Home

 

Classic Urban Harmony, LLC

"We Take You Back In The Day"

 

 

 

   HOME

    What's New?

Mills Brothers Society

    Our Events
          Calendar

  Bookshelf &  DVD's

       Our
        Presentations

Past
Presentation and Event Photo Album

    Charlie's Bio

    Pam's Bio

    Mailbox

    Responses to
    our Presentations

    Articles & Press
    About Us

   Our Brochure

    Articles by Us

[New!]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
    Archives

Our Photo Gallery:
Our Musical Family

Our Photo Gallery:
CUH Archives

Renovations to the Classic Urban Harmony Library

    Concert Reviews,
    Photos & Events

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
bullet
2013 Asbury Angels Plaque Dedications
 
bullet VGHA Acappella Extravaganza II
 
bullet2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
 
bullet Time Capsule Show 50th Anniversary
bullet
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
 
bulletR&R Hall
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
Festival 2006

    PROFILES IN
    HARMONY

    In Tribute

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
 
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
    Groups

bullet

The Academics 

bullet

The Avalons

bullet

The Avons

bullet

The Blue Notes (original)

bullet

Claude Robinson & Creations

bullet

The 5 Embers

bullet

The Juveniles/ Twilights/ Embers

bullet

The Silhouettes

    1960's Soul
    Groups

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

bulletThe
Angelic Gospel
Singers

 
bulletClaude Jeter & the Swan Silvertones

    Early Black
    Vocal Groups
    1870 -1930

bullet

The American
Jubilee Singers

 

bullet

The Dinwiddie Quartet

   History of
   Recording

bullet

The 60th Anniversary of the Vinyl 45 RPM Single

    Rare Record
    Labels

bulletHico Label

   Holiday Harmony

bullet Vocalaries' White Christmas
 
bulletPenguins' A Christmas Prayer
 
bulletDominoes' Christmas In Heaven
 
bulletCameos' Merry Christmas
 
bulletDrifters' White Christmas
 
bulletOrioles'
Lonely Christmas

    Hometown
    Harmony

bullet Philadelphia Area Doo Wop & Acappella Groups
 
bulletBermuda Vocal Groups

    Ongoing
    Research

Unknown Vocal Groups

     Great LINKS

 


 

What's New?

 

This is where we'll announce the most recent additions to our web site as well as what's going on in the group harmony field. If you've visited us before and want to know what's changed, take a look here first.  This is also where we announce recent news and our latest activities.  For older archived news, click 2013 What's New, 2012 What's New, 2011 What's New, 2010 What's New, 2009 What's New, or 2008 What's New.

Site last modified, September 1, 2014.
 

News:

   2014

[New!]Latest Classic Urban Harmony presentation of "Under The Streetlamp: Tales From the Doo Wop Era - Part 1" comes to Cranford (NJ) Community Center, Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

If haven't been able to catch our newly updated multimedia presentation, "Under The Streetlamp: Tales From the Doo Wop Era - Part 1" yet (or want to see it again), here's your chance!  On Wednesday evening September 17, 2014 at 7:30 PM, Charlie & Pam bring their popular presentation about doo wop music to the beautiful Cranford NJ Community Center, 220 Walnut Ave., Cranford NJ (next to the library).  The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Cranford Public Library.  Admission is FREE and all are welcomed.  Come out and join us for a great time. 

Cranford NJ Community Center
220 Walnut Ave., Cranford NJ

 

[New!]Phil Groia's R&R and R&B Archives Willed to Classic Urban Harmony

We were deeply touch and honored to learn this week that our friend and noted R&B music historian, Phil Groia, named Classic Urban Harmony in his will to receive his archive of R&R and R&B items.  Phil, R&B vocal group researcher and author, passed away July 8, 2014.  [Scroll down to read his obit, here.]  We are all indebted to Phil for leading the way with his ground breaking research some 40+ years ago.  Phil set a high standard for researchers that followed.  We are proud to preserve his work.

Phil Groia's book, "They All Sang On The Corner," is a MUST READ for anyone interested in NYC 1950's R&B vocal groups.  Though the second edition (published 1983) is long out of print, a few used copies can still be found at bargain prices.  Grab one before they all disappear.  Clicking on the photo below will take you to Amazon.com to purchase one.

 

Phil Groia's "They All Sang On The Corner"
Click on the book's photo to be taken to
Amazon's page to purchase a copy.

 

[New!]Classic Urban Harmony meets with author Madonna Carter Jackson regarding her father's photos for the Asbury Park West Side Music exhibit.

Our upcoming exhibit of Asbury Park's West Side Music photos and memorabilia is getting bigger and bigger every day.  On August 21, Pam & Charlie met with Madonna Carter Jackson, author of the series of books, Asbury Park: A West Side Story.  Madonna's father, Joseph A. Carter Sr., was the West Side's premier photographer.  His dedication to preserving the area's cultural heritage through photography is unprecedented.  Though Joseph Carter passed away in 1980, his photographs are being preserved by his daughter, Madonna Carter Jackson, in a series of books.  Madonna has graciously offered to help us with our exhibit.  If you have any interest in African American cultural history along the Jersey Shore, Mrs. Jackson's books are an essential resource.  Thank you, Madonna for all of your support.  To purchase any of Madonna's books visit her website, www.mylittleoffice.net/.


Pam, Charlie & Madonna in Asbury Park  

[New!]Author, Group Harmony Historian, Phil Groia Dies.

We heard about this on August 8 but without confirmation, held up reporting it in the hopes that it was not true.

We're deeply saddened to hear of the passing of friend and fellow group harmony historian, Phil Groia.  Phil died suddenly on July 8, 2014.  We believe he was only 73.  Those of us who dedicate our lives to preserving the history of Rhythm & Blues vocal harmony owe a debt of gratitude to Phil.  In the early 1970's serious research into the history of our music was in its infancy.  A few brave souls were daring to interview singers of the 1950's for articles in magazines like Big Town Review and Bim Bam Boom but few of us had the depth of knowledge or patience to write a whole book.  Lynn McCutcheon broke the ice with "Rhythm And Blues" in 1971, which gave an overview of R&B.  But Phil Groia's book, "They All Sang On The Corner" really took this research to a new level.  "They All Sang On The Corner" took the research of NYC R&B vocal groups to a level of details not previously seen.  This book is a valuable resource today (it was updated in a second edition in 1983) but in the early years, it was mind-blowing!  Thank you, Phil,  for the inspiration you gave us to do what we do.

 

Phil Groia with Pam Horner

[New!]Henry Stone dies at 93.  Pioneer producer and record label owner.

Henry Stone. pioneer record producer and label owner died August 7, 2014.  Born in the Bronx on June 3, 1921, Stone began playing trumpet in his teens.  After leaving the service in 1946, he moved to Los Angeles and worked for Modern Records, selling records to juke box distributors across the country.  In 1952 he moved to Miami FL and started the Rockin' label for R&B (Otis Williams & the Charms) and the Glory label for gospel music (Miami Soul Stirrers).  He would later own and operate a number of record labels including the Chart (Champions, Evergreens, Charms) and Marlin (Majestics) labels (in the 1950's), and later R&B and disco labels like Dade, Glades, TK and Alston.  Stone was influential in the careers of numerous vocal groups, most notably Otis Williams & the Charms.

Henry Stone

[New!]The Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival at the FOP - Line Up Just Announced

It's back!  The Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival has returned, this time for the benefit of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Survivors Fund.  New location and new management, but the excitement is still there.  Seventeen area doo wop groups, Philly's best radio personalities, record collector vendors, classic cars, five hours indoor dance party - want more could you want?  Rain or shine.  $20 admission gets you all the activities plus food, beer and soda.  Free parking.  Sunday September 14, 2014 from 2 - 7 PM at Fraturnal Order of Police Lodge #5, 11630 Caroline Rd., Philadelphia, PA.  For tickets call 215-629-3600 or visit www.fop5.org.

Groups appearing include: 5/3 Woodland, A Perfect Blend. the Balladeers, the Bel Airs, Cornerstone, the Ecstasies, the Emeralds, Junior & the 4 Seniors, Nite Lite, the Norristones, Nostalgia Five, Now & Then, Platinum, Re-Memberthen, Reunion, Still Around and the Tributes.
 

 

Latest Classic Urban Harmony Free Email Newsletter now in your In Box!

If it's not in your In-Box, first check you spam folder.  Some Email servers don't know essential newsletters from spam.  If it's not there, send us an email at CUH@att.net.  You don't want to miss CUH Newsletter #21.

Next issue of Echoes of the Past to feature our article on the North Philly R&B groups, the Dreamers, Quadrells, Universals, Cameos, Strangers.

Our latest article for the magazine Echoes of the Past (due out in September) covers the related North Philly R&B vocal groups, the Dreamers (Grand and Rollin' labels), Quadrells (Whirlin' Disc label), Universals (Mark-X, Cora-Lee, Ascot and Relic labels), Cameos (Cameo label), Strangers (Maske and Checker labels) and Tommy Cook & the Fantastics (Priority label).  It is a fascinating look at a talented pool of singers from the same neighborhood.  You can read the story by subscribing to Echoes of the Past magazine.  This magazine features great articles on R&B and doo wop vocal groups from the 1950's and early 1960's.  It comes out four times annually and only costs $16.99 per year.  To subscribe, contact Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.


Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner spins rare records at the TNT North Jersey Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Party.  Vic Donna Group sings!  What a great time!

Charlie Horner and Bob Campbell spun rare R&B vocal group records at the August 1, 2014, TNT North Jersey Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Party while the Vic Donna group sang.  What a night!  To see photos, click August 2014 TNT.



 

Asbury Park West Side Music Display Shaping Up as a once in a lifetime Exhibit!

Think we're exaggerating?  This exhibit keeps getting bigger and better.  Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters is turning into one big staging area for the largest ever exhibit of Asbury Park's West Side Music (1910 to 1970).  We're assembling frames for over 100 photos, sheet music, records, posters and other memorabilia items.  Fans of R&B, Doo Wop, Gospel and Jazz music will be amazed at Asbury Park's contributions to American popular music.

Working with the Asbury Park Historical Society, the Light Of Day Foundation and Monmouth University's Center for the Arts, Classic Urban Harmony LLC is spearheading a comprehensive museum-like exhibit that will be open to the public in January and February 2015.

The exhibit will be previewed in the Heaven Art Gallery, 721 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park on January 11-12, 15-19.  Then more photos and larger items will be added as the exhibit moves to the larger Pollak Gallery in Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ for the month of February.

Our sincere thanks to the family of our friend, the late Bobby Thomas, for providing numerous items from Bobby's estate.  We'll now be displaying things like Bobby's guitar and other memorabilia from the Vibranaires, V-Eights and Orioles.  The grand opening at Monmouth University will be on February 4, 2015, where a grand reception will take place from 6 - 8 PM.  The public is invited.  SAVE THE DATE!

There'll also be a Classic Urban Harmony multimedia presentation there in February (date to be determined) and possibly other events.

Plan on coming out to learn about Asbury Park's West Side contributions to the careers of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Claude Hopkins, Erroll Garner, Cozy Cole, the Spirits of Rhythm, the Golden Harmonaires, the Missionary Jubilaires, the United Gospel Singers, the Vibranaires, the Vibes, the Mar-Keys, Lenny Welch, the Ray Dots, the Endeavors, the V-Eights, the Uniques, the Broadways, the Moments, Ray Goodman & Brown and many many more.
 

Bobby Thomas rehearsing with the Sheps at
Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters, 2010.

Bobby's guitar, dating back to his Vibranaires
days will be part of the Monmouth University exhibit.

 

Acappella group, "A Perfect Blend," rocks the Franklin Township Library!!!

What a time at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset NJ on July 9, when the acappella group, A Perfect Blend, captivated a packed house with their "perfect blend" of soul and doo wop harmony.  We didn't know you could pack so many people into the library's community room.  We estimate 125-130 in the audience for the free event, with an unknown number turned away because of space limitations.  [We told everyone to register early!  Classic Urban Harmony events have been rapidly expanding in popularity lately.  We'll have to start finding larger rooms.]

We've posted a review and a number of photos from this event.  Click A Perfect Blend.  If you'd like to see A Perfect Blend in concert in Landsdale, PA, on August 9, check our Events Calendar.  
  

A Perfect Blend at FTL

 

Dreamlovers' Conrad "Cliff" Dunn dies

We were very saddened to hear of the passing of Cliff Dunn, baritone lead of the great Philadelphia R&B group, the Dreamlovers.  Cliff died on Sunday, June 22, 2014.  The Dreamlovers began singing as the Romancers in North Philadelphia in 1956.  The group initially consisted of brothers Cliff and Ray Dunn, Cleve Hammock, Tommy Ricks and lead William Johnson.  When Johnson was tragically shot and killed at a neighborhood party, the group added guitarist (and singer/songwriter) Donald Hogan and eventually new lead Morris Gardner and re-emerged as the Dreamlovers.  After  three very fine, yet unsuccessful records for the local Len/V-Tone label and a prolific career as Cameo Parkway backup artists for Chubby Checker (they were on "The Twist"), Dee Dee Sharp, the Dovells, etc., the Dreamlovers came into their own on Heritage Records.  There they scored with "When We Get Married," "While We Were Dancing," Zoom Zoom Zoom" and "Welcome Home".  Later Dreamlovers' hits included "If I Should Lose You" and "You Gave Me Somebody To Love". After a brief career as the soul group, A Brothers Guiding Light, the group became the Dreamlovers again in the 1980's.  [Thanks to Ceasar Berry of the Tymes for letting us know about this.]

Dreamlovers: Cliff Dunn second from right.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

June 16 "Doo Wop Groups of Central New Jersey" presentation at the Franklin Township Library, one of our best!

Classic Urban Harmony's latest multimedia presentation, "Doo Wop Groups of Central New Jersey," was given to a packed house on June 16 and has to go down as one of our most successful events.  The community room at the Franklin Township Library in Somerset NJ holds 100 people and there were only a couple empty seats (if that).  We traced the growth of central New Jersey 1950’s and 1960’s Doo Wop Music in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Bound Brook, New Brunswick, Trenton, Princeton, Somerville and Plainfield.  We even covered groups that formed at McGuire Air Force Base.  In the audience were members of local groups like the Golden Bells, Contessas, Del Larks, Sheps, Satan & the Angels and Re-MemberThen.  Following the presentation we were also treated to some live doo wop acappella singing by the Piscataway based group, Re-MemberThen!  Our presentation was sponsored by the Franklin Township Public Library and was free to the public.  We had such a great time, we'd love to give this presentation again somewhere, though because of narrow geographic scope of the project, we don't know where or when that might be.  To read more about this event and see photos plus videos of Re-MemberThen singing, click Central NJ Groups.
 

Left to right: Tommie Shider (Sheps, currently with the Harptones),
Joe Urbano (Satan & the Angels), Ron Taylor (Del Larks),
Pam Horner, Joyce Walker (Golden Bells, Contessas),
Mary Cheek (Contessas), Charlie Horner

The late Bobby Thomas (Vibranaires, V-Eights, Orioles) honored with an Asbury Angels boardwalk plaque.

The late Bobby Thomas, founder and lead singer of the Vibranaires and Vibes and member of the V-Eights and Orioles received his Asbury Angels plaque on the Asbury Park (NJ) Boardwalk of Fame on Saturday June 14, 2014.  The popular Asbury Park singer passed away in 2012 and was honored as an "Asbury Angel" in this his first year of eligibility.  Bobby was a pioneer in R&B vocal harmony.  The Asbury Angels Project honors those who have made major contributions to the Asbury Park music scene and have now passed on.  Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie & Pam Horner, consultants to the Asbury Angels Project were there to help honor Bobby’s memory along with members of Bobby’s family and friends.   Photos and a biographical sketch of Bobby Thomas were be added to the Asbury Angels website.  Bobby Thomas was one of nine prominent and influential members of Asbury Park's music scene selected for this year's induction.  Other members include Odyssey Moore, owner of the West Side's legendary night spot, the Orchid Lounge; singer Donnie Bertelson; Jim Giantonio who booked acts at the Fast Lane nightclub; Delores Holmes, soul singer; Jim McDonald, lighting director and stage manager; Carlo Novi, tenor sax player; William & Albert Rediker who brought big bands and R&R shows to Convention Hall; and Vinnie Roslin, bass player.  For more photos of the plaque dedication, click Asbury Angels 2014.
 

Pam & Charlie Horner, Bobby's son Randy, wife Betty and
daughter Vickie i
n front of the Bobby Thomas plaque.

(Photo by Marian Cicerale)

 

Classic Urban Harmony Website passes 100,000 Visits!

Our website has just passed 100,000 hits!!!!  Our sincere thanks to all of you for your support.  You've made this one of the premier websites for our music.

 

 

 

 Registration NOW OPEN for FREE, Live, Acappella Concert by "A Perfect Blend" at the Franklin Township Library, July 9.

Each year Classic Urban Harmony is pleased to assist the Franklin Township Public Library by recommending a great acappella group for their free Summer Concert Series.  This year, we have another great acappella group, the Philadelphia R&B and doo wop vocal group, A Perfect Blend.  If you haven't yet heard this fine Philadelphia group, you're in for a treat!

It takes place on Wednesday evening July 9 from 7 - 8:30 PM at the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ.  The concert is FREE to attend but you must register.  Sign up is now open.  Click Franklin Township Library, then click "Events" and "Adult Calendar" to bring up the calendar.  Then in the "search box" type "A Perfect Blend".  You'll be brought to a description of our event.  Clicking on the little pen on the right hand sign brings up the sign up page.   Fill out the form with the name, phone number and email and list each person attending.  Alternately, you can call 732-873-8700 during regular business hours and ask for the Reference Desk.  Do Not leave a message, you must confirm your registration with a live person.

 


 

 

Singing legend, Jimmy Scott dies at age of 88

We were terribly saddened to learn of the passing of our friend, legendary vocalist, Jimmy Scott.  Jimmy’s vocal stylings have, over the years, influenced everyone from Sonny Til to Frankie Valli.  His influence transcended just about all musical genres and he had to be one of the most important singers of our time.  It’s hard to imagine what popular music would have been without Jimmy Scott.  In addition, we’ve come to know Jimmy and his wife Jeanie as two of the nicest people we’ve ever met.  We tried to catch Jimmy Scott's performances whenever he was in our area, both on NYC and CT.  Whenever we'd make our way backstage, Jimmy always was glad to see us.  Jimmy had a way of welcoming people into his life.  He was both humble and warm hearted.  The world has lost one of its greatest stars.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeanie and Jimmy's family and friends. - Charlie & Pam

Jimmy Scott with Charlie & Pam
The Blue Note, 2010


Jimmy & Pam, Lincoln Center, 2008


Jimmy & Charlie, Lincoln Center, 2008


(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 

Soul music historian, radio dee jay, Bob Abrahamian dies.

We were shocked and saddened today (June 6) to learn of the death of Bob Abrahamian, soul music historian and host of the popular and informative "Sitting In The Park" radio program.  Bob has always been a friend to us at Classic Urban Harmony, supplying us with photos, contacts and information about groups we were researching, especially those from Chicago.  Unfortunately, Bob took his own life.  He was only 35.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob's family.

Read Bob's obit from the Chicago Sun-Times, see http://voices.suntimes.com/arts-entertainment/the-daily-sizzle/death-of-soul-music-collector-preservationist-devastating-to-chicago-cultural-history/

 

Bob Abrahamian & Charlie Horner, 2009

 

Latest issue of Echoes Of The Past magazine is out.  Contains our article on the acappella group, Satan & the Angels plus much more!

The latest issue of Echoes Of The Past magazine (#108) is now out.  It contains our articel on the great acappella group from Trenton, NJ, Satan & the Angels.  Also in the magazine is Bob Bosco's article on the soul group, the Informers; George Frunzi's article on the Orlons and a lot more.  If you're not getting it, subscribe now.  A year subscription is only $16.99 (in the U.S.) for four issues.  Contact Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.


 

Our article on Tony Talent & the Coalitions is now posted to this website. 

Our article on Tony Talent and the great soul group from Philadelphia, the Coalitions, is now posted to this website.  The article first appeared in Echoes of the Past #107.  If you didn't get that issue or if you want to see the labels scans and photos in color, click Coalitions.  To hear their fabulous soul ballad, "Instead... How Are You" see the YouTube below.

 

Vibranaires' Bobby Thomas to receive Asbury Angels plaque on Asbury Park Boardwalk, Saturday June 14, 2014.

The late Bobby Thomas, founder and lead singer of the Vibranaires and Vibes and member of the V-Eights and Orioles is scheduled to receive his Asbury Angels plaque on the Asbury Park (NJ) Boardwalk of Fame on Saturday June 14, 2014. at 12:30 PM.  The public is invited to the dedication ceremony on the boardwalk at 2nd Avenue.  The Asbury Park singer passed away in 2012 and is being honored as an "Asbury Angel" in this his first year of eligibility.  Bobby was a pioneer in R&B vocal harmony.  The Asbury Angels Project honors those who have made major contributions to the Asbury Park music scene and have now passed on.  Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie & Pam Horner are consultants to the Asbury Angels Project.   Photos and a biographical sketch of Bobby Thomas will be added to the Asbury Angels website, shortly.  Bobby Thomas is one of nine prominent and influential members of Asbury Park's music scene selected for this year's induction.  Other members include Odyssey Moore, owner of the West Side's legendary night spot, the Orchid Lounge; singer Donnie Bertelson; Jim Giantonio who booked acts at the Fast Lane nightclub; Delores Holmes, soul singer; Jim McDonald, lighting director and stage manager; Carlo Novi, tenor sax player; William & Albert Rediker who brought big bands and R&R shows to Convention Hall; and Vinnie Roslin, bass player.

For more information, see the Asbury Angels Press Release and visit www.asburyangels.com.


Bobby Thomas

 

[New!]Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner to appear with Alan David Stein on WCTC-AM radio, June 10

Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner will make a rare radio guest appearance with Alan David Stein on 1450 Talk Radio WCTC-AM on Tuesday June 10, 2014 from 8 - 9 AM (New Jersey Time), drive time.  Charlie will be discussing doo wop vocal groups from central New Jersey with Alan.  They'll be taking phone calls over the air and playing short audio clips.  The show can be heard in central New Jersey on 1450 AM and on the Internet by going to www.wctcam.com.  This is a prelude to our June 16 multimedia presentation on the same topic at the Franklin Township Public Library.  If you haven't signed up yet, space is running out.  See our Events Calendar for how to register.
 

[New!]Richard Nader Entertainment's 25th Anniversary Doo Wop Concert a real 'Blast From the Past'!!!

Twelve groups graced the stage at the May 30, 2014 Richard Nader Entertainment's 25th Anniversary Doo Wop Concert, and that doesn't even count opening acts Re-MemberThen (winners of the outside acappella contest) and Twin Gold who opened the show.  Classic Urban Harmony was right there to catch all the excitement of the concert in a photo packed review of the event.  Click Nader 25th Anniversary Concert to take a look.

Vito Balsamo & group at the Nader concert

 

[New!]Re-MemberThen wins the Richard Nader Acappella Contest Again!

Congratulations to our friends in the Piscataway NJ based acappella group, Re-MemberThen, who on May 30, 2014, won Don K. Reed's outdoor acappella group contest, outside of the IZOD Center prior to the Richard Nader Doo Wop Concert XXV.  This was the second time in three years that Re-MemberThen entered the contest, winning each time.  The winners then got to open the concert inside the IZOD Center later that evening.  Re-MemberThen will have their new CD out shortly.  Watch a video of Re-MemberThen singing inside the IZOD Center (below).
 


 

[New!]Classic Urban Harmony Free Email Newsletter #20 is now out.

If you subscribe, it should now in your In-Box.  Some people did not receive it, so let us know if you didn't.  If you'd like to subscribe, send your name and email to CUH@att.net.

 

[New!]Herb Jeffries dies at 100.  Jazz singer, singing cowboy in black westerns.

Herb Jeffries [sometimes spelled Jeffrey], crooner, actor and singing cowboy in black westerns of the late 1930’s, died May 25, 2014, of heart failure at a California hospital at the age of 100.  Jeffries was born Umberto Alexander Valentino in Detroit on September 24, 1913.  His mother was Irish and his father, whom he never knew, was a mix of Sicilian, Portuguese, Spanish, Native American and African American.  Jeffries was proud of his African American heritage and in spite of his light skin always considered himself a person of color.

Jeffries became a singer at an early age and began working with Erksine Tate and his Vendome Orchestra in Chicago.  During the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1933, Jeffries sang on national radio with Earl Hines’ Orchestra.  With Hines’ orchestra, he made his first recordings in 1934.

While on touring the South, Jeffries took note of the popularity of theaters showing cowboy motion pictures.  He felt that black westerns could be successful and soon found a director and distributor.  When he couldn’t fine a singer/actor to star in the film, Jeffries decided to star himself.  A number of classic black westerns followed, with Jeffries playing the lead role as singing cowboy.  Group harmony fans love his songs backed by groups like Dusty Brooks & the Four Tones and Cats & A Fiddle.  Films included Harlem On The Prairie (1937), Two Gun Man From Harlem (1938), The Bronze Buckaroo (1939) and Harlem Rides The Range (1939).

To watch Herb Jeffries sing "I'm A Happy Cowboys" with Cats & A Fiddle, click Two Gun Man From Harlem.

By 1940, Herb Jeffries was a vocalist with Duke Ellington’s band, with whom he recorded.  His recording of "Flamingo" (1940) with Ellington was a best seller.  Jeffries’ recording of “At Least You Can Save Me A Dream” (Excelsior label), backed by the female trio, the Three Shades of Rhythm, was arranged and directed by future Delta Rhythm Boys’ Carl Jones.  The Three Shades of Rhythm were recruited out of Jefferson High School in Los Angeles for the recording session by Carl Jones who was doing vocal arrangements for Excelsior Records while in college.  One of the Shades of Rhythm, Effie Smith went on to greater fame as a blues and pop singer.

A film about Herb Jeffries’ life was produced in 2007.   Click to watch a trailer for “A Colored Life”.

Jeffries’ last recordings were done in 1995 for the WEA/Warner label CD, “The Bronze Buckaroo Rides Again”.  Background vocals on one cut were done by Donald Mills and his son John Mills, the last commercial recording by the Mills Brothers’ Donald Mills.  Take Six backed Jeffries on another cut on the CD.

 

[New!]Classic Urban Harmony and the Asbury Park Historical Society teaming up to assemble comprehensive museum exhibit of Asbury Park black music history.  Exhibit will be on display in January and February 2015.

Breaking News!!!  We've just finalized the details for our Asbury Park NJ black music exhibit, "Asbury Park’s Springwood Avenue Harmony: Celebrating The West Side’s Unique Musical Legacy".

Long before Asbury Park became known for rock music, the city’s African American community rocked on Springwood Avenue.  Between 1910 and 1970, the city’s West Side pioneered the sounds of jazz, gospel and rhythm & blues.  This exhibit explores, chronicles and highlights Asbury Park’s black music scene from Count Basie to Billy Brown, through an impressive collection of rare photos and memorabilia.

Working with the Asbury Park Historical Society, the Light Of Day Foundation and Monmouth University's Center for the Arts, Classic Urban Harmony LLC is spearheading a comprehensive museum-like exhibit that will be open to the public in January and February 2015.

The exhibit will contain scores of rare photographs plus phonograph records, posters, sheet music, musical instruments and other memorabilia from Asbury Park's West Side.  It will contain sections on jazz, gospel and R&B music, and will also highlight black radio, record labels and record stores.  One section of the exhibit will  feature photos and ads for early Springwood Avenue nightclubs and theaters.

Fans of R&B, doo wop and gospel vocal harmony groups can be sure these genres will be well represented.  There'll be plenty of items related to Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires, Lenny Welch & the Markeeys, the Ray Dots, the V-Eights, the Broadways, Billy Brown with the Moments & Ray Goodman & Brown, the Missionary Jubilaires, Golden Harmonaires, United Gospel Singers, Golden Harmonettes and many more.

The exhibit will first open in the Heaven Art Gallery, 721 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.  There it will run from Sunday January 11 through January 19, 2015 (closed January 13 and 14) during Asbury Park's annual Light Of Day concert series.  The Light Of Day Foundation raises money to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease and their concert series brings thousands of music fans from around the world.

The Heaven Art Gallery, located on the second floor
of 721 Cookman Ave. (the long narrow,
glass front building above), in downtown Asbury Park.

Following the exhibit's close in Asbury Park, it will be expanded even further and moved to Monmouth University's larger Pollak Gallery on the university's campus at 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ.  There the exhibit will remain viewable for the entire month of February, 2015.  We'll be scheduling a Classic Urban Harmony multimedia presentation during February, possibly at the Pollak Theater, a magnificent 700 seat venue.  Other related events are being discussed.   Follow our Events Calendar for more details.

Monmouth University's Pollak Gallery is located in the Pollak Theatre building

Read Charlie Horner's article on the lost history of Asbury Park's Smile-A-While Inn: Long forgotten jazz club of the 1920's and 1930's that gave a start to Count Basie, Claude Thornton and many others

Our ongoing project to document African American music from Asbury Park NJ has led us to the fascinating tale of the Smile-a-While Inn, a popular West Side jazz nightclub during the 1920's and 1930's.  While there's not much in the literature about the Smile-A-While, we've uncovered enough to know there's a great story here.  First hand accounts will be hard to come by, as anyone frequenting this club in 1926 would now be about 108 years old now.  Charlie just wrote an article about the Smile-A-while Inn for the (Asbury Park) Coaster newspaper, which we have reprinted here with their permission.  To read the article, click Smile-A-While Inn
 

Autobiography of Joe Evans, Jazz Musician and Owner of the Carnival Label now on our Bookshelf Page

When Joe Evans died at the age of 97 this past January, we were prompted to read his autobiography, "Follow Your Heart," first published in 2008.  Joe Evans was a famous sax player who played with some of the biggest bands of the 1930's and 1940's.  He went on to play in the house bands of the Savoy Ballroom and Apollo Theater and tour with several of the R&R shows of the 1950's and early 1960's.  He also founded the Carnival label that gave us the Manhattans and many more.  We highly recommend this book as it has interest to jazz enthusiasts as well as R&B and soul music fans.  See our full review on our Bookshelf Page and if you wish, follow the link to where you can purchase a copy.  Copies won't be around forever.

 

Jerry "Chief" Russell, founder and owner of Goldradio passes.

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Jerry "Chief" Russell, founder and owner of Goldradio, the doo wop/oldies Internet radio station that brings us George Frunzi's "Down On The Street Corner" and Carl Tancredi's "Work With Me Annie" programs, among many others.  While we didn't know Chief well, we had spoken to him by phone when we guested on George Frunzi's show and we were impressed by his dedication and enthusiasm for the music.  He will be missed.

 

More losses to our musical family.

We are also saddened to report the passings of three more legendary lead singers recently:  Little Joe Cook of the Thrillers, Bob Bovino of the Bob Knight Four and Joe Speedo Frazier of the Impalas.  We'll have something on each of them in our next newsletter.
 

Details Announced for the Friends of Joel Katz Benefit Dinner and Concert, September 21.

As Joel Katz battles cancer, his friends are getting together for an incredible all star concert and dinner to raise money for him.  Please help with you attendance and/or donations!  Concert stars the Dubs, the Fireflies, Little Isidore & the Inquisitors, the Devotions, the Solitaires, the Willows, Kid Kyle, the Five Discs, Quiet Storm, possibly more groups.  It takes place on Sunday September 21, 2014, beginning at 3 PM at the Elan, 111 Route 46 West in Lodi, NJ.  Tickets are $75 per person for family style dinner and concert.  See our Events Calendar for more details.  For tickets call 570-775-9217 or 201-845-0579.  

 

All New, "Doo Wop Groups of Central New Jersey" presentation planned for the Franklin Township Public Library, June 16, 2014.

Classic Urban Harmony has put together a completely new multimedia presentation.  Music historians Charlie & Pam Horner trace the growth of central New Jersey 1950’s and 1960’s Doo Wop Music.  Who knew so many great doo wop groups came from New Brunswick, Trenton, Bound Brook, Princeton, Somerville and Plainfield?  You may not be familiar with groups like the Golden Bells, Majestics, Del Larks, Parliaments, Plazas, Dynamics, Off Keys, Admirations and Satan & the Angels now, but you will be when you leave this presentation.  Central NJ doo wop groups were and still are top notch!  You’ll even learn about our area’s current acappella doo wop groups.  

This presentation is FREE but registration is required since only 100 people will be able to fit in the room (due to fire department regulations).  We expect quite a few singers from the talk will attend, so register early.  This presentation is expected to fill up fast!

It takes place on Monday evening June 16 from 7 - 8:30 PM at the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ.  The presentation is free to attend but you must register.  Sign up begins May 15, so check back here on that date and we'll give you a link to register.


 

FREE, Live, Acappella Concert by "A Perfect Blend" at the Franklin Township Public Library, July 9, 2014.

Each year Classic Urban Harmony is pleased to assist the Franklin Township Public Library by recommending a great acappella group for their free Summer Concert Series.  This year, we have another great acappella group, the Philadelphia R&B and doo wop vocal group, A Perfect Blend.  If you haven't yet heard this fine Philadelphia group, you're in for a treat!  It takes place on Wednesday evening July 9 from 7 - 8:30 PM at the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ.  We expect registration to fill up quickly for this one, so watch our website to find out when you can register.


 

 

Classic Urban Harmony's April 4 "Crossing Jordan" presentation well received at Caldwell College's Lifelong Learning Institute.

Our sincere thanks to to the staff of Caldwell College's Lifelong Learning Institute and all those whop came out to see our presentation, "Crossing Jordan: How African American Spirituals Changed the World" on Friday April 4.  The lecture hall at Caldwell College was a great place to give presentations, with two electronic screens as well as the large projection screen.  The audience was very enthusiastic and well met a lot of nice people.


Charlie talking about Spirituals
 


Pam displaying Spirituals sheet music and photos

 

Jazzman Records UK visit Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters

On April 6, 2014, Jazzman Gerald and Liam Large, of the UK's Jazzman record label, dropped by Classic Urban Harmony's world headquarters for an afternoon visit.  Jazzman Records is looking to legally re-release a rare jazz album recorded by former Castelles' bass singer, Ron Everett, back around 1980.  The late Ron Everett had been a friend of Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner and had given Charlie a few of his jazz recordings, but unfortunately we did not have the album Gerald and Liam were looking for.  If anyone reading this has Ron Everett's Vagabond King label album or knows the whereabouts of Ron's family, please email us at CUH@att.net and we'll pass the info on to Jazzman Records.  Visit Jazzman Records' website at www.jazzmanrecords.co.uk.


Gerald, Charlie and Liam at Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters

 

The Whiptones sing the National Anthem before 30,000 people at the Mets' 2014 Opening Game!

Our friends, the teenage acappella doo wop group from Whippany NJ, the Whiptones, were outstanding in singing the "Star Spangled Banner" at the New York Mets' opening game at CitiField, on March 31.  Our crowd of more than 30,000 saw the group sing live, with probably a million more (including us) watching on TV.  The Whiptones won the spot from a strong field of competitors who auditioned March 10 at the 2014 NY Mets Anthem Search.  The Whiptones have also been kept busy lately making several television appearances.  Our congratulations to the Whiptones!  [Watch a Youtube of the group singing the national anthem, below and then visit the Whiptones' website at www.thewhiptones.com/ ]
 

 

Classic Urban Harmony presentation, "Crossing Jordan: How African American Spirituals Changed the World" at the Lifelong Learning Institute, Caldwell College, 10 AM, Friday April 4, 2014.

If you haven't heard Classic Urban Harmony's inspirational multimedia presentation of "Crossing Jordan: How African American Spirituals Changed the World," you'll have one more chance to take it in.  We'll be giving it as part of Caldwell College's Lifelong Learning Institute.  While the presentation will take place from 10 - 11:30 AM, there'll be a pre-lecture social beginning at 9:15, where you'll get a chance to flip through our collection of gospel group memorabilia.

Caldwell College's Center for Student Success is located at 120 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006 (see the map below).  We'll be in Werner Hall, Building #6 on the map.  The presentation is open to the public ($10 per person) with registration.  No pre-registration is necessary - just attend.  Park in the main parking lot (top of map).  For info call 973-618-3000 or visit lli@caldwell.edu.


Map of Caldwell College's Center for Student Success
Werner Hall is Building #6 on map
 

Work on our January 2015 Gallery Exhibit on Asbury Park West Side Music taking shape!

We continue working hard on preparations for our January 2015 gallery exhibit of photos and memorabilia from Asbury Park's West Side music.  We may be soon be announcing the location and dates when it will be opened.  After running for a couple weeks in an Asbury Park NJ downtown gallery as part of the 2015 Light Of Day celebration, the exhibit is expected to move to Monmouth University.  The exhibit is being designed by Classic Urban Harmony and the Asbury Park Historical Society.  The Light of Day Foundation supports research into Parkinson's Disease and each January they sponsor a week of music concerts and events in Asbury Park that attract music fans from around the globe.  We have already collected over a hundred photos from Asbury Park's West Side from which we'll choose those to display.  We also will have numerous memorabilia items on display, including records, posters, uniforms and musical instruments from the West Side.  We even have the giant sign from Springwood Avenue's Turf Club.

The exhibit will cover the West Side's music history from 1910 until 1970, beginning with early jazz artists connected with Asbury Park, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sonny Greer, Fats Waller and Claude Hopkins.  It will also have displays of Asbury Park's early R&B artists like Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires, Lenny Welch, the Ray Dots, the V-Eights, the Uniques, Broadways and many more.  Another segment of the exhibit will be Asbury Park's gospel music.  If anyone has photos, posters or music memorabilia to donate or lend to our exhibit from the glory days of Asbury Park's West Side, please email us at CUH@att.net.

We recently attended a panel discussion of the West Side's jazz scene produced by the Ocean Township Historical Museum.  It featured as panelists, Asbury Park jazz musicians, Gladstone Trott, Clifford Johnson and Dorian Parreott.
 

 

Left to right:  Gladstone Trott, Clifford Johnson, Dorian Parreott


On our last visit to Asbury Park, we took the opportunity to visit with Leon Trent, former member of the soul vocal group, the Broadways, and now performing as part of the Waterfront Duo.  Leon just released a song he recorded in Nashville, "Gonna Find Me An Angel".  It's available for download on Amazon and ITunes.


Pam & Charlie Horner, Leon Trent
 

Latest Classic Urban Harmony Free Email Newsletter (#19) now out.

This is our biggest issue yet.  If it's not in your In Box, send your name and email address to CUH@att.net

Breaking News!!! The Whiptones to sing the National Anthem at the Mets' 2014 Opening Game!

This just in!  Our friends, the teenage acappella doo wop group from Whippany NJ, the Whiptones, will be singing the "Star Spangled Banner" at the New York Mets' opening game at CitiField, on March 31 at 1 PM.  The Whiptones won the spot from a strong field of competitors who auditioned March 10 at the 2014 NY Mets Anthem Search.  We saw the group highlighted on Fox News, who covered the auditions.  Our congratulations to the Whiptones!  [Visit the Whiptones' website at www.thewhiptones.com/ ]
 

 

(Photo courtesy of the Whiptones)
 

Our article on the Golden Bells & Contessas, now posted to this website.

Our article on the Golden Bells (Sure label) and Contessas (WGW label) that recently appeared in Echoes of the Past magazine, is now posted to this website.  We've updated it with new photos and converted the label scans to color.  You can read the entire article by clicking Golden Bells/Contessas.

Golden Bells

 

New Echoes of the Past (#107) is now out.  Contains our article on Tony Talent & Coalitions.

The newest issue of Echoes of the Past magazine is now out.  It includes our article on Tony Talent & the great soul group the Coalitions as well as article on the Volcanos, Majestics (Jordan label) and much more.  For info on the magazine, email Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.
 


 

Stephen Propes' new book, "Old School: 77 Years of Southern California R&B & Vocal Group Harmony Records 1934 - 2011," now reviewed on Our Bookshelf Page.

Record by record, author Stephen Propes chronicles the history of Southern California R&B vocal groups (and solo artists) with group members, musicians, original labels, dates, local radio and record store charts, fascinating stories about the groups and records and even an idea about each record's value.  Propes knows more about Southern California R&B than anyone we know and this book covers his original research and interviews with hundreds of singers.  Entries on more than 1400 records by 850+ groups and solo artists.  Read our complete review on Our Bookshelf PageConsidering Propes' last book on L.A. vocal groups has been selling for $200, you might want to grab this one while you can.


 

Legendary Pittsburgh radio personality Porky Chedwick has died.  We'll have more posted shortly.

Legendary Pittsburgh radio personality, Craig "Porky" Chedwick has died on March 2, 2014 at the age of 96.  Porky Chedwick was an important part of our group harmony music heritage.  He began playing R&B music in 1948, one of the first white radio dee jays to bring R&B to black and white teenagers.


Porky Chedwick
 

Bob "Big Murph" Murphy of acappella group, Neighbors Complaint, passes.  Tribute Page now posted on this website.

Robert "Big Murph" Murphy, founder and lead of the legendary Philadelphia doo wop acappella group, Neighbors Complaint, died of a stroke on February 27, 2014.  One of the area's most important acappella groups, Neighbors Complaint paved the way for many of the Philadelphia acappella groups of today.  Murph and Neighbors Complaint were closely associated with Charlie Horner's radio program in the 1980's.  We've posted a tribute page to "Big Murph" with the complete story of Neighbors Complaint with many photos and Charlie's recollections of those times.  Click Neighbors Complaint to take a look.

Robert "Big Murph" Murphy & Charlie Horner
 

2014 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert another great one!!!  Photos & Review now posted to this website.

Rev. Brenda Boone's annual Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert was another one for the record books!  Running almost six straight hours, the program featured many of the most exciting gospel groups and soloists around.  Classic Urban Harmony's Pam & Charlie Horner were there to detail the event in words and many photos.  To take a look, click 2014 Portsmouth Gospel Concert.
 

Elder Ron Harper leading the Harmonizing Echoes at
Rev. Brenda Boone's annual Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
The Harmonizing Echoes have been singing for 52 years!

 

Take 6 Celebrates 25 Years with a great performance at Princeton's McCarter Theatre

Since bursting on the national music scene in 1987, Take 6’s innovative blend of intricate harmonies and jazz influenced rhythms have made them one of the most important vocal groups of our time.  Take 6 is the original beacon for mixing gospel, jazz, R&B, doo wop and pop acappella using syncopated rhythms while their harmony is at the forefront.  A gospel group that has had a major influence on the development of hip hop harmony, Take 6 is the most awarded vocal group in history (10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award, and more) as they continue to celebrate their 25th Anniversary!   Quincy Jones has called them “the baddest vocal cats on the planet!”  When the group appeared at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ on February 22, it was our first time seeing Take 6.  We were excited to see choreography added to the mix.

In addition to their familiar gospel selections, a portion of their program was devoted to their roots.  They sang a parody of songs by artists they grew up listening to.  They harmonized songs by Earth Wind and Fire, The Bee Gees, The Doobie Brothers, Ben E. King, and Michael Jackson.  An impression of Michael Jackson including a moonwalk was a lighthearted surprise.  The sextet’s repertoire also included Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”, “Stand by Me”, “Mary Don’t You Weep”, and “Spread Love”.  A doo wop version of “Smile” was pure dreamy ecstasy to this harmony fan.

It only took us 25 years to see Take 6 but hopefully it won’t be the last time.  If you can open your heart to all harmony, give Take 6 a try.  You won’t be disappointed.  This was a very enjoyable show! - Pam Horner

 

 

Classic Urban Harmony interviewed for Asbury Park promotional video.

On Tuesday February 4, 2014, we traveled to Asbury Park, NJ, where Charlie was interviewed on camera for a promotional video about Asbury Park's musical legacy.  The video is being produced by Mackanic Media LLC for Design Four Four Six and will be viewable on the Internet in the near future.

Charlie was interviewed at the historic Asbury Park Armory, home of numerous concerts by the Orioles, Ravens and others back in the day.  On camera, Charlie talked about Asbury Park's West Side music scene from 1910 to 1970, with emphases on Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires, Lenny Welch & the Mar-Keys, the Broadways and much more.  Of course a number of people were interviewed for the video, so Classic Urban Harmony is only a small part of the whole story.

We'll let you know when the video is available for viewing.

Charlie in the Asbury Park Armory


 

 

Jackson Southernaires Added to Rev. Brenda Boone's Annual February Portsmouth VA Gospel Program!

Concert also features the Fantastic Violinaires, Luther Barnes & Sunset Jubilaires, Frankie Davis, King David's Harp, Gospel Travelers, Rev. Brenda Boone's Higher Praise Community Choir of Hampton Roads VA featuring Sister Mattie Wood, the Harmonizing Echoes, the Templeaires, the Gospel Disciples, the Word Singers and More!

Just when we thought Rev. Brenda Boone's annual gospel concert in Portsmouth VA couldn't get any better, we've just heard that the Jackson Southernaires have been added to the program!

Rev. Boone's programs have been known to run more than five hours long and are heavy on great quartet singing groups, a style that we love!  This year's line up is every bit as spectacular as in years past.  Besides the Jackson Southernaires, it will feature the Fantastic Violinaires, Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires, Frankie Davis & the Mighty All Stars, Van Jones & King David's Harp, Min. Paul Boone & the Templeaires, Elder Ronald Harper & the Harmonizing Echoes, the Gospel Disciples, the Word Singers and Pinewood label recording artists the Gospel Travelers of Garysburg, NC.   Also singing will be Rev. Brenda Boone's Higher Praise Community Choir of Hampton Roads VA featuring Pinewood label recording artist Sister Mattie Wood, Sis. Carolyn Smith, Elder Doris Pittman and 13-year-old Logan Hitchman.  MC's will be Steve Alexander and Reggie McDonald of WGPL (PEACE Radio) Radio.  The program will take place at Willet Hall, 3701 Willet Drive, Portsmouth, VA, on Sunday February 23, 2014, beginning at 4 PM.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  For information call 757-477-3828 or 757-227-2200.



 

Next Echoes of the Past magazine to feature our article on Tony Talent & the Coalitions

Get ready for another great issue of Echoes of the Past magazine, due out in March.  Among other articles, the magazine will feature our article on Tony "Talent" Anderson and the great West Philadelphia soul group, the Coalitions.  If you're not familiar with the Coalitions' "Instead... How Are You" on the Re Dun label, click the YouTube below.  The group is still singing under the name Rheel Menn.  The interview was conducted at the home our our good friends Charles & sandra Anderson (no relation to Coalitions' Tony Anderson).  Echoes of the Past is available at $16.99 for a one year (4 issue) subscription.  Contact Bob Belniak at echoes.past@yahoo.com.


The Coalitions' "Instead ... How Are You"
 

Charles Anderson, Charlie Horner, Tony "Talent" Anderson


Pam Horner, Charles & Sandra Anderson, Tony Talent


Pam & Charlie Horner, Sandra Anderson, Tony Talent

 

Gerylane Edgehill of the Sweet Delights Passes.

We are deeply saddened today to learn of the passing of our dear friend, Gerylane Edgehill, member of the Philadelphia soul group, the Sweet Delights. Gerylane (far left in the photo) died this morning, January 20, 2014, at the age of 71. We have recently posted the story of the Sweet Delights on our website. You can read it by clicking Sweet Delights.  The article was first published in Echoes of the Past magazine.  Gerylane was predeceased by her husband, Eddie Edgehill of the Valentines and Del Knights. - Charlie & Pam Horner

Gerylane Edgehill (far left)


Classic Urban Harmony Embarks on Latest Asbury Park Project

 On January 16, 2014, Classic Urban Harmony's Pam & Charlie Horner officially began work on our latest Asbury Park project.  Working with the Asbury Park Historical Society we are preparing a museum-like exhibit of Asbury Park's West Side Music Legacy to run in a downtown Asbury Park, NJ, art gallery for two weeks during the January 2015 Light of Day celebration.  The exhibit will contain photos, records, posters, musical instruments, uniforms and other memorabilia of Jazz, R&B, Gospel and Doo Wop artists who were connected to the West Side (1910 to 1970).  At the January organizational meeting of the APHS (held at the Asbury Park Public Library) Charlie & Pam presented a 45-minute slide and music clip program of West Side artists, including Count Basie, Erroll Garner, Claude Hopkins, Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires, Lenny Welch, the Ray Dots, V-Eights, Broadways and many more.  We are seeking help from the community to provide additional items for the display.  Anyone having photos or memorabilia to donate or lend to the exhibit is encouraged to contact us at CUH@att.net.
 

Charlie talking about Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires
Asbury Park Public Library, January 16, 2014

 

Long Awaited Little Isidore & Inquisitors CD Released at Album Release Party & Dance in Hasbrouck Heights NJ

Perhaps the only thing more exciting than a new Little Isidore & the Inquisitors CD is a Little Isidore & the Inquisitors live performance.  On Saturday night January 11, 2014, we were treated to both when we headed to Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, for the group's CD release party, concert and dance.  Vocalists, Little Isidore (David Foreman), Kitten Kaboodle (Linda Shell), Johnny Staccato Jr (Wayne Smith) and Molten Milton (John Montforte) were in great form, as always, backed by their smokin' six-piece band.  The group gave us two high energy one-hour sets.  In between, Little Isidore autographed the new CD, "Moxie Part 2" and posed for photos.  Thanks also to Pam Nardella for her hard work in making this concert a success!

We've been waiting almost twenty years for Little Isidore & the Inquisitors to release their third CD and it was worth the wait!  Entitled "Moxie - Part 2," the CD displays Little Isidore' patented mix of music styles that we've come to expect from one of the field's most exciting performing bands.  Group harmony enthusiasts will love the Inquisitors' versions of the Orioles' "I'd Rather Have You Under The Moon Than Anyone Under The Sun" (Little Isidore leading) and the Red Caps' "Would I Mind" featuring the bass voice of Molten Milton.  Fans of good old fifties R&R will swing to "Lickity Split," "Foot Stompin'," "Don't You Just Know It" and the Little Richard-esk "Jelly Belly" (one of several David Forman penned originals on the album).   Kitten Kaboodle leads great soulful renditions of "Dry Your Eyes" and "The One Who Really Loves You".  Johnny Staccato's strong voice carries "It Ain't Nothin'," a song destined to be the follow up to the previously issued "Harlem Hit Parade and "Doo Dootsy Wah".  For information on "Moxie - Part 2" and upcoming appearances by the group, visit http://littleisidore.net.  We can't wait for a "Moxie - Part 1" CD to come out.  We hope it doesn't take another 20 years.

 

Little Isidore & Inquisitors
at Hasbrouck Heights VFW
January 11, 2014
 


Newest Little Isidore & Inquisitors CD
Moxie - Part 2
 

"Who Did It First" book on Cover Songs now reviewed on our Bookshelf Page.

“Who Did It First: Great Rhythm & Blues Cover Songs and their Original Artists” by Bob Leszczak is now reviewed on our Bookshelf Page.  The book lists almost 400 R&B songs that were later covered by other artists and tells interesting stories about each.

 

Joe Evans Dies.  Famous saxophone player; Owned Cee-Jay and Carnival record labels

Joe Evans, noted jazz saxophone player and owner of Carnival Records, died on January 17, 2014.  He was 97.  Evans was born in Pensacola FL on October 7, 1916.  As a jazz alto sax player, Joe played with the bands of Jay McShann, Jimmy Forrest, Don Redman, Louis Armstrong, Andy Kirk, Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and others.  He was a member of the house bands at the Savoy Ballroom and Apollo Theater.  In the early 1960's, Evans co-owned the Cee-Jay label that produced some great R&B vocal group songs by Mike & the Utopians, DeRoy Green & the Cool Gents and the Vines.  Joe Evans started the Carnival label in Newark NJ in 1962.  He was responsible for so many great soul recordings by the Manhattans, Trenteens, Lovettes, Topics, Lee Williams & the Cymbals, Pretenders, Phil Terrell, Barbara Brown and many others.  Evans published his autobiography, "Follow Your Heart," in 2008 and we've now reviewed it on Our Bookshelf Page.  For a nice article on Joe Evans by Ady Croasdel, click Joe Evans [Thanks to Mike Boone for letting us know about Joe Evans.]
 

Joe Evans

 

Long-Awaited Little Isidore & Inquisitors CD due out January 11.  To be introduced at release party concert in Hasbrouck Heights.

We've been anxiously awaiting the new Little Isidore & the Inquisitors CD.  We have inside information on a couple of the cuts that will be included and we're vert excited about it.  Little Isidore and the Inquisitors will introduce the CD at a Release Party and Show at the Hasbrouck Heights V.F.W. Hall, 513 Veterans Place, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, this Saturday, January 11, 2014.  Special guest DJ is The Golden Gup.  Doors open at 7 PM.  Show starts at 8.  Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.  Call 201-791-4043 or order on PayPal at www.littleisidore.net
 

 

Reather Dixon Turner of the Bobbettes Dies at 68.

Reather Dixon Turner, original member of the Bobbettes has died at the age of 68.  The NYC female R&B vocal group had a hit with "Mr. Lee" (Atlantic label) which reached #6 on the R&B charts in 1957.  An answer record by the group, "I Shot Mr. Lee" (Triple X label)  also did well for the group in 1960.

The Bobbettes, 1960.
Reather is at bottom left.  

Maureen Gray Dies.  Early 1960's R&B singer a Philadelphia favorite.

Maureen Gray, popular Philadelphia R&B singer who scored with early 1960's hits like "Today's The Day," "I'm So Young," Dancin' The Strand," "Crazy Over You" and "I Don't Want To Cry," died on January 7, 2014.  Raised in Philadelphia, PA, Maureen Gray began singing at the age of three and performed on a children's program at Carnegie Hall at the age of five.  She was discovered at the age of 12 by songwriter Johnny Madara, when she walked into his record store.  Madara and David White wrote and produced seven records with Maureen for the Chancellor (3), Landa (2) and Mercury (2) labels.  George Frunzi's recent article on David White in Echoes of the Part magazine, revealed that "Dancin' The Strand" had the Chantels singing background.  Maureen Gray's records were given a lot of air play by Philadelphia radio personality Jerry Blavat, who often had her appear at his record hops.  Gray's records were always prized by Philadelphia record collectors.  Maureen Gray later moved to the U.K. where she sang with recording stars Billy Preston, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, John Lennon and David Bowie.  Maureen Gray returned to Philadelphia about ten years ago.  To hear "Dancin' The Strand" click the YouTube below.  [Thanks to Charles Anderson for reporting this to us.]
 

(Photos courtesy of Charles Anderson)




Maureen Gray backed by the Chantels


 

Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers Dies.

Phil Everly, who along with his brother Don, made up the Rock & Roll pioneers, the Everly Brothers, died Friday January 3, 2014, at the age of 74.  The Everly Brothers were well know in the late 1950's and early 1960's for hits like "Wake Up Little Suzie," "Bye Bye Love," "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Cathy's Clown," "Let It Be Me" and "When Will I Be Loved".  The Everly Brothers were major influences on the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkle and Linda Ronstadt.  They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.


The Everly Brothers
(Phil Everly, left)

 

Jay Traynor Dies.  Original lead of Jay & Americans; sang with the Mystics and Jay Siegel's Tokens.

Jay Traynor, original lead of Jay & the Americans, died on January 2, 2014 at the age of 70.  Jay also sang with the Mystics and more recently with Jay Siegel's Tokens.  John "Jay" Traynor was born on March 20, 1943 in Brooklyn, NY.  As a vocalist, he joined the Mystics as lead (after "Hushabye") and sang on their recording of "White Cliffs Of Dover".  Traynor was the first "Jay" in Jay & the Americans, leading their recording of "She Cried".  Shortly after that, he went solo.  More recently, Jay Traynor had been singing with Jay Siegel's Tokens.  We last saw Jay Traynor at the Richard Nader IZOD Center (Meadowlands, NJ) concert in May 2013, where we had a chance to talk with him briefly.  He was a nice guy and we are deeply saddened by his passing.  To watch a YouTube video of Jay Traynor singing "She Cried" with Jay Siegel's Tokens in 2011, click the YouTube below.
 

 

Jay Traynor & Pam Horner, 2013