Classic Urban Harmony, LLC

"We Take You Back In The Day"





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  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



The Ad-Libs



The Ad-Libs story began in the mid-1950’s in Bayonne, New Jersey.  At first, the group was called the Arabians and sang street corner acappella.  The original group consisted of Hugh Harris, Danny Austin, John Alan, David Allen Watt, Jr. and James Wright.  As the Creators, the group recorded “I’ll Never Never Do It Again” for the T-Kay label out of Brooklyn.  Later that year, they recorded “Yeah He’s Got It” for the Philips label who also released the seasonal standard, “I Stayed Home (New Years Eve)” as the Creators’ third and final release.  During this time, Dave Waats entered the Army and was replaced by Chris Coles, formerly the bass of the Roamers on Savoy.

[New!](Label photo courtesy of Mike Molinaro)


Both “I’ll Never Never Do It Again” and “I Stayed Home” were written by John Issac Taylor, an extraordinary songwriter who had been a saxophone player with his own big bands back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Taylor, who would figure heavily in the Ad-Libs’ later success, discovered the group harmonizing in a basketball court.  They were soon rehearsing at his home.

By 1964, the group consisted of Hugh Harris, Danny Austin, David Watt and Norman Donegan.  Donegan began singing with a church group called the Buds of Promise.  Norman and David Watt grew up together and when Watt got out of the service, he brought Donegan into the group.  The group then discovered Mary Ann Thomas singing with another group at the Fabian Theater in Hoboken and persuaded her to join their group as lead.  With the new female lead, the group changed names to the Ad-Libs.



John Taylor wrote “The Boy From New York City” for the group, while they were rehearsing on a rooftop, overlooking the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.  The group helped with the lyrics and they soon cut a demo of the song.  Bill Downs, the Ad-Libs’ manager took the demo to Red Bird records, a label owned by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and George Goldner.  After an audition, the song was rerecorded and released on the new Blue Cat subsidiary.  “The Boy From New York City” was released in December 1964 and by March of 1965 it had cracked the top ten of both the Pop and R&B Charts.


With a hit record, the Ad-Libs toured the country.  They did the Dick Clark tour by bus with Dionne Warwick and Chuck Berry that lasted 53 days.  Other tours followed with Little Anthony & the Imperials, Del Shannon and Joe Tex.  The Ad-Libs’ follow up recording was the Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich composition, “He Ain’t No Angel”.  Unfortunately, neither that record nor the group’s next two for Blue Cat ever sold that well.




The Ad-Libs left Blue Cat and in 1966 made a remarkable record for A.G.P. Records.  One side, “Human” is a great vocal group version of the Tommy Hunt ballad.  The flip is a nice Northern Soul side, “New York In The Dark”.  Some say that “New York In The Dark” also came out on the Eskee label, but we’ve never seen one.

By the late sixties, the Ad-libs personnel began changing.  Several members dropped out but would sometimes come back for recordings or shows.  When they didn’t, the Ad-Libs had several people who could fill in.  Irene Baker sang lead on the Ad-Libs’ next recording, “Every Boy And Girl” for the Karen label.  After that and another unsuccessful recording for the Philips labels, the Ad-Libs moved to the Share label in 1968.



On the Share label, the Ad-Libs were produced by one of the best producers around, Van McCoy.  McCoy brought the Ad-Libs back on the charts with “Giving Up”.  John Allen (of the Creators) rejoined the group.  Linda Goodson joined the Ad-Libs and did lead.  For awhile, the Ad-Libs had two women and three men in the group.  The Ad-Libs continued singing off and on throughout the 1970’s.  In the late 70’s the group reportedly consisted of Arthur Robinson, Irene Baker, Hugh Harris, Rose Myers and David Watt.  Shortly after this, Chris Bartley joined the Ad-Libs.  Bartley was also being produced by Van McCoy.  McCoy had recorded several records with him for the Vando and Buddah labels, including the successful “The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven”.  [It’s said that another McCoy (Vando label) artist, Art Robins, also passed through the Ad-Libs)]

In 1981, the song, “The Boy From New York City” was turned into an even bigger hit by Manhattan Transfer.  This breathed new life into the Ad-Libs’ career. 



The Ad-Libs returned to the studio in 1982 to record “I Don’t Need A Fortune Teller” (now a Northern Soul classic) on the Passion label.  Incredibly, during the pressing of the first (and only) 1000 copies of the record, a mistake was made and the records were pressed with the labels reversed.  The mistake was not noticed until all but a handful of copies were left to be pressed.  With only about ten copies having the labels on the correct sides, most of the copies had to be destroyed.  Less than a hundred of the (label-reversed copies) were saved and given to the Ad-Libs to use for promotion.  As a result, this record is now extremely rare with labels reversed and impossible to find with labels on the correct way.  Classic Urban Harmony LLC obtained our copy (shown here) in 1982 when the group visited Bill Swanke’s Big Beat Show on WRSU-FM to promote the record.  The record never caught on, so no further pressings were ever made.

The Ad Libs appeared in the 1985 doo wop movie, “Joey,” along with the Silhouettes, Teenagers, Elegants and others.

In 1988, the Ad-Libs recorded four records for John Taylor’s Johnnie Boy label.  The first was a remake of the Creators’ “I Stayed Home,” this time featuring Chris Bartley’s lead.  The Ad-Libs on Johnny Boy were Dave Watt, Mary Ann Thomas, Chris Bartley, Abby Grant and Ray Block.  Ray Block and Abby Grant had been part of the group Vintage (Catamount label) in 1972 along with James Wright from the Creators, Cada Brooks from the Atlantics , and Eller Weas Little from the Spellbinders.  [This info provided by Ray Block.]  For some great photos of Ray with the Ad-Libs, Vintage and other groups click Here.

Today the Ad-Libs are no longer singing.  Mary Ann Thomas and Huey Harris have passed on.  David Watt passed away in 2008.  Danny Austin joined the church and no longer sings secular music. 




Pam and Charlie Horner with Norman Donegan, 2006.


The Ad-Libs appearing at the United in Group Harmony Association in 1981.
Left to right: Dave Watt, Natalie ????, Chris Bartley, Eller Weas Little, Jimmy Hollinger.




Ad-Libs Singles Discography

As the Creators

T-Kay 110          – I’ll Never Never Do It Again / Boy He’s Got It          1/62

Philips 40058     – Yeah he’s Got It / Boy He’s Got It (Instru)               8/62

Philips 40083     – I Stayed Home / Shoom Ba Da                                62

As the Ad-Libs

Blue Cat 102      - The Boy From New York City / Kicked Around         12/64

Blue Cat 114      - He Ain’t No Angel / Ask Anybody                           4/65

Blue Cat 119      - On The Corner / Oo-Wee Oh Mee Oh My                8/65

Blue Cat 123      - Johnny Is My Boy / I’m Just A Down Home Girl           66

A.G.P. 100          - Human / New York In The Dark                              66

Karen 1527         - Every Boy And Girl / Think Of Me                        11/66

Philips 40461      - You’re In Love / Don’t Ever Leave Me                    5/67

Share 101          - You’re Just a Rolling Stone / Show A Little Appreciation 68

Share 104           - Giving Up / Appreciation                                   12/68

Share 106           - Nothing Worse Than Being Alone / If She Wants Him   69

Capitol 2944       - Love Me / Know All About You                             10/70

Passion 1           - I Don’t Need A Fortune Teller / Spring And Summer      82

Johnnie Boy 1     - I Stayed Home / I Stayed Home [acappella]             1/88

Johnnie Boy 2     - The Tide Has Turned / The Tide Has Turned [instru]     88

Johnnie Boy 3     - Close To Me / Close To Me [instru]                            88

Johnnie Boy 4     - I Stayed Home / Santa’s On His Way                     11/88


"Neighbour Neighbour" / "Lovely Ladies" [Interphon 7717] was not recorded by the American Ad Libs but by the British Group The Adlibs, who were the resident group at the famous Adlib Club in Leicester Square in London.  This info from Steve, bass guitarist with the [British] Adlibs.

For more details on the Ad-Libs, see Marc Taylor’s article in “A Touch of Classic Soul,” Vol. 1, No. 12 (Dec 2006).


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