Unknown Group #003 (Philadelphia, 1962) - NOW IDENTIFIED!
Jack & the Beanstalks
name of this group – Jack & the Beanstalks. We just didn't
know anything about them.
On August 24, 2009, we received the following email...
"Dear Dr. & Mrs. Horner. I happened upon your site
while Googling "Jack & the Beanstalks" (your Unknown Group # 3. I can
tell you who is in the picture! It's my husband, Jack Lewis
(guitarist, on top). The picture is circa 1962 and the other musicians
(left to right) are Wayne Seniff (bass, current status unknown), Dave Avayou
(piano, current status unknown) and Joe Murphy (drums, deceased).
Represented by the Herb Lustig Talent Agency, American Artists Corporation
in Philadelphia, Jack & the Beanstalks was a 60's cover dance band that
played many of the colleges including Princeton, Rutgers, Temple, University
of Pennsylvania, St. Joe's, Rider and also played Tony Marts in Somers
Point. My husband went on to form other bands through the years and he
was also musical director for the Vibrations (James Johnson, Don Bradley,
Dave Govan, Rick Owens) during the 1970's and has worked with other
recording artists. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree
from Combs College of Music, PA, and while living in South Florida he was
founder-director of a music school/retail facility that was involved in the
country school band programs as well as on the faculty of high school adult
education programs. He has been a lifelong guitarist, singer,
bandleader and music educator, performing professionally throughout the
U.S., Canada and The Islands. I have been performing with my husband
since 1983 when we teamed up in Florida. We are currently represented
by an entertainment agency here in Charlotte, NC, and Jack teaches here in
Charlotte." - Lynne & Jack Lewis, The Jack Lewis Band, Charlotte, NC.
In further correspondences, Lynn went on to say that all the
members of Jack & the Beanstalks sang as well as played instruments.
The group performed mostly cover tunes of the day but never made any
Lynn attached a
current photo of The Jack Lewis Band (they have currently downsized to a
husband-wife dance duo since moving to the Carolinas). In South Florida
(Miami to Palm Beach) they worked from trio to 10 piece orchestra,
performing at South Florida's most prestigious resorts and upscale venues
for many years, including opening for headliner acts, political rallies,
conventions, cruises, weddings, television, and society galas. During
the '90s they worked with the Sal Forell Show (Sal was formerly of the north
NJ/NY area and had done concerts at the Meadowlands and recorded an album
"So Lucky." Sal was a Tony Bennett sound alike, a wonderful singer and
entertainer.) Jack arranged Sal's former 15-piece show down to a trio
for the Lagoon Supper Club (Palm Beach County) where they also worked with
drummer Joey DeNoia (who was formerly Buddy Rich's personal assistant).
Both Sal and Joey have sadly passed on. The Jack Lewis band has also opened
for the Four Aces, Soupy Sales, Pat Cooper, Julius LaRosa, and Sal
Richards at the Lagoon.
current dance orchestra repertoire for the duo includes jazz, latin, swing,
big band, pop, disco cover material. Jack is a world-class jazz guitarist
who plays in the style of Joe Pass.
Current photo of Jack & Lynne Lewis of thr Jack Lewis Band
(Photo courtesy of Lynne & Jack Lewis)
Thanks Lynne & Jack for identifying a photo that had
intrigued us for a long time. We hope to see you perform next time
we're in the Charlotte area. - C&P
Unknown Group #005 (1950's) - NOW IDENTIFIED!
Unknown Group #005's photo came to us from Todd Baptista
who told us it was once in the possession of Jesse Belvin. Jesse Belvin
mentored dozens of vocal groups in the Los Angeles area during the 1950's so
we thought maybe it was a group he rehearsed, coached or even sang with.
We were way off the track!
Unknown Vocal Group # 5 - Now identified as the Heartbeats
At first we were thinking that this was a West Coast group. We even
sent a copy to Gaynell Hodge, hoping he'd be able to identify them.
Then Marv Goldberg sent us an email saying that the group was the
Heartbeats! After re-examining the photo, it did look like the
Heartbeats to us. We emailed the photo to Heartbeats' bass singer
Wally Roker and soon got confirmation. That's Wally Roker on the left,
singing lead. James Sheppard is on the right. Wall even told us
the song he's leading in the photo is "Oh Baby Don't."
Our thanks to Marv Goldberg for for his keen sense of
observation. How could we have missed that? Thanks also to Wally
Roker for the conformation. - C&P
For comparison, here's another Heartbeats photo.
Wally Roker is second from the left and James Sheppard is in the center.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
#008 (Cleveland, OH, 1950's)
Unknown Group #008's photo comes to us from Pete Wilgus.
Pete believes the group is from the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Please
email us if you recognize any of these singers or know anything about the
group in this photo!
(Unknown Vocal Group #008)
#007 (Northern New Jersey, 1960's)
Unknown Group #007's photo comes to us from P. J. Noce.
P. J. found this photo in a flea market last year. The photo says the
group is called the U-Phonics and the manager's phone number (no longer
valid) is from Northern New Jersey. Please email us if you know
anything about the group in this photo!
(Unknown Vocal Group #007)
#006 (Philadelphia or Camden, 1950's/early 1960's)
Unknown Group #006's photo comes to us from Val Shively
who believes it is a Philadelphia, PA or Camden NJ group from the 1950's or
early 1960's. Please email
us if you recognize anyone in this photo!
(Unknown Vocal Group #006)
Unknown Group #004 (New Jersey, late 50's) - IDENTIFIED!
Unknown Group #004's photo came to us from Phil Schwartz
who obtained it from the estate of a DJ from Lebanon, PA. According to
Phil, the photo was taken at a photo studio in Belleville, NJ.
(Unknown Vocal Group #004)
Identified - Another tough one, but on February 4, 2009,
we received the following email...
"Hello Charlie and Pam. I'm
pretty sure those are The Plurals in picture #004. A few months ago
a handful of rare pictures went up for sale from the estate of a DJ from
Lebanon, PA (probably the same DJ). Included in those photos was a
full scrapbook page of The Plurals. Unfortunately, I didn't win the
pictures and when I just searched completed listings nothing came up.
However, the picture below did come up when I searched on Ebay. [See
below.] The only indication the scrapbook gave was one
picture of them doing an outdoor gig. If memory serves me right this
shot was taken in Bloomfield (NJ). The same vendor also had a
scrapbook page of The Madisons on Lawn. These were mainly
pictures of the group hanging out in their house, rehearsing, etc.
It really broke my heart when I lost the bid on these pictures." - PJ Noce
We have to agree, PJ. Unknown
Vocal Group #004 looks like the Plurals to us. We contacted Phil
Schwartz, owner of the photograph. He responded as follows:
"Hi Charlie & Pam,
This makes sense, since I have heard that The Plurals played at some
record hops in the Lebanon area. The group is probably from New
Jersey. At least the label was out of Elizabeth, N.J. I have a
"stamped" DJ copy of their regional hit "Miss Annie" which has penciled
writing on the label, listing C&M Records (probably the parent
company) at 434 Pennington Street, Elizabeth. The names listed are:
Mazzillo, Anderson, Black, Bennet, and Wagner. The date stamped is
11/7/58. I have to admit that I missed out on the majority of
records and photos from the WLBR 'Henry & Al' collection. I had a
mutual DJ friend who gave me the contact a few years back, but I failed
to follow up. The auction was chaotic and mismanaged, according to
some friends I know who were there. Fortunately, I was able to get a
handful of photos from one of the bidders. Hopefully, the album will
surface for further documentation. It's a shame when these
archives disappear into private collectors' hands who do not want to
share them with those whose mission it is to preserve the history.
Fortunately, your web site is providing a format for those who are
interested in preserving the history to contribute in a collective
effort." - Phil Schwartz
We believe the Plurals to be a
Northern New Jersey group, as their record label, Wanger was from
Elizabeth, NJ. The Plurals had two records in 1958, "Miss Annie" b/w
"Donna My Dear" and "Good Night" b/w "I'm Sold".
(Label Courtesy of Phil Schwartz)
"Miss Annie" came out
first on the Wanger label. At least three different label
variations on Wanger are known. The first label variation
seems to be the one above, listing the group members - Carl
Theodore Bennett, Robert Black, Pat Mazzillo, and Rip Wagner.
Subsequent pressings had the
group members listed only as song writers. A third variation has the
letters in Wanger closer together. All pressings seem to be
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
Later in 1958, "Miss Annie" was pressed on the Bergen
label, apparently owned by Wanger.
(From the Classic Urban
One rare variation of the Bergen
release is this blue vinyl copy, discovered in our archives! This is
not a bootleg, but from the same pressing as the black wax copy shown above.
(From the Classic Urban
The final record by the Plurals appears to be
"Good Night" b/w "I'm Sold" on Wanger. If the group personnel
listed on the label is correct, a Mr. Benz replaced Pat
Noce for recognizing the Plurals as Unknown Vocal Group #004. We hope
to have a more in depth article on the Plurals posted here soon. And
whoever bought that scrapbook, we'd love to know what else was in it! - C&P
#002 (Hollywood, 1955) IDENTIFIED!
should be easier. We believe this group was in an unidentified 1955 film,
done by Universal Pictures. Any ideas as to who the group is or what the
film could be?
IDENTIFIED: Bill Proctor
emailed to tell us that this is a previously unknown photo of Charlie
Fugua's Ink Spots. Greg Centimore confirmed. From left to right
are: Harold Jackson; Essex Scott; Jimmy Holmes; Charlie Fuqua.
The film these Ink Spots did in 1955 was a two song short film of "If I
Didn't Care" (led by Holmes) and "Shanty In Old Shanty Town" (led by Scott).
The short was simply titled "The Ink Spots." In addition to being a
member of the original Ink Spots, Charlie Fuqua was an uncle to Harvey
Fuqua, lead of the Moonglows.
Unknown Vocal Groups #001 -
When we first started this website, we
made the following statement:
course of serious research into any subject, there are always mysteries that
sometimes never get answered. We have a number of photographs of vocal
groups that we know nothing about. If you are visiting our website, odds
are you have more than a passing interest in group harmony. Please help us
unravel these mysteries and give credit to these groups before they are lost
forever in the vastness of time. If you know
anything about any of these groups, please email us at
Unknown Group #001 (North Philadelphia, 1955)
group #001 is special to us because their image graces the Classic Urban
Harmony LLC logo. The group represents to us all of the uncredited singers
who gave their hearts and souls to give us harmony, yet are now in danger of
being forgotten forever. We found the photo in Philadelphia along with a 78
RPM acetate containing two of the finest mid-fifties R&B group sides we’ve
of the photo lists Howard McCall of the 1400 block of North Corlies St.
(North Philadelphia). Note the poster in the photo that states “King
Bowling Club Presents Tuesday Night Dances opening Tuesday November 15,
1955, starring Mel Melvin’s Orchestra and Viola Craig, Barber’s Building,
???? Oxford Street.”
Melvin’s Orchestra can be partially seen in the background. Mel Melvin was
a Philadelphia bandleader as early as 1944. His band at one point in 1949
contained such jazz greats as the Heath Brothers (Al on drums, Percy on bass
and Jimmy on alto sax), Bill Barron (tenor sax) and John Coltrane (tenor
sax). Later, jazz pianist great Kenny Barron got his start as a teenager in
Mel Melvin’s band, but that was probably a year or two after this photo was
We showed this
photo to dozens of Philly singers. None could identify anyone in the
Our first bit
of detective work was done by Smitty of the vocal group, Quiet Storm.
He identified the location of the photo as Barber's Hall, a popular club
during the 1950's located at 1404 West Oxford Street in North Philadelphia.
break came when we played both sides of the unreleased acetate on George
Frunzi's Goldradio Internet program on November 9, 2008. Everyone who
heard the songs, "Times Two I Love You," and "That's All There Is To That"
marveled at how polished and professional the group sounded. Yet no
one recognized the lead singer's voice.
29, we received the following email:
"Hi Charlie &
Pam. I think the unknown vocal group is The Notes (on Capitol and
MGM). I just got a copy of the Disco-File [Fernando L. Gonzalez] and
in the unreleased records section of the book, both sides of your 78 RPM
acetate, "Times Two I Love You" and "That's all There Is To That" are listed
under The Notes. Apparently the sides were recorded in 1955 under the
name the Four Notes and the masters were sold to Capitol under master #'s
14872 and 14873. Obviously the sides were never released. After
hearing you play the 78 RPM acetate on Goldradio a couple of weeks ago, in
my opinion the lead singer sounds very much like the lead on The Notes'
records "Round and Round," "Trust In Me" and "Don't Leave Me Now." Let
me know what you think. Thank you. Best regards," - Pete Finn.
rushed to the Classic Urban Harmony Archives and listened to both released
records by The Notes. The lead tenor sure sounds like the same lead as
on our unreleased songs by the Unknown Vocal Group.
Some time ago,
Mitch Rosalsky's "Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Vocal Groups"
identified The Notes as being from Philadelphia and consisting of Ray
McElwain (first tenor), Boyd Beks (second tenor), Dave Wilson (baritone) and
Clarence Beks (bass). The group members all grew up in Philadelphia
and went to school together. They got together in 1953 and were all 23
years old (with the exception of Clarence Beks) in 1955. Rosalsky
quotes a Capitol record sleeve from "Don't Leave Me Now" as his source.
If the above
information is true, The (Four) Notes apparently are unrelated to The Four
Notes containing Gene Smith who also resided in Philadelphia and recorded
for Gotham in the late 1940's.
Now the mystery
deepens... Did Nat King Cole & the Four Knights cover the Unknown
Group's version of "That's All There Is To That"?
All told The
Notes recorded twelve songs that we know of. According to Disco-File,
four were recorded independently and sold to Capitol in December 1955.
Four more were recorded for Capitol on March 2, 1956. Four more were
recorded for MGM on August 17, 1956. Of the twelve songs recorded by
The Notes, six were written by Clyde Otis!
The (Four) Notes
Philadelphia and sold to Capitol in December 1955.
- Capitol 3332, co-written by Clyde Otis
"Don't Leave Me Now" - Capitol 3332,
co-written by Clyde Otis
"That's All There Is To That" - Unreleased, co-written by
Clyde Otis (only known copy in CUH Archives)
"Times Two I Love You" - Unreleased (only known copy in
for Capitol, March 2, 1956
Love" - Unreleased
"Let Me Shake The Hand" - Unreleased, written by Clyde
"I Adore You" - Unreleased
""I Never Cared Before" - Unreleased
for MGM, August 17, 1956
"Trust In Me"
- MGM 12338
"Round And Round" - MGM 12338
"Louise Louise Louise" - Unreleased, written by Clyde Otis
""That's Why I Love You" - Unreleased, written by Clyde
would go on to become one of the best known song writers of our era ("A
Lover's Question," "It's Just A Matter Of Time," "A Rockin' Good Way," "Kiddio,"
"Baby You Got What It Takes," "Looking Back," "Endlessly," etc.). One
of his first big records was "That's All There Is To That" by Nat King Cole
& the Four Knights - the same song as our unreleased acetate by The Notes.
Records purchased the rights to The Four Notes "That's All There Is To That"
in December 1955. They never released it. On December 29, 1955,
Capitol recorded the song by their established artists, Nat King Cole,
backed by the Four Knights. The arrangements are very similar.
The Cole/Knights version (backed by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra) was
released in June 1956 and went to #15 on the R&B Charts, #16 on the Pop
Charts. Meanwhile, the Four Notes moved on to MGM Records.
Autographed photo of Four
Knights, ca. 1956
(from the CUH Archives)
Some Questions still
Were The Notes
working with Clyde Otis in 1955? They sure had six of his compositions
before anyone else did. We may never know because Clyde Otis passed
away on January 8, 2008.
Records purchase The Notes version of "That's All There Is To That" just to
give it to Nat King Cole and the Four Knights? The timing certainly
looks that way.
Who is Howard
McCall, whose name and address are on the reverse of our photo?
importantly, what ever happened to Ray McElwain, Boyd Beks, Dave Wilson and
Clarence Beks? Someone in Philly must know their whereabouts!!!
Maybe the mystery isn't totally solved after all.
gratitude to Pete Finn and thanks to Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.
you know anything about any of these groups, please email us at
We’ll be posting more unknown groups in the weeks to come.