Classic Urban Harmony, LLC

"We Take You Back In The Day"





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[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



In Tribute:  The Castelles' Billy Taylor (1937 - 2009)

Billy Taylor, May 2009
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of one of Philadelphia’s most talented vocal group singers, Billy Taylor.  Billy died August 5, 2009, while in Washington, DC.  Billy Taylor is best known for his recordings with the Castelles, like “My Girl Awaits Me,” “Over A Cup of Coffee,” “This Silver Ring” and “Wonder Why” (the latter song he led).  He also sang with the Dreams, Spaniels, Sonny Til’s Orioles, Billy Ward’s Dominoes, the Cobras, the Modern Red Caps and the Clovers.

Billy Taylor was born March 29, 1937, in Philadelphia.  He was raised in West Philadelphia and attended Sulzberger Junior High where he was in the choir with other singers who would go on to form the nuclei of the Philadelphia R&B groups, the Castelles, Dreams, Angels, Cherokees and Larks.  Also in the same choir were Lee Andrews and Solomon Burke.  Eventually the Castelles' personnel settled on George Grant, Billy Taylor, Octavius Anthony, Ron Everett and Frank Vance.

Sulzberger Junior High
(Photo courtesy of Weldon A. McDougal, III)

Billy Taylor learned harmony by listening to groups like the Orioles, Charioteers, Red Caps and Dominoes on the radio.  The Castelles formed from members of the Sulzberger choir in the early 1950’s.  After a number of personnel changes, the group stabilized with the personnel of George Grant, Billy Taylor, Octavius Anthony and Ron Everett.  They appeared on the Parisian Tailor Kiddie Hour, a local radio show talent showcase, singing Orioles' tunes.  Billy Taylor met neighborhood guitar player, Frank Vance, on the street and brought him into the group.  Frank had written a tune called "My Girl Awaits Me" in answer to the Edna McGriff recording "Heavenly Father."  After recording a penny arcade demo of "My Girl Awaits Me," the Castelles stopped into Treegoobs Furniture Store on Lancaster Avenue to see if they could listen to their recording on one of the store's record machines.  Store owner Herb Slotkin asked the group if it was an original tune and decided to start the Grand Record label to record this young group.

George Grant and Billy Taylor being photographed at the former
location of Treegoobs (Grand Records) in December 2008.
(Photo by and courtesy of Mark del Costello)


Billy Taylor was an integral part of the Castelles on the Grand label, singing first and second tenor as well as baritone depending on the song.  Though Billy led only one of the Castelles’ recorded songs (“Wonder Why”), his ability to imitate the vocal stylings of everyone from Sonny Til to Clyde McPhatter made him a more frequent lead in the Castelles’ live appearances.


First press of the Castelles' first and biggest selling record.
For those who collect records, the blue label copy is the one to have!
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

The only Castelles recording that Billy Taylor sang lead on
(seen here as a second press)
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

The Castelles on Atco label, 1956.
This photo is the only known photo of the Castelles.
It contains (left to right) Clarence Scott, Octavius Anthony, George Grant and Billy Taylor.
The photo was given to Charlie Horner & Steve Applebaum by George Grant in 1972.
Any copies you may have seen of this photo were taken from this original.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


Castelles' George Grant and Billy Taylor, December 2008
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


Billy sang on all the Castelles' Grand and Atco label recordings with the exception of "Marcella" b/w "I'm A Fool To Care."  On that record he was replaced by former Re-Vels member, Walt Miller.

Billy Taylor also sang baritone on the Dreams’ recordings of “Darlene” and “Letter to My Girl”.  Billy was also on the Dreams' later recordings under the name Kenny Esquire & the Starlites (Ember label).

Purple vinyl pressing of "Darlene" by the Dreams.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Pam Horner, Wes Hayes (Dreams), Walt Miller (Castelles), Billy Taylor, Dec. 2008
(Photo by Charlie Horner)


Charlie Horner, Wes Hayes (Dreams), Walt Miller (Castelles), Billy Taylor, Dec. 2008
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


Billy Taylor loved to sing.  If he saw a group singing on the street corner, he'd stop and help them with their harmony.  All the groups in West Philly knew Billy Taylor and he'd frequently be asked to fill in when a group was short a singer.  As a consequence, Billy Taylor would often find himself harmonizing with groups like the Cherokees or Hideaways. 

In the early 1960's, the Spaniels broke up while performing in Philadelphia.  Pookie Hudson left and bass Gerald Gregory looked to form a new Spaniels group.  After a quick audition, he picked Billy Taylor as the Spaniels new lead, because Billy could imitate Pookie Hudson's voice perfectly.  During one performance in a Philadelphia club, Pookie Hudson dropped by to see who had replaced him in Gerald's group.  After hearing Billy Taylor sing, Pookie told Gerald, "This guy (Billy Taylor) sounds so much like me, you don't need me to come back!"

Shortly after that, Sonny Til asked Gerald Gregory to put together a new Orioles group.  Gerald picked Billy Taylor and Billy recruited his friend Delton McCall, who'd often been a fill in member of the Dreams.  The new Orioles then became Sonny Til, Billy Taylor, Delton McCall and Gerald Gregory, with Billy handling the George Nelson part.  It was this group of Orioles that recorded for the Charlie Parker label.

The Orioles' Charlie Parker label album.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


Sonny Til & Orioles on Charlie Parker label
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Billy Taylor with Delton McCall at the 2007 Philly Doo Wop Festival.
Billy & Delton sang together in the Dreams and Orioles (Charlie Parker label).
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Also in the early 1960’s Billy Taylor recorded with the Cobras (Swan label) and supplied the floating tenor on the Modern Red Caps' recording of "Golden Teardrops" (Swan label).  Incidentally, the Modern Red Caps record also featured former Castelles' George Grant (lead), former Dreams' George Tindley (tenor), former Valentines' Richard Barrett (producer) and a 16-year-old drummer named Teddy Pendergrass!

Billy Taylor leading the Cobras (actually members of the Cherokees)

Former Castelles' George Grant leads the Modern Red Caps.  Billy Taylor
does the floating tenor.  Group also contains former Dreams' George Tindley.

By the late 1960’s, Billy Taylor was singing with Billy Ward’s Dominoes, including a tour with them through the Far East.  When, at a benefit for U.S. servicemen in Viet Nam, a soldier requested "Have Mercy Baby," Billy Taylor told Billy Ward, "I can do it."  Ward told Taylor not to even attempt it unless he could do it just like Clyde McPhatter.  Billy sang the song perfectly, to a thunderous applause.

In November 1972, all five original Castelles reunited and started rehearsing again, with the intent of performing at a concert in West Philadelphia.  Philadelphia radio personality Charlie Horner publicized the show by interviewing members of the Castelles on WKDU-FM.  A maintenance workers strike at the venue resulted in cancellation of the concert, but Charlie Horner and Steve Applebaum went on to write the first biographic article on the Castelles for Bim Bam Boom magazine in 1973.  While Billy Taylor was not at that original WKDU radio program, over the course of researching the Castelles, Charlie Horner and Billy Taylor became good friends.

The 1972 Castelles reunion concert that never happened.
(Charlie's autographed copy from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

Steve Applebaum & Billy Taylor at NYC's Beacon Theater, 1980
(Photo courtesy of Steve Applebaum)


In the summer of 1979, Sonny Til put together what would turn out to be his last Orioles group, consisting of himself and several previous Orioles including Billy Taylor, Diz Russell and Gerald Holeman.  The occasion was an R&B vocal group show at Washington, DC's Howard Theater produced by WPFW Radio's Alan Lee.  On July 6th and 7th, Billy Taylor again took the stage as one of the Orioles.  Billy stayed with the Orioles, making appearances at NYC's Beacon Theater and elsewhere.  It was this group that recorded the "Sonny Til & the Orioles Visit Manhattan" album in 1981.  Billy Taylor continued with the Orioles for awhile, even after Sonny’s death in December 1981.

Billy Taylor with Sonny Til's last Orioles group, ca. 1980
Left to right: Gerald Holeman, Diz Russell, Sonny Til, Billy Taylor
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

1981 Album by Sonny Til & the Orioles.  Billy Taylor (far right in the photo)
mastered not only George Nelson's voice but also his stage moves.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


Billy sang with George Grant on several Castelles reunion concerts, beginning with the 1983 Burlington Black Swan Concert.  When the Castelles were inducted into UGHA's Hall of Fame in 1996, Billy, George Grant and Frank Vance accepted the award, presented by Ronnie I. and Charlie Horner (see photo below).


Induction of the Castelles into UGHA's Hall of Fame
Left to right: Ronnie I, Charlie Horner, George Grant, Frank Vance, Billy Taylor


[New!]In 1987, one of Harold Lucas' Clovers took ill, just as they were booked into the lounge of one of the Atlantic City (NJ) casinos for a one month engagement.  Lucas called the one person he knew in the area who could sing any part and who knew the Clovers' material by heart - Billy Taylor.  Billy showed up and filled in with little or no rehearsal.  He even sang lead on "Love Potion Number Nine."  The following photos are from that month.  We hope you enjoy these pics of Billy Taylor with the Clovers.


Clovers in Atlantic City, June 1987
(Photo by Charlie Horner)


Clovers:  Billy Taylor second from left; Harold Lucas third from Left.
(Photo by Charlie Horner)


(Photo by Charlie Horner)


Billy Taylor leading "Love Potion #9"
(Photo by Charlie Horner)


Billy Taylor also sang for the glory of God, harmonizing in church choir and with the gospel group, John Brooks & the Gospel Melodies.

Billy Taylor (left) with John Brooks & the Gospel Melodies.
John Brooks is on the right.  His wife, Gloria Brooks is in the center.
(Photo courtesy of Billy Taylor's family.)
(Photo identification by Steve Applebaum.)


Billy Taylor’s last vocal group performance was with the Philadelphia “super group” at the 2008 Black Swan Concert.  Also in the group were fellow Castelle, George Grant, and fellow Dream, Wes Hayes.  In December 2008, Black Swan Society's Mark del Costello asked Classic Urban Harmony to assist in conducting detailed interviews with Castelles' members George Grant, Billy Taylor, Walt Miller and Dreams' Wes Hayes.  

Philly Super Group performing at the 2008 Black Swan Concert.
Left to right: George Grant (Castelles), Ron Kennedy (Blue Notes),
Matt Atkinson (Tony & Masquins), Billy Taylor.
See 2008 Black Swan Concert for more photos.)
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


Billy Taylor was a deeply religious man and one of the nicest guys in the Philadelphia music scene.  He was also extremely talented, able to sing different parts and sound like almost any singer that he wanted to.  Billy Taylor was a good friend to us and to all who knew him.  He’ll be greatly missed.

Charlie & Billy Taylor at the South Philly String Band Club, May 2009
See South Philly String Band Club page for more photos.
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Ronnie Jones (Classmates), Charlie, Pam, Billy Taylor, Wes Hayes (Dreams)
UGHA 30th Anniversary (2006)

Dreams' Wes Hayes, Walt Miller (Re-Vels and Castelles) and Billy Taylor, December 2008
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Mark del Costello and Billy Taylor, December 2008
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Clowning around after a long interview session, December 2008.
Left to right:  Billy Taylor, Weldon A. McDougal III, George Grant, Mark del Costello
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Internet dj and former member of the Contenders, Jack Strong with Billy Taylor
South Philly String Band Club, May 20, 2009
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Destination Doo Wop and WNJC DJ, King Arthur, and Billy Taylor
South Philly String Band Club, May 20, 2009
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Eddie Natale and Billy Taylor
South Philly String Band Club, May 20, 2009
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

Billy Taylor being greeted by the acappella group, Quiet Storm
South Philly String Band Club, May 20, 2009
(Photo by Pamela Horner)

As a parting thought, we'd like to relay this story from our friend Nicky Addeo, himself a great vocalist.  Some years ago, actor Danny DeVito was going through a painful period in his life.  Nicky Addeo bought Danny a record and Danny DeVito credits this record for getting him through those tough times.  The record was the Castelles' "Over A Cup Of Coffee" which Danny still calls one of his favorite records.

R.I.P. Billy.  We miss you.

For another great tribute site to Billy Taylor click Black Swan Society.  Afterwards, use your "Back Arrow" to return to our website.

Copyright © Classic Urban Harmony LLC, 2009.  All Rights Reserved.