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bullet [New!]TNT 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
 
bulletRe-MemberThen
at NJ Doo Wop Singers Club 2013

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

 
bulletRe-MemberThen
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
Multi-Part
 
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
Club
Testimonial
 
bulletFilming a Documentary
on Acappella
 
bulletAcappella Group Soul'D
Out on
Celebrity
Solstice
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
 
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of Fame
Interview with
Orioles' Deborah
Chessler

 
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
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bullet [New!]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
 
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bulletMajor Harris, Delfonics, Nat Turner Rebellion, R&B Soloist
 
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bulletWilla Ward, Ward Singers, Gay Charmers
 
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bulletSolitaires' & Vocaleers' Herman Dunham
 
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[New!]Chris Bartley Tribute


Chris Bartley, 1947 - 2009
(Photo courtesy of Jeff Chambers by way of Ray Block)
 

On October 26, 2009, the world lost another golden voice.  Chris Bartley, R&B, Soul, Doo Wop and Gospel singer has died of kidney failure.  He was 62.

We didn’t know Chris well, having only met him once or twice, but we were big fans of his music.  Several of our friends knew Chris very well and by all accounts he was a great guy as well as an exceptional singer.  Ad Libs' Ray Block said of Chris Bartley, "He had a voice laced with honey and delivered in silk.  He is truly missed."

Leroy “Chris” Bartley was born in Harlem, about four blocks from the Apollo Theater, on April 17, 1947.  As a youngster, Chris was influenced by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.  Chris was attending Frederick Douglass Junior High in Harlem in 1959 when he started singing in his first vocal group, the Soulful Inspirations.  He continued singing part time with this group for the next ten years, while the group itself went through numerous personnel changes.  When the group evolved into the Mindbenders in the mid-1960’s they were introduced to producer Van McCoy by their manager, Bill Downs.  Downs also managed the vocal group, Ad Libs at the time.

Van McCoy didn’t like the group but he did like the voice of their lead singer, Chris Bartley.  He quickly signed Chris to his Vando, a label Van McCoy was just starting with radio dee jay, Jocko Henderson.

In July 1967, Chris Bartley’s first record, “The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven,” was released.  The record was distributed by Cameo-Parkway.  It soon hit #32 on the Pop Charts and #10 on the R&B Charts.  The song did well enough that Van McCoy then released an album by Chris.  All the Chris Bartley songs on Vando were written and produced by van McCoy.


First pressing of Vando 101
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

Odd Green label pressing of Vando 101
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

Chris Bartley’s follow up record, “Baby It’s Wonderful” was a nice record but it failed to chart.


Picture sleeve to Vando 3000.
Photo used is the same as for the album.
 

Vando 3000
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

This was followed by a cut off of the LP, “For You.”  “For You” had previously been a hit for the Spellbinders.


Vando 3002
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

As Cameo-Parkway was in decline, Van McCoy started having his Vando label records distributed by Amy-Mala.  The next Chris Bartley record was “Truer Words Were Never Spoken.”


Vando 14,000
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

The last record on Vando was Chris Bartley’s “I Found A Goodie,” released in 1968.  It would later find interest among Northern Soul fans in the UK.
 

Vando 14,001
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

In 1969, Van McCoy got Chris Bartley signed to Buddah Records where he had two singles released, the first being a remake a song Van McCoy wrote as a hit for Barbara Lewis, “Baby I’m Yours.”


Buddah 93
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

Chris Bartley didn't record again until 1971 when he had one single on the Musicor label.  This was Chris' first recording not associated with Van McCoy.


Spanish picture sleeve to Musicor 1437
 

Sometime in the early 1970's, Chris Bartley's name is listed as the soul vocalist for the soul/funk band, the Ray Alexander Technique.  The group released a single (Lu Jun label) and LP (Harlem Sound label).  While we are still trying to confirm that this is the same Chris Bartley, the voice sounds like his and the group is from New York City.


Ray Alexander Technique LP


One nice Chris Bartley release, apparently dating back to the Van McCoy produced sides, was issued only in the UK in 1975 on the Right On label.


Issued only in the UK.
 

In the mid-1970’s Chris Bartley joined the Ad Libs, more than ten years after their big hit, “Boy From New York City.”  For the complete story of the Ad Libs click Ad Libs Profile.  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.


Ad Libs, ca. 1981
Left to right: Dave Watt, Natalie ????, Chris Bartley, Eller Weas Little, Jimmy Hollinger.
(Photo courtesy of Jeff Chambers by way of Ray Block)


The Ad-Libs at the United in Group Harmony Association, Feb 1981
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


Chris recorded "I Don't Need No Fortune Teller" with the Ad Libs.
Only a few copies have survived and the
Northern Soul classic is much sought after.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

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

By 1988, the Ad-Libs had undergone more personnel changes.  The group now consisted of Chris Bartley, Dave Watt, Mary Ann Thomas, 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.

The Ad Libs recorded four records for John Taylor’s Johnnie Boy label at this time.  The first was a remake of the Creators’ “I Stayed Home,” this time featuring Chris Bartley’s lead.


The Ad Libs at UGHA in the Spring of 1988.
(Left to right:  Dave Watt, Abby Grant, Ray Block, Mary Ann Thomas, Chris Bartley)
(Photo courtesy of Ray Block)


The Ad-Libs at WFUV 90.7 FM, Fordham University, The Bronx, 1988.
(Left to right:  Dave Watt, Ray Block, Abby Grant, Mary Ann Thomas, Chris Bartley.
In the background is the late music historian and author, Mitch Rosalsky.)
(Photo courtesy of Ray Block)


Acappella recording of "I Stayed Home" with Chris Bartley doing lead.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


Johnnie Boy #2 in blue vinyl
(Donated to the Classic Urban Harmony Archives by Ray Block)



Johnnie Boy #3
(Donated to the Classic Urban Harmony Archives by Ray Block)


Johnnie Boy #4 in green vinyl
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


By 1991, the Ad Libs' personnel had changed again, but Chris Bartley remained a fixture in the group along with lead Mary Ann Thomas and original Ad Lib Dave Watt.

More recently, Chris Bartley sang with the Newark Community Choir.  He then he joined the gospel group New Vintage.  The group was formed by former Spellbinders' Eller Weas Little.  The members were: Jimmy Hollinger, Toni Byrd, Abbey Grant, Chris Bartley and Eller Weas Little.  Ray Block performed with the group on occasion.


A Vintage/Ad Libs/Spellbinders get-together a couple years ago.
(Left to right: Norman Donegan, Abby Grant, Chris Bartley, Dee Grant,
Pat Magnacavello, Eller Weas Little, Ray Block, Bobby Shivers)
(Courtesy of Ray Block)
 

In 2006 Chris joined the Spellbinders for an appearance at SoulTrip USA New Jersey.  Members of the group were
Chris Bartley, Abby Grant, Eller Weas Little and Bobby Shivers.


The Spellbinders at SoulTrip USA New Jersey, 2006
(Left to right: Chris Bartley, Abby Grant, Eller Weas Little, Bobby Shivers)
(Courtesy of Bobby Shivers)


The Spellbinders at SoulTrip USA New Jersey, 2006
(Left to right: Abby Grant, Chris Bartley, Eller Weas Little, Bobby Shivers)
(Courtesy of Bobby Shivers)


 

Chris Bartley Singles Discography
 

As Chris Bartley

Vando 101         - The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven / Love My Baby  7/67

Vando 3000        - Baby It's Wonderful / I'll Be Loving You                    10/67

Vando 3002        - For You / You Get Next To My Heart                        12/67

Vando 14000       - Truer Words Were Never Spoken / This Feeling You Give Me  68

Vando 14001       - I Found A Goodie / Be Mine Forever                          68

Buddah  93          - Baby I'm Yours / I'll Take The Blame                         69

Buddah 115         - One Wonderful Girl / I Know We Can Work It Out         69

Musicor 1437        - A Man A Woman / Tomorrow Keeps Shining On Me      5/71
 

As Chris Bartley [UK only releases]

Right On 105        - I See Your Name / [Instrumental]                          75

Move 4 [EP]         - Baby I'm For Real / [rest of EP reissues of Vando material]  85
                            [this is actually an Ad Libs' cut w/ Chris Bartley on lead]


With Ray Alexander Technique

Lu Jun 2001         - Let's Talk / [Instrumental]                                 ca. 74
 

With the Ad Libs

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 [instrumental]     88

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

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

 

Acknowledgements

Richard Pack, "Chris Bartley," Soul Survivor No.6 (1986/87), pp. 18-19

Thanks to Ray Block (Ad Libs), Bobby Shivers (Spellbinders), Jeff Chambers, Jeff Beckman.

 

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