Classic Urban Harmony, LLC

"We Take You Back In The Day"





    What's New?

  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 Dinwiddie Quartet
First Black Vocal Group to Make A Record

Sterling C. Rex, lead of the Dinwiddie Quartet, ca. 1912

While other African American singing quartets recorded on cylinder (for instance, the Unique Quartette in 1890), a young quartet based in Philadelphia appears to have been the first to record on a flat phonograph disc.

On Wednesday, October 29, 1902, Sterling C. Rex (lead and first tenor), J. Clarence Meredith (second tenor), Harry B. Cruder (first bass) and James mantel Thomas (second bass), all members of the Dinwiddie Quartette, recorded three songs at the studio of the Victor Talking Machine Company, located at Tenth & Lombard Streets in Philadelphia.  They returned on October 31, to record three more songs.  All six songs were then released on seven- and ten-inch one-sided discs, appearing on the Victor and Monarch labels over the next few years.

The Dinwiddie Quartette had gotten together at least three or four years earlier, in order to raise money for the John A. Dix Industrial School of Dinwiddie, VA (also known as the Dinwiddie Normal and Industrial School).  The Dinwiddie School was the first black school in that area of southeast Virginia.  Whether the personnel of the original group was the same as that which recorded is unclear.  What is known, is that the Dinwiddie Quartette spent two years touring for the school, singing in Y.M.C.A. buildings, churches and similar venues.  It has been reported that the group raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school.

Sometime in 1902, the Dinwiddie Quartette ceased representing the school and joined the cast of a touring black vaudeville show, called the Smart Set.  Headlined by Ernest Hogan and Billy McClain, the Smart Set was a huge success and ran for many years.  But it was in October 1902, while the Smart Set was playing Philadelphia’s National Theatre, that the Dinwiddie Quartette was given the opportunity to record.

All six recorded songs were done acappella.  All were spirituals except the first song recorded, “Down On The Old Camp Ground,” leading researcher George Moonoogian to once refer to this as “the first rhythm & blues vocal group record.”

Victor released all six records in December 1902.  Copies have survived on the Victor, Monarch and Victor Grand Prize labels.  Tim Brooks reports that all six were issued on both 7” and 10” one-sided discs.  We at Classic Urban Harmony are only familiar with the Victor 7” records, so the Monarch label may have been used for the 10: discs.  On record, the group was called, “The Dinwiddie Colored Quartet”.  At least “Down On The Old Camp Ground,” and maybe others, were repressed over the next few years, indicating they were popular.

Both sides of the first black vocal group record, 1902

The Dinwiddie Quartette toured with the Smart Set through the 1902-1903 season.  After that they toured on their own, still based out of Philadelphia, where all four members of the group lived.  By the end of 1904, however, the group had disbanded.

Sterling C. Rex and James Mantel Thomas then joined the Bert Williams and George Walker theatrical group, also appearing with the Williams & Walker Glee Club.  In 1905, Sterling Rex married Ada L. Guigesse, also a member of the Williams & Walker group.

Sterling Rex (born in Pennsylvania, ca. 1880) and his wife Ada (born in Louisiana, ca. 1882) continued living in Philadelphia.  Census records show their home in 1920 as 1026 South Colorado Street, and later as 1826 Fitzwater Street.  Sterling Rex continued performing, mostly solo.  A 1912 news clipping tells of his concert with the Philadelphia Concert Orchestra at the Parkway Auditorium drawing a capacity crowd.

Many scholars have contributed to our knowledge of the Dinwiddie Quartet over the past few years, including Rick Dembinsky and Doug Seroff, but the definitive biography of the group is found in Tim Brooks’ outstanding book, Lost Sounds: Blacks And The Birth Of The Recording Industry 1890 – 1919, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL: 2004).

Copyright © 2008, Classic Urban Harmony LLC.  All Rights Reserved.