cameo label.  See photos of the group members and listen to this song from 1957.  Click Cameos

Part 7 (the After Party) of Pam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration Photos Now Posted!

We've just posted the last set of still photos from our anniversary celebration.  (The video clips from the concert are still to come!)  This latest set of pictures is from the after party, held down the street from the anniversary celebration.  You'll see photos of many of our guests mingling with the performers like the Masqueraders, Sheps, Bobby Thomas, Bill Keith and John Jones.  To take a look, click Horner Anniversary, scroll down and click Part 7 - the After Party.

New Acappella CD for Jerry Tempesta's Emeralds.  Classic Urban Harmony contributes Liner Notes!

JT's Emeralds have just released a fine new acappella CD, with biographical liner notes provided by our own Charlie Horner.  The CD has a Philadelphia flavor, choosing songs either made famous by Philly groups or popular around Philly.  This is appropriate since all of JT's Emeralds, Jerry Tempesta, Frank Lafaro, Matty Raimo and Tony Russo, come from the Philadelphia area.  For info on the group visit JT's Emeralds' Myspace page at www.myspace.com/theemeraldsjt

New Deep River Quartet Christmas CD Released in time for the Holidays!

Our friends from Holland, the Deep River Quartet have just released their latest CD, "Christmas In Concert," a selection of great Christmas sides recorded live in concert at the Theater de Bussel Oosterbont, The Netherlands, last December.  The Deeps songs include many Christmas favorites including "Please Come Home For Christmas," "The Christmas Song," "Oh Holy Night," "Silent Night," and many more.  If your not familiar with this great Dutch vocal group, check out their website, where the CD is also available.  Click www.deepriverquartet.com 

Classic Urban Harmony Website Passes 35,000 Visitors!

As the year 2010 comes to a close, we are please to announce that our website has reached another milestone.  We have now passed 35,000 visitors in less than 2 1/2 years.  It was a nice Christmas present for us and we thank all of you for your continued interest in Classic Urban Harmony!

Happy Holidays from Classic Urban Harmony LLC.

Wishing all of our extended musical family the very best of holiday seasons and a happy and healthy 2011!  We hope that during this past year, your visits to our website have brought a little sunshine into your lives.  Warmest regards, Pam & Charlie Horner


Part 1 of Our Article on the Sensations Now Posted on this Website

Our historic article on the Sensations ("Yes Sir That's My Baby," "Let Me In") is finally finished!  Part 1, originally published in Echoes of the Past magazine (#93) is now viewable on this website, complete with added numerous added photos and label scans.  Click Sensations Part 1 to take a look.  Then hit the Back Button to return to this page.  The Sensations story is a fascinating one that touches on the history of the Philadelphia vocal group scene of the early and mid-1950's.

Part 2 of the Sensations story is now available in Echoes of the Past magazine's latest issue (#94).  You can subscribe to print copies of Echoes of the Past for $16.99 (4 issues) in the U.S.  To subscribe, contact Echoes of the Past at Box 40, Agawam, MA 01001, or by phone 413-786-1929 or email echoes.past@yahoo.com

Long Awaited Part 5 (the Concert Portion) of Pam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration Photos Now Posted!

We've just posted over 150 photos from the Concert part of our anniversary bash.  At long last, you'll now get to see never before published photos of all of the performers at our gala celebration.  You'll see photos the Sheps, singing their own set as well as backing Bobby Thomas of the Vibranaires and Harry Schmitt of Cornerstone.  You'll see pics of Sam Campbell and Ron Taylor as they recreate the Del Larks with three members of the Sheps.  You'll see photos of the Vic Donna Group as they sing three numbers and then back Shelly Buchansky, original member of Vito & the Salutations.  In addition there are pictures of Bill Keith leading a super group of John Jones (Norristones), Jim Bakey (Street Corner Five) and Smitty (Quiet Storm).  We also have photos from performances of Frankie Lafaro and Little Isidore.  And of course, there are about fifty photos of the historic reunion of the Masqueraders - five original members.  Click Horners 5th Anniversary and follow the links to Part 5.  (Coming very soon, we hope to add some video clips but that will take a little more editing.)

Musical Comedy "Dollface" to return to NYC

The hilarious musical comedy "Dollface" starring David Foreman (Little Isidore) and Linda Shell (the Inquisitors' Kitten Kaboodle) is returning to New York City December 23 and running until January 16.  We reviewed this musical during its last run in August (click Dollface) and highly recommend it.  See Our Events Calendar for details. 

Ronald J. Marone of the Academics Dies

We are sad to announce the passing of another vocal group singer.  Ronald Marone of the Academics died on November 17, 2010 at the age of 72.  The Academics are one of our favorite Connecticut groups and one of the first groups to be profiled on this website (Click Academics).  We were thrilled to see the Academics perform at the 2008 Black Swan Concert and only wish we had more time to talk to Ron there.  He will be missed.

The Academics performing at the 2008 Black Swan Concert
Ron Marone is second from the left.
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Part 4 (the Dinner) of Pam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration Photos Now Posted!

We've now posting over 80 more photos from the Dinner part of our anniversary celebration.  You'll now get to see all of our guests, table by table at our gala (each table named for a rare record label).  Click Horners 5th Anniversary and follow the links to Part 4.  (Coming very soon in Part 5, you will get to see photos of the many singers performing, and perhaps some video clips if we can edit them in time.)

Charlie "Stoney" Dimbo of the Master-Tones Passes

We just received word from our friends Doc Robinson and his daughter KiKi that Charlie "Stoney" Dimbo of the Master-Tones passed away, Sunday, November 21, 2010.  This follows the passing, a few weeks ago of Gene Gray, co-writer of the groups' "Tell Me" and brother of the Master-Tones' lead, Pop Gray.  Our sincere condolences to the families and friends of Mr. Dimbo and Mr. Gray.

The Master-Tones, ca. 1954.  Stoney Dimbo second from the left.
(Photo courtesy of Doc Robinson)

Original first press of "Tell Me", 1954
(Label scan courtesy of Val Shively)


Classic Urban Harmony Presentation Takes Bristol (PA) By Storm:  Our Second Standing Room Only Crowd in a Row!

While a torrential rainstorm raged outside on the evening of November 16, 2010, a standing room only crowd packed the Margaret Grundy Memorial Library in Bristol, PA, to catch our Classic Urban Harmony presentation of "Under the Streetlamp: Tales From the Doo Wop Era - Part 1."  This was our first venture into Pennsylvania and probably won't be our last.  Our special guest celebrity was Doc Robinson of the Master-Tones ("Tell Me").  To read our review and see photos, click Bristol 1.

Classic Urban Harmony Presentation of "Doo Wop - Part 2" at Garwood (NJ) Public Library on November 2, 2010, Standing Room Only!!!!!

As a testimony to our growing popularity, our presentation of "Under the Streetlamp: Tales from the Doo Wop Era - Part 2" was filled to capacity, with some attendees standing in the back of the room for the entire talk.  The presentation was so well received, we've been asked to return to Garwood two more times in 2011, to give "Doo Wop - Part 3" and "the New Jersey Doo Wop Groups".  Our guest celebrity was our friend Bobby Thomas of the Vibranaires and Orioles.  To see photos of the event, click Garwood Part 2.

Photos from Classic Urban Harmony Presentation on September 27, 2010 of "Doo Wop - Part 3" at Somerset Run Active Adult Community Now Posted.

See photos from our September 27, 2010 presentation of "Under the Streetlamp: Tales from the Doo Wop Era - PART 3 at the Somerset Run Active Adult Community (our home base).  We completely revamped Part 3 and the response was fabulous.  We also had the presentation videoed by JDV Video, a first for one of our presentations.  We may post select excerpts on our website in the near future.  Our guest celebrities that night were Vic Donna (Parakeets & the Vic Donna Group) and Bobby Thomas (Vibranaires & Orioles).  To see photos click Somerset Run 3.

Our Sincere Thanks!

Thanks for the huge outpouring of messages of condolences and support after the passing of Charlie's mother.  We were overwhelmed by the number of emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, cards and even flowers sent by concerned friends.  Your caring messages were of great comfort during these difficult times. - C&P

Mrs. Elaine Horner, Charlie's Mother, Passes

We are grief stricken to report the passing of Mrs. Elaine Horner, Charlie's mother, on November 14, 2010.

Charlie's comments follow:

"For anyone whose life I may have touched in a positive way, through my radio show, through my concerts, through our classic urban harmony doo wop presentations, through this website, or through my friendships, it was my mother and father who were responsible for whatever good I may have accomplished in this world.  They taught me that all of us are the same in the eyes of God.  My mom and dad raised me to be "color blind," paving the way for me to become so involved in black music.

My parents always encouraged my interest in music and phonograph records.  My mother kept a baby book on me that she recently gave me.  In it, in November 1951, on the occasion of my second birthday, mom wrote of me that 'At two years old, [Charlie] has numerous records, all of which he can name after two notes are played.'

My mother found me my first record on the Chance label (the Moonglows' 'I Was Wrong') which she bought for me at a sidewalk sale.  Without my parents' support, I would not be who I am today.

For those who didn't know my mother, she was one of the nicest, most kind-hearted people in the world.  We ask for your prayers for our dad, for the rest of our family and for Pam and me during this difficult time.

I will always remember my mom through the words the Four Buddies sang in 1953..."

One bright and guiding light,
That taught me wrong from right,
I found in my mother's eyes.

Those baby tales she told,
All roads are paved with gold,
I found in my mother's eyes.

Just like a wandering sparrow, one lonely soul,
I walk the straight and narrow, to reach my goal.

God's gift sent from above,
One real, unselfish love,
I found in my mother's eyes.

For those who regularly visit our website, we know you'll understand if we don't post any new features for the next few days.
Thank you for your support and well wishes.

 -  Charlie & Pam Horner


Part 3 of Pam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration Photos Now Posted!

We've now posting over 140 photos from the Reception part of our anniversary celebration.  This is where you get to see all the singers, celebrities and other guests that attended our gala.  Click Horners 5th Anniversary and follow the links to Part 3.  (Actually, some arrived after the reception, but you'll see them in Part 4.)

Calvin Williams of the Deep Tones, Hi-Liters, Stereos, Four Knights, Golden Gate Quartet, Ink Spots Passes

In a year filled with bad news, we are extremely saddened to report the passing of our close friend Calvin Williams.  Calvin was born in Bucksport, SC, on November 8, 1921.  Calvin began singing Gospel music and at the age of 15 joined with a local quartet called the Southern Four Gospel Singers.  During World war II Calvin worked at the Wilmington, NC, shipyards where he sang with National Four.  After the war, Calvin moved to Trenton, NJ.  By 1947 Calvin formed a new group called the Deep Tones.  The Deep Tones recorded three fabulous spiritual records, done in the style of the Golden Gate Quartet.  Two records were released on the King Solomon label (later on Savoy) and one on Muzicon.

The Deep Tones turned to secular music in 1951, recording "Just In Case You Change Your Mind" and "The Night We Said Goodbye" for the Coral label.  The Deep Tones also did uncredited backup for Ella Fitzgerald ("Trying"), "Slim Galliard ("Oh Lady Be Good") and Bill Kenny.

Changing their name to the Hi Lighters, the group recorded for the Celeste and their own HiCo label.  (Click HiCo to read our story of the HiCo label).  Calvin sang with the Four Knights before joining the Stereos who recorded on the Robins Nest label during the 1960's.

In 1972, Calvin Williams was asked to join the world famous Golden Gate Quartet, now based in Europe.  He spent the next 14 years with the Gates, touring numerous countries.  Upon leaving the Golden Gate Quartet, Calvin returned to the United States where he joined Johnny Smith's Ink Spots.  The group made one album (CD).

Calvin spent the final years of his life living in Far Rockaway, NY.  Calvin was a guest at our wedding and our guest at UGHA on several occasions.  We interviewed Calvin on Frank Gengaro and Gordon Skadberg's weekly radio program on WRHU-FM in 2008.  Calvin Williams made a huge contribution to group harmony, but most of all he was a friend to us.  Our grief is beyond words. 


Calvin & Charlie at UGHA

Deep Tones on Coral label: Calvin Williams upper left


Hi-Lighters on Celeste label: Calvin Williams upper right

Calvin Williams & Charlie Horner on WRHU, 2008

Calvin (center) on WRHU, 2008
Front row, Left to right: Fannie Jefferies (Calvin's daughter), Sandy Proctor, Calvin Williams
Back row: Bill Proctor, Pam Horner, Frank Gengaro, Gordon Skadberg, Frank Cassi

Part 2 of Pam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration Now Posted!!!

Part 2 of our photos from the 5th Anniversary celebration is now posted!  See photos of the Masqueraders arriving, their rehearsals, and Pam's birthday dinner.  Hear the Masqueraders sing "Happy Happy Birthday Pam" (previously unreleased Masqueraders)!
Click Horners 5th Anniversary and follow the links.

Pam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration Reunites Five Original Members of 1960's Soul Group, The Masqueraders
Also Features The Return of Vic Donna & Group and Fabulous Performances by acappella group The Sheps, Vibranaires' Bobby Thomas, Vito & Salutations' Shelly Buchansky, the Del Larks, Bill Keith, Frank Lafaro and Little Isidore!

The Masqueraders at the Horners' 5th Anniversary Celebration

Pam and Charlie Horner's 5th Anniversary celebration on October 23, 2010, turned into a historic occasion when five original members of the sixties and seventies soul group, the Masqueraders, reunited to sing at the gala event.  The group, who had not sung together as a quintet since 1980 were reassembled, including original lead singer Lee Hatim along with Harold Thomas, Robert Wrightsil, David Sanders and Sam Hutchins.  Three members flew in from Memphis and two from Dallas.  Best known for their R&B chart records, "I Ain't Got To Love Nobody Else," "I'm Just An Average Guy" and "They Call Me The Travelin' Man", the Masqueraders sounded like they'd never been apart.  They sang for 45 minutes and were greeted with standing ovations after nearly every song from the 165 people in attendance.

The Masqueraders headlined but were only a part of the unbelievable afternoon's entertainment.  The acappella group the Sheps started things off with spirited renditions of fifties vocal group collectors' sides.  The Sheps also backed former Vibranaires' lead Bobby Thomas on his 1954 classic, "Doll Face," and Cornerstone's "Golden Voice Harry" Schmitt on "When we Get Married".  They joined Sam Campbell and Ron Taylor to recreate the Del Larks on "I Never Will Forget".

Another historic moment occurred when Vic Donna (formerly of Vic Donna & the Parakeets on the Atlas label) debuted his new group by singing three songs including "Teenage Rose" and "Love Was A Stranger To Me".  The Vic Donna Group also backed former Vito & the Salutations' founding member Shelly Buchansky on "Zoom".

Other outstanding performances included Bill Keith and group singing "Talking To My Heart," Little Isidore crooning "Oceans Apart" and Frankie & the Fashions' Frank Lafaro singing "What Do I Have To Do".  The celebration was MC's and DJ'd by radio personality King Arthur.

Besides those already mentioned, the list of attendees read like a "who's who" of vocal group harmony.  Among those present were Rock & Roll Hall of Fame President, Terry Stewart, Sandi Italiano, Val Shively, XM Radio's Cool Bobby B, Andrea Siegal (editor of "It's About the Music"), the Chantels' Lois Powell, the Clickettes' Barbara Jean English, the Tymes' Norman Burnett and Lafayette Gamble, the Plurals' Carl Anderson, the Master-Tones' Doc Robinson, the Magics' Dick Plotkin, John Jones of the Norristones, Jim Bakay of Street Corner Five, the Ecstasies' Joe Grimaldi, Darrall Campbell and Buzzy Garland, Smitty from Quiet Storm, E-Z from Choice, Wayne Smith of the Capris and Inquisitors, Harold Leiter of the Balladeers, Jimmy DePre (Junior & the Four Seniors), Bill Diamond of Cornerstone, Bill Hyde from Frankie & The Fashions and Dom D’Elia of the Sparrows Quartet, to name a few.  Also present were many radio personalities such as Lou Rallo, Christine Vitale, Gordon Skadberg, George Frunzi and the afore mentioned Cool Bobby B, King Arthur, Jim Bakay and Jimmy DePre.

Because of the significance of the event, we'll be posting hundreds of photos along with some sound and short video clips in several parts, over the next couple weeks.  We'll start with how it all began in a chance encounter with the Masqueraders in Memphis in 2007 and cover the event preparation, arrival and rehearsals of the Masqueraders, the reception, the dinner, the concert and the after party.  Please be patient with us on the postings.  We're working as fast as we can.  In the meantime, check out what we have up so far by clicking Horners 5th Anniversary.


Weldon A. McDougal III Dies

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our very close friend, Weldon A. McDougal III.  Weldon died this morning, October 22, 2010, of cancer.  Weldon was a giant in the music industry, beginning as a singer with the West Philadelphia R&B group, the Larks and later as a producer, label owner and promotion man.  Weldon played a major role in shaping Philadelphia R&B, a style that later became known as the Sound of Philadelphia.  We'll be posting more and more info and photos of Weldon in the coming days, in tribute to this great man.  Most of all, we remember Weldon as one of the nicest people in our lives and as a dear friend.

Charlie Horner with Weldon in the early 1980's.

Flamingos' Terry Johnson, Pam Horner and Weldon in 2008.


Showmen and Chairman of the Board Lead, General Johnson Dies

This news just in from our friend, Willie C.

We are saddened to announce that our friend General Norman Johnson, lead singer of the early 1960's vocal group, the Showmen and later the lead of the soul and Beach Music group, Chairmen of the Board passed away Wednesday, October 14, 2010 at the age of 67.  General Johnson was a Beach Music and Soul icon. 

General Johnson's first group, the Showmen started in Norfolk, VA and were know for songs like "It Will Stand," and "39-24-40 Shape".  General Johnson took then the group to Philadelphia where he became a writer and producer for Swan records.  For details on the Showmen and General Johnson on the Swan label, see our Richard Barrett article (Part 7).  In 1968, when Swan Records folded, General Johnson relocated to Detroit and became the lead of the Chairmen of the Board.  The group had 12 chart records between 1970 and 1974, including "Give Me Just A Little More Time" and "Pay To The Piper."  General Johnson wrote "Patches," a song made famous by Clarence Carter.  After that, General Johnson relocated to the Carolinas where he continued performing with the Chairmen and started the Surfside label to promote his own and other Beach Music acts.  His influence on Beach Music was huge.

General Johnson was a nice guy as well as a musical genius.  We'll truly miss him. 

General Johnson in 1980
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

(Courtesy of General Johnson)

Philadelphia Born Soul Singer Solomon Burke Dies at Age 70.

Solomon Burke

Internationally known soul singer, Solomon Burke died Sunday October 10, 2010 on his way to Amsterdam where he was to perform.  Born March 21, 1940, in Philadelphia, Burke began as a child preacher and began recording for the Apollo label by the age of 15.  He attended Sulzberger Junior High School in West Philadelphia, and attended a school music class that influenced the lives of numerous Philly singers including members of the Castelles, Dreams, Cherokees, Lee Andrews, Weldon McDougal, and countless others.  After leaving Apollo records, Burke recorded 32 singles for the Atlantic label, between 1961 and 1968.  Twenty of the Atlantic songs charted, the biggest being "Just Out Of Reach," "Cry To Me," "If You Need Me," "You're Good For Me," "Got To Get You Off My Mind," "Tonight's The Night," and "Take Me (Just As I Am)."  In 1969, Burke recorded briefly for the Bell label before moving to MGM.  Solomon Burke continued recording and performing until his death.

His performances were always special, ending with Solomon personally handing a long stem red rose to each lady in the audience.
We last saw Solomon perform in Princeton, NJ in March 2007.  It was a show we'll always remember.  We'll miss you, Solomon. - C&P


Registration is Now Open for Two More Classic Urban Harmony Doo Wop Presentations:  Part 2 at Garwood (NJ) Public Library, Thursday, November 4 and Part 1 at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library (Bristol, PA) on Tuesday November 16.

Registration is now open for the November 4 and the November 16, 2010, Classic Urban Harmony presentations in Garwood, NJ and Bristol, PA.  These presentations are FREE but you must register in advance and space is limited.  To register online or by phone, see "Our Events Calendar" page.


Our Johnny Maestro Article from the recent issue of Echoes of the Past now posted on this website!  Many new label scans added.  See Johnny Maestro Tribute.

When Johnny Maestro, the fabulous lead of the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge passed away earlier this year, we felt an obligation to tell his life story.  We did so with the help of Todd Baptista and Mat the Cat and published a detailed article in Issue #92 of Echoes of the Past magazine.  For those who missed it, we've reprinted it on this website, complete with color photos and label scans and a detailed discography.  While much has been written about Johnny Maestro, we believe even his most ardent fans will find the new info we've uncovered fascinating.  With the help of Lois Dixon, President of the Johnny Maestro Fan Club on Yahoo.com (http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Johnny MaestroFans/) we've corrected some errors and we've also added many label scans to the original article from our own and Dr. Phil Schwartz's collections.  To read our article, click Johnny Maestro Tribute.    

Memorial Service Plans Announced for Delta Rhythm Boys' Carl Jones

Services will be held for Delta Rhythm Boys' tenor Carl Jones (see below for a bio and photos) on Thursday September 30, 2010 at 11 AM at the McCarty Memorial Christian Church, 4101 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90018.  For more details, you can call the church at 323-731-4131.

 Delta Rhythm Boys Legendary Lead Tenor, Carl Jones, Dies

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend, Carl Jones, legendary lead tenor of the Delta Rhythm Boys.  Carl died early Tuesday morning September 21 after a long illness.  He was 91.

Carl Jones was born in Tulsa Oklahoma on July 18, 1919.  His family narrowly escaped the 1921 Tulsa race riots when angry white mobs burned the black section of Tulsa to the ground.  The Jones family home was also burned.

Carl and his family then moved to Parsons, Kansas.  Carl’s parents were traveling entertainers.  In the early 1930’s Carl Jones moved with his mother to Los Angeles.  There, as a youngster, Carl Jones worked as an extra in movies and also formed his own vocal quartet, the Four Dreamers.  The Four Dreamers can be heard backing Nat King Cole on some of his early transcriptions as well as seen in a number of motion pictures including "Battle Ship Blues" starring Kae Kaiser, "My Gal Loves Music", "Dixie Jamboree", "Carolina Blues" and with Bob Hope in "Louisiana Purchase".  Carl also sang with a young choir called the Plantation Boys that also made movie appearances.

In the early 1940’s while in college, Carl Jones began doing arrangements for noted record producer, Leon Rene.

In July 1944, Carl Jones joined the Delta Rhythm Boys as replacement for lead tenor Clinton Holland.  Almost immediately, the Delta Rhythm Boys were hired to sing on the strip in Las Vegas.  They would eventually open the Vegas strip to black entertainers by being the first African American entertainers to be allowed to stay in the hotels they performed in.

Carl fit right in with the Deltas’ smooth harmonies, helping to move the group more in a vocal jazz direction.  In 1945 they backed Ella Fitzgerald on her recording of “It’s Only A Paper Moon” and later “For Sentimental Reasons”.

The Delta Rhythm Boys became performing regulars on the popular Amos & Andy radio program for two years, the last year of which they were also regulars on the Joan Davis Show on a competing network.

While the Delta Rhythm Boys scored big with recordings of “Just Sittin’ & A-Rockin” and “The Honeydripper for Decca records, a move to RCA-Victor Records in 1947 allowed greater creative freedom.  They’re recordings of “Dry Bones” and “Take The A Train” (remakes of one of their earlier recordings, this time in jazz arrangements) brought them world acclaim.

By the 1950’s the Delta Rhythm Boys were touring Scandinavia annually where they picked up a huge following.  The group soon became popular all over Europe and eventually relocated to Paris.

Carl Jones left the Delta Rhythm Boys in the early 1960’s and again settled down to Los Angeles.  There he became a vocal coach, working with singers that later became part of groups like the Fifth Dimension and the Friends of Distinction.

Carl was one of the great lead singers of our time and his influence on other singers is immense.   Carl was a close personal friend of ours and he will certainly be missed. - Charlie & Pam Horner


Delta Rhythm Boys, ca. 1948
Carl Jones on far right
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Delta Rhythm Boys, ca. 1950
(Left to right: Rene DeKnight, Traverse Crawford, Carl Jones, Kelsey Pharr, Lee Gaines
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Extremely rare photo from Carl Jones' last tour with the Delta Rhythm Boys
Taken in Hawaii in 1960, the group was breaking in two new members,
Hugh Bryant (replacing the ill Kelsey Pharr) and Herb Coleman
(the new replacement for Carl Jones who was about to leave the group).
Top Row (left to right): Rene DeKnight, Lee Gaines, Hugh Bryant.
Bottom Row (left to right): Carl Jones, Herb Coleman, Traverse Crawford.
(Fully autographed photo from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Leonard Bluett & Carl Jones (right)
Two former members of the Four Dreamers
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Carl Jones signing autographs at the United in Group Harmony Association
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

(Left to right) Original Ink Spots' Jerry Daniels, Jerry's wife Jean Daniels,
Ink Spots' Herb Kenny and Carl Jones
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Carl Jones singing "Autumn Leaves" solo at UGHA
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

(Left to right) Golden Gate Quartet's Paul Brembly and Clyde Wright, Carl Jones
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


Classic Urban Harmony Website Passes 30,000 Visitors!

In just over two years of existence, this website has had more than 30,000 visitors.  OK, so maybe some of you have clicked on our site more than once - it's still a nice accomplishment!  Our sincere thanks to all of you. - Charlie & Pam

Four J's Jimmy Testa Dies

Just received word that Jimmy Testa, and original member of the Four J's out of Philadelphia, passed away Monday, September 20, 2010.  Jimmy's career in music was documented by Bob Bosco in the recent issue of Echoes of the Past.  Our condolences to Jimmy's family and friends.

2010 Philly Doo Wop Festival: Five Years of Great Harmony on Penn's Landing

This year's Philly Doo Wop Festival was again a great success!  Among the doo wop and group harmony performers at the outdoors festival were Junior & the Four Seniors, the Streetlights, 45 RPM, Tre Ja Vous, Quiet Storm, Cornerstone, Little Isidor & the Inquisitors, the Chantels and special guest Jimmy Merchant from the Teenagers.  We were there to cover the events and have documented it in photos and review on this website.  To take a look, click 2010 Philly Doo Wop Fest.

Destinations' Jerry Utter Benefit a Huge Success

For those who missed it, the Jerry Utter benefit was a huge success.  The hall was packed with Jerry Utter's many friends, making it an emotional celebration of Jerry' life.  We'll post details and photos shortly.  

Sensations Article (Part 1) now published in Echoes of the Past!

Our long awaited article on Yvonne Baker, Alphonso Howell and the Sensations has now been published in Echoes of the Past magazine (at least Part 1 has).  This article has been in the works for many years and covers the beginnings of the R&B vocal harmony scene in Philadelphia.  Part 1 takes you from the Philly street corners to the group that recorded "Yes Sir That's My Baby," "My Debut to Love," Sympathy," and all the Atco sides by the group.  The next issue will discuss the "Let Me In" group.  To subscribe to Echoes of the Past, contact Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.

Juveniles - Twilights - Embers Article by Steve Kahn now posted on our website!

Remember great songs like "Solitaire" by the Embers, "I've Lied" and "Beat In My Heart" by the Juveniles and "My Heart Belongs To Only You" by the Twilights?  Well, these three groups evolved from each other.  Steve Kahn's outstanding article on these Bronx singers, previously published in Echoes of the Past magazine, is now posted on our website.  We've added color photographs and scans of all their record labels.  To see this article, click on Juveniles.

Spectacular Soul Show Announced for Liverpool, England on Saturday October 30, 2010.

While most of the concerts we list take place on the East Coast of the U.S., this one in the U.K. was too spectacular to ignore.  On one concert in Liverpool, England, this benefit will star the Temptations Review (featuring Dennis Edwards), Russell Thompkins Jr. & the New Stylistics, Peabo Bryson, Lamont Dozier, Ashford & Simpson, Billy Paul, the Tymes, Freda Payne, Dorothy Moore, Eddie Floyd, Kim Weston, Archie Bell, the Intruders, Brenda Holloway, Dee Dee Sharp, Candi Staton, Eddie Holman and very special guest Percy Sledge!  It will take place at the Liverpool Cathedral on Saturday October 30, 2010 at 6:30 PM.  See the Events Calendar page for details.  [Our thanks to Norman Burnett of the Tymes for alerting us to this event.]

Destinations' Jerry Utter Passes Away - Details for Services Announced

We regret to announce that our friend Jerry Utter, bass singer and founding member of the Philadelphia doo wop and soul vocal group, the Destinations, passed away on September 3, 2010.  Jerry had stage four pancreatic cancer but was trying to live long enough to sing with his old group, the Destinations, one last time at a benefit on September 12 [see the Events Calendar page].  We know he will be there in spirit.

Services will be held at the Fluehr Funeral Home at 3301 Cottman Avenue (at Rowland Avenue) in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening September 8, from 7 - 9 PM. 

Jerry Utter and Charlie Horner, 2009
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Jerry Utter (far left) with the Destinations at Lead East, early 1990's
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Destinations' first recording.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


Jimmy Scott Celebrated His 85th Birthday at the Blue Note Jazz Club (NYC) and Pam & Charlie Were There

The Blue Note jazz club

When legendary jazz singer Jimmy Scott came into New York to celebrate his 85th birthday at the Blue Note jazz club on September 1, 2010, Classic Urban Harmony's Pam & Charlie Horner were there.  Jimmy’s vocal stylings have, over the years, influenced everyone from Sonny Til to Frankie Valli.  It’s hard to imagine our music without the influence of Jimmy Scott.  In addition, Jimmy and his wife Jeanie are two of the nicest people we know.  Whenever Jimmy performs in our area it is a special treat to hear him sing.

We arrived at the Blue Note (131 West Third Street, NYC) at 9:45 PM for the 10:30 show, only to find a line of people stretching down the block.  The Blue Note was packed that night, but we were still able to get seats near the stage.

Blue Note napkin
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Jimmy’s road band the Jazz Expressions opened the show and they were excellent.  Jimmy Scott then came out and sang “All of Me,” “How Deep Is The Ocean,” “I’ve Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good” and “It Had To Be You.”  He then asked if there were any musicians in the audience who wanted to come up and jam and Jabali Billy Hart, one of the more talented drummers of our time sat in for one number.  Another guest who jammed with Jimmy and the band was pianist Ray Angry, who plays with the Roots on Jimmy Fallon's Late Night TV show.  Ray also played a recording of "Silent Night" that Jimmy Scott recorded two days earlier for the forthcoming CD, "Blue Note Christmas".

Jimmy Scott in the studio, August 30, 2010, recording "Silent Night".
(Photo courtesy of Jeanie Scott)

Also of interest was the great harmonica playing of special guest, Gregoire Maret.

Jimmy Scott closed the show with “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” and “I Cried For You.”  We did have a chance to drop backstage briefly and say hello to Jimmy and Jeanie Scott after the show.  Jimmy Scott is a national treasure and whenever we see him we feel we are in the presence of greatness.  For information about Jimmy Scott, he has a great website, www.jimmyscottofficialwebsite.org.

Jimmy Scott, Charlie & Pam backstage at the Blue Note, Sept 1, 2010
(Photo courtesy of Jeanie Scott)

The Blue Note did not allow photographs so we've included a few from the previous time we saw Jimmy & Jeanie at Dizzy's Club in Lincoln Center.

Jimmy & Jeanie Scott, 2008 at Lincoln Center
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Jimmy Scott & Pam Horner, 2008
(Photo by Charlie Horner)

Jimmy Scott & Charlie Horner, 2008
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Sheps Bring Their Acappella Harmony to Somerset Run; Perform at Classic Urban Harmony's Home Turf

It's not often we can walk half a block from CUH Headquarters and catch a great acappella vocal group, but that's what happened on Sunday evening, August 29, 2010.  The Sheps brought their unique brand of doo wop acappella harmony to our home community of Somerset Run, in Somerset, NJ.  In the audience were several singer celebrities.  For photos and a review, click Sheps.

Classic Urban Harmony Now on Facebook!

Classic Urban Harmony now has a presence on Facebook!  While this website will still be our main method of letting you know what's happening, we'll also try to post relevant events on our Facebook page.  For those on Facebook, visit us at www.facebook.com/classicurbanharmony


Latest Issue of A Touch of Classic Soul features articles on the Clovers, Jive Five, Fidelitys, Five Stairsteps, Touch of Class and Cynthia Biggs.

Congrats to Marc Taylor for another fine issue of A Touch of Classic Soul.  The latest issue (Vol. 5, No. 3) features not only detailed articles about the soul harmony groups the Five Stairsteps and touch of Class but also delves into 1950’s harmony groups like the Clovers, the Jive Five and the Fidelities.  We were especially impressed with Marc’s Clovers article which relies heavily on Marc’s extensive interview with Harold Winley.  For info on how to subscribe, email Marc Taylor at Aloivta2@aol.com


Dollface:  Musical Comedy Starring David Forman (Little Isidore) and Linda Shell (Kitten Kaboodle) Reviewed

A great theater experience for comedy and fifties music with witty lyrics.  For a review and photos click Dollface.  

Benefit Acappella Concert for Destinations’ Jerry Utter

We recently received the sad news that our longtime friend, Jerry Utter of the Destinations is very ill with stage four cancer.  Jerry’s last wish is to sing again with the Destinations and plans are underway to make that happen.  An acappella benefit concert for Jerry will take place on September 12, 2010, from 2 – 6 PM at the North Penn VFW, 2519 Jenkintown Road, in Glenside, PA (outside of Philadelphia).  Singing will be Street Corner Five, the Emeralds, Nostalgia, Memory Lane and of course the Destinations.

Tickets are $25 per person and will include a “beef & beer”.  We’re sure additional donations of money or door prizes would be welcomed.  We plan to be there.  For details see our Events Calendar Page and scroll down to September 12 under "Other Group Harmony Events we Support".

Jerry, we think we speak for all group harmony enthusiasts in saying our thoughts and prayers are with you!

Jerry Utter & Charlie Horner, 2009
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

The Story of the Original Blue Notes - A Tribute to Roosevelt Brodie and Franklin Peaker

The story of the Blue Notes did not begin with Harold Melvin and Teddy Pendergrass.  It began with the original Blue Notes, Franklin Peaker, Roosevelt Brodie, Bernard Williams, Jesse Gillis and Sam Salley.  If you recall the songs "My Hero," "If You Love Me," and "She Is Mine," you'll enjoy reading this story in tribute to Roosevelt Brodie and Franklin Peaker.  Just click Blue Notes.


Classic Urban Harmony Presentation Scores Another Hit, This Time at Garwood (NJ) Public Library.  Photos now posted!

On August 3, we gave our "Under The Streetlamp: Tales From The Doo Wop Era - Part 1" presentation at the Garwood (NJ) Public Library.  This time we made a few additions, including a tribute to the Moonglows' Harvey Fuqua.  Present in the audience to greet doo wop fans was our friend Ron Taylor of the Del Larks, from nearby Plainfield.  We've posted photos.  To view them click Garwood Library.  Our presentation was exceeding well received and thanks to an enthusiastic response we hope to return to the Garwood Public Library to give Part 2 this Fall. 

New Jersey Doo Wop & Street Corner Harmony Association Show, July 31, 2010

On Saturday July 31, 2010, we attended the New Jersey Doo Wop & Street Corner harmony Association's doo wop show in Paramus, NJ to see Quiet Storm and Twin Gold perform.  We had a great time and captured the event in pictures for you to view.  Click NJDW&SCHA to take a look.

Nick at Night Open Mic Night in Parsippany, NJ

On Thursday evening, July 29, 2010, we attended Nick at Night's Open Mike Night at Harold's Restaurant at the Holiday Inn in Parsippany, NJ.  It was one big doo wop group Kareokee night and we had a lot of fun.  To see photos of this weekly event, click Nick @ Night Open Mic.

Eller Weas Little's New Website

Our friend, Eller Weas Little, formerly of the Spellbinders and Ad Libs, has started her own website to introduce her new gospel and inspirational recordings.  Check it out at www.simmonshill.net

Classic Urban Harmony Website Celebrates its Second Anniversary

August 1 marks the second anniversary of our website, www.classicurbanharmony.net.  In the space of two years this website has gone from just an idea we had to one of the more respectable websites out there on vocal group harmony.  In just two years we are approaching 28,000 hits on our site.  Many thanks to all of you who visit this website and help support us!

Silk City Sings to Capacity Crowd at Franklin Township Public Library

The acappella group, Silk City, entertained a capacity crowd at our latest Classic Urban Harmony event on July 21, 2010, at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ.  The 100+ person audience filled the Community room, but no one was leaving until the concert was over!  What a great job Silk City did.  To read Pam's review and view photos of the event, click Silk City Concert.

Classic Urban Harmony Presentation at Riviera East Windsor (NJ) Active Adult Community Another Success

On June 9, 2010, we gave our "Under The Streetlamp: Tales From The Doo Wop Era - Part 1" presentation at the Riviera East Windsor (NJ) active adult community.  We brought along our friend Bobby Thomas from the Vibranaires and Orioles and had a great time.  For photos and a short review, click Riviera East Windsor.

Don & Denise Leins Wedding

On June 19, 2010, we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of our friends Don Leins and Denise Cappone.  Vocal harmony fans know Don Leins from his years co-hosting Charlie's WXPN radio program in the late 1970's and early 1980's.  We had a great time celebrating with Don & Denise, seeing old friends and listing to the Philly vocal group, Neighbors Complaint.  For photos and a write up of the event, click Leins Wedding.

Steve Applebaum "Fun-Raiser" at the South Philly String Band Club - Photos and Review

It was a wonderful occasion at the South Philly String Band Club on July 14, 2010.  The club was packed with many friends of Steve Applebaum, there for this "Fun-Raiser," including many acappella groups.  For a glimpse of photos of the event, click Fun-Raiser.

Blue Notes' Roosevelt Brodie Dies - Funeral Arrangements Announced

In a month filled with sad news, we just (7/13) received word from Ron Kennedy that our friend Roosevelt Brodie, original founding member of the Blue Notes has passed away.  Funeral arrangements for Roosevelt Brodie are as follows:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Love Missionary Baptist Fellowship
5801 Ogontz Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19141

Viewing: 9 - 11 AM
Service: 12 - 1 PM

 Moonglows Harvey Fuqua Tribute Page Update with New Photos from Steve Applebaum and Charles Anderson

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Harvey Fuqua, last remaining member of the original Moonglows.  Harvey died at 5:15 PM on Tuesday July 6, 2010.  The Moonglows are considered one of the greatest R&B vocal groups of all time, yet Harvey's contributions to American popular music don't stop there.  After the Moonglows, he moved into producing music, having a major impact on Detroit music recorded for the Anna, Tri-Phi, Harvey and Motown labels.  His discoveries included Marvin Gaye, the Spinners, Junior Walker, David Ruffin, New Birth and countless others.  We posted a tribute to Harvey Fuqua on this website last week.  We've now updated that page with some great photos of Harvey, some with the Temptations and the Jewels.  Our thanks to Steve Applebaum and Charles Anderson for sending us these rare and (we believe) previously unpublished photos.  To view them click MOONGLOWS..

Moonglows:  Harvey Fuqua, upper right.    

Renovations on Classic Urban Harmony Library Completed

We are proud to announce that the renovations of the book and periodical library of our Classic Urban Harmony Archives have now been completed.  New built-in bookcases, designed, built and installed by Blackpoint Woodworking, modernize and expand our library and research capabilities.  Keeping up with the growing number of publications about our music is a daunting challenge.  In 2007, we donated over 250 books on Jazz and Black History and numerous music trade journals to the Harlem Jazz Museum because we simply ran out of space.  While we kept all of our books and periodicals on R&B, Doo Wop, Gospel and Pop music, our collection kept expanding.  Our new library finally allows us a quiet study hall with a world of information about group harmony at our fingertips.  To follow the renovations and view photos of our new library, click CUH Library

Classic Urban Harmony's Search for Vocal Group Harmony in Bermuda

Tracing the history of vocal groups has led us to some unlikely places.  When some great vocal harmony records turned up by the Talbot Brothers and the Harmony Four, the responsibility of tracking down their Bermudian roots fell on Classic Urban Harmony.  Why do we always get the tough assignments?  Click Bermuda Vocal Groups to follow our quest for answers.

Richard Nader’s Summer Doowop Reunion XXI

On June 12, 2010, Richard Nader Entertainment Inc., presented Richard Nader’s Summer Doo Wop Reunion XXI at the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands, NJ.  The enjoyable day and night of doowop music honored the memory of Richard Nader, who started the Rock & Roll Oldies Revival at Madison Square Garden in 1969.  Sadly, Richard succumbed to complications of Parkinson’s disease in December 2009.  Deborah Nader is keeping alive Richard’s dream.

The show featured an all star line up that included Charlie Thomas' Drifters, Herb Reed's Platters, the Legendary Teenagers, Fred Parris' Five Satins, Carl Gardner's Coasters, the Duprees, Kenny Vance & the Planotones, Tommy Mara's Crests, the Cookies, Barbara Harris of the Toys and 14-year-old soloist Amanda Nikka.

As a special treat, we were also witnessed an acappella showdown at the afternoon tailgate party and classic car show.  The contest was won but Philly's own Quiet Storm.  Quiet Storm went on to amaze the audience during the evening show with their rendition of "She Is Mine."

To see our review of the event along with many photos, click Nader Doo Wop Reunion XXI.

Classic Urban Harmony Returns from Cruise to Bermuda

If you've been wondering why we haven't updated the website for the past week and a half, it's because we've been on a cruise to Bermuda.  It was a fabulous vacation but we're back now and hard at work on a lot of new projects.  Expect to see a feature on this site soon about vocal harmony from Bermuda.



Memory Lane Concert Cruises Announces April 2011 Doo Wop Mexican Riviera Cruise with All Star Lineup

Memory Lane Concert Cruises is presenting an Oldies But Goodies Mexican Riviera Cruise with these legends of Doo Wop: Arlene Smith's Chantels ("Maybe," He's Gone"), Johnny & Joe ("Over The Mountain," "I'll Be Spinning"), the Six Teens ("A Casual Look"), the Pentagons ("To Be Loved," "I Wonder," "Until Then"), the Olympics ("Hully Gully," "Western Movies," "Stay Where You Are"), the Elgins ("Uncle Sam's Man," "My Illness"), the Calvanes ("Dreamworld," "Don't Take Your Love From Me," "They Call Me Fool", "Chapel Of Love") Vel Omarr with a tribute to Sam Cooke and a Super Girls Group consisting of Louise Murray of the Hearts ("Lonely Nights," "A Prisoner To You"), Lillian Walker of the Exciters ("Tell Him"), Margaret Ross of the Cookies ("Chains"), Nanette Licari of Reparata & the Del Rons ("Whenever A Teenager Cries") and Beverly Warren of the Raindrops ("What A Guy") and the Blend-Airs.  The shows will be MC'd by Matt the Cat.

The cruise leaves out of Los Angeles on April 10, 2011 and visits Puerto Vallarta, Mazatian and Cabo on the Carnival Splender.  It returns on April 17.  In addition to the headliner shows there will be dancing, a super gold sock hop, a jam session, Rock-n-Roll trivia contests, a hosted cocktail party, commemorative T-shirts, Q&A sessions with the stars, daily drawings and much more.  Free VIP Packages are time limited offers.

For more info call 1-800-301-9673, visit www.mlccruises.com or see the flyer by scrolling down on our Events Calendar Page.

Photos from our Classic Urban Harmony Presentation (Part 2) at Somerset Run Active Adult Community now Posted

Thanks to all of you who attended our Classic Urban Harmony presentation of Doo Wop Part 2 at Somerset Run Active Adult Community in Somerset, NJ (our home turf) on Monday night May 24.  What an enthusiastic crowd!  We've now posted photos that you can view by clicking Somerset Run Part 2.  It was such as success that we've been invited back to give Part 3 on Monday night, September 27.  Save the date and visit Our Events Calendar page for details.

www.ClassicUrbanHarmony.net Passes 25,000 Visitors

In our first twenty-two months of existence, our website, www.classicurbanharmony.net, has had more than 25,000 visitors!  This has far exceeded our expectations.  After all, most of the music we are trying to preserve here is more than fifty years old!  Our sincere thanks to all of you who have cared enough to visit our website.  We hope we have given you reason to return and we will continue to do our best to keep you informed about the vocal group harmony scene.

New Echoes of the Past magazine features our article about the late Johnny Maestro

The latest issue of Echoes of the Past magaine has just come out and features our article on the life and career of Johnny Maestro.  Johnny, who led both the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge, passed away on March 24, 2010.  We initially posted a tribute to Johnny Maestro that can be seen by clicking Crests but our article in Echoes far surpasses that, being based on two separate interviews with Johnny Maestro by Todd Baptista and Matt the Cat as well as our own interviews with Crests' J. T. Carter and songwriter Billy Dawn Smith.  This issue of Echoes also has excellent articles about the Tyrones (by Bob Bosco), the Empires on Candi (by George Frunzi) and the Juveniles/Twilights/Embers (by Steve Kahn).  To subscribe to Echoes of the Past, contact editor Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.   


Ronnie Dio Dies.  Heavy Metal Singer with Ties to Doo Wop & Fifties Rock & Roll

Ronnie Dio, best known as a heavy metal vocalist with groups like Black Sabbath and Dio, died May 16, 2010 at the age of 67.  Those of us into fifties Rock & Roll and Doo Wop music remember him for his late 1950's and early 1960's recordings as Ronnie Dio & the Red Caps (Reb and Seneca labels) and as Ronnie Dio & the Prophets on the Atlantic, Lawn and Swan labels.

Ronnie Dio & Prophets

Our Article on Johnny Stiles & the Medallions on Essex now Posted on this Website!

Our article on the musical career of Philadelphia singer and musician, Johnny Stiles, including the vocal group the Medallions who recorded for the Essex label and the band the Manhattans who recorded for the Piney and King labels and who backed Morris Wade on the Ransom label, is now posted on this website.  It originally appeared in Echoes of the Past magazine earlier this year and is reprinted here with the magazine's permission.  For the web, we've also taken the liberty of using color scans of all the record labels and updating the discography.  To read the article, click on Johnny Stiles & the Medallions.

Latest Free Acappella Group Concert at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ, Announced for July 21.

Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ, and Classic Urban Harmony announce their latest FREE acappella group concert for Wednesday July 21, 2010 from 7 - 8:30 PM.  This time it's going to be the fine acappella group, Silk City.  Registration will be required but sign up is not open until June.  For more details see Our Events Calendar.

R&B Music Community Mourns the Loss of Five More Singers   

This is the kind of news we wish would never come our way but we're saddened to report the passing of five more singers in the past few weeks.

On Friday April 23, we lost Norman Wright, lead singer of the Del-Vikings.  Norman was 72.  The Del-Vikings were formed at a Pittsburgh Air Force base and after winning several talent contests the group was signed to Fee Bee Records.  The Philadelphia born Norman Wright sang lead on "Come Go With Me," recorded in 1956.  Wright's fellow Del Vikings included Dave Lerchey, Don Jackson, Kripp Johnson and Clarence Quick.  "Come Go With Me" and the group's follow up, "Whispering Bells" both were Top Ten chart records.  Though those were the group's biggest records, the Del Vikings have given us so many great recordings over the years.  Norman will be missed.

Norman Wright (center) with the Del Vikings

Eddie Lee Jackson, an original member of Brenda & the Tabulations died on May 3, 2010 at the age of 63.  Together with fellow Philadelphians Brenda Payton, Maurice Coates and Jerry Jones Eddie formed the group in 1966.  With Brenda as lead, the Tabulations were known for songs like "Dry Your Eyes and "Right On The Tip Of My Tongue."

Brenda & the Tabulations

Dave Fisher passed away on May 7, 2010.  He was 70 years old.  Dave Fisher was a member of doo wop group the Academics and later formed the Highwaymen who did, "Michael Rowed The Boat Ashore"" and "Cotton Fields".  For more on Dave Fisher, visit our profile on the Academics.

The Academics

Corrado "Connie" Codarini, the original bass of the Four Lads died April 2010 in Concord, NC.  He was 80 years old.  The Canadian vocal group was aided early in their career by Golden Gate Quartet bass, Orlandus Wilson, who saw the group performing in Toronto and helped bring them to New York City to audition for the club, Le Ruban Bleu.  From there the group was discovered by Mitch Miller who had them back Johnny Ray on "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried."  The Four Lads went on to record numerous hits like "Moments To Remember."

Sheet Music to Four Lads' "Moments To Remember"
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Lena Horne passed away Sunday, May 9 in New York City at the age of 92.  Lena was one of the great performers of our time.  From a group harmony standpoint, we'd like to point a couple of her interactions with vocal groups.  On record, Lena Horne was backed by the Phil Moore Four on the RCA-Victor 78 RPM, "How Long Has This Been Going On" b/w "I Want A Little Doggie".  In films, Lena starred in the 1938 movie, "The Duke Is Tops" (later reissued as "Bronze Venus"), a motion picture that also featured the group, Cats & A Fiddle, though Lena never sang with the group.  She was however backed by a vocal group in the Red Skelton film, "I Dood It."  In that 1943 movie, Lena Horne sang "Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho" backed by a six member group called the Plantation Boys.  Two members of the Plantation Boys, Carl Jones and Clifford Holland, both seen in the film, later sang with the Delta Rhythm Boys.

Lena Horne

  Check out the new additions to Our Events Calendar and our Mailbox!

Lots of great concerts and group harmony events coming in the near future.  You can find out about them through Our Events Calendar by scrolling down to Other Group Harmony Events We Support.

Also check out our Mailbox to see what people have been emailing us about as well as discussions about some very rare 78 RPM labels, the Companions' record on Dove, and many other topics.

[New!]Plurals Article Updated and posted on this website!

Our article on the Plurals ("Miss Annie"), first published in Echoes of the Past magazine more than five months ago has just been given some major updates and posted on this website.  We've swapped some black & white photos for color ones and added a lot more from the collection of Reverend Skip Borsos.  All of the label scans are now in color.  We added a lot of new info through the assistance of Donn Fileti, who booked the group for a school dance in 1958 and who helped us make some sense of the different pressings of "Miss Annie."  We've even added a page for record collectors with photos and descriptions of the different ways the record came out.  We also thank our friend Steve Applebaum, who reminded us that the Intruders covered two of the Plurals songs.  And speaking about covers, Kenny Vance & the Planetones remake of "Miss Annie" just hit #1 on the Carolina Beach Music Charts (thanks to Willie C for that info).  To read the complete story, click Plurals.  Then use your Back Button to return to this page. 

  Bill Kelsey of the Philly Acappella Groups, Nostalgia Five and Memory Lane Dies

We regret to announce the passing of our friend Bill Kelsey, former member of the fine Philadelphia acappella groups, Nostalgia Five and Memory Lane.  He was 62.  Nostalgia Five was a frequent guest acappella group on Charlie Horner's Classic Urban Harmony radio program on WXPN during the 1980's.  We feel a terrible loss.  Bill Kelsey's funeral will be held at Nolan & Fidale Funeral Home, 2316 Providence Ave., Chester, PA 19013, with visitation from 8:15 to 9:45 AM Saturday, May 7, 2010.  It will be followed by a 10:30 AM Mass at St. John Chrysostom Church, 617 S. Providence Rd., Wallingford, Nether Providence.  Our sincere condolences to Bill's family and friends.

Bill Kelsey was the second member of Nostalgia Five to pass away this year.  As we mentioned earlier on this site, Jack Albright died on March 4.  Our thanks to Pete Siciliano, bass of Nostalgia Five, for supplying us with the following two photos.

Nostalgia Five
(Photos courtesy of Pete Siciliano)

Philadelphia Dedicates "Doo Wop Diner" Mural Featuring the Tymes and Neighbors Complaint

Philadelphia's city-wide collection of over 3000 giant murals took a giant step towards recognizing the city's rich vocal group heritage with the April 22, 2010 dedication of a doo wop mural on the side of the Trolley Car Diner in the Mount Airy section of the city.  The mural, the work of artist Jonathan Laidacker, featured the images of two local vocal groups, the Tymes and Neighbors Complaint.  The dedication took place on the tenth anniversary of the Trolley Car Diner and the presentation featured live acappella by members of both groups.  As you'd expect, Classic Urban Harmony was there to cover the event with a review and many photos.  Click Doo Wop Mural to take a look!

Classic Urban Harmony Presentation on New Jersey Doo Wop Groups a Great Success

Our first presentation on New Jersey Doo Wop Groups, held April 21, 2010, at the Franklin Township Public Library was a huge success.  The room was just about filled and everyone had a great time.  In the audience were many vocal group singers from New Jersey and elsewhere.  At some point we'll post the hand out program that listed all the New Jersey groups.  In the meantime, click New Jersey Groups to view our photos and read about the event.

Making Crossroads 2 Concert Review and Photos

Congrats to Christine Vitale for producing a great "Making Crossroads 2" concert.  Not only did we have a real knock-down drag-out acappella battle of the groups between Philly's Quiet Storm and Jersey City's Choice, but we were treated Gospel jazz sax standout Tony Smith, living legend of Latin and Soul music - Joe Bataan, and fan favorite Angel Rissoff with backup by Choice and a special guest appearance by Little Isidore!  Classic Urban Harmony was right there on the front row to bring you note by note details and lots of great photos.  Click Crossroads 2 to view the event.

New Jersey Libraries Face Drastic Cuts in State Funding

While this website tries to remain nonpolitical, we were nevertheless disturbed to hear today that New Jersey's Governor Christie has proposed cutting state aid to libraries by 74%, from $14 million to $3.7 million.  Librarians throughout the state are predicting massive service and program cuts if the funding cuts are allowed to go through.  As many of our Classic Urban Harmony programs are offered free to the public through New Jersey's libraries, we feel obligated to support the libraries who offer countless beneficial services to the community especially during these difficult financial times.  To learn more about what can be done to help the NJ libraries, visit www.ilovenjlibraries.org

New Philadelphia Mural to Celebrate Doo Wop Music featuring the Tymes and Neighbors Complaint

Congratulations to Philadelphia vocal groups, the Tymes and Neighbors Complaint, the latest subjects of Philadelphia's prolific mural program.  The new mural, celebrating Philadelphia's rich vocal harmony group heritage will be dedicated at the Trolley Car Diner, 7619 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, on Thursday April 22 between 4 and 6 PM.  The public is invited.  The mural is the creation of artist Jon Laidacker.  It's great to see the city recognize its music heritage and Philly's hundreds of murals are a major tourist attraction.  For more details about the dedication, contact Kevin Brown, Project Manager, at 215-756-4202 or by email at kevin.brown@muralarts.org

Classic Urban Harmony Presentation at Randolph NJ Library Another Success

We had a great time giving our "Under the Streetlamp - Tales From the Doo Wop Era Part 1" presentation at the Randolph Public Library on April 7.  To see photos and read a brief review of the event click Randolph Presentation.

Donn Fileti Subject of an Article in Juke Blues Magazine

Most of us know Donn Fileti as an extraordinary researcher in the field of R&B vocal group harmony.  Indeed his work with Relic Records has literally saved the history and recordings of hundreds of classic R&B group sides.  What some of us didn't know was Donn's efforts in recording, producing and selling records in other areas like Soul, Blues and Gospel.  This other side of our friend Donn Fileti is detailed in the latest issue (#68, Autumn/Winter 2009) of Juke Blues magazine.  The U.K. magazine can still be found on the shelves of news stands in the U.S. now.  Richard Tapp and John Brovin did an excellent job on the article.  Congratulations Donn.  Your music accomplishments never cease to amaze us.

Church and Memorial Services for Johnny Maestro Open to Public

We now have information on the church service and memorial service for Johnny Maestro, noted lead voice of the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge.  Both are open to the public.  Please pass this information on to all of Johnny's fans.

Church Service
April 9, 2010 at 10:30PM

St. Mary's RC Church
20 Harrison Avenue
East Islip, NY  11730-2391

Memorial Service
Sunday, April 11, 2010 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Kupferberg Performing Arts Center
Colden Auditorium at Queens College
6530 Kissena Blvd. (Exit 24 off the Long Island Expressway)
(Corner of Horace & Kissena Blvd.)
Queens, NY

Printed Souvenir Program Planned for April 21 Classic Urban Harmony Presentation on Doo Wop Groups of New Jersey

As a special handout, the attendees of our April 21 presentation on "Doo Wop Groups of New Jersey (Part 1)" will each receive a printed list of nearly 200 New Jersey doo wop groups, their hometowns and record labels.  Our presentation will begin at 7 PM at the Franklin Township Public Library at 485 DeMott Lane in Somerset, NJ.  Admission is free but you must register in advance.  See "Our Events Calendar" to sign up.

Classic Urban Harmony Presentation on African American Spirituals and Jubilee Groups a  Great Success!!!

Saturday March 27th Classic Urban Harmony Presentation on "Spirituals" and the Jubilee Singers" for the Meadows Foundation was a great success.  A near capacity crowd squeezed into the dining room/living from of the historic Hageman farmhouse to hear Charlie & Pam discuss the pre-Civil War conditions of slavery in the deep South that led to the creation of America's first folk music, African American Spirituals.  Emphases was spent on the secret "mask & shield" double meanings of songs, especially with references to the Underground railroad.  The career of the Fisk Jubilee Singers was covered from its inception through the hard times in Ohio and the prosperous times in New England, Great Britain, Holland and Germany.  Also discussed were some of the many groups that imitated the Fisk Singers, both in concert and in theatrical productions of "Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Many photos of song books, theatre cards, wax cylinders and other memorabilia were shown.  The relationships between 19th Century Spirituals and modern quartet singing was explained.  At the end, a Q&A session was held and refreshments were served.  Door prizes of spirituals CD's awarded.  For photos and a review, visit Meadows Foundation Spirituals Talk.

Johnny Maestro of the Crests & Brooklyn Bridge Has Died

We are deeply saddened to report that Johnny Maestro, fabulous lead singer of the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge lost his fight with liver cancer.  Johnny passed away last night, Wednesday March 24, 2010 at the age of 70.  Our prayers go out to Johnny's family, friends and many fans.  We have just added a tribute to Johnny Maestro.  To view it, click Crests.


Golden Voice Harry & Cornerstone's CD Release Party

When Golden Voice Harry and Cornerstone throw a party, you can be sure it's a gala event, especially when it's to celebrate the release of their newest CD.  Read all about it (an see some great photos too) on the latest addition to our website.  Just click Cornerstone CD Release Party.


Photos and Review of the Sheps' March 9, 2010, Doo Wop Acappella Concert at Franklin Township Public Library Now Posted on this Website

Photos and a review of the Sheps' March 9, 2010, doo wop acappella concert at the franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ are now posted on our website.  Our thanks to the Sheps for a fabulous concert.  To view the photos click on Sheps Concert.


Music Historian and Author Charlie Gillett Dies

Music historian, author and radio dee jay Charlie Gillett died in London on March 17, 2010, at the age of 68.  Charlie Gillett wrote one of the first books on the history of Rock & Roll, entitled "Sound of the City" in 1970.  His book served as inspiration to all of us who now continue research in this field.  Thank you Charlie and may you rest in peace.

Classic Urban Harmony Main Computer Fixed!!! (Well Almost)

After over a week of not being able to post photos of events or send out our mailing list, our Classic Urban Harmony main computer is (almost) fixed.  At this point we can do everything except access our record player and music, but we should be able to have that straightened out very soon.  Expect us to become more active with out updates again within the next three days.  Thank you for your patience.

Message from Johnny Maestro

The following message was sent to us from Johnny Maestro, by way of Todd Baptista. 

"I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their thoughts, get well wishes and prayers while I am undergoing treatment for cancer.  I have been fortunate to be able to perform before the 'best audiences', our loyal  fans, for over 7 decades dating back to the late 1950's. There have been no better times for myself and the Brooklyn Bridge then when we are performing, singing the music that brings back memories of times that we all cherish and hold dear to our hearts. I am very grateful for the opportunity that has allowed me to do something that 'I love' and to be able to share our music with so many people.

I want everyone to know that when I read your messages, it brightens my day and gives me strength and determination to get back on stage. Your support is the best medicine."

Best Wishes.........................Johnny Maestro

Ed. note---messages of encouragement and support can be sent to Johnny through the Brooklyn Bridge website at

New Echoes of the Past Magazine features our article on Johnny Stiles & the Medallions on Essex label.

The latest issue of Echoes of the Past magazine is now out, containing our article on Johnny Stiles and the Medallions on the Essex label ("I Know" b/w "Laki-Lani").  In addition, there's Bob Bosco's article on another Philadelphia group, the Ballads (Tina label), George Frunzi's article on the Encounters and Street Corner Five and Carl Janusek's article on Dakota Station plus a lot more.  For info on how to subscribe, email Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com

2010 Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival in the works!

While there has yet to be an official announcement, reliable sources tell us that this year's Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival will take place on September 11, 2010 at Penn's Landing.  Tentative headliners will be the Chantels and Little Isidore & the Inquisitors plus the usual great line up of local doo wop acappella and R&B vocal groups.  Festival will benefit area veterans so save the date!

Prayers Needed for Johnny Maestro

We've been holding off mentioning this for awhile in respect for his privacy, but since the word is now out, Johnny Maestro, the fabulous lead singer of the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge is battling liver cancer.  We're sure we speak for all those who visit our website in saying that Johnny is in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  Get well Johnny.

Great Time at the Cornerstone CD Release Party!

We had a great time at Golden Voice Harry & Cornerstone's CD release party at Keenan's Valley View Inn, in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia on Friday night March 12.  Cornerstone did two sets, the first lasting about an hour and the second 45 minutes.  Harry and the guys did a mix of fan favorites as well as many songs from the new CD, "Sharkskin, Silk & Soul."  There's something on this CD for everyone, ranging from Doo Wop to Soul to Beach Music.  The CD also has the group's original number, "When Two People Fall In Love," a song already getting airplay in the Philadelphia area.  We'll post some photos of the event on this website in a couple days, once our computer problems are resolved.  In the meantime, we congratulate Harry, Bill, Pat and Al in reaching a new level with this great CD.  Visit www.goldenvoiceharry.com for details.


Sheps Doo Wop Acappella Concert at Franklin Township Public Library Another Great Success!

The March 9th Free acappella concert by the Sheps at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ, was yet another fabulous success.  The program lasted about an hour and a half, with the Sheps singing two sets separated by a short intermission.  The Sheps laid down some fabulous harmonies, mixing well know songs like "The Wind" with obscure collectors' songs like "All I Want" (originally done by the Five Chances).  We are currently having computer problems that temporarily prevent us from posting photos of this event, but we hope to have these corrected soon.  Please check back with us in a few days to see a complete review and many photos of the Sheps' performance.

Jack Albright of Nostalgia Five Dies

We're sad to report that Jack Albright, first tenor and an original member of the Philadelphia acappella group Nostalgia Five, passed away on March 3, 2010.  Jack and Nostalgia Five were an important part of the Philly acappella scene during the 1980's and 1990's.  Jack will be missed. 

Virginia "Legends of Gospel" Concert Review and Photos Now Posted on our Website

We've returned from the "Legends of Gospel" Concert in Portsmouth, Virginia, produced by Reverend Brenda Boone and co-sponsored by Classic Urban Harmony - OK, we tried to help out a little but Reverend Boone did all the work.  It was a fabulous concert that lasted six hours (non-stop) and featured some of the biggest names in Gospel quartet singing today, including the Sensational Nightingales, Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires, Damon Little & Nu Beginning, Frankie Davis & the Mighty Stars, Elder Ronnie Harper & the Harmonizing Echoes, Minister Paul Boone & the Mighty TempleAires, Van Jones & King David's Harp, the Voices of Christ, Danny Hill & Group Determination and many many more.  Read our review of the concert and view many photos we took by clicking Virginia Gospel Concert.

Saturday's Presentation on Spirituals & the Jubilee Singers is Rescheduled to March 27, 2010.

Saturday's Classic Urban Harmony Presentation on "Spirituals" and the Jubilee Singers" for the Meadows Foundation has been rescheduled to Saturdays March 27, 2010.  If you are already registered for this presentation, you will still be registered for the new date unless you tell us otherwise.  We apologize for any inconvenience this postponement may have caused.  For more details on this talk, please see Our Events Calendar.

Weldon McDougal III Article in Philadelphia Tribune

The Philadelphia Tribune recently published a well-written article about our friend Weldon Arthur McDougal III being interviewed February 17, 2010 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.  Click http://www.phillytrib.com/tribune/index.php/entertainmentheadlines/9696-rock-hall-honors-for-man-behind-phillys-sound to read it.  Again, our congratulations to Weldon.

Donald "Jack" Johnson, Last of the Cardinals Dies

This sad news just in from our friend Sonny Hatchett.  Donald "Jack" Johnson, the last of the original members of the R&B vocal group, the Cardinals passed away Monday, February 8, 2010, three days short of his 77th birthday.  Born in East Baltimore, Jack first began singing in church.  Johnson was one of the founding members of the Cardinals, along with Ernie Warren (lead), Meredith Brothers, Leon Hardy and guitarist Sam Aydetotte.  One of the most talented vocal groups of the 1950's, the Cardinals are known for their smooth ballads like "Shouldn't I Know" (Jack does the bridge), "I'll Always Love You," "The Wheel of Fortune," "The Door Is Still Open" and "Here Goes My Heart To You."

The Cardinals, Jack Johnson second from right.

The Cardinals, Jack Johnson far left.


Classic Urban Harmony Presentation at Stonebridge at Monroe another success!

Our latest presentation of "Under the Streetlamp: Tales From the Doo Wop Era Part 1" at Stonebridge @ Monroe (NJ) was another success.  About 85 people enjoyed a fabulous brunch and caught our multimedia presentation.  As an added treat, special guest Shelly Buchanshy, an original member of Vito & the Salutations took the mike and talked about how his group got together and the groups he's singing with now.  Our thanks to the folks at Stonebridge for their hospitality and warm welcome of us.  Click Stonebridge to view photos of the event.

New Legendary Quintet Added to the Portsmouth Concert

The Golden Gate Quartet will not be on this concert.  However, just added to the concert is Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires.  Luther Barnes is one of the leading Gospel voices out there and this great quintet out of Rocky Mount, NC, has been singing for the past 35 years.  Also, doing one song to open the concert will be The Chosen Ones from Suffolk, VA.  For out-of-town attendees, a block of discounted rooms has been added at a local hotel with a bus to take attendees to and from the hotel and the concert church.  See Our Events Calendar for details.

  Classic Urban Harmony Assists with Gospel & Spiritual Concert:  the Sensational Nightingales and Numerous Other Gospel Groups and Soloists

Classic Urban Harmony will assist as co-sponsors as Rev. Brenda Boone Productions & the Higher Praise Community Choir present "The Legends of Gospel" featuring the Sensational Nightingales, Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires, Damon Little & Nu Beginning, Frankie Davis & the Mighty Stars, the Elder Ronnie Harper & the Harmonizing Echoes, Van Jones & King David's Harp, Min. Paul Boone & the Mighty TempleAires, Rev. Brenda Boone & the Higher Praise Community Choir, the Word Singers, Danny Hill & Group Determination, The Voices of Christ, Gospel Vocalists Tracy Edwards-Wright, Evelyn Morrisette and Kimberly Colana.

The Sensational Nightingales are also legendary, having been formed in 1942.  They are one of the greatest Gospel groups around.  Long time member Jo Jo Wallace has been with the "Gales" since the late 1940's.

If this is not enough to make you call for tickets, there will be 12 other Gospel groups, choirs and soloists.  Tenor Frank Davis will perform with his own local group.  Before joining the Golden Gate Quartet, Frank lead the Soul Stirrers.  Another of our favorite groups is Van Jones & King David's Harp, a group that is right at home with traditional Gospel quartet singing.  But we could go on all day.  Click on "Our Events Calendar" for details.

 FREE Doo Wop Acappella Concert by the SHEPS at the Franklin Township Pubic Library (Somerset, NJ) rescheduled for Tuesday Evening, March 9 at 7 PM - NOW SOLD OUT.

For the nearly 100 people who had previously registered for the SHEPS doo wop acappella concert at the Franklin Township Public Library (Somerset, NJ), please be advised that this concert has been rescheduled for Tuesday evening March 9, 2010 at 7 PM.  If you registered for this concert you will automatically be registered for the new date.  If for some reason you can not attend the March 9 date, please contact the library by emailing events@franklintwp.org or calling 732-873-8700 X111, so we may offer your seat to someone else.  This event is now filled to capacity.  Please see Our Events Calendar for more details and a video preview of the Sheps.  To to hear some more of the Sheps songs, visit their website by clicking Sheps.

Delroys' Reggie Walker Dies

On January 26, 2010, Reggie Walker, lead of the Delroys on "Bermuda Shorts" and later member of the Del Vikings passed away at the age of 68.  Please click the link to read our Tribute to Reggie Walker.

Weldon McDougal III to be Interviewed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Congratulations to our good friend Weldon McDougal III for being selected by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland to be part of their "From Songwriters to Soundmen" Series!  Since beginning his music career in the 1950's Weldon has played a major role in the development of soul music, especially in Philadelphia.  Weldon will be interviewed before a live audience on the 4th Floor Foster Theater of the R&R Hall of Fame at 7 PM on February 17, 2010.  If you're anywhere near Cleveland, don't miss this event.  Seating is Free but you must register.  You can email edu@rockhall.org or call 216-515-8426 for reservations.  This honoring of Weldon is well deserved and couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Weldon McDougal III with Charlie & Pam


Herman Dunham, Original Lead Singer of the Solitaires Dies at Age of 73.

We were shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of one of the great voices of our time, Herman Dunham, original lead of the Solitaires.  Herman died Sunday January 31 in New York City.  Herman had been back singing with the Solitaires since 2008 when he rejoined them to do reunion concerts like the Black Swan Concert.  The duel leads between Herman and Milton Love made the Solitaires one of the best vocal groups around.  We last saw Herman sing at the Remembering Ronnie I Concert in November 2009 and he was fabulous!  Herman is best known for his lead vocals on such Solitaires' classics as "Blue Valentine" and "Please Remember My Heart."  He recorded with the Vocaleers prior to joining the Solitaires.  Our condolences to the Solitaires and to Herman's family.  Visit our Herman Dunham Tribute to read about his musical career and view more photos of Herman.  [We've now added label scans.]  

Herman Dunham (left) and Milton Love at the Black Swan Concert, 2008



Classic Urban Harmony Website Passes 20,000 Visitors

In less than a year and a half, our website has surpassed the 20,000 visitors mark!!!!  This is beyond our wildest expectations.  Our sincere thanks to all of you who have made this site so successful.



Classic Urban Harmony Presentation at Canal Walk Active Adult Community - January 15, 2010

Our recent presentation of "Under the Streetlight: Tales from the Doo Wop Era - Part 1" at Canal Walk Active Adult Community in Somerset, NJ, was a huge success.  The capacity crowd of 165 people was one of the more knowledgeable and enthusiastic audiences we've had.  Click Canal Walk to read about and view photos of this event. 

The South Philly String Band Club Revisited - January 13, 2010

We can't get enough of this place!  Even though it's a long drive for us, we try to get to this twice a month Wednesday night event whenever we can.  On January 13, 2010, we were there to see the acappella group Quiet Storm as well as some impromptu harmony by Junior & the Four Seniors.  Click South Philly Stringband Club Jan 2010 to see some photos of the event.


  Classic Urban Harmony and the Meadows Foundation Celebrate Black History Month
with a Presentation on the Early History of Spirituals and Jubilee Groups - March 27, 2010.

Classic Urban Harmony is proud to announce our newest presentation, "African-American Spirituals and Jubilee Groups of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries."  We'll give the Spirituals talk for the Meadows Foundation in Somerset NJ on Saturday afternoon, 2-4 PM, March 27.  See our Events Calendar for details.

Tribute to Eddie Edgehill of the Valentines and Del-Knights

Our friend Eddie Edgehill passed away on January 13, 2010, in Philadelphia.  He was 74.  Eddie is best known to group harmony enthusiasts as the second tenor of the Valentines on songs like "Lily Maebelle," "I Love You Darling," "Christmas Prayer," "Nature's Creation" and "Woo Woo Train," but he also spent several years singing with the Del-Knights (Unart, Sheryl, Chancellor and Bronko labels).  Eddie also sang with Terry Johnson's Modern Flamingos.  Eddie suffered a heart attack on January 4 and died on January 13 at Temple Hospital in Philadelphia.  We've now posted a tribute to him on this site.  Click Eddie Edgehill Tribute to view it. He was 75.  Eddie sang with the Valentines and Del-Knights.  We've posted a detailed tribute to Eddie on this website, including his years with the Valentines and Del-Knights.  We've included many photos, label scans and a discography.

Eddie Edgehill (second from left) with the Valentines

New Classic Urban Harmony Presentations Announced

Classic Urban Harmony is proud to announce our newest presentations, "African-American Spirituals and Jubilee Groups of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries" and "Doo Wop Groups of New Jersey."  We'll give the Spirituals talk for the Meadows Foundation in Somerset NJ on Saturday afternoon February 20.  We'll give the New Jersey Group talk for the first time at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset, NJ, on April 21.  We'll also have a display of New Jersey vocal group photos and memorabilia set up in the Library's display case throughout the month of April.  See our Events Calendar for details.

Teddy Pendergrass Dies

In yet another bit of sad news, soul singer Teddy Pendergrass died January 14 at the age of 59.  Vocal group fans remember Teddy as the lead of Philadelphia's Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970's.  Teddy led songs like "The Love I Lost," "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and "Bad Luck."

For events from other years, see...

What's New (Current)
2009 What's New Page
2008 What's New Page

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