The 7th Annual Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival took place at Penn's
Landing on the waterfront in Philadelphia on Sunday September 9, 2012.
It began at 11:45 AM and ran until almost 6 PM. The line up of entertainment included Fred
Parris & Five Satins, Charlie Gracie, the Del Satins, Cornerstone, Quiet Storm, the Lar Kings,
Neighbor's Complaint, Still Around, The Men of Jubilee and "Philly Diva" Latanya
Gentile. The event was hosted by King Arthur & His Queen, Lou
Costello, Steve Kurtz and Jimmy "Cannonball" Parsons. The Festival benefited
The Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Educational Center.
The Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival was once again blessed
with a glorious sunny day. We at Classic Urban Harmony were proud that our
donation helped make the festival a reality.
The first act on stage was The Men of Jubilee an
acappella gospel group who are all veterans. They said "If there is such a
thing as 'doo wop-gospel' they would be it”. They opened up the show by
singing "The Star Spangled Banner". The Men of Jubilee's set included
"Jesus Met The Woman At The Well," "I'm Grateful," and "The Train".
Great harmony and a great way to start the festival.
The Men Of Jubilee
The Men Of Jubilee & Charlie Horner
The acappella group, Still Around from New Jersey was
nicely attired in matching green shirts and gave us great vocal group
harmony. We especially loved John Bishop’s lead on “Would You Be Still
Mine” [originally by the Emblems on the Bayfront label] and “Zing”.
They also performed nice renditions of "What Did I Do" and "Lorraine".
KJ O'Doherty, Pam Horner, Tom Harford, Lou Rallo
Five Satin's Fred Parris, Pam & Charlie Horner
King Arthur & Queen Janet talking to Fred Parris. Pam
Horner in background.
King Arthur and Jimmy "Cannonball" Parsons
The Philly enduring vocal group Neighbor’s Complaint
sang next. Bob Murphy, who has led the group for more than 30 years,
fronted on the Drifters' "True Love”. "Big Murph, who's voice often
resembles that of Little Anthony, also led on the Imperials' "Shimmy Shimmy
KoKo Bop" and "I'm On The Outside Looking In". L.A. Moore sang a nice
lead on “I Was Such a Fool” and Kenny Latrell led "I Don't Want To Cry".
It was good to see Neighbor's Complaint still performing and sounding great.
From Right: Charlie Horner, Neighbor's Complaint's Bob
Alfie Polliet (noted Philadelphia pianist, composer and conductor)
(Photo courtesy of John Bishop)
Jack Strong (The Contenders) and "Matty G" Gilliano
The acappella group, the Lar Kings entertained us with
the assistance of Persuasions’ original members Jayotis Washington and
Jimmy Hayes. This allowed the group to do sing some acappella songs we
associate with the Persuasions' songs like "Another Night With The Boys" and
"Buffalo Soldier". Also, lending a voice was Ray Sanders, formerly with the
Velours. With the two Lar Kings, Gil Torres and Warren Tesoro, we heard a
sensational group. It was an incredible performance blending three
groups into the Lar Kings. (Gil Torres and Ray Sanders also now sing with
The Lar Kings
The Lar Kings
The Lar Kings/Persuasions: (Left to right) Ray Sanders, Jimmy
Gil Torres, Warren Tesoro, Jayotis Washington
Pam Horner & George Frunzi of Gold Radio's "Down On The
Some of the performers were not harmony oriented but still
entertaining. We heard Latanya Gentile sing a very soulful set,
including Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and an energetic "Proud
(Photo courtesy of John Bishop)
Cornerstone with Golden Voice Harry
did a diverse set of songs. We especially enjoyed “Down by The Ocean,”
"Who's That Knocking" and “Save the Last Dance for Me.” After starting
out with doo wop songs, Harry and the group showed their versatility by
moving into soul and Motown, covering songs by the Casinos, Temptations and
Four Tops. Nice job!
Cornerstone poses with MC Steve Kurtz
Quiet Storm, a Philly favorite, was at the top of
their game. They began with the up-tempo "Looking For A Love". Of
course, they sang all their fan favotrites like "Can I," You're Mine" and
"Some Enchanted Evening". WE especially loved “You Waited Too Long” and
“Your Promise to Be Mine”.
Quiet Storm waiting to perform.
Pam with Warren Tesoro and Gil Torres of the Lar Kings
Across the Delaware River from the Doo Wop Festival stands
RCA Victor building, where some of the first phonograph records were made.
The Del Satins with original member Les Cauchi and a
full band performed a long varied set. “The Morse Code of Love”
and “Mi Amore” were remarkable. Since the Del Satins were the group
that backed Dion on most of his "solo" records, the sang a number of Dion
songs including "Run Around Sue," "Ruby Baby," "The Wanderer" and "Donna
The Del Satins
Timmy Kelly singing at the Festival, a Philly tradition.
This year he was backed by Quiet Storm.
We met Charlie Grace before his performance and found
him to be very friendly and willing to talk to his fans. We told him
we had his first recording on the Cadillac label (1951). He was superb
playing the guitar and singing “Go Man Go”, and “I’m Alright” which he
dedicated to his late friend Eddie Cochran. He is 76 years young and grew
up in South Philly. Of course, Charlie sang his big hits, “Butterfly” and
"Fabulous". We loved his version of “On the Way to Cape May,”
a local favorite. He was backed
by a rockin’ band. Long live Charlie Gracie!
Pam & Charlie backstage with Charlie Gracie
(Photo courtesy of Ron Grozinski)
Charlie Gracie's first recording from 1951
This rare recording from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
Charlie Gracie (left) performing
The featured group was Fred Parris and the Five Satins.
Fred was also very approachable. He was stationed in Philly for a year in
1956 while he was in the army. While on guard duty at the Philadelphia
Naval Yard one night, when he wrote “In the Still of the Night” (while
eating a Philadelphia hoagie). Fred and the group sang “To the Aisle,”
“Shadows,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and “Wonderful Girl” which he dedicated to
his wife. He also sang his first record from 1954, “Dear One” recorded
while he led the Scarlets. Fred and his group closed with “In The
Still of the Night” performed at first acappella and then with his band. It
was a spectacular day for vocal group harmony music!
The Five Satins
Fred Parris and the Satins
Fred Parris' first record
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
The Five Satins
Immediately after the Philly Doo Wop Festival, we hurried
down to the South Philly String Band Club at 2820 Porter Street where they hosted an after
party. We enjoyed a full,
home-cooked buffet and listened to some more great acappella singing.
It was open mike night with many people who'd been at the Philly Doo Wop
Fest as well as some favorite
Philly doo wop singers stopping by.
Some members of Still Around (and friends) harmonizing at the
South Philly String Band Club.
Junior & The Four Seniors
It was another great doo wop festival. We can't wait
until next year for the Eighth Annual Philly Doo Wop Fest!!!
All photos by Classic Urban Harmony except
Copyright © Classic Urban Harmony LLC, 2012. All